• Complicit of data surveillance tools? Bordering and education data tracking tools

    The University of #Sheffield has recently introduced an attendance monitoring app which tracks the location of students. Attendance monitoring was introduced in UK universities in order to fulfill the requirements around international student monitoring for the purposes of Home Office visa issuing status. While attendance monitoring, now in app form, is couched in the language of student wellbeing, monitoring and now tracking actually reflect the imperatives of government immigration monitoring.

    #université #UK #Angleterre #frontières #surveillance #contrôles_frontaliers #Home_Office #app #hostile_environment #visas #géolocalisation #étudiants_étrangers #complicité

    • New tools available to support attendance monitoring

      New tools to support staff with attendance monitoring - following a successful pilot scheme - are being made available in the Faculty of Science.

      Staff across the Faculty will begin to use two tools to support attendance monitoring following a successful pilot undertaken in the previous academic year.

      The tools will support departments to efficiently collect attendance data in a transparent way that complies with UKVI and GDPR requirements, and supports greater consistency in the student experience across the University.

      The Digital Register app (used by students for data collection) will be supported by a new Attendance and Engagement Dashboard which shows - at a glance- where there may be attendance concerns, so that appropriate support can be offered to students.

      Dr Thomas Anderson, Director of Education in Chemistry, said: "It has been transformative for our administrative team in checking attendance of international students which they need to report for visa reasons - avoiding a great deal of paperwork and dealing with personal tutors directly. This has saved a significant amount of staff time.

      “The system has been excellent for easily being able to identify students at-a-glance who are serial non-attenders, allowing us to intervene before their situation becomes irrevocable.”

      More information about the tools are available on the web support pages. An online demo is also available that lasts just over two minutes.

      In preparation for teaching in semester one, lecturers should download the iSheffield app from the Apple App Store or Google Play store and look for the check in tile. Before each teaching event, a six-digit code will be accessible that lecturers will need to share with students. Students will then input this code into their sheffield app to register their attendance at their event.

      Jo Marriott, Deputy Faculty Director of Operations in the Faculty of Science, is overseeing the implementation of the tools in our departments and is keen to hear about your experiences as we move over to this new way of attendance monitoring. Questions, and details of any challenges you face, can also be directed to the wider development team at StudentProductTeam@sheffield.ac.uk


  • #Home_Office refuses to set up Ukraine-style visa scheme for Palestinians

    The government said it has ‘no plans’ to waive fees or tests to help Palestinians reunite with family in the UK.

    The Home Office is refusing to set up a Ukraine-style visa scheme to help Palestinians stranded in Gaza reunite with family in the UK.

    More than 25,000 people signed a parliamentary petition asking for the government to waive fees, salary thresholds and tests for Palestinians displaced by Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

    But the Home Office rejected the request in December, saying it had “no plans to introduce bespoke arrangements for people arriving from the region”.

    More than 22,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since Hamas killed 1,200 people on 7 October, according to figures from the Gaza health ministry. The United Nations estimates 1.9 million Palestinians in Gaza have been displaced.

    British nationals currently need to apply for visas for their Palestinian relatives through the existing family visa route if they wish to bring them to the UK. Only spouses, partners or children are eligible for visas through the scheme. Relatives such as grandparents, siblings or parents of adult children are not eligible in most cases.

    The Home Office charges £1,846 to apply to bring each family member to the UK, including dependents, and a further £1,560 healthcare surcharge for adults, or £1,175 for children.

    British nationals must also earn at least £18,600 to apply for a visa for a spouse or partner or £24,800 if they also have two children they want to bring over. This minimum income requirement is set to rise to £29,000 in spring. Partners or spouses also need to prove their knowledge of the English language to get a visa.

    The government waived all fees, salary thresholds and language tests under the Ukraine Family Scheme, which was set up within weeks of Russia’s invasion. The scheme allows people fleeing the war in Ukraine to join their family in the UK.

    It is free to apply to the Ukraine Family Scheme and eligibility is extended to parents, grandparents, adult offspring, siblings, and their immediate family members. About 71,400 visas have been issued under the scheme so far.

    Announcing the scheme in the Commons, the former Home Secretary Priti Patel said at the time: “We are striking a blow for democracy and freedom against tyranny. Above all, we are doing right by the courageous people of Ukraine. We will help British nationals and their families to get out of Ukraine safely.”

    Some British-Palestinians have turned to fundraising in desperation to cover the fees for visas needed to bring their relatives to safety.

    Hadil Louz, a PhD student in human rights law at St Andrew’s in Scotland, is fundraising £30,000 to pay for visa and travel costs for her parents, one of whom has cancer, as well as her siblings and their children.

    “On Christmas Day, my family had to evacuate again from the overcrowded house they were staying at, responding to the Israeli evacuation calls in Nusirat, and are currently staying in a tent on a street in Deir Al-Balah, in the cold of the winter.

    “At the moment, their survival without food and shelter in Gaza is a very tangible threat on their lives,” she wrote on the fundraiser.

    A group of 80 British-Palestinian families wrote to foreign secretary David Cameron in December asking him to consider setting up a similar scheme for Palestinians, the BBC reported.

    “While acknowledging the complexities of each conflict, it is disheartening for us, as British citizens and UK residents, to witness the disparity in our government response,” it said.

    The lack of a scheme for Palestinians, the letter said, “stands in stark contrast to the swift and supportive actions taken in similar circumstances, such as in the Ukrainian conflict”.

    Palestinians in the UK “are currently feeling a profound sense of abandonment and neglect” as a result, it said.

    In its response to the petition, the government said its “approach must be considered in the round, rather than on a crisis-by-crisis basis”. It also rejected a second petition signed by more than 16,000 people to create a bespoke immigration route for Palestinian children on the same grounds.

    #réfugiés_ukrainiens #réfugiés_palestiniens #visas #UK #Angleterre #migrations #asile #réfugiés #inégalité_de_traitement #regroupement_familial #Palestine #Gaza #Ukraine

  • A Amsterdam et à Edimbourg, de nouvelles règles pour limiter les échanges de maisons

    Le système s’est développé jusque-là sans entraves. Mais aux #Pays-Bas et en Ecosse, les pouvoirs publics s’inquiètent de le voir se déployer hors de tout contrôle, craignant d’avoir affaire à un futur Airbnb. A la différence de la plate-forme américaine, #HomeExchange n’implique cependant pas d’échange d’argent : l’accueil de personnes chez soi permet de percevoir des points (des « guest points »). Une #monnaie virtuelle utilisable pour se rendre ensuite dans une maison ou un appartement.

    Mais la municipalité d’Amsterdam estime que cette forme de transaction place le système dans la case des #locations_touristiques. La plate-forme HomeExchange recense 2 000 logements disponibles dans la métropole hollandaise, ce qui en fait un acteur majeur en termes d’offre d’hébergement. « Sauf que les logements sont loin d’être libres tout le temps ! Ils sont prêtés deux ou trois semaines par an »_, rétorque Emmanuel Arnaud, le directeur de HomeExchange. Au total, cette année, 3 900 groupes ou familles sont venus à Amsterdam par HomeExchange, soit 71 000 « nuitées touristiques » (nombre total de nuits par personne).

    #Contrôles et#sanctions

    A partir du 1er mars 2024, la ville va appliquer des restrictions similaires à celles qui concernent Airbnb. Les utilisateurs de HomeExchange et d’autres sites d’échanges devront enregistrer leur logement sur le site de la municipalité, payer un #permis_annuel (43 euros), limiter le prêt de leur logement à trente jours par an, et signaler à la ville dès lors qu’ils recevront des personnes chez eux. La ville interdit aussi d’utiliser ce système avec une résidence secondaire, et restreint à quatre maximum le nombre de personnes accueillies par logement (sauf les familles avec plus de deux enfants). Des contrôles, avec sanctions associées, sont prévus à partir de 2025.

    « Amsterdam mène depuis de nombreuses années une politique visant à lutter contre les locations touristiques, car cela a des conséquences négatives sur la qualité de vie dans certains quartiers de la ville », explique Rory van den Bergh, porte-parole de la ville d’Amsterdam, qui a déployé diverses actions pour limiter l’impact du #tourisme_de_masse. En 2023, elle a par exemple lancé une campagne sur les réseaux sociaux (« Stay away ») pour décourager la venue de visiteurs nuisibles à la tranquillité des résidents, à savoir les groupes « d’hommes de 18 à 35 ans », Britanniques en particulier.

    #prêt #échange

    • L’article parle des points comme d’une monnaie virtuelle, mais il y a aussi l’échange réciproque sans point ! Pas mal d’utilisateurs précisent qu’ils ne veulent utiliser la plateforme qu’en échanges réciproques.

      Pour Amsterdam, HE représente donc 0.5% des nuitées touristiques, avec des profils ne collant pas aux « visiteurs nuisibles » et ne se rendant pas forcément dans les quartiers les plus touristiques. Je comprends pas trop la logique, comme de taxer dans toute l’Ecosse.

      Après, la plateforme est loin d’être vertueuse - elle est par exemple utilisée par certains multipropriétaires en complément d’airbnb.

      « 30% des maisons que nous proposons sur HomeExchange sont des résidences secondaires. Les trois quarts d’entre elles sont soit déjà proposées à la location, soit leurs propriétaires sont intéressés pour le faire », nous explique Emmanuel Arnaud, fondateur de [la nouvelle plateforme de locations saisonnières] WelcomeClub.


  • Sending asylum seekers to #Rwanda will cost £169k a person, says Home Office

    ‘Impact assessment’ of the illegal migration bill reignites bitter rows over the controversial scheme

    The cost of sending a single person seeking asylum to Rwanda could be nearly £170,000, according to government analysis, which has immediately reignited bitter rows over the controversial scheme.

    A long-awaited “impact assessment” of the illegal migration bill has conceded that ministers do not know the overall costs of implementing plans to detain and deport anyone who arrives in the UK by irregular means.

    The disclosure comes at the start of a pivotal week for the government’s flagship policy, which is meant to “stop the boats”, one of Rishi Sunak’s five key promises.

    Peers have already threatened to derail the bill when it returns to the upper chamber on Wednesday.

    On Thursday, the court of appeal is expected to rule on whether it is legal to deport people seeking asylum, including women and children, to Rwanda.

    Enver Solomon, the head of the Refugee Council, said the assessment failed to evaluate the true costs and consequences of the government’s proposed legislation.

    “If enacted in its current form, the bill would leave tens of thousands of refugees unable to access the protection they are entitled to under international law. It would cause hardship, cost billions of pounds, and do nothing to alleviate the current crisis and pressures within the asylum system,” he said.

    Suella Braverman, the home secretary, said the assessment examining the costs of the illegal migration bill showed the government would save at least £106,000 for every person deterred from entering the UK by irregular means.

    “Our impact assessment shows that doing nothing is not an option.

    “I urge MPs and peers to back the bill to stop the boats, so we can crack down on people smuggling gangs while bringing our asylum system back into balance,” she said.

    But the assessment also claimed that locating an individual to the central African country or another third country is estimated to cost £169,000, based on a previous government scheme.

    It said that “an estimated unit cost of £169,000 is found for relocating an individual … This cost will only be incurred for people who arrive in the UK illegally.” A Home Office source said the figure is based on a “theoretical exercise on costs under the bill”.

    The assessment said it is “not possible to estimate with precision the level of deterrence” the bill will have.

    It noted academic consensus is that there is “little to no evidence” policy changes deter people leaving their home countries and seeking refuge.

    Instead, shared language, culture and family ties were accepted to be “strong factors” influencing choice of final destination.

    The Home Office has refused to publish the payments agreed with the Rwandan government, citing “commercial sensitivities”, on top of a £140m payment handed over as part of a deal signed under Boris Johnson’s government.

    In passages that undermine the government’s plan to detain and deport everyone who arrives by irregular means, the assessment said constraints on capacity meant the illegal migration bill might only be applied to a proportion of arrivals.

    “This could lead to additional costs associated with bailing individuals and providing non-detained accommodation, a reduced deterrent effect observed and further process issues such as migrants absconding while not detained,” the report said.

    Braverman’s plan to house people seeking asylum on barges was called “unworkable” on Monday as she missed her own target for the first vessel to be in place.

    The Bibby Stockholm accommodation vessel, which would house about 500 people, was not yet in Portland Port, Dorset, despite the home secretary’s promise it would be in the dock a week ago.

    The release of the document came after peers threatened to delay the bill until after the government had published facts and figures showing the financial impact.

    The government awaits a court of appeal judgment on the legality of its plans to deport people seeking asylum including women and children to Rwanda.

    Organisations, including the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, have warned the proposals are in breach of international law and set a dangerous precedent for other countries in their treatment of people seeking refuge.

    Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said the assessment was a “complete joke” and that the illegal migration bill could cost taxpayers billions more.

    “By its own admission, this failing Conservative government is totally clueless on how much this bill will cost or what the impact of any of its policies will be.

    “The few figures the Home Office has produced show how chaotic and unworkable their plans are. It suggests that if Rishi Sunak were actually able to deliver on his promise to remove every asylum seeker who arrives in the UK it would cost billions of pounds more even than the Tories’ broken asylum system today,” Cooper said.

    Shami Chakrabarti, the human rights barrister who has led criticisms of the bill in the Lords, compared the assessment to a press release. “Is this the much awaited document, so carefully prepared that it could not be published at any stage during such a contentious bill’s passage through the House of Commons?

    “The so-called impact assessment is about the length of a Home Office press release and similar in style and content. It’s all about deterrence but the financial and human costs are ‘untested’, the delivery plan still ‘being developed’ and international law is completely ignored,” she said.

    #coût #prix #asile #migrations #réfugiés #externalisation #UK #Angleterre


    ajouté à cette métaliste:

  • UK provided £3m to Turkish border forces to stop migrants, FOI reveals

    Investigation shows Home Office funds ‘return and reintegration assistance’ and provides equipment and training to Turkish police

    The Home Office has provided more than £3m in funding to Turkish border forces in the last year to prevent migrants reaching the UK, an investigation for the Guardian has found.

    Funding to Turkey’s border force operations has increased substantially from 2019, when £14,000 was given to Turkish police and coastguard for maritime border security training, according to documents obtained through freedom of information (FOI) requests. That figure rose to £425,000 in 2021-22 for training and equipment and up to £3m this year for “return and reintegration assistance”, training and personnel.

    The funding was diverted from the official development assistance (ODA) budget and delivered through Home Office International Operations, part of the department’s Intelligence Directorate.

    In addition to funding, the Home Office has also supplied Turkish border forces, including the National Police and the coastguard, with equipment and training. In June 2022, nine vehicles were handed over by the UK’s deputy high commissioner to the Turkish National Police on the border with Iran.

    Last year Turkey said it “turned back” 238,448 migrants at its eastern border with Iran. Video evidence seen by the Guardian shows cases of extreme violence and force used against Afghan migrants attempting to cross the border into Turkey. This includes the authorities firing live bullet rounds as people flee, including at the feet of children; beatings using rifle butts; robberies; humiliation tactics and pushing people back to the other side of the border.

    Mahmut Kaçan, a Turkish lawyer working on asylum and human rights abuses, said the deaths and pushbacks on the border began escalating two years ago. “The UNHCR never criticises or mentions what Turkey is doing at the border. They are complicit in the deaths of these people, as are the EU and other countries that are giving money to Turkey for border security.”

    A source with knowledge of the Home Office International Operations team said Turkey had become “a country of emerging importance [to the UK government] in the last two to three years and is now seen as strategically crucial to border securitisation”.

    “We offer our expertise and provide officials [locally] with evidence, showing the routes we think illegal migrants or gangs are operating along,” the source said. “It’ll probably be along the lines of: ‘This is a route smugglers and illegal migrants use to get to the UK, we need to do more to stop it.’ The Turkish government will then respond by saying: ‘This is what we need to be able to do that’, and then we fund it, basically.”

    The source added: “We don’t tend to hold local forces to account with any targets but certainly if we say: ‘We need to bolster X area of border security’, Turkey might respond by saying they need Y in order to boost border officer numbers and we’ll help them to do that.”

    Another source familiar with the work of the Home Office International Operations unit said: “Us paying for stuff like that builds our soft power credentials in other areas, such as possible returns agreements. It’s like a mini FCDO [Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office] inside the Home Office.”

    Sources added that Home Office operations overseas involved intelligence gathering through interviews with migrants who had arrived in the UK. Information from those interviews is then passed on to border forces locally to “put an operational plan in place to stop it”.

    Documents obtained through an FOI request also show that the Home Office has increased the number of its staff deployed to work at post, with sources from the FCDO saying Home Office staff now outnumbers diplomats working in Turkey.

    “The Home Office is seen by international partners as quite hostile, quite adversarial,” said a senior government source with knowledge of the department’s operations in Turkey. “The FCDO, on the other hand, is viewed as relatively collegiate and collaborative. In this context, there are obvious tensions in the approach and the culture among staff.”

    The department’s 2025 Border Strategy states that one of its key priorities is to “improve our use of upstream illegal migration countermeasures to prevent irregular entry into the UK”.

    It also stipulates the department will “prevent entry into the UK through improved border security and through work with source and transit countries to support them in addressing irregular migration challenges within their region”.

    Mary Atkinson, campaigns and networks manager at JCWI, said: “This government has shown that it will break international law to prevent people from exercising the fundamental human right to seek safety.

    “Whether on the border between Turkey and Iran, or those of France or Belgium, this government is covertly funding others to do its dirty work, while at the same time ramping up its xenophobic rhetoric against the few that do finally make it here.”

    In response to the findings of the investigation, a spokesperson for the Home Office said: “Like many other European states, the UK works tirelessly at home and abroad on a range of priorities, including tackling illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and modern slavery. This includes mutually beneficial close working with our operational counterparts in a range of partner countries, like Turkey, to tackle these and wider socially damaging issues.”


    #externalisation #contrôles_frontaliers #UK #Angleterre #Turquie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #renvois #réintégration #financement #aide_financière #militarisation_des_frontières #aide_au_développement #développement #coopération_au_développement #refoulements #push-backs #complexe_militaro-industriel #2025 _Border_Strategy #Home_Office

  • Luttes syndicales aux USA : la bataille de Homestead (1892)

    #Homestead #IWW #AFL #Pinkerton #Grève

    la guerre de Sécession des années 1860-65 aux États-Unis, l’abolition de l’esclavage sur les plantations du Sud est acquise. Durant les décennies qui suivent, l’industrialisation des États du Nord se poursuit à un rythme vertigineux grâce aux avancées techniques de la révolution industrielle, mais surtout, en raison de la surexploitation d’une main-d’œuvre corvéable travaillant généralement douze heures par jour, sept jours par semaine. Tandis qu’une poignée de millionnai­res, tels Rockefeller, Morgan et Carnegie, règnent sur des empires industriels et financiers, les ouvriers qualifiés s’organisent en syndicats. Voici le récit d’un de ces grands combats de la fin du XIXe siècle. Il se déroule dans un petit bourg, non loin de Pittsburgh, en Pennsylvanie. (...)

    #Gavroche_n°4/5_-_Juin-Septembre_1982 #Gavroche_-_Revue_d'histoire_populaire #[Source :_Fragments_d’Histoire_de_la_gauche_radicale] #IWW #Etats-Unis

  • #Home_Office planning to house asylum seekers on disused cruise ships

    Exclusive: Ministers facing growing anger from Tory backbenchers over use of hotels in their constituencies

    The Home Office is planning to use disused cruise ships to house asylum seekers amid growing anger from Conservative backbenchers over the use of hotels in their constituencies.

    Ministers are looking at possible vessels including a former cruise ship from Indonesia, which would be moored in south-west England, the Guardian understands.

    During the Conservative leadership campaign last summer, Rishi Sunak proposed putting illegal immigrants on cruise ships moored around the country but was warned it could be illegal under the Human Rights Act and the European convention on human rights.

    Downing Street confirmed he had dropped the idea to use the ships to house asylum seekers, which critics said would amount to arbitrary detention, once he became prime minister last October.

    Sources suggested, however, that the cruise ships could be registered as hotels rather than detention centres to get around possible legal challenges.

    The immigration minister, Robert Jenrick, is due to make an announcement on Wednesday regarding asylum accommodation amid speculation that it will include the use of boats and military barracks. It could also disclose plans to make use of a clause in the levelling up bill to force councils to accept large-scale accommodation for those seeking asylum.

    Multiple reports on Tuesday night suggested a plan to house asylum seekers on giant barges normally used for offshore construction projects could also be announced.

    The barges are built to house hundreds of people, although a government source told the Times that plans were at an “early stage” and had significant practical issues that needed to be addressed.

    The disclosure comes as the Home Office admitted nearly 400 hotels across the country were being used to accommodate more than 51,000 people at a reported cost of more than £6m a day.

    Sunak is under pressure to come up with alternatives as Conservative MPs, including members of his own cabinet, object to plans to move some people from hotels into former military bases.

    Suella Braverman, the home secretary, is expected to announce alternatives to hotel accommodation as soon as this week. They are expected to be used for new arrivals initially, rather than to rehouse people who are in hotels.

    The prime minister managed to face down a potentially big rebellion on Monday as up to 60 Tory MPs attempted to amend the new illegal migration bill by giving UK courts the power to ignore rulings by Strasbourg judges.

    Whitehall sources confirmed that the government had “in recent months” examined plans including using cruise ships from across the world, which could be brought to the UK and then used to house asylum seekers.

    The ships would be moored off the coast, emulating an approach by the Scottish government, which housed Ukrainian refugees in two 700-cabin ships. They were docked in Glasgow and Edinburgh and could hold 1,750 people each.

    Braverman said she would not rule out the use of former cruise ships when questioned in December by a House of Lords committee. “We will bring forward a range of alternative sites, they will include disused holiday parks, former student halls – I should say we are looking at those sites – I wouldn’t say anything is confirmed yet.

    “But we need to bring forward thousands of places, and when you talk about vessels all I can say is – because we are in discussion with a wide variety of providers – that everything is still on the table and nothing is excluded,” she said.

    It comes amid a Tory backlash over hotels in constituencies being used to house asylum seekers.

    Ministers had also drawn up plans to use two military bases that were identified to house asylum seekers earlier this year – RAF Scampton, the Dambusters’ base in Lincolnshire, and MDP Wethersfield in Braintree, Essex. But they are facing opposition from local Conservative politicians. Council leaders in Braintree are taking legal action to stop up to 5,000 people being moved to the site over the space of a year.

    James Cleverly, the foreign secretary, who is the local MP, wrote on his Facebook page that Wethersfield was inappropriate as an asylum camp because of “the remote nature of the site, limited transport infrastructure and narrow road network”.

    The local council in Scampton is seeking listed status for the Lincolnshire base, while historians and RAF veterans have written to the government asking for the plans to be halted.

    One government source, asked about the possible use of cruise ships, said ministers were working to end the use of hotels and bring forward a range of alternative sites for longer-term accommodation. But they would not discuss details of individual sites or proposals that could be used for bridging or asylum accommodation.

    A government spokesperson said: “We have always been upfront about the unprecedented pressure being placed on our asylum system, brought about by a significant increase in dangerous and illegal journeys into the country.

    “We continue to work across government and with local authorities to identify a range of accommodation options. The government remains committed to engaging with local authorities and key stakeholders as part of this process.”

    #hébergement #asile #réfugiés #migrations #bateaux #bateaux_de_croisière #bateau_de_croisière #Angleterre #UK


    ajouté à la métaliste sur la Bibby Stockholm :

    ajouté à la métaliste #migrations et #tourisme :

    • Air force bases set to be used to house migrants as ministers hunt for cheaper alternatives to hotels

      The Government are reportedly also considering a former cruise ship from Indonesia, which would be moored in south-west England, as a possible site

      Migrants will be housed at two air force bases in a bid to cut down on the use of hotels and deter people from crossing the Channel on small boats, the immigration minister is expected to announce on Wednesday.

      #RAF_Scampton in Lincolnshire, the former home of the Dambusters and Red Arrows, and #RAF_Wethersfield in Essex are expected to be among the accommodation sites for asylum seekers confirmed by Robert Jenrick, despite local opposition.

      The announcement is being made with the aim of ending the use of hotels for migrants – a pledge the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has made. More than 51,000 people are being housed in 395 hotels, according to the BBC, at an estimated cost of £5.6m a day. Holiday parks and student halls are not expected to be included on the initial list of new sites.

      The Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, has found himself at odds with his own government over plans to house asylum seekers at RAF Wethersfield, which is in his constituency.

      Braintree District Council is taking legal action against the Home Office in an attempt to secure an injunction against plans to house 1,500 migrants at RAF #Wethersfield.

      Veteran Tory MP Sir Edward Leigh has meanwhile raised concerns that using RAF Scampton to house asylum seekers could put at risk a £300 million investment plan for the site.

      A plan to turn a former RAF base in Linton-on-Ouse, in the constituency of Mr Sunak’s close ally Kevin Hollinrake, into a processing centre for asylum seekers, was meanwhile ditched under Liz Truss.

      During the Tory leadership contest last summer, the Prime Minister pledged to use “cruise ships” as part of efforts to “end the farce of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money being spent every day on housing illegal migrants in hotels”.

      Downing Street did not respond to a question on whether that meant the prospect of using cruise ships has now been shelved.

      The Guardian reports that the Government was considering a former cruise ship from Indonesia, which would be moored in south-west England, as a possible site.

      According to The Sun, an announcement on nautical accommodation will be made in the coming days.

      There are reports ministers are said to be considering obtaining accommodation barges – typically used for offshore construction projects with only basic facilities – which could house hundreds of migrants who are currently in hotels.

      The plan is at an “early stage”, The Times reported, with ministers not yet decided on where the barge or barges will be stationed, though they are expected to be stationed at port, rather than at sea.

      A source told The Times the Government was aware of “significant practical issues” with these vessels, and it was not clear how safety would be dealt with, though a source told the newspaper: “It’s a row we’re prepared to have.”

      The Government is said to be keen on the idea as a way to discourage people from crossing the Channel and is pointing to countries like France housing refugees in floating vessels.

      Meanwhile, right-wing Tory rebel Jonathan Gullis said it would be “perfectly acceptable” to house asylum seekers in tents while they await for deportation, amid concerns about the cost of hotels.

      During a debate on the Illegal Migration Bill, ministers were also urged to give “serious assurances” they will not return to the “barbaric days” of detaining children in immigration centres.

      Conservative former minister Tim Loughton led calls for the Government to confirm it would not place migrant children in indefinite detention if they come to the UK by unauthorised means.

      Centrist Tories were joined by MPs from across the political spectrum who are worried that a coalition government-era policy not to detain children could be overturned.

      The announcement comes after months of pressure from Tory MPs over the use of hotels for asylum seekers, at a cost of £5.6m a day.

      But it will also be a test of the Government’s ability to override local opposition to build new asylum sites.

      Plans for alternative sites have however triggered a backlash from some Tory MPs over now-abandoned plans to house asylum seekers in Pontins holiday parks in Southport and Camber Sands.

      #bases_aériennes #Scampton

    • Au Royaume-Uni, des #barges pour parquer les réfugiés qui traversent la Manche

      Le gouvernement britannique multiplie les annonces censées dissuader les migrants de traverser. La dernière innovation prévoit d’installer les demandeurs d’asile sur d’anciennes embarcations, dans les ports, le temps de leur procédure. Le premier ministre se targue d’avoir déjà fait baisser le nombre de passages depuis la France.

      LeLe feuilleton au Royaume-Uni se poursuit. Les exilé·es, qui en sont les actrices et acteurs principaux, ne sont pour autant jamais consulté·es. On parle d’elles et d’eux comme des « indésirables » qu’il faudrait éloigner, tantôt en usant de machines capables de générer des vagues en mer, tantôt en les parquant sur des ferrys hors d’usage en mer.

      Il y a eu ensuite l’accord non officiel signé entre le Royaume-Uni et le Rwanda, visant à acter le projet de sous-traitance des demandes d’asile à un pays tiers. Un accord décrié et vivement critiqué par les membres de la société civile, mais aussi des chercheurs et chercheuses, qui soulignaient combien cette externalisation venait saboter le droit d’asile.

      Faute de pouvoir encore les envoyer au Rwanda – l’accord a fait l’objet d’un recours devant la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme (CEDH), puis devant la justice britannique fin 2022 –, le gouvernement a décidé plus récemment d’installer une barge au sud-ouest du pays pour y parquer les demandeurs et demandeuses d’asile qui parviendraient à rejoindre le Royaume-Uni de manière irrégulière.

      L’objectif ? Dissuader les personnes exilées de tenter la traversée de la Manche, alors que le nombre de traversées n’a jamais été aussi élevé en 2022, et qu’un terrible naufrage survenu le 24 novembre 2021 ayant coûté la vie à au moins 27 migrant·es est venu souligner les défaillances du secours en mer.

      Satisfait des résultats de son « plan », le premier ministre britannique, Rishi Sunak, a annoncé l’installation de deux nouvelles barges pour l’accueil de demandeurs et demandeuses d’asile, d’une capacité de 500 personnes chacune, d’ici cet été. Le gouvernement entend ainsi réduire de moitié la facture correspondant à l’hébergement des migrant·es dans les hôtels du pays, qui s’élèverait à 6 millions de livres (soit environ 7 millions d’euros) par jour.
      Un « plan » qui fonctionnerait déjà

      La toute première barge, baptisée Bibby Stockholm, a fait l’objet d’une rénovation à Falmouth et sera installée au port de Portland, une petite île située au sud-ouest de Londres. Elle devrait accueillir 500 personnes pour un total de 200 chambres, et sera surveillée en permanence dans l’objectif de préserver la population locale, avancent les autorités.

      La barge aurait coûté, selon le journal The Times, près de 20 000 livres (soit 23 000 euros), et le dispositif coûterait « nettement moins cher que les hôtels », a affirmé Rishi Sunak. La ministre de l’intérieur britannique, Suella Braverman, avait déjà affirmé le souhait de freiner l’hébergement des demandeurs et demandeuses d’asile dans les hôtels, compte tenu du coût que cela engendrait « pour le contribuable ».

      Le 5 juin, le premier ministre a tenu un discours particulièrement dur à leur endroit, renvoyant dos à dos les difficultés économiques rencontrées par les Britanniques dans un contexte d’inflation et le coût de l’accueil des migrant·es.

      « Notre plan commence à fonctionner. Avant que l’on ne le mette en place en décembre, le nombre de personnes ayant traversé illégalement la Manche avait quadruplé en deux ans. Mais en cinq mois, les traversées ont baissé de 20 % par rapport à l’an dernier », a-t-il rassuré. Ce serait la première fois, insiste Rishi Sunak, qu’une baisse des arrivées serait observée sur la période de janvier à mai.

      « Je ne me reposerai pas tant que les bateaux ne sont pas stoppés », a-t-il poursuivi, indiquant utiliser « tous les outils à disposition » ; à commencer par la diplomatie, puisque le partenariat avec la France aurait permis d’empêcher 33 000 traversées en 2022, soit une hausse de 40 % des interceptions.

      L’accord signé avec l’Albanie en décembre dernier, pour réduire les migrations depuis « un pays sûr, européen », aurait lui aussi porté ses fruits. Alors que les Albanais·es représentaient un tiers des arrivées en small boats (lire nos reportages ici et là), Rishi Sunak se vante d’avoir ainsi fait baisser ce chiffre de près de 90 %, et d’avoir expulsé 1 800 ressortissant·es albanais·es en l’espace de six mois.

      « C’est bien la preuve que notre stratégie de détermination peut fonctionner. Quand les gens savent qu’en venant ici illégalement, ils ne pourront pas rester, ils ne viennent plus. »

      Pour « sortir » les demandeurs et demandeuses d’asile du schéma classique d’hébergement dans les hôtels, le gouvernement compte par ailleurs se servir de lieux « alternatifs », comme des bases militaires situées à Wethersfield et à Scampton, où des centaines de personnes devraient être transférées d’ici à cet été, et 3 000 d’ici à l’automne. Celles et ceux restant dans les hôtels pourront être amenés à partager une même chambre avec plusieurs personnes, « lorsque c’est approprié ».
      L’externalisation toujours d’actualité

      « Et je dis à ces migrants qui protestent : ceci est plus que juste. Si vous venez ici illégalement, en quête d’une protection après avoir fui la mort, la torture ou la persécution, alors vous devriez pouvoir partager une chambre d’hôtel, payée par le contribuable, dans le centre de Londres. »

      À l’avenir, le gouvernement britannique mise aussi sur la réforme de la loi sur l’immigration et espère, une fois tous les recours en justice « terminés », pouvoir mettre en pratique la nouvelle loi sur la migration, qui permettrait de placer en détention toute personne arrivée illégalement sur le territoire, avant de l’expulser, soit vers son pays d’origine, soit vers un pays tiers comme le Rwanda, avec lequel un accord a été signé en ce sens.

      « Nous voulons que les choses soient claires, a martelé Rishi Sunak lors de son discours empli de fermeté. Je sais que ce sont des mesures difficiles. Et je ne m’en excuserai pas. »

      Dans un rapport rendu public le 11 juin, le comité mixte des droits de l’homme du Parlement britannique a exhorté le gouvernement à « ne pas enfreindre ses obligations légales envers les réfugiés, les enfants et les victimes de l’esclavage moderne », et à « jouer son rôle dans le système international de protection des réfugiés ». Invitée à répondre aux questions des membres de ce comité, la ministre de l’intérieur n’a pas donné suite.

      Le rapport final, qui contient une liste de recommandations telles que le respect effectif du droit d’asile ou du droit européen (comme les mesures de la CEDH), le non-recours à la détention des migrant·es et la protection des mineur·es non accompagné·es et autres publics vulnérables, appelle le gouvernement à répondre dans les deux mois.

      Celui-ci n’y répondra sans doute pas, considérant que la lutte contre la « migration illégale » est une priorité urgente pour laquelle tous les moyens sont permis.
      La société civile ne cesse de dire son inquiétude

      « Nous sommes profondément inquiets de voir que le gouvernement prévoit d’héberger un nombre grandissant de demandeurs d’asile dans des lieux totalement inadaptés à leurs besoins », avait dénoncé dans un tweet le Refugee Council, une organisation venant en aide aux personnes migrantes et réfugiées en Angleterre, réagissant à l’annonce de l’installation de la première barge.

      Sans compter la portée symbolique associée au fait de loger des personnes ayant traversé la Manche – et potentiellement d’autres eaux – à bord d’une embarcation qui, bien qu’elle soit à quai, ne peut que raviver le souvenir d’un parcours migratoire souvent dangereux et des vies que la mer emporte régulièrement, quand elle ne renforce pas le sentiment d’insécurité lié à une potentielle expulsion.

      Le Royaume-Uni a finalement réinventé le concept de « zone d’attente », mais pour les demandeurs et demandeuses d’asile. Reste à savoir dans quelle mesure leur liberté de circulation sera respectée ou non.

      Si le gouvernement britannique assure que la portée dissuasive de son discours et de ses mesures « fonctionne », il serait bon de se pencher sur les résultats concrets d’une telle politique, qui pousse les personnes exilées à davantage de précarité : celles qui n’osent effectivement plus tenter la traversée n’ont que la perspective des camps et de la rue pour horizon, à l’heure où l’État maintient une politique « zéro point de fixation » pour éviter que la jungle de Calais ne se reforme et où l’accueil des migrant·es est toujours plus décousu.

      Celles qui tentent toutefois de rejoindre le Royaume-Uni en small boat prennent de plus en plus de risques, partant désormais de communes plus éloignées des côtes anglaises pour éviter les contrôles et patrouilles des forces de l’ordre, dont les effectifs sont particulièrement présents aux abords des plages servant de points de départ.

      L’association Utopia 56, très présente sur le littoral pour venir en aide aux exilé·es, n’a d’ailleurs pas tardé à réagir aux annonces de Rishi Sunak. « Pourtant, ces quatre derniers jours, 1 519 personnes ont traversé la Manche et nos équipes ont reçu douze appels d’embarcations en détresse. Rishi Sunak, Gérald Darmanin, malgré les effets d’annonce, vos politiques violentes ne mènent à rien, sinon à pousser les personnes à risquer leur vie », a tweeté l’organisation le 14 juin.


    • Government quietly awards travel firm £1.6bn contract for asylum barges and accommodation

      Fury over astonishing sum to operate barges and run services to house asylum seekers in Britain

      An Australian travel firm previously slammed for its handling of Covid quarantine hotels has been quietly handed a £1.6bn contract covering the UK’s new asylum accommodation ships, The Independent can reveal.

      #Corporate_Travel_Management (#CTM) was put in charge of the lucrative two-year arrangement in February, weeks before the government revealed it would use a barge as its first offshore accommodation for asylum seekers.

      The contract was awarded directly to CTM without competition, and a lawyer with knowledge of the system said the government had pushed a wider deal originally drawn up for official travel “beyond what it was intended to be used for”.

      Ministers have repeatedly refused to detail the projected cost of Rishi Sunak’s controversial asylum vessels, while insisting they will be cheaper than using hotels that are currently costing £6m a day.

      This week, Suella Braverman told parliament’s Home Affairs Committee she could not predict the cost of the new Illegal Migration Bill, because there are “many unknown factors”.

      Three vessels so far have been announced, with a barge named the “Bibby Stockholm” due to arrive in Portland, Dorset later this month and a further two ships set for undisclosed locations.

      Richard Drax, the Conservative MP for South Dorset, said the public “should know how much is being paid” on the barge set-up and said the spending he was aware of so far was “alarmingly high”.

      “The point is this is taxpayers’ money,” he told The Independent. “This contract might actually be separate to what the ports are being paid.

      “Then on top of that, the police want money, the health authority wants money, of course the council wants money, and yet the government continues to insist that this is cheaper than hotels. The overall figure will be alarmingly high.”

      Yvette Cooper, Labour’s shadow home secretary, said the Home Office has “serious questions to answer”.

      “The Tories are spending more and more taxpayers’ money on their total failure to fix the asylum backlog they have created,” she added.

      “This is an incredibly expensive contract with no clarity on whether proper procedures have been followed, and the barges come on top of costly hotels, not instead of them, because of the government failure to take asylum decisions or get any grip.”

      The CTM contract, published under the title “provision of bridging accommodation and travel services”, states that it has an estimated value of £1,593,535,200 over two years and could be extended beyond 2025.

      The Home Office refused to answer The Independent’s questions on what portion of the contract covers barges, and parts of official documents headed “pricing details” have been redacted in full because of “commercial interests”.

      John O’Connell, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “This murky contract leaves taxpayers in the dark. The migrant crisis may require an urgent response, but bungled procurement has cost a fortune in recent years.

      “Ministers must ensure transparency and value for money when tendering services.”

      Answering a parliamentary question on the Bibby Stockholm in May, immigration minister Robert Jenrick said it would be managed “by a specialist and experienced provider, which has a strong track record of providing this kind of accommodation”. He added that the provider had “managed two vessels [housing Ukrainian refugees] in Scottish ports for the past year”.

      On its website, CTM describes itself as “a global provider of innovative and cost-effective travel solutions spanning corporate, events, leisure, loyalty and wholesale travel”.

      The firm says it was established in Brisbane in 1994 and has since grown from a “two-person start-up into one of the world’s most successful travel management companies”, operating across Australasia, Asia, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It has two UK offices in London and Manchester.

      The firm’s most recent financial report hailed record profits, having taken A$292m (£160m) in revenue over the last six months of 2022.

      A notice to its shareholders celebrated the new contract’s “significant impact” on financial growth, adding: “This work involves highly complex services and logistic support… CTM has both the experience and specialised knowledge to support this work.”

      The government placed the new barges under a pre-existing agreement with CTM for “travel and venue solutions”, which previously covered official bookings for conferences, flights, train tickets, hotels and vehicle hire for ministers and civil servants.

      A source familiar with the drawing up of the overarching framework accused the government of “pushing the scope beyond what it was intended to be used for”.

      “If products and services are outside scope there’s a procurement failure and the contract has been awarded without following the rules,” they told The Independent. “It doesn’t look like the right vehicle for this kind of contract and it looks like they’ve done it to minimise visibility.”

      The remit of CTM’s government work was widened during the pandemic and its general manager for northern England, Michael Healy, was made an OBE in the 2021 New Year honours list over the repatriation of British nationals stranded abroad during the Covid pandemic.

      A report by parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee found that the operation was “too slow and placed too much reliance on commercial providers”, but CTM was then handed a contract for operating quarantine hotels and mandatory testing.

      In a series of angry Google reviews that dragged the company’s rating down to 1.4 stars, one person called CTM “incompetent”, while another wrote: “Shame on the Tory government UK, on whoever decided to give them this contract.”

      Several MPs raised their constituents’ poor experiences in parliament, with one presenting a formal petition demanding compensation and saying the way the contract was awarded “avoided due process or competition”.

      CTM was later involved in operations to transport Afghans and Ukrainians to the UK, and operated two cruise ships used to temporarily house Ukrainian refugees in Scotland.

      That contract, which was also awarded without competition under the same framework as the new barges, covered two ships and hotels, and had an estimated value of £100m.

      CTM declined to comment and did not answer The Independent’s request for details of what the contract covered.

      A Home Office spokesperson said: “The pressure on the asylum system has continued to grow and requires us to look at a range of accommodation options, which offer better value for money for taxpayers than hotels. It is right that we explore all available options.

      “CTM was awarded the contract to deliver accommodation for the Home Office after an extensive procurement process and has a strong track record of providing this kind of accommodation.

      “We are pleased that they will be providing management for Bibby Stockholm, the two additional vessels announced by the prime minister, as well as bridging accommodation and travel services.”


    • Le “prigioni galleggianti”: il nuovo piano del Regno Unito per la prima accoglienza

      L’intervista a Tigs Louis-Puttick, fondatrice dell’ONG Reclaim The Sea, arrestata nei giorni scorsi durante una protesta

      Fanno discutere in UK, e non solo, le “prigioni galleggianti” volute fortemente dal primo ministro britannico Rishi Sunak e il ministro dell’Interno Suella Braverman. Una misura per risparmiare sul costo della prima accoglienza che ora prevede la sistemazione in albergo dei richiedenti asilo.

      “Bibby Stockholm” è il nome della chiatta marittima che per i prossimi 18 mesi sarà utilizzata dal governo britannico per “ospitare” fino a 506 richiedenti asilo uomini, tra i 18 e i 56 anni, in attesa che si concluda l’iter della domanda di accoglienza nel Paese.

      Abbiamo parlato del nuovo piano del governo britannico e della campagna “No floating prisons” in questa intervista a Tigs Louis-Puttick, fondatrice dell’ONG Reclaim The Sea. L’attivista il 18 luglio scorso è stata arrestata «per essermi fermata in strada davanti al Ministero degli Interni con un cartello che diceva ‘Refugees Welcome’ e ‘No all’Immigration Bill, No Floating Prisons‘», ha dichiarato Tigs Louis-Puttick 1.

      Nello stesso giorno la “Bibby Stockholm” attraccava nel porto di Portland.

      Il nuovo piano del governo britannico prevede la prima accoglienza di 500 persone richiedenti asilo in una gigantesca chiatta-alloggio ancorata in un porto nel Canale della Manica, violando la libertà di movimento e il diritto alla privacy.

      Il 5 aprile 2023 l’Ufficio degli Interni britannico (Home Office) ha annunciato l’avvio di un piano per “accogliere” le persone migranti su una gigantesca chiatta-alloggio (la Bibby Stockhom), che giacerà all’interno del porto dell’isola di Portland, nel Canale della Manica. Secondo quanto dichiarato, la decisione è stata presa per “(…) ridurre l’insostenibile pressione sul sistema d’asilo britannico e ridurre l’onere economico che pesa sui contribuenti, causato dall’aumento significativo degli attraversamenti del Canale della Manica” 2. Da quanto emerge dalle dichiarazioni ufficiali dell’Home Office, la Bibby Stockholm diventerà operativa da luglio per un periodo iniziale di 18 mesi, e ospiterà fino a 500 richiedenti asilo uomini, tra i 18 e i 65 anni. La chiatta giacerà in un’area cosiddetta “protetta” del porto, da dove sarà possibile uscire e accedere al centro abitato solamente tramite un servizio autobus dedicato. A bordo, sarà presente un servizio di lavanderia, un catering per i pasti e degli spazi comuni. Sebbene sarà permesso scendere e accedere terra ferma, al momento, per gli ospiti, non è prevista l’erogazione di alcun servizio relativo all’accoglienza al di fuori del porto 3.

      È più che evidente come, l’Home Office miri alla limitazione della libertà di movimento delle persone migranti, riducendola ai minimi termini. Secondo quanto stimato da The Independent lo spazio che ogni persona avrà a disposizione sulla chiatta sarà di appena 15 metri quadri, “la misura di un posto auto”.

      Richard Drax, esponente del partito Conservatore britannico, l’ha definita una “quasi-prigione”, dove le persone saranno lasciate “sedute a girarsi i pollici”. Secondo James Wilson, direttore dell’organizzazione Detention Action (che fornisce supporto all’interno dei centri di detenzione per l’immigrazione illegale), non è che “(…) una chiatta angusta e simile ad una prigione” 4. E, a ragion del vero, è lo stesso Home Office, in diverse dichiarazioni ufficiali, a dichiarare esplicitamente la propria intenzione di “minimizzare l’impatto sulle comunità locali”, come dichiarato nel comunicato stampa del 5 aprile 2023, e ribadito, a più riprese nella Scheda Informativa disponibile sul proprio sito ufficiale.

      Di fronte all’ennesimo scenario di un sistema d’accoglienza sempre più restrittivo e non curante dei diritti delle persone richiedenti asilo, c’è chi non è rimasto indifferente e, anzi, ha dato il via ad una vera e propria lotta per i diritti delle persone migranti. In un’intervista per Melting Pot, parla Tigs Louis-Puttick, fondatrice dell’ONG Reclaim The Sea, che, fornendo lezioni di nuoto e surf alle persone migranti, ha l’obiettivo di accrescere la loro qualità di vita, e aiutarle trasformare il mare da un evento traumatico a uno spazio di libertà e guarigione. A maggio, Reclaimthesea ha redatto una lettera aperta a Suella Braverman, Segretaria di Stato per gli Affari Interni, domandando l’abbandono del progetto, firmata da 706 individui e 91 organizzazioni e collettivi, tra cui Medici Senza Frontiere UK e Sea-Watch. Lo scorso 21 maggio, insieme all’ONG Europe Must Act, Reclaimthesea ha guidato una protesta di fronte all’Home Office, e dato il via alla campagna “No floating prisons” (No alle prigioni galleggianti), che comprende una serie attività ed eventi di protesta e sensibilizzazione.


      «Abbiamo deciso di chiamare la campagna di protesta No floating prisons per l’approccio generale che ne rispecchia il carattere di questi luoghi. L’attuale processo di ristrutturazione della chiatta prevede l’aumento dei posti da 220 a 500, il che vorrà dire stipare le persone in pochissimo spazio, violando la loro privacy e il diritto allo spazio personale. Il piano è che, direttamente al loro arrivo, le persone saranno sistemate sulla chiatta, che pare non sarà nemmeno attraccata alla terraferma. Inoltre, Portland è un porto chiuso, recintato, non si può entrare ed uscire liberamente. Le autorità potrebbero arbitrariamente decidere di negare il permesso a lasciare il porto e, siccome è un porto privato, non abbiamo controllo sulle decisioni delle autorità, ne possiamo essere certi che daranno informazioni».

      Sui rischi delle prigioni galleggianti, Tigs dice: «La quasi totalità delle persone migranti presenti nel Regno Unito, hanno dovuto affrontare un attraversamento in mare, che sia dalla Libia all’Italia, dalla Turchia alla Grecia o il Canale della Manica. Molti di loro, hanno vissuto qualche tipo di trauma legato al mare. Per ciò, l’idea di farli stare ancora in una barca equivale letteralmente a relegarli nel reale, fisico luogo del trauma. Inoltre, solo il 25% degli uomini e il 18% delle donne provenienti dall’Africa Orientale (area di provenienza di molti dei richiedenti asilo nel Regno Unito) sa nuotare. Dunque, se per qualsiasi motivo qualcuno dovesse cadere in acqua dalla barca o dal molo, rischierebbe seriamente la morte, anche per via delle temperature gelide. Infine, molti hanno vissuto momenti di prigionia nei loro paesi d’origine o nei paesi transito. Arrivano qui e ciò che li aspetta è praticamente un’altra prigione».

      La preoccupazione delle prigioni galleggianti è anche legata all’accordo tra Regno Unito e Rwanda, che prevede la ricollocazione permanente dei richiedenti asilo arrivati irregolarmente nel Regno Unito al Rwanda, affinché la loro domanda d’asilo venga esaminata lì 5. «E’ sostanzialmente una sala d’attesa per chi sarà portato in Rwanda, che non è un paese sicuro, poiché ci sono già tantissimi rifugiati e poche risorse. Come si può pensare di portare qualcuno, che per esempio viene dall’Afghanistan, in Rwanda? Cosa faranno lì? Tutto ciò è solo un’esternalizzazione in stile coloniale delle responsabilità del Regno Unito verso il diritto all’ asilo. Ci preoccupa davvero il fatto che queste persone, possano essere spinte al suicidio, perché capiranno che stanno aspettando solo di essere deportate».

      Infine, secondo Tigs «ciò che sta facendo il Regno Unito fa parte di una tendenza più ampia che sta nascendo in Europa, copiata da Grecia e Italia, quando tenevano le persone in quarantena su una nave durante la pandemia. Nel 2021 ho preso parte ad una missione di soccorso con Sea Watch, siamo arrivati al porto di Trapani con 200 persone a bordo, dopo 12 giorni di navigazione, e un’enorme nave ci stava aspettando, per trasferire le persone dalla nostra imbarcazione. Le persone non volevano andare. Volevano scendere a terra. Avevano paura di cosa avrebbero trovato, di restare in acqua, di sentirsi male».

      In conclusione, sebbene sia la prima volta che il Regno Unito decida di adottare un sistema del genere, tenere le persone migranti il più possibile segregate rispetto alla popolazione locale, riducendo il loro spazio vitale al minimo, operare a risparmio sull’accoglienza ed esternalizzare le frontiere non rappresenta alcuna novità. Al contrario, è solo l’ennesimo triste passo verso una tendenza consolidata, dei democraticissimi stati europei, di lavarsi le mani dal dovere di salvare vite umane, accogliere, e rispettare il diritto all’asilo.

      E’ possibile seguire la campagna e donare per sostenere la campagna contro le prigioni galleggianti e avviare un’azione legale contro lo stato britannico a questo link: https://tr.ee/74EHZPD4rz .


    • ‘Cabins slightly larger than a prison cell’: life aboard the UK’s barge for asylum seekers

      Home Office tour of asylum seeker Bibby Stockholm barge emphasises no-frills features including TVs that don’t work

      Each two-person cabin in the Bibby Stockholm barge, which is set to start accommodating asylum seekers imminently, has a small flat-screen television screwed to the wall opposite the bunk beds. Residents will not, however, be able to watch them because they have not been wired to anything.

      The timeline for the arrival of the first group of 50 asylum seekers has slipped from next week to “the coming weeks”, with the Home Office aiming to increase the number of occupants (or “service users”, as barge staff term them) to 500 by the autumn.

      Organising tours for journalists on Friday of the 222-cabin barge moored in Portland Port, Dorset, presented government officials with a PR conundrum.

      To underline that reliance on expensive hotel accommodation was being reduced, conditions needed to be shown to be less luxurious than hotels but not so austere that the barge could be classified as a floating prison.

      Officials have refused to provide any detail about the figures behind their assertion that the barge accommodation will be considerably cheaper than hotel rooms.

      When the facility finally opens, arrivals will make their way on to the barge via a gangplank, and through airport-style security. In line with the Home Office’s prevailing dislike of friendly murals and pictures, asylum seekers will be greeted by plain, undecorated walls, though a simple laminated A4 sheet stating “welcome” has been stuck on the wall of the reception room.

      Windowless corridors, narrow enough to trail your fingers along both walls as you walk through them, circle the perimeter of the barge, with about 50 rooms on the long edges. Empty of inhabitants, the very confined space feels clean and cool, with an atmosphere vaguely reminiscent of a faded cross-Channel ferry.

      Single-person cabins have been refitted with bunk beds to double the potential capacity of the vessel. Each cabin is slightly larger in size than a prison cell, a bit smaller than the most basic university accommodation, and is fitted with a shower and toilet, a cupboard, mirror, desk and (staff are keen to point this out as a positive feature) a window.

      There was a subtle difference in approach taken by the Home Office employees giving tours to journalists and the representatives of the firm subcontracted to manage the barge.

      Government officials were keen to emphasise the barge’s low-cost appeal, but staff working for the Miami-based Landry & Kling, which has been subcontracted by the Australian firm Corporate Travel Management (CTM) to run the vessel on behalf of the Home Office, wanted to highlight the “dignified” treatment that would be provided: a 24-hour snack bar, planned visits to local allotments, proposed walks and cycle trips for residents.

      Joyce Landry, the firm’s cofounder, valiantly described the Bibby Stockholm in an interview earlier this week with the Herald as “actually quite lovely”.

      In the centre of the barge there are two smallish outdoor areas where nets are soon to be installed to allow people to play volleyball or netball and possibly a very contracted form of football. There is a small gym with two running machines, and an education room with just eight seats.

      “The thing that puts this vessel above many others is that every room has a window. You won’t feel claustrophobic. The windows open, unlike in some hotels. There’s enough public space to have a sense of freedom and openness,” said a Landry & Kling staff member.

      The windows offer views of high metal fencing and naval works units. Whether or not residents, single men aged 18-65, who will be held here for up to nine months, will agree that there is a sense of freedom and openness is a moot point. Security staff are being trained to manage conflict on board.

      In the street by the port’s entrance local protesters have been displaying their anger about the barge all week, with some furious at the arrival of large numbers of asylum seekers so close to the small tourist town, and others protesting that asylum seekers should not be held on barges at all.

      Landry has spent the past three nights sleeping on the barge to experience conditions. A windy night prompted staff to request extra tethering to fix the barge to the shore.

      Landry & Kling staff said the Home Office had requested that the TVs (previously used by construction workers recently accommodated on the barge) should not be wired up.

      The Home Office staff said they wanted “to promote socialisation” by forcing people out of their rooms to watch television together in the two communal TV rooms.

      But the presence of non-functioning TVs may also signal a determination by the Home Office to show that its latest solution for housing asylum seekers is merely “basic and functional” and will offer no frills to residents.

      Before it housed oil and construction workers, the Bibby Stockholm was used in the 2000s by the Netherlands to house asylum seekers. An Amnesty report from 2008 documented the psychological trauma experienced by residents.

      The rare Home Office tour of facilities was designed to showcase progress away from housing 51,000 asylum seekers in hotels at a cost of £6m a day to a cheaper alternative.

      However, plans have only been laid out for alternative accommodation for 3,000 people who they now hope will be moved to new, ex-military facilities and the barge by the autumn.


    • ‘No timeframe’ on delayed opening of Bibby Stockholm asylum barge

      Transport minister says barge in Portland going through final checks amid row over safety concerns

      A UK government minister has said he “cannot put a timeframe” on when the Home Office will open a controversial giant barge meant to house asylum seekers, which has been further delayed for checks.

      The initial plan had been to move people on to the Bibby Stockholm in Portland, Dorset, from this week, with numbers due to rise over the coming months until the vessel held about 500 men.

      Asked on Sky News when the barge would be available, the transport minister Richard Holden said: “It’s going through its final checks at the moment. It’s right that … whatever accommodation we provide is safe and secure as well. I can’t put a timeframe on it.”

      Asked if safety concerns were delaying the opening, he said: “It’s going through final checks at the moment. With anything you would want them to be properly checked out.”

      The Guardian reported on Monday that the first asylum seekers were due to be moved onboard the vessel on Wednesday but that seems to have been delayed further with the minister now unwilling to put a timeframe on the move.

      Asked if it would be delayed as long as the Rwanda policy had taken to implement, Holden added: “I can’t comment on the ongoing process of checks and things that have to take place but it is my understanding (it is) in its final checks.”

      Fears had been expressed that the barge could become a “floating Grenfell” and endanger the lives of vulnerable people who have fled hardship and war as it has not received the relevant safety signoff.

      About 40 claimants staying in other Home Office accommodation had received transfer letters saying they would be moved to the 222-cabin vessel in Dorset, Whitehall sources said.

      More than 50 national organisations and campaigners, including the Refugee Council, Asylum Matters and Refugee Action, have called the government’s plan “cruel and inhumane”. They said the vessel was “entirely inappropriate” and would house traumatised migrants in “detention-like conditions”.

      People are meanwhile expected to be moved this week on to another site that has become a focus for protest, the disused RAF base in Wethersfield, Essex.

      Local people who attended an event convened by the Home Office in the village complained on Monday night of coming away even more frustrated because of what they said was a lack of answers.

      “It was actually embarrassing. They didn’t pass a microphone around and it seemed to be really badly organised so people just ended up shouting to be heard,” said Michelle Chapman, of the Fields Association, a residents group involved in a campaign against the centre.

      “It ended up being quite heated and people just came away feeling frustrated. If there was one answer it was a pledge that they would not bring in any more than 50 people in one go, but there is still confusion here and genuine anxiety.”

      The meeting, held in the village hall, was addressed by senior police officers as well as Home Office officials. Local council officials were also present at the meeting, where Chapman said there was standing room only.

      A Home Office spokesperson said that delivering accommodation on surplus military sites and vessels would provide cheaper and more suitable accommodation for those arriving in the UK in small boats.

      They added: “The first asylum seekers have now been accommodated at Wethersfield and we are working with stakeholders on a carefully structured plan to increase the number staying there in a phased approach.”


    • Transfer of asylum seekers to ‘floating coffin’ Bibby Stockholm postponed

      Nicola David of campaign group One Life to Live documents the reasons why Bibby Stockholm is being recognised as a potential death trap

      With the first asylum seekers due to step aboard Bibby Stockholm this week, the controversy surrounding the Home Office’s decision to contain people on the barge has further escalated. Serious safety questions are being raised about the barge’s setting, a berth at the Langham Industries-run Portland Port. As a direct consequence, the initial transfer of 40 vulnerable adults to Bibby Stockholm has been postponed. I calculate that delays to date have already cost the taxpayer over £3mn.

      This is the first time that asylum seekers are to be contained on a barge in the UK, and the scheme is already mired in misery. There were significant delays in dry dock, where rotten sections of the hull needed replacing. And my report found that keeping people on the barge won’t cost less than in hotels, which is the crux of the Home Office’s strategy.

      Now, I have found that the 47-year-old vessel has not yet passed fire safety checks, and there are grave concerns over serious and unresolved (and potentially unresolvable) safety and fire risks. There also appears to be confusion over which safety regulations will apply, given that the site straddles the sea and land and the engine-less vessel is effectively a hotel.

      Clear evidence is emerging that the decision to transfer vulnerable adults onto Bibby Stockholm was premature at best – and potentially negligent at worst. And politically, if safety concerns require the Home Office to significantly reduce the number of people on board, the cost per head would be a humiliating blow to the prime minister and home secretary, who are counting on large-scale containment sites such as this to put an end to the daily asylum seeker hotel bill.
      Bibby Stockholm: a disaster waiting to happen

      Bibby Stockholm was designed to hold 222 people in single cabins, but was recently reconfigured to hold 506 asylum seekers in multiple-occupancy rooms along with 40 resident staff. A further 20 staff will live off the barge; with some of these on duty, around 550 people could be on board at any time.

      This is 248% of the intended capacity – and more than the previous maximum of 472 asylum seekers held when the same vessel was used as an immigration detention centre in Rotterdam in 2005. I am also left wondering whether the barge’s insurers can have extended its cover to this permit this level of overcrowding, and whether they would refuse public liability claims for injury, death or damage from asylum seekers, staff or the port.

      Asylum seekers sharing small cabins will have “less living space than an average parking bay”, according to the Independent. The mayor of Portland, Carralyn Parkes, measured the cabins and found that those for two people averaged “about 10ft by 12ft”. This could lead to serious problems with exiting rooms, using corridors, and accessing fire exits – and it is not clear whether there are sufficient fire exits for the new, higher population.

      The width of the corridors on board is not publicly known, but following a tour of the barge the Guardian reported that they are “narrow enough to trail your fingers along both walls as you walk”. Given the excess numbers of people, this could result in deadly delays, bottlenecks, and trampling of fallen people.

      Bibby Stockholm has three floors and all of the corridors are configured in the same way. There are no external windows in the corridors, and in an emergency – particularly if smoke and/or dim lighting affect visibility – it is easy to imagine that people might become disoriented or be unable to locate the bow, stern, port or starboard sides. This could cause delays and increase panic.

      Factors that would impede escape

      Asylum seekers may have prior injuries relating to war, conflict or persecution, or may sustain injuries as direct result of an incident on the barge. In 2005, when a fire broke out at a Dutch detention centre in which 11 people died and 15 were injured, one man “suffered injuries to his neck, shoulders and chest when he fell from his bed … in panic after realising that the detention centre was on fire”. Either type of injury could impede escape in a major incident. Additionally, those suffering from the mental trauma of war, conflict or persecution may be less able to process evacuation and safety instructions.

      Local councillors who visited the barge on 27 July reported that there were also no lifejackets on the vessel. The windows on board can be opened, but it is understood that this is restricted and would not allow a person to escape in an emergency. Barge operator Landry & Kling also told journalists that there would be no fire drills on Bibby Stockholm.

      Any emergency would be further compounded by the presence of asylum seekers whose first language is not English, or who speak no English, and may struggle to understand verbal evacuation and safety instructions, especially in a state of panic.
      Access for emergency vehicles

      I am very concerned about the capacity of the small quayside compound, which could not possibly hold 550 people in an evacuation. To prevent asylum seekers leaving the site or walking around on the port, this compound is surrounded by a fence at least 15 feet high and is accessible only via two sets of locked gates. In a crush, people simply couldn’t get out. There is significant potential for a Hillsborough-like crush situation.

      The only way for emergency vehicles to access the vessel would be via this compound. Locked gates could be a problem; even with access, how would first-responders and ambulances get through large numbers of panicked people crowding into the enclosed area?

      Physical condition of Bibby Stockholm

      Bibby Stockholm was built in 1976. According to a recent FT article:

      “The hull was rotten … in places the steel hull had decayed to the point where it was dangerously thin, necessitating the replacement of entire sections … Bibby Stockholm was late out of Falmouth for good reasons, mostly age-related.”

      The repair work done at Falmouth may have fixed the localised problems, and the barge may (as the FT found) have passed its Lloyd’s inspections, but the rot and repairs may have undermined the overall structural integrity of the hull.

      This could leave the barge open to being adversely affected by extreme weather, including being knocked against the berth, or by the weight of the additional residents plus the commensurate additional furniture and stores.
      Complexity around safety

      The barge scheme straddles both water and land, rendering safety inspections and certification more complex and potentially confusing. At least five agencies are involved:

      Lloyd’s Register of Shipping
      The Maritime and Coastguard Agency
      Dorset Council, which regulates the safety of the barge
      The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which regulates the surrounding quayside
      Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.

      Health and safety concerns

      In the week commencing 24 July, the HSE visited the berth at Portland Port. It found that “a lot” of work was still required to be done by both Bibby Marine and Landry & Kling, the US-based subcontractor for operations.

      Landry & Kling co-founder Joyce Landry has claimed in an interview in The Herald that “fears about the conditions on board have been caused by a lack of accurate information,” and that Bibby Stockholm is “actually quite lovely”.

      Mark Davies, head of communications and campaigns at the Refugee Council, expressed concern, saying:

      “Like most people in the UK, we believe people seeking asylum – the vast majority of whom are refugees fleeing unimaginable horrors – should be treated with decency, respect and humanity. These are values people in Britain hold dear.”

      A 27 July report in the Guardian, highlighting some of these safety concerns, includes a statement from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service which indicates that they are not yet satisfied with arrangements at the barge. They said they had “conducted visits to review fire safety arrangements on the Bibby Stockholm” and were continuing to liaise with other authorities “to ensure that appropriate fire safety measures under relevant legislation are in place”.
      Questions for the home secretary

      On 18 July it was reported that Chris Loder, MP for West Dorset, has said:

      “For months, I have been asking for sight of the safety risk assessments that should have been done to allow the Bibby Stockholm to be used in Portland Harbour … But visibility or assurances that adequate safety risk assessments have been completed have not been received.”

      Loder has written to the home secretary Suella Braverman and transport minister Baroness Vere to ask that they either stop the scheme or provide the necessary safety risk assessments confirming that the vessel can cope with double the weight that it was designed to bear.

      In May 2023, a caller named Mark told David Lammy MP on LBC Radio: “What they are effectively doing here is they are creating a potential Grenfell on water, a floating coffin … If there is a fire, people will die. In this case, people won’t die from the smoke or the flames, they will die from the stampede.”
      A failure both of competence and humanity

      The Home Office announced its intention to create a series of asylum seeker containment sites last year, but failed at the first hurdle with the cancelled plans for Linton-on-Ouse. The RAF Scampton and RAF Wethersfield sites now have permission to push ahead with a judicial review. Regardless, Scampton has been delayed until October, since the Home Office has failed for five months to survey the accommodation buildings and to engage tradespeople.

      At Wethersfield (the only large-scale site to have received any asylum seekers so far) there are cases of tuberculosis, scurvy and scabies. Legal action on human rights grounds is certain to follow at all sites, involving misery for individuals and a burden for the public purse.

      The Home Office appears to be embarrassingly unable to set up and manage these sites, or to show any humanity towards deeply vulnerable people. It certainly cannot deliver value for money. It is time for the Home Office to hire more asylum caseworkers to process the shameful backlog, and to put an end to large-scale containment – before we start to see them shifting into concentration-like detention centres.


    • Bibby Stockholm: First asylum seekers to board UK’s controversial barge despite safety warnings

      Fire Bridges Union (FBU) have brand Bibby Stockholm a ’potential deathtrap,’ while leaked health document warns of a potential diphtheria outbreak.

      The first 50 asylum seekers will board the controversial Bibby Stockholm barge “imminently," the British government told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme.

      The announcement comes just days after the Fire Bridges Union (FBU) raised concerns about overcrowding and fire exit access in a letter to the Home Secretary.

      The Bibby Stockholm, a 222-cabin barge moored off Portland port in Dorset, is anticipated to accommodate double its original capacity, with bunkbeds squeezed into single cabins.

      Narrow corridors, a lack of life jackets, and locked gates could create a “Hillsborough-type crush” and make it a “potential deathtrap,” the FBU warned.

      The evacuation point, a compound on the quayside, has been described by Dorset councillors as “completely inappropriate".

      “Firefighting operations on vessels such as the Bibby Stockholm provide significant challenges and require specialist training and safe systems of work. The diminished safety provisions only exacerbate our operational concerns,” Ben Selby, the assistant general Secretary of the FBU wrote.

      A leaked internal health document has also warned of the potential for “a significant outbreak” of diphtheria aboard the boat.

      It also highlighted the risk of the spread of a number of other infectious diseases including TB, Legionnaires’ disease, norovirus, salmonella, and scabies.

      The first group of asylum seekers was initially intended to arrive last Tuesday, but the date was pushed to this week amid health and safety concerns.

      The Home Office had already been forced to delay the first arrivals onto the vessel in order to carry out last-minute fire safety checks, after an intervention by health and safety officials.

      On Sunday, Shadow Immigration Minister Stephen Kinnock said the opposition Labour Party would have “no choice” but to continue housing asylum seekers on barges if it forms the next government.

      The news comes amid a raft of new anti-migration measures including a huge increase in fines for landlords and employers who house or employ undocumented migrants, and the revival of plans to fly asylum seekers to Ascension Island.
      Floating prisons

      The move to house asylum seekers on the barge in “detention-like conditions” has been condemned by over 50 national organisations and campaigners for being “cruel and inhumane".

      “(This) floating prison is very quickly going to turn into an overcrowded camp like Manston,” a member of Action Against Detention and Deportations (ADD) told MEE, referring to the short-term facility in Kent that was dangerously overcrowded.

      “There’s also a concern about how this might affect deportation,” they said.

      “We know that the Home Office cuts a lot of different admin procedures where they can, any route they can go through to detain people easily, they will do so… having that number of people in unsafe conditions… is a big concern.”

      It is the first time a large floating structure has been used as long-term housing for asylum seekers in the UK. In 2008, Algerian national Rachid Abdelsalam died from heart failure aboard the Bibby Stockholm when it was deployed in the Netherlands.

      Reportedly, guards were warned of his deteriorating condition and treated his heart irregularities with cough syrup.

      In 2022, also in the Netherlands, a major typhoid outbreak aboard an ageing cruise liner infected 52 asylum seekers and saw 20 staff members hospitalised after raw sewage contaminated the drinking water.
      No basic protections

      In the same letter, the FBU also expressed concerns about the government’s plans to exempt asylum seeker accommodation from requirements for a Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) license.

      In May this year, the Guardian reported the government plans to exempt asylum seeker accommodation from basic protections that govern HMOs in order to empty hotels of thousands of asylum seekers and transfer them to the private rented sector.

      The proposed changes would lift restrictions on electrical safety and minimum room sizes, and exempt landlords renting to multiple asylum seekers from requiring an HMO license for two years.

      “To strip away the very basic protections currently in place is appalling, allowing rogue landlords to house vulnerable men, women, and children in dangerous accommodation," a Refugee Council spokesperson told MEE.

      Care4Calais CEO Steve Smith told MEE that the plans treated asylum seekers as “second-class citizens.”

      “HMO licences exist for a reason,” Smith said.

      “Without them, people’s lives would be placed in the hands of unscrupulous landlords who are driven by money rather than providing safe and secure housing for tenants.”


    • First occupants of Bibby Stockholm barge taken onboard

      First asylum seekers to be housed on floating accommodation in Portland, Dorset, have arrived

      The first group of asylum seekers due to be housed on the Bibby Stockholm barge in Portland, Dorset, have been taken onboard.

      Buses were seen arriving at Portland on Monday morning as activists gathered at the entrance with “welcome” signs. About 50 asylum seekers are expected on Monday.

      The UK government wants to use barges and former military bases to accommodate some asylum seekers after the cost of housing them in hotels soared to £1.9bn pounds last year.

      Their arrival came amid confusion over the government’s immigration policies at the start of Rishi Sunak’s “small boats week”, during which the government is planning a series of eye-catching announcements.

      A Home Office minister indicated that up to 500 asylum seekers could be onboard by the end of the week. But No 10 appeared to suggest that the minister had misspoken. The same minister indicated that the Home Office was examining proposals to send asylum seekers to a UK territory in the south Atlantic. However, Whitehall sources said the proposal was not being pursued.

      The Bibby Stockholm was docked off the Dorset coast nearly three weeks ago and had been empty since due to health and safety concerns.

      The minister for safeguarding, Sarah Dines, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that while only a small number of asylum seekers were expected to be housed on the barge at first, it could increase rapidly to its capacity of about 500.

      Pressed on whether all of them could be onboard by the end of the week, Dines said: “Yes, quite possibly it will be 500. We are hoping.”

      She said the increase in the number of people on the ship would be gradual, despite concerns from the Fire Brigades Union that the vessel “is a deathtrap”.

      Later, the prime minister’s official spokesperson said: “Numbers will increase over time as you would expect for any new asylum facility. My understanding is that the Bibby Stockholm has an upward capacity of 500. We are looking to [reach] that number over time – I don’t think we are aiming to do it by the weekend.”

      Dines also claimed that ministers were “looking at everything” when asked about headlines in national newspapers claiming the government was looking again at sending asylum seekers to Ascension Island.

      Whitehall sources have indicated the plans are not being pursued. The prime minister’s official spokesperson would not comment on “speculation”.

      Ministers have repeatedly said the barge will be better value for British taxpayers and more manageable for local communities – a claim challenged by refugee charities. There has been local opposition to the plan because of concerns about the asylum seekers’ welfare, as well as the potential impact on local services.

      The refugee charity Care4Calais said it had stopped 20 people from being forced to board the barge so far, with referrals coming in from hotels by the hour.

      “None of the asylum seekers we are supporting have gone to the Bibby Stockholm today as legal representatives have had their transfers cancelled,” Steve Smith, the charity’s CEO, said.

      “Among our clients are people who are disabled, who have survived torture and modern slavery and who have had traumatic experiences at sea. To house any human being in a ‘quasi floating prison’ like the Bibby Stockholm is inhumane. To try and do so to this group of people is unbelievably cruel.”

      More than 15,000 asylum seekers have arrived in the UK so far this year after crossing the Channel, official figures show.

      On Friday and Saturday 339 people made the journey after an eight-day hiatus amid poor weather conditions at sea, taking the provisional total for 2023 to date to 15,071.

      Amnesty International UK condemned using the barge to house asylum seekers. Steve Valdez-Symonds, the charity’s refugee and migrant rights director, said: “It seems there’s nothing this government won’t do to make people seeking asylum feel unwelcome and unsafe in this country.

      “Reminiscent of the prison hulks from the Victorian era, the Bibby Stockholm is an utterly shameful way to house people who’ve fled terror, conflict and persecution. Housing people on a floating barge is likely to be re-traumatising and there should be major concerns about confining each person to living quarters the typical size of a car parking space.”

      The government hopes the use of the barge and former military bases to house asylum seekers will reduce the cost of hotel bills.


    • Bibby Stockholm: Asylum seekers describe life on barge

      Some of the first group of men to board the Bibby Stockholm have described their first 24 hours on the barge.

      One asylum seeker told the BBC it was like a prison and felt there wasn’t enough room to accommodate up to 500 people onboard, as the government plans.

      The Home Office says the barge will provide better value for the taxpayer as pressure on the asylum system from small boats arrivals continues to grow.

      Moored in Portland Port, Dorset, it is the first barge secured under the government’s plans to reduce the cost of asylum accommodation.

      Monday saw the first 15 asylum seekers board the Bibby Stockholm after a series of delays over safety concerns. It will house men aged 18 to 65 while they await the outcome of their asylum applications.

      An Afghan asylum seeker, whom the BBC is not identifying, said: "The sound of locks and security checks gives me the feeling of entering Alcatraz prison.

      “My roommate panicked in the middle of the night and felt like he was drowning. There are people among us who have been given heavy drugs for depression by the doctor here.”

      He said he had been given a small room, and the dining hall had capacity for fewer than 150 people.

      “Like a prison, it [the barge] has entrance and exit gates, and at some specific hours, we have to take a bus, and after driving a long distance, we go to a place where we can walk. We feel very bad,” the man added.

      There is 24/7 security in place on board the Bibby Stockholm and asylum seekers are issued with ID swipe cards and have to pass through airport-style security scans to get on and off.

      Asylum seekers are expected to take a shuttle bus to the port exit for security reasons. There is no curfew, but if they aren’t back there will be a “welfare call”.

      The Home Office has said it would support their welfare by providing basic healthcare, organised activities and recreation.

      The first group of men arrived on Monday. The Care4Calais charity said it was providing legal support to a further 20 asylum seekers who refused to move to Portland and are challenging the decision.

      On Tuesday, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Griffiths, said that moving to the barge was “not a choice” and if people choose not to comply “they will be taken outside of the asylum support system”.

      “Many of us entered Britain nine to 11 months ago, by airplane. Some of us applied for asylum at the airport. We did not come by boat,” the Afghan man said.

      "It has been two weeks since we received a letter in which they threatened that if we do not agree to go, our aid and NHS will be cut off.

      “There are people among us who take medicine. We accepted. We waited for two weeks and didn’t even have time to bring clean clothes.”

      Another man who boarded the vessel on Monday told the BBC he had arrived in the UK on an aircraft, had a wife still in Iran and had been in Britain for six months.

      The man - whom the BBC is not identifying - said he had eaten a “good” breakfast which included “eggs, cheese, jam and butter”.

      The government says it is spending £6m per day housing more than 50,000 migrants in hotels.

      A Home Office spokesperson said: “This marks a further step forward in the government’s work to bring forward alternative accommodation options as part of its pledge to reduce the use of expensive hotels and move to a more orderly, sustainable system which is more manageable for local communities.”

      “This is a tried-and-tested approach that mirrors that taken by our European neighbours, the Scottish government and offers better value for the British taxpayer,” they added.

      The Home Office says that by the autumn, they aim to house about 3,000 asylum seekers in places that aren’t hotels - such as the barge, and former military sites Wethersfield, in Essex, and Scampton, in Lincolnshire.


    • Moment Bibby Stockholm barge migrants are EVACUATED amid fears of Legionnaires’ disease - just DAYS after asylum seekers moved aboard in Dorset

      - All 39 asylum seekers onboard Bibby Stockholm barge were evacuated today
      - It comes after first 15 men boarded vessel in Portland, Dorset, just four days ago

      This the moment asylum seekers were driven away from the Bibby Stockholm after deadly legionella bacteria was found in the migrant barge’s water system.

      All 39 migrants onboard the controversial vessel were evacuated today - just four days after the first 15 men stepped onto it in Portland, Dorset - and are being moved to the same hotel, according to The Independent.

      A 40-seater coach, which had been shuttling migrants to and from Weymouth, was seen leaving today. Inside were two men sat in the middle who turned their faces away from onlookers at the port.

      Other footage of the Bibby Stockholm showed people arriving and leaving this afternoon - with ten people seen walking up a ramp and entering while others left.

      Routine tests of the barge’s water supply were reportedly carried out on July 25 but the results only came back when asylum seekers began boarding the barge on Monday, according to Sky News. The results showed levels of legionella bacteria ’which require further investigation’.

      Home Office sources say they were not made aware of the results until Wednesday, with further tests being carried out on Thursday.

      The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) advised the Government on Thursday evening to remove all six people that arrived on the Bibby Stockholm that day, but the Home Office decided to evacuate all 39 as a precaution.

      The harmful bacteria can cause a serious lung infection called Legionnaires’ disease, which can happen when breathing in tiny droplets of water containing the bacteria.

      Although nobody onboard had shown symptoms of the disease, officials insisted that all migrants be disembarked while further assessments are carried out.

      A letter from the Home Office that was leaked to the Guardian has reportedly informed asylum seekers that they will be tested for Legionnaires diseases if they do begin to show symptoms.

      The migrants will be taken to hotels which are said to be far from Weymouth, where few rooms are available during the height of the school summer holidays.

      One Syrian migrant onboard the barge told MailOnline this afternoon that he had not been given any information and had not been told to leave. He said: ’The place is very empty but no one has said anything to us. We will have to wait and see, but it is worrying.’

      But the migrants were later told they would be evacuated. It comes after health officials ordered six new arrivals to be removed yesterday.

      Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick is said to be holding meetings to discuss the barge, which the Government hoped would house up to 500 migrants. Local councillors have vowed not to see the boat back in use.

      With a capacity of up to 506, the Government is still hoping that use of the Bibby Stockholm, together with former military bases, will help reduce the £6million a day it is spending on hotel bills for asylum seekers.

      But opponents have claimed the barge is unsafe and a ’floating prison’, while lawyers of some migrants due to board this week have successfully argued to allow them to stay in hotels.

      It was only four days ago that the first 15 men were taken onboard the vessel.

      Support workers, who have spoken to some on board, claimed the asylum seekers were not being kept informed about what was happening.

      Heather Jones, of the Portland Friendship Group which is supporting the migrants, said: ’I have had texts and phone conversations from some of them and they are still on board, they haven’t been evacuated yet.

      ’Nobody has told them anything. They have had to ask me what the problem is. One of them was really concerned because he had just drunk a glass of water and he was asking me if he was going to be OK.

      ’I told him it is probably a precautionary measure but they shouldn’t be hearing it from me.

      ’They don’t know where they are being taken to. Hopefully it will be back to the hotels where they have come from.’

      There was a small group of campaigners from Stand Up To Racism at the port entrance holding placards saying ’Legionella death trap’ and ’human rights’.

      Lynne Hubbard, from the group, said: ’The Home Office have admitted they carried on admitting asylum seekers on the barge even though they found out about legionella on Monday.

      ’They would have been drinking the water and showering in it. That shows pretty clearly what the Government thinks of asylum seekers and how much they value their lives. They are heartless.

      ’An asylum seeker in there we are in contact with told us to get in touch with his family in case he dies of Legionella. That’s how frightened they are.’

      A local Portland councillor slammed the health crisis as a ’farce’ this afternoon.

      Paul Kimbdr, an independent councillor, said he thought the outbreak would mean the end of the barge being used to house asylum seekers.

      ’I just can’t see it being back in use. It’s all been a bit of a farce really,’ he told MailOnline.

      A Home Office spokesman told MailOnline today: ’The health and welfare of individuals on the vessel is our utmost priority.

      ’Environmental samples from the water system on the Bibby Stockholm have shown levels of legionella bacteria which require further investigation.

      ’Following these results, the Home Office has been working closely with UKHSA (the UK Health Security Agency) and following its advice in line with long established public health processes, and ensuring all protocol from Dorset Council’s Environmental Health team and Dorset NHS is adhered to.

      ’As a precautionary measure, all 39 asylum seekers who arrived on the vessel this week are being disembarked while further assessments are undertaken.

      ’No individuals on board have presented with symptoms of Legionnaires’, and asylum seekers are being provided with appropriate advice and support.

      ’The samples taken relate only to the water system on the vessel itself and therefore carry no direct risk indication for the wider community of Portland nor do they relate to fresh water entering the vessel. Legionnaires’ disease does not spread from person to person.’

      Mr Jenrick has previously described the barge as ’perfectly decent accommodation’, but asylum seekers who have spent four nights onboard have contrasting views.

      While one Afghan compared it to the former US maximum security prison Alcatraz, others have said it was ’cramped but comfortable’ with lots of facilities.

      MailOnline understands that the legionella bacteria is believed to have come from the pipes on the vessel – with tests of the water at point of entry coming back with no indication of legionella.

      Six asylum seekers arrived on the barge yesterday, and the UK Health Security Agency last night advised the Home Office to remove this group.

      Home Office sources have insisted that the removal of everyone was a ’further temporary precaution’ aimed to ’reduce the health risk as much as possible’.

      The Home Office is now awaiting the results of follow-up tests which have been carried out on the water system by Dorset Council environmental health officers.

      The UK Health Security Agency will then provide additional advice.

      Sources added that it was not unusual to identify legionella bacteria in warm water systems, which is why they are often subject to regular testing in buildings.

      A Dorset Council spokesman said: ’Dorset Council’s environmental health team and Public Health Dorset are advising the Home Office and its contractors, alongside the UK Health Security Agency and NHS Dorset, following notification of positive samples of Legionella bacteria in the water system on the Bibby Stockholm barge.

      ’No individuals have presented symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease, and there is no health risk to the wider community of Portland.’

      It is understood that the Home Office is managing the search for alternative accommodation for the asylum seekers.

      Dr Laurence Buckman, former chairman of the British Medical Association’s GP Committee, told GB News today: ’If you’re unlucky and your immunity isn’t really tip-top, there is a risk that you will get legionella pneumonia and die from it.

      ’It’s potentially treatable but of course you have to diagnose it first. It lives in water supplies. It lives in sink traps, so a U-bend of a sink will be a problem, and it lives in air conditioning units.

      ’That’s why we have what are called ’scrubbers’ in air conditioning units to wipe out the legionella before the air gets blown onto other people, and why hospitals that get legionella in their sinks have a really big problem. At worst, they have to take the sinks out and replace them and the pipework that goes with them.’

      Steve Smith, chief executive of the charity Care4Calais, said: ’We have always known our concerns over the health and safety of the barge are justified, and this latest mismanagement proves our point.

      ’The Bibby Stockholm is a visual illustration of this Government’s hostile environment against refugees, but it has also fast become a symbol for the shambolic incompetence which has broken Britain’s asylum system.

      ’The Government should now realise warehousing refugees in this manner is completely untenable, and should focus on the real job at hand - processing the asylum claims swiftly, so refugees may become contributing members of our communities as they so strongly wish.’

      Meanwhile Fire Brigades Union general secretary Ben Selby said the outbreak suggested it was ’only a matter of time before either lives are lost or there is serious harm to a detainee.’

      He said: ’The Fire Brigades Union warned the Home Secretary that forcibly holding migrants on this barge was a huge health and safety risk.

      ’This outbreak of Legionella suggests that it’s only a matter of time before either lives are lost or there is serious harm to a detainee.’

      And Alex Bailey, a spokesman for the No To The Barge campaign group, told MailOnline: ’This has become Fawlty Towers at sea.

      ’This was inevitable because of the poor advance planning and preparation, the rush and people in power with little knowledge and pushing the experts to break the rules.

      ’This is just another example of the incompetent way our Government has approached this scheme from start to finish. Robert Jenrick promised the country Bibbly Stockholm was safe. That is not the case.’

      Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: ’Across the country, most people want strong border security and a properly managed and controlled asylum system so the UK does its bit alongside other countries to help those who have fled persecution and conflict, while those who have no right to be here are swiftly returned.

      ’Under this Government, we have neither as gangs are undermining our border security and the asylum system is in chaos.’

      And Kolbassia Haoussou, director of survivor empowerment at Freedom from Torture, said: ’The presence of life-threatening bacteria onboard the Bibby Stockholm is just another shocking revelation that we’ve seen unfold over the past few weeks. This Government’s punitive policies and deliberate neglect of the asylum system is not just cruel, it’s dangerous.’

      Yesterday the Home Office denied the barge was a ’floating prison’ and insisted that those onboard would be ’free to come and go as they want’.

      Gardening in nearby allotments and hiking tours of the area are among the activities which could be offered to those onboard.

      Security measures include 18 guards trained to military standard who work around the clock.

      In total, about 60 staff including cooks and cleaners will be on board the barge run by Landry and Kling, a sub-contractor of Corporate Travel Management (CTM) which also managed vessels in Scotland housing Ukrainians.

      Spaghetti with meatballs, roast turkey, Irish stew and beef pie are on the sample menu to be served in the canteen by Dubai-headquartered offshore firm Connect Catering Services, alongside breakfast and a selection of snacks available 24 hours a day.

      The gym, equipped with treadmills and weights, is still awaiting delivery of rowing machines and exercise bikes. Volleyball, basketball, netball and football can all be played in one of two outside courtyards.

      Most of the 222 bedrooms have twin bunk beds, with cupboard space, a desk, en-suite bathroom, heating and windows which open. But there are also 20 larger rooms which would sleep four people, and two rooms housing six people.

      The bedrooms all have televisions which the operator was told to disconnect but were too costly to remove so can be used only as monitors.

      Instead, residents will be encouraged to socialise or watch programmes and films in one of four communal TV rooms, and can also learn English in a classroom and worship in a dedicated space. A small number of laptops are also available and there is Wi-Fi throughout the barge.

      #maladie #légionellose #maladie_du_légionnaire #évacuation

    • Asylum seekers say Bibby Stockholm conditions caused suicide attempt

      Thirty-nine people who were briefly onboard write to Suella Braverman describing their fear and despair

      Thirty-nine asylum seekers who were briefly accommodated on the Home Office’s controversial Bibby Stockholm barge in Dorset have said conditions onboard were so bad that one was driven to attempt suicide.

      A three-page letter sent to the home secretary, Suella Braverman, also sets out the asylum seekers’ fear and despair at being trapped on the barge and appeals to her to help them in their search for safety and freedom in the UK.

      They describe the barge as “an unsafe, frightening and isolated place” but said that as law-abiding people they were fearful of not obeying Home Office instructions. The asylum seekers described the barge as “a place of exile” and said the conditions were “small rooms and a terrifying residence”.

      Some of the asylum seekers have told the Guardian they are too traumatised to return to the barge in Portland.

      According to the letter some people fell ill on the barge.

      The letter says: “Also in a tragic incident one of the asylum seekers attempted suicide but we acted promptly and prevented this unfortunate event. Considering the ongoing difficulties it’s not unexpected that we might face a repeat of such situations in the future.

      “Some friends said they even wished they had courage to commit suicide. Our personal belief is that many of these individuals might resort to this foolishness to escape problems in the future.”

      They said they were the last people to be informed about the legionella bacteria found on the barge and announced by the Home Office on 11 August.

      They said their brief stay on the barge had led to a deterioration in their mental health. “Currently we are staying in an old and abandoned hotel. The sense of isolation and loneliness has taken over us and psychological and emotional pressures have increased significantly.”

      The letter to Braverman concludes with a plea to consider their situation as a priority. “We are individuals who are tired of the challenges that have arisen and no longer have the strength to face them.”

      An Iranian asylum seeker among the 39 has vowed never to return there. He said many of the other men who spent a few days onboard felt the same way.

      “If I had had to stay even one more day on the barge I would have had suicidal thoughts. When I got on to the barge the smell and the stench of seawater was overwhelming,” he said.

      “I developed stomach pains and felt dizzy but I was too scared to refuse to get on. Being on the barge made us feel like criminals and second-class citizens.”

      He added that nobody from the Home Office properly explained the legionella situation to them. “I had to search on Google to find out what it is. Everyone who was on the barge are now all together in one hotel. A few people are coughing and everybody is afraid. When I was having a shower on the barge the water was burning my eyes.

      “Being on that barge will always be a horrific memory in my brain. It’s a completely unfit place. We’re all feeling very upset but are even more upset that the Home Office want to return us to this horror show.

      “I want to ask a question of the people who made the decision to put us on the barge. ‘Would you put a member of your family there even for one day?’ We came to the UK to escape persecution but are facing more persecution here.”

      In response to the letter the Home Office said: “We are following all protocol and advice from Dorset council’s environmental health team, UK Health Security Agency and Dorset NHS, who we continue to work closely with.

      “Further tests are being conducted and we intend to re-embark asylum seekers only when there is confirmation that the water system meets relevant safety standards. The safety of those onboard remains the priority.”
      Bibby Stockholm timeline

      Monday 7 August: The first group of asylum seekers, all men, are taken to the barge by the Home Office. Some lawyers successfully challenged their clients being put onboard. New arrivals said they were shocked by the high walls of the barge, which felt like a ‘floating prison’ and the overwhelming stench of seawater onboard.

      Tuesday 8 August : The reality of life onboard the barge starts to be understood by the men. “My feeling about this ship is negative,” said one. “Right now my strongest feeling is of being humiliated and captured. The government takes revenge on every useful brain and heart. What I mean by revenge is that the British government intends to cover up its political and economic failures by using asylum seekers as an excuse.”

      Thursday 10 August: By this time all the agencies involved with the barge were aware that tests had confirmed legionella onboard the barge on Monday. Dorset council said its officials informed barge contractors the same day they received the test results and that a meeting was held on Tuesday with officials including one from the Home Office. The men continued to shower and use water taps onboard, oblivious to any potential risks to their health.

      Friday 11 August: At 1.54pm the men started seeing messages on social media “that there is a disease problem on the barge and we will need to evacuate”. At about 2pm a text was received that the asylum seekers believed to be from staff onboard the barge telling them not to use the showers for two hours as the shower heads needed to be replaced. At 5pm, a copied text was received from the Home Office describing the bacteria found on the barge and informing the men that they would be leaving the barge at 7pm by bus.

      Saturday 12 August: Relocation to a “disused” hotel. The men begin to process the despair their experience on the barge had left them with. Some said previously they had put their trust in the Home Office to provide them with safety after fleeing danger in their home countries but their time on the barge has destroyed that. “All our hopes are gone. We think now the Home Office is not there to help us. It abandons us to uncertain destiny. The barge has sabotaged hope, trust. Morale among us is at zero.”


    • Home Office Faces Legal Challenge Against ‘Appalling’ Use of Bibby Stockholm Barge to House Refugees

      “Human beings do not belong in barges or camps. The correct way to house people is to house them in communities.”

      A Labour mayor has launched a legal challenge to Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s use of the Bibby Stockholm barge to accommodate around 500 male asylum-seekers at Portland Port in Dorset, without obtaining planning permission.

      Carralyn Parkes is a Portland Town Councillor and Mayor of Portland, bit is acting in a personal capacity as a local resident. Dorset Council and Portland Port Limited have backed the claim as “interested parties”, meaning that they will have the opportunity to make submissions, file evidence and participate in the case.

      It comes after a deadly legionella strain was found onboard the Bibby Stockholm. It was detected on the first day people boarded on 7 August, with officials evacuating all 39 people onboard that day, the Guardian reported.

      Parkes is asking the Court to declare that the Home Office’s use of the barge as asylum accommodation is capable of constituting ‘development’ under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, and therefore that it may amount to a breach of planning control and possible enforcement action by Dorset Council.

      Her claim argues that the Home Office is attempting the ‘technical wheeze’ of using a boat as asylum accommodation in order to circumvent normal planning rules, which would apply if the barge was instead installed on land.

      As a result, local residents’ ability to raise objections to the barge and its use in Portland, via their local authority, is “severely hampered”, her legal team says. It also places the barge outside the reach of “important” legal protections such as limits on overcrowding.

      Carralyn Parkes told Byline Times: “In the 21st century, it’s appalling to think that we’ve even considered housing the most vulnerable people in the world on a barge. The accommodation is wholly unsuitable.

      “If the government had put this through a planning procedure, I’m convinced it would have been denied, as the port is a closed area.”

      She added that infrastructure in Portland is “stretched to breaking point” while the barge was originally produced for 220 people. “Now they’re talking about 500 people. It’s completely overcrowded and there’s no fire safety certificate,” Parkes said.

      “It’s just terrible to think that our country would do something like this to vulnerable people, and to ride roughshod over communities…Human beings do not belong in barges or camps. The correct way to house people is to house them in communities.”

      “Portland is not averse to housing asylum seekers. It’s the actual conditions of housing asylum seekers on the barge that is appalling.”

      Asked if she thought the legal challenge stood a strong chance, she said: “I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think it’s a chance of being successful. I’m a private individual taking this on board. It’s a huge and daunting task to take on the whole mechanism of the state, the Home Secretary and the Home Office.”

      While she is launching the legal challenge as a private individual rather than a Labour mayor, she added she had support from Labour colleagues locally.

      Parkes also argues that the Home Office has not complied with its environmental impact assessment duties. An appraisal branded “inadequate” by campaigners was only conducted after asylum seekers had been moved onto the barge, and several months after the Home Office had declared its intention of using the barge for that purpose.

      The claim also argues that the Home Office has not complied with its Public Sector Equality Duty under the Equality Act 2010, which includes prohibition on discrimination on the basis of race, and a duty to foster good relations between those who share a protected characteristic (such as race), and those who do not.

      Parkes and her team argue that the Equality Impact Assessment, conducted only days before the barge came into use, is “woefully inadequate” as it fails to consider the impact of the barge’s operation in radicalising far-right extremism, or the equality impact of segregating rather than integrating asylum seekers into communities.

      A spokesperson for Deighton Pierce Glynn Solicitors said: “Our client is taking a brave stand against the Home Office’s attempts to circumvent important planning rules and protections to use the Bibby Stockholm barge to accommodate vulnerable asylum seekers.

      “She is asking the Court to rule that proper procedures should be followed and that local people and authorities should be given the opportunity to have their say.”

      Carralyn Parkes is represented by Deighton Pierce Glynn Solicitors. She is continuing to crowdfund to cover her legal costs and to cover the risk that costs are awarded against her. So far Parkes has raised more than £20,000.

      The next step is for the defendant, the Home Office, and the Interested Parties (Dorset Council and Portland Port Limited) to respond. If they wish to do so, the deadline is 4 October. After that the Court will make a decision on whether Parkes has permission for her judicial review.


    • Bibby Stockholm gets ‘satisfactory’ test results for legionella

      Results revealed in FoI data follow other tests that found unsatisfactory levels of the bacteria on barge

      The Bibby Stockholm barge has had “satisfactory” test results for legionella, after tests initially found the presence of the potentially deadly bacteria, the Guardian has learned.

      The Home Office, which hopes to hold hundreds of people seeking asylum on the barge in Portland, received the most recent legionella results on 4 September and government sources said they were not planning to make the results public. The Guardian obtained the results in freedom of information data from Dorset council.

      In these most recent results, all the water samples tested for legionella were deemed “satisfactory”, although some of the bacteria were identified in two of the samples. In three previous sets of tests, at least some of the samples tested were found to be “unsatisfactory” for legionella.

      The worst results related to samples from 9 August, two days after asylum seekers were briefly put on the barge. They were removed after just four and a half days. In these results, eight of the 11 samples taken were unsatisfactory and three were borderline. Some of the bacteria found was the deadliest strain, legionella pneumophila serogroup 1.

      A second freedom of information request, to Cornwall council, revealed that the barge was not inspected for legionella while in Falmouth for checks and repairs before it was moved to Portland.

      A third freedom of information request revealed that the Home Office has used water safety risk assessments for the Bibby Stockholm that are more than six years out of date. The Home Office said a more up-to-date risk assessment had subsequently been signed off.

      Apart from the legionella bacteria found on the barge, concerns have been raised about planning, fire safety and plumbing breaches. Legal actions are under way relating to these issues.

      A spokesperson for the Home Office barge contractor CTM confirmed that repairs to the plumbing were under way after an inspection by Wessex Water found failings.

      In media interviews on Wednesday, the home secretary, Suella Braverman, said “various procedures” needed to be completed before people could return to the Bibby Stockholm but that government had done “really well” with its work on the barge.

      Beyond Borders Totnes & District, an organisation that is supporting some of the men taken off the barge, said none wanted to return there. “They found the barge intolerable and claustrophobic. It is utterly prison-like,” a spokesperson said.

      The Home Office said: “We are pleased to confirm that the latest tests have shown that there are no health risks from legionella on the Bibby Stockholm, with individuals set to return to the barge in due course.

      “The welfare of asylum seekers is of paramount importance. It is right we went above and beyond UK Health Security Agency advice and disembarked asylum seekers as a precautionary measure whilst the issue was investigated.”

      Home Office sources added that an agreed programme of work including a complete flush and chlorination of the water had been undertaken and that a water control plan was in place with regular water testing to continue.


  • Que provoque la résurgence de la mémoire amérindienne en Guyane ? : épisode 1/4 du podcast Les rapports entre les Outre-mer et la métropole en question
    Mardi 17 janvier 2023

    Le 17 janvier, le ministre délégué chargé des Outre-mer a atterri en Guyane pour sa deuxième visite en deux mois, alors que le Conseil Coutumier guyanais a entamé un processus de reconnaissance de la mémoire amérindienne locale. Sa résurgence est le sujet du 1er épisode de notre série Outre-mer.

    Avec : Hélène Ferrarini journaliste indépendante
    Jean-Victor Castor Député de la 1ère circonscription de Guyane
    Christophe Yanuwana Pierre Membre du Grand Conseil Coutumier et de la Jeunesse Autochtone de Guyane
    Jean-Pierre Massias professeur de droit public, spécialiste du processus de paix au Pays Basque (...)

    #Guyane #Homes_indiens

  • #Air_Partner: the Home Office’s little-known deportation fixer

    International travel megacorp #Carlson_Wagonlit_Travel (#CWT) holds a £5.7 million, seven-year contract with the Home Office for the “provision of travel services for immigration purposes”, as it has done for nearly two decades. However, a key part of its work – the chartering of aircraft and crew to carry out the deportations – has been subcontracted to a little-known aviation charter outfit called Air Partner.


    Digging deeper into Air Partner, we found a company which has been quietly organising mass deportations for the Home Office for years. We also learnt that:

    It likely arranged for the airline #Privilege_Style to carry out the aborted flight to #Rwanda, and will seek another airline if the Rwanda scheme goes ahead.
    It has organised deportation logistics for the US and several European governments.
    It is currently one of four beneficiaries of a €15 million framework contract to arrange charter deportations for the European Coast Guard and Border Agency, #Frontex.
    The company grew off the back of military contracts, with profits soaring during the ‘War on Terror’, the Arab Spring, and the Covid-19 pandemic.
    Its regular clients include politicians, celebrities and sports teams, and it recently flew teams and fans to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
    Air Partner was bought in spring 2022 by American charter airline, Wheels Up, but that company is in troubled financial waters.

    Air Partner: Home Office deportation broker

    In Carlson Wagonlit’s current contract award notice, published on the EU website Tenders Electronic Daily, the “management and provision of aircraft(s) charter services” is subcontracted to Air Partner – a detail which is redacted in documents on the UK government’s procurement site. In other words, when the Home Office wants to carry out a mass deportation flight, the task of finding the airline is delegated to Air Partner.

    The contract stipulates that for each charter flight, Air Partner must solicit bids from at least three potential airlines. Selection is on the basis of value for money. However, the contract also states that “the maximum possible flexibility “ is expected from the carrier in terms of dates and destinations. The winning bidder must also be morally comfortable with the work, although it is not clear at what point in the process a first-time deportation airline is fully informed of the nature of the task.

    The contract suggests that airlines like #Privilege_Style, #Titan_Airways, #Hi_Fly and #TUI, therefore, owe their entry into the UK deportation business to Air Partner, which effectively acts as gatekeeper to the sector. Meanwhile, #Carlson_Wagonlit books the tickets, oversees the overall operation, arranges deportations on scheduled flights, and liaises with the guards who physically enforce the expulsion (currently supplied by the company that runs Manston camp, Mitie, in a Home Office escorting contract that runs until 2028).

    The latest deal between the Home Office and Carlson Wagonlit was awarded in 2017 and runs until 31st October 2024. It is likely that Air Partner makes money through a commission on each deportation flight.

    Flying for Frontex

    Yet Air Partner isn’t just the UK government’s deportation dealer. Its Austrian branch is currently one of four companies which organise mass expulsions for the European Coast Guard and Border Agency, Frontex, in a €15 million framework contract that was renewed in August 2022. A framework contract is essentially a deal in which a few companies are chosen to form a pool of select suppliers of particular goods or services, and are then called upon when needed. The work was awarded without advertising, which Frontex can do when the tender is virtually identical as in the previous contract.

    Frontex organises deportation charter flights – either for multiple EU states at a time (where the plane stops to pick up deportees from several countries) – or for a single state. The Agency also arranges for individuals to be deported on regular commercial flights.

    Air Partner’s work for Frontex is very similar to its work for the Home Office. It sources willing aircraft and crew, obtains flight and landing permits, and organises hotels – presumably for personnel – “in case of delays”. The other beneficiaries of the framework contract are #Air_Charter_Service, #Professional_Aviation_Solutions, and #AS_Aircontact.

    Air Charter Service is a German company, sister of a Surrey-based business of the same name, and is owned by Knightsbridge private equity firm, #Alcuin_Capital_Partners. Professional Aviation Solutions is another German charter company, owned by #Skylink_Holding. Finally, Norwegian broker AS Aircontact is a subsidiary of travel firm #Aircontact_Group, ultimately owned by chairman #Johan_Stenersen. AS Aircontact has benefited from the Frontex deal for many years.

    The award was given to the four companies on the basis of lowest price, with each bidder having to state the price it was able to obtain for a range of specified flights. The companies then bid for specific deportations, with the winner being the one offering best value for money. Air Partner’s cut from the deal in 2021 was €2.7 million.

    The contract stipulates the need for total secrecy:

    [The contractor] Must apply the maximum discretion and confidentiality in relation to the activity… must not document or share information on the activity by any means such as photo, video, commenting or sharing in social media, or equivalent.

    The Frontex award effectively means that Air Partner and the other three firms can carry out work on behalf of all EU states. But the company’s involvement with deportations doesn’t stop there: Air Partner has also profited for years from similar contracts with a number of individual European governments.

    The company has done considerable work in Ireland, having been appointed as one of its official deportation brokers back in 2005. Ten years later, the Irish Department of Justice was recorded as having paid Air Partner to carry out a vaguely-described “air charter” job (on a web page that is no longer available), while in 2016 the same department paid Air Partner €240,000 for “returns air charter” – government-speak for deportation flights.

    Between August 2021 and February 2022, the Austrian government awarded the company six Frontex-funded deportation contracts, worth an estimated average of €33,796.

    The company also enjoys a deportation contract with the German government, in a deal reviewed annually. The current contract runs until February 2023.

    Finally, Air Partner has held deportation contracts with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and has been involved in deporting Mexican migrants to the US as far back as the early 2000s.1
    Relationship with the airlines

    In the first half of 2021, 22 of the EU’s 27 member states participated in Frontex flights, with Germany making far greater use of the ‘service’ than any other country. The geographic scale of Air Partner’s work gives an indication of the privileged access it has as gatekeeper to Europe’s lucrative ‘deportation market’, and ultimately, the golden land of government contracts more generally.

    For example, British carrier Titan Airways – which has long carried out deportations for the Home Office – only appears to have broken into this market in Germany and Austria in 2018 and 2019, respectively. As Corporate Watch has documented, other airlines such as Privilege Style, #AirTanker, #Wamos and #Iberojet (formerly, #Evelop) regularly run deportation flights for a number of governments, including the UK. We can assume that Air Partner’s relationships with the firms are key to these companies’ ability to secure such deals in new markets.

    Some of these relationships are clearly personal: #Alastair_Wilson, managing director of Titan Airways, worked as trading manager for Air Partner for seven years until he left that firm for Titan in 2014. By 2017, Titan was playing a major role in forcible expulsions from the UK.

    The business: from military money to deportation dealer

    Air Partner’s origins are in military work. Founded in 1961, the company started its life as a training centre which helped military pilots switch to the commercial sector. Known for much of its history as Air London, it has enjoyed extensive Ministry of Defence deals for troop rotations and the supply of military equipment. Up until 2010, military contracts represented over 60% of pre-tax profits. However, in recent years it has managed to wean itself off the MOD and develop a more diverse clientele; by 2018, the value of military contracts had dropped to less than 3% of profits.

    The company’s main business is in brokering aircraft for charter flights, and sourcing planes from its pool of partner airlines at the request of customers who want to hire them. It owns no aircraft itself. Besides governments and wealthy individuals, its current client base includes “corporates, sports and entertainment teams, industrial and manufacturing customers, and tour operators.”

    Its other source of cash is in training and consultancy to government, military and commercial customers through three subsidiaries: its risk management service Baines Simmons, the Redline Security project, and its disaster management sideline, Kenyon Emergency Services. Conveniently, while the group’s main business pumps out fossil fuels on needless private flights, Kenyon’s disaster management work involves among other things, preparing customers for climate change-induced natural disasters.

    Despite these other projects, charter work represents the company’s largest income stream by far, at 87% of the group’s profits. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of this is from leasing large jets to customers such as governments, sports teams and tour operators. Its second most lucrative source of cash is leasing private jets to the rich, including celebrities. Finally, its freight shipments tend to be the least profitable division of its charter work.

    The company’s charter division continues to be “predominantly driven by government work”.2 It has been hired by dozens of governments and royal families worldwide, and almost half the profits from its charter work now derive from the US, although France has long been an important market too.

    Ferrying the mega-rich

    Meanwhile, Air Partner’s work shuttling politicians and other VIPs no doubt enables the company to build up its bank of useful contacts which help it secure such lucrative government deals. Truly this is a company of the mega-rich: a “last-minute, half-term holiday” with the family to Madeira costs a mere £36,500 just for the experience of a private jet. It was the first aircraft charter company to have held a Royal Warrant, and boasts of having flown US election candidates and supplying George W Bush’s press plane.3

    The “group charter” business works with bands and sports teams. The latter includes the Wales football team, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid, while the Grand Prix is “always a firm fixture in the charter calendar”.4 It also flew teams and fans to the controversial 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.5

    Crisis profiteer: the War on Terror, the Arab Spring & Covid-19

    Air Partner has cashed in on one crisis after the next. Not only that, it even contributes to one, and in so doing multiplies its financial opportunities. As military contractor to belligerent Western forces in the Middle East, the company is complicit in the creation of refugees – large numbers of whom Air Partner would later deport back to those war zones. It feeds war with invading armies, then feasts on its casualties.

    The company reportedly carried at least 4,000t of military supplies during the first Gulf War. The chairman at the time, Tony Mack, said:

    The Gulf War was a windfall for us. We’d hate to say ‘yippee, we’re going to war’, but I guess the net effect would be positive.6

    And in its financial records over the past twenty years, three events really stand out: 9/11 and the ‘War on Terror’, the Arab Spring, and the Covid-19 pandemic.

    9/11 and the subsequent War on Terror was a game changer for the company, marking a departure from reliance on corporate customers and a shift to more secure government work. First – as with the pandemic – there was a boom in private jet hire due to “the number of rich clients who are reluctant to travel on scheduled services”.7

    But more significant were the military contracts it was to obtain during the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. During the occupation of Afghanistan, it “did a lot of freighting for the military”,8 while later benefiting from emergency evacuation work when coalition foreign policy came to its inevitably grim conclusion in 2021.

    It enjoyed major military assignments with coalition forces in Iraq,9 with the UK’s eventual withdrawal resulting in a 19% drop in freight sales for the company. At one point, Air Partner lamented that its dip in profits was in part due to the temporary “cessation of official hostilities” and the non-renewal of its 2003 “Gulf contracts”.

    9/11 and the aggression that followed was a boon for Air Partner’s finances. From 2001-02, pre-tax profits increased to then record levels, jumping 85% from £2.2 million to £4 million. And it cemented the company’s fortunes longer-term; a 2006 company report gives insight into the scale of the government work that went Air Partner’s way:

    … over the last decade alone, many thousands of contracts worth over $500m have been successfully completed for the governments of a dozen Western Powers including six of the current G8 member states.

    Two years on, Air Partner’s then-CEO, #David_Savile, was more explicit about the impact of the War on Terror:

    Whereas a decade ago the team was largely servicing the Corporate sector, today it majors on global Government sector clients. Given the growing agenda of leading powers to pursue active foreign policies, work levels are high and in today’s climate such consistent business is an important source of income.

    Profits soared again in 2007, coinciding with the bloodiest year of the Iraq war – and one which saw the largest US troop deployment. Its chairman at the time said:

    The events of 9/11 were a watershed for the aviation industry…since then our sales have tripled and our profitability has quadrupled. We now expect a period of consolidation… which we believe will present longer term opportunities to develop new business and new markets.

    It seems likely that those “new markets” may have included deportation work, given that the first UK charter deportations were introduced by the New Labour government in 2001, the same year as the invasion of Afghanistan.

    Another financial highlight for the company was the 2011 Arab Spring, which contributed to a 93% increase in pre-tax profits. Air Partner had earlier won a four-year contract with the Department for International Development (DfID) to become its “sole provider of passenger and freight air charter services”, and had been hired to be a charter broker to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Crisis Centre.

    As people in Libya, Egypt, Bahrain and Tunisia took to the streets against their dictators, the company carried out emergency evacuations, including for “some of the largest oil companies”. A year later, it described a “new revenue stream from the oil & gas industry”, perhaps a bonus product of the evacuation work.

    Finally, its largest jump in profits was seen in 2021, as it reaped the benefits of converging crises: the pandemic, the evacuation of Afghanistan, and the supply chain crisis caused by Brexit and the severe congestion of global sea-shipping routes. The company was tasked with repatriation flights, PPE shipments, and “flying agricultural workers into the UK from elsewhere in Europe”, as well as responding to increased demand for “corporate shuttles” in the UK and US.10 Pre-tax profits soared 833% to £8.4 million. It made a gross profit of approximately £45 million in both 2021 and 2022. The company fared so well in fact from the pandemic that one paper summed it up with an article entitled “Air Partner takes off after virus grounds big airlines”.

    While there is scant reporting on the company’s involvement in deportations, The Times recently mentioned that Air Partner “helps in the deporting of individuals to Africa and the Caribbean, a business that hasn’t slowed down during the pandemic”. In a rare direct reference to deportation work, CEO Mark Briffa responded that it:

    …gives Wheels Up [Air Partner’s parent company] a great opportunity to expand beyond private jets…It was always going to be a challenge for a company our size to scale up and motor on beyond where we are.

    Yet Briffa’s justification based on the apparent need to diversify beyond VIP flights looks particularly hollow against the evidence of decades of lucrative government work his company has enjoyed.

    When asked for comment, a spokesperson from the company’s PR firm TB Cardew said:

    As a policy, we do not comment on who we fly or where we fly them. Customer privacy, safety and security are paramount for Air Partner in all of our operations. We do not confirm, deny or comment on any potential customer, destination or itinerary.

    The parent company: Wheels Up

    Air Partner was bought in spring 2022 for $108.2 million by Wheels Up Experience Inc, a US charter airline which was recently listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The company calls itself one of the world’s largest private aviation companies, with over 180 owned or long-term leased aircraft, 150 managed fleet (a sort of sharing arrangement with owners), and 1,200 aircraft which it can hire for customers when needed.

    In contrast to Air Partner, its new owner is in deep trouble. While Wheels Up’s revenues have increased considerably over the past few years (from $384 million in 2019 to $1.2 billion in 2022), these were far outweighed by its costs. It made a net loss in 2021 of $190 million, more than double that of the previous year. The company attributes this to the ongoing impact of Covid-19, with reduced crew availability and customer cancellations. And the situation shows no sign of abating, with a loss of $276.5 million in the first nine months of this year alone. Wheels Up is responding with “aggressive cost-cutting”, including some redundancies.

    #Wheels_Up is, in turn, 20% owned by #Delta_Airlines, one of the world’s oldest and largest airlines. Mammoth asset manager Fidelity holds an 8% share, while Wheels Up’s CEO #Kenneth_Dichter owns 5%. Meanwhile, the so-called ‘Big Three’ asset managers, BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street each hold smaller shareholdings.

    Among its clients, Wheels Up counts various celebrities – some of whom have entered into arrangements to promote the company as ‘brand ambassadors’. These apparently include Jennifer Lopez, American football players Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, J.J. Watt, Joey Logano, and Serena Williams.

    Given Wheel’s Up’s current financial situation, it can be safely assumed that government contracts will not be easily abandoned, particularly in a time of instability in the industry as a whole. At the same time, given the importance of Wheels Up as a brand and its VIP clientele, anything that poses a risk to its reputation would need to be handled delicately by the company.

    It also remains to be seen whether Wheels Up will use its own fleet to fulfil Air Partner’s contracting work, and potentially become a supplier of deportation planes in its own right.
    Top people

    Air Partner has been managed by CEO #Mark_Briffa since 2010. A former milkman and son of Maltese migrants, Briffa grew up in an East Sussex council house and left school with no O or A levels. He soon became a baggage handler at Gatwick airport, eventually making his way into sales and up the ladder to management roles. Briffa is also president of the parent company, Wheels Up.

    #Ed_Warner OBE is the company’s chair, which means he leads on its strategy and manages the board of directors. An Oxbridge-educated banker and former chair of UK Athletics, Warner no doubt helps Air Partner maintain its connections in the world of sport. He sits on the board of private equity fund manager HarbourVest, and has previously been chairman of BlackRock Energy and Resources Income Trust, which invests in mining and energy.

    #Kenny_Dichter is founder and CEO of Air Partner’s US parent company, Wheels Up. Dichter is an entrepreneur who has founded or provided early investment to a list of somewhat random companies, from a chain of ‘wellness’ stores, to a brand of Tequila.

    #Tony_Mack was chairman of the business founded by his parents for 23 years and a major shareholder, before retiring from Air Partner in 2014. Nowadays he prefers to spend his time on the water, where he indulges in yacht racing.

    Some of Air Partner’s previous directors are particularly well-connected. #Richard_Everitt, CBE held the company chairmanship from 2012 until 2017. A solicitor by training, prior to joining Air Partner Everitt was a director of the British Aviation Authority (BAA) and chief executive of National Air Traffic Services (Nats), and then CEO of the Port of London Authority (PLA). Since leaving the PLA, he has continued his career on the board of major transport authorities, having twice been appointed by the Department of Transport as chair of Dover Harbour Board, a two-day per week job with an annual salary of £79,500. He also served as a commissioner of Belfast Harbour.

    One figure with friends in high places was the Hon. #Rowland_John_Fromanteel_Cobbold, who was an Air Partner director from 1996 to 2004. Cobbold was the son of 1st Baron Cobbold, former Governor of the Bank of England and former Lord Chamberlain, an important officer of the royal household. He was also grandson of Victor Bulwer-Lytton, 2nd Earl of Lytton and governor of Bengal, and younger brother of 2nd Baron Cobbold, who was a crossbench peer.

    #Lib_Dem peer #Lord_Lee of Trafford held significant shares in Air Partner from at least 2007 until the company was bought by Wheels Up in 2022. Lord Lee served as parliamentary undersecretary for MOD Procurement under Margaret Thatcher, as well as Minister for Tourism. In 2015 the value of his 113,500 shares totalled £446,000. His shares in the company were despite having been Lib Dem party spokesman on defence at the time. Seemingly, having large stakes in a business which benefits from major MOD contracts, whilst simultaneously advocating on defence policy was not deemed a serious conflict of interest. The former stockbroker is now a regular columnist for the Financial Times. Calling himself the “first ISA millionaire”, Lee published a book called “How to Make a Million – Slowly: Guiding Principles From a Lifetime Investing”.

    The company’s recent profits have been healthy enough to ensure that those at the top are thoroughly buffered from the current cost of living crisis, as all executive and non-executive directors received a hefty pay rise. Its 2022 Annual Report reveals that CEO Mark Briffa’s pay package totalled £808,000 (£164,000 more than he received in 2021) and outgoing Chief Financial Officer Joanne Estell received £438,000 (compared with £369,000 in 2021), not to mention that Briffa and Estell were awarded a package in spring 2021 of 100% and 75% of their salary in shares. Given the surge in Air Partner’s share price just before the buyout, it’s likely that the net worth of its directors – and investors like Lord Lee – has significantly increased too.


    What really is the difference between the people smugglers vilified daily by right-wing rags, and deportation merchants like Air Partner? True, Air Partner helps cast humans away in the opposite direction, often to places of danger rather than potential safety. And true, smugglers’ journeys are generally more consensual, with migrants themselves often hiring their fixers. But for a huge fee, people smugglers and deportation profiteers alike ignore the risks and indignities involved, as human cargo is shunted around in the perverse market of immigration controls.

    In October 2022, deportation airline Privilege Style announced it would pull out of the Rwanda deal following strategic campaigning by groups including Freedom from Torture and SOAS Detainee Support. This is an important development and we can learn lessons from the direct action tactics used. Yet campaigns against airlines are continuously being undermined by Air Partner – who, as the Home Office’s deportation fixer, will simply seek others to step in.

    And under the flashing blue lights of a police state, news that an airline will merely be deporting refugees to their countries of origin – however dangerous – rather than to a distant African processing base, might be seen as wonderful news. It isn’t. Instead of becoming accustomed to a dystopian reality, let’s be spurred on by the campaign’s success to put an end to this cruel industry in its entirety.
    Appendix: Air Partner Offices

    Air Partner’s addresses, according to its most recent annual report, are as follows:

    - UK: 2 City Place, Beehive Ring Road, Gatwick, West Sussex RH6 0PA.
    - France: 89/91 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris & 27 Boulevard Saint-Martin, 75003 Paris.
    - Germany: Im Mediapark 5b, 50670 Köln.
    - Italy: Via Valtellina 67, 20159 Milano.
    - Turkey: Halil Rıfatpaşa Mh Yüzer Havuz Sk No.1 Perpa Ticaret Merkezi ABlok Kat.12 No.1773, Istanbul.


    1 Aldrick, Philip. “Worth teaming up with Air Partner”. The Daily Telegraph, October 07, 2004.

    2 “Air Partner makes progress in the face of some strong headwinds”. Proactive Investors UK, August 27, 2021.

    3 Aldrick, Philip. “Worth teaming up with Air Partner”. The Daily Telegraph, October 07, 2004.

    4 Lea, Robert. “Mark Briffa has a new partner in aircraft chartering and isn’t about to fly away”. The Times, April 29, 2022

    5 Ibid.

    6 “AirPartner predicts rise in demand if Gulf war begins”. Flight International, January 14 2003.

    7 “Celebrity status boosts Air Partner”. Yorkshire Post, October 10, 2002.

    8 Baker, Martin. “The coy royal pilot”. The Sunday Telegraph, April 11, 2004.

    9 Hancock, Ciaran. “Air Partner”. Sunday Times, April 10, 2005.

    10 Saker-Clark, Henry. “Repatriation and PPE flights boost Air Partner”. The Herald, May 6, 2020.

    #avions #compagnies_aériennes #Home_Office #UK #Angleterre #renvois #expulsions #business #complexe_militaro-industriel

    via @isskein

  • Les résistances françaises aux vaccinations : continuité et ruptures à la lumière de la pandémie de Covid-19

    Parallèlement aux représentations paternalistes ancrées dans les discours de l’époque [~dernier quart du 19e siècle], de la part des #médecins libéraux, première profession en nombre représentée à la Chambre des députés et au Sénat, la résistance provient en grande partie d’une répulsion de l’intrusion de l’État dans le cadre de leur exercice professionnel. La lecture des négociations à l’Académie de médecine au temps du premier projet de loi d’obligation vaccinale fait apparaître que ce n’est pas tant l’inoculation qui est discutée par les médecins récalcitrants que les enjeux pour la profession médicale. Les médecins sont en effet en quête de légitimité après la dissolution des corporations sous la Monarchie constitutionnelle par la loi Le Chapelier du 14 juin 1791. « Il ne s’agit pas encore de la liberté du citoyen livrée à l’arbitraire de la loi », annonce ouvertement le médecin Jules Guérin, « c’est la liberté du médecin couvrant de sa volonté et de son droit la liberté de son client [...] la #vaccine obligatoire serait donc une atteinte portée à la liberté professionnelle, et une source de conflit perpétuel entre le droit du médecin et l’arbitraire de la loi » [5]. Ces débats s’inscrivent clairement dans un climat d’affirmation corporatiste de la profession médicale puisque dans le même temps est créé le premier syndicat de médecins (1881).

    [...] Les systèmes de santé favorisant l’exercice de la médecine dans un cadre libéral, comme en France, ou au contraire l’extension d’un modèle de soins médicaux publics et la fonctionnarisation des médecins, vers lequel se dirigent alors des pays comme la Suède ou l’Allemagne, impactent le statut social de ces professionnels. Le positionnement social qu’implique le cadre libéral favorise davantage le recrutement politique et de fait l’influence de la profession au sein du Parlement, ce qui n’est ainsi pas sans lien avec le retard français à adopter l’obligation vaccinale. Après plusieurs années de débats houleux, la vaccination antivariolique obligatoire est finalement votée par le Parlement avec la loi du 15 février 1902 consacrant pour la première fois la notion de santé publique.

    • C’est au tournant des années 1950 que l’antivaccinalisme contemporain puise ses sources, porté par certains acteurs de l’agriculture biologique dont les contours politiques ne sont pas si évidents qu’ils le paraissent. La question est importante car l’identification des idéologies politiques véhiculées par les planificateurs de la résistance vaccinale sous-tend les alliances, les stratégies et la portée du mouvement auprès de la population.

      En 1954, Marcel Lemaire crée la Ligue nationale contre les vaccinations obligatoires issue de la fusion de l’Association des parents des victimes des vaccinations, de la revue naturaliste La Vie claire (qui deviendra plus tard une enseigne commerciale pionnière de l’alimentation biologique) et de la ligue Santé et Liberté s’érigeant contre ce qu’elle désigne comme les « dogmes pasteuriens » et comptant dans ses rangs l’homéopathe qui a élaboré l’oscillococcinum®. Un détail qui a son importance car la marginalisation des homéopathes perçus comme des charlatans par le corps médical traditionnel et une partie de la société les amène à chercher des soutiens. Les milieux anti-vaccins ont très tôt saisi cette occasion pour rallier ces adeptes de choix au vu de leur activité professionnelle et de leur influence auprès des patients.

      Avant de participer à la fondation de la Ligue nationale contre les vaccinations obligatoires, la revue La Vie claire diffuse ses convictions naturalistes et végétaliennes et se fait le porte-voix d’une morale conservatrice et nationaliste, dénigrant l’État-providence, le matérialisme, l’effritement de la famille et de la religion, et s’opposant à l’avortement et la contraception au travers de discours portés sur un passé mythifié.

    • En étudiant le discours porté par les publications de La Vie claire, Christine César démontre le basculement de l’idéologie extrême-droitiste de ce pilier de l’agriculture biologique en France vers une idéologie environnementaliste de gauche à partir des années 1970-1980. Cette évolution répond de la labellisation des produits issus de l’agriculture biologique (1981), de la normalisation progressive qui en a découlé et des orientations commerciales consécutives au rejet de la société de consommation prôné par la pensée libertaire soixante-huitarde, l’émergence de l’écologie politique et la diffusion de théories du New Age.

      Ce détour par les liaisons réticulaires entre la Ligue nationale contre les vaccinations obligatoires, la revue La Vie claire et la pensée des pionniers de l’alimentation biologique permet ainsi de comprendre comment l’idéologie antivaccinale a infiltré les courants d’extrême droite avant d’atteindre la pensée environnementaliste de gauche et d’extrême gauche à partir des années 1970.

      C’est assez excellent de lire cet historique en même temps que « Q comme complot » que j’ai enfin presque fini, où Wu Ming 1 démontre en long et en large comment la diffusion du New Age et des fantasmes de complots se sont diffusés dans la gauche après être passé par l’extrême droite, dans les années 70 notamment, partout dans le monde.

      #complotisme #new_age #années_70 #histoire

    • En France, en dehors des déterminants géographiques soulignés plus tôt, il apparaît que les médecins qui respectent le moins les recommandations vaccinales pratiquent généralement un mode d’exercice particulier de type médecine douce (acupuncture, homéopathie), sont plutôt âgés (plus de 60 ans) et, lorsqu’ils ont des enfants, ils les vaccinent peu [Collange et al., 2015], ce qui traduit une cohérence entre leurs comportements professionnels et personnels, ainsi qu’un fort attachement à leurs convictions. À l’opposé, les médecins les plus favorables à la vaccination sont le plus souvent des jeunes femmes, appartenant à un réseau, effectuant un volume d’actes élevé (plus de 15 par jour), conventionnées en secteur 1, accueillant une proportion plus élevée de bénéficiaires de la couverture maladie universelle (CMU) et évoluant dans un cabinet de groupe

      Mais à bas les vieux boomers riches !

    • Si l’on étudie plus attentivement les causes systémiques qui expliquent en partie les différences de perception vaccinale observées entre le Royaume-Uni et la France au cours de la pandémie, on retrouve le rôle crucial de l’architecture du système de santé. Au Royaume-Uni, ce dernier repose sur un modèle beveridgien (ou « universaliste »), du nom de l’économiste britannique Lord Beveridge (1879-1963) qui, en 1942, en a déterminé les caractéristiques selon trois axes : l’universalité de la protection sociale, l’unicité de sa gestion étatique et l’uniformité des prestations. Avec la création du NHS en 1948 par le Labour Party, le gouvernement britannique est le premier à avoir proposé des soins gratuits, financés par l’impôt, à l’ensemble de sa population. Cette institution nationale n’a pas sa pareille dans le monde : avec plus de 1,5 million de salariés, le NHS est le premier employeur britannique et le cinquième plus importants au monde après le département américain de la Défense, l’Armée populaire de libération chinoise, la chaîne de magasins américaine Walmart et le groupe McDonald’s.

      Le système de santé français repose à l’inverse sur un modèle de logique assurantielle dit bismarckien (ou « corporatiste »), en référence au chancelier allemand Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) qui, en 1880, ordonne la dissolution des syndicats par crainte de la montée du parti socialiste tout en cherchant à améliorer les conditions de vie du prolétariat et décide d’institutionnaliser la protection sociale avec la mise en œuvre d’assurances obligatoires pour les personnes accédant à un emploi à partir de 1883. Ce modèle est majoritairement financé par des assurances obligatoires issues de cotisations professionnelles et se caractérise par sa décentralisation. Alors que dans le système français les médecins sont rémunérés sous forme de rétribution mixte à dominante de paiement à l’acte, les médecins généralistes britanniques sont rémunérés par l’État en fonction du nombre de patients inscrits à leurs cabinets, de plus ils doivent remplir des objectifs de santé publique.

      L’enrôlement des médecins libéraux dans des objectifs de santé publique fait particulièrement défaut au système français et peut expliquer les écarts de perception vaccinale avec le Royaume-Uni, notamment du fait de la place du colloque singulier entre patient et médecin dans le secteur libéral où l’attention des prescripteurs est davantage portée sur la conception individuelle de la santé que sur une vision communautaire.


  • Petite sélection de documentaires à voir sur Arte.fr (note partagée — j’y précise les deadlines) #curious_about

    Le monde de Marcel Proust
    https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/096300-000-A/le-monde-de-marcel-proust jusqu’au 16/01/2023 #Marcel_Proust #littérature

    L’incroyable périple de Magellan (4 épisodes)
    https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/RC-023013/l-incroyable-periple-de-magellan https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/093644-001-A/l-incroyable-periple-de-magellan-1-4 jusqu’au 17/01/2023 #Magellan

    Qui a tué l’Empire romain ?
    https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/098123-000-A/qui-a-tue-l-empire-romain jusqu’au 24/01/2023 #Rome_antique #histoire

    Histoire de la #domestication. 1, Des origines au Moyen Âge ; 2, De l’âge industriel à nos jours https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/093643-001-A/histoire-de-la-domestication-1-2 jusqu’au 29/12/2022 #élevage

    #Toutankhamon, le trésor redécouvert
    https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/079391-000-A/toutankhamon-le-tresor-redecouvert jusqu’au 03/01/2023

    Faire l’histoire. L’épopée homérique, ou la popculture antique
    https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/108505-009-A/faire-l-histoire jusqu’au 27/10/2026 #Homère #

    L’origine du #christianisme (10 épisodes). Jésus après Jésus
    https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/029758-001-A/l-origine-du-christianisme-1-10 jusqu’au 3/12/2022

    Léon #Trotsky - Un homme à abattre (vu. Je conseille)
    https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/101948-000-A/leon-trotsky-un-homme-a-abattre jusqu’au 30/12/2025 #stalinisme

    "J’irai cracher sur vos tombes" - Rage, sexe et jazz
    https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/106281-000-A/j-irai-cracher-sur-vos-tombes-rage-sexe-et-jazz jusqu’au 14/01/2023 #Boris_Vian

    "Ulysse" de #James_Joyce. Le roman d’un siècle
    https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/103013-000-A/ulysse-de-james-joyce jusqu’au 19/12/2022

    – (derniers jours !) Petite fille (vu. Magnifique)
    https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/083141-000-A/petite-fille (il reste 2 jours !) #genre #identité_sexuelle

  • Firm managing hotels for UK asylum seekers posts bumper profits

    Three directors of #Clearsprings_Ready_Homes share dividends of almost £28m, as profits rise sixfold

    A company contracted by the UK Home Office to manage hotels and other accommodation for asylum seekers increased its profits more than sixfold last year, with its three directors sharing dividends of almost £28m.

    Clearsprings Ready Homes has a 10-year contract to manage asylum seeker accommodation in England and Wales, a mix of hotel accommodation that the #Home_Office says is costing it more than £5m a day, and shared housing.

    Clearspringsboosted its profits from £4,419,841 to £28,012,487 to the year ending 31 January 2022, with dividends jumping from £7m to £27,987,262.

    It has been reported that the home secretary, Suella Braverman, allowed numbers to increase at Manston, the Home Office’s processing centre in Ramsgate, Kent, instead of moving people to hotels. However, hotel use is still high. Home Office accommodation providers get better terms on their contracts once the asylum seeker population rises above 70,000, as it has been for more than a year.

    Asylum seekers in hotels receive just over £1 a day, £8.24 a week, to buy essentials.

    Clearsprings’ latest annual accounts provide a buoyant financial forecast for the company in its Home Office contract, which runs until September 2029.

    The annual accounts report states: “Demand for accommodation has remained high, contingency including hotels has increased.”

    The reportadds that turnover and operating profits were boosted this year by an increase in the number of people seeking asylum. It says: “The number of arrivals per year is expected to continue at a high level for the foreseeable future. Due to the long-term nature of the contract and the pre-agreed rates the price risk is considered minimal.”

    Graham O’Neill, the policy manager at the Scottish Refugee Council, condemned the steep rise in profits for #Clearsprings and said public money could be better used.

    “The Home Office is effectively passing billions of the Treasury’s monies for asylum accommodation to private bodies with no plan to grip this. Much of this money ends up as bumper profits and dividends for private companies, directors and shareholders.

    “By definition this profit is not going where it should: into good social housing in communities, into local services so they may support refugees and local people. It is blindingly obvious that this is neither sustainable nor in the public interest. We need swift high-quality asylum decisions and public monies for public good into communities; not into private profit and dividends. The new PM [Rishi Sunak] needs to grip this as that is the solution.”

    Clearsprings and Home Office have been approached for comment.


    #business #accueil #privatisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #UK #Angleterre #hôtels #hébergement #dividendes #profit #prix #coût

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • Allons enfants de la Guyane | Éditions Anacharsis

    En #Guyane, pendant des décennies – et aujourd’hui encore à Saint-Georges-de-l’Oyapock –, des #enfants de différentes #communautés_autochtones ont grandi dans des « #homes_indiens », #pensionnats tenus par des #congrégations_catholiques. La politique d’#assimilation_forcée ainsi menée par l’#État_français avec l’appui du #clergé atteste des persistances coloniales dans ce jeune département d’#outre-mer.

    Dans une enquête approfondie mêlant #archives et #témoignages, Hélène Ferrarini lève le voile sur une #histoire jusqu’alors ignorée dans laquelle la parole des anciens #pensionnaires trouve enfin une place.

    #colonisation #livre

  • ‘Crazy invasive technology’ : UK faces legal challenge for GPS tagging of migrants

    A complaint has been filed by the anti-surveillance advocacy group Privacy International against the U.K. #Home_Office, which is rolling out #GPS tracking devices for migrants entering the country through irregular routes. Privacy International says the practice is excessive, unlawful and threatens the fundamental rights to privacy to which everyone in the United Kingdom is entitled.

    “These are just individuals who are seeking a new life in the U.K.,” said Lucie Audibert, a lawyer at Privacy International. “And so the necessity of surveilling them and monitoring in this way is highly questionable, and I question the effectiveness of it as well.”

    The devices, which are bulky ankle bracelets of the same type that have been used in the criminal justice system for decades, monitor migrants’ movements 24/7. Anyone who is on immigration bail in the U.K. can be tagged, for an unlimited amount of time.

    The Home Office unveiled a new 12-month pilot to experiment with tagging people arriving on small boats in June, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson said migrants couldn’t be allowed to simply “vanish” into the country. The Home Office have said they intend to use the tags to stop migrants bound for offshore detention centers in Rwanda from disappearing — despite absconding rates being as low as 1% in 2020, according to a Freedom of Information request by Migrants Organise.

    Privacy International argues that the practice of tagging migrants lacks the proper safeguards that are in place when the devices are used in the criminal justice system. They add that the devices can be inaccurate as well as intrusive. The privacy rights charity filed complaints with the Information Commissioner’s Office and the Forensic Science Regulator.

    Privacy and migration advocates say the Home Office can use the location data to check up on migrants who claim to remain in the U.K. on the basis of family ties with the country — to assess whether they really do visit their relatives. They also say the surveillance measure leaves migrants traumatized, stigmatized and — in some cases — housebound, afraid to engage with the outside world.

    The use of GPS tagging on migrants has already been trialed extensively in the U.S., under a program known as “Alternatives to Detention,” which has been expanded under President Joe Biden. The U.S. government argues that placing people under electronic surveillance is kinder and less brutal than imprisonment, and keeps more people out of immigration detention centers. But immigrants in the U.S. say the tags are dehumanizing.

    “You feel like you’re in prison again,” a U.S. asylum seeker told us in May. He described crying “tears of joy” when the bracelet was removed from his body after three months’ wear.

    The argument that the tags are a humane alternative to detaining migrants has been mirrored in the U.K.’s policy, according to Audibert. But, she says, it’s a false premise: “Every alternative to detention in the criminal justice system has never reduced prison numbers. It has just expanded the size of the population that was controlled.”

    The Home Office recently expanded the criteria for who is eligible to be tagged to include anyone who arrives in the U.K. via irregular routes, such as small boats — a practice which is now a criminal offense in the country. Earlier this month, a report in the Guardian revealed that the Home Office was rolling out new “facial recognition smartwatches” to migrants as a complement to the ankle tags. The smartwatches, though removable, require migrants convicted of a criminal offense to scan their face up to five times per day to ensure they’re still wearing them.

    The Home Office, in a statement, emphasized the tags will be used on “foreign national criminals” but made no mention of its pilot scheme to also tag asylum seekers with GPS ankle bracelets.

    A Home Office spokesperson said: “Since August 2021, the Home Office has successfully tagged over 2,500 foreign criminals, reassuring victims that their perpetrators cannot escape the law and will be removed from the U.K. at the earliest opportunity. Since January 2019, the Government has removed over 10,000 foreign criminals.”

    The use of GPS tracking has severe effects on the mental health of the wearer, according to research by Monish Bhatia, a criminology lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London. He describes, in a report published last year, how many people who are tagged experience it as imprisonment and punishment. They say the tag makes them feel like criminals, and that they have to live with the stigma if their tag is spotted.

    The tag means they’re often reluctant to engage with their community and do everyday activities like playing sport for fear of revealing their tag, and can end up isolating themselves, in a form of self-inflicted house arrest, because they do not want to be tracked.

    Bhatia argued the practice of tagging had no use other than to wield power over asylum seekers and minority groups. “It’s purely for control — and it is discriminatory. I’ve called it racial surveillance on more than a few occasions and I’ll stick with that term to describe this technology,” he said.

    The U.K. has in recent years rolled out a massive program of surveillance and technology to try to deter migrants from crossing the English Channel, at a cost of tens of millions of dollars to the British taxpayer. Audibert described how the GPS policy forms part of this strategy of deterrence and is part of the Home Office’s overall intention to stop migrants from making dangerous journeys across the water in small, fragile vessels.

    “They’re pouring millions of pounds into this crazy invasive technology,” said Audibert, who described how most migrants had no interest in breaching their bail conditions. “It’s criminalizing people that aren’t criminals in the first place.”


    #surveillance #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières #données #données_personnelles #UK #Angleterre #géolocalisation


    Et parallèlement l’Union européenne...
    EU’s Frontex Tripped in Its Plan for ‘Intrusive’ Surveillance of Migrants

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • Moderna : des doses de vaccin passées date peuvent être injectées sans danger Le journal de Montréal - Éric Yvan Lemay

    Ne soyez pas surpris si vous recevez une dose de vaccin Moderna contre la COVID-19, dont la date de péremption est dépassée de quelques semaines. Il n’y a pas d’erreur et c’est sans danger, même si cela peut sembler surprenant.

    Un patient de la Montérégie a ainsi eu toute une surprise le 4 juillet dernier lorsqu’il s’est informé de la date du vaccin qu’il recevait dans une pharmacie de Saint-Lazare, en Montérégie.

    Sans lui dire la date précise, l’infirmière lui a indiqué que le mois de mai était inscrit sur la bouteille.

    « J’ai figé. Je me suis demandé : est-ce que je m’en vais ? », raconte l’homme, qui a finalement accepté la dose.

    Ce qu’il ignorait, c’est que Santé Canada a modifié la durée de conservation du vaccin en janvier dernier. La durée maximale de conservation est passée de sept à neuf mois.

    Jusqu’en août
    Cette nouvelle règle s’applique aussi aux lots qui étaient déjà produits, pourvu que le produit soit conservé à une température oscillant entre -25 °C et -15 °C.

    « Les derniers flacons faisant l’objet de cette prolongation rétroactive de la durée de conservation seront ceux dont la date de péremption imprimée est en août 2022 », peut-on lire dans une note envoyée aux professionnels de la santé par la compagnie Moderna.

    Pour la pharmacienne Sandra Bordus, il n’est pas rare que des lots de médicaments ou de vaccins soient prolongés par le fabricant. 

    « Je n’ai pas du tout de crainte que ce soit moins efficace », dit-elle, précisant que lorsque la date est modifiée, c’est parce que le produit a fait l’objet de vérifications.

    « Il serait inexact de qualifier ces lots de “périmés”, car ils ont été administrés pendant la durée de conservation approuvée », indique de son côté Patricia Gauthier, PDG de Moderna Canada, soulignant que « ces lots de Moderna ont été examinés et approuvés par Santé Canada ».

    Pas de douleurs
    Pour le patient qui a reçu sa dose en juillet dernier, il n’y a toutefois eu aucun effet secondaire. 

    « Je n’ai même pas eu de douleurs au point d’injection, comme lors des premières doses », dit-il, tout en déplorant qu’on ne l’ait pas informé plus tôt que des vaccins périmés pouvaient être administrés sans danger.

    En date du 11 juillet dernier, près de 1,3 million de Québécois avaient reçu leur quatrième dose de vaccin, soit 16 % de la population totale. 

    #moderna #covid-19 #vaccination #sante #vaccins #santé #vaccin #coronavirus #covid #pandémie #sars-cov-2 #santé_publique #foutage_de_gueule

  • Decolonising Asylum ?

    From the outset, I have to warn you, dear reader, that I am not trying to dispute the subject matter of ‘decolonising asylum’ in this short blog but rather raise a fundamental question, thus: How can we ‘decolonise’ our relation with the ‘Other’? Indeed, this represents an invitation for everyone interested to imagine a way of life beyond the mere conventional framing of ‘coloniality’.

    As Professor Nelson Maldonado-Torres has written (caribbeanstudiesassociation.org/docs/Maldonado-Torres_Outline_Ten_Theses-10.23.16.pdf), coloniality is:
    ’the catastrophic transformation of whatever we can consider as human space, time, structure, culture, subjectivity, objectivity, and methodology, into dehumanizing coordinates or foundations that serve to perpetuate the inferiority of some and the superiority of others.’

    Decoloniality is a mode of critique that seeks to understand and challenge these exclusive practices of othering and the hierarchical understanding of the human. As typical subjects of coloniality, refugees and people seeking asylum are often exposed to regimes of othering, bordering and ordering. Thus, countering the persistence of these exclusive practices would necessitate decolonising asylum.

    In a bid to better formulate my question, let me now turn to what I would call ‘the refugee’s triple loss’, or rather, the loss of ‘home’, loss of ‘humanity’, or arguably the worst, loss of ‘hope’. Home is neither a place nor does it necessarily constitute specified persons; it is a relation of sociality – “the self and its relation to the other in time and space”. Involuntarily displaced, the refugee has lost his/her human-to-human connectivity, along with spatial and temporal relations. What this loss of home means in actuality is that refugees are stripped of their capacity for socio-political existence and situatedness in time and place. Once rendered unintelligible, they succumb with total submission to biopolitical and necropolitical b/ordering. This total surrender is epitomised by accompanying apocalyptic imagery of refugees dying at borders, in deserts, in camps, or lost at sea. Indeed, unfortunately they often die in the process of seeking the asylum that they are so often denied systematically.

    In the global order in which we live, the state has assumed the role of policing one’s access to being classified as a human entity. And in this system of b/ordering, the homeless refugee is thrown into the realm of the sub-human. We all know that refugees lose their lives merely to be human. Refugee life is a life lived amid the daily admission of vulnerability and violability. Once they have lost state protection, humanity for the refugees is a condition of impossibility within the frame of coloniality. They are taken hostage in a state of an “incomplete death” as Frantz Fanon famously said. Or, according to Maldonado-Torres, they “live with death and are not even “people””.

    The last point I wish to raise concerns the issue of ‘hope’. Hope remains the most potent force refugees have at their disposal. It is the only means available to them to sustain their survival and aim at effecting change. In that sense, hope is the struggle of the oppressed – one that is propelled into the future. To put it more succinctly, it is a tacit resistance against the ‘coloniality’ of the future and conditions of impossibility for its decolonisation. Losing hope, therefore, is an involuntary admission of coloniality to be the norm of the present and the future. The state reifies this involuntary admission of hopelessness by negating refugees’ humanity, rendering them rightless corporealities.
    I have now briefly introduced what I mean by the refugee’s triple loss. I have also suggested that refugees are rendered homeless, sub-human and hopeless by the very same world order in which we all reside. Here now comes a more fundamental question, thus: If the ‘world-order’ we live in is rendering our fellow human beings politically untilligible and reduces them to sub-humanity, and if it is keeping them hopeless in an impoverished and precarious state of being, then what kind of b/ordering is this? And, most importantly, what can we do about it? Is the right to asylum the only answer?

    Well, asylum might represent a potential response but for success we must inherently decolonise the asylum system itself. We have to imagine beyond the conventional thresholds and parameters set by the state in conjunction with its mutant twins: charity and humanitarianism.

    It is time to accept that neither the granting of declaratory ‘right to remain’ nor the provision of ‘daily bread’ can shake the omnipresence of coloniality.

    We have to think of repairing the losses of home, humanity and hope. These losses cannot be permanent, however institutionalised they might appear to be. Thus, the impermanence of these seemingly permanent losses must be examined and subjected to a permanent disclosure from which possibilities for radical change can be inferred. Furthermore, decolonial work – the work of destroying the conditions of impossibility while also opening multiple possibilities for co-existence – is the ultimate activation of the decolonisation of the notion of asylum.

    I cannot offer a shred of thought, at least for the purposes of this blog, on how decolonising asylum can be achieved at empirical, conceptual, or, indeed, policy levels. I therefore leave the question open for the more inquisitive among us through the most tremendous tool in our possession: imagination. I wish to orient the question as an invitation for a ‘decolonial turn’, which according to Maldonado-Torres, is “the definitive entry of enslaved and colonized subjectivities into a realm of thought at before unknown institutional levels”.


    #colonialité #décolonial #décolonisation #asile #réfugiés #migrations #colonialité #alterité #home #b/ordering #espoir


    ping @isskein @karine4

  • Asylum seekers will be put in huge holding centres that can house up to 8,000 applicants under #Home_Office plans

    - Home Secretary #Priti_Patel wants to deter asylum seekers crossing the Channel
    - More than 10,000 migrants have already arrived via the Channel this year
    - A record 482 migrants made the 21-mile journey in a single day last week
    - Ms Patel wants to house asylum seekers in centres with up to 8,000 people


    #UK #Angleterre #centres_pour_réfugiés #centres_fermés #asile #migrations #réfugiés #New_Plan_for_Immigration #plan #encampement

  • Rechts-FAQ: Mobiles Arbeiten

    1.8.2021 - von Christian Wölbert

    Durch Corona ist das Arbeiten zu Hause alltäglich geworden. Aber gibt es ein Recht darauf? Darf man auch aus dem Ausland arbeiten? Macht es einen Unterschied, ob man „mobil arbeitet“ oder ob man im „Homeoffice“ ist? Wir geben einen Überblick über die Rechtsgrundlagen.
    Homeoffice vs. Mobilarbeit

    Was ist rechtlich gesehen eigentlich der Unterschied zwischen Homeoffice und mobilem Arbeiten?

    Gesetzlich ist keiner dieser beiden Begriffe definiert. In der Praxis sprechen die meisten Unternehmen von „mobilem Arbeiten“, wenn Beschäftigte irgendwo außerhalb des Büros arbeiten. Das kann auch zu Hause sein, also im Homeoffice.

    Den Begriff Homeoffice vermeiden viele Unternehmen, weil er leicht mit „Telearbeit“ verwechselt werden kann, einer Arbeitsform mit strengen rechtlichen Anforderungen: Vereinbart ein Unternehmen mit einem Angestellten Telearbeit, muss es laut der Arbeitsstättenverordnung die nötigen Möbel und die technische Ausstattung finanzieren und „im Privatbereich des Beschäftigten“ installieren.
    Pflicht ausgelaufen

    Gibt es eigentlich einen Rechtsanspruch auf Homeoffice oder mobiles Arbeiten?

    In Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz haben Arbeitnehmer keinen solchen Rechtsanspruch, abgesehen von temporären Regeln in der Coronazeit. Laut der deutschen Gewerbeordnung darf der Arbeitgeber „Inhalt, Ort und Zeit der Arbeitsleistung nach billigem Ermessen näher bestimmen“, soweit in Arbeits- oder Tarifverträgen oder Betriebsvereinbarungen nichts Bestimmtes vereinbart ist. Aufgrund der Coronapandemie hatte die Bundesregierung die Arbeitgeber nur vorübergehend verpflichtet, ihren Beschäftigten anzubieten, „in deren Wohnung“ zu arbeiten. Diese Regel lief Ende Juni 2021 aus.

    In den Koalitionsverhandlungen nach der Bundestagswahl wird wohl wieder über das Thema diskutiert werden. Dass dabei ein Rechtsanspruch herauskommt, ist aber unwahrscheinlich. 2020 lehnte die Union bereits einen Vorschlag von Arbeitsminister Hubertus Heil (SPD) ab, einen Anspruch auf mindestens 24 Tage im Jahr zu schaffen. Nun fordert Heil nur noch, dass Arbeitgeber mit ihren Beschäftigten den Wunsch nach mobiler Arbeit erörtern und eine Ablehnung schriftlich begründen müssen.

    Doch fehlender Rechtsanspruch hin oder her: In der Praxis erlauben trotzdem immer mehr Firmen mobiles Arbeiten.
    Hauptsache, produktiv

    Mein Arbeitgeber erlaubt „mobiles Arbeiten“. Heißt das, ich darf nun überall arbeiten, wo ich möchte?

    In vielen Unternehmen regeln Betriebsvereinbarungen die Details des mobilen Arbeitens individuell, in manchen finden sich auch Aussagen zu möglichen Arbeitsorten. Falls der Arbeitgeber mobile Arbeit erlaubt, ohne solche Details vorzugeben, dürfen Beschäftigte nach herrschender Rechtsmeinung grundsätzlich frei wählen, müssen aber Bedingungen beachten: „Man muss bei der Wahl des Arbeitsortes seine Arbeitsfähigkeit und Erreichbarkeit sicherstellen“, fasst Martina Hidalgo, Leiterin des Bereichs Arbeitsrecht bei der Kanzlei CMS, im Gespräch mit c’t zusammen. Außerdem müsse man sonstige Pflichten wie die Wahrung der Vertraulichkeit oder den Datenschutz beachten. „An öffentlichen Orten wie Cafés kann man kaum ausschließen, dass fremde Personen Telefonate mithören oder Bildschirminhalte einsehen.“

    Ähnlich sieht der Deutsche Gewerkschaftsbund (DGB) die Rechtslage: Die Umstände vor Ort müssten „eine ordnungsgemäße Leistungserbringung ermöglichen“, erklärte eine Sprecherin auf Anfrage. „Unter dieser Voraussetzung geht es aber den Arbeitgeber nichts an, ob Beschäftigte ihr Homeoffice in ihre Stadtwohnung oder im Ferienhaus im Umland einrichten.“

    Auch die Entfernung zum Büro kann in der Praxis eine Rolle spielen, denn häufig gestatten Firmen das mobile Arbeiten nur nach Absprache für einzelne Tage. Wird für den nächsten Tag spontan ein Termin im Büro angeordnet, zählt die Ausrede nicht, dass man gerade in einer Ferienwohnung im Allgäu weilt. „Der Arbeitgeber behält im Regelfall das Direktionsrecht, auch wenn er eine gewisse Flexibilität gestattet“, erklärt Hidalgo.
    Spezialfall Ausland

    Darf ich auch von meiner Ferienwohnung auf Mallorca aus mobil arbeiten?

    Auch wenn der Strand lockt: Im Ausland dürfen Angestellte nur arbeiten, wenn der Arbeitgeber explizit im Einzelfall zustimmt. Denn das Arbeiten vom Ausland aus hat komplexe sozialversicherungsrechtliche und steuerrechtliche Konsequenzen – nicht nur für den Arbeitnehmer, auch für den Arbeitgeber.

    Bei TUI heißt die Mischung aus Urlaub und Homeoffice „Workation“. Wer aus dem Ausland heraus arbeiten will, braucht jedoch grünes Licht vom Arbeitgeber.

    (Bild: tui.com)

    Kann ich die Kosten für Laptop, Monitor & Co. von der Steuer absetzen?

    Im Winter sind neue Steuerregeln fürs Homeoffice in Kraft getreten, diese gelten aber nicht fürs Arbeiten unterwegs: Für jeden Tag, den man „in der häuslichen Wohnung“ arbeitet, kann man bei der Steuererklärung 5 Euro geltend machen. Der Betrag ist auf 600 Euro im Jahr begrenzt, und er wird vom Finanzamt in den allgemeinen Arbeitnehmer-Pauschbetrag von 1000 Euro eingerechnet. Man profitiert also nur, wenn man mehr als 400 Euro an sonstigen Werbungskosten hat. Die Regel gilt zunächst befristet für die Steuererklärungen 2020 und 2021. Arbeitsmittel wie Notebooks, Headsets, Webcams oder Schreibtische kann man ebenfalls als Werbungskosten absetzen, wobei man schätzen muss, zu wie viel Prozent man diese Dinge beruflich nutzt. Computer, Peripherie und Software kann man seit 2021 grundsätzlich auf einen Schlag absetzen. Bei anderen Arbeitsmitteln ist es komplizierter: Übersteigt der Kaufpreis 952 Euro, muss man über mehrere Jahre abschreiben.
    Risikozone Arbeitszimmer

    Wer zahlt bei Unfällen?

    Bei allen Unfällen im Büro springt die gesetzliche Unfallversicherung ein. Im Homeoffice und unterwegs ist es komplizierter: Versichert sind dort nur Unfälle bei Tätigkeiten, die betrieblichen Interessen dienen, also zum Beispiel der Weg zum Drucker. Stürzt man hingegen auf dem Weg zur Kaffeemaschine in der Küche, ist die Unfallversicherung laut einem Urteil des Bundessozialgerichts nicht zuständig. Auch der Weg zwischen Kindergarten und Homeoffice ist nicht versichert – anders als der Abstecher zum Kindergarten auf dem Weg ins Büro. Arbeitsminister Hubertus Heil hat einen Gesetzentwurf vorgelegt, der diese Ungleichheit beseitigen soll. Über dieses Gesetz wird wegen der Bundestagswahlen aber wohl erst im nächsten Jahr im Bundestag diskutiert werden.

    #Arbeit #Recht #Homeoffice

    • Trigger Warnings | Centre for Teaching Excellence

      A trigger warning is a statement made prior to sharing potentially disturbing content. That content might include graphic references to topics such as #sexual_abuse, #self-harm, #violence, #eating_disorders, and so on, and can take the form of an #image, #video_clip, #audio_clip, or piece of #text. In an #academic_context, the #instructor delivers these messages in order to allow students to prepare emotionally for the content or to decide to forgo interacting with the content.

      Proponents of trigger warnings contend that certain course content can impact the #wellbeing and #academic_performance of students who have experienced corresponding #traumas in their own lives. Such students might not yet be ready to confront a personal #trauma in an academic context. They choose to #avoid it now so that they can deal with it more effectively at a later date – perhaps after they have set up necessary #resources, #supports, or #counselling. Other students might indeed be ready to #confront a personal trauma in an academic context but will benefit from a #forewarning of certain topics so that they can brace themselves prior to (for example) participating in a #classroom discussion about it. Considered from this perspective, trigger warnings give students increased #autonomy over their learning, and are an affirmation that the instructor #cares about their wellbeing.

      However, not everyone agrees that trigger warnings are #necessary or #helpful. For example, some fear that trigger warnings unnecessarily #insulate students from the often harsh #realities of the world with which academics need to engage. Others are concerned that trigger warnings establish a precedent of making instructors or universities legally #responsible for protecting students from #emotional_trauma. Still others argue that it is impossible to anticipate all the topics that might be potentially triggering for students.

      Trigger warnings do not mean that students can exempt themselves from completing parts of the coursework. Ideally, a student who is genuinely concerned about being #re-traumatized by forthcoming course content would privately inform the instructor of this concern. The instructor would then accommodate the student by proposing #alternative_content or an alternative learning activity, as with an accommodation necessitated by a learning disability or physical disability.

      The decision to preface potentially disturbing content with a trigger warning is ultimately up to the instructor. An instructor who does so might want to include in the course syllabus a preliminary statement (also known as a “#content_note”), such as the following:

      Our classroom provides an open space for the critical and civil exchange of ideas. Some readings and other content in this course will include topics that some students may find offensive and/or traumatizing. I’ll aim to #forewarn students about potentially disturbing content and I ask all students to help to create an #atmosphere of #mutual_respect and #sensitivity.

      Prior to introducing a potentially disturbing topic in class, an instructor might articulate a #verbal_trigger_warning such as the following:

      Next class our discussion will probably touch on the sexual assault that is depicted in the second last chapter of The White Hotel. This content is disturbing, so I encourage you to prepare yourself emotionally beforehand. If you believe that you will find the discussion to be traumatizing, you may choose to not participate in the discussion or to leave the classroom. You will still, however, be responsible for material that you miss, so if you leave the room for a significant time, please arrange to get notes from another student or see me individually.

      A version of the foregoing trigger warning might also preface written materials:

      The following reading includes a discussion of the harsh treatment experienced by First Nations children in residential schools in the 1950s. This content is disturbing, so I encourage everyone to prepare themselves emotionally before proceeding. If you believe that the reading will be traumatizing for you, then you may choose to forgo it. You will still, however, be responsible for material that you miss, so please arrange to get notes from another student or see me individually.

      Trigger warnings, of course, are not the only answer to disturbing content. Instructional #strategies such as the following can also help students approach challenging material:

      – Give your students as much #advance_notice as possible about potentially disturbing content. A day’s notice might not be enough for a student to prepare emotionally, but two weeks might be.

      – Try to “scaffold” a disturbing topic to students. For example, when beginning a history unit on the Holocaust, don’t start with graphic photographs from Auschwitz. Instead, begin by explaining the historical context, then verbally describe the conditions within the concentration camps, and then introduce the photographic record as needed. Whenever possible, allow students to progress through upsetting material at their own pace.

      – Allow students to interact with disturbing material outside of class. A student might feel more vulnerable watching a documentary about sexual assault while in a classroom than in the security of his or her #home.

      – Provide captions when using video materials: some content is easier to watch while reading captions than while listening to the audio.

      – When necessary, provide written descriptions of graphic images as a substitute for the actual visual content.

      – When disturbing content is under discussion, check in with your students from time to time: #ask them how they are doing, whether they need a #break, and so on. Let them know that you are aware that the material in question is emotionally challenging.

      – Advise students to be #sensitive to their classmates’ #vulnerabilities when they are preparing class presentations.

      – Help your students understand the difference between emotional trauma and #intellectual_discomfort: the former is harmful, as is triggering it in the wrong context (such as in a classroom rather than in therapy); the latter is fundamental to a university education – it means our ideas are being challenged as we struggle to resolve cognitive dissonance.


    • Why Trigger Warnings Don’t Work

      Because trauma #survivors’ #memories are so specific, increasingly used “trigger warnings” are largely #ineffective.

      Fair warning labels at the beginning of movie and book reviews alert the reader that continuing may reveal critical plot points that spoil the story. The acronym NSFW alerts those reading emails or social media posts that the material is not suitable for work. The Motion Picture Association of America provides film ratings to advise about content so that moviegoers can make informed entertainment choices for themselves and their children.

      Enter stage right: Trigger warning.

      A trigger warning, most often found on #social_media and internet sites, alerts the reader that potentially upsetting information may follow. The words trigger warning are often followed by a subtitle such as *Trigger warning: This may be triggering to those who have struggled with _________. Fill in the blank. #Domestic_abuse. #Rape. #Body_image. #Needles. #Pregnancy.

      Trigger warnings have become prevalent online since about 2012. Victim advocate Gayle Crabtree reports that they were in use as early as 1996 in chat rooms she moderated. “We used the words ‘trigger warning,’ ‘#tw,’ ‘#TW,’ and ‘trigger’ early on. …This meant the survivor could see the warning and then decide if she or he wanted to scroll down for the message or not.” Eventually, trigger warnings spread to social media sites including #Tumblr, #Twitter, and #Facebook.

      The term seems to have originated from the use of the word “trigger” to indicate something that cues a #physiological_response, the way pollen may trigger an allergy attack. A trigger in a firearm is a lever that activates the sequence of firing a gun, so it is not surprising that the word was commandeered by those working in the field of #psychology to indicate objects and sensations that cause neurological firing in the brain, which in turn cause #feelings and #thoughts to occur.

      Spoiler alerts allow us to enjoy the movie or book as it unfolds without being influenced by knowledge about what comes next. The NSFW label helps employees comply with workplace policies that prohibit viewing sexually explicit or profane material. Motion picture ratings enable viewers to select movies they are most likely to find entertaining. Trigger warnings, on the other hand, are “designed to prevent people who have an extremely strong and damaging emotional response… to certain subjects from encountering them unaware.”

      Say what?

      Say hogwash!

      Discussions about trigger warnings have made headlines in the New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, the New Republic, and various other online and print publications. Erin Dean writes that a trigger “is not something that offends one, troubles one, or angers one; it is something that causes an extreme involuntary reaction in which the individual re-experiences past trauma.”

      For those individuals, it is probably true that coming across material that reminds them of a traumatic event is going to be disturbing. Dean’s definition refers to involuntary fear and stress responses common in individuals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder characterized by intrusive memories, thoughts, or dreams; intense distress at cues that remind the individual of the event; and reactivity to situations, people, or objects that symbolize the event. PTSD can result from personal victimization, accidents, incarceration, natural disasters, or any unexpected injury or threat of injury or death. Research suggests that it results from a combination of genetic predisposition, fear conditioning, and neural and physiological responses that incorporate the body systems and immunological responses. Current theories suggest that PTSD represents “the failure to recover from the normal effects of trauma.” In other words, anyone would be adversely affected by trauma, but natural mechanisms for healing take place in the majority of individuals. The prevalence of PTSD ranges from 1.9 percent in Europe to 3.5 percent in the United States.

      The notion that trigger warnings should be generalized to all social media sites, online journals, and discussion boards is erroneous.

      Some discussions have asserted that because between one in four and one in five women have been sexually abused, trigger warnings are necessary to protect vast numbers of victims from being re-traumatized. However, research shows that the majority of trauma-exposed persons do not develop PTSD. This does not mean they aren’t affected by trauma, but that they do not develop clinically significant symptoms, distress, or impairment in daily functioning. The notion that trigger warnings should be generalized to all social media sites, online journals, and discussion boards is erroneous. Now some students are pushing for trigger warnings on college class syllabi and reading lists.

      But what?


      But wait, before people get all riled up, I’d like to say that yes, I have experienced trauma in my life.

      I wore a skirt the first time George hit me. I know this because I remember scrunching my skirt around my waist and balancing in heels while I squatted over a hole in the concrete floor to take a piss. We were in Tijuana. The stench of excrement made my stomach queasy with too much tequila. I wanted to retch.

      We returned to our hotel room. I slid out of my blouse and skirt. He stripped to nothing and lay on the double bed. He was drinking Rompope from the bottle, a kind of Mexican eggnog: strong, sweet, and marketed for its excellent spunk. It’s a thick yellow rum concoction with eggs, sugar, and almond side notes. George wanted to have sex. We bickered and argued as drunks sometimes do. I said something — I know this because I always said something — and he hit me. He grabbed me by the hair and hit me again. “We’re going dancing,” he said.

      “I don’t feel like dancing — “

      “Fine. Stay.”

      The world was tilting at an angle I didn’t recognize. The mathematician Matt Tweed writes that atoms are made up of almost completely empty space. To grasp the vast nothingness, he asks the reader to imagine a cat twirling a bumblebee on the end of a half-mile long string. That’s how much emptiness there is between the nucleus and the electron. There was more space than that between George and me. I remember thinking: I am in a foreign country. I don’t speak Spanish. I have no money. We went dancing.

      Labeling a topic or theme is useless because of the way our brains work. The labels that we give trauma (assault, sexual abuse, rape) are not the primary source of triggers. Memories are, and not just memories, but very specific, insidious, and personally individualized details lodged in our brain at the time of the trauma encoded as memory. Details can include faces, places, sounds, smells, tastes, voices, body positions, time of day, or any other sensate qualities that were present during a traumatic incident.

      If I see a particular shade of yellow or smell a sickly sweet rum drink, I’m reminded of my head being yanked by someone who held a handful of my hair in his fist. A forest green Plymouth Duster (the car we drove) will too. The word assault does not. The words domestic violence don’t either. The specificity of details seared in my mind invokes memory.

      Last year a driver slammed into the back of my car on the freeway. The word tailgate is not a trigger. Nor is the word accident. The flash of another car suddenly encroaching in my rearview mirror is. In my mid-20s, I drove my younger sister (sobbing, wrapped in a bed sheet) to the hospital where two male officers explained they were going to pluck her pubic hair for a rape kit. When I see tweezers in a hospital, I flash back to that awful moment. For my sister, other things may be triggers: the moonlight shining on the edge of a knife. The shadow of a person back lit in a doorway. An Hispanic man’s accent. If we were going to insist on trigger warnings that work, they would need to look something like this:

      Trigger warning: Rompope.

      Trigger warning: a woman wrapped in a bed sheet.

      Trigger warning: the blade of a knife.

      The variability of human #perception and traumatic recall makes it impossible to provide the necessary specificity for trigger warnings to be effective. The nature of specificity is, in part, one reason that treatment for traumatic memories involves safely re-engaging with the images that populate the survivor’s memory of the event. According to Dr. Mark Beuger, an addiction psychiatrist at Deerfield Behavioral Health of Warren (PA), the goal of PTSD treatment is “to allow for processing of the traumatic experience without becoming so emotional that processing is impossible.” By creating a coherent narrative of the past event through telling and retelling the story to a clinician, survivors confront their fears and gain mastery over their thoughts and feelings.

      If a survivor has had adequate clinical support, they could engage online with thoughts or ideas that previously had been avoided.

      According to the National Center for Health, “#Avoidance is a maladaptive #control_strategy… resulting in maintenance of perceived current threat. In line with this, trauma-focused treatments stress the role of avoidance in the maintenance of PTSD. Prolonged exposure to safe but anxiety-provoking trauma-related stimuli is considered a treatment of choice for PTSD.” Avoidance involves distancing oneself from cues, reminders, or situations that remind one of the event that can result in increased #social_withdrawal. Trigger warnings increase social withdrawal, which contributes to feelings of #isolation. If a survivor who suffers from PTSD has had adequate clinical support, they could engage online with thoughts or ideas that previously had been avoided. The individual is in charge of each word he or she reads. At any time, one may close a book or click a screen shut on the computer. What is safer than that? Conversely, trigger warnings perpetuate avoidance. Because the intrusive memories and thoughts are internal, trigger warnings suggest, “Wait! Don’t go here. I need to protect you from yourself.”

      The argument that trigger warnings help to protect those who have suffered trauma is false. Most people who have experienced trauma do not require preemptive protection. Some may argue that it would be kind to avoid causing others distress with upsetting language and images. But is it? Doesn’t it sometimes take facing the horrific images encountered in trauma to effect change in ourselves and in the world?

      A few weeks ago, I came across a video about Boko Haram’s treatment of a kidnapped schoolgirl. The girl was blindfolded. A man was digging a hole in dry soil. It quickly became evident, as he ushered the girl into the hole, that this would not end well. I felt anxious as several men began shoveling soil in around her while she spoke to them in a language I could not understand. I considered clicking away as my unease and horror grew. But I also felt compelled to know what happened to this girl. In the 11-minute video, she is buried up to her neck.

      All the while, she speaks to her captors, who eventually move out of the frame of the scene. Rocks begin pelting the girl’s head. One after the other strikes her as I stared, horrified, until finally, her head lay motionless at an angle that could only imply death. That video (now confirmed to be a stoning in Somalia rather than by Boko Haram) forever changed my level of concern about young girls kidnapped in other countries.

      We are changed by what we #witness. Had the video contained a trigger warning about gruesome death, I would not have watched it. Weeks later, I would have been spared the rush of feelings I felt when a friend posted a photo of her daughter playfully buried by her brothers in the sand. I would have been spared knowing such horrors occur. But would the world be a better place for my not knowing? Knowledge helps us prioritize our responsibilities in the world. Don’t we want engaged, knowledgeable citizens striving for a better world?

      Recently, the idea of trigger warnings has leapt the gulch between social media and academic settings. #Universities are dabbling with #policies that encourage professors to provide trigger warnings for their classes because of #complaints filed by students. Isn’t the syllabus warning enough? Can’t individual students be responsible for researching the class content and reading #materials before they enroll? One of the benefits of broad exposure to literature and art in education is Theory of Mind, the idea that human beings have the capacity to recognize and understand that other people have thoughts and desires that are different from one’s own. Do we want #higher_education to comprise solely literature and ideas that feel safe to everyone? Could we even agree on what that would be?

      Art occurs at the intersection of experience and danger. It can be risky, subversive, and offensive. Literature encompasses ideas both repugnant and redemptive. News about very difficult subjects is worth sharing. As writers, don’t we want our readers to have the space to respond authentically to the story? As human beings, don’t we want others to understand that we can empathize without sharing the same points of view?

      Trigger warnings fail to warn us of the very things that might cause us to remember our trauma. They insulate. They cause isolation. A trigger warning says, “Be careful. This might be too much for you.” It says, “I don’t trust you can handle it.” As a reader, that’s not a message I want to encounter. As a writer, that is not the message I want to convey.

      Trigger warnings?



    • Essay on why a professor is adding a trigger warning to his #syllabus

      Trigger warnings in the classroom have been the subject of tremendous #debate in recent weeks, but it’s striking how little the discussion has contemplated what actual trigger warnings in actual classrooms might plausibly look like.

      The debate began with demands for trigger warnings by student governments with no power to compel them and suggestions by #administrators (made and retracted) that #faculty consider them. From there the ball was picked up mostly by observers outside higher ed who presented various #arguments for and against, and by professors who repudiated the whole idea.

      What we haven’t heard much of so far are the voices of professors who are sympathetic to the idea of such warnings talking about what they might look like and how they might operate.

      As it turns out, I’m one of those professors, and I think that discussion is long overdue. I teach history at Hostos Community College of the City University of New York, and starting this summer I’m going to be including a trigger warning in my syllabus.

      I’d like to say a few things about why.

      An Alternative Point of View

      To start off, I think it’s important to be clear about what trigger warnings are, and what purpose they’re intended to serve. Such warnings are often framed — and not just by critics — as a “you may not want to read this” notice, one that’s directed specifically at survivors of trauma. But their actual #purpose is considerably broader.

      Part of the confusion arises from the word “trigger” itself. Originating in the psychological literature, the #term can be misleading in a #non-clinical context, and indeed many people who favor such warnings prefer to call them “#content_warnings” for that reason. It’s not just trauma survivors who may be distracted or derailed by shocking or troubling material, after all. It’s any of us, and a significant part of the distraction comes not from the material itself but from the context in which it’s presented.

      In the original cut of the 1933 version of the film “King Kong,” there was a scene (depicting an attack by a giant spider) that was so graphic that the director removed it before release. He took it out, it’s said, not because of concerns about excessive violence, but because the intensity of the scene ruined the movie — once you saw the sailors get eaten by the spider, the rest of the film passed by you in a haze.

      A similar concern provides a big part of the impetus for content warnings. These warnings prepare the reader for what’s coming, so their #attention isn’t hijacked when it arrives. Even a pleasant surprise can be #distracting, and if the surprise is unpleasant the distraction will be that much more severe.

      I write quite a bit online, and I hardly ever use content warnings myself. I respect the impulse to provide them, but in my experience a well-written title and lead paragraph can usually do the job more effectively and less obtrusively.

      A classroom environment is different, though, for a few reasons. First, it’s a shared space — for the 75 minutes of the class session and the 15 weeks of the semester, we’re pretty much all #stuck with one another, and that fact imposes #interpersonal_obligations on us that don’t exist between writer and reader. Second, it’s an interactive space — it’s a #conversation, not a monologue, and I have a #responsibility to encourage that conversation as best I can. Finally, it’s an unpredictable space — a lot of my students have never previously encountered some of the material we cover in my classes, or haven’t encountered it in the way it’s taught at the college level, and don’t have any clear sense of what to expect.

      For all these reasons, I’ve concluded that it would be sound #pedagogy for me to give my students notice about some of the #challenging_material we’ll be covering in class — material relating to racial and sexual oppression, for instance, and to ethnic and religious conflict — as well as some information about their rights and responsibilities in responding to it. Starting with the summer semester, as a result, I’ll be discussing these issues during the first class meeting and including a notice about them in the syllabus.

      My current draft of that notice reads as follows:

      Course Content Note

      At times this semester we will be discussing historical events that may be disturbing, even traumatizing, to some students. If you ever feel the need to step outside during one of these discussions, either for a short time or for the rest of the class session, you may always do so without academic penalty. (You will, however, be responsible for any material you miss. If you do leave the room for a significant time, please make arrangements to get notes from another student or see me individually.)

      If you ever wish to discuss your personal reactions to this material, either with the class or with me afterwards, I welcome such discussion as an appropriate part of our coursework.

      That’s it. That’s my content warning. That’s all it is.

      I should say as well that nothing in these two paragraphs represents a change in my teaching practice. I have always assumed that if a student steps out of the classroom they’ve got a good reason, and I don’t keep tabs on them when they do. If a student is made uncomfortable by something that happens in class, I’m always glad when they come talk to me about it — I’ve found we usually both learn something from such exchanges. And of course students are still responsible for mastering all the course material, just as they’ve always been.

      So why the note, if everything in it reflects the rules of my classroom as they’ve always existed? Because, again, it’s my job as a professor to facilitate class discussion.

      A few years ago one of my students came to talk to me after class, distraught. She was a student teacher in a New York City junior high school, working with a social studies teacher. The teacher was white, and almost all of his students were, like my student, black. That week, she said, one of the classes had arrived at the point in the semester given over to the discussion of slavery, and at the start of the class the teacher had gotten up, buried his nose in his notes, and started into the lecture without any introduction. The students were visibly upset by what they were hearing, but the teacher just kept going until the end of the period, at which point he finished the lecture, put down his papers, and sent them on to math class.

      My student was appalled. She liked these kids, and she could see that they were hurting. They were angry, they were confused, and they had been given nothing to do with their #emotions. She asked me for advice, and I had very little to offer, but I left our meeting thinking that it would have been better for the teacher to have skipped that material entirely than to have taught it the way he did.

      History is often ugly. History is often troubling. History is often heartbreaking. As a professor, I have an #obligation to my students to raise those difficult subjects, but I also have an obligation to raise them in a way that provokes a productive reckoning with the material.

      And that reckoning can only take place if my students know that I understand that this material is not merely academic, that they are coming to it as whole people with a wide range of experiences, and that the journey we’re going on #together may at times be #painful.

      It’s not coddling them to acknowledge that. In fact, it’s just the opposite.


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