• Numéro spécial de la #revue Society and Space autour des #hotspots
    "Governing Hotspots"

    Articles in this issue:

    Governing mobility in times of crisis: Practicing the border and embodying resistance in and beyond the hotspot infrastructure

    Five years into its implementation, those arriving and caught up in the hotspot system are still being warehoused where they are not wanted, pushed back to where they came from and constantly moved around at will. With the introduction of fast track asylum procedures and geographical movement restrictions on the islands, hotspots have become spaces where exceptional rules apply and where mobility is explicitly targeted.

    By Antonis Vradis, Evie Papada, Anna Papoutsi, Joe Painter

    #mobilité #frontière #résistance #îles

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    Hotspots and the geographies of humanitarianism

    This article focuses on the humanitarian geographies of the hotspots. It argues that hotspots are humanitarian in both idea and practice by raising two fundamental questions that form the basis for the article: what is humanitarianism, and who is it for?

    By Polly Pallister-Wilkins

    #humanitarisme

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    Containment beyond detention: The hotspot system and disrupted migration movements across Europe

    This article deals with the ways in which migrants are controlled, contained and selected after landing in Italy and in Greece, drawing attention to strategies of containment aimed at disciplining mobility and showing how they are not narrowed to detention infrastructures.

    By Martina Tazzioli, Glenda Garelli

    #Italie #containment #détention

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    Pop-up governance: Transforming the management of migrant populations through humanitarian and security practices in #Lesbos, Greece, 2015–2017

    This paper intervenes in recent debates on humanitarianism and security in migration by introducing the notion of ‘pop-up governance’. It reflects on our two year-long fieldwork on Lesbos, Greece at the peak of Europe’s migrant reception crisis (2015–2017).

    By Evie Papada, Anna Papoutsi, Joe Painter, Antonis Vradis

    #sécurité

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    Hotspot geopolitics versus geosocial solidarity: Contending constructions of safe space for migrants in Europe

    This article examines how contending constructions of safe space for migrants reflect the geopoliticization of humanitarianism and its geosocial discontents. It documents the ways in which Hotspots have made migrants unsafe, even as they have been simultaneously justified in humanitarian terms as making both Europe and refugees safer.

    By Katharyne Mitchell, Matthew Sparke

    #solidarité #safe_space

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    Hotspots of resistance in a bordered reality

    Drawing on ethnographic research and discourse analysis, conducted in Lesvos, Samos, and Athens (from March to September 2016), we examine how resistance to a bordered reality took place, as islands in the north Aegean, as well as Greek and European territories, were being remapped according to the logic of the hotspot.

    By Aila Spathopoulou, Anna Carastathis

    #Samos #Athènes

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    To oblivion and beyond: Imagining infrastructure after collapse

    Following Lauren Berlant and Dominic Boyer, we take the current moment as an opportunity to reconsider infrastructure and to work toward a perspective that would see it as a resource from which to construct more creative and equitable futures.

    By Daniel Carter, Amelia Acker

    https://www.societyandspace.org/journal-issues/volume-38-issue-6

  • The Frontier Within: The European Border Regime in the Balkans

    In the summer of 2015, the migratory route across the Balkans »entered into the European spotlight, and indeed onto the screen of the global public« (Kasparek 2016: 2), triggering different interpretations and responses. Contrary to the widespread framing of the mass movement of people seeking refuge in Europe as ›crisis‹ and ›emergency‹ of unseen proportions, we opt for the perspective of »the long Summer of Migration« (Kasparek/Speer 2015) and an interpretation that regards it as »a historic and monumental year of migration for Europe precisely because disobedient mass mobilities have disrupted the European regime of border control« (Stierl/Heller/de Genova 2016: 23). In reaction to the disobedient mass mobilities of people, a state-tolerated and even state-organized transit of people, a »formalized corridor« (Beznec/Speer/Stojić Mitrović 2016), was gradually established. To avoid the concentration of unwanted migrants on their territory, countries along the route—sometimes in consultation with their neighboring countries and EU member states, sometimes simply by creating facts—strived to regain control over the movements by channeling and isolating them by means of the corridor (see e.g. Hameršak/Pleše 2018; Speer 2017; Tošić 2017). »Migrants didn’t travel the route any more: they were hurriedly channeled along, no longer having the power to either determine their own movement or their own speed« (Kasparek 2016). The corridor, at the same time, facilitated and tamed the movement of people. In comparison to the situation in Serbia, where migrants were loosely directed to follow the path of the corridor (see e.g. Beznec/Speer/Stojić Mitrović 2016; Greenberg/Spasić 2017; Kasparek 2016: 6), migrants in other states like North Macedonia, Croatia, and Slovenia were literally in the corridor’s power, i.e. forced to follow the corridor (see Hameršak/Pleše 2018; Beznec/Speer/Stojić Mitrović 2016; Chudoska Blazhevska/Flores Juberías 2016: 231–232; Kogovšek Šalamon 2016: 44–47; Petrović 2018). The corridor was operative in different and constantly changing modalities until March 2016. Since then, migration through the Balkan region still takes place, with migrants struggling on a daily basis with the diverse means of tightened border controls that all states along the Balkan route have been practicing since.

    This movements issue wants to look back on these events in an attempt to analytically make sense of them and to reflect on the historical rupture of the months of 2015 and 2016. At the same time, it tries to analyze the ongoing developments of bordering policies and the struggles of migration. It assembles a broad range of articles reaching from analytical or research based papers shedding light on various regional settings and topics, such as the massive involvement of humanitarian actors or the role of camp infrastructures, to more activist-led articles reflecting on the different phases and settings of pro-migrant struggles and transnational solidarity practices. In an attempt to better understand the post-2015 border regime, the issue furthermore presents analyses of varying political technologies of bordering that evolved along the route in response to the mass mobilities of 2015/2016. It especially focuses on the excessive use of different dimensions of violence that seem to characterize the new modalities of the border regime, such as the omnipresent practice of push-backs. Moreover, the articles shed light on the ongoing struggles of transit mobility and (transnational) solidarity that are specifically shaped by the more than eventful history of the region molded both by centuries of violent interventions and a history of connectivity.

    Our transnational editorial group came together in the course of a summer school on the border regime in the Balkans held in Belgrade, Serbia, in 2018. It was organized by the Network for Critical Migration and Border Regime Studies (kritnet), University of Göttingen, Department of Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology (Germany), the Research Centre of the Academy of Sciences and Arts (Slovenia), the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research (Croatia), and the Institute of Ethnography SASA (Serbia). The summer school assembled engaged academics from all over the region that were involved, in one form or another, in migration struggles along the route in recent years.1 The few days of exchange proved to be an exciting and fruitful gathering of critical migration and border regime scholars and activists from different regional and disciplinary backgrounds of the wider Balkans. Therefore, we decided to produce this movements issue by inviting scholars and activists from the region or with a deep knowledge on, and experience with, regional histories and politics in order to share their analyses of the Balkan route, the formalized corridor, and the developments thereafter. These developments have left a deep imprint on the societies and regional politics of migration, but they are very rarely taken into consideration and studied in the West as the centuries long entanglements that connect the Balkan with the rest of Europe.

    In this editorial, we will outline the transnational mobility practices in the Balkans in a historical perspective that includes the framework of EU-Balkan relations. With this exercise we try to historize the events of 2015 which are portrayed in many academic as well as public accounts as ›unexpected‹ and ›new‹. We also intend to write against the emergency and escalation narrative underlying most public discourses on the Balkans and migration routes today, which is often embedded in old cultural stereotypes about the region. We, furthermore, write against the emergency narrative because it erodes the agency of migration that has not only connected the region with the rest of the globe but is also constantly reinventing new paths for reaching better lives. Not only the history of mobilities, migrations, and flight connecting the region with the rest of Europe and the Middle East can be traced back into the past, but also the history of political interventions and attempts to control these migrations and mobilities by western European states. Especially the EU accession processes produce contexts that made it possible to gradually integrate the (Western) Balkan states into the rationale of EU migration management, thus, setting the ground for today’s border and migration regime. However, as we will show in the following sections, we also argue against simplified understandings of the EU border regime that regard its externalization policy as an imperial top-down act. Rather, with a postcolonial perspective that calls for decentering western knowledge, we will also shed light on the agency of the national governments of the region and their own national(ist) agendas.
    The Formalized Corridor

    As outlined above, the formalized corridor of 2015 reached from Greece to Northern and Central Europe, leading across the states established in the 1990s during the violent breakdown of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and, today, are additionally stratified vis-à-vis the EU. Slovenia and Croatia are EU member states, while the others are still in the accession process. The candidate states Serbia, North Macedonia and Montenegro have opened the negotiation process. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo—still not recognized as a sovereign state by Serbia and some EU member states—have the status of potential candidates. However, in 2015 and 2016, the states along the corridor efficiently collaborated for months on a daily basis, while, at the same time, fostering separate, sometimes conflicting, migration politics. Slovenia, for example, raised a razor-wire fence along the border to Croatia, while Croatia externalized its border to Serbia with a bilateral agreement (Protokol) in 2015 which stated that the »Croatian Party« may send a »train composition with its crew to the railway station in Šid [in Serbia], with a sufficient number of police officers of the Republic of Croatia as escort« (Article 3 Paragraph 2).

    Despite ruptures and disputes, states nevertheless organized transit in the form of corridor consisting of trains, buses, and masses of walking people that were guarded and directed by the police who forced people on the move to follow the corridor’s direction and speed. The way the movements were speedily channeled in some countries came at the cost of depriving people of their liberty and freedom of movement, which calls for an understanding of the corridor as a specific form of detention: a mobile detention, ineligible to national or EU legislation (see Hameršak/Pleše 2018; Kogovšek Šalamon 2016: 44–47). In the context of the corridor, camps became convergence points for the heterogeneous pathways of movements. Nevertheless, having in mind both the proclaimed humanitarian purpose of the corridor, and the monumental numbers of people to whom the corridor enabled and facilitated movement, the corridor can be designated as an unprecedented formation in recent EU history. In other words: »The corridor – with all its restrictions – remains a historical event initiated by the movement of people, which enabled thousands to reach central Europe in a relatively quick and safe manner. […] But at the same time it remained inscribed within a violent migration management system« (Santer/Wriedt 2017: 148).

    For some time, a broad consensus can be observed within migration and border studies and among policy makers that understands migration control as much more than simply protecting a concrete borderline. Instead, concepts such as migration management (Oelgemoller 2017; Geiger/Pécoud 2010) and border externalization (as specifically spelled out in the EU document Global Approach to Migration of 2005) have become increasingly important. In a spatial sense, what many of them have in common is, first, that they assume an involvement of neighboring states to govern migration in line with EU migration policies. Second, it is often stated that this leads to the creation of different zones encircling the European Union (Andreas/Snyder 2000). Maribel Casas-Cortes and Sebastian Cobarrubias, for instance, speak of four such zones: the first zone is »formed by EU member states, capable of fulfilling Schengen standards«, the second zone »consists of transit countries« (Casas-Cortes/Cobarrubias 2019), the third zone is characterized by countries such as Turkey, which are depicted by emigration as well as transit, and the fourth zone are countries of origin. While Casas-Cortes and Cobarrubias rightly criticize the static and eurocentric perspective of such conceptualizations, they nevertheless point to the unique nature of the formalized corridor because it crisscrossed the above mentioned zones of mobility control in an unprecedented way.

    Furthermore, the corridor through the Balkans can be conceived as a special type of transnational, internalized border. The internalized European borders manifest themselves to a great extent in a punctiform (see Rahola 2011: 96–97). They are not only activated in formal settings of border-crossings, police stations, or detention centers both at state borders and deep within state territories, but also in informal settings of hospitals, hostels, in the streets, or when someone’s legal status is taken as a basis for denying access to rights and services (i.e. to obtain medical aid, accommodation, ride) (Guild 2001; Stojić Mitrović/Meh 2015). With the Balkan corridor, this punctiform of movement control was, for a short period, fused into a linear one (Hameršak/Pleše 2018).

    The rules of the corridor and its pathways were established by formal and informal agreements between the police and other state authorities, and the corridor itself was facilitated by governmental, humanitarian, and other institutions and agencies. Cooperation between the countries along the route was fostered by representatives of EU institutions and EU member states. It would be too simple, though, to describe their involvement of the countries along the route as merely reactive, as an almost mechanical response to EU and broader global policies. Some countries, in particular Serbia, regarded the increasing numbers of migrants entering their territory during the year 2015 as a window of opportunity for showing their ›good face‹ to the European Union by adopting ›European values‹ and, by doing so, for enhancing their accession process to the European Union (Beznec/Speer/Stojić Mitrović 2016; Greenberg/Spasić 2017). As Tošić points out, »this image was very convenient for Serbian politicians in framing their country as ›truly European‹, since it was keeping its borders open unlike some EU states (such as Hungary)« (2017: 160). Other states along the corridor also played by their own rules from time to time: Croatia, for example, contrary to the Eurodac Regulation (Regulation EU No 603/2013), avoided sharing registration data on people in transit and, thus, hampered the Dublin system that is dependent on Eurodac registration. Irregular bureaucracies and nonrecording, as Katerina Rozakou (2017) calls such practices in her analysis of bordering practices in the Greek context, became a place of dispute, negotiations, and frustrations, but also a clear sign of the complex relationships and different responses to migration within the European Union migration management politics itself.

    Within EU-member states, however, the longer the corridor lasted, and the more people passed through it, the stronger the ›Hungarian position‹ became. Finally, Austria became the driving force behind a process of gradually closing the corridor, which began in November 2015 and was fully implemented in March 2016. In parallel, Angela Merkel and the European Commission preferred another strategy that cut access to the formalized corridor and that was achieved by adopting a treaty with Turkey known as the »EU-Turkey deal« signed on 18 March 2016 (see Speer 2017: 49–68; Weber 2017: 30–40).

    The humanitarian aspect for the people on the move who were supposed to reach a safe place through the corridor was the guiding principle of public discourses in most of the countries along the corridor. In Serbia, »Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić officially welcomed refugees, spoke of tolerance, and compared the experience of refugees fleeing war-torn countries to those of refugees during the wars of Yugoslav Succession« (Greenberg/Spasić 2017: 315). Similar narratives could also be observed in other countries along the corridor, at least for some period of time (see, for Slovenia, Sardelić 2017: 11; for Croatia, Jakešević 2017: 184; Bužinkić 2018: 153–154). Of course, critical readings could easily detect the discriminatory, dehumanizing, securitarizing, and criminalizing acts, practices, tropes, and aspects in many of these superficially caring narratives. The profiling or selection of people, ad hoc detentions, and militarization—which were integral parts of the corridor—were, at the time, only denounced by a few NGOs and independent activists. They were mostly ignored, or only temporarily acknowledged, by the media and, consequently, by the general public.

    Before May 2015, ›irregular‹ migration was not framed by a discourse of ›crisis‹ in the countries along the route, rather, the discourse was led by a focus on ›separate incidents‹ or ›situations‹. The discursive framing of ›crisis‹ and ›emergency‹, accompanied by reports of UN agencies about ›unprecedented refugee flows in history‹, has been globally adopted both by policy makers and the wider public. »In the wake of the Summer of Migration, all involved states along the Balkan route were quick to stage the events as an ›emergency‹ (Calhoun 2004) and, in best humanitarian fashion, as a major humanitarian ›crisis‹, thus legitimizing a ›politics of exception‹« (Hess/Kasparek 2017: 66). Following the logic that extraordinary situations call for, and justify, the use of extraordinary measures, the emergency framework, through the construction of existential threats, resulted, on the one hand, in a loosely controlled allocation of resources, and, on the other hand, in silencing many critical interpretations, thus allowing various ›risk management activities‹ to happen on the edge of the law (Campesi 2014). For the states along the route, the crisis label especially meant a rapid infusion of money and other resources for establishing infrastructures for the urgent reception of people on the move, mainly deriving from EU funds. Politically and practically, these humanitarian-control activities also fastened the operational inclusion of non-EU countries into the European border regime.

    As Sabine Hess and Bernd Kasparek have pointed out, the politics of proclaiming a ›crisis‹ is at the heart of re-stabilizing the European border regime, »making it possible to systematically undermine and lever the standards of international and European law without serious challenges to date« (Hess/Kasparek 2017: 66). The authors:

    »have observed carefully designed policy elements, which can be labelled as anti-litigation devices. The design of the Hungarian transit zones is a striking case in point. They are an elementary part of the border fence towards Serbia and allow for the fiction that the border has not been closed for those seeking international protection, but rather that their admission numbers are merely limited due to administrative reasons: each of the two transit zones allows for 14 asylum seekers to enter Hungary every day« (Hess/Kasparek 2017: 66; on the administrative rationale in Slovenia see e.g. Gombač 2016: 79–81).

    The establishment of transit zones was accompanied by a series of legislative tightenings, passed under a proclaimed ›crisis situation caused by mass immigration‹, which, from a legal point of view, lasts until today. Two aspects are worth mentioning in particular: First, the mandatory deportation of all unwanted migrants that were detected on Hungarian territory to the other side of the fence, without any possibility to claim for asylum or even to lodge any appeal against the return. Second, the automatic rejection of all asylum applications as inadmissible, even of those who managed to enter the transit zones, because Serbia had been declared a safe third country (Nagy/Pál 2018). This led to a completely securitized border regime in Hungary, which might become a ›role model‹, not only for the countries in the region but also for the European border regime as a whole (ECtHR – Ilias and Ahmed v. Hungary Application No. 47287/15).
    The Long Genealogy of the Balkan Route and its Governance

    The history of the Balkan region is a multiply layered history of transborder mobilities, migration, and flight reaching back as far as the times of the Habsburg and Ottoman empires connecting the region with the East and Western Europe in many ways. Central transportation and communication infrastructures partially also used by today’s migratory projects had already been established at the heydays of Western imperialism, as the Orient Express, the luxury train service connecting Paris with Istanbul (1883), or the Berlin-Baghdad railway (built between 1903 and 1940) indicate. During World War II, a different and reversed refugee route existed, which brought European refugees not just to Turkey but even further to refugee camps in Syria, Egypt, and Palestine and was operated by the Middle East Relief and Refugee Administration (MERRA).

    The Yugoslav highway, the Highway of Brotherhood and Unity (Autoput bratstva i jedinstva) often simply referred to as the ›autoput‹ and built in phases after the 1950s, came to stretch over more than 1,000 km from the Austrian to the Greek borders and was one of the central infrastructures enabling transnational mobilities, life projects, and exile. In the 1960s, direct trains departing from Istanbul and Athens carried thousands of prospective labor migrants to foreign places in Germany and Austria in the context of the fordist labor migration regime of the two countries. At the end of that decade, Germany signed a labor recruitment agreement with Yugoslavia, fostering and formalizing decades long labor migrations from Croatia, Serbia, and other countries to Germany (Gatrell 2019, see e.g. Lukić Krstanović 2019: 54–55).

    The wars in the 1990s that accompanied the dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and the consequent establishment of several new nation states, created the first large refugee movement after the Second World War within Europe and was followed by increasing numbers of people fleeing Albania after the fall of its self-isolationist regime and the (civil) wars in the Middle East, Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan since the mid-1990s. As the migratory route did not go north through the Balkan Peninsula, but mainly proceeded to Italy at the time, the label Balkan route was mostly used as a name for a drugs and arms smuggling route well known in the West. Although there was migration within and to Europe, the Balkan migratory route, with the exception of refugee movements from ex-Yugoslavia, was yet predominantly invisible to the broader European public.

    Sparse ethnographic insights from the beginning of the 2000s point this out. Academic papers on migrant crossings from Turkey to the island of Lesbos mention as follows: »When the transport service began in the late 1980s it was very small and personal; then, in the middle of the 1990s, the Kurds began to show up – and now people arrive from just about everywhere« (Tsianos/Hess/Karakayali 2009: 3; see Tsianos/Karakayali 2010: 379). A document of the Council of the European Union from 1997 formulates this as following:

    »This migration appears to be routed essentially either through Turkey, and hence through Greece and Italy, or via the ›Balkans route‹, with the final countries of destination being in particular Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Several suggestions were put forward for dealing with this worrying problem, including the strengthening of checks at external borders, the stepping up of the campaign against illegal immigration networks, and pre-frontier assistance and training assignments in airports and ports in certain transit third countries, in full cooperation with the authorities in those countries« (ibid. quoted in Hess/Kasparek 2020).

    During this time, the EU migration management policies defined two main objectives: to prevent similar arrivals in the future, and to initiate a system of control over migration movements toward the EU that would be established outside the territories of the EU member states. This would later be formalized, first in the 2002 EU Action Plan on Illegal Immigration (see Hayes/Vermeulen 2012: 13–14) and later re-confirmed in the Global Approach to Migration (2005) framework concerning the cooperation of the EU with third states (Hess/Kasparek 2020). In this process, the so-called migratory routes-approach and accompanying strategies of controlling, containing, and taming the movement »through epistemology of the route« (Hess/Kasparek 2020) became a main rationale of the European border control regime. Thus, one can resume that the route was not only produced by movements of people but also by the logic, legislation, investment etc. of EU migration governance. Consequently, the clandestine pathways across the Balkans to Central and Western Europe were frequently addressed by security bodies and services of the EU (see e.g. Frontex 2011; Frontex 2014), resulting in the conceptual and practical production of the Balkan as an external border zone of the EU.

    Parallel to the creation of ›Schengenland‹, the birth of the ›Area of Freedom, Security and Justice‹ inter alia as an inner-EU-free-mobility-zone and EU-based European border and migration regime in the late 1990s, the EU created the Western Balkans as an imaginary political entity, an object of its neighborhood and enlargement policy, which lies just outside the EU with a potential ›European future‹. For the purpose of the Stabilization and Association Process (SAP) initiated in 1999, the term Western Balkan was launched in the EU political context in order to include, at that moment, ›ex-Yugoslav states minus Slovenia plus Albania‹ and to presumably avoid potential politically sensitive notions. The Western Balkans as a concept represents a combination of a political compromise and colonial imagery (see Petrović 2012: 21–36). Its aim was to stabilize the region through a radical redefinition that would restrain from ethno-national toponyms and to establish a free-trade area and growing partnership with the EU. The SAP set out common political and economic goals for the Western Balkan as a region and conducted political and economic progress evaluations ›on a countries’ own merits‹. The Thessaloniki Summit in 2003 strengthened the main objectives of the SAP and formally took over elements of the accession process—institutional domains and regulations that were to be harmonized with those existing in the EU. Harmonization is a wide concept, and it basically means adopting institutional measures following specific demands of the EU. It is a highly hierarchized process in which states asked to ›harmonize‹ do not have a say in things but have to conform to the measures set forth by the EU. As such, the adoption of the EU migration and border regime became a central part of the ongoing EU-accession process that emerged as the main platform and governmental technology of the early externalization and integration of transit and source countries into the EU border regime. This was the context of early bilateral and multilateral cooperation on this topic (concerning involved states, see Lipovec Čebron 2003; Stojić Mitrović 2014; Župarić-Iljić 2013; Bojadžijev 2007).

    The decisive inclusion of the Western Balkan states in the EU design of border control happened at the Thessaloniki European Summit in 2003, where concrete provisions concerning border management, security, and combating illegal migration were set according to European standards. These provisions have not been directly displayed, but were concealed as part of the package of institutional transformations that respective states had to conduct. The states were promised to become members of the EU if the conditions were met. In order to fulfill this goal, prospective EU member states had to maintain good mutual relations, build statehoods based on ›the rule of law‹, and, after a positive evaluation by the EU, begin with the implementation of concrete legislative and institutional changes on their territories (Stojić Mitrović/Vilenica 2019). The control of unwanted movements toward the EU was a priority of the EU accession process of the Western Balkan states from the very beginning (Kacarska 2012). It started with controlling the movement of their own nationals (to allow the states to be removed from the so-called Black Schengen list) during the visa facilitation process. If they managed to control the movement of their own nationals, especially those who applied for asylum in the EU via biometric passports and readmission obligations (asylum seekers from these states comprise a large portion of asylum seekers in the EU even today), they were promised easier access to the EU as an economic area. Gradually, the focus of movement control shifted to third-country nationals. In effect, the Western Balkan states introduced migration-related legislative and institutional transformations corresponding to the ones already existing in the EU, yet persistent ›non-doing‹ (especially regarding enabling access to rights and services for migrants) remained a main practice of deterrence (Valenta/Zuparic-Iljic/Vidovic 2015; Stojić Mitrović 2019).

    From the very beginning, becoming an active part of the European border regime and implementing EU-centric migration policies, or, to put it simply, conducting control policies over the movements of people, has not been the goal of the states along the Balkan route per se but a means to obtain political and economic benefits from the EU. They are included into the EU border regime as operational partners without formal power to influence migration policies. These states do have a voice, though, not only by creating the image of being able to manage the ›European problem‹, and accordingly receive further access to EU funds, but also by influencing EU migration policy through disobedience and actively avoiding conformity to ›prescribed‹ measures. A striking example of creative state disobedience are the so-called 72-hour-papers, which are legal provisions set by the Serbian 2007 Law on Asylum, later also introduced as law in North Macedonia in June 2015: Their initial function was to give asylum seekers who declared their ›intention to seek asylum‹ to the police the possibility to legally proceed to one of the asylum reception centers located within Serbia, where, in a second step, their asylum requests were to be examined in line with the idea of implementing a functioning asylum system according to EU standards. However, in practice, these papers were used as short-term visas for transiting through North Macedonia and Serbia that were handed out to hundreds of thousands of migrants (Beznec/Speer/Stojić Mitrović 2016: 17–19, 36).

    Furthermore, the introduction of migration control practices is often a means for achieving other political and economic goals. In the accessing states, migration management is seen as services they provide for the EU. In addition, demands created by migration management goals open new possibilities for employment, which are essential to societies with high unemployment rates.

    Besides direct economic benefits, migration has been confirmed to be a politically potent instrument. States and their institutions were more firmly integrated into existing EU structures, especially those related to the prevention of unwanted migration, such as increased police cooperation and Frontex agreements. On a local level, political leaders have increasingly been using migration-related narratives in everyday political life in order to confront the state or other political competitors, often through the use of Ethno-nationalist and related discourses. In recent times, as citizens of the states along the Balkan route themselves migrate in search for jobs and less precarious lives, migration from third states has been discursively linked to the fear of foreigners permanently settling in places at the expense of natives.
    Contemporary Context

    According to a growing body of literature (e.g. Hess/Kasparek 2020; Lunaček Brumen/Meh 2016; Speer 2017), the Balkan route of the year 2015 and the first months of 2016 can be conceptualized in phases, beginning with a clandestine phase, evolving to an open route and formalized corridor and back to an invisible route again. It is necessary to point to the fact that these different phases were not merely the result of state or EU-led top-down approaches, but the consequence of a »dynamic process which resulted from the interplay of state practices, practices of mobility, activities of activists, volunteers, and NGOs, media coverage, etc. The same applies for its closure« (Beznec/Speer/Stojić Mitrović 2016: 6).

    The closure of the corridor and stricter border controls resulted in a large transformation of the Balkan route and mobility practices in the recent years, when push-backs from deep within the EU-territory to neighboring non-EU states, erratic movements across borders and territories of the (Western) Balkan states, or desperate journeys back to Greece and then back to the north became everyday realities. In the same period, the route proliferated into more branches, especially a new one via Bosnia and Herzegovina. This proliferation lead to a heightened circulation of practices, people, and knowledge along these paths: a mushrooming of so-called ›jungle camps‹ in Bosnia and Herzegovina, an escalation of border violence in Croatia, chain push-backs from Slovenia, significant EU financial investments into border control in Croatia and camp infrastructures in neighboring countries, the deployment of Frontex in Albania, etc. As the actual itineraries of people on the move multiplied, people started to reach previously indiscernible spots, resulting in blurring of the differences between entering and exiting borders. Circular transit with many loops, involving moving forward and backwards, became the dominant form of migration movements in the region. It transformed the Balkan route into a »Balkan Circuit« (Stojić Mitrović/Vilenica 2019: 540; see also Stojić Mitrović/Ahmetašević/Beznec/Kurnik 2020). The topography changed from a unidirectional line to a network of hubs, accommodation, and socializing spots. In this landscape, some movements still remain invisible—undetected by actors aiming to support, contain, and even prevent migration. »We have no information about persons who have money to pay for the whole package, transfer, accommodation, food, medical assistance when needed, we have no idea how many of them just went further«, a former MSF employee stressed, »we only see those who reach for aid, who are poor or injured and therefore cannot immediately continue their journey.« Some movements are intentionally invisibilized by support groups in order to avoid unwanted attention, and, consequently, repressive measures have also become a common development in border areas where people on the move are waiting for their chance to cross. However, it seems that circular transnational migration of human beings, resulting directly from the securitarian practices of the European border regime, have also become a usual form of mobility in the region.

    The Balkan route as a whole has been increasingly made invisible to spectators from the EU in the last years. There were no mass media coverage, except for reports on deplorable conditions in certain hubs, such as Belgrade barracks (Serbia), Vučjak camp (Bosnia and Herzegovina), or violent push-backs from Croatia that received global and EU-wide attention. However, this spectacularization was rarely directly attributed to the externalization of border control but rather more readily linked to an presumed inability of the Balkan states to manage migration, or to manage it without the blatant use of violence.

    As Marta Stojić Mitrović and Ana Vilenica (2019) point out, practices, discourses, knowledge, concepts, technologies, even particular narratives, organizations, and individual professionals are following the changed topography. This is evident both in the securitarian and in the humanitarian sector: Frontex is signing or initiating cooperation agreements with non-EU member Balkan states, border guards learn from each other how to prevent movements or how to use new equipment, obscure Orbanist legislative changes and institutionalized practices are becoming mainstream, regional coordinators of humanitarian organizations transplant the same ›best practices‹ how to work with migrants, how to organize their accommodation, what aid to bring and when, and how to ›deal‹ with the local communities in different nation-states, while the emergency framework travels from one space to another. Solidarity groups are networking, exchanging knowledge and practices but simultaneously face an increased criminalization of their activities. The public opinion in different nation states is shaped by the same dominant discourses on migration, far-right groups are building international cooperations and exploit the same narratives that frame migrants and migration as dangerous.
    About the Issue

    This issue of movements highlights the current situation of migration struggles along this fragmented, circular, and precarious route and examines the diverse attempts by the EU, transnational institutions, countries in the region, local and interregional structures, and multiple humanitarian actors to regain control over the movements of migration after the official closure of the humanitarian-securitarian corridor in 2016. It reflects on the highly dynamic and conflicting developments since 2015 and their historical entanglements, the ambiguities of humanitarian interventions and strategies of containment, migratory tactics of survival, local struggles, artistic interventions, regional and transnational activism, and recent initiatives to curb the extensive practices of border violence and push-backs. In doing so, the issue brings back the region on the European agenda and sheds light on the multiple historical disruptions, bordering practices, and connectivities that have been forming its presence.

    EU migration policy is reaffirming old and producing new material borders: from border fences to document checks—conducted both by state authorities and increasingly the general population, like taxi drivers or hostel owners—free movement is put in question for all, and unwanted movements of migrants are openly violently prevented. Violence and repression toward migrants are not only normalized but also further legalized through transformations of national legislation, while migrant solidarity initiatives and even unintentional facilitations of movement or stay (performed by carriers, accommodation providers, and ordinary citizens) are increasingly at risk of being criminalized.

    In line with this present state, only briefly tackled here, a number of contributions gathered in this issue challenge normative perceptions of the restrictive European border regime and engage in the critical analysis of its key mechanisms, symbolic pillars, and infrastructures by framing them as complex and depending on context. Furthermore, some of them strive to find creative ways to circumvent the dominance of linear or even verbal explication and indulge in narrative fragments, interviews, maps, and graphs. All contributions are focused and space- or even person-specific. They are based on extensive research, activist, volunteer or other involvement, and they are reflexive and critical towards predominant perspectives and views.

    Artist and activist Selma Banich, in her contribution entitled »Shining«, named after one of her artistic intervention performed in a Zagreb neighborhood, assembles notes and reflections on her ongoing series of site-specific interventions in Zagreb made of heat sheet (hallmarks of migrants’ rescue boats and the shores of Europe) and her personal notes in which she engages with her encounters with three persons on the move or, rather, on the run from the European border control regime. Her contribution, formulated as a series of fragments of two parallel lines, which on the surface seem loosely, but in fact deeply, connected, speaks of the power of ambivalence and of the complexities of struggles that take place everyday on the fringes of the EU. Andrea Contenta visualizes and analyzes camps that have been mushrooming in Serbia in the recent years with a series of maps and graphs. The author’s detailed analysis—based on a critical use of available, often conflicting, data—shows how Serbia has kept thousands of people outside of the western EU territory following a European strategy of containment. Contenta concludes his contribution with a clear call, stating: »It is not only a theoretical issue anymore; containment camps are all around us, and we cannot just continue to write about it.« Serbia, and Belgrade in particular, is of central importance for transmigration through the Balkans. On a micro-level, the maps of Paul Knopf, Miriam Neßler and Cosima Zita Seichter visualize the so-called Refugee District in Belgrade and shed light on the transformation of urban space by transit migration. On a macro-level, their contribution illustrates the importance of Serbia as a central hub for migrant mobility in the Balkans as well as for the externalization of the European border regime in the region. The collective efforts to support the struggle of the people on the move—by witnessing, documenting, and denouncing push-backs—are presented by the Push-Back Map Collective’s self-reflection. In their contribution to this issue, the Push-Back Map Collective ask themselves questions or start a dialogue among themselves in order to reflect and evaluate the Push-Back map (www.pushbackmap.org) they launched and maintain. They also investigate the potentials of political organizing that is based on making an invisible structure visible. The activist collective Info Kolpa from Ljubljana gives an account of push-backs conducted by the Slovenian police and describes initiatives to oppose what they deem as systemic violence of police against people on the move and violent attempts to close the borders. The text contributes to understanding the role of extralegal police practices in restoring the European border regime and highlights the ingenuity of collectives that oppose it. Patricia Artimova’s contribution entitled »A Volunteer’s Diary« could be described as a collage of diverse personal notes of the author and others in order to present the complexity of the Serbian and Bosnian context. The genre of diary notes allows the author to demonstrate the diachronic line presented in the volunteers’ personal engagements and in the gradual developments occurring in different sites and states along the route within a four-year period. She also traces the effects of her support for people on the move on her social relations at home. Emina Bužinkić focuses on the arrest, detention, and deportation of a non-EU national done by Croatia to show the implications of current securitization practices on the everyday lives and life projects of migrants and refugees. Based on different sources (oral histories, official documentation, personal history, etc.), her intervention calls for direct political action and affirms a new genre one could provisionally call ›a biography of a deportation‹. In her »Notes from the Field« Azra Hromadžić focuses on multiple encounters between the locals of Bihać, a city located in the northwestern corner of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and people on the move who stop there while trying to cross into Croatia and the EU. Some of the sections and vignettes of her field notes are written as entries describing a particular day, while others are more anthropological and analytical reflections. Her focus lies on the local people’s perspectives, the dynamics of their daily encounters with migrants and alleged contradictions, philigram distinctions, as well as experiences of refugeeness that create unique relationships between people and histories in Bihać. Karolína Augustová and Jack Sapoch, activists of the grassroots organization No Name Kitchen and members of the Border Violence Monitoring Network, offer a systematized account of violence towards people on the move with their research report. The condensed analysis of violent practices, places, victims, and perpetrators of the increasingly securitized EU border apparatus is based on interviews conducted with people on the move in border areas with Croatia, Šid (Serbia) and Velika Kladuša (BiH). They identify a whole range of violence that people on the move are facing, which often remains ignored or underestimated, and thus condoned, in local national settings as well as on the EU and global level. They conclude that border violence against people on the move cannot be interpreted as mere aggression emanating from individuals or groups of the police but is embedded in the states’ structures.

    We also gathered scientific papers discussing and analyzing different aspects of the corridor and the years thereafter. In their article, Andrej Kurnik and Barbara Beznec focus on assemblages of mobility, which are composed of practices of migrants and local agencies that strive to escape what the authors call ›the sovereign imperative‹. In their analysis of different events and practices since 2015, they demonstrate how migratory movements reveal the hidden subalternized local forms of escape and invigorate the dormant critique of coloniality in the geopolitical locations along the Balkan route. In their concluding remarks, the authors ask to confront the decades-long investments into repressive and exclusionary EU migration policies and point to the political potential of migration as an agent of decolonization. The authors stress that post-Yugoslav European borderland that has been a laboratory of Europeanization for the last thirty years, a site of a ›civilizing‹ mission that systematically diminishes forms of being in common based on diversity and alterity is placed under scrutiny again. Romana Pozniak explores the ethnography of aid work, giving special attention to dynamics between emotional and rational dimensions. Based primarily on interviews conducted with humanitarians employed during the mass refugee transit through the Balkan corridor, she analyzes, historizes, and contextualizes their experiences in terms of affective labor. The author defines affective labor as efforts invested in reflecting on morally, emotionally, and mentally unsettling affects. She deals with local employment measures and how they had an impact on employed workers. Pozniak discusses the figure of the compassionate aid professional by it in a specific historical context of the Balkan corridor and by including personal narrations about it. The article of Robert Rydzewski focuses on the situation in Serbia after the final closure of the formalized corridor in March 2016. Rydzewski argues that extensive and multidirectional migrant movements on the doorstep of the EU are an expression of hope to bring a ›stuckedness‹ to an end. In his analysis, he juxtaposes the representations of migrant movements as linear with migrant narratives and their persistent unilinear movement despite militarized external European Union borders, push-backs, and violence of border guards. Rydzewsky approaches the structural and institutional imposition of waiting with the following questions: What does interstate movement mean for migrants? Why do migrants reject state protection offered by government facilities in favor of traveling around the country? In her article, Céline Cantat focuses on the Serbian capital Belgrade and how ›solidarities in transit‹ or the heterogeneous community of actors supporting people on the move emerged and dissolved in the country in 2015/2016. She analyzes the gradual marginalization of migrant presence and migration solidarity in Belgrade as an outcome of imposing of an institutionalized, official, camp-based, and heavily regulated refugee aid field. This field regulates the access not only to camps per se, but also to fundings for activities by independent groups or civil sector organizations. Teodora Jovanović, by using something she calls ›autoethnography of participation‹, offers a meticulous case study of Miksalište, a distribution hub in Belgrade established in 2015, which she joined as a volunteer in 2016. The transformation of this single institution is examined by elaborating on the transformation within the political and social contexts in Serbia and its capital, Belgrade, regarding migration policies and humanitarian assistance. She identifies three, at times intertwined, modes of response to migration that have shaped the development of the Miksalište center in corresponding stages: voluntarism, professionalization, and re-statization. She connects the beginning and end of each stage of organizing work in Miksalište by investigating the actors, roles, activities, and manners in which these activities are conducted in relation to broader changes within migration management and funding.

    Finishing this editorial in the aftermath of brutal clashes at the borders of Turkey and Greece and in the wake of the global pandemic of COVID-19—isolated in our homes, some of us even under curfew—we experience an escalation and normalization of restrictions, not only of movement but also of almost every aspect of social and political life. We perceive a militarization, which pervades public spaces and discourses, the introduction of new and the reinforcement of old borders, in particular along the line of EU external borders, a heightened immobilization of people on the move, their intentional neglect in squats and ›jungles‹ or their forceful encampment in deplorable, often unsanitary, conditions, where they are faced with food reductions, violence of every kind, and harrowing isolation. At the same time, we witness an increase of anti-migrant narratives not only spreading across obscure social networks but also among high ranked officials. Nonetheless, we get glimpses of resistance and struggles happening every day inside and outside the camps. Videos of protests and photos of violence that manage to reach us from the strictly closed camps, together with testimonies and outcries, are fragments of migrant agency that exist despite overwhelming repression.

    https://movements-journal.org/issues/08.balkanroute
    #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #revue #humanitarisme #espoir #attente #mobilité #Belgrade #Serbie #solidarité #Miksaliste #Bihac #Bosnie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #encampement #corridor #cartographie #visualisation

  • Asylum for Sale: Profit and Protest in the Migration Industry

    This explosive new volume brings together a lively cast of academics, activists, journalists, artists, and people directly impacted by asylum regimes to explain how current practices of asylum align with the neoliberal moment and to present their transformative visions for alternative systems and processes.

    Through essays, artworks, photographs, infographics, and illustrations, Asylum for Sale: Profit and Protest in the Migration Industry regards the global asylum regime as an industry characterized by profit-making activity: brokers who demand extortionate fees to facilitate border crossings; contractors and firms that erect walls, fences, and watchtowers while lobbying governments for bigger “security” budgets; corporations running private detention centers and “managing” deportations; private lawyers charging exorbitant fees; “expert” witnesses building their reputations in courthouses; and NGO staff establishing careers while placing asylum seekers into new regimes of monitored vulnerability.

    Asylum for Sale challenges readers to move beyond questions of legal, moral, and humanitarian obligations that dominate popular debates regarding asylum seekers. Digging deeper, the authors focus on processes and actors often overlooked in mainstream analyses and on the trends increasingly rendering asylum available only to people with financial and cultural capital. Probing every aspect of the asylum process from crossings to aftermaths, the book provides an in-depth exploration of complex, international networks, policies, and norms that impact people seeking asylum around the world. In highlighting protest as well as profit, Asylum for Sale presents both critical analyses and proposed solutions for resisting and reshaping current and emerging immigration norms.

    https://www.pmpress.org/index.php?l=product_detail&p=1097

    #livre #migrations #profit #business #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières #complexe_militaro-industriel #Australie #détention_administrative #rétention #Nauru #UK #Angleterre #Irlande #humanitarisme #militarisation_des_frontières #Canada #autonomie #esclavage_moderne

    ping @rhoumour @isskein @reka @karine4

  • Premio diritti umani ai solidali delle montagne alpine

    Il ministero della Giustizia francese da un lato criminalizza chi solidarizza con i migranti sulle Alpi e dall’altro premia le stesse persone come difensori dei diritti umani.

    Paradossi e cortocircuiti logici di questa epoca di migrazioni, di accoglienza, vera, da parte di privati e associazioni umanitarie, e di repressione, vera anche questa, da parte di forze dell’ordine che pattugliano i confini degli Stati europei pronti a respingere persone in fuga da guerre e carestie.

    Mentre la giustizia francese manda a processo donne e uomini, accusati di crimini di umanità, per aver prestato soccorso nella neve alpina a migliaia di donne, uomini, bambini che in questi anni tentano la sorte del viaggio attraverso valichi alpini, il ministero della Giustizia transalpina ha premiato ieri 10 dicembre in occasione della giornata internazionale per i diritti dell’uomo l’associazione #Tous_Migrants, creata a Briançon sulle Alpi francesi nel 2015 proprio nel tentativo di aiutare i flussi di persone improvvisamente emersi in questi anni. Il premio è stato assegnato dalla Commissione nazionale consultiva dei diritti dell’uomo che fa capo proprio al ministero della Giustizia.

    Benoit Ducos, uno degli uomini a processo per aver soccorso persone al confine, ne sottolinea la schizofrenica assurdità di tutto ciò: «E’ surreale, perché i valori che difendiamo sono condannati dalle decisioni giudiziarie di questo governo, che con l’altro braccio premia il nostro impegno sul campo. Incredibile. Il riconoscimento va a tutti coloro che con coraggio offrono aiuto, cibo, soccorso, in maniera anonima, senza protagonismi. Un premio che ci spinge a continuare a gridare le nostre convinzioni».

    Senza alcuna etichetta politica o religiosa, Tous Migrants è un movimento pacifista di sensibilizzazione e azione dei cittadini nato in reazione alla tragedia umanitaria dei migranti in Europa. Con il sostegno di più di 700 cittadini per la causa che difende, oltre 9800 amici Facebook e 2700 destinatari della sua Newsletter, Tous migrants svolge azioni complementari nella’area del Briançonnais: monitoraggio e condivisione delle informazioni tramite una newsletter periodica, un sito Web e una pagina Facebook, conferenze, dibattiti sul cinema, seminari di scrittura, eventi di supporto artistico o culturale, campagne di sensibilizzazione, azioni legali ...

    L’intervento dei volontari dell’associazione al momento della consegna del premio ha ricodato come «Quattro anni fa eravamo solo persone comuni di montagna, a pochi chilometri dall’Italia, che guardavano in faccia e in modo pragmatico la realtà migratoria, esercitando il dovere di assistere le persone in pericolo e aprendo le nostre porte alla gente proveniente da altrove. Incondizionatamente e spontaneamente.

    Ma in questo approccio fraterno, ci siamo trovati gradualmente e violentemente di fronte all’impensabile:

    • Cacce all’uomo di colore, alcune delle quali sono seguite da morte, disabilità

    • L’abbandono di persone indebolite ed esauste in ambienti ostili

    • abuso psicologico e fisico, ripetute umiliazioni

    • Atti e istigazione al razzismo

    • Bullismo, repressione e condanne giudiziarie per atti di assistenza alle persone in pericolo

    Di conseguenza, il dovere della fraternità è stato criminalizzato.

    Di fronte a questo, nelle nostre montagne, centinaia di persone sono indignate. Dobbiamo chiudere gli occhi e le porte? Abbiamo deciso di continuare a fare rete. Abbiamo deciso di denunciare tutte queste violazioni ai diritti fondamentali. Oggi siamo qui, siamo diventati sentinelle per i diritti umani in Francia ...

    Ringraziamo il coraggio e la lungimiranza del Comitato di assegnarci questa menzione speciale del Premio sui diritti umani della Repubblica francese.

    Questo premio è per tutti i coraggiosi. Tutti noi nelle Hautes-Alpes, e ovunque, in Francia, ai confini, tutti noi che ci alziamo la mattina per portare aiuto e soccorso ai rifugiati; tutti noi che vigiliamo di notte per evitare nuove tragedie. Tutti noi che rispettiamo la libertà, l’uguaglianza e difendiamo questa bellissima fratellanza. È per tutte le vittime delle rotte migratorie che fuggono per proteggere i loro diritti.

    Tuttavia, ricevere questo premio ci rattrista e ci fa arrabbiare perché arriva dopo la morte dei diritti umani nel nostro territorio. Siamo in Francia! Come è possibile che spetti a noi difendere quei diritti che sono la sostanza stessa del nostro paese e che dovrebbero guidare tutte le scelte dei nostri leader e le decisioni della nostra giustizia?

    Ora stiamo tornando sulle nostre montagne perché il tempo sta per scadere, la neve è lì, le vite sono in pericolo, i diritti sono infranti. Per quanto ancora?».

    https://riforma.it/it/articolo/2019/12/11/premio-diritti-umani-ai-solidali-delle-montagne-alpine
    #solidarité #asile #migrations #réfugiés #prix #Alpes #frontière_sud-alpine #frontières #solidarité #droits_humains #ministère_de_la_justice #France #absurdité

    –-------------

    Extrait:

    «Quattro anni fa eravamo solo persone comuni di montagna, a pochi chilometri dall’Italia, che guardavano in faccia e in modo pragmatico la realtà migratoria, esercitando il dovere di assistere le persone in pericolo e aprendo le nostre porte alla gente proveniente da altrove. Incondizionatamente e spontaneamente. (...) Oggi siamo qui, siamo diventati sentinelle per i diritti umani in Francia ...»

    –-> De l’#humanisme - #humanitarisme (et la #charité) à l’engagement politique...
    #politisation

  • The Conversation | Contrairement aux idées reçues, l’accueil des réfugiés a suscité un élan citoyen en Europe
    https://asile.ch/2019/10/14/the-conversation

    Dans cet article, The Conversation, démontre que l’accueil des réfugiés a suscité un élan citoyen en Europe, et ce, contrairement aux idées reçues et que des actions collectives spontanées initiées par des volontaires non-politisés peuvent aboutir à des actions ayant un impact sur les structures politiques et les opinions publiques. Dans son ouvrage à paraitre, […]

  • UN envoy fears ’new crisis’ for Rohingya Muslims if moved to remote Bangladesh island

    A United Nations human rights investigator on #Myanmar has voiced deep concern at Bangladesh’s plan to relocate 23,000 Rohingya refugees to a remote island, saying it may not be habitable and could create a “new crisis”.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-12/un-envoy-fears-new-crisis-for-rohingya-muslims/10890932
    #réfugiés #îles #île #Bangladesh #rohingya #réfugiés_rohingya #asile #migrations #Birmanie

    • Polly Pallister-Wilkins signale sur twitter (https://twitter.com/PollyWilkins/status/1105366496291753984) le lien à faire avec le concept de #penal_humanitarianism (#humanitarisme_pénal)

      Introducing the New Themed Series on Penal Humanitarianism

      Humanitarianism is many things to many people. It is an ethos, an array of sentiments and moral principles, an imperative to intervene, and a way of ‘doing good’ by bettering the human condition through targeting suffering. It is also a form of governance. In Border Criminologies’ new themed series, we look closer at the intersections of humanitarian reason with penal governance, and particularly the transfer of penal power beyond the nation state.

      The study of humanitarian sentiments in criminology has mainly focused on how these sensibilities have ‘humanized’ or ‘civilized’ punishment. As such, the notion of humanism in the study of crime, punishment, and justice is associated with human rights implementation in penal practices and with normative bulwark against penal populism; indeed, with a ‘softening’ of penal power.

      This themed series takes a slightly different approach. While non-punitive forces have a major place in the humanitarian sensibility, we explore how humanitarianism is put to work on and for penal power. In doing so, we look at how muscular forms of power – expulsion, punishment, war – are justified and extended through the invocation of humanitarian reason.

      In the following post, Mary Bosworth revisits themes from her 2017 article and addresses current developments on UK programmes delivered overseas to ‘manage migration’. She shows that through an expansion of these programmes, migration management and crime governance has not only elided, but ‘criminal justice investment appears to have become a humanitarian goal in its own right’. Similarly concerned with what happens at the border, Katja Franko and Helene O.I. Gundhus observed the paradox and contradictions between humanitarian ideals in the performative work of governmental discourses, and the lack of concern for migrants’ vulnerability in their article on Frontex operations.

      However, in their blog post they caution against a one-dimensional understanding of humanitarianism as legitimizing policy and the status quo. It may cloud from view agency and resistance in practice, and, they argue, ‘the dialectics of change arising from the moral discomfort of doing border work’. The critical, difficult question lurking beneath their post asks what language is left if not that of the sanctity of the human, and of humanity.

      Moving outside the European territorial border, Eva Magdalena Stambøl however corroborates the observation that penal power takes on a humanitarian rationale when it travels. Sharing with us some fascinating findings from her current PhD work on EU’s crime control in West Africa, and, more specifically, observations from her fieldwork in Niger, she addresses how the rationale behind the EU’s fight against ‘migrant smugglers’ in Niger is framed as a humanitarian obligation. In the process, however, the EU projects penal power beyond Europe and consolidates power in the ‘host’ state, in this case, Niger.

      Moving beyond nation-state borders and into the ‘international’, ‘global’, and ‘cosmopolitan’, my own research demonstrates how the power to punish is particularly driven by humanitarian reason when punishment is delinked from its association with the national altogether. I delve into the field of international criminal justice and show how it is animated by a humanitarian impetus to ‘do something’ about the suffering of distant others, and how, in particular, the human rights movement have been central to the fight against impunity for international crimes. Through the articulation of moral outrage, humanitarian sensibilities have found their expression in a call for criminal punishment to end impunity for violence against distant others. However, building on an ethnographic study of international criminal justice, which is forthcoming in the Clarendon Studies in Criminology published by Oxford University Press, I demonstrate how penal power remains deeply embedded in structural relations of (global) power, and that it functions to expand and consolidate these global inequalities further. Removed from the checks and balances of democratic institutions, I suggest that penal policies may be more reliant on categorical representations of good and evil, civilization and barbarity, humanity and inhumanity, as such representational dichotomies seem particularly apt to delineate the boundaries of cosmopolitan society.

      In the next post I co-wrote with Anette Bringedal Houge, we address the fight against sexual violence in conflict as penal humanitarianism par excellence, building on our study published in Law & Society Review. While attention towards conflict-related sexual violence is critically important, we take issue with the overwhelming dominance of criminal law solutions on academic, policy, and activist agendas, as the fight against conflict-related sexual violence has become the fight against impunity. We observe that the combination of a victim-oriented justification for international justice and graphic reproductions of the violence victims suffer, are central in the advocacy and policy fields responding to this particular type of violence. Indeed, we hold that it epitomizes how humanitarianism facilitates the expansion of penal power but take issue with what it means for how we address this type of violence.

      In the final post of this series, Teresa Degenhardt offers a discomforting view on the dark side of virtue as she reflects on how penal power is reassembled outside the state and within the international, under the aegis of human rights, humanitarianism, and the Responsibility to Protect-doctrine. Through the case of Libya, she claims that the global north, through various international interventions, ‘established its jurisdiction over local events’. Through what she calls a ‘pedagogy of liberal institutions’, Degenhardt argues that ‘the global north shaped governance through sovereign structures at the local level while re-articulating sovereign power at the global level’, in an argument that, albeit on a different scale, parallels that of Stambøl.

      The posts in this themed series raise difficult questions about the nature of penal power, humanitarianism, and the state. Through these diverse examples, each post demonstrates that while the nation state continues to operate as an essential territorial site of punishment, the power to punish has become increasingly complex. This challenges the epistemological privilege of the nation state framework in the study of punishment.

      However, while this thematic series focuses on how penal power travels through humanitarianism, we should, as Franko and Gundhus indicate, be careful of dismissing humanitarian sensibilities and logics as fraudulent rhetoric for a will to power. Indeed, we might – or perhaps should – proceed differently, given that in these times of pushback against international liberalism and human rights, and resurgent religion and nationalism, humanitarian reason is losing traction. Following an unmasking of humanitarianism as a logic of governance by both critical (leftist) scholars and rightwing populism alike, perhaps there is a need to revisit the potency of humanitarianism as normative bulwark against muscular power, and to carve out the boundaries of a humanitarian space of resistance, solidarity and dignity within a criminology of humanitarianism. Such a task can only be done through empirical and meticulous analysis of the uses and abuses of humanitarianism as an ethics of care.

      https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/centre-criminology/centreborder-criminologies/blog/2019/03/introducing-new

    • Most Rohingya refugees refuse to go to #Bhasan_Char island – Xchange survey

      Nearly all Rohingya refugees asked about relocating to a silt island in the Bay of Bengal refused to go, a new survey reveals.

      According to a new report published by the migration research and data analysis outfit Xchange Foundation, the vast majority of their respondents (98.4%) ‘categorically refused’ to go to Bhasan Char, while 98.7% of respondents were aware of the plan.

      From the over 1,000 respondents who expressed their opinion, concerns were raised about their safety, security and placement in a location further from Myanmar.

      Decades long limbo

      The findings obtained by the recent Xchange Foundation Report entitled ‘WE DO NOT BELIEVE MYANMAR!,’ chart the protracted living conditions and uncertain future of almost three quarters of a million recent Rohingya refugees living in Cox’s Bazar region of Bangladesh. Accumulated together with previous generations of Rohingya, there are approximately 1.2m living across over a dozen camps in the region.

      This is the sixth survey carried out by the Xchange Foundation on the experiences and conditions facing Rohingya refugees.

      The region has been host to Rohingya refugees for just over the last three decades with the recent crackdown and massacre by the Myanmar military in August 2017 forcing whole families and communities to flee westward to Bangladesh.

      While discussions between the Bangladeshi and Myanmar government over the repatriation of recent Rohingya refugees have been plagued by inertia and lukewarm commitment, the Bangladeshi government has been planning on relocating over 100,000 Rohingya refugees to the silt island of Bhasan Char in the Bay of Bengal. This process was expected to take place in the middle of April, according to a Bangladeshi government minister.

      State Minister for Disaster and Relief Management Md Enamur Rahman, told the Dhaka Tribune ‘Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has instructed last week to complete the relocation 23,000 Rohingya families to Bhashan Char by Apr 15.’

      Is it safe?

      Numerous humanitarian organisations including Human Rights Watch, have expressed their concerns over the government’s proposals, saying there are few assurances that Rohingya refugees will be safe or their access to free movement, health, education and employment will be secured.

      HRW reported in March that the Bangladeshi authorities had issued assurances that there wouldn’t be forcible relocation but that the move was designed to relieve pressure on the refugee camps and settlements across Cox’s Bazar.

      The move would see the relocation of 23,000 Rohingya families to a specially constructed complex of 1,440 housing blocks, equipped with flood and cyclone shelter and flood walls. The project is estimated to have cost the Bangladeshi government over €250 million.

      To prepare the island, joint efforts of British engineering and environmental hydraulics company HR Wallingford and the Chinese construction company Sinohydro, have been responsible for the construction of a 13km flood embankment which encircles the island.

      When asked by the Xchange survey team one Male Rohingya of 28 years old said, ‘We saw videos of Bhasan Char; it’s not a safe place and also during the raining season it floods.’ An older female of 42 said, ‘I’m afraid to go to Bhasan Char, because I think there is a risk to my life and my children.’

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DM8wlvLddnw

      Threat of flooding

      Bhasan Char or ‘Thengar Char,’ didn’t exist 20 years ago.

      The island is understood to have formed through gradual silt deposits forming a island around 30km from the Bangladeshi mainland. Until now, human activity on the island has been very minimal with it being largely used for cattle and only reachable by a 3.5 hour boat trip.

      But, the island is subject to the tides. It is reported that the island loses around 5,000 square acres of its territory from low to high tide (15,000 – 10,000 acres (54 square kilometres) respectively).

      This is worsened by the threat of the monsoon and cyclone season which according to HRW’s testimony can result in parts of the island eroding. This is recorded as being around one kilometre a year, ABC News reports.

      Golam Mahabub Sarwar of the Bangladeshi Ministry of Land, says that a high tide during a strong cyclone could completely flood the island. This is exemplifed by the 6 metre tidal range which is seen on fellow islands.

      New crisis

      The UN Envoy Yanghee Lee has warned that the Bangladesh government goes through with the relocation, it could risk creating a ‘new crisis’.

      Lee warned that she was uncertain of the island was ‘truly habitable’ for the over 23,000 families expected to live there.

      The Special Rapporteur to Myanmar made the comments to the Human Rights Council in March, saying that if the relocations were made without consent from the people it would affect, it had, ‘potential to create a new crisis.’

      She stressed that before refugees are relocated, the United Nations, ‘must be allowed to conduct a full technical and humanitarian assessment’ as well as allowing the beneficiary communities to visit and decide if it is right for them.

      https://www.newsbook.com.mt/artikli/2019/05/07/most-rohingya-refugees-refuse-to-go-to-bhasan-char-island-xchange-survey/?lang=en

    • Rohingya Refugees to Move to Flood-Prone Bangladesh Island

      Thousands of Rohingya living in Bangladesh refugee camps have agreed to move to an island in the #Bay_of_Bengal, officials said Sunday, despite fears the site is prone to flooding.

      Dhaka has long wanted to move 100,000 refugees to the muddy silt islet, saying it would take pressure off the overcrowded border camps where almost a million Rohingya live.

      Some 740,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar in August 2017 in the face of a military crackdown, joining 200,000 refugees already in makeshift tent settlements at Cox’s Bazar.

      Relocations begin soon

      Bangladesh’s refugee commissioner, Mahbub Alam, said officials overseeing the relocation would be posted to #Bhashan_Char_island in the next few days.

      Approximately 6,000-7,000 refugees have expressed their willingness to be relocated to Bhashan Char, Alam told AFP from Cox’s Bazar, adding that “the number is rising.”

      He did not say when the refugees would be moved, but a senior Navy officer involved in building facilities on the island said it could start by December, with some 500 refugees sent daily.

      Bangladesh had been planning since last year to relocate Rohingya to the desolate flood-prone site, which is an hour by boat from the mainland.

      Rights groups have warned the island, which emerged from the sea only about two decades ago, might not be able to withstand violent storms during the annual monsoon season.

      In the past half-century, powerful cyclones have killed hundreds of thousands of people in the Meghna river estuary where the island is located.

      Rohingya leaders would be taken to Bhashan Char to view the facilities and living conditions, Alam said.

      Safety facilities built on the island include a 9-feet (3 meter) high embankment along its perimeter to keep out tidal surges during cyclones, and a warehouse to store months’ worth of rations, he added.

      Overcrowding in camp

      Rohingya father-of-four Nur Hossain, 50, said he and his family agreed to relocate to #Bhashan_Char after they were shown video footage of the shelters.

      “I have agreed to go. The camp here (at Leda) is very overcrowded. There are food and housing problems,” the 50-year-old told AFP.

      There was no immediate comment from the U.N., although Bangladeshi officials said they expect a delegation would visit the island in the next few weeks.

      https://www.voanews.com/south-central-asia/rohingya-refugees-move-flood-prone-bangladesh-island

    • Bangladesh : des réfugiés rohingyas acceptent de partir sur une île

      Des milliers de Rohingyas vivant dans des camps de réfugiés au Bangladesh ont accepté de partir pour une île isolée du golfe du Bengale, ont annoncé dimanche les autorités, en dépit des risques d’inondations.

      Dacca a depuis longtemps fait part de son intention de transférer 100.000 réfugiés musulmans rohingyas des camps de réfugiés surpeuplés, près de la frontière birmane, vers un îlot de vase boueux et isolé du golfe du Bengale.

      Le gouvernement du Bangladesh y voit une solution pour résoudre le problème des camps de réfugiés surpeuplés où vivent près d’un million de Rohingyas.

      Environ 740.000 Rohingyas ont fui la Birmanie pour le Bangladesh en 2017 pour échapper à une répression militaire massive. Ils ont rejoint les quelque 200.000 réfugiés vivant déjà dans le district bangladais frontalier de Cox’s Bazar (sud-est).

      Le commissaire bangladais aux réfugiés, Mahbub Alam, a indiqué que des fonctionnaires seront détachés, dans les prochains jours, afin de superviser cette installation.

      « Environ 6.000 à 7.000 réfugiés ont déjà exprimé leur volonté d’être réinstallés à Bhashan Char », a déclaré Alam à l’AFP depuis Cox’s Bazar, affirmant que « leur nombre est en augmentation ».

      Il n’a cependant pas donné de chiffres sur le nombre de réfugiés qui seront ainsi déplacés.

      Selon un officier supérieur de la marine qui participe à la construction d’installations sur l’île, cette opération pourrait débuter en décembre et environ 500 réfugiés seraient envoyés quotidiennement sur cette île située à une heure de bateau de la terre ferme la plus proche.

      Des groupes de défense des droits affirment que Bhashan Char est susceptible d’être submergée lors des moussons.

      Au cours des cinquante dernières années, de puissants cyclones ont fait des centaines de milliers de morts dans l’estuaire de la rivière Meghna, où l’île se situe.

      Des responsables rohingyas seront conduits à Bhashan Char afin d’y découvrir les installations et leurs conditions de vie, a affirmé M. Alam.

      Des responsables locaux ont assuré qu’une digue de trois mètres a été construite autour de l’île pour la protéger de la montée des eaux en cas de cyclone.

      Nur Hossain, un réfugié rohingya, père de quatre enfants, a déclaré que sa famille et lui ont accepté de partir pour Bhashan Char après avoir vu des images vidéo des abris.

      « Le camp ici (à Leda) est très surpeuplé. Il y a des problèmes de nourriture et de logement », a déclaré à l’AFP cet homme de 50 ans.

      L’ONU n’a jusqu’à présent pas fait de déclaration à ce sujet. Des responsables bangladais ont cependant déclaré qu’une délégation des Nations unies se rendra sur l’île au cours des prochaines semaines.

      https://www.courrierinternational.com/depeche/bangladesh-des-refugies-rohingyas-acceptent-de-partir-sur-une

    • Rohingya: il Bangladesh vuole trasferirli su un’isola sperduta e pericolosa

      Le violenze dell’esercito del Myanmar avevano costretto centinaia di migliaia di Rohingya a rifugiarsi in Bangladesh nel 2017. E quando ancora un rientro nelle loro terre d’origine sembra lontano, Dacca cerca di mandarne 100 mila su un’isola remota e pericolosa nel Golfo del Bengala

      Non sono bastate le violenze dell’esercito del Myanmar e degli estremisti buddisti, che nell’agosto 2017 hanno costretto centinaia di migliaia di Rohingya a rifugiarsi in Bangladesh. E non bastano neanche le condizioni precarie in cui vivono nei fatiscenti campi profughi gestiti da Dacca. Il dramma di questa popolazione, che secondo le Nazioni Unite è una delle minoranze più perseguitate al mondo, non sembra avere fine.

      La scorsa settimana il governo del Bangladesh ha annunciato che alla fine di novembre inizierà il trasferimento di 100 mila rifugiati Rohingya a Bhasan Char, una remota isola nel Golfo del Bengala. Per le autorità questa mossa sarebbe necessaria a causa del «disperato sovraffollamento» nei campi di Cox’s Bazar, una città al confine con la ex-Birmania, che ora ospita oltre 700 mila sfollati. Ma la scelta della nuova collocazione ha sollevato una serie di preoccupazioni per la salute e la sicurezza dei Rohingya che verranno trasferiti.

      Rohinghya in Bangladesh: l’isola in mezzo al nulla

      Yanghee Lee, relatore speciale delle Nazioni Unite sulla situazione dei diritti umani in Myanmar, che ha visitato l’isola nel gennaio 2019, ha espresso seri dubbi e preoccupazioni sul fatto che «l’isola sia davvero abitabile». Bhasan Char, infatti, è soggetta frequentemente ad inondazioni e cicloni. Lee ha anche avvertito che «un trasferimento mal pianificato e senza il consenso degli stessi rifugiati, creerebbe una nuova crisi per i Rohingya».

      Il governo di Dacca ha spiegato che tutte le ricollocazioni a Bhasan Char saranno rigorosamente volontarie e che oltre 7 mila rifugiati hanno già accettato di trasferirsi. Non sappiamo, però, se questi Rohingya siano effettivamente consapevoli dell’isolamento e della pericolosità del contesto in cui andranno a vivere. L’isola, infatti, è a ore di navigazione dalla terraferma e le condizioni del mare non sono delle migliori. Durante il periodo dei monsoni i pochi residenti sono bloccati in mezzo alle acque per lunghi periodi.

      Rohingya a rischio sussistenza

      Sebbene le autorità abbiano migliorato le infrastrutture a Bhasan Char, per cercare di contrastare i rischi di inondazioni e costruito più di 1.400 edifici per ospitare gli sfollati, l’isola non ha un adeguato sistema di agricoltura e le attività commerciali sono quasi inesistenti. Inoltre vanno aggiunte le difficoltà per quanto riguarda l’istruzione e la sanità. Problematiche già presenti nei campi di Cox’s Bazar, che nei mesi scorsi avevano anche lanciato l’allarme del radicalismo islamico.

      Nell’ultimo periodo, infatti, nelle strutture dove hanno trovato rifugio i Rohingya scappati dal Myanmar sono proliferate centinaia di scuole coraniche gestite da Hefazat-e-Islam, un gruppo estremista locale fondato nel 2010, che in passato ha organizzato numerose proteste di piazza. Questa organizzazione, finanziata da alcuni Paesi del Golfo, ha di fatto riempito il vuoto educativo imposto da Dacca, che ha vietato alla minoranza musulmana di frequentare gli istituti locali.

      Chi sono i Rohingya e perché sono perseguitati

      I Rohingya sono un popolo invisibile. Di fede musulmana, dall’ottavo secolo vivono nel Nord-Ovest del Myanmar, ma non vengono considerati ufficialmente un’etnia dal governo. Proprio per questo non hanno alcun diritto e la maggior parte di loro non ha cittadinanza nel paese guidato dal premio Nobel per la pace Aung San Suu Kyi. Senza il diritto di avere cure mediche e istruzione, non possono possedere nulla e non possono avere più di due figli.

      Si è tornato a parlare della loro drammatica situazione nell’agosto di due anni fa, a causa delle persecuzioni dei militari birmani, che li hanno costretti ad un esodo nel vicino Bangladesh. Le poche testimonianze di prima mano arrivate in quei giorni del 2017 parlavano di brutalità inaudite e quotidiane: centinaia di morti, stupri, mine, sparizioni, villaggi dati alle fiamme e torture.

      Rohingya: il difficile ritorno in Myanmar

      Negli ultimi due anni, il governo del Myanmar ha negato la sua colpevolezza per le atrocità commesse e ha vietato alle organizzazioni e agli osservatori internazionali, incluso il relatore speciale delle Nazioni Unite Lee, di accedere nello stato Rakhine, dove la maggior parte dei Rohingya viveva prima dello spargimento di sangue del 2017.

      Proprio per queste ragioni, un ritorno in sicurezza in patria per la popolazione musulmana sembra, per ora, molto difficile. Lo stesso Lee, a settembre, ha dichiarato che il Paese della Suu Kyi «non ha fatto nulla per smantellare il sistema di violenza e persecuzione contro i Rohingya».

      https://www.osservatoriodiritti.it/2019/10/31/rohingya-myanmar-bangladesh-perseguitati

    • Rohingya relocation to #Bhashan_Char to begin next week

      The first batch of Rohingyas would be shifted to Bhashan Char next week from overcrowded camps in Cox’s Bazar as part of the Bangladesh government’s plan to relocate 100,000 Rohingyas temporarily to the island until permanent repatriation to their homeland in Myanmar.

      “The exact date for shifting the first batch of Rohingyas to Bhashan Char has not been fixed yet but preparations have been taken to send the first group next week. First, a small group of Rohingyas will be relocated to the island and the process will continue,” said #Commissioner_of_Rohingya_Refugee_Repatriation_Commission (#RRRC) and Additional Secretary Shah Rezwan Hayat.

      These displaced Rohingya people are believed to have become a security threat to regional peace and the host communities as many of them have got involved in criminal activities, and drug and arms trading, reports UNB.

      Seeking support from big countries to find a durable solution to the Rohingya crisis, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on October 7 last said, “We’ve long been saying that uncertainty might be created in the region if the Rohingya crisis is not resolved."

      The government has information that trafficking of girls and children was taking place and traffickers share images of girls and children through smartphones using high-speed internet as part of trafficking, he said.

      Nur Mohammad Shikdar, general secretary of Ukhiya Rohingya Repatriation Movement Committee, said: “The relocation process could have been started long ago had a vested quarter of them not gone against the move at the provocation of some international organisations.”

      He stressed the need for implementation of the government plan to relocate 100,000 Rohingyas to Bhashan Char.

      Visiting the camps and talking to some Rohingyas, the UNB correspondent found a greater number of Rohingya people willing to be shifted to Bhashan Char due to uncertainty over their repatriation to their homeland.

      A resident and also leader of a shade in Kutupalong Rohingya Camp said, wishing anonymity, “They’re going through unimaginable suffering as some Rohingya criminals torture them. They want to return to their own country and are also ready to be shifted to Bhashan Char and stay there until the repatriation begins.”

      As part of the government move to relocate Rohingyas to Bhashan Char, a delegation of Rohingya leaders along with the representatives of 22 local and international NGOs have visited Bhashan Char recently.

      Saiful Islam Kalim, executive director of local a NGO, said, “The propaganda against Bhashan Char is totally false and fabricated. I myself visited Bhashan Char. Had I not visited the island I might have been confused with the propaganda. The government has created a wonderful environment there for Rohingyas where many NGOs have expressed their keenness to work with Rohingyas.”

      There is a lack of a conducive environment in Myanmar and two repatriation attempts have failed as Rohingyas are not feeling comfortable with the environment in Rakhine.

      Bangladesh urged the global community to convince Myanmar to bring changes in Rakhine and implement the repatriation arrangements.

      Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas and most of them have entered the country since August 25, 2017.

      Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a repatriation deal on November 23, 2017.

      On January 16, 2018, Bangladesh and Myanmar inked a document on “Physical Arrangement”, which was supposed to facilitate the return of Rohingyas to their homeland. But no Rohingya has been repatriated so far.

      https://www.thefinancialexpress.com.bd/national/rohingya-relocation-to-bhashan-char-to-begin-next-week-16067

    • Rohingya relocation to #Bhashan_Char to begin next week

      The first batch of Rohingyas would be shifted to Bhashan Char next week from overcrowded camps in Cox’s Bazar as part of the Bangladesh government’s plan to relocate 100,000 Rohingyas temporarily to the island until permanent repatriation to their homeland in Myanmar.

      “The exact date for shifting the first batch of Rohingyas to Bhashan Char has not been fixed yet but preparations have been taken to send the first group next week. First, a small group of Rohingyas will be relocated to the island and the process will continue,” said #Commissioner_of_Rohingya_Refugee_Repatriation_Commission (#RRRC) and Additional Secretary Shah Rezwan Hayat.

      These displaced Rohingya people are believed to have become a security threat to regional peace and the host communities as many of them have got involved in criminal activities, and drug and arms trading, reports UNB.

      Seeking support from big countries to find a durable solution to the Rohingya crisis, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on October 7 last said, “We’ve long been saying that uncertainty might be created in the region if the Rohingya crisis is not resolved."

      The government has information that trafficking of girls and children was taking place and traffickers share images of girls and children through smartphones using high-speed internet as part of trafficking, he said.

      Nur Mohammad Shikdar, general secretary of Ukhiya Rohingya Repatriation Movement Committee, said: “The relocation process could have been started long ago had a vested quarter of them not gone against the move at the provocation of some international organisations.”

      He stressed the need for implementation of the government plan to relocate 100,000 Rohingyas to Bhashan Char.

      Visiting the camps and talking to some Rohingyas, the UNB correspondent found a greater number of Rohingya people willing to be shifted to Bhashan Char due to uncertainty over their repatriation to their homeland.

      A resident and also leader of a shade in Kutupalong Rohingya Camp said, wishing anonymity, “They’re going through unimaginable suffering as some Rohingya criminals torture them. They want to return to their own country and are also ready to be shifted to Bhashan Char and stay there until the repatriation begins.”

      As part of the government move to relocate Rohingyas to Bhashan Char, a delegation of Rohingya leaders along with the representatives of 22 local and international NGOs have visited Bhashan Char recently.

      Saiful Islam Kalim, executive director of local a NGO, said, “The propaganda against Bhashan Char is totally false and fabricated. I myself visited Bhashan Char. Had I not visited the island I might have been confused with the propaganda. The government has created a wonderful environment there for Rohingyas where many NGOs have expressed their keenness to work with Rohingyas.”

      There is a lack of a conducive environment in Myanmar and two repatriation attempts have failed as Rohingyas are not feeling comfortable with the environment in Rakhine.

      Bangladesh urged the global community to convince Myanmar to bring changes in Rakhine and implement the repatriation arrangements.

      Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas and most of them have entered the country since August 25, 2017.

      Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a repatriation deal on November 23, 2017.

      On January 16, 2018, Bangladesh and Myanmar inked a document on “Physical Arrangement”, which was supposed to facilitate the return of Rohingyas to their homeland. But no Rohingya has been repatriated so far.

      https://www.thefinancialexpress.com.bd/national/rohingya-relocation-to-bhashan-char-to-begin-next-week-16067

  • UN experts: concern over EU’s attempts to seal borders, close protection space and disregard human rights and humanitarianism

    In September eight UN working groups, independent experts and special rapporteurs issued a statement highlighting serious concerns over the ongoing attempts to reform the EU’s migration and asylum systems. Their paper was addressed to the informal summit of EU heads of state and government in Salzburg in September, but remains relevant given the ongoing discussions in the EU on the Common European Asylum System and revamping of EU agencies such as Frontex and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).

    The document was signed by the UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity; Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants; Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children.

    See: Joint communication of Special Procedures ahead of the informal summit of EU heads of state or government in Salzburg on 19-20 September 2018 (OL OTH 64/2018, 18 September 2018, pdf): http://www.statewatch.org/news/2018/oct/un-joint-communication-eu-migration-asylum-proposals-18-9-18.pdf

    Selected quotes:

    "We would like to comment on three particular proposals elaborated by the European Commission based on the European Council’s conclusions, which are of utmost concern from a human rights perspective, namely: the creation of #regional_disembarkation_platforms, the establishment of controlled centres, and the strengthening of the border police and coast guard.

    ...Outsourcing responsibility of disembarkation to third countries, in particular those with weak protection systems, only increases the risk of #refoulement and other human rights violations. As similar models have shown elsewhere, external disembarkation and processing centres do not provide durable solutions and result in numerous grave human rights violations, including breaches of the non-refoulement obligation, torture and ill-treatment, confinement amounting to arbitrary or indefinite detention, and violations of the right to life. Furthermore, processes should be established to ensure that relevant actors be held to account if they fail to meet international standards.”

    -----

    “We are deeply concerned that in truth, the above-mentioned three proposals which are being discussed in the context of the reform of the common migration and asylum system are aimed at sealing borders, closing the protection space in Europe, and disregarding human rights principles and humanitarian concerns as central aspects at stake. Moreover, we are concerned that these measures are being proposed as a means to leverage political gain in response to the worrying rise of anti-migration and xenophobic hate speeches and stances, as reflected by increased acts and discourses of #violence and racism against migrants in various member States. In this respect, we urge the European Commission to lead efforts to counter negative anti-immigration discourses both at the political and social level in order to facilitate and improve the reception and integration of migrants in Europe.”

    -----

    “The EU and its member States should adopt a more thoughtful approach, and seek constructive, long-term, sustainable solutions, instead of adopting counterproductive and ineffective security policies which result in the criminalization and stigmatization of migrants.”

    -----

    “It is high time for the EU to accept the impossibility of sealing borders and the perverse incentives and paradoxes created by the current system, as well as the inevitability and added benefits of mobility. The EU must invest in the overall development of a coherent and robust migration policy that fully integrates the human rights of migrants as enshrined in both international and regional law. Measures intended to prevent migration, accelerate returns, and seal borders are not the solution, and only respond to misguided security concerns over the protection of migrants.”

    http://www.statewatch.org/news/2018/oct/un-sr-eu-migration.htm
    #ONU #fermeture_des_frontières #EU #UE #droits_humains #humanitarisme #Europe #réfugiés #asile #migrations #plateformes_de_désembarquement #contrôles_frontaliers #externalisation #push-back #droit_à_la_vie #hate_speech #xénophobie #racisme #mobilité #politique_migratoire
    ping @reka

  • The political ‘migration crisis’ and the military-humanitarian response

    J’aimerais ici mettre en avant ce passage:

    Looking at the images produced by the new ‘frontline journalists’ (read: soldiers on the ships), we see how most of the photographs trigger sympathy for the soldiers and pity for the migrants. The images draw us into a community of witnesses. A community in which the spectator is positioned as the possible saviour, while the rescued bodies are the ‘other’. Border control is redefined within a moral imagination that puts emphasis on human vulnerability. The soldiers’ activities are depicted as similar to the recurring type of imagery of aid delivery, with just rescued, grateful migrants receiving food parcels and water. Quite revealingly, women with their tiny, innocent babies are the most commonly represented subjects.

    The extent to which the legitimacy of this military-humanitarian operation (which costs €9 million per month) depends on how it is described and explained through media, becomes evident through the analysis of the official video of the operation. As you can see, while in the first part of the video we are invited to witness the dramatic ‘emergency’, feeling the pressure to be concerned or upset in response to the horrifying images; in the second part, the high-adrenaline spectacle pivots on the soldiers challenging the waves to resolve the catastrophe. And, what about the happy ending of the final frame that presents us with an intensely moralistic context that reframes the operation as humanitarian benevolence? Outside of any historical or political framework, of course. The issue of migration flows is here construed as a journey without destination, as a tragic game of fate. As protagonists of a crisis that comes from nowhere, migrants are depicted at the same time as subjects who are forced to put themselves in danger – departing on unsafe boats – and as subjects at risk (of death and trafficking) who need to be saved.
    To sum up, speaking the language of combatting human smuggling and potential terrorists, while rescuing lives and protecting migrants’ human rights, Mare Nostrum performs the spectacle of the ‘humanitarian battlefield’. It is one spectacle, but different publics understand it differently. Like the different light refractions of the same kaleidoscope, the national spectacle of surveillance, policing, and border control is also the cosmopolitan spectacle of rescue and salvation. #Mare_Nostrum speaks different languages to different political constituencies: to migrants and citizens, to smugglers and transnational activists, to right-wing government coalition members and NGOs.

    http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/eurocrisispress/2016/03/28/the-political-migration-crisis-and-the-military-humanitarian-response
    #photographie #images #sauvetage #mer #Méditerranée #asile #migrations #réfugiés #humanitarisme #spectacle
    cc @albertocampiphoto

  • Genève, 06.12.2015 | Samira et Travel: explorer l’humanitarisme sexuel par le film ethnographique expérimental
    http://asile.ch/2015/12/06/geneve-06-12-2015-samira-et-travel-explorer-lhumanitarisme-sexuel-par-le-film-

    Au cours des trente dernières années, les flux migratoires se sont accrus et diversifiés. Les politiques néolibérales ont inclus le genre et la sexualité parmi les critères d’éligibilité à la protection humanitaire, tout en restreignant l’accès aux marchés du travail dans le Nord. C’est pourquoi la protection humanitaire et le droit d’asile sont devenus des […]

  • Surveillance, migrant deaths and humanitarianism in the Mediterranean

    Smugglers are not the cause of migration; they are the consequences of the EU’s expanding border surveillance regime. The EU should concentrate on saving migrants from this regime.

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/%C3%B6zg%C3%BCn-topak/surveillance-and-migrant-deaths-in-mediterranean
    #Méditerranée #asile #migration #réfugiés #smugglers #passeurs #humanitarisme #surveillance #contrôle_frontalier #Forteresse_Europe

  • EU’s Approach to Migrants: Humanitarian Rhetoric, Inhumane Treatment

    The European Commission is working on its ‘comprehensive migration agenda’ while migrants continue to die at sea. Its tenets should be self-evident, yet some proposals for it are troubling.

    http://www.hrw.org/news/2015/04/15/eu-s-approach-migrants-humanitarian-rhetoric-inhumane-treatment

    #humanitarisme #rhétorique #asile #migration #politique_migratoire #EU #Europe

  • Refugees – what’s wrong with history? | #Peter_Gatrell

    In this talk, Professor Gatrell throws down the gauntlet by challenging historians of the modern world to take refugees seriously. Why, when other ‘marginalised’ groups – women, the working class and slave populations for example – have become incorporated into the mainstream of historiography, have refugees been left in the cold? Perhaps it is because refugees are thought to be unorganised, inactive and inarticulate. Perhaps the neglect originates in the belief that refugees are transient players on the world stage, in the sense that ‘being refugee’ is assumed to be a dramatic but brief hiatus. These assumptions are problematic and questionable. But what might ‘refugee history’ look like? In picking up the gauntlet, Professor Gatrell’s answer is necessarily wide-ranging, taking account of histories of categorisation, political upheaval, humanitarianism and the often problematic relationship of refugees to their own past.

    https://soundcloud.com/refugeestudiescentre/refugees-whats-wrong-with-history-peter-gatrell


    #réfugiés #asile #migration #histoire #catégorisation #humanitarisme