• Analyse comparative de la localisation géographique des hubs de Paris et Dubaï à travers les flux aériens internationaux
    http://journals.openedition.org/mappemonde/4006

    Les émirats de Dubaï, d’Abu Dhabi et du Qatar mènent des stratégies ambitieuses en matière de transport aérien. Cela s’est traduit par la création de compagnies aériennes majeures — à l’image d’Emirates Airline (1985), de Qatar Airways (1994), ou encore d’Etihad Airways (2003) — qui concurrencent nettement des transporteurs établis dans d’autres régions, à commencer par l’Europe et l’Asie orientale. Pour autant, les hubs du Golfe bénéficient-ils vraiment d’un avantage concernant leur localisation géographique, ce qui expliquerait le succès des compagnies qui y sont basées ?

    #transport #transport_aérien #circulation

  • 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

  • ’Burials are cheaper than deportations’: migrant workers and COVID-19 | Red Flag
    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#Singapour#sante#foyer#Golfe

    https://redflag.org.au/node/7215

    The catastrophic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis are hitting some people harder than others. Migrant workers, economically precarious and living in appalling conditions with few legal rights, are particularly vulnerable to the medical dangers and financial hardships sweeping the globe.

  • In the Gulf, migrant workers bear the brunt of the pandemic | Migrants | Al Jazeera
    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#Golfe#sante#pauvrete

    https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/gulf-migrant-workers-bear-brunt-pandemic-200529102238233.html

    One of the first photos associated with coronavirus in the Gulf featured a despondent South Asian employee of the Saudi oil giant, Aramco, forced to dress-up as a life-sized sanitiser dispenser. The photos drew fierce criticism online, forcing the company to apologise. But, long before the photos became public, the idea was conceptualised and approved, the cardboard cutout assembled to design, a worker selected for the task and ordered to walk the company’s halls. Then, higher-income employees posed beside him and the photos were released without pause, revealing the degree to which the racialised marginalisation of low-income migrant workers in the Gulf is normalised.

  • Gulf migrant workers face rise in xenophobia as citizens call for local hiring & Covid-19 protection | Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
    #Covid-19#Golfe#xenophobie#travail#migrant#migration

    https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/gulf-migrant-workers-face-rise-in-xenophobia-as-citizens-call-
    /sites/all/themes/businesshumanrights/assets/public/assets/images/og-img.png

    The appalling working and living conditions of migrant laborers in [Gulf] states is nothing new... now amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, the plight of the migrants has deteriorated...

  • The Gulf Boomerang: India’s Biggest Reverse Migration From A World Devastated By COVID-19 | Outlook India Magazine
    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#Golfe#Indien#retour

    https://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/india-news-the-gulf-boomerang-indias-biggest-reverse-migration-from-a-world-devastated-by-covid-19/303219

    Their dreams gutted by the coronavirus, lakhs return from the Middle-East only to stare at an uncertain future. Here’s the story of the Non-Resident Keralites

  • ’What’s the point of staying?’: Gulf faces expatriate exodus - Reuters
    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#Golfe#travail#xenophobie#retour

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-gulf-jobs-idUSKBN22J1WL
    https://s3.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20200507&t=2&i=1517803088&w=1200&r=LYNXMPEG4611J

    DUBAI/RIYADH (Reuters) - A popular Saudi talk show host told private businesses this week it was their national duty to lay off foreign rather than local employees, warning that the dominance of Saudi Arabia’s workforce by expatriates was a “real danger”.

  • Pakistan concerned at workers returning from UAE with coronavirus - Reuters
    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#Pakistan#retour#Golfe

    https://in.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-pakistan-emirates-idINKBN22H1R4
    https://s4.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20200505&t=2&i=1517528734&w=1200&r=LYNXMPEG4410U

    ISLAMABAD/DUBAI (Reuters) - Pakistan has raised concerns with the United Arab Emirates that many citizens were returning home from the Gulf Arab state infected with COVID-19 and that crowded living conditions for workers in the UAE may be helping spread the virus, officials said on Tuesday.

  • Les travailleurs migrants dans les Etats du Golfe frappés par la crise pétrolière et le Covid-19 | A l’encontre
    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#Golfe#travail#pauvrete#coince

    http://alencontre.org/moyenorient/les-travailleurs-migrants-dans-les-etats-du-golfe-frappee-par-la-crise-p

    Une fois de plus, de nombreux travailleurs migrants sud-asiatiques dans le Golfe se trouvent plongés dans des situations extrêmement précaires, provoquées par les convulsions économiques mondiales. Au cours des dernières semaines, j’ai parlé, par téléphone et messagerie, avec des travailleurs indiens travaillant dans le Golfe pour savoir comment la pandémie mondiale de coronavirus affecte leur vie. Avec l’arrêt des projets pétroliers, en raison de la baisse de la demande et des précédentes guerres de prix entre l’Arabie saoudite et la Russie, les travailleurs migrants d’Asie du Sud craignent de plus en plus de ne pas être payés pour leur travail et que leurs entreprises ne paient plus pour leur logement dans les camps.

  • Gulf States: Ease Immigration Detention in Pandemic | Human Rights Watch
    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#Golfe#centrederetention

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/04/07/gulf-states-ease-immigration-detention-pandemic
    https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/styles/open_graph/public/multimedia_images_2020/202004mena_gcc_migrants.jpg?itok=ysQSp6Wm

    (Beirut) – People in immigration detention in Gulf countries pending deportation should be given alternatives to detention amid health risks and global travel restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Human Rights Watch said today.

  • Covid in the camps - Migrant workers in cramped Gulf dorms fear infection | Middle East and Africa | The Economist
    #Covid-19#Qatar#Golfe#travail#migrant#migration

    https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2020/04/23/migrant-workers-in-cramped-gulf-dorms-fear-infection

    FOR WELL-OFF foreigners in Qatar, as in other Gulf states, social distancing is almost a way of life. Comfortable salaries pay for suburban villas or seaside flats; private cars are ubiquitous. For the labourers who make up the bulk of Qatar’s 2.8m people, though, it is all but impossible. In the Industrial Area, a working-class district south-west of Doha, the capital, some residents sleep eight to a room, with scores of men sharing bathrooms and kitchens. Such living conditions are the perfect environment for a virus to spread.

    The six members of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) acted early to contain the novel coronavirus. By mid-March most had begun to impose restrictions on movement and travel. But after weeks of slow growth, new cases are rising quickly. Confirmed infections in Saudi Arabia more than doubled in the week from April 14th. Qatar has more cases than Ukraine, which is 16 times more populous. Although GCC governments do not release data on the nationalities of those infected, anecdotal evidence suggests that the virus is spreading fastest among labourers.

    Qatar has received most attention. On March 11th it reported 238 cases of the virus in a single residential compound in the Industrial Area, home to more than 360,000 people. It sealed off dozens of streets, an area of nine square kilometres (3.5 square miles). Workers, put on leave, were allowed out only to buy food or other essentials.

    State media in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which have been in a diplomatic spat with Qatar since 2017, enthusiastically covered the outbreak as proof of Qatari callousness. But the situation is the same in other Gulf states. The Saudi health ministry said on April 5th that 53% of confirmed cases involved foreigners. The share is probably higher now: migrants account for about four in five recent cases. The holy city of Mecca, with a large population of foreigners, has more confirmed infections than Riyadh, a city three times the size. Doctors in the UAE report a similar trend among migrants.

    Governments have taken some laudable steps. Testing is free for labourers, and health ministries have been serious about expanding it. Qatar has carried out 70,000 tests. The UAE is doing more than 25,000 a day. Most countries have also pledged to pay for covid-19 treatment regardless of the patient’s nationality. But they have done far less about the teeming environments in which millions of migrants live and work.

    Almost everything in Dubai is closed. Anyone leaving home must apply for a permit granted for a few essential purposes. Only one family member may travel; speed cameras on the highways are used to catch outlaws. Construction workers are exempted from the lockdown, however. They pile onto buses to and from job sites. Contractors have limited the number of passengers, but it is hard to keep two metres apart. Workers on Qatar’s football World Cup stadiums and Dubai’s World Expo facilities have been diagnosed with the virus.

    Other workers have the opposite problem. Entire sectors of the economy, from hospitality to retail, are closed. Thousands of employees have already been dismissed or furloughed. Their numbers will grow: migrants are the first to lose their jobs during a downturn. The IMF’s latest forecast is a 2% contraction in Saudi Arabia this year and 4% in Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE. It was released before the recent meltdown in oil markets, so even those numbers may prove too rosy. Charities are already answering calls from migrants who struggle to afford food.

    Gulf states would like to send the newly unemployed home. But their home countries are not always eager to take back (and quarantine) thousands of jobless citizens. India, which supplies millions of workers to the Gulf, went into lockdown on March 25th and halted all commercial flights. It says it cannot bring back all its citizens until the measures end, no earlier than May 3rd. The UAE’s labour ministry has threatened to limit the number of future work visas for countries that “have not been responsive” about repatriating their citizens. Ethiopia is quietly grumbling about a wave of deportations from Saudi Arabia.

    State media have tried to downplay any discrimination. One gauzy ad from the UAE tells foreigners that they are part of a “family” of 10m. But some prominent figures have denounced migrants as a vector for disease. Hayat al-Fahad, a Kuwaiti actress, said in a television interview that the country was “fed up” with the foreigners who make up two-thirds of the population and suggested putting them in the desert. An Emirati social-media personality defended her comments by explaining that she only meant Asian labourers: “Do you expect that we…equate a Bengali worker with an Egyptian worker? God forbid!” (Many Gulf citizens criticised both their remarks.)

    The social contract in the GCC has always been transactional. Foreigners are paid more than they would earn in their home countries. Even unskilled labourers toiling in the heat make enough to send back remittances. In return they accept a state of permanent transience. Residency is tied to employment: no matter how long you work in the Gulf, you will probably have to leave once you cease being useful. Even wealthy expats are being reminded that they are outsiders. Many of those who happened to be travelling when the lockdown began now cannot get back to their homes in Qatar or Dubai. Some are separated from spouses or parents. Far from bringing people together, the virus underscores how far apart they are. ■

  • Quelques histoires de migrants à travers le monde, pendant la pandémie:

    Les premiers travailleurs agricoles étrangers arrivent à Montréal
    Daphné Cameron, La Presse, le 11 avril 2020
    https://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/202004/11/01-5268954-les-premiers-travailleurs-agricoles-etrangers-arrivent-a-montrea

    “Irresponsible and Dangerous”: U.S. Deports Haitians Despite Coronavirus Risks
    Isabel Macdonald, The Intercept, le 13 avril 2020
    https://theintercept.com/2020/04/12/haiti-coronavirus-united-states-deportation

    Gulf’s migrant workers left stranded and struggling by coronavirus outbreak
    Alexander Cornwell, Reuters, le 14 avril 2020
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-gulf-workers-idUSKCN21W1O8

    Romanian fruit pickers flown to UK amid crisis in farming sector
    Lisa O’Carroll, The Guardian, le 15 avril 2020
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/15/romanian-fruit-pickers-flown-uk-crisis-farming-sector-coronavirus

    #Canada #USA #Haiti #Golfe #UK #coronavirus #solidarité #Migrants

    Voir compile des effets délétères indirects de la pandémie :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/832147

  • Le #Bangladesh veut-il noyer ses #réfugiés_rohingyas ?

    Confronté à la présence sur son territoire d’un million de réfugiés musulmans chassés de Birmanie par les crimes massifs de l’armée et des milices bouddhistes, Dacca envisage d’en transférer 100 000 sur une île prison, dans le golfe du Bengale, menacée d’inondation par la mousson. Ce projet vient relancer les interrogations sur le rôle controversé de l’Organisation des Nations unies en #Birmanie.
    Dans les semaines qui viennent, le gouvernement du Bangladesh pourrait transférer plusieurs milliers de réfugiés rohingyas, chassés de Birmanie entre 2012 et 2017, dans une #île du #golfe_du_Bengale menacée de submersion et tenue pour « inhabitable » par les ONG locales. Préparé depuis des mois par le ministère de la gestion des catastrophes et des secours et par la Commission d’aide et de rapatriement des réfugiés, ce #transfert, qui devrait dans un premier temps concerner 350 familles – soit près de 1 500 personnes – puis s’étendre à 7 000 personnes, devrait par la suite être imposé à près de 100 000 réfugiés.

    Selon les agences des Nations unies – Haut-Commissariat aux réfugiés (HCR) et Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM) –, plus de 950 000 s’entassent aujourd’hui au Bangladesh dans plusieurs camps de la région de #Cox’s_Bazar, près de la frontière birmane. Près de 710 000 membres de cette minorité musulmane de Birmanie, ostracisée par le gouvernement de #Naypidaw, sont arrivés depuis août 2017, victimes du #nettoyage_ethnique déclenché par l’armée avec l’appui des milices villageoises bouddhistes.

    Les #baraquements sur #pilotis déjà construits par le gouvernement bangladais sur l’#île de #Bhasan_Char, à une heure de bateau de la terre ferme la plus proche, dans le #delta_du_Meghna, sont destinés à héberger plus de 92 000 personnes. En principe, les réfugiés désignés pour ce premier transfert doivent être volontaires.

    C’est en tout cas ce que les autorités du Bangladesh ont indiqué aux agences des Nations unies en charge des réfugiés rohingyas. Mais l’ONG régionale Fortify Rights, qui a interrogé, dans trois camps de réfugiés différents, quatorze personnes dont les noms figurent sur la liste des premiers transférables, a constaté qu’en réalité, aucune d’entre elles n’avait été consultée.

    « Dans notre camp, a déclaré aux enquêteurs de Fortify Rights l’un des délégués non élus des réfugiés chargé des relations avec l’administration locale, aucune famille n’accepte d’être transférée dans cette île. Les gens ont peur d’aller vivre là-bas. Ils disent que c’est une île flottante. » « Île qui flotte », c’est d’ailleurs ce que signifie Bhasan Char dans la langue locale.

    Les réfractaires n’ont pas tort. Apparue seulement depuis une vingtaine d’années, cette île, constituée d’alluvions du #Meghna, qui réunit les eaux du Gange et du Brahmapoutre, émerge à peine des eaux. Partiellement couverte de forêt, elle est restée inhabitée depuis son apparition en raison de sa vulnérabilité à la mousson et aux cyclones, fréquents dans cette région de la mi-avril à début novembre. Cyclones d’autant plus redoutés et destructeurs que l’altitude moyenne du Bangladesh ne dépasse pas 12 mètres. Selon les travaux des hydrologues locaux, la moitié du pays serait d’ailleurs submergée si le niveau des eaux montait seulement d’un mètre.

    « Ce projet est inhumain, a confié aux journalistes du Bangla Tribune, un officier de la marine du Bangladesh stationné dans l’île, dont l’accès est interdit par l’armée. Même la marée haute submerge aujourd’hui une partie de l’île. En novembre1970, le cyclone Bhola n’a fait aucun survivant sur l’île voisine de Nijhum Dwip. Et Bhasan Char est encore plus bas sur l’eau que Nijhum Dwip. » « Un grand nombre de questions demeurent sans réponses, observait, après une visite sur place en janvier dernier, la psychologue coréenne Yanghee Lee, rapporteure spéciale de l’ONU pour la situation des droits de l’homme en Birmanie. Mais la question principale demeure de savoir si cette île est véritablement habitable. »

    « Chaque année, pendant la mousson, ont confié aux enquêteurs de Human Rights Watch les habitants de l’île voisine de Hatiya, une partie de Bhasan Char est érodée par l’eau. Nous n’osons même pas y mettre les pieds. Comment des milliers de Rohingyas pourraient-ils y vivre ? » Par ailleurs, la navigation dans les parages de l’île est jugée si dangereuse, par temps incertain, que les pêcheurs du delta hésitent à s’y aventurer. Les reporters d’un journal local ont dû attendre six jours avant que la météo devienne favorable et qu’un volontaire accepte de les embarquer.

    À toutes ces objections des ONG, d’une partie de la presse locale et de plusieurs agences des Nations unies, le gouvernement bangladais répond que rien n’a été négligé. Une digue, haute de près de trois mètres et longue de 13 km, a été érigée autour de l’enclave de 6,7 km² affectée à l’hébergement des Rohingyas. Chacune des 120 unités de logement du complexe comprend douze bâtiments sur pilotis, une mare et un abri en béton destiné à héberger 23 familles en cas de cyclone et à recevoir les réserves de produits alimentaires. Conçus, selon les architectes, pour résister à des vents de 260 km/h, les abris pourront aussi être utilisés comme salles de classe, centres communautaires et dispensaires.

    Construit en parpaings, chaque bâtiment d’habitation contient, sous un toit de tôle métallique, seize chambres de 3,5 m sur 4 m, huit W.-C., deux douches et deux cuisines collectives. Destinées à héberger des familles de quatre personnes, les chambres s’ouvrent sur une coursive par une porte et une fenêtre à barreaux. Un réseau de collecte de l’eau de pluie, des panneaux solaires et des générateurs de biogaz sont également prévus. Des postes de police assureront la sécurité et 120 caméras de surveillance seront installées par la marine.

    Compte tenu des conditions de navigation très difficiles dans l’estuaire de la Meghna et du statut militarisé de l’île, la liberté de mouvement des réfugiés comme leur aptitude à assurer leur subsistance seront réduites à néant. « Bhasan Char sera l’équivalent d’une prison », estimait en mars dernier Brad Adams, directeur pour l’Asie de Human Rights Watch.
    Aung San Suu Kyi n’a pas soulevé un sourcil

    Aucun hôpital n’est prévu sur l’île. En cas d’urgence, les malades ou les blessés devront être transférés vers l’hôpital de l’île de Hatiya, à une heure de bateau lorsque le temps le permet. Faute de production locale, la quasi-totalité de l’alimentation devra être acheminée depuis le continent. La densité de population de ce complexe dont les blocs, disposés sur un plan orthogonal, sont séparés par d’étroites allées rectilignes, dépassera, lorsqu’il sera totalement occupé, 65 000 habitants au kilomètre carré, soit six fois celle du cœur de New York.

    On le voit, ce « paradis pour les Rohingyas », selon le principal architecte du projet, Ahmed Mukta, qui partage son activité entre Dacca et Londres, tient davantage du cauchemar concentrationnaire submersible que du tremplin vers une nouvelle vie pour les réfugiés birmans du Bangladesh. Ce n’est pourtant pas faute de temps et de réflexion sur la nature et la gestion du complexe. L’idée de transférer les réfugiés birmans sur Bhasan Char circulait depuis 2015 parmi les responsables birmans. À ce moment, leur nombre ne dépassait pas 250 000.

    Alimentés depuis 1990 par un chapelet de flambées de haine anti-musulmanes que le pouvoir birman tolérait quand il ne les allumait pas lui-même, plusieurs camps s’étaient créés dans la région de Cox’s Bazar pour accueillir les réfugiés chassés par la terreur ou contraints à l’exil par leur statut spécial. Musulmans dans un pays en écrasante majorité bouddhiste, les Rohingyas se sentent depuis toujours, selon l’ONU, « privés de leurs droits politiques, marginalisés économiquement et discriminés au motif de leur origine ethnique ».

    Le projet s’était apparemment endormi au fond d’un tiroir lorsqu’en août 2017, après la véritable campagne de nettoyage ethnique déclenchée par Tatmadaw (l’armée birmane) et ses milices, près de 740 000 Rohingyas ont fui précipitamment l’État de Rakhine, (autrefois appelé Arakan) où ils vivaient pour se réfugier de l’autre côté de la frontière, au Bangladesh, auprès de leurs frères, exilés parfois depuis plus de vingt-cinq ans. En quelques jours, le nombre de Rohingyas dans le district de Cox’s Bazar a atteint un million de personnes et le camp de réfugiés de Kutupalong est devenu le plus peuplé de la planète.

    Nourrie par divers trafics, par le prosélytisme des émissaires islamistes, par la présence de gangs criminels et par l’activisme des agents de l’Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) à la recherche de recrues pour combattre l’armée birmane, une insécurité, rapidement jugée incontrôlable par les autorités locales, s’est installée dans la région. Insécurité qui a contribué à aggraver les tensions entre les réfugiés et la population locale qui reproche aux Rohingyas de voler les petits boulots – employés de restaurant, livreurs, conducteurs de pousse-pousse – en soudoyant les policiers et en acceptant des salaires inférieurs, alors qu’ils ne sont officiellement pas autorisés à travailler.

    Cette situation est d’autant plus inacceptable pour le gouvernement de Dacca que Cox’s Bazar et sa plage de 120 km constituent l’une des rares attractions touristiques du pays.

    Pour mettre un terme à ce chaos, le gouvernement de Dacca a d’abord compté sur une campagne de retours volontaires et ordonnés des Rohingyas en Birmanie. Il y a un an, 2 200 d’entre eux avaient ainsi été placés sur une liste de rapatriement. Tentative vaine : faute d’obtenir des garanties de sécurité et de liberté du gouvernement birman, aucun réfugié n’a accepté de rentrer. Le même refus a été opposé aux autorités en août dernier lorsqu’une deuxième liste de 3 500 réfugiés a été proposée. Selon les chiffres fournis par le gouvernement birman lui-même, 31 réfugiés seulement sont rentrés du Bangladesh entre mai 2018 et mai 2019.

    Les conditions, le plus souvent atroces, dans lesquelles les Rohingyas ont été contraints de fuir en août 2017 et ce qu’ils soupçonnent de ce qui les attendrait au retour expliquent largement ces refus. Selon le rapport de la Mission d’établissement des faits de l’ONU remis au Conseil des droits de l’homme le 8 août 2019 [on peut le lire ici], les Rohingyas ont été victimes, un an plus tôt, de multiples « crimes de droit international, y compris des crimes de génocide, des crimes contre l’humanité et des crimes de guerre ».

    Selon ce document, « la responsabilité de l’État [birman – ndlr] est engagée au regard de l’interdiction des crimes de génocide et des crimes contre l’humanité, ainsi que d’autres violations du droit international des droits de l’homme et du droit international humanitaire ».

    Le rapport précise que « la mission a établi une liste confidentielle de personnes soupçonnées d’avoir participé à des crimes de droit international, y compris des crimes de génocide, des crimes contre l’humanité et des crimes de guerre, dans les États de Rakhine, kachin et shan depuis 2011. Cette liste […] contient plus d’une centaine de noms, parmi lesquels ceux de membres et de commandants de la Tatmadaw, de la police, de la police des frontières et des autres forces de sécurité, y compris de fonctionnaires de l’administration pénitentiaire, ainsi que les noms de représentants des autorités civiles, au niveau des districts, des États et du pays, de personnes privées et de membres de groupes armés non étatiques. […] La liste mentionne aussi un grand nombre d’entités avec lesquelles les auteurs présumés de violations étaient liés, notamment certaines unités des forces de sécurité, des groupes armés non étatiques et des entreprises ».

    On comprend dans ces conditions que, rien n’ayant changé depuis cet été sanglant en Birmanie où Aung San Suu Kyi, prix Nobel de la paix 1991, n’a pas levé un sourcil devant ces crimes, les Rohingyas préfèrent l’incertain chaos de leur statut de réfugiés à la certitude d’un retour à la terreur. Et refusent le rapatriement. Ce qui a conduit, début 2018, la première ministre bangladaise Sheikh Hasina à sortir de son tiroir le projet de transfert, en sommeil depuis 2015, pour le mettre en œuvre « en priorité ».

    Près de 300 millions de dollars ont été investis par Dacca dans ce projet, destiné dans un premier temps à réduire la population des camps où la situation est la plus tendue. Selon le représentant du gouvernement à Cox’s Bazar, Kamal Hossain, les opérations de transfert pourraient commencer « fin novembre ou début décembre ».

    Au cours d’une récente réunion à Dacca entre des représentants du ministère des affaires étrangères du Bangladesh et des responsables des Nations unies, les officiels bangladais auraient « conseillé » à leurs interlocuteurs d’inclure Bhasan Char dans le plan de financement de l’ONU pour 2020, sans quoi le gouvernement de Dacca pourrait ne pas approuver ce plan. Les responsables des Nations unies à Dacca ont refusé de confirmer ou démentir, mais plusieurs d’entre eux, s’exprimant officieusement, ont indiqué qu’ils étaient soumis « à une forte pression pour endosser le projet de Bhasan Char ».

    Interrogé sur la possibilité d’organiser le transfert des réfugiés sans l’aval des Nations unies, le ministre bangladais des affaires étrangères Abul Kalam Abdul Momen a répondu : « Oui, c’est possible, nous pouvons le faire. » La première ministre, de son côté, a été plus prudente. En octobre, elle se contentait de répéter que son administration ne prendrait sa décision qu’après avoir consulté les Nations unies et les autres partenaires internationaux du Bangladesh.

    L’un de ces partenaires, dont l’aide en matière d’assistance humanitaire est précieuse pour Dacca, vient de donner son avis. Lors d’une intervention fin octobre à la Chambre des représentants, Alice G. Wells, secrétaire adjointe du bureau de l’Asie du Sud et du Centre au Département d’État, a demandé au gouvernement du Bangladesh d’ajourner tout transfert de réfugiés vers Bhasan Char jusqu’à ce qu’un groupe d’experts indépendants détermine si c’est un lieu approprié. Washington ayant versé depuis août 2017 669 millions de dollars d’aide à Dacca, on peut imaginer que cette suggestion sera entendue.
    Les « défaillances systémiques » de l’ONU

    Les Nations unies sont pour l’instant discrètes sur ce dossier. On sait seulement qu’une délégation doit se rendre sur l’île les jours prochains. Il est vrai que face à ce qui s’est passé ces dernières années en Birmanie, et surtout face à la question des Rohingyas, la position de l’ONU n’a pas toujours été claire et son action a longtemps manqué de lucidité et d’efficacité. C’est le moins qu’on puisse dire.

    Certes l’actuel secrétaire général, António Guterres, a réagi rapidement et vigoureusement au sanglant nettoyage ethnique qui venait de commencer en Birmanie en adressant dès le 2 septembre 2017 une lettre au Conseil de sécurité dans laquelle il demandait un « effort concerté » pour empêcher l’escalade de la crise dans l’État de Rakhine, d’où 400 000 Rohingyas avaient déjà fui pour échapper aux atrocités.

    Mais il n’a pu obtenir de réaction rapide et efficace du Conseil. Il a fallu discuter deux semaines pour obtenir une réunion et 38 jours de plus pour obtenir une déclaration officielle de pure forme. Quant à obtenir l’envoi sur place d’une équipe d’observateurs de l’ONU en mesure de constater et dénoncer l’usage de la violence, il en était moins question que jamais : la Birmanie s’y opposait et son allié et protecteur chinois, membre du Conseil et détenteur du droit de veto, soutenait la position du gouvernement birman. Et personne, pour des raisons diverses, ne voulait s’en prendre à Pékin sur ce terrain.

    En l’occurrence, l’indifférence des États membres, peu mobilisés par le massacre de Rohingyas, venait s’ajouter aux divisions et différences de vues qui caractérisaient la bureaucratie de l’ONU dans cette affaire. Divergences qui expliquaient largement l’indifférence et la passivité de l’organisation depuis la campagne anti-Rohingyas de 2012 jusqu’au nettoyage ethnique sanglant de 2017.

    Incarnation de cette indifférence et de cette passivité, c’est-à-dire de la priorité que le système des Nations unies en Birmanie accordait aux considérations politiques et économiques sur la sécurité et les besoins humanitaires des Rohingyas, Renata Lok-Dessallien, la représentante de l’ONU en Birmanie depuis 2014, a quitté ses fonctions en octobre 2017, discrètement appelée par New York à d’autres fonctions, en dépit des réticences du gouvernement birman. Mais il était clair, à l’intérieur de l’organisation, qu’elle n’était pas la seule responsable de cette dérive désastreuse.

    Dans un rapport de 36 pages, commandé début 2018 par le secrétaire général et remis en mai dernier, l’économiste et diplomate guatémaltèque Gert Rosenthal, chargé de réaliser un diagnostic de l’action de l’ONU en Birmanie entre 2010 et 2018, constate qu’en effet, l’organisation n’a pas été à son meilleur pendant les années qui ont précédé le nettoyage ethnique d’août 2017 au cours duquel 7 000 Rohingyas au moins ont été tués, plus de 700 000 contraints à l’exil, des centaines de milliers d’autres chassés de leurs villages incendiés et enfermés dans des camps, le tout dans un climat de violence et de haine extrême [le rapport – en anglais – peut être lu ici].

    Selon Gert Rosenthal, qui constate des « défaillances systémiques » au sein de l’ONU, nombre d’agents des Nations unies ont été influencés ou déroutés par l’attitude de Aung San Suu Kyi, icône du combat pour la démocratie devenue, après les élections de 2015, l’alliée, l’otage et la caution des militaires et du clergé bouddhiste. C’est-à-dire la complice, par son silence, des crimes commis en 2017. Mais l’auteur du rapport pointe surtout la difficulté, pour les agences de l’ONU sur place, à choisir entre deux stratégies.

    L’une est la « diplomatie tranquille » qui vise à préserver dans la durée la présence et l’action, même limitée, de l’organisation au prix d’une certaine discrétion sur les obligations humanitaires et les droits de l’homme. L’autre est le « plaidoyer sans concession » qui entend faire respecter les obligations internationales par le pays hôte et implique éventuellement l’usage de mesures « intrusives », telles que des sanctions ou la menace de fermer l’accès du pays aux marchés internationaux, aux investissements et au tourisme.

    À première vue, entre ces deux options, le secrétaire général de l’ONU a fait son choix. Après une visite à Cox’s Bazar, en juillet 2018, il affirmait qu’à ses yeux, « les Rohingyas ont toujours été l’un des peuples, sinon le peuple le plus discriminé du monde, sans la moindre reconnaissance de ses droits les plus élémentaires, à commencer par le droit à la citoyenneté dans son propre pays, le Myanmar [la Birmanie] ».

    Il reste à vérifier aujourd’hui si, face à la menace brandie par Dacca de transférer jusqu’à 100 000 réfugiés rohingyas sur une île concentrationnaire et submersible, les Nations unies, c’est-à-dire le système onusien, mais aussi les États membres, choisiront le « plaidoyer sans concession » ou la « diplomatie tranquille ».

    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/131119/le-bangladesh-veut-il-noyer-ses-refugies-rohingyas?onglet=full

    #réfugiés #asile #migrations #rohingyas #Bangladesh #camps_de_réfugiés

    ping @reka

    • Bangladesh Turning Refugee Camps into Open-Air Prisons

      Bangladesh Army Chief Gen. Aziz Ahmed said this week that a plan to surround the Rohingya refugee camps in #Cox’s_Bazar with barbed wire fences and guard towers was “in full swing.” The plan is the latest in a series of policies effectively cutting off more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees from the outside world. The refugees have been living under an internet blackout for more than 75 days.

      Bangladesh is struggling to manage the massive refugee influx and the challenges of handling grievances from the local community, yet there is no end in sight because Myanmar has refused to create conditions for the refugees’ safe and voluntary return. But fencing in refugees in what will essentially be open-air prisons and cutting off communication services are neither necessary nor proportional measures to maintain camp security and are contrary to international human rights law.

      Humanitarian aid workers reported the internet shutdown has seriously hampered their ability to provide assistance, particularly in responding to emergencies. The fencing will place refugees at further risk should they urgently need to evacuate or obtain medical and other humanitarian services.

      Refugees told Human Rights Watch the fencing will hinder their ability to contact relatives spread throughout the camps and brings back memories of restrictions on movement and the abuses they fled in Myanmar.

      The internet shutdown has already hampered refugees’ efforts to communicate with relatives and friends still in Myanmar, which is critical for gaining reliable information about conditions in Rakhine State to determine whether it is safe to return home.

      The Bangladesh government should immediately stop its plans to curtail refugees’ basic rights or risk squandering the international goodwill it earned when it opened its borders to a desperate people fleeing the Myanmar military’s brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing.

      https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/11/26/bangladesh-turning-refugee-camps-open-air-prisons
      #internet #barbelés #liberté_de_mouvement

    • Le Bangladesh invoque le Covid-19 pour interner des réfugiés rohingyas sur une île inondable

      La protection des camps de réfugiés birmans contre la pandémie a servi de prétexte au gouvernement de Dacca pour mettre en quarantaine plus de 300 Rohingyas sur une île prison du golfe du Bengale menacée de submersion par la mousson et où il veut transférer 100 000 exilés.

      La lutte contre le coronavirus peut-elle être invoquée par un État pour justifier l’internement de réfugiés sur une île submersible, à la veille du début de la mousson ? Oui. Le gouvernement du Bangladesh vient de le prouver. Le dimanche 3 mai, puis le jeudi 7 mai, deux groupes de 29 puis 280 réfugiés rohingyas dont les embarcations erraient depuis des semaines en mer d’Andaman ont été transférés de force par les garde-côtes sur l’île de #Bhasan_Char – « l’île qui flotte » en bengali, à trois heures de bateau de la côte la plus proche, dans le golfe du Bengale.

      Selon les autorités bangladaises, les réfugiés internés à Bhasan Char avaient fui la Birmanie pour rejoindre la Malaisie, qui les avait refoulés et le chalutier à bord duquel ils se trouvaient était en difficulté dans les eaux du Bangladesh où les garde-côtes locaux les avaient secourus. Mais Human Rights Watch a une autre version. Après avoir visité plusieurs camps de réfugiés rohingyas de la région, les enquêteurs de HRW ont découvert que sept au moins des réfugiés transférés à Bhasan Char avaient déjà été enregistrés comme réfugiés au Bangladesh.

      Ce qui signifie qu’ils ne cherchaient pas à entrer dans le pays, mais à en sortir. Sans doute pour éviter un rapatriement en Birmanie, dont ils ne voulaient à aucun prix, comme l’écrasante majorité des Rohingyas, poussés à l’exil par les persécutions dont ils étaient victimes dans leur pays d’origine. Deux semaines plus tôt, un autre chalutier à bord duquel se trouvaient près de 400 Rohingyas, fuyant la Birmanie, avait été secouru par les garde-côtes après une longue dérive en mer au cours de laquelle une centaine de passagers avaient trouvé la mort.

      Le camp de réfugiés de Kutupalong à Ukhia, au Bangladesh, le 15 mai 2020. © Suzauddin Rubel/AFP

      Sans s’attarder sur ces détails tragiques, le ministre des affaires étrangères du Bangladesh, Abul Kalam Abdul Momen, a avancé une explication strictement sanitaire à la décision de son gouvernement. « Nous avons décidé d’envoyer les rescapés rohingyas sur Bhasan Char pour des raisons de sécurité, a-t-il affirmé le 2 mai. Nous ne savions pas s’ils étaient positifs ou non au Covid-19. S’ils étaient entrés dans le camp de réfugiés de Kutupalong, la totalité de la population aurait été mise en danger. »

      Kutupalong, où s’entassent aujourd’hui, selon le Haut-Commissariat aux réfugiés des Nations unies (HCR), 602 000 Rohingyas, est le plus vaste des 12 principaux camps de réfugiés de la région de Cox Bazar. C’est aussi, actuellement, le camp de réfugiés le plus peuplé de la planète. Depuis les années 1990, cette région frontalière a recueilli la majorité des membres de la minorité ethnique musulmane de Birmanie, historiquement ostracisée et contrainte à l’exil dans le pays voisin par la majorité bouddhiste et le pouvoir birman. Elle en abrite aujourd’hui plus d’un million.

      Aux yeux du gouvernement de Dacca, cette population de réfugiés concentrés sur son sol dans une misère et une promiscuité explosives constitue une véritable bombe à retardement sanitaire. Surtout si on accepte les données officielles – très discutées par les experts en santé publique – selon lesquelles le Bangladesh qui compte 165 millions d’habitants recenserait seulement près de 21 000 cas de Covid-19 et 300 morts, après deux mois de confinement. Jeudi dernier, les deux premiers cas de coronavirus dans les camps de réfugiés de la région de Cox Bazar ont été confirmés. Selon le HCR, l’un est un réfugié, l’autre un citoyen bangladais. Le lendemain, deux autres réfugiés contaminés étaient identifiés. D’après l’un des responsables communautaires des réfugiés près de 5 000 personnes qui auraient été en contact avec les malades testés positifs dans le camp no 5, auraient été mises en quarantaine.

      Mais ces informations n’étaient pas connues du gouvernement de Dacca lorsqu’il a décidé de placer les 309 rescapés en isolement à Bhasan Char. Et, de toutes façons, l’argument sanitaire avancé par les autorités locales n’avait pas été jugé recevable par les responsables locaux du HCR. « Nous disposons à Cox Bazar des installations nécessaires pour assurer la mise en quarantaine éventuelle de ces réfugiés, avait expliqué aux représentants du gouvernement Louise Donovan, au nom de l’agence de l’ONU. Des procédures rigoureuses sont en place. Elles prévoient notamment, pendant la période requise de 14 jours, un examen médical complet dans chacun de nos centres de quarantaine. Nous avons tout l’espace nécessaire et nous pouvons offrir toute l’assistance dont ils ont besoin, dans ces centres où ils bénéficient en plus du soutien de leurs familles et des réseaux communautaires indispensables à leur rétablissement après l’expérience traumatisante qu’ils viennent de vivre. »

      En d’autres termes, pourquoi ajouter au traumatisme de l’exil et d’une traversée maritime dangereuse, à la merci de passeurs cupides, l’isolement sur un îlot perdu, menacé de submersion par gros temps ? À cette question la réponse est cruellement simple : parce que le gouvernement du Bangladesh a trouvé dans cet argument sanitaire un prétexte inespéré pour commencer enfin à mettre en œuvre, sans bruit, un vieux projet contesté du premier ministre Sheikh Hasina qui a déjà investi 276 millions de dollars dans cette opération.

      Projet qui prévoyait le transfert de 100 000 réfugiés – un sur dix – sur Bhasan Char et qui avait été rejeté, jusque-là, par les principaux intéressés – les réfugiés rohingyas – mais aussi par la majorité des ONG actives dans les camps. Avant de faire l’objet de réserves très explicites de plusieurs agences des Nations unies. Au point que trois dates arrêtées pour le début du transfert des réfugiés – mars 2019, octobre 2019 et novembre 2019 – n’ont pas été respectées. Et qu’avant l’arrivée, il y a deux semaines, du premier groupe de 29 rescapés, seuls des militaires de la marine du Bangladesh, qui contrôle l’île, étaient présents sur les lieux.

      Et pour cause. Apparue seulement depuis une vingtaine d’années, cette île, constituée d’alluvions du Meghna qui réunit les eaux du Gange et du Brahmapoutre, émerge à peine des eaux. Partiellement couverte de forêt, elle est restée inhabitée depuis son apparition en raison de sa vulnérabilité à la mousson et aux cyclones, fréquents dans cette région, de la mi-avril à début novembre. Cyclones d’autant plus redoutés et destructeurs que même par beau temps l’île n’offre aucune résistance aux flots. Entre la marée basse et la marée haute, la superficie de Bhasan Char passe de 6 000 hectares à 4 000 hectares.
      « Bhasan Char sera l’équivalent d’une prison »

      « Ce projet est inhumain, a confié aux journalistes du Bangla Tribune un officier de la marine du Bangladesh stationné dans l’île, dont l’accès est interdit par l’armée. En novembre 1970, le cyclone de Bhola n’a fait aucun survivant sur l’île voisine de Nijhum Dwip. Et Bhasan Char est encore plus basse sur l’eau que Nijhum Dwip. » « Un grand nombre de questions demeurent sans réponses, observait après une visite sur place en janvier 2019 la psychologue coréenne Yanghee Lee, rapporteure spéciale de l’ONU pour la situation des droits de l’homme en Birmanie. Mais la question principale demeure de savoir si cette île est véritablement habitable. »

      « Chaque année, pendant la mousson, ont déclaré aux enquêteurs de Human Rights Watch les habitants de l’île voisine de Hatiya, une partie de Bhasan Char est érodée par l’eau. Nous n’osons même pas y mettre les pieds. Comment des milliers de Rohingyas pourraient-ils y vivre ? » Par ailleurs, la navigation dans les parages de l’île est jugée si dangereuse, par temps incertain, que les pêcheurs du delta hésitent à s’y aventurer. Les reporters d’un journal local ont dû attendre six jours avant que la météo devienne favorable et qu’un volontaire accepte de les embarquer.

      À toutes ces objections des ONG, d’une partie de la presse locale, et de plusieurs agences des Nations unies, le gouvernement bangladais répond que rien n’a été négligé. Une digue, haute de près de trois mètres et longue de 13 km a été érigée autour de l’enclave affectée à l’hébergement des Rohingyas. Chacune des 120 unités de logement du complexe comprend 12 bâtiments sur pilotis, une mare, et un abri en béton destiné à héberger 23 familles en cas de cyclone et à recevoir les réserves de produits alimentaires. Conçus, selon les architectes pour résister à des vents de 260 km/h, les abris pourront aussi être utilisés comme salles de classes, centres communautaires et dispensaires.

      Compte tenu des conditions de navigation très difficiles dans l’estuaire du Meghna et du statut militarisé de l’île, la liberté de mouvement des réfugiés, comme leur aptitude à assurer leur subsistance, seront réduites à néant. « Bhasan Char sera l’équivalent d’une prison », estimait, il y a un an Brad Adams, directeur pour l’Asie de Human Rights Watch. Aucun hôpital n’est prévu sur l’île. En cas d’urgence, les malades ou les blessés devront être transférés vers l’hôpital de l’île de Hatiya, à une heure de bateau – lorsque le temps le permet.

      Faute de production locale, la quasi-totalité de l’alimentation devra être acheminée depuis le continent. La densité de population de ce complexe dont les blocs, disposés sur un plan orthogonal, sont séparés par d’étroites allées rectilignes dépassera, lorsqu’il sera totalement occupé, 65 000 habitants au km² : soit six fois celle du cœur de New York. On le voit, ce « paradis pour les Rohingyas » selon le principal architecte du projet, Ahmed Mukta, tient davantage du cauchemar concentrationnaire submersible que du tremplin vers une nouvelle vie pour les réfugiés birmans du Bangladesh.

      Formulée pour la première fois, sans suite, en 2015 par les responsables bangladais, alors que le nombre de réfugiés birmans dans la région de Cox Bazar ne dépassait pas 250 000, l’idée de les transférer sur Bhasan Char est revenue en discussion deux ans plus tard, en août 2017, lorsque la campagne de nettoyage ethnique déclenchée par l’armée birmane et ses milices a chassé près de 740 000 Rohingyas de leurs villages dans l’État de Rakhine et les a contraints à se réfugier de l’autre côté de la frontière, au Bangladesh, auprès de leurs frères, exilés parfois depuis plus de 25 ans.

      Nourrie par divers trafics, par le prosélytisme des émissaires islamistes, par la présence de gangs criminels et par l’activisme des agents de l’Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), à la recherche de recrues pour combattre l’armée birmane, une insécurité, rapidement jugée incontrôlable par les autorités locales, s’est installée dans la région. Insécurité qui a contribué à aggraver les tensions entre les réfugiés et la population locale qui reproche aux Rohingyas de voler les petits boulots – employés de restaurants, livreurs, conducteurs de pousse-pousse – en soudoyant les policiers et en acceptant des salaires inférieurs, alors qu’ils ne sont officiellement pas autorisés à travailler. Cette situation est d’autant plus inacceptable pour le gouvernement de Dacca que Cox Bazar et sa plage de 120 km constituent l’une des rares attractions touristiques du pays.

      Pour mettre un terme à cette tension, le gouvernement de Dacca a d’abord compté sur une campagne de retours volontaires des Rohingyas en Birmanie. En vain. Faute d’obtenir des garanties de sécurité et de liberté du gouvernement birman, aucun réfugié n’a accepté de rentrer. Le même refus a été opposé aux autorités d’année en année chaque fois qu’une liste de volontaires pour le rapatriement a été proposée. Selon les chiffres fournis par le gouvernement birman lui-même, 31 réfugiés seulement sont rentrés du Bangladesh entre mai 2018 et mai 2019.

      Les conditions, le plus souvent atroces, dans lesquelles les Rohingyas ont été contraints de fuir en août 2017 et ce qu’ils soupçonnent de ce qui les attendrait au retour expliquent largement ces refus. Les ONG humanitaires estiment que depuis 2017, 24 000 Rohingyas ont été tués par l’armée birmane et ses milices, et 18 000 femmes et jeunes filles violées. En outre, 115 000 maisons auraient été brûlées et 113 000 autres vandalisées. Selon le rapport de la « Mission d’établissement des faits » de l’ONU remis au Conseil des droits de l’homme en août 2019, les Rohingyas ont été victimes de multiples « crimes de droit international, y compris des crimes de génocide, des crimes contre l’humanité et des crimes de guerre ».
      On comprend dans ces conditions que, rien n’ayant changé depuis cet été sanglant en Birmanie où Aung San Suu Kyi, prix Nobel de la paix 1991, n’a pas soulevé un sourcil devant ces crimes, les Rohingyas se résignent à un destin de réfugiés plutôt que de risquer un retour à la terreur. Mais ils ne sont pas disposés pour autant à risquer leur vie dès le premier cyclone dans un centre de rétention insulaire coupé de tout où ils n’auront aucune chance d’espérer un autre avenir. Les responsables du HCR l’ont compris et, sans affronter ouvertement les autorités locales, ne cessent de répéter depuis un an, comme ils viennent de le faire encore la semaine dernière, qu’il n’est pas possible de transférer qui que ce soit sur Bhasan Char sans procéder à une « évaluation complète et détaillée » de la situation.

      Depuis deux ans, les « plans stratégiques conjoints » proposés par le HCR et l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM) pour résoudre la « crise humanitaire » des Rohingyas estiment que sur les trois scénarios possibles – rapatriement, réinstallation et présence de longue durée – le dernier est le plus réaliste. À condition d’être accompagné d’une certaine « décongestion » des camps et d’une plus grande liberté de mouvements accordée aux réfugiés. L’aménagement de Bhasan Char et la volonté obstinée d’y transférer une partie des Rohingyas montrent que le gouvernement de Dacca a une conception particulière de la « décongestion ».

      Sans doute compte-t-il sur le temps – et le soutien de ses alliés étrangers – pour l’imposer aux agences de l’ONU. « Le Bangladesh affronte le double défi de devoir porter assistance aux Rohingyas tout en combattant la propagation du Covid-19, constatait la semaine dernière Brad Adams de Human Rights Watch. Mais envoyer les réfugiés sur une île dangereusement inondable, sans soins médicaux, n’est certainement pas la solution. »

      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/160520/le-bangladesh-invoque-le-covid-19-pour-interner-des-refugies-rohingyas-sur

  • The World the Gulf Has Built | Public Books
    https://www.publicbooks.org/the-world-the-gulf-has-built

    One of the most notable instances of the GCC’s innovative urban policy is the establishment of Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City. Masdar is a planned city, launched in 2006, with a slated cost of $22 billion. It was intended to be a “zero-carbon” district, where cars were prohibited in favor of an automated personal rapid transport network. It also included a graduate research center, the Masdar Institute, established in collaboration with #MIT and focused on renewable energy.

    But Masdar City was short-lived. Soon after the financial crisis of 2008, the master plan was reformulated. Since then, it has been slowly transformed from an “eco-city” to a special economic zone for renewable energy and clean technology companies. (…)

    In Spaceship in the Desert, Gökçe Günel zeroes in on Masdar City. Günel is determined to take Masdar and its inhabitants seriously: she wants to understand how cosmopolitan actors such as “Jack,” who has a PhD in engineering science and is an American faculty member at the Masdar Institute, “set about the task of building a renewable energy and clean technology sector.” People like Jack and institutions like MIT will be central to any resolution of our current state of climate emergency, and it’s necessary to study their process. Jack’s training in the GCC model of green development is especially consequential, because renewable energy and clean technology—the Masdar way—also relied on cheap labor and the speed, capital, and efficiency that authoritarian rule lent to the project. These political dynamics, Günel shows, were not only left unaddressed at Masdar; they were actively buried.

    Avoiding pressing social and political injustices is not something that is specific to the founders of Masdar or the UAE, as Günel is also keen to stress. Western companies like Siemens and General Electric were equally adept at sidestepping difficult social and ethical issues. These companies created fantastical images of the future at Masdar where, as Günel writes, “renewable energy and clean technology companies embodied a messianic promise, seeking to liberate humanity from its guilt-ridden consciousness of the twentieth century.” The global climate crisis is serious, but Günel shows that our attempts to tackle it are less so.

    #climat #golfe #livre

  • Ethiopians Abused on Gulf Migration Route

    Ethiopians undertaking the perilous journey by boat across the Red Sea or Gulf of Aden face exploitation and torture in Yemen by a network of trafficking groups, Human Rights Watch said today. They also encounter abusive prison conditions in Saudi Arabia before being summarily forcibly deported back to Addis Ababa. Authorities in Ethiopia, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia have taken few if any measures to curb the violence migrants face, to put in place asylum procedures, or to check abuses perpetrated by their own security forces.


    A combination of factors, including unemployment and other economic difficulties, drought, and human rights abuses have driven hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians to migrate over the past decade, traveling by boat over the Red Sea and then by land through Yemen to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and neighboring Gulf states are favored destinations because of the availability of employment. Most travel irregularly and do not have legal status once they reach Saudi Arabia.

    “Many Ethiopians who hoped for a better life in Saudi Arabia face unspeakable dangers along the journey, including death at sea, torture, and all manners of abuses,” said Felix Horne, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Ethiopian government, with the support of its international partners, should support people who arrive back in Ethiopia with nothing but the clothes on their back and nowhere to turn for help.”

    Human Rights Watch interviewed 12 Ethiopians in Addis Ababa who had been deported from Saudi Arabia between December 2018 and May 2019. Human Rights Watch also interviewed humanitarian workers and diplomats working on Ethiopia migration-related issues.

    The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates as many as 500,000 Ethiopians were in Saudi Arabia when the Saudi government began a deportation campaign in November 2017. The Saudi authorities have arrested, prosecuted, or deported foreigners who violate labor or residency laws or those who crossed the border irregularly. About 260,000 Ethiopians, an average of 10,000 per month, were deported from Saudi Arabia to Ethiopia between May 2017 and March 2019, according to the IOM, and deportations have continued.

    An August 2 Twitter update by Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry said that police had arrested 3.6 million people, including 2.8 million for violations of residency rules, 557,000 for labor law violations, and 237,000 for border violations. In addition, authorities detained 61,125 people for crossing the border into Saudi Arabia illegally, 51 percent of them Ethiopians, and referred more than 895,000 people for deportation. Apart from illegal border crossing, these figures are not disaggregated by nationality.

    Eleven of the 12 people interviewed who had been deported had engaged with smuggling and trafficking networks that are regionally linked across Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland state, the self-declared autonomous state of Somaliland, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. Traffickers outside of Ethiopia, particularly in Yemen, often used violence or threats to extort ransom money from migrants’ family members or contacts, those interviewed told Human Rights Watch. The 12th person was working in Saudi Arabia legally but was deported after trying to help his sister when she arrived illegally.

    Those interviewed described life-threatening journeys as long as 24 hours across the Gulf of Aden or the Red Sea to reach Yemen, in most cases in overcrowded boats, with no food or water, and prevented from moving around by armed smugglers.

    “There were 180 people on the boat, but 25 died,” one man said. “The boat was in trouble and the waves were hitting it. It was overloaded and about to sink so the dallalas [an adaptation of the Arabic word for “middleman” or “broker”] picked some out and threw them into the sea, around 25.”

    Interviewees said they were met and captured by traffickers upon arrival in Yemen. Five said the traffickers physically assaulted them to extort payments from family members or contacts in Ethiopia or Somalia. While camps where migrants were held capture were run by Yemenis, Ethiopians often carried out the abuse. In many cases, relatives said they sold assets such as homes or land to obtain the ransom money.

    After paying the traffickers or escaping, the migrants eventually made their way north to the Saudi-Yemen border, crossing in rural, mountainous areas. Interviewees said Saudi border guards fired at them, killing and injuring others crossing at the same time, and that they saw dead bodies along the crossing routes. Human Rights Watch has previously documented Saudi border guards shooting and killing migrants crossing the border.

    “At the border there are many bodies rotting, decomposing,” a 26-year-old man said: “It is like a graveyard.”

    Six interviewees said they were apprehended by Saudi border police, while five successfully crossed the border but were later arrested. They described abusive prison conditions in several facilities in southern Saudi Arabia, including inadequate food, toilet facilities, and medical care; lack of sanitation; overcrowding; and beatings by guards.

    Planes returning people deported from Saudi Arabia typically arrive in Addis Ababa either at the domestic terminal or the cargo terminal of Bole International Airport. Several humanitarian groups conduct an initial screening to identify the most vulnerable cases, with the rest left to their own devices. Aid workers in Ethiopia said that deportees often arrive with no belongings and no money for food, transportation, or shelter. Upon arrival, they are offered little assistance to help them deal with injuries or psychological trauma, or to support transportation to their home communities, in some cases hundreds of kilometers from Addis Ababa.

    Human Rights Watch learned that much of the migration funding from Ethiopia’s development partners is specifically earmarked to manage migration along the routes from the Horn of Africa to Europe and to assist Ethiopians being returned from Europe, with very little left to support returnees from Saudi Arabia.

    “Saudi Arabia has summarily returned hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians to Addis Ababa who have little to show for their journey except debts and trauma,” Horne said. “Saudi Arabia should protect migrants on its territory and under its control from traffickers, ensure there is no collusion between its agents and these criminals, and provide them with the opportunity to legally challenge their detention and deportation.”

    All interviews were conducted in Amharic, Tigrayan, or Afan Oromo with translation into English. The interviewees were from the four regions of SNNPR (Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region), Oromia, Amhara, and Tigray. These regions have historically produced the bulk of Ethiopians migrating abroad. To protect interviewees from possible reprisals, pseudonyms are being used in place of their real names. Human Rights Watch wrote to the Ethiopian and Saudi governments seeking comment on abuses described by Ethiopian migrants along the Gulf migration route, but at the time of writing neither had responded.

    Dangerous Boat Journey

    Most of the 11 people interviewed who entered Saudi Arabia without documents described life-threatening boat journeys across the Red Sea from Djibouti, Somaliland, or Puntland to Yemen. They described severely overcrowded boats, beatings, and inadequate food or water on journeys that ranged from 4 to 24 hours. These problems were compounded by dangerous weather conditions or encounters with Saudi/Emirati-led coalition naval vessels patrolling the Yemeni coast.

    “Berhanu” said that Somali smugglers beat people on his boat crossing from Puntland: “They have a setup they use where they place people in spots by weight to keep the boat balanced. If you moved, they beat you.” He said that his trip was lengthened when smugglers were forced to turn the boat around after spotting a light from a naval vessel along the Yemeni coast and wait several hours for it to pass.

    Since March 26, 2015, Saudi Arabia has led a coalition of countries in a military campaign against the Houthi armed group in Yemen. As part of its campaign the Saudi/Emirati-led coalition has imposed a naval blockade on Houthi-controlled Yemeni ports, purportedly to prevent Houthi rebels from importing weapons by sea, but which has also restricted the flow of food, fuel, and medicine to civilians in the country, and included attacks on civilians at sea. Human Rights Watch previously documented a helicopter attack in March 2017 by coalition forces on a boat carrying Somali migrants and refugees returning from Yemen, killing at least 32 of the 145 Somali migrants and refugees on board and one Yemeni civilian.

    Exploitation and Abuses in Yemen

    Once in war-torn Yemen, Ethiopian migrants said they faced kidnappings, beatings, and other abuses by traffickers trying to extort ransom money from them or their family members back home.

    This is not new. Human Rights Watch, in a 2014 report, documented abuses, including torture, of migrants in detention camps in Yemen run by traffickers attempting to extort payments. In 2018, Human Rights Watch documented how Yemeni guards tortured and raped Ethiopian and other Horn of Africa migrants at a detention center in Aden and worked in collaboration with smugglers to send them back to their countries of origin. Recent interviews by Human Rights Watch indicate that the war in Yemen has not significantly affected the abuses against Ethiopians migrating through Yemen to Saudi Arabia. If anything, the conflict, which escalated in 2015, has made the journey more dangerous for migrants who cross into an area of active fighting.

    Seven of the 11 irregular migrants interviewed said they faced detention and extortion by traffickers in Yemen. This occurred in many cases as soon as they reached shore, as smugglers on boats coordinated with the Yemeni traffickers. Migrants said that Yemeni smuggling and trafficking groups always included Ethiopians, often one from each of Oromo, Tigrayan, and Amhara ethnic groups, who generally were responsible for beating and torturing migrants to extort payments. Migrants were generally held in camps for days or weeks until they could provide ransom money, or escape. Ransom payments were usually made by bank transfers from relatives and contacts back in Ethiopia.

    “Abebe” described his experience:

    When we landed… [the traffickers] took us to a place off the road with a tent. Everyone there was armed with guns and they threw us around like garbage. The traffickers were one Yemeni and three Ethiopians – one Tigrayan, one Amhara, and one Oromo…. They started to beat us after we refused to pay, then we had to call our families…. My sister [in Ethiopia] has a house, and the traffickers called her, and they fired a bullet near me that she could hear. They sold the house and sent the money [40,000 Birr, US $1,396].

    “Tesfalem”, said that he was beaten by Yemenis and Ethiopians at a camp he believes was near the port city of Aden:

    They demanded money, but I said I don’t have any. They told me to make a call, but I said I don’t have relatives. They beat me and hung me on the wall by one hand while standing on a chair, then they kicked the chair away and I was swinging by my arm. They beat me on my head with a stick and it was swollen and bled.

    He escaped after three months, was detained in another camp for three months more, and finally escaped again.

    “Biniam” said the men would take turns beating the captured migrants: “The [Ethiopian] who speaks your language beats you, those doing the beating were all Ethiopians. We didn’t think of fighting back against them because we were so tired, and they would kill you if you tried.”

    Two people said that when they landed, the traffickers offered them the opportunity to pay immediately to travel by car to the Saudi border, thereby avoiding the detention camps. One of them, “Getachew,” said that he paid 1,500 Birr (US $52) for the car and escaped mistreatment.

    Others avoided capture when they landed, but then faced the difficult 500 kilometer journey on foot with few resources while trying to avoid capture.

    Dangers faced by Yemeni migrants traveling north were compounded for those who ran into areas of active fighting between Houthi forces and groups aligned with the Saudi/Emirati-led coalition. Two migrants said that their journey was delayed, one by a week, the other by two months, to avoid conflict areas.

    Migrants had no recourse to local authorities and did not report abuses or seek assistance from them. Forces aligned with the Yemeni government and the Houthis have also detained migrants in poor conditions, refused access to protection and asylum procedures, deported migrants en masse in dangerous conditions, and exposed them to abuse. In April 2018, Human Rights Watch reported that Yemeni government officials had tortured, raped, and executed migrants and asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa in a detention center in the southern port city of Aden. The detention center was later shut down.

    The International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced in May that it had initiated a program of voluntary humanitarian returns for irregular Ethiopian migrants held by Yemeni authorities at detention sites in southern Yemen. IOM said that about 5,000 migrants at three sites were held in “unsustainable conditions,” and that the flights from Aden to Ethiopia had stalled because the Saudi/Emirati-led coalition had failed to provide the flights the necessary clearances. The coalition controls Yemen’s airspace.

    Crossing the Border; Abusive Detention inside Saudi Arabia

    Migrants faced new challenges attempting to cross the Saudi-Yemen border. The people interviewed said that the crossing points used by smugglers are in rural, mountainous areas where the border separates Yemen’s Saada Governorate and Saudi Arabia’s Jizan Province. Two said that smugglers separated Ethiopians by their ethnic group and assigned different groups to cross at different border points.

    Ethiopian migrants interviewed were not all able to identify the locations where they crossed. Most indicated points near the Yemeni mountain villages Souq al-Ragu and ‘Izlat Al Thabit, which they called Ragu and Al Thabit. Saudi-aligned media have regularly characterized Souq al-Ragu as a dangerous town from which drug smugglers and irregular migrants cross into Saudi Arabia.

    Migrants recounted pressures to pay for the crossing by smuggling drugs into Saudi Arabia. “Abdi” said he stayed in Souq al-Ragu for 15 days and finally agreed to carry across a 25 kilogram sack of khat in exchange for 500 Saudi Riyals (US$133). Khat is a mild stimulant grown in the Ethiopian highlands and Yemen; it is popular among Yemenis and Saudis, but illegal in Saudi Arabia.

    “Badessa” described Souq al-Ragu as “the crime city:”

    You don’t know who is a trafficker, who is a drug person, but everybody has an angle of some sort. Even Yemenis are afraid of the place, it is run by Ethiopians. It is also a burial place; bodies are gathered of people who had been shot along the border and then they’re buried there. There is no police presence.

    Four of the eleven migrants who crossed the border on foot said Saudi border guards shot at them during their crossings, sometimes after ordering them to stop and other times without warning. Some said they encountered dead bodies along the way. Six said they were apprehended by Saudi border guards or drug police at the border, while five were arrested later.

    “Abebe” said that Saudi border guards shot at his group as they crossed from Izlat Al Thabit:

    They fired bullets, and everyone scattered. People fleeing were shot, my friend was shot in the leg…. One person was shot in the chest and killed and [the Saudi border guards] made us carry him to a place where there was a big excavator. They didn’t let us bury him; the excavator dug a hole and they buried him.

    Berhanu described the scene in the border area: “There were many dead people at the border. You could walk on the corpses. No one comes to bury them.”

    Getachew added: “It is like a graveyard. There are no dogs or hyenas there to eat the bodies, just dead bodies everywhere.”

    Two of the five interviewees who crossed the border without being detained said that Saudi and Ethiopian smugglers and traffickers took them to informal detention camps in southern Saudi towns and held them for ransom. “Yonas” said they took him and 14 others to a camp in the Fayfa area of Jizan Province: “They beat me daily until I called my family. They wanted 10,000 Birr ($349). My father sold his farmland and sent the 10,000 Birr, but then they told me this isn’t enough, we need 20,000 ($698). I had nothing left and decided to escape or die.” He escaped.

    Following their capture, the migrants described abusive conditions in Saudi governmental detention centers and prisons, including overcrowding and inadequate food, water, and medical care. Migrants also described beatings by Saudi guards.

    Nine migrants who were captured while crossing the border illegally or living in Saudi Arabia without documentation spent up to five months in detention before authorities deported them back to Ethiopia. The three others were convicted of criminal offenses that included human trafficking and drug smuggling, resulting in longer periods in detention before being deported.

    The migrants identified about 10 prisons and detention centers where they were held for various periods. The most frequently cited were a center near the town of al-Dayer in Jizan Province along the border, Jizan Central Prison in Jizan city, and the Shmeisi Detention Center east of Jeddah, where migrants are processed for deportation.

    Al-Dayer had the worst conditions, they said, citing overcrowding, inadequate sanitation, food and water, and medical care. Yonas said:

    They tied our feet with chains and they beat us while chained, sometimes you can’t get to the food because you are chained. If you get chained by the toilet it will overflow and flow under you. If you are aggressive you get chained by the toilet. If you are good [behave well], they chain you to another person and you can move around.

    Abraham had a similar description:

    The people there beat us. Ethnic groups [from Ethiopia] fought with each other. The toilet was overflowing. It was like a graveyard and not a place to live. Urine was everywhere and people were defecating. The smell was terrible.

    Other migrants described similarly bad conditions in Jizan Central Prison. “Ibrahim” said that he was a legal migrant working in Saudi Arabia, but that he travelled to Jizan to help his sister, whom Saudi authorities had detained after she crossed from Yemen illegally. Once in Jizan, authorities suspected him of human trafficking and arrested him, put him on trial, and sentenced him to two years in prison, a sentenced he partially served in Jizan Central Prison:

    Jizan prison is so very tough…. You can be sleeping with [beside] someone who has tuberculosis, and if you ask an official to move you, they don’t care. They will beat you. You can’t change clothes, you have one set and that is it, sometimes the guards will illegally bring clothes and sell to you at night.

    He also complained of overcrowding: “When you want to sleep you tell people and they all jostle to make some room, then you sleep for a bit but you wake up because everyone is jostling against each other.”

    Most of the migrants said food was inadequate. Yonas described the situation in al-Dayer: “When they gave food 10 people would gather and fight over it. If you don’t have energy you won’t eat. The fight is over rice and bread.”

    Detainees also said medical care was inadequate and that detainees with symptoms of tuberculosis (such as cough, fever, night sweats, or weight loss) were not isolated from other prisoners. Human Rights Watch interviewed three former detainees who were being treated for tuberculosis after being deported, two of whom said they were held with other detainees despite having symptoms of active tuberculosis.

    Detainees described being beaten by Saudi prison guards when they requested medical care. Abdi said:

    I was beaten once with a stick in Jizan that was like a piece of rebar covered in plastic. I was sick in prison and I used to vomit. They said, ‘why do you do that when people are eating?’ and then they beat me harshly and I told him [the guard], ‘Please kill me.’ He eventually stopped.

    Ibrahim said he was also beaten when he requested medical care for tuberculosis:

    [Prison guards] have a rule that you aren’t supposed to knock on the door [and disturb the guards]. When I got sick in the first six months and asked to go to the clinic, they just beat me with electric wires on the bottom of my feet. I kept asking so they kept beating.

    Detainees said that the other primary impetus for beatings by guards was fighting between different ethnic groups of Ethiopians in detention, largely between ethnic Oromos, Amharas, and Tigrayans. Ethnic tensions are increasingly common back in Ethiopia.

    Detainees said that conditions generally improved once they were transferred to Shmeisi Detention Center, near Jeddah, where they stayed only a few days before receiving temporary travel documents from Ethiopian consular authorities and deported to Ethiopia. The migrants charged with and convicted of crimes had no opportunity to consult legal counsel.

    None of the migrants said they were given the opportunity to legally challenge their deportations, and Saudi Arabia has not established an asylum system under which migrants could apply for protection from deportation where there was a risk of persecution if they were sent back. Saudi Arabia is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention.

    Deportation and Future Prospects

    Humanitarian workers and diplomats told Human Rights Watch that since the beginning of Saudi Arabia’s deportation campaign, large numbers of Ethiopian deportees have been transported via special flights by Saudia Airlines to Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa and unloaded in a cargo area away from the main international terminal or at the domestic terminal. When Human Rights Watch visited in May, it appeared that the Saudi flights were suspended during the month of Ramadan, during which strict sunrise-to-sunset fasting is observed by Muslims. All interviewees who were deported in May said they had returned on regular Ethiopian Airlines commercial flights and disembarked at the main terminal with other passengers.

    All of those deported said that they returned to Ethiopia with nothing but the clothes they were wearing, and that Saudi authorities had confiscated their mobile phones and in some cases shoes and belts. “After staying in Jeddah … they had us make a line and take off our shoes,” Abraham said. “Anything that could tie like a belt we had to leave, they wouldn’t let us take it. We were barefoot when we went to the airport.”

    Deportees often have critical needs for assistance, including medical care, some for gunshot wounds. One returnee recovering from tuberculosis said that he did not have enough money to buy food and was going hungry. Abdi said that when he left for Saudi Arabia he weighed 64 kilograms but returned weighing only 47 or 48 kilograms.

    Aid workers and diplomats familiar with migration issues in Ethiopia said that very little international assistance is earmarked for helping deportees from Saudi Arabia for medical care and shelter or money to return and reintegrate in their home villages.

    Over 8 million people are in need of food assistance in Ethiopia, a country of over 100 million. It hosts over 920,000 refugees from neighboring countries and violence along ethnic lines produced over 2.4 internally displaced people in 2018, many of whom have now been returned.

    The IOM registers migrants upon arrival in Ethiopia and to facilitate their return from Saudi Arabia. Several hours after their arrival and once registered, they leave the airport and must fend for themselves. Some said they had never been to Addis before.

    In 2013 and 2014, Saudi Arabia conducted an expulsion campaign similar to the one that began in November 2017. The earlier campaign expelled about 163,000 Ethiopians, according to the IOM. A 2015 Human Rights Watch report found that migrants experienced serious abuses during detention and deportation, including attacks by security forces and private citizens in Saudi Arabia, and inadequate and abusive detention conditions. Human Rights Watch has also previously documented mistreatment of Ethiopian migrants by traffickers and government detention centers in Yemen.

    Aid workers and diplomats said that inadequate funding to assist returning migrants is as a result of several factors, including a focus of many of the European funders on stemming migration to and facilitating returns from Europe, along with competing priorities and the low visibility of the issue compared with migration to Europe.

    During previous mass returns from Saudi Arabia, there was more funding for reintegration and more international media attention in part because there was such a large influx in a short time, aid workers said.

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/08/15/ethiopians-abused-gulf-migration-route
    #migrations #asile #violence #réfugiés #réfugiés_éthiopiens #Ethiopie #pays_du_Golfe #route_du_Golfe #mer_Rouge #Golfe_d'Aden #Yémen #Arabie_Saoudite #frontières #violent_borders #torture #trafic_d'êtres_humains #exploitation #routes_migratoires

    signalé par @isskein

    • Migrants endure sea crossing to Yemen and disembark in hell

      Zahra struggled in the blue waters of the Gulf of Aden, grasping for the hands of fellow migrants.

      Hundreds of men, women and teenagers clambered out of a boat and through the surf emerging, exhausted, on the shores of Yemen.

      The 20-year-old Ethiopian saw men armed with automatic rifles waiting for them on the beach and she clenched in terror. She had heard migrants’ stories of brutal traffickers, lurking like monsters in a nightmare. They are known by the Arabic nickname Abdul-Qawi — which means Worshipper of the Strong.

      “What will they do to us?” Zahra thought.

      She and 300 other Africans had just endured six hours crammed in a wooden smuggling boat to cross the narrow strait between the Red Sea and the gulf. When they landed, the traffickers loaded them into trucks and drove them to ramshackle compounds in the desert outside the coastal village of Ras al-Ara.

      There was Zahra’s answer. She was imprisoned for a month in a tin-roofed hut, broiling and hungry, ordered to call home each day to beseech her family to wire $2,000. She said she did not have family to ask for money and pleaded for her freedom.
      Instead, her captors raped her. And they raped the 20 other women with her — for weeks, different men all the time.

      “They used each of the girls,” she told The Associated Press. “Every night there was rape.”

      With its systematic torture, Ras al-Ara is a particular hell on the arduous, 900-mile (1,400 kilometer) journey from the Horn of Africa to oil-rich Saudi Arabia. Migrants leave home on sandaled feet with dreams of escaping poverty. They trek through mountains and deserts, sandstorms and 113-degree temperatures, surviving on crumbs of bread and salty water from ancient wells.

      In Djibouti, long lines of migrants descend single file down mountain slopes to the rocky coastal plain, where many lay eyes on the sea for first time and eventually board the boats. Some find their way safely across war-torn Yemen to Saudi Arabia, only to be caught and tossed back over the border. The lucky ones make it into the kingdom to earn their livings as a servant and laborers.


      But others are stranded in Yemen’s nightmare — in some measure because Europe has been shutting its doors, outsourcing migrants to other countries.

      The European Union began paying Libyan coast guards and militias to stop migrants there, blocking the other main route out of East Africa, through Libya and across the Mediterranean to Europe. The number of Mediterranean crossings plummeted — from 370,000 in 2016 to just over 56,000 so far this year.

      Meanwhile, more than 150,000 migrants landed in Yemen in 2018, a 50% increase from the year before, according to the International Organization for Migration.

      This year, more than 107,000 had arrived by the end of September, along with perhaps tens of thousands more the organization was unable to track — or who were buried in graves along the trail.

      And European policies may be making the Yemen route more dangerous. Funded by the EU, Ethiopia has cracked down on migrant smugglers and intensified border controls. Arrests of known brokers have prompted migrants to turn to unreliable traffickers, taking more dangerous paths and increasing the risk of abuses.

      Many of those migrants end up in Ras al-Ara.

      Nearly every migrant who lands here is imprisoned in hidden compounds while their families are shaken down for money. Like Zahra, they are subjected to daily torments ranging from beatings and rapes to starvation, their screams drowned out by the noise of generators or cars or simply lost in the desert.
      “Out of every thousand, 800 disappear in the lockups,” said a humanitarian worker monitoring the flow of migrants.

      Traffickers who torture are a mix of Yemenis and Ethiopians of different ethnic groups. So victims cannot appeal to tribal loyalties, they are tortured by men from other groups: If the migrants are Oromia, the torturers are Tigrinya.

      At the same time, because the three main ethnic groups don’t speak each others’ languages, Yemeni smugglers need translators to convey orders to the migrants and monitor their phone conversations with their families.

      The AP spoke to more than two dozen Ethiopians who survived torture at Ras al-Ara. Nearly all of them reported witnessing deaths, and one man died of starvation hours after the AP saw him.
      The imprisonment and torture are largely ignored by Yemeni authorities.

      The AP saw trucks full of migrants passing unhindered through military checkpoints as they went from the beaches to drop their human cargo at each desert compound, known in Arabic as a “hosh.”

      “The traffickers move freely, in public, giving bribes at the checkpoints,” said Mohammed Said, a former coast guard officer who now runs a gas station in the center of town.

      From Ras al-Ara, it’s nearly 50 miles in any direction to the next town. Around 8,000 families live in a collection of decaying, one-story stone houses beside dirt roads, a lone hotel and two eateries. The fish market is the center of activity when the daily catch is brought in.

      Nearly the entire population profits from the human trade. Some rent land to traffickers for the holding cells, or work as guards, drivers or translators. For others, traffickers flush with cash are a lucrative market for their food, fuel or the mildly stimulant leaves of qat, which Yemenis and Ethiopians chew daily.

      Locals can rattle off the traffickers’ names. One of them, a Yemeni named Mohammed al-Usili, runs more than 20 hosh. He’s famous for the red Nissan SUV he drives through town.

      Others belong to Sabaha, one of the biggest tribes in southern Yemen, some of whom are famous for their involvement in illicit businesses. Yemenis call the Sabaha “bandits” who have no political loyalties to any of the warring parties.
      Many traffickers speak openly of their activities, but deny they torture, blaming others.

      Yemeni smuggler Ali Hawash was a farmer who went into the human smuggling business a year ago. He disparaged smugglers who prey on poor migrants, torturing them and holding them hostage until relatives pay ransom.

      “I thought we need to have a different way,” he said, “I will help you go to Saudi, you just pay the transit and the transportation. Deal.”

      The flow of migrants to the beach is unending. On a single day, July 24, the AP witnessed seven boats pull into Ras al-Ara, one after the other, starting at 3 a.m., each carrying more than 100 people.

      The migrants climbed out of the boats into the turquoise water. One young man collapsed on the beach, his feet swollen. A woman stepped on something sharp in the water and fell screeching in pain. Others washed their clothes in the waves to get out the vomit, urine and feces from the rugged journey.

      The migrants were lined up and loaded onto trucks. They gripped the iron bars in the truck bed as they were driven along the highway. At each compound, the truck unloaded a group of migrants, like a school bus dropping off students. The migrants disappeared inside.

      From time to time, Ethiopians escape their imprisonment or are released and stagger out of the desert into town.
      Eman Idrees, 27, and her husband were held for eight months by an Ethiopian smuggler.

      She recalled the savage beatings they endured, which left a scar on her shoulder; the smuggler received $700 to take her to Saudi Arabia, but wouldn’t let her go, because “he wanted me.”

      Said, the gas station owner, is horrified by the evidence of torture he has seen, so he has made his station and a nearby mosque into a refuge for migrants. But locals say Said, too, profits from the trafficking, selling fuel for the smugglers’ boats and trucks. But that means the traffickers need him and leave him alone.

      On a day when the AP team was visiting, several young men just out of a compound arrived at the gas station. They showed deep gashes in their arms from ropes that had bound them. One who had bruises from being lashed with a cable said the women imprisoned with him were all raped and that three men had died.

      Another, Ibrahim Hassan, trembled as he showed how he was tied up in a ball, arms behind his back, knees bound against his chest. The 24-year-old said he was bound like that for 11 days and frequently beaten. His torturer, he said, was a fellow Ethiopian but from a rival ethnic group, Tigray, while he is Oromo.

      Hassan said he was freed after his father went door to door in their hometown to borrow money and gather the $2,600 that the smugglers demanded.
      “My family is extremely poor,” Hassan said, breaking down in tears. “My father is a farmer and I have five siblings.”

      Starvation is another punishment used by the traffickers to wear down their victims.

      At Ras al-Ara hospital, four men who looked like living skeletons sat on the floor, picking rice from a bowl with their thin fingers. Their bones protruded from their backs, their rib cages stood out sharply. With no fat on their bodies, they sat on rolled-up cloth because it was too painful to sit directly on bone. They had been imprisoned by traffickers for months, fed once a day with scraps of bread and a sip of water, they said.

      One of them, 23-year-old Abdu Yassin, said he had agreed with smugglers in Ethiopia to pay around $600 for the trip through Yemen to the Saudi border. But when he landed at Ras al-Ara, he was brought to a compound with 71 others, and the traffickers demanded $1,600.

      He cried as he described how he was held for five months and beaten constantly in different positions. He showed the marks from lashings on his back, the scars on his legs where they pressed hot steel into his skin. His finger was crooked after they smashed it with a rock, he said. One day, they tied his legs and dangled him upside down, “like a slaughtered sheep.”
      But the worst was starvation.

      “From hunger, my knees can’t carry my body,” he said. “I haven’t changed my clothes for six months. I haven’t washed. I have nothing.”

      Near the four men, another emaciated man lay on a gurney, his stomach concave, his eyes open but unseeing. Nurses gave him fluids but he died several hours later.

      The torment that leaves the young men and women physically and mentally shattered also leaves them stranded.

      Zahra said she traveled to Yemen “because I wanted to change my life.”

      She came from a broken home. She was a child when her parents divorced. Her mother disappeared, and her father — an engineer — remarried and wanted little to do with Zahra or her sisters. Zahra dropped out of school after the third grade. She worked for years in Djibouti as a servant, sending most of her earnings to her youngest sister back in Ethiopia.

      Unable to save any money, she decided to try her luck elsewhere.

      She spoke in a quiet voice as she described the torments she suffered at the compound.

      “I couldn’t sleep at all throughout these days,” as she suffered from headaches, she said.

      She and the other women were locked in three rooms of the hut, sleeping on the dirt floor, suffocating in the summer heat. They were constantly famished. Zahra suffered from rashes, diarrhea and vomiting.

      One group tried to flee when they were allowed to wash at a well outside. The traffickers used dogs to hunt them down, brought them back and beat them.
      “You can’t imagine,” Zahra said. “We could hear the screams.” After that, they could only wash at gunpoint.

      Finally, early one morning, their captors opened the gates and told Zahra and some of the other women to leave. Apparently, the traffickers gave up on getting money out of them and wanted to make room for others.

      Now Zahra lives in Basateen, a slum on the outskirts of southern Yemen’s main city, Aden, where she shares a room with three other women who also were tortured. .

      Among them is a 17-year-old who fidgets with her hands and avoiding eye contact. She said she had been raped more times than she can count.

      The first time was during the boat crossing from Djibouti, where she was packed in with more than 150 other migrants. Fearing the smugglers, no one dared raise a word of protest as the captain and his crew raped her and the other nine women on board during the eight-hour journey.
      “I am speechless about what happened in the boat,” the 17-year-old said.

      Upon landing, she and the others were taken to a compound, where again she was raped — every day for the next two weeks.

      “We lived 15 days in pain,” she said.

      Zahra said she’s worried she could be pregnant, and the 17-year old said she has pains in her abdomen and back she believes were caused by the rapes — but neither has money to go to a doctor.

      Nor do they have money to continue their travels.

      “I have nothing but the clothes on me,” the 17-year old said. She lost everything, including her only photos of her family.

      Now, she is too afraid to even leave her room in Basateen.
      “If we get out of here,” she said, “we don’t know what would happen to us.”

      Basateen is filled with migrants living in squalid shacks. Some work, trying to earn enough to continue their journey.

      Others, like Abdul-Rahman Taha, languish without hope.

      The son of a dirt-poor farmer, Taha had heard stories of Ethiopians returning from Saudi Arabia with enough money to buy a car or build a house. So he sneaked away from home and began walking. When he reached Djibouti, he called home asking for $400 for smugglers to arrange his trip across Yemen. His father was angry but sold a bull and some goats and sent the money.

      When Taha landed at Ras al-Ara, traffickers took him and 50 other migrants to a holding cell, lined them up and demanded phone numbers. Taha couldn’t ask his father for more money so he told them he didn’t have a number. Over the next days and weeks, he was beaten and left without food and water.

      One night, he gave them a wrong number. The traffickers flew into a rage. One, a beefy, bearded Yemeni, beat Taha’s right leg to a bloody pulp with a steel rod. Taha passed out.

      When he opened his eyes, he saw the sky. He was outdoors, lying on the ground. The traffickers had dumped him and three other migrants in the desert. Taha tried to jostle the others, but they didn’t move — they were dead.
      A passing driver took him to a hospital. There, his leg was amputated.

      Now 17, Taha is stranded. His father died in a car crash a few months ago, leaving Taha’s sister and four younger brothers to fend for themselves back home.

      Taha choked back tears. In one of their phone calls, he remembered, his father had asked him: “Why did you leave?”

      “Without work or money,” Taha told him, “life is unbearable.”

      And so it is still.

      https://apimagesblog.com/blog/migrants-endure-sea-crossing-to-yemen-and-disembark-in-hell
      #réfugiés_éthiopiens #famine #mourir_de_faim #Oromo

    • Sbarcare all’inferno. Per i migranti diretti in Europa la tappa in Yemen vuol dire stupro e tortura

      Il durissimo reportage fotografico di Associated Press in viaggio con i migranti etiopi lungo la rotta che dal Corno d’Africa porta verso la penisola arabica racconta l’orrore perpetrato negli ’#hosh' di #Ras al-Ara che la comunità internazionale non vuole vedere. Le terribili storie di Zahra, Ibrahim, Abdul e gli altri.


      http://www.rainews.it/dl/rainews/media/Sbarcare-all-inferno-Per-i-migranti-diretti-in-Europa-la-tappa-in-Yemen-vuol
      #viol #viols #torture #violences_sexuelles #photographie