• Bosnian refugee camp #Lipa: Dispute over “Austrian Guantanamo”

    20 governments participate in the Vienna #ICMPD and finance or receive its activities. The ÖVP-affiliated organisation handles migration control for the EU.

    Every year, the EU spends hundreds of millions of euros to manage and counter migration in third countries. Every year, the EU spends hundreds of millions of euros to manage and fight migration to third countries. Most of the money comes from three different funds and goes to the countries themselves or to EU members who award contracts to companies or institutes for implementing the measures. The International Organisation for Migration (#IOM) also receives such EU funding for migration control.

    One of the private organisations contracted to deliver EU measures is the #International_Centre_for_Migration_Policy_Development (ICMPD), founded in 1993 and based in Vienna. It is headed by the conservative Austrian ex-vice chancellor and former Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) leader Michael Spindelegger. The 20 members include states such as Turkey, Serbia or Bosnia-Herzegovina and, since 2020, also Germany. Many of the ICMPD’s measures are funded from Austria, a parliamentary question by the Greens revealed.

    Now the centre is to draft proposals for “EU migration partnerships”, in which third countries receive benefits if they take back deportees from EU states. With a similar aim, the ICMPD is implementing a “regional return mechanism for the Western Balkans”. The states are supported in carrying out deportations themselves. The German government has funded this initiative with €3.2 million in 2020 and calls it “migration management”.

    On behalf of the Ministry of the Interior, the ICMPD is also involved in the construction of a “Temporary Detention Centre” in the newly built Bosnian refugee camp Lipa and received €500,000 from the EU Commission for this purpose. This is documented in an EU document published on Friday by the German organisation Frag den Staat as part of a research on the ICMPD. The camp is run by the IOM, and Germany is supporting its construction through the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) with €1 million for a canteen.

    The purpose of the camp in Lipa had been unequivocally explained by Oliver Várhelyi, the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, who comes from Hungary. “We need to keep our detention facilities in Lipa and the region under control, meaning that the fake asylum-seekers must be detained until they return to their countries of origin. Again, we will replicate this project in other countries of the region”, said the EU Commissioner.

    “A high fence, cameras at every step, windows with prison bars and almost no daylight in the cells,” is how the organisation SOS-Balkanroute, which is active in Austria, described everyday life there and titled it in a press release “This is what the Austrian Guantanamo in Bosnia looks like”.

    The ICMPD feels attacked by this. The organisation was “of course not involved in the construction of detention cells or similar”, a spokesperson initially claimed in response to an enquiry by the APA agency. However, ICMPD head Spindelegger rowed back shortly afterwards and explained in the programme “Zeit im Bild” that his organisation was responsible for the construction of a “secured area for a maximum of twelve persons”. According to Bosnia’s Foreign Minister Elmedin Konakovic, this was a “room for the short-term internment of migrants”.

    Despite its denial, the ICMPD is now taking action against SOS Balkanroute and its founder Petar Rosandić and has filed a lawsuit for “credit damage” at the Vienna Commercial Court because of the designation “Austrian Guantanamo”. “Our only concern is to stop the continued false allegations,” an ICMPD spokesperson explained, including that the organisation was pushing the suffering of people.

    This is an attempt at political intimidation, “the kind of which we are used to seeing in Hungary, Russia or Serbia”, said Rosandić, the NGO’s founder, commenting on the complaint. The Green member of the National Council Ewa Ernst-Dziedzic feels reminded of “conditions under Orban in Hungary” and expects “the necessary consequences” from other ICMPD signatory states. Germany does not want to hear about this. The Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of the Interior in Berlin let a deadline of several days set by “nd” for comment pass without response.

    https://digit.site36.net/2023/05/22/bosnian-refugee-camp-lipa-dispute-over-austrian-guantanamo

    #OIM #asile #migrations #réfugiés #camps #encampement #Bosnie #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #Bosnie-Herzégovine #camps_de_réfugiés

  • Così l’Italia ha svuotato il diritto alla trasparenza sulle frontiere

    Il Consiglio di Stato ha ribadito la inaccessibilità “assoluta” degli atti che riguardano genericamente la “gestione delle frontiere e dell’immigrazione”. Intanto le forniture milionarie del governo a Libia, Tunisia ed Egitto continuano.

    L’Italia fa un gigantesco e preoccupante passo indietro in tema di trasparenza sulle frontiere e di controllo democratico dell’esercizio del potere esecutivo. Su parte delle nostre forniture milionarie alla Libia, anche di natura militare, per bloccare le persone rischia infatti di calare un velo nero. A fine 2023 il Consiglio di Stato ha pronunciato una sentenza che riconosce come non illegittima la “assoluta” inaccessibilità di quegli atti della Pubblica amministrazione che ricadono genericamente nel settore di interesse della “gestione delle frontiere e dell’immigrazione”, svuotando così di fatto l’istituto dell’accesso civico generalizzato che è a disposizione di tutti i cittadini (e non solo dei giornalisti). Non è un passaggio banale dal momento che la conoscenza dei documenti, dei dati e delle informazioni amministrative consente, o meglio, dovrebbe consentire la partecipazione alla vita di una comunità, la vicinanza tra governanti e governati, il consapevole processo di responsabilizzazione della classe politica e dirigente del Paese. Ma la teoria traballa. E ne siamo testimoni.

    Breve riepilogo dei fatti. Il 21 ottobre 2021 l’Agenzia industrie difesa (Aid) -ente di diritto pubblico controllato dal ministero della Difesa- stipula un “Accordo di collaborazione” con la Direzione centrale dell’Immigrazione e della polizia delle frontiere in seno al ministero dell’Interno. Fu il Viminale -allora guidato dalla prefetta Luciana Lamorgese, che come capo di gabinetto ebbe l’attuale ministro, Matteo Piantedosi- a rivolgersi all’Agenzia, chiedendole “la disponibilità a fornire collaborazione per iniziative a favore dei Paesi non appartenenti all’Unione europea finalizzate al rafforzamento delle capacità nella gestione delle frontiere e dell’immigrazione e in materia di ricerca e soccorso in mare”. L’accordo dell’ottobre di tre anni fa riguardava una cooperazione “da attuarsi anche tramite la fornitura di mezzi e materiali” per dare impulso alla seconda fase del progetto “Support to integrated border and migration management in Libya”.

    Il Sibmmil è legato finanziariamente al Fondo fiduciario per l’Africa, istituito dalla Commissione europea a fine 2015 al dichiarato scopo di “affrontare le cause profonde dell’instabilità, degli spostamenti forzati e della migrazione irregolare e per contribuire a una migliore gestione della migrazione”. La prima “fase” del progetto è dotata di un budget di 46,3 milioni di euro, la seconda, quella al centro dell’accordo tra Aid e ministero dell’Interno, di 15 milioni. A beneficiare di queste forniture (navi, formazione, equipaggiamenti, tecnologie), come abbiamo ricostruito in questi anni, sono state soprattutto le milizie costiere libiche, che si sono rese responsabili di gravissime violazioni dei diritti umani. Nel 2022, pochi mesi dopo la stipula dell’accordo, abbiamo inoltrato come Altreconomia un’istanza di accesso civico alla Aid -allora guidata dall’ex senatore Nicola Latorre, sostituito dal dicembre scorso dall’accademica Fiammetta Salmoni- per avere la copia del testo e degli allegati.

    La richiesta fu negata richiamando a mo’ di “sostegno normativo” un decreto del ministero dell’Interno datato 16 marzo 2022 (ancora a guida Lamorgese). L’oggetto di quel provvedimento era l’aggiornamento della “Disciplina delle categorie di documenti sottratti al diritto di accesso ai documenti amministrativi”. Un’apparente formalità. Il Viminale, però, agì di sostanza, includendo tra i documenti ritenuti “inaccessibili per motivi attinenti alla sicurezza, alla difesa nazionale ed alle relazioni internazionali” anche quelli “relativi agli accordi intergovernativi di cooperazione e alle intese tecniche stipulati per la realizzazione di programmi militari di sviluppo, di approvvigionamento e/o supporto comune o di programmi per la collaborazione internazionale di polizia, nonché quelli relativi ad intese tecnico-operative per la cooperazione internazionale di polizia inclusa la gestione delle frontiere e dell’immigrazione”.

    Il 16 gennaio 2023 Roma e Ankara hanno firmato un memorandum per “procedure operative standard” per il distacco in Italia di “esperti della polizia nazionale turca”

    Non solo. In quel decreto si schermava poi un altro soggetto sensibile: Frontex. Vengono infatti classificati come inaccessibili anche i “documenti relativi alla cooperazione con l’Agenzia europea della guardia di frontiera e costiera (appunto Frontex, ndr), per la sorveglianza delle frontiere esterne dell’Unione europea coincidenti con quelle italiane e che non siano già sottratti all’accesso dall’applicazione di classifiche di riservatezza Ue”. Così come le “relazioni, rapporti ed ogni altro documento relativo a problemi concernenti le zone di confine […] la cui conoscenza possa pregiudicare la sicurezza, la difesa nazionale o le relazioni internazionali”.

    È per questo motivo che lo definimmo il “decreto che azzera la trasparenza sulle frontiere”, promuovendo di lì a poco un ricorso al Tar -grazie agli avvocati Giulia Crescini, Nicola Datena, Salvatore Fachile e Ginevra Maccarone dell’Associazione per gli studi giuridici sull’immigrazione e membri del progetto Sciabaca&Oruka- contro i ministeri dell’Interno, della Difesa, della Pubblicazione amministrazione, oltreché l’Agenzia industrie difesa (Aid), proprio per vedere riconosciuto il diritto all’accesso civico generalizzato. In primo grado, però, il Tar del Lazio ci ha dato torto.

    Ed eccoci arrivati al Consiglio di Stato, il cui pronunciamento, pubblicato a metà novembre 2023, ha ritenuto infondato il nostro appello, riconoscendo come “fonte di un divieto assoluto all’accesso civico generalizzato”, non sorretto perciò da alcuna motivazione, proprio quel decreto ministeriale firmato Luciana Lamorgese del marzo 2022. “All’ampliamento della platea dei soggetti che possono avvalersi dell’accesso civico generalizzato corrisponde un maggior rigore normativo nella previsione delle eccezioni poste a tutela dei contro-interessi pubblici e privati”, hanno scritto i giudici della quarta sezione.

    I legali che ci hanno accompagnato in questo percorso non la pensano allo stesso modo. “Il Consiglio di Stato ha affermato che il decreto ministeriale del 16 marzo 2022, una fonte secondaria, non legislativa, adottata in attuazione della disciplina del diverso istituto dell’accesso documentale, abbia introdotto nell’ordinamento un limite assoluto all’accesso civico, che può essere invocato dalla Pubblica amministrazione senza che questa sia tenuta a fornire alcuna motivazione in merito alla sua ricorrenza.

    Si tratta di un’evidente elusione del dettato normativo, che prevede in materia una riserva assoluta di legge”, osservano le avvocate Crescini e Maccarone. Che aggiungono: “I giudici hanno respinto anche la censura relativa all’assoluta genericità del limite introdotto con il decreto ministeriale, che non individua precisamente le categorie di atti sottratti all’accesso, ma al contrario solo il settore di interesse, cioè la gestione delle frontiere e dell’immigrazione, essendo idoneo a ricomprendere qualunque tipologia di atto, documento o dato, di fatto svuotando di contenuto l’istituto”. Questa sentenza del Consiglio di Stato rischia di rappresentare un precedente preoccupante. “L’accesso civico è uno strumento moderno che avrebbe potuto garantire la trasparenza degli atti della Pubblica amministrazione secondo canoni condivisibili che rispecchiano le esigenze che si sono cristallizzate in tutta Europa nel corso degli ultimi anni -riflettono le avvocate-. Tuttavia con questa interpretazione l’istituto viene totalmente svuotato di significato, costringendoci a fare un passo indietro di notevole importanza in tema di trasparenza, che è chiamata ad assicurare l’effettivo andamento democratico di un ordinamento giuridico”.

    I mezzi guardacoste che l’Italia si appresta a cedere quest’anno alla Guardia nazionale del ministero dell’Interno tunisino sono sei

    Le forniture italiane per ostacolare i transiti, intanto, continuano. Negli ultimi mesi la Direzione centrale dell’Immigrazione e della polizia delle frontiere del Viminale -retta da Claudio Galzerano, già a capo di Europol- ha ripreso con forza a bandire gare o pubblicare, a cose fatte, affidamenti diretti. Anche per trasferte o distacchi in Italia di “ufficiali” libici, tunisini, ivoriani o “esperti della polizia nazionale turca”. La delegazione della Libyan coast guard and port security, ad esempio, è stata portata dal 15 al 18 gennaio di quest’anno alla base navale della Guardia di Finanza a Capo Miseno (NA) per una “visita tecnica”. Nei mesi prima altre “autorità libiche” erano state formate alle basi di Gaeta (LT) o Capo Miseno. Gli ufficiali della Costa d’Avorio sono stati in missione dal 30 ottobre scorso al 20 gennaio 2024 “in materia di rimpatri”. Sono stati portati nei punti caldi di Lampedusa e Ventimiglia.

    Al dicembre 2023 risale invece la firma dell’accordo tra la Direzione centrale e il Comando generale della Gdf per la fornitura di navi, assistenza, manutenzione, supporto tecnico-logistico a beneficio di Libia, Tunisia ed Egitto. Obiettivo: il “rafforzamento delle capacità nella gestione delle frontiere e dell’immigrazione e in materia di ricerca e soccorso in mare”. Proprio alla Guardia nazionale del ministero dell’Interno di Tunisi finiranno sei guardacoste litoranei della classe “G.L. 1.400”, con servizi annessi del tipo “consulenza, assistenza e tutoraggio”, per un valore di 4,8 milioni di euro (i soldi li mette il Viminale, i mezzi e la competenza la Guardia di Finanza). Navi ma anche carburante. A inizio gennaio di quest’anno il direttore Galzerano, dietro presunta richiesta di non ben precisate “autorità tunisine”, ha approvato la spesa di “nove milioni di euro circa” (testualmente) per “il pagamento del carburante delle unità navali impegnate nella lotta all’immigrazione clandestina e nelle operazioni di ricerca e di soccorso” nelle acque tunisine. Dove hanno recuperato le risorse? Da un fondo ministeriale dedicato a “misure volte alla prevenzione e al contrasto della criminalità e al potenziamento della sicurezza nelle strutture aeroportuali e nelle principali stazioni ferroviarie anche attraverso imprescindibili misure di cooperazione internazionale”. Chissà quale sarà la prossima fermata.

    https://altreconomia.it/cosi-litalia-ha-svuotato-il-diritto-alla-trasparenza-sulle-frontiere
    #Tunisie #Egypte #transparence #Agenzia_industrie_difesa (#Aid) #Support_to_integrated_border_and_migration_management_in_Libya (#Sibmmil) #Fonds_fiduciaire_pour_l'Afrique #gardes-côtes_libyens #Frontex

    • Così l’Italia ha svuotato il diritto alla trasparenza sulle frontiere

      Il Consiglio di Stato ha ribadito la inaccessibilità “assoluta” degli atti che riguardano genericamente la “gestione delle frontiere e dell’immigrazione”. Intanto le forniture milionarie del governo a Libia, Tunisia ed Egitto continuano.

      https://seenthis.net/messages/1039671

  • Reportages : InfoMigrants à la rencontre des Sénégalais tentés par le rêve européen

    InfoMigrants est allé au Sénégal, en banlieue de Dakar, à la rencontre de jeunes - et moins jeunes - tentés par un départ vers l’Europe. En cause : l’inflation, la crise du Covid et de la pêche... Certains sont restés mais ont aussi perdu un proche dans la traversée de l’Atlantique vers les Canaries espagnoles. D’autres encore sont rentrés après l’échec de leur rêve européen. Retrouvez tous nos reportages.

    La situation économique du Sénégal pousse de plus en plus d’hommes et de femmes à prendre la mer en direction des îles Canaries, distantes d’environ 1 500 km. Les Sénégalais fuient généralement une vie sans perspective, aggravée par les changements climatiques.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuLD1UbvL5Y&embeds_referring_euri=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.infomigrants.ne

    À l’été 2023, les départs se sont notamment succédé vers l’archipel espagnol depuis les côtes sénégalaises. Sur l’ensemble de l’année 2023, plus de 37 000 personnes ont tenté de rejoindre le pays européen, du jamais vu.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N-_aCjoA-c&embeds_referring_euri=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.infomigrants.ne

    Beaucoup prennent la mer sans en mesurer les dangers. Selon l’ONG espagnole Caminando fronteras, plus de 6 000 migrants sont morts en mer l’année dernière. Ce chiffre, qui a pratiquement triplé (+177%) par rapport à celui de 2022, est « le plus élevé » comptabilisé par l’ONG depuis le début de ses recensements.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMMuxSFfSS4&embeds_referring_euri=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.infomigrants.ne

    Dans le même temps, des Sénégalais, déçus par leur exil, sont aussi rentrés au pays après des années passées en Europe. Souvent, ils reviennent avec l’aide de l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM) et le soutien financier de l’Union européenne. Mais en rentrant « les mains vides », ils doivent faire face à la déception de leurs proches.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsbHTBTn3fY&embeds_referring_euri=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.infomigrants.ne

    À Dakar, on croise aussi des Centrafricains, des Congolais, des Sierra-léonais, des Ivoiriens… Certains sont réfugiés, d’autres sont en transit, d’autres encore sont « bloqués » au Sénégal et attendent de pouvoir rejoindre rentrer chez eux.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apA6oKCDlOE&embeds_referring_euri=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.infomigrants.ne

    Enfin, il y a ceux qui refusent de risquer leur vie et s’échinent à demander un visa pour atteindre l’Europe, malgré les refus successifs et le coût de la procédure. Comme partout, des trafiquants profitent de la situation et organisent des trafics de rendez-vous en ambassades. Des mafias prennent ainsi tous les créneaux sur internet et les revendent à prix d’or à des Sénégalais désespérés.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgyUa9priPY&embeds_referring_euri=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.infomigrants.ne

    https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/54517/reportages--infomigrants-a-la-rencontre-des-senegalais-tentes-par-le-r

    #Sénégal #asile #migrations #réfugiés #reportage #vidéo #jeunes #jeunesse #Dakar #facteurs_push #push-factors #inflation #pêche #route_atlantique #Canaries #îles_Canaries #perpectives #climat #changement_climatique #décès #morts_aux_frontières #mourir_aux_frontières #Caminando_fronteras #OIM #réintégration #retour #IOM #visas

  • EU grants €87m to Egypt for migration management in 2024

    Over 2024, the EU will provide €87 million and new equipment to Egypt for a migration management project started in 2022, implemented by the UN migration agency and the French Interior Ministry operator Civipol, three sources close to the matter confirmed to Euractiv.

    The €87 million may increase up to €110 million after the next EU-Egypt Association Council meeting on 23 January, two sources confirmed to Euractiv.

    The European Commission is also conducting parallel negotiations with Cairo to make a raft of funding for other projects which regards a wide range of sectors, including migration, conditional under the International Monetary Fund requests for reforms, a source close to the negotiations told Euractiv.

    The €87 million will be dedicated to increasing the operation capacity of the Egyptian navy and border guards for border surveillance and search and rescue operations at sea.

    The EU-Egypt migration management project started in 2022 with an initial €23 million, with a further €115 million approved for 2023, one of the three sources confirmed to Euractiv.

    The funds for 2022 and 2023 were used for border management, anti-smuggling and anti-trafficking activities, voluntary returns and reintegration projects.

    “With these EU funds, IOM [the UN’s migration agency, the International Organisation of Migration] is supporting Egyptian authorities through capacity building activities which promote rights-based border management and the respect of international law and standards, also with regard to search and rescue operations,” an official source from IOM told Euractiv. IOM is involved in the training and capacity building of the Egyptian authorities.

    French operator Civipol is working on the tendering, producing and delivering the search new rescue boats for 2024, one of the three sources confirmed to Euractiv.

    However, according to the EU’s asylum agency’s (EUAA) 2023 migration report, there have been almost no irregular departures from the Egyptian coasts since 2016, with most Egyptian irregular migrants to the EU having departed from Libya.

    At the same time, there has been a significant increase in Egyptian citizens applying for visas in EU countries in recent years, the EUAA report said, mainly due to the deteriorating domestic situation in the country.
    Deepening crisis in Egypt

    Egypt, a strategic partner of the EU, is experiencing a deepening economic and political crisis, with the country’s population of 107 million facing increasing instability and a lack of human rights guarantees.

    In a letter to heads of state and EU institutions last December, the NGO Human Rights Watch asked the EU to “ensure that any recalibration of its partnership with Egypt and related macro-financial assistance provide[s] an opportunity to improve the civil, political, and economic rights of the Egyptian people”.

    “Its impact will only be long-lasting if linked to structural progress and reforms to address the government’s abuses and oppression, that have strangled people’s rights as much as the country’s economy,” the NGO wrote.

    The human rights crisis cannot be treated as separate from the economic crisis, Timothy E. Kaldas, deputy director of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, told Euractiv. “Political decisions and political practices of the regime play a central role in why Egypt’s economy is the way that it is,” he said.

    “The regime, in an exploitative manner, leverages the Egyptian state. For instance, it forces the making of contracts to regime-owned companies to do infrastructure projects that are extremely costly, and not necessarily contributing to the public good,” Kaldas argued, citing the construction of wholly new cities, or “new palaces for the president”.

    While such projects are making the Egyptian elites richer, the Egyptian people are increasingly poor, and in certain cases, forced to leave the country, Kaldas explained.

    With food and beverage inflation exceeding 70% in Egypt in 2023, the currency facing multiple shocks and collapses reducing Egyptians’ purchasing power and private investors not seeing the North African country as a good place to invest, “the situation is very bleak”, the expert said.

    The independence of the private sector was slammed in a report by Human Rights Watch in November 2018. In the case of Juhayna Owners, two Egyptian businessmen were detained for months after refusing to surrender their shares in their company to a state-owned business.

    Recent events at the Rafah crossing in Gaza, frictions in the Red Sea with Houthi rebels in Yemen and war in the border country of Sudan have compounded the instability.
    Past EU-Egypt relations

    During the last EU-Egypt Association Council in June 2022, the two partners outlined a list of partnership priorities “to promote joint interests, to guarantee long-term stability and sustainable development on both sides of the Mediterranean and to reinforce the cooperation and realise the untapped potential of the relationship”.

    The list of priorities regards a wide range of sectors that the EU is willing to help Egypt. Among others, the document which outlines the outcomes of the meeting, highlights the transition to digitalisation, sustainability and green economy, trade and investment, social development and social justice, energy, environment and climate action, the reform of the public sector, security and terrorism, and migration.

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/eu-grants-e87m-to-egypt-for-migration-management-in-2024

    #Egypte #asile #migrations #réfugiés #externalisation #EU #aide_financière #Europe #UE #équipement #Civipol #gardes-frontières #surveillance #technologie #complexe_militaro-industriel #réintégration #retours_volontaires #IOM #OIM

  • Repackaging Imperialism. The EU – IOM border regime in the Balkans

    In November 2023, European Commission President #Ursula_von_der_Leyen concluded a Balkan tour, emphasizing EU enlargement’s priority for peace and prosperity. However, scrutiny intensified over EU practices, especially in the Balkans, where border policies, implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), reflect an imperialist approach. This report exposes the consequences – restricted migration, erosion of international norms, and deadly conditions along migrant routes. The EU’s ’carrot and stick’ strategy in the Balkans raises concerns about perpetual pre-accession status and accountability for human rights abuses.

    https://www.tni.org/en/publication/repackaging-imperialism

    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #IOM #OIM #impérialisme #frontières #rapport #tni #paix #prospérité #droits_humains #militarisation_des_frontières #route_des_Balkans #humanitarisme #sécurisation #sécurité #violence #Bosnie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #hotspot #renvois #retours_volontaires #joint_coordination_plateform #mourir_aux_frontières #morts_aux_frontières #décès

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Little Red Town

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Development Delusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Unintended Consequences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Epilogue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    https://deeply.thenewhumanitarian.org/refugees/articles/2018/05/22/niger-europes-migration-laboratory

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

  • Programme de retour volontaire (?) pas si volontaire que ça

    Le #Maroc figure au Top 5 des pays hôtes accueillant les migrants en retour en 2022. Il occupe la 3ème place avec l’assistance de 2457 migrants. Il est devancé par la Libye (11.200) et le Yémen (4.080). La Tunisie et l’Algérie arrivent respectivement en 4ème et 5ème positions avec 1.607 et 1.306 migrants assistés. Le Maroc fait partie également du Top 5 des pays d’origine avec 627 migrants assistés. Le Soudan arrive en tête avec 2.539 migrants assistés, suivi de l’Irak (1907). L’Algérie occupe la 4ème place (627) devant la Tunisie (232), précise un rapport sur le retour et la réintégration, publié récemment par l’OIM.

    Hausse

    En détail, 3.552 migrants (2.097 hommes, 916 femmes, 277 garçons et 262 filles) ont demandé une #assistance au retour volontaire à partir du Maroc vers 26 pays d’origine. Le rapport annuel 2022 sur l’assistance au retour volontaire et à la réintégration (https://morocco.iom.int/sites/g/files/tmzbdl936/files/documents/2023-03/Rapport_Annuel_FR_AVRR_20230310.pdf) précise que « la cadence des retours volontaires en 2022 a augmenté légèrement par rapport à 2021, et a triplé par rapport au nombre de migrants assistés en 2020. Cette hausse est due, principalement, à l’augmentation des fonds disponibles en 2022 pour répondre aux demandes de retour volontaire et au fait de compenser le retard cumulé suite aux restrictions de mobilité décrétées par les autorités compétentes pour endiguer la propagation de la pandémie de Covid-19 ».

    La majorité des migrants ayant bénéficié du retour volontaire étaient de jeunes hommes dont l’âge variait entre 19 et 35 ans et qui sont retournés seuls dans leur pays d’origine. Tandis que le ratio femmes/hommes est resté inchangé depuis 2017 (trois bénéficiaires sur quatre étaient des hommes), en 2022, le programme a connu une augmentation de 7% du nombre de femmes voulant retourner. 61% des migrants interrogés ont déclaré qu’ils sont rentrés en raison du manque de ressources financières, les empêchant de maintenir un niveau de subsistance suffisant au Maroc, tandis que 15% ont déclaré avoir choisi de rentrer car ils n’ont pas pu poursuivre leur parcours migratoire vers leur pays de destination.
    L’année 2022 a enregistré également le retour volontaire de 639 Marocains au pays.

    Sachant que le nombre de retours a considérablement augmenté cette année-là, en raison de la crise socioéconomique en Europe suite à la pandémie de Covid-19, d’événements tels que la guerre en Ukraine et la levée des restrictions de mobilité imposées pour endiguer la propagation de ladite pandémie.

    Les tendances de retour se sont progressivement étendues au-delà des pays de l’Union européenne, notamment avec l’augmentation du nombre de demandes d’aide au retour en provenance de la Turquie (+5229%) et de la Tunisie (+25%), par rapport aux chiffres de 2021. L’OIM s’attend à ce que cette tendance à la hausse se poursuive au cours des prochaines années.

    Changement

    Sur un autre registre, le rapport de l’OIM révèle que le Moyen-Orient et l’Afrique du Nord ont dépassé l’Espace économique européen (EEE) en tant que principale région d’accueil, représentant 33% du nombre total de cas. Le Niger était le principal pays d’accueil avec un nombre total de 15.097 migrants aidés à rentrer, confirmant la tendance des années précédentes avec une augmentation des retours depuis les pays de transit dans d’autres régions d’accueil en dehors de l’Espace économique européen.

    « Cela peut s’expliquer en partie par une hausse du nombre de retours humanitaires, facilités dans le cadre des programmes de retour humanitaire volontaire de l’OIM en Libye et au Yémen, en combinaison avec le nombre croissant de parties prenantes facilitant le retour et la réintégration, en particulier dans l’EEE. Malgré ce changement, certaines tendances sont restées les mêmes. Les trois principaux pays d’accueil à partir desquels le retour volontaire a été facilité en 2022 étaient le Niger, la Libye et l’Allemagne. De même, l’Afrique de l’Ouest et l’Afrique centrale sont restées la principale région d’origine, représentant 47% du nombre total de migrants bénéficiant d’une aide au retour en 2022. Le Mali est devenu le premier pays d’origine des migrants en 2022, dépassant la Guinée, suivie de l’Ethiopie en troisième position », précise ledit rapport.

    Préoccupation

    Cependant, nombreux sont les ONG et les chercheurs qui doutent du caractère véritablement « volontaire » des programmes RVA (retour volontaire assisté). Tel est le cas de l’Ordre de Malte, qui estime qu’”en réalité, peu de personnes souhaitaient réellement repartir. Les déboutés du droit d’asile, en particulier, [ont] de multiples raisons pour ne pas vouloir rentrer (éventuelles menaces dans le pays d’origine, perte de l’accès aux soins en France, raisons économiques). Il y a aussi cette question paradoxale ou ambivalente du retour : repartir au pays d’origine est vécu comme l’échec d’un projet d’émigration (pas de régularisation, échec de projets personnels ou familiaux). Comment serait-il alors possible de transformer ce sentiment d’échec en projet de vie ?”.

    Dans son article, « Le retour volontaire assisté  : Ses implications sur les femmes et les enfants » datant de 2016, Monica Encinas affirme que « les programmes de rapatriement sont organisés en partenariat étroit avec les gouvernements nationaux qui ont un intérêt manifeste à limiter le nombre de migrants et de réfugiés qui tentent d’entrer sur leur territoire chaque année ». Elle ajoute que « certaines ONG ont le sentiment que de nombreux réfugiés participent uniquement à ces programmes parce qu’ils y sont poussés une fois que les gouvernements leur ont stratégiquement retiré l’accès aux services essentiels et les ont menacés d’expulsion ». Et « elles ne sont pas les seules à avoir cette impression », poursuivit-elle. Anne Koch, chargée de recherche, suggère que les programmes de RVA lancés par l’UNHCR et l’OIM doivent être considérés comme « provoqués par les Etats » dans la mesure où ils permettent aux gouvernements occidentaux d’externaliser l’expulsion et d’en confier la responsabilité à l’UNHCR et à l’OIM.

    Elle signale en outre que dès que « les retours forcés et les retours volontaires sont organisés de manière conjointe, la notion de volontariat n’est plus garantie ». En 2013, une autre étude a montré que des fonctionnaires gouvernementaux ont admis qu’ils utilisaient la menace de l’expulsion afin d’augmenter la participation aux programmes de RVA ».

    En outre, Monica Encinas explique que la majorité des demandeurs d’asile qui participent à des programmes de RVA retournent dans des zones où le conflit est encore actif (comme en Afghanistan et en Somalie) et où les chances de réintégration à long terme et en toute sécurité sont pratiquement inexistantes. « Un rapport de l’UNHCR datant de juillet 2013 sur l’autoévaluation de son programme de retour d’Afghans en Afghanistan – le programme le plus important de rapatriement jamais mis en œuvre par l’UNHCR – soulignait les difficultés auxquelles l’agence devait faire face en vue de parvenir à apporter un soutien à la réintégration sociale et économique en Afghanistan.

    Plus tard la même année, Human Rights Watch a recommandé à l’UNHCR et à l’OIM de cesser de se concentrer sur les programmes de RVA au vu de l’insécurité croissante et de l’incapacité des deux agences à fournir des services d’appui adéquats suite au retour des réfugiés », écrit-elle avant de noter que certaines implications juridiques, jugées potentiellement dangereuses, selon elle, accompagnent la participation à des programmes de RVA. « Tous ceux qui y participent doivent signer une « déclaration de retour volontaire ».

    Cette dernière raison suscite de vives préoccupations dans la mesure où une demande d’asile est axée sur un facteur principal : pouvoir faire la preuve d’une crainte légitime de persécution dans le pays que vous fuyez. Le fait de signer une déclaration de retour volontaire dans le cadre d’un RVA implique que vous n’avez plus de motifs de craindre des persécutions et il est probable qu’une demande subséquente – en cas de changement pour le pire des conditions dans le pays de retour – perde toute crédibilité au regard de la loi. Une nouvelle demande d’asile risque donc de se heurter à des obstacles juridiques sérieux parce que le requérant a déjà effectué un retour dans son pays par le passé », a-t-elle fait savoir.

    Disproportion

    Des considérations juridiques et humanistes qui ne semblent pas être prises en considération par les décideurs politiques à Bruxelles qui misent trop sur cette stratégie qui coûte moins cher que les expulsions. Le Conseil européen pour les réfugiés et les exilés (CERE) a déjà dénoncé une politique européenne “disproportionnément concentrée sur les retours et ne portant pas assez l’effort sur la politique d’accueil en elle-même ou sur l’amélioration du processus de traitement des demandes d’asile”. Autrement dit, l’UE s’occupe trop des conditions de retour des migrants irréguliers alors qu’elle devrait consacrer son énergie à améliorer l’accueil de ceux qui peuvent légitimement prétendre à l’asile. Pour l’UE, ces retours coûtent moins cher que les expulsions. Selon les estimations du service de recherche du Parlement européen, un retour forcé – qui nécessite bien souvent un passage en centre de rétention – coûte en moyenne 3.414 euros, contre seulement 560 pour un retour dit “volontaire”. A souligner, cependant, que les retours volontaires ne représentent que 27% des départs depuis le territoire de l’Union et sont aujourd’hui trop rarement effectifs.

    « La Commission européenne estime qu’en 2019, sur les 490.000 ordres de retour passés sur le territoire de l’Union, seuls 140.000 ont effectivement été appliqués. Soit un peu moins d’un tiers du total. Il n’est, en effet, pas rare qu’une personne ayant accepté la procédure de retour volontaire disparaisse peu avant de devoir prendre l’avion, pour différentes raisons : crainte pour son intégrité physique une fois rentrée dans son pays d’origine, honte de devoir assumer l’échec du processus migratoire aux yeux de ses proches… », observe le site Touteleurop.eu.

    Désenchantement

    Une enquête, menée en 2020 par la chaîne d’information européenne Euronews, a révélé que « des dizaines de migrants ayant participé au programme RVA ont déclaré qu’une fois rentrés chez eux, ils ne recevaient aucune aide. Et ceux qui ont reçu une aide financière ont déclaré qu’elle était insuffisante ». L’enquête a indiqué également que « nombreux sont ceux qui envisagent de tenter à nouveau de se rendre en Europe dès que l’occasion se présente ». Mais Kwaku Arhin-Sam, spécialiste des projets de développement et directeur de l’Institut d’évaluation Friedensau, estime de manière plus générale que la moitié des programmes de réintégration de l’OIM échouent.

    Les journalistes d’Euronews expliquent qu’« entre mai 2017 et février 2019, l’OIM a aidé plus de 12.000 personnes à rentrer au Nigeria. Parmi elles, 9.000 étaient "joignables" lorsqu’elles sont rentrées chez elles, 5.000 ont reçu une formation professionnelle et 4.300 ont bénéficié d’une "aide à la réintégration". Si l’on inclut l’accès aux services de conseil ou de santé, selon l’OIM Nigeria, un total de 7.000 sur 12.000 rapatriés – soit 58% – ont reçu une aide à la réintégration. Mais le nombre de personnes classées comme ayant terminé le programme d’aide à la réintégration n’était que de 1.289. De plus, les recherches de Jill Alpes, experte en migration et chercheuse associée au Centre de recherche sur les frontières de Nimègue, ont révélé que des enquêtes visant à vérifier l’efficacité de ces programmes n’ont été menées qu’auprès de 136 rapatriés ».

    Parallèlement, ajoute Euronews, une étude de Harvard sur les Nigérians de retour de Libye estime que 61,3% des personnes interrogées ne travaillaient pas après leur retour, et qu’environ 16,8% supplémentaires ne travaillaient que pendant une courte période, pas assez longue pour générer une source de revenus stable. A leur retour, la grande majorité des rapatriés, 98,3%, ne suivaient aucune forme d’enseignement régulier.

    Dans certains cas, l’argent que les migrants reçoivent est utilisé pour financer une nouvelle tentative de rejoindre l’Europe. « Dans un des cas, une douzaine de personnes qui avaient atteint l’Europe et avaient été renvoyées chez elles ont été découvertes parmi les survivants du naufrage d’un bateau en 2019 qui se dirigeait vers les Iles Canaries », rapportent les journalistes d’Euronews.

    Insuffisances

    Pour certains spécialistes, les programmes RVA renvoient à une autre problématique, celle du travail de l’OIM. Selon Loren Landau, professeur spécialiste des migrations et du développement au Département du développement international d’Oxford, interrogé par Euronews, ce travail de l’OIM souffre en plus d’un manque de supervision indépendante. "Il y a très peu de recherches indépendantes et beaucoup de rapports. Mais ce sont tous des rapports écrits par l’OIM. Ils commandent eux-mêmes leur propre évaluation, et ce depuis des années", détaille le professeur.

    Pour sa part, le Dr. Arhin-Sam, spécialiste de l’évaluation des programmes de développement, interrogé également par Euronews, remet en question la responsabilité et la redevabilité de l’ensemble de la structure, arguant que les institutions et agences locales dépendent financièrement de l’OIM. "Cela a créé un haut niveau de dépendance pour les agences nationales qui doivent évaluer le travail des agences internationales comme l’OIM : elles ne peuvent pas être critiques envers l’OIM. Alors que font-elles ? Elles continuent à dire dans leurs rapports que l’OIM fonctionne bien. De cette façon, l’OIM peut ensuite se tourner vers l’UE et dire que tout va bien".

    Pour M. Arhin-Sam, les ONG locales et les agences qui aident les rapatriés "sont dans une compétition très dangereuse entre elles" pour obtenir le plus de travail possible des agences des Nations unies et entrer dans leurs bonnes grâces. "Si l’OIM travaille avec une ONG locale, celle-ci ne peut plus travailler avec le HCR. Elle se considère alors chanceuse d’être financée par l’OIM et ne peut donc pas la critiquer", affirme-t-il. A noter, par ailleurs, que l’UE participe en tant qu’observateur aux organes de décision du HCR et de l’OIM, sans droit de vote, et tous les Etats membres de l’UE sont également membres de l’OIM. "Le principal bailleur de fonds de l’OIM est l’UE, et ils doivent se soumettre aux exigences de leur client. Cela rend le partenariat très suspect", souligne M. Arhin-Sam. Et de conclure : « [Lorsque les fonctionnaires européens] viennent évaluer les projets, ils vérifient si tout ce qui est écrit dans le contrat a été fourni. Mais que cela corresponde à la volonté des gens et aux complexités de la réalité sur le terrain, c’est une autre histoire ».

    https://www.libe.ma/Programme-de-retour-volontaire-pas-si-volontaire-que-ca_a141240.html
    #retour_volontaire #IOM #OIM #migrations #asile #réfugiés #statistiques #chiffres #réintégration

    • Quelque 900 migrants irréguliers marocains s’apprêteraient à regagner le pays

      Le Maroc s’apprête à accueillir 900 migrants marocains en situation irrégulière en Allemagne. La ministre allemande de l’Intérieur, Nancy Faeser, a obtenu, lors de sa récente visite au Maroc, l’aval des autorités marocaines concernant ce refoulement.
      Selon frankfurter allgemeine zeitung, le Royaume aurait consenti à reprendre les ressortissants marocains ayant fait l’objet de décisions d’expulsion. Une décision critiquée par l’Organisation démocratique du travail (ODT) qui rejette l’expulsion forcée des migrants marocains, sans que ces derniers ne puissent exprimer leur désir de retour volontaire dans leur pays, dans le plein respect des conditions de réintégration et d’insertion.
      En effet, nombreux sont les ONG et les chercheurs qui doutent du caractère véritablement « volontaire » des programmes de RVA (retour volontaire assisté). En réalité, peu de personnes souhaitaient réellement repartir. Les déboutés du droit d’asile, en particulier, ont de multiples raisons de ne pas vouloir rentrer (éventuelles menaces dans le pays d’origine, perte de l’accès aux soins, raisons économiques).
      Il y a aussi cette question paradoxale ou ambivalente du retour : repartir au pays d’origine est vécu comme l’échec d’un projet d’émigration (pas de régularisation, échec de projets personnels ou familiaux).
      A noter, cependant, que le Maroc figure au Top 5 des pays hôtes accueillant les migrants en retour en 2022. Il occupe la 3ème place avec l’assistance de 2.457 migrants. Il est devancé par la Libye (11.200) et le Yémen (4080). La Tunisie et l’Algérie arrivent respectivement en 4ème et 5ème positions avec 1.607 et 1.306 migrants assistés. Le Maroc fait partie également du Top 5 des pays d’origine avec 627 migrants assistés. Décryptage.

      L’Organisation démocratique du travail (ODT) dit non aux expulsions des migrants marocains en Allemagne. Elle rejette, en effet, l’expulsion forcée des migrants marocains, sans exprimer leur désir de retour volontaire dans leur pays et dans le plein respect des conditions de réintégration et d’insertion.

      Elle appelle également au respect des droits humains et fondamentaux des migrants et des réfugiés et demandeurs d’asile, à s’abstenir d’expulsions forcées et répressives pour des motifs politiques et électoralistes, et à ce que la priorité soit donnée aux solutions alternatives centrées sur les droits de l’Homme, fondées sur un règlement global de leur situation, accordant un statut légal aux immigrés marocains et mettant fin au phénomène de détention des enfants.

      Deux poids deux mesures

      Dans un communiqué publié récemment, cette organisation syndicale considère que « tous les migrants, réfugiés et demandeurs d’asile doivent être protégés et traités avec dignité, en respectant pleinement leurs droits, quels que soient leurs statuts, conformément au droit international ».

      A ce propos, l’ODT critique la décision allemande visant à renvoyer 900 immigrés marocains irréguliers dans leur pays d’origine. Selon elle, Berlin et les autres pays européens poursuivent leur politique hypocrite de migration basée sur les expulsions des migrants irréguliers et l’accueil des compétences pour lesquelles « le Royaume du Maroc dépense chaque année des millions de dirhams pour leur formation pour ensuite les livrer sur un plateau d’or à l’Allemagne ou à d’autres pays européens, au Canada, aux Etats-Unis d’Amérique... »

      Le communiqué en question précise, en outre, que « le nouveau projet d’expulsions allemand cible particulièrement les Arabes, les musulmans et les Africains en général » en expliquant que « les migrants de ces pays sont souvent expulsés d’une manière qui viole les principes des droits de l’Homme et les normes internationales interdisant l’expulsion collective et le principe de non-refoulement sans motif valable ».

      En effet, ajoute le document, les expulsions se font selon le procédé de « recourir de plus en plus à la détention des migrants et à leur renvoi dans leur pays d’origine, sur la base de justifications avancées non fondées, voire même la conclusion d’accords bilatéraux avec leurs pays d’origine, moyennant une aide financière misérable notamment avec certains pays africains, du Maghreb, la Syrie, le Soudan, le Yémen et la Libye ».

      Mettre fin aux expulsions

      Pour l’ODT, il est temps d’abandonner « tout accord visant à expulser abusivement les Marocains en situation irrégulière contre leur gré, avec l’obligation de respect des droits des migrants et de leurs familles conformément aux conventions internationales, tout en envisageant un retour volontaire et sûr dans le cadre de la réintégration dans leur pays d’origine ».

      L’Organisation démocratique du travail exige aussi de « mettre fin aux violations des droits humains des migrants réguliers et irréguliers et à toutes les formes de discrimination et d’exclusion dans tous les domaines économiques et sociaux, en respectant les instruments internationaux relatifs aux droits de l’Homme et les conventions sur la migration et en mettant en œuvre la Charte de Marrakech pour des « migrations sûres, ordonnées et régulières » ainsi que la résolution adoptée par l’Assemblée générale le 19 décembre 2018.

      « Il faut garantir l’accès aux services de base, notamment la santé, l’éducation et le soutien social, sans discrimination ; éliminer la discrimination, combattre les discours de haine et la traite des êtres humains, interdire les expulsions collectives et les refoulements de tous les migrants, et garantir que le retour soit sûr, digne et que la réintégration soit durable », a conclu le bureau exécutif de l’ODT.

      Déclaration d’intention

      A rappeler que la ministre allemande de l’Intérieur, Nancy Faeser, a obtenu, lors de sa récente visite au Maroc, l’aval des autorités marocaines concernant le refoulement des migrants illégaux. Selon frankfurter allgemeine zeitung, le Royaume aurait consenti à reprendre les ressortissants marocains ayant fait l’objet de décisions d’expulsion. Il s’agit de près d’un millier de personnes qui ont déposé des demandes d’asile. La même source a révélé qu’au cours de l’année dernière, environ un millier de Marocains ont demandé l’asile en Allemagne, en ajoutant que le taux de reconnaissance reste faible.

      Lors de cette visite, il y a eu la signature d’une déclaration d’intention commune entre les ministères de l’Intérieur des deux pays visant à renforcer la coopération dans les domaines de la sécurité, de la migration, de la protection civile et de la lutte contre les différentes formes de crime transfrontalier, sur la base de l’égalité, du traitement d’égal à égal, de l’intérêt commun et de l’estime mutuelle. La ministre allemande n’a pas caché la volonté de son gouvernement de signer un accord migratoire bilatéral plus large.

      https://www.libe.ma/Quelque-900-migrants-irreguliers-marocains-s-appreteraient-a-regagner-le-pays_a
      #Allemagne #retour_volontaire_assisté

  • Fewer boat crossings, visit to Frontex : EU and Tunisia implement migration pact

    Despite an alleged repayment of funds for migration defence, Tunisia is cooperating with the EU. Fewer refugees are also arriving across the Mediterranean – a decrease by a factor of seven.

    In June, the EU Commission signed an agreement on joint migration control with Tunisia. According to the agreement, the government in Tunis will receive €105 million to monitor its borders and “combat people smuggling”. Another €150 million should flow from the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) in the coming years for the purposes of border management and countering the “smuggling” of migrants.

    Tunisia received a first transfer under the agreement of €67 million in September. The money was to finance a coast guard vessel, spare parts and marine fuel for other vessels as well as vehicles for the Tunisian coast guard and navy, and training to operate the equipment. Around €25 million of this tranche was earmarked for “voluntary return” programmes, which are implemented by the United Nations Refugee Agency and the International Organisation for Migration.

    However, a few weeks after the transfer from Brussels, the government in Tunis allegedly repaid almost the entire sum. Tunisia “does not accept anything resembling favours or alms”, President Kais Saied is quoted as saying. Earlier, the government had also cancelled a working visit by the Commission to implement the agreement.

    Successes at the working level

    Despite the supposed U-turn, cooperation on migration prevention between the EU and Tunisia has got off the ground and is even showing initial successes at the working level. Under the agreement, the EU has supplied spare parts for the Tunisian coast guard, for example, which will keep “six ships operational”. This is what Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote last week to MEPs who had asked about the implementation of the deal. Another six coast guard vessels are to be repaired by the end of the year.

    In an undated letter to the EU member states, von der Leyen specifies the equipment aid. According to the letter, IT equipment for operations rooms, mobile radar systems and thermal imaging cameras, navigation radars and sonars have been given to Tunisia so far. An “additional capacity building” is to take place within the framework of existing “border management programmes” implemented by Italy and the Netherlands, among others. One of these is the EU4BorderSecurity programme, which among other things provides skills in sea rescue and has been extended for Tunisia until April 2025.

    The Tunisian Garde Nationale Maritime, which is part of the Ministry of the Interior, and the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre benefit from these measures. This MRCC has already received an EU-funded vessel tracking system and is to be connected to the “Seahorse Mediterranean” network. Through this, the EU states exchange information about incidents off their coasts. This year Tunisia has also sent members of its coast guards to Italy as liaison officers – apparently a first step towards the EU’s goal of “linking” MRCC’s in Libya and Tunisia with their “counterparts” in Italy and Malta.

    Departures from Tunisia decrease by a factor of seven

    Since the signing of the migration agreement, the departures of boats with refugees from Tunisia have decreased by a factor of 7, according to information from Migazin in October. The reason for this is probably the increased frequency of patrols by the Tunisian coast guard. In August, 1,351 people were reportedly apprehended at sea. More and more often, the boats are also destroyed after being intercepted by Tunisian officials. The prices that refugees have to pay to smugglers are presumably also responsible for fewer crossings; these are said to have risen significantly in Tunisia.

    State repression, especially in the port city of Sfax, has also contributed to the decline in numbers, where the authorities have expelled thousands of people from sub-Saharan countries from the centre and driven them by bus to the Libyan and Algerian borders. There, officials force them to cross the border. These measures have also led to more refugees in Tunisia seeking EU-funded IOM programmes for “voluntary return” to their countries of origin.

    Now the EU wants to put pressure on Tunisia to introduce visa requirements for individual West African states. This is to affect, among others, Côte d’Ivoire, where most of the people arriving in the EU via Tunisia come from and almost all of whom arrive in Italy. Guinea and Tunisia come second and third among these nationalities.

    Reception from the Frontex Director

    In September, three months after the signing of the migration agreement, a delegation from Tunisia visited Frontex headquarters in Warsaw, with the participation of the Ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs and Defence. The visit from Tunis was personally received by Frontex Director Hans Leijtens. EU officials then gave presentations on the capabilities and capacities of the border agency, including the training department or the deportation centre set up in 2021, which relies on good cooperation with destination states of deportation flights.

    Briefings were also held on the cross-border surveillance system EUROSUR and the “Situation Centre”, where all threads from surveillance with ships, aircraft, drones and satellites come together. The armed “permanent reserve” that Frontex has been building up since 2021 was also presented to the Tunisian ministries. These will also be deployed in third countries, but so far only in Europe in the Western Balkans.

    However, Tunisia still does not want to negotiate such a deployment of Frontex personnel to its territory, so a status agreement necessary for this is a long way off. The government in Tunis is also not currently seeking a working agreement to facilitate the exchange of information with Frontex. Finally, the Tunisian coast guard also turned down an offer to participate in an exercise of European coast guards in Greece.

    Model for migration defence with Egypt

    Aiding and abetting “smuggling” is an offence that the police are responsible for prosecuting in EU states. If these offences affect two or more EU states, Europol can coordinate the investigations. This, too, is now to get underway with Tunisia: In April, EU Commissioner Ylva Johansson had already visited Tunis and agreed on an “operational partnership to combat people smuggling” (ASOP), for which additional funds will be made available. Italy, Spain and Austria are responsible for implementing this police cooperation.

    Finally, Tunisia is also one of the countries being discussed in Brussels in the “Mechanism of Operational Coordination for the External Dimension of Migration” (MOCADEM). This working group was newly created by the EU states last year and serves to politically bundle measures towards third countries of particular interest. In one of the most recent meetings, the migration agreement was also a topic. Following Tunisia’s example, the EU could also conclude such a deal with Egypt. The EU heads of government are now to take a decision on this.

    https://digit.site36.net/2023/11/01/fewer-boat-crossings-visit-to-frontex-eu-and-tunisia-implement-migrati

    #Europe #Union_européenne #EU #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #accord #gestion_des_frontières #aide_financière #protocole_d'accord #politique_migratoire #externalisation #Memorandum_of_Understanding (#MoU) #Tunisie #coopération #Frontex #aide_financière #Neighbourhood_Development_and_International_Cooperation_Instrument (#NDICI) #gardes-côtes_tunisiens #militarisation_des_frontières #retours_volontaires #IOM #OIM #UNHCR #EU4BorderSecurity_programme #Seahorse_Mediterranean #officiers_de_liaison #arrivées #départs #chiffres #statistiques #prix #Frontex #operational_partnership_to_combat_people_smuggling (#ASOP) #Mechanism_of_Operational_Coordination_for_the_External_Dimension_of_Migration (#MOCADEM)

    –—
    ajouté à la métaliste sur le Mémorandum of Understanding entre l’UE et la Tunisie :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/1020591

  • #Rapatriement de migrants : le #Maroc et le #Sénégal se veulent exemplaires

    Ce mercredi 23 août, 325 Sénégalais renvoyés du Maroc rentrent dans leur pays d’origine. Alors que les réfugiés vivent de plus en plus de drames, Rabat et Dakar assurent que ce retour s’est opéré dans les meilleures conditions possibles.

    Après un périple d’une vingtaine d’heures en bus en provenance de Dakhla, dans le sud du Maroc, 325 migrants sénégalais arriveront à Rosso, ville du nord de leur pays d’origine, en ce matin du 23 août. Ces candidats au passage en Espagne ont été repêchés par la Marine royale marocaine au large des îles Canaries au début du mois d’août.

    Ce n’est pas la première opération de rapatriement de la saison. Le 27 juillet déjà, Annette Seck, ministre chargée des Sénégalais de l’extérieur, avait remercié le Maroc de lui avoir envoyé 400 de ses compatriotes et, le 10 août, 283 autres migrants avaient également fait le voyage. À chaque fois, ce retour n’a été possible qu’avec la #coopération des autorités locales. Le Sénégal n’est d’ailleurs pas le seul pays d’Afrique subsaharienne avec qui le Maroc collabore en la matière. En septembre et en octobre 2020, le #Mali et la #Guinée avaient participé à l’#identification de leurs ressortissants afin d’aider à leur rapatriement par voie aérienne.

    Depuis 2005, le royaume mène ce type de campagnes en coopération avec l’#Organisation_internationale_pour_les_migrations (#OIM). Différentes associations et ONG critiquent la manière dont procèdent les autorités marocaines, estimant qu’il s’agit d’#expulsions_arbitraires, qui ne respectent pas de cadre légal. En 2018 déjà, le ministre marocain des Affaires étrangères, Nasser Bourita, avait répondu à ces critiques : « Ce que vous appelez des “#éloignements” sont faits selon les normes. » Selon le gouvernement, la ligne est claire et constante : ces déplacements sont destinés à briser les circuits mafieux de #traite_d’êtres_humains cherchant à gagner l’Europe. « Les ambassades des pays africains sont impliquées dans le processus d’identification. »

    « #Cadre_légal »

    En 2018, des migrants déplacés d’une ville à l’autre car les « conditions de vie [y étaient] meilleures », selon les autorités locales, avaient fait l’objet de procédures de retour dans leur pays d’origine. Et ce, en lien avec les ambassades concernées et l’OIM. Le Conseil national des droits de l’Homme (CNDH) estimait alors que ces déplacements respectaient le « cadre légal », selon son président, Driss El Yazami, qui avait précisé que le CNDH s’assurait que les personnes vulnérables étaient protégées.

    En réponse, l’Association marocaine des droits humains (AMDH) avait dénoncé des #déplacements_forcés. Dans son rapport publié le 3 août dernier, cette dernière n’a pas changé de position et continue à pointer du doigt les mouvements forcés des migrants de la région du nord « vers des zones reculées à l’intérieur ou dans le sud du Maroc, ou encore vers la frontière maroco-algérienne ».

    Contacté par Jeune Afrique, Babou Sène, consul général du Sénégal à Dakhla, s’est montré plus précis sur la manière dont les opérations de rapatriement se déroulent : « Il s’agit d’un dispositif bien huilé. Les migrants qui ont besoin de soins sont transportés à l’hôpital, et leur prise en charge est assurée par le Maroc, tandis que le Sénégal paye les médicaments, les analyses nécessaires, et prend en charge l’alimentation des malades. Les autres [déplacés] sont accueillis dans un centre d’accueil et d’hébergement, en attendant de rentrer au pays. »

    Au préalable, les consulats respectifs des pays d’origine procèdent à l’identification des migrants. « Une fois cette étape terminée, j’alerte nos ambassadeurs à Rabat et à Nouakchott afin qu’ils informent les autorités marocaines de la présence de tel nombre de Sénégalais, et de la nécessité de prendre des dispositions pour leur gestion ici et leur retour au pays. » Le rapatriement peut également se faire par transport terrestre, et dans ce cas, une autorisation de transit est délivrée par le gouvernement mauritanien. Le consulat délivre les #sauf-conduits à l’ensemble des Sénégalais. La partie marocaine s’occupe du volet « transport » en mettant à disposition des bus jusqu’à #Rosso ainsi que d’autres villes du Sénégal.

    La route des Canaries est privilégiée

    Le consul tient à préciser que « tous les Sénégalais concernés par les récentes opérations de rapatriement ont été repêchés et secourus par la Marine royale marocaine, après s’être échoués au large des côtes africaines ». En effet, la traversée de l’océan vers les îles Canaries – une voie dangereuse, avec des courants forts – se termine souvent à Dakhla ou Laâyoune pour les migrants subsahariens.

    Face aux situations de plus en plus critiques dans lesquelles se retrouvent les réfugiés optant pour la Tunisie ou la Libye, la route des Canaries semble être privilégiée. Mi-avril, le Premier ministre espagnol, Pedro Sanchez, s’était félicité de la diminution du nombre de passages par les Canaries mais, fin juillet, Annette Seck a reconnu devant la presse sénégalaise la recrudescence du phénomène. « Selon les statistiques, en 2022, 404 compatriotes ont été rapatriés depuis Dakhla, avait-elle alors indiqué. Entre avril et juillet 2023, quinze pirogues ont été arraisonnées dans les eaux territoriales marocaines, avec 1535 personnes à leur bord, dont 1237 passagers d’origine sénégalaise. »

    Entre le 1er janvier 2021 et octobre 2022, 4 747 migrants parvenus dans le royaume sont rentrés dans leur pays d’origine via le programme de retour volontaire de l’OIM. En 2022, ils étaient 2 457, majoritairement ivoiriens, guinéens et sénégalais, selon l’organisation. Pour justifier leur décision, 61 % ont souligné qu’ils manquaient des ressources financières nécessaires pour rester au Maroc.

    https://www.jeuneafrique.com/1475165/politique/rapatriement-de-migrants-le-maroc-et-le-senegal-se-veulent-exemplaires

    #renvois #expulsions #IOM #migrations #asile #réfugiés

    ping @_kg_

  • L’Unione europea finanzia un nuovo centro di detenzione a Lipa, in Bosnia ed Erzegovina

    A pochi chilometri dal confine croato è sorta una nuova struttura di detenzione amministrativa per “facilitare” i rimpatri dei migranti che transitano lungo questo snodo di rotta balcanica. Per il commissario europeo Várhelyi, sostenitore del nuovo progetto, si tratterebbe di “falsi richiedenti asilo”. Cade il velo sul vero scopo di Lipa

    L’Unione europea ha finanziato un nuovo centro di detenzione nel campo di Lipa, in Bosnia ed Erzegovina. A pochi chilometri dal confine con la Croazia, la nuova struttura è stata costruita per facilitare i rimpatri dei migranti che transitano lungo questo pezzo di rotta balcanica. La conferma arriva ad Altreconomia dal Rappresentante speciale dell’Ue in Bosnia, Ferdinand Koenig. La costruzione dell’eufemisticamente definito “Temporary retention facility”, spiega Koenig, si sarebbe resa necessaria perché la struttura di detenzione amministrativa più vicina a Lipa è a Sarajevo Est, in località Lukavica, a 300 chilometri di distanza. Troppi per l’obiettivo europeo di bloccare i “falsi richiedenti asilo” -come li ha definiti il commissario europeo per il vicinato e l’allargamento, Olivér Várhelyi, a fine novembre 2022– al confine con la Croazia e poi organizzare rapidi rimpatri verso i Paesi d’origine.

    Arrivando da Bihać, la città più vicina a Lipa, la nuova struttura è stata costruita all’inizio del centro al posto del campetto di pallone. L’ufficio della delegazione Ue in Bosnia sottolinea come “l’unità di detenzione” sia separata dal centro da un “corridoio sicuro e da un ingresso indipendente” e la costruzione sia stata “agevolata” dal Centro internazionale per lo sviluppo delle politiche migratorie (Icmpd), un’organizzazione fondata nel 1993 su iniziativa di Austria e Svizzera e che opera in oltre 90 Paesi ed è molto attiva sul tema delle gestione delle frontiere (l’avevamo già “incontrata” in progetti riguardanti la guardia costiera tunisina). Questa avrebbe provveduto ad appaltare i lavori di costruzione della struttura. Non è dato sapere quale sia l’azienda né l’importo totale della costruzione: l’Icmpd ha riferito infatti ad Altreconomia che queste informazioni sono riservate. “Al termine dei lavori -risponde l’Icmpd- la gestione del centro sarà affidata al Servizio per gli affari degli stranieri (Sfa) del ministero della Sicurezza bosniaco”. Una gestione che prevede “uno staff dedicato e procedure operative standard chiare in linea con le norme internazionali in materia di migrazione” e che prevede un periodo di detenzione di “massimo 72 ore” prima del trasferimento al centro di Lukavica.

    Così il “centro multiuso” di Lipa, costruito sulle macerie di quello andato a fuoco nel dicembre 2020, svela il suo “vero” obiettivo: confinare, arrivando anche alla detenzione, per poi respingere. Come già raccontato dalla rete RiVolti ai Balcani nel report “Lipa, il campo dove fallisce l’Europa”, pubblicato nel dicembre 2021, il centro è distante due chilometri dalla strada statale asfaltata e a 24 chilometri da Bihać e da servizi essenziali come ospedali, poste, scuole, stazioni, supermarket o altre infrastrutture: un “confinamento di fatto” rispetto a cui il nuovo step della detenzione amministrativa è una finalità che secondo Gianfranco Schiavone, presidente del Consorzio italiano per i rifugiati (Ics) di Trieste è “solo apparentemente contrastante con le finalità iniziali ma in realtà già occultate nella iniziale indeterminatezza giuridica con cui il campo è sorto e si è sviluppato”. Non è nota la capienza di questa nuova struttura, si sa però che il Centro di Lipa, all’8 febbraio di quest’anno, “ospitava” appena 128 persone su una capacità di 1.500 (uomini, donne e minori). Ma l’aumento delle persone transitate lungo la “rotta balcanica” nel 2022 ha allarmato, nuovamente, le istituzioni europee.

    Il commissario Várhelyi a fine novembre 2022 ha dichiarato appunto che “i falsi richiedenti asilo devono essere detenuti fino al loro ritorno nei Paesi d’origine” annunciando “un nuovo progetto pilota da 500mila euro con la Bosnia ed Erzegovina”. In questo quadro gioca un ruolo fondamentale anche l’Organizzazione mondiale per le migrazioni (Oim), in primo piano anche a Lipa. La capo missione nel Paese e coordinatrice dell’area dei Balcani occidentali, Laura Lungarotti, ha scritto ad Altreconomia che l’Oim non è coinvolta né nella gestione né nella costruzione della struttura di detenzione “vista la (nostra) politica di ricerca di alternativa alla detenzione amministrativa” e che la parola detenzione “è stata erroneamente messa nello stesso annuncio”, riferendosi al comunicato stampa in cui Várhelyi presentava il progetto. L’organo delle Nazioni Unite si occupa invece di tutto ciò che riguarda i rimpatri volontari assistiti. Anche con riferimento al centro multiuso di Lipa, Lungarotti ha detto che Oim starebbe “devolvendo sempre più responsabilità al Servizio stranieri”. Pur senza essere coinvolta in primo piano rispetto alla nuova struttura e ai rimpatri forzati, l’Organizzazione assiste però lo Sfa nelle procedure di rimpatrio forzato. “Sarà effettuato un counseling continuo prima della partenza -le parole di Lungarotti- nel qual caso volessero poter rientrare volontariamente e anche altro supporto di salvaguardia dei diritti umani nel corso di tutto il processo”. Il diritto d’asilo in Bosnia ed Erzegovina, però, dati dell’Alto commissariato delle Nazioni Unite per i rifugiati (Unhcr), è un ologramma. Nel 2022 sono state registrate appena 149 richieste d’asilo, con 12 riconoscimenti di protezione con un tempo medio di analisi delle domande di 306 giorni. Quasi un anno, con scarsissime possibilità di ottenere una regolarizzazione: un elemento ormai consolidato.

    La costruzione di un centro di detenzione nasce come secondo tassello della strategia europea per “delegare” le espulsioni a Paesi terzi. Il primo passo è stata l’implementazione di accordi con i Paesi d’origine verso cui “rimandare” le persone. Caso di scuola è il Pakistan. Il 31 luglio 2022, con grande enfasi mediatica, un volo di linea con a bordo due persone residenti sul territorio bosniaco senza regolare permesso di soggiorno è atterrato a Islamabad. È stata la prima operazione di espulsione a seguito della firma di un’intesa con il governo pakistano del 23 luglio 2021, sempre su “mandato” delle istituzioni europee. “Di fatto è stata posta come prerequisito al Paese balcanico per entrare nell’Ue la sottoscrizione di accordi con Paesi terzi per facilitare le espulsioni dei migranti. È un tassello fondamentale -aveva spiegato allora ad Altreconomia la ricercatrice Gorana Mlinarevic-. Anche perché per diverse nazionalità, come quella pakistana, questo rappresenta l’unico modo per l’Ue di rimpatriare le persone. E Bruxelles lo sa bene”. Anche in quest’ottica a livello europeo qualcosa si muove: a inizio febbraio 2023, il nuovo direttore di Frontex, Hans Leijtes, ha fatto visita proprio al ministro dell’Interno del Pakistan per rafforzare la cooperazione con il Paese.

    L’Ufficio della delegazione Ue in Bosnia ed Erzegovina sottolinea nella sua risposta ad Altreconomia come “il governo bosniaco deve rafforzare le sue capacità e adottare tutte le misure necessarie per gestire efficacemente il centro di Lipa nel pieno rispetto dei diritti fondamentali, della legislazione nazionale e degli standard internazionali, anche per quanto riguarda lo screening e la registrazione, la protezione delle persone vulnerabili e la detenzione”. Un altro ologramma.

    https://altreconomia.it/lunione-europea-finanzia-un-nuovo-centro-di-detenzione-a-lipa-in-bosnia

    #Lipa #Bosnie-Herzégovine #route_des_Balkans #Balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #financement #UE #EU #Union_européenne #externalisation #renvois #Temporary_retention_facility #détention #rétention #détention_administrative #International_Centre_for_Migration_Policy_Development (#ICMPD) #Lukavica #OIM #IOM #expulsions

  • Qu’est-ce que l’entrée de la #Croatie dans #Schengen peut changer à la route migratoire des Balkans ?

    La Croatie a fait son entrée, le 1er janvier 2023, dans l’espace Schengen. L’intégration de ce pays des Balkans dans la zone de libre circulation pourrait changer la donne à la frontière croate, où les #refoulements de migrants sont fréquents, observe la chercheuse Camille Le Coz. Par un effet de dominos, la situation en Bosnie voisine pourrait se durcir.

    La Croatie a fait son entrée, le 1er janvier 2023, dans l’espace de libre circulation européen Schengen alors que la route migratoire des Balkans connaît une forte hausse de fréquentation depuis l’été. Zagreb a enregistré 30 000 migrants irréguliers dans le pays au cours des dix premiers mois de 2022, soit une augmentation de 150% par rapport à la même période de l’année précédente.

    Pour Camille Le Coz, analyste au Migration policy institute, l’entrée de la Croatie dans Schengen permet d’"acter quelque chose qui était déjà en place sur le terrain". « La Croatie a été récompensée pour ses bons et loyaux services en faisant en sorte de limiter les arrivées de migrants [dans l’UE] », affirme-t-elle.

    Depuis son intégration dans l’Union européenne en 2013, la Croatie est chargée de protéger les frontières extérieures de l’UE, dont la majeure partie est partagée avec la Bosnie. Si les chiffres n’ont rien à voir aujourd’hui avec ceux de 2015, des milliers d’exilés tentent encore chaque année ce passage par la route des Balkans, via la Serbie ou la Bosnie.

    Depuis 2018, le nord de la Bosnie, à la frontière croate, s’est transformé en cul-de-sac pour ces migrants. Voulant montrer à Bruxelles sa capacité à protéger les frontières de l’Union, la Croatie a en effet déployé de nombreux garde-frontières sur la zone. Les refoulements se sont multipliés et, dans la plupart des cas, ils se sont accompagnés de graves violences, tortures et vols, régulièrement dénoncés. Depuis des années, les rapports d’ONG se multiplient sur les exactions commises contre les exilés à la frontière bosno-croate.
    Vers davantage de respect des droits humains ?

    Mais cela pourrait changer à la faveur de cette nouvelle situation, explique la chercheuse Camille Le Coz. « Le respect des droits de l’Homme fait partie des obligations liées à l’entrée dans Schengen. Il est donc possible que l’entrée de la Croatie mette plus de pression sur les policiers et les garde-frontières croates », pointe-t-elle. Les cas de non-respect des droits humains pourraient ainsi être davantage contrôlés.

    Cette entrée pourrait aussi s’accompagner d’aides pour améliorer le système d’asile dans le pays et d’une coopération sur les retours volontaires de migrants. À condition que les garde-frontières ne refoulent pas systématiquement les exilés qui entrent dans le pays pour demander une protection internationale.

    A contrario, et par un effet de dominos, la situation en Bosnie voisine, qui a récemment obtenu le statut de candidat à l’entrée dans l’Union européenne, pourrait se durcir.
    « Éviter à la Croatie d’avoir à pratiquer des pushbacks »

    Le 28 novembre, le commissaire européen Olivér Várhelyi a annoncé le financement d’un protocole d’accord entre l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM) et le ministère bosnien de la Sécurité à hauteur de 500 000 euros. Cette somme doit servir à augmenter le nombre de « retours volontaires et forcés » des migrants vers leur pays d’origine. Le commissaire a également indiqué que le camp de Lipa, situé dans le nord de la Bosnie serait amené à devenir un centre de détention. « Les faux demandeurs d’asile doivent être détenus jusqu’à leur retour dans leur pays », a-t-il déclaré.

    Barbara Becares, chargée des relations avec la presse de l’ONG No Name Kitchen, qui vient en aide aux exilés en Bosnie et en Serbie, voit dans ce projet la volonté de Bruxelles d’"éviter à la Croatie d’avoir à pratiquer des pushbacks […] en gardant les personnes en Bosnie".

    Sur le terrain, les polices bosniennes et serbes œuvrent déjà à retenir les personnes le plus loin possible des frontières de l’UE, selon elle. « Les expulsions sont très courantes, autant en Bosnie qu’en Serbie, observe-t-elle. La police va chercher très tôt le matin les personnes qui dorment à l’extérieur des camps et les emmène dans des endroits éloignés des frontières ». En Bosnie, elles sont généralement emmenées dans le camp de Lipa, alors qu’en Serbie, elles sont conduites dans le sud du pays.

    Pour freiner les arrivées via la route des Balkans, Bruxelles compte aussi sur l’aide de la Serbie. Le pays est, lui aussi, candidat à l’adhésion à l’Union européenne et son intégration dépendra sans doute largement, comme pour la Bosnie, de sa capacité à montrer à Bruxelles qu’il contrôle ses frontières.

    En octobre, Belgrade a déjà, à la demande de Bruxelles, mis fin à l’exemption de visas pour les ressortissants tunisiens et burundais. L’obligation de détenir un visa pour entrer dans le pays a été étendue, le 1er janvier, aux ressortissants d’Inde et de Guinée-Bissau.

    #espace_Schengen #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières #route_des_Balkans #Balkans #Bosnie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #refoulements_en_chaîne #récompense #frontières_extérieures #soutien_financier #accord #protocole_d'accord #OIM #IOM #retours_volontaires #retours_forcés #Lipa #rétention #détention_administrative #expulsions #push-backs #visas #Serbie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Paper contents:

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

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

  • «Sie haben eh keine Chance auf Asyl in der Schweiz»

    Eine Video-Animation, die offenbar afrikanischen Asylbewerbern die Heimkehr schmackhaft machen will, wurde vom Staatssekretariat für Migration einfach ins Ukrainische übersetzt. Nur: Diese staatliche Rückkehrhilfe gilt für Flüchtlinge aus der Ukraine gar nicht.

    Ein kleiner Zeichentrickfilm sorgt für grosse Empörung. Das Staatssekretariat für Migration (SEM) will mit einem vierminütigen Erklärvideo unerwünschte Asylbewerber dazu bewegen, in ihre Heimat zurückzukehren. Unter den Adressaten sind auch ukrainische Flüchtlinge.

    Im Filmchen ist ein dunkelhäutiger Mann zu sehen. In der ukrainischen Version wird er Bohdan Petrenko genannt. Da er «eh kaum eine Chance auf Asyl in der Schweiz» habe, rät man ihm auf der Beratungsstelle heimzukehren. Man erklärt ihm, er habe bei freiwilliger Rückkehr in die Heimat ein Recht auf finanzielle Unterstützung, wenn er aus einem visapflichtigen Land stamme. Grenze sein Land zudem nicht an den Schengen-Raum, habe er sogar Anspruch auf die Finanzierung eines Business-Projekts.
    Video in vielen Sprachen, auch auf Ukrainisch

    Das Video wird in mehreren Sprachen gezeigt. Das SEM stellt peinlicherweise auch die ukrainische Version auf seinen offiziellen Youtube-Kanal. Dies bleibt nicht ohne Reaktion. Ukrainische Flüchtlinge wenden sich irritiert an die ukrainische Anwältin Elina Iakovleva. Diese weist nun in einer Stellungnahme auf Ungereimtheiten hin.

    Als Erstes sei das Video politisch unkorrekt, schreibt Elina Iakovleva, da die Hautfarbe der Ukrainer weiss sei. Zweitens erhielten Ukrainer nicht Asyl, sondern den Schutzstatus S. Und die Ukraine habe durchaus Grenzen zum Schengen-Raum, etwa mit der Slowakei, Polen und Ungarn. Ukrainer bräuchten zudem kein Visum, um in die Schweiz einzureisen.
    «Botschaft des SEM ist zynisch und grausam»

    Und überhaupt, wie könne man vornehmlich Frauen und Kinder nahelegen, in ein Land zurückzukehren, das von einem Drittland angegriffen wird, in dem Bomben fallen und Frauen vergewaltigt werden? «Die Botschaft des Videos ist zynisch und grausam», so die Anwältin.

    In einem Blick-Interview zum Anlass der bevorstehenden Ukraine-Konferenz in Lugano TI stellt der ukrainische Botschafter Artem Rybchenko (38) klar: «Unsere Leute müssen nur für eine gewisse Zeit weg vom Krieg. Sie wollen schnell wieder nach Hause zurückkehren. Das ist wichtig zu wissen. Es ist eine ganz andere Situation als jene vieler anderer Flüchtlinge in der Schweiz.» Er habe persönlich in seiner Heimat gesehen, dass viele Frauen mittlerweile heimgekehrt seien, «die Familien wollen wieder zusammenkommen».

    Eine peinliche Panne

    Blick fragt beim SEM nach. Dort wird die Publizierung des Videos als Panne bezeichnet. «Wir nehmen das Video vom Netz, weil es tatsächlich verwirrend ist», verspricht Mediensprecher Daniel Bach. Es würde zwar gleich am Anfang darauf hingewiesen, dass es um Asylsuchende gehe. «Dennoch, wir schauen, dass die Ukrainerinnen und Ukrainer zu diesem Thema korrekt und vor allem klar informiert werden», so Daniel Bach weiter.

    An der Rückkehrhilfe aber hält er fest: «Es gibt vereinzelt Personen, die aus der Ukraine in die Schweiz geflüchtet sind und hier den Status S beantragt haben, jedoch wieder in ihre Heimat zurückkehren wollen. Wenn sie diese Rückkehr nicht selber organisieren und finanzieren können, können sie sich an die Rückkehrberatungsstelle (RKB) des Kantons wenden, und diese kann bei der Organisation der Rückreise helfen. Im Einzelfall kann die RKB beim SEM eine finanzielle Unterstützung in Bezug auf die Reisekosten beantragen.»

    https://www.blick.ch/schweiz/peinliches-fluechtlingsvideo-des-sem-sorgt-bei-ukrainern-fuer-empoerung-sie-ha

    #aide_au_retour #Suisse #asile #migrations #IOM #OIM #SEM #réfugiés #propagande

  • International Migrants Day Statement, IOM Director General António Vitorino: “Harnessing the Potential of Human Mobility” | International Organization for Migration
    https://www.iom.int/news/international-migrants-day-statement-iom-director-general-antonio-vitorino-harn

    International Migrants Day Statement, IOM Director General António Vitorino: “Harnessing the Potential of Human Mobility”
    Geneva – International Migrants Day this year falls almost exactly 70 years after the Brussels conference that led to the establishment of the International Organization for Migration.Over these seven decades we have provided assistance to millions of migrants worldwide and worked tirelessly with our member states to ensure migration is managed in a safe, orderly and dignified manner.As the Organization has evolved, so too has the face of human mobility.Beyond the images of closed borders, separated families and economic instability, the now two-year-old global pandemic has spawned a new wave of anti-migrant sentiment and the increasing instrumentalization of migrants as tools in state policy.
    Both are unacceptable.So too is the relative impunity with which unscrupulous people smugglers operate along migration routes worldwide. The rule of law must be observed and action taken to combat those who exploit people at their most vulnerable. The response to COVID-19 has forcefully underlined the importance of migrant workers in keeping us all safe.The positive social and economic impact in the countries where they reside, and the USD 540 billion remitted last year to communities in lower and middle-income countries are measures of the industry, entrepreneurship and community from which we all benefit. But, in order to realize the full potential of human mobility, two things must happen.
    Governments must move from words to action and include migrants regardless of their legal status, in their social and economic recovery plans.
    And, we must renew our commitment to reinforcing legal channels for migration that balance and respect both national sovereignty and the human rights of people on the move. A comprehensive approach requires that we leave aside the defensive posturing that too often victimizes people along their migratory journeys. It requires our immediate collective efforts and commitment to create policies that maximize the potential of migration for all while ensuring the fundamental human rights of migrants are protected. The International Migration Review Forum in May will provide an opportunity to review progress on the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which provides a framework to address the challenges associated with migration, while strengthening the contribution of migrants and migration to human development.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#sante#droit#protection#vulnerabilite#IOM#travailleurmigrant#economie#routemigratoire#inclusion

  • IOM Supports the UN COVID-19 Vaccination Roll-Out in Yemen - Yemen | ReliefWeb
    https://reliefweb.int/report/yemen/iom-supports-un-covid-19-vaccination-roll-out-yemen

    IOM Supports the UN COVID-19 Vaccination Roll-Out in Yemen
    Yemen received 360,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses through the COVAX Facility on 31 March. The roll-out of the vaccination campaign began on 20 April.
    COVID-19 has had severe consequences for the health, well-being and income of people in Yemen. The full impact can never be truly known, however, due to limited testing and reporting across the country.
    The monthly rate of positive COVID-19 cases reached over 2,400 in March, which was the highest confirmed in one month since the start of the pandemic. In April, the case rate continued to be higher than in previous months with more than 1,500 cases. As of early May, the case fatality rate reached over 19 per cent — the highest in the region.“Achieving wide-reaching immunity is vital to stopping the COVID-19 pandemic in its tracks. IOM is happy to support the vaccination campaign in Yemen to help reach that very aim,” said Christa Rottensteiner, IOM Yemen Chief of Mission.
    “It is extremely important that all vulnerable communities in Yemen have access to the COVID-19 vaccine. IOM welcomes the Government of Yemen’s decision to take an inclusive approach to the vaccine roll-out by including migrants in need. Our communities will not be healthy until everyone is healthy.”So far, over 18,500 health workers and people with medical conditions have been vaccinated across Yemen. In the next rounds of the vaccination campaign, migrants are expected to be included as per the national plan. IOM estimates that more than 32,000 migrants are currently stranded across Yemen, with limited access to health care, hygiene or other COVID-19 prevention and treatment resources.The vaccines being administered by IOM in the five health centres are provided through the COVAX Facility, which is a partnership between the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO).Prior to the start of the vaccination campaign, IOM doctors were trained in administering the vaccine by WHO, UNICEF and the Ministry of Public Health and Population.The health centres where IOM is helping to carry out the vaccination campaign are already supported by the Organization through other means, including the provision of medicine, supplies, equipment, salary support and training. IOM is able to work with these health centres thanks to support from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) and the Government of Japan.
    For greater effectiveness of vaccination campaigns across the world, IOM calls for the removal of any barriers that migrants and forcibly displaced persons may face in accessing the jab.The Organization has been supporting governments through health system strengthening, outreach to share information and combat vaccine hesitancy among communities, and operational support for transport and storage of doses, among other activities. IOM has also been implementing an extensive response to the COVID-19 pandemic since its start in 2020 through other health services such as the construction of quarantine centres, enhancing COVID-19 diagnostics through PCR testing, risks communication and community engagement and health worker training.

    #COvid-19#migrant#migration#yemen#sante#vaccination#systemesante#test#quarantaine#IOM#USAID

  • New Centre to Help Stranded Migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina
    https://mailchi.mp/f8ad3c87b014/new-centre-to-help-stranded-migrants-in-bosnia-and-herzegovina?e=08042272be

    New Centre to Help Stranded Migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Officials tour the facilities in the new migrant centre which offers accommodation, medical care and other services for 1,500 people. Photo: IOM BiH
    Bihać – A new reception centre catering to the needs of up to 1,500 stranded migrants opened today in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), a key staging post for people trying to reach the European Union.
    Supported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the centre in Lipa, in north-western Una-Sana canton, replaces the former COVID-19 emergency tent shelter there which was destroyed by fire in December 2020, when about 1,400 migrants were left without shelter and protection.
    “The opening of this new Lipa centre is a critical step towards a more State-owned migration response,” said Laura Lungarotti, IOM’s Chief of Mission in BiH and sub-regional coordinator for the Western Balkans.
    “Today we are turning a tragedy into an opportunity. Offering humane accommodation is just one step within a wider migration governance strategy which will increasingly focus on the early identification and provision of sustainable solutions to all those who are stranded in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” she said at the official opening ceremony.
    The new container-type facility provides humanitarian aid, including accommodation, food, water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as protection services and medical care. It is run by the BiH Service for Foreigners’ Affairs under the Ministry of Security, with support from IOM, UN agencies and NGO partners. The first snowfalls are expected in the area next week after a mild autumn, making the opening of the centre particularly timely for the single males, families, and unaccompanied children who will be spared another bitter winter sleeping rough. One 22-year-old migrant from Pakistan said he has been in Bosnia for two months. “This new camp is good. We now have good food and the people working here are very kind,” he said. Another migrant said he has already spent two winters in BiH. “First, I was in the Bira camp, and after Bira closed, I went to Lipa. Now I am in new Lipa, we have clean space, clothes, heating, food, water, medical support,” he said.
    Since January 2015, BiH has become a key route for migrants heading to the European Union. Many of the more than 84,600 arrivals registered since then have moved on to the EU, while others have returned to their countries of origin through IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programme. An estimated 3,500 migrants remain in BiH today.
    The new Lipa reception facility was constructed from the ground up with the financial support of the European Union as the main contributor, and with additional support by the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (Techniches Hilfswerk), the Austrian Federal Ministry of Interior, the Austrian Development Agency, the Swiss Government, the Holy See, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Council of Europe Development Bank.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#bosnie#herzegovie#sante#frontiere#circulation#routemigratoire#balkan#camp#IOM#UE

  • Data et nouvelles technologies, la face cachée du contrôle des mobilités

    Dans un rapport de juillet 2020, l’#Agence_européenne_pour_la_gestion_opérationnelle_des_systèmes_d’information_à_grande_échelle (#EU-Lisa) présente l’#intelligence_artificielle (#IA) comme l’une des « #technologies prioritaires » à développer. Le rapport souligne les avantages de l’IA en matière migratoire et aux frontières, grâce, entre autres, à la technologie de #reconnaissance_faciale.

    L’intelligence artificielle est de plus en plus privilégiée par les acteurs publics, les institutions de l’UE et les acteurs privés, mais aussi par le #HCR et l’#OIM. Les agences de l’UE, comme #Frontex ou EU-Lisa, ont été particulièrement actives dans l’expérimentation des nouvelles technologies, brouillant parfois la distinction entre essais et mise en oeuvre. En plus des outils traditionnels de #surveillance, une panoplie de technologies est désormais déployée aux frontières de l’Europe et au-delà, qu’il s’agisse de l’ajout de nouvelles #bases_de_données, de technologies financières innovantes, ou plus simplement de la récupération par les #GAFAM des données laissées volontairement ou pas par les migrant·e·s et réfugié∙e∙s durant le parcours migratoire.

    La pandémie #Covid-19 est arrivée à point nommé pour dynamiser les orientations déjà prises, en permettant de tester ou de généraliser des technologies utilisées pour le contrôle des mobilités sans que l’ensemble des droits des exilé·e·s ne soit pris en considération. L’OIM, par exemple, a mis à disposition des Etats sa #Matrice_de_suivi_des_déplacements (#DTM) durant cette période afin de contrôler les « flux migratoires ». De nouvelles technologies au service de vieilles obsessions…

    http://migreurop.org/article3021.html

    Pour télécharger la note :
    migreurop.org/IMG/pdf/note_12_fr.pdf

    #migrations #réfugiés #asile #frontières #mobilité #mobilités #données #technologie #nouvelles_technologies #coronavirus #covid #IOM
    #migreurop

    ping @etraces

    voir aussi :
    Migreurop | Data : la face cachée du contrôle des mobilités
    https://seenthis.net/messages/900232

    • European funds for African IDs: migration regulation tool or privacy risk?

      The first person you meet after you land at Blaise Diagne Airport in Dakar is a border guard with a digital scanner.

      The official will scan your travel document and photograph and take a digital print of your index fingers.

      It’s the most visible sign of the new state-of-the-art digital biometrics system that is being deployed in the airport with the help of EU funding.

      The aim is to combat the increasingly sophisticated fake passports sold by traffickers to refugees.

      But it also helps Senegal’s government learn more about its own citizens.

      And it’s not just here: countries across West Africa are adopting travel documentation that has long been familiar to Europeans.

      Passports, ID cards and visas are all becoming biometric, and a national enrolment scheme is underway.

      In Europe too, there are proposals to create a biometric database of over 400 million foreign nationals, including fingerprints and photographs of their faces.

      The new systems are part of efforts to battle illegal migration from West Africa to the EU.

      ‘Fool-proof’ EU passport online

      Many are still plying the dangerous route across the Sahara and the Mediterranean to reach Europe, but a growing number are turning to the criminal gangs selling forged passports to avoid the treacherous journey over desert and sea.

      There’s a burgeoning market in travel documents advertised as ‘fake but real”.

      Prices vary according to the paperwork: an EU Schengen transit visa costs €5,000, while a longer-stay visa can be twice as high.

      Some forgers have even mastered the ability to incorporate holograms and hack the biometric chips.

      “Morphing” is an image processing technique that merges two people’s photographs into a single new face that appears to contain entirely new biometric data.

      Frontex, the EU’s border guard agency, says 7,000 people were caught trying to enter the Schengen area in 2019 carrying such documents — but it admits the true figure could be much higher.

      Sending migrants back

      Last year, the largest number of travellers with fake documents arrived via Turkish and Moroccan international airports.

      Many were caught in Italy, having arrived via Casablanca from sub-Saharan countries like Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal.

      A Frontex team responsible for deporting migrants without the correct paperwork was deployed this year at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport.

      It’s the first sign of a new European Commission regulation expanding the agency’s role, which includes access to biometric data held by member states, according to Jane Kilpatrick, a researcher at the civil liberties think-tank Statewatch.

      “The agency’s growing role in the collection of data, it links overtly to the agency’s role in deporting individuals from the EU,” she said.

      Over 490,000 return decisions were issued by member states last year, but only a third were actually sent back to a country outside the EU.

      There are multiple reasons why: some countries, for example, refuse to accept responsibility for people whose identity documents were lost, destroyed or stolen.

      Legally binding readmission agreements are now in place between the EU and 18 other countries to make that process easier.
      There are no records

      But a bigger problem is the fact that many African countries know very little about their own citizens.

      The World Bank estimates the continent is home to roughly half of the estimated one billion people on the planet who are unable to prove their identities.

      An absence of digitisation means that dusty registers are piling up in storage rooms.

      The same goes for many borders: unlike the scene at Dakar’s airport, many are still without internet access, servers, scanners and cameras.

      That, the Commission says, is why EU aid funds are being used to develop biometric identity systems in West African countries.

      The EU Trust Fund for Africa has allotted €60 million to support governments in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire in modernising their registry systems and creating a national biometric identity database.

      Much of the funding comes through Civipol, a consulting firm attached to France’s interior ministry and part-owned by Milipol, one of the most important arms trade fairs in the world.

      It describes the objective of the programme in Côte d’Ivoire as identifying “people genuinely of Ivorian nationality and organising their return more easily”.
      Data security concerns

      European sources told Euronews that the EU-funded projects in West Africa were not designed to identify potential migrants or deport existing ones.

      A Commission spokesperson insisted no European entity — neither Frontex, nor member states, nor their partners — had access to the databases set up by West African countries.

      But the systems they are funding are intimately connected to anti-migration initiatives.

      One is the Migrant Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS), a migration database that can send automatic queries to Interpol watchlists to detect travel documents and people possibly linked to organised crime, including human trafficking.

      Connections like these, and the role of French arms giants like Thales in the growing biometric market, has led data protection experts to become worried about possible abuses of privacy.
      World’s newest biometric market

      As Africa becomes the coveted market for biometric identification providers, the watchdog Privacy International has warned it risks becoming a mere testing ground for technologies later deployed elsewhere.

      So far 24 countries on the continent out of 53 have adopted laws and regulations to protect personal data.

      A letter by Privacy International, seen by Euronews, says EU must “ensure they are protecting rights before proceeding with allocating resources and technologies which, in absence of proper oversight, will likely result in fundamental rights abuses.”

      It has published internal documents tracking the development of Senegal’s system that suggest no privacy or data protection impact assessments have been carried out.

      Civipol, the French partner, denies this: it told Euronews that the Senegalese Personal Data Commission took part in the programme and Senegalese law was respected at every stage.

      Yet members of Senegal’s independent Commission of Personal Data (CDP), which is responsible for ensuring personal data is processed correctly, admit implementation and enforcement remained a challenge — even though they are proud of their country’s pioneering role in data governance in Africa.

      For the Senegalese cyber activist Cheick Fall, the charge is more serious: “Senegal has sinned by entrusting the processing of these data to foreign companies.”

      https://www.euronews.com/2021/07/30/european-funds-for-african-ids-migration-regulation-tool-or-privacy-risk

      #biométrie #aéroport #Afrique #étrangers #base_de_données_biométrique #empreintes_digitales #passeports #visas #hologramme #Morphing #image #photographie #Frontex #EU_Trust_Fund_for_Africa #Trust_Fund #Civipol #Milipol #armes #commerce_d'armes #Côte_d’Ivoire #Afrique_de_l'Ouest #Migrant_Information_and_Data_Analysis_System (#MIDAS) #Interpol #Thales #Sénégal #Senegalese_Personal_Data_Commission #Commission_of_Personal_Data (#CDP)

    • EU Watchdog Finds Commission Failed to Protect Human Rights From its Surveillance Aid to African Countries

      The European #Ombudsman has found that the European Commission failed to take necessary measures to ensure the protection of human rights in the transfers of technology with potential surveillance capacity supported by its multi-billion #Emergency_Trust_Fund_for_Africa

      The decision by the EU’s oversight body follows a year-long inquiry prompted by complaints outlining how EU bodies and agencies are cooperating with governments around the world to increase their surveillance powers filed by Privacy International, Access Now, the Border Violence Monitoring Network, Homo Digitalis, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and Sea-Watch.

      The complainants welcome the decision by the European Ombudsman and call on the Commission to urgently review its support for surveillance in non-EU countries and to immediately implement the Ombudsman’s recommendations in their entirety. 

      The inquiry, which investigated the support of projects across Africa aimed at bolstering surveillance and tracking powers and involved extensive evidence-gathering from the Commission and complainants, found that “the Commission was not able to demonstrate that the measures in place ensured a coherent and structured approach to assessing the human rights impacts”.

      It recommends that the Commission now require that an “assessment of the potential human rights impact of projects be presented together with corresponding mitigation measures.” The lack of such protections, which the Ombudsman called a “serious shortcoming”, poses a clear risk that these surveillance transfer might cause serious violations of or interferences with other fundamental rights. 

       

      Ioannis Kouvakas, Senior Legal Officer at Privacy International, commenting on the decision:

      “This landmark decision in response to our complaint marks a turning point for the European Union’s external policy and sets a precedent that will hopefully protect the rights of communities in some of the most vulnerable situations for the years to come.”

      An FIDH Spokesperson said:

      “Indeed, this decision warns once again the European Commission about its failure to comply with its human rights obligations. The decision makes clear that the EU has to better develop its processes to effectively put the protection of human rights at core of the design and the implementation of its policies and external activities. All human rights and all activities are at stake.”

      Marwa Fatafta from Access Now said:

      “We welcome the Ombudsman’s decision which scrutinises the EU’s failure to protect and respect the human rights of people living off its shores. The EU’s ongoing surveillance transfers to authoritarian regimes in Africa and elsewhere cannot continue business as usual. We hope this decision will help hold the EU accountable to its values overseas, and protect the rights and freedoms of vulnerable communities from intrusive tracking and government surveillance.”

      Homo Digitalis said:

      “The shortcomings that the Ombudsman has identified prove that the Commission is not able to demonstrate that the measures in place ensure a coherent and structured approach to assessing the human rights impacts of #EUTFA projects. This is an important first step, but we need specific accountability mechanisms in place to address violations of rights and freedoms in EUTFA projects. This cannot be ensured via just some revised templates.”

      https://privacyinternational.org/press-release/4992/eu-watchdog-finds-commission-failed-protect-human-rights-its-s
      #EUTF_for_Africa

  • Mediterranean carcerality and acts of escape

    In recent years, migrants seeking refuge in Europe have faced capture and containment in the Mediterranean – the result of experimentation by EU institutions and member states.

    About two years ago, in June 2019, a group of 75 people found themselves stranded in the central Mediterranean Sea. The migrant group had tried to escape from Libya in order to reach Europe but was adrift at sea after running out of fuel. Monitored by European aerial assets, they saw a vessel on the horizon slowly moving toward them. When they were eventually rescued by the Maridive 601, an offshore supply vessel, they did not know that it would become their floating prison for nearly three weeks. Malta and Italy refused to allocate a port of safety in Europe, and, at first, the Tunisian authorities were equally unwilling to allow them to land.

    Over 19 days, the supply vessel turned from a floating refuge into an offshore carceral space in which the situation for the rescued deteriorated over time. Food and water were scarce, untreated injuries worsened, scabies spread, as did the desperation on board. The 75 people, among them 64 Bangladeshi migrants and dozens of minors, staged a protest on board, chanting: “We don’t need food, we don’t want to stay here, we want to go to Europe.”

    Reaching Europe, however, seemed increasingly unlikely, with Italy and Malta rejecting any responsibility for their disembarkation. Instead, the Tunisian authorities, the Bangladeshi embassy, and the #International_Organisation_for_Migration (#IOM) arranged not only their landing in Tunisia, but also the removal of most of them to their countries of origin. Shortly after disembarkation in the harbour of Zarzis, dozens of the migrants were taken to the runways of Tunis airport and flown out.

    In a recently published article in the journal Political Geography, I have traced the story of this particular migrant group and their zig-zagging trajectories that led many from remote Bangladeshi villages, via Dubai, Istanbul or Alexandria, to Libya, and eventually onto a supply vessel off the Tunisian coast. Although their situation was certainly unique, it also exemplified the ways in which the Mediterranean has turned into a ‘carceral seascape’, a space where people precariously on the move are to be captured and contained in order to prevent them from reaching European shores.

    While forms of migrant capture and containment have, of course, a much longer history in the European context, the past ten years have seen particularly dramatic transformations in the central Mediterranean Sea. When the Arab Uprisings ‘re-opened’ this maritime corridor in and after 2011, crossings started to increase significantly – about 156,000 people crossed to Europe on average every year between 2014 and 2017. Since then, crossings have dropped sharply. The annual average between 2018 and 2020 was around 25,000 people – a figure resembling annual arrivals in the period before the Arab Uprisings.

    One significant reason for this steep decrease in arrivals is the refoulement industry that EU institutions and member states have created, together with third-country allies. The capture of people seeking to escape to Europe has become a cruel trade, of which a range of actors profit. Although ‘refouling’ people on the move – thus returning them to places where they are at risk of facing torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment – violates international human rights laws and refugee conventions, these practices have become systemic and largely normalised, not least as the COVID pandemic has come to serve as a suitable justification to deter potential ‘Corona-spreaders’ and keep them contained elsewhere.

    That migrants face capture and containment in the Mediterranean is the result of years of experimentation on part of EU institutions and member states. Especially since 2018, Europe has largely withdrawn maritime assets from the deadliest areas but reinforced its aerial presence instead, including through the recent deployment of drones. In this way, European assets do not face the ‘risk’ of being forced into rescue operations any longer but can still monitor the sea from above and guide North African, in particular Libyan, speed boats to chase after escaping migrant boats. In consequence, tens of thousands have faced violent returns to places they sought to flee from.

    Just in 2021 alone, about 16,000 people have been caught at sea and forcibly returned to Libya in this way, already more than in the whole of 2020. In mid-June, a ‘push-back by proxy’ occurred, when the merchant vessel Vos Triton handed over 170 migrants to a Libyan coastguard vessel that then returned them to Tripoli, where they were imprisoned in a camp known for its horrendous conditions.

    The refoulment industry, and Mediterranean carcerality more generally, are underpinned by a constant flow of finances, technologies, equipment, discourses, and know-how, which entangles European and Libyan actors to a degree that it might make more sense to think of them as a collective Euro-Libyan border force.

    To legitimise war-torn and politically divided Libya as a ‘competent’ sovereign actor, able to govern the maritime expanse outside its territorial waters, the European Commission funded, and the Italian coastguard implemented, a feasibility study in 2017 to assess “the Libyan capacity in the area of Search and Rescue” (SAR). Shortly after, the Libyan ‘unity government’ declared its extensive Libyan SAR zone, a zone over which it would hold ‘geographical competence’. When the Libyan authorities briefly suspended the establishment of its SAR zone, given its inability to operate a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), an Italian navy vessel was stationed within Tripoli harbour, carrying out the functions of the Libyan MRCC.

    Since 2017, €57.2m from the EU Trust Fund for Africa has funded Libya’s ‘integrated border management’, on top of which hundreds of millions of euros were transferred by EU member states to Libyan authorities through bilateral agreements. Besides such financial support, EU member states have donated speed boats and surveillance technologies to control the Libyan SAR zone while officers from EU military project Operation Sophia and from European Border Agency Frontex have repeatedly provided training to the Libyan coastguards. When out to search for escaping migrants, the Libyan speed boats have relied on Europe’s ‘eyes in the sky’, the aerial assets of Frontex and EU member states. Migrant sightings from the sky would then be relayed to the Libyan assets at sea, also via WhatsApp chats in which Frontex personnel and Libyan officers exchange.

    Thinking of the Mediterranean as a carceral space highlights these myriad Euro-Libyan entanglements that often take place with impunity and little public scrutiny. It also shows how maritime carcerality is “often underscored by mobilities”. Indeed, systematic forms of migrant capture depend on the collaboration of a range of mobile actors at sea, on land, and in the sky. Despite their incessant movements and the fact that surveillance and interception operations are predominantly characterised as rescue operations, thousands of people have lost their lives at sea over recent years. Many have been left abandoned even in situations where their whereabouts were long known to European and North African authorities, often in cases when migrant boats were already adrift and thus unable to reach Europe on their own accord.

    At the same time, even in the violent and carceral Mediterranean Sea, a range of interventions have occurred that have prevented both deaths at sea and the smooth operation of the refoulment industry. NGO rescuers, activists, fishermen and, at times, merchant vessel crews have conducted mass rescues over recent years, despite being harassed, threatened and criminalised by Euro-Libyan authorities at every turn. Through their presence, they have documented and repeatedly ruptured the operations of the Euro-Libyan border force, shedding light on what is meant to remain hidden.

    Maybe most importantly, the Mediterranean’s carceral condition has not erased the possibility of migratory acts of escape. Indeed, tactics of border subversion adapt to changing carceral techniques, with many migrant boats seeking to cross the sea without being detected and to reach European coasts autonomously. As the UNHCR notes in reference to the maritime arrival of 34,000 people in Italy and Malta in 2020: “Only approximately 4,500 of those arriving by sea in 2020 had been rescued by authorities or NGOs on the high seas: the others were intercepted by the authorities close to shore or arrived undetected.”

    While most of those stuck on the Maridive supply vessel off Tunisia’s coast in 2019 were returned to countries of origin, some tried to cross again and eventually escaped Mediterranean carcerality. Despite Euro-North African attempts to capture and contain them, they moved on stubbornly, and landed their boats in Lampedusa.

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/can-europe-make-it/mediterranean-carcerality-and-acts-escape

    #enfermement #Méditerranée #mer_Méditerranée #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières #expérimentation #OIM #Tunisie #Zarzis #externalisation #migrerrance #carcéralité #refoulement #push-backs #Libye #Vos_Triton #EU_Trust_Fund_for_Africa #Trust_Fund #carceral_space

    via @isskein

  • Rückführung illegaler MigrantenNGOs üben scharfe Kritik an Nehammers Balkan-Plänen

    Österreich hat mit Bosnien die Rückführung illegaler Migranten vereinbart, Nehammer sagte Unterstützung zu. Laut NGOs mache sich Österreich damit „zum Komplizen eines Völkerrechtsbruches“.

    Innenminister #Karl_Nehammer (ÖVP) hat am Mittwoch seine Westbalkanreise fortgesetzt und mit Bosnien einen Rückführungsplan für irreguläre Migranten vereinbart. Mit dem Sicherheitsminister von Bosnien und Herzegowina, #Selmo_Cikotić, unterzeichnete er eine Absichtserklärung. Scharfe Kritik äußerten mehrere Initiativen in Österreich. Außerdem kündigte Nehammer an, dass Österreich für das abgebrannte Camp #Lipa 500.000 Euro bereitstellt, damit dieses winterfest gemacht wird.

    Die Arbeiten dazu haben laut dem Innenministerium bereits begonnen, mit dem Geld sollen ein Wasser- und Abwassernetz sowie Stromanschlüsse errichtet werden. Im Dezember war die Lage in Bihać eskaliert, nachdem das Camp Lipa im Nordwesten des Landes kurz vor Weihnachten von der Internationalen Organisation für Migration (IOM) geräumt worden war – mit der Begründung, dass es die bosnischen Behörden nicht winterfest gemacht hätten. Kurz darauf brannten die Zelte aus, den damaligen Berichten zufolge hatten Bewohner das Feuer selbst gelegt. Beobachter gehen davon aus, dass auch die Einheimischen das Feuer aus Wut auf die Flüchtenden gelegt haben könnten.

    Charterflüge für Migranten ohne Bleibechancen

    Zentrales Ziel der Balkanreise von Innenminister Nehammer ist die Erarbeitung von Rückführungsplänen mit den besuchten Ländern. Migranten ohne Bleibewahrscheinlichkeit, die laut Nehammer auch ein Sicherheitsproblem sind, sollen bereits von den Balkanländern in die Herkunftsländer zurückgebracht werden. Mit Bosnien wurde bereits ein Charterflug vereinbart. Damit zeige man den Menschen, dass es nicht sinnvoll sei, Tausende Euro in die Hände von Schleppern zu legen, ohne die Aussicht auf eine Bleibeberechtigung in der EU zu haben, betonte Nehammer.

    Die geplanten Rückführungen sollen über die im vergangenen Sommer bei der Ministerkonferenz in Wien angekündigte „Plattform gegen illegale Migration“ operativ organisiert werden. In die Koordinierungsplattform für Migrationspolitik mehrerer EU-Länder – darunter Deutschland – sowie der Westbalkanstaaten wird auch die EU-Kommission miteinbezogen.
    Beamte sollen im „Eskortentraining“ geschult werden

    Bosnien hat bereits auch konkrete Anliegen für Unterstützung vorgebracht. So sollen 50 sogenannte „Rückführungsspezialisten“ in Österreich trainiert werden. Diese sind bei Abschiebungen und freiwilligen Ausreisen für die Sicherheit in den Flugzeugen zuständig. Bei diesem sogenannten Eskortentraining werden die bosnischen Beamten theoretisch und praktisch geschult, in Absprache mit Frontex und unter Miteinbeziehung der Cobra, berichtete Berndt Körner, stellvertretender Exekutivdirektor von Frontex.

    „Wir helfen bei der Ausbildung, vermitteln Standards, das ändert aber nichts an der Verantwortlichkeit, die bleibt in den jeweiligen Ländern“, sagte er im Gespräch mit der APA. Es gehe darum, dass „alle internationalen Standards eingehalten werden“, betonte der österreichische Spitzenbeamte.
    NGOs sehen „falsches Zeichen“

    Scharfe Kritik an dem von Nehammer geplanten „Rückführungsplan“ übten unterdessen zahlreiche Initiativen aus der Zivilgesellschaft. „Wenn Österreich den Westbalkanländern helfen will, dann soll es diese Länder beim Aufbau von rechtsstaatlichen Asylverfahren unterstützen. Wenn allerdings Menschen, die in diesen Ländern keine fairen Verfahren erwarten können, einfach abgeschoben werden sollen und Österreich dabei hilft, macht es sich zum Komplizen eines Völkerrechtsbruches“, kritisierte etwa Maria Katharina Moser, Direktorin der Diakonie Österreich, in einer Aussendung.

    „Die Vertiefung der Zusammenarbeit mit der EU-Agentur Frontex ist ein falsches Zeichen“, erklärte Lukas Gahleitner-Gertz, Sprecher der NGO Asylkoordination Österreich. „Die Vorwürfe gegen Frontex umfassen inzwischen unterschiedlichste Bereiche von unterlassener Hilfeleistung über Beteiligung an illegalen Push-backs bis zur Verschwendung von Steuergeldern bei ausufernden Betriebsfeiern. Statt auf die strikte Einhaltung der völker- und menschenrechtlichen Verpflichtungen zu pochen, stärkt Österreich der umstrittenen Grenztruppe den Rücken.“

    „Im Flüchtlingsschutz müssen wir immer die Menschen im Auge haben, die Schutz suchen. Ich habe bei meiner Reise nach Bosnien selbst gesehen, unter welchen Bedingungen Geflüchtete leben müssen. Für mich ist klar: Diejenigen, die Schutz vor Verfolgung brauchen, müssen durch faire Asylverfahren zu ihrem Recht kommen“, sagte Erich Fenninger, Direktor der Volkshilfe Österreich und Sprecher der Plattform für eine menschliche Asylpolitik.

    https://www.kleinezeitung.at/politik/innenpolitik/5972469/Rueckfuehrung-illegaler-Migranten_NGOs-ueben-scharfe-Kritik-an

    #Autriche #Bosnie #accord #accord_bilatéral #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Balkans #renvois #route_des_Balkans #expulsions #Nehammer #Selmo_Cikotic #externalisation #camp_de_réfugiés #encampement #IOM #OIM #vols #charter #dissuasion #Plattform_gegen_illegale_Migration #machine_à_expulsion #Rückführungsspezialisten #spécialistes_du_renvoi (tentative de traduction de „Rückführungsspezialisten“) #avions #Eskortentraining #Frontex #Cobra #Berndt_Körner

  • Migrants left stranded and without assistance by COVID-19 lockdowns | | UN News
    https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/04/1089302

    Migrants left stranded and without assistance by COVID-19 lockdowns
    Travel restrictions during the COVID pandemic have been particularly hard on refugees and migrants who move out of necessity, stranding millions from home, the UN migration agency, IOM, said on Thursday. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the first year of the pandemic saw more than 111,000 travel restrictions and border closures around the world at their peak in December. These measures “have thwarted many people’s ability to pursue migration as a tool to escape conflict, economic collapse, environmental disaster and other crises”, IOM maintained. In mid-July, nearly three million people were stranded, sometimes without access to consular assistance, nor the means to meet their basic needs.
    In Panama, the UN agency said that thousands were cut off in the jungle while attempting to travel north to the United States; in Lebanon, migrant workers were affected significantly by the August 2020 explosion in Beirut and the subsequent surge of COVID-19 cases.
    Border closures also prevented displaced people from seeking refuge, IOM maintained, but not business travellers, who “have continued to move fairly freely”, including through agreed ‘green lanes’, such as the one between Singapore and Malaysia. By contrast, those who moved out of necessity - such as migrant workers and refugees – have had to absorb expensive quarantine and self-isolation costs, IOM said, noting that in the first half of 2020, asylum applications fell by one-third, compared to the same period a year earlier. As the COVID crisis continues, this distinction between those who can move and those who cannot, will likely become even more pronounced, IOM said, “between those with the resources and opportunities to move freely, and those whose movement is severely restricted by COVID-19-related or pre-existing travel and visa restrictions and limited resources”. This inequality is even more likely if travel is allowed for anyone who has been vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19, or for those with access to digital health records – an impossibility for many migrants.
    Frontier lockdowns also reduced options for those living in overcrowded camps with high coronavirus infection rates in Bangladesh and Greece, IOM’s report indicated. In South America, meanwhile, many displaced Venezuelans in Colombia, Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Brazil, lost their livelihoods and some have sought to return home – including by enlisting the services of smugglers

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#sante#IOM#pandemie#restrictionsanitaire#confinement#circulation#frontiere

  • Le nombre record de retours de migrants transfrontaliers contribue à assombrir les perspectives humanitaires pour l’Afghanistan en 2021 | Organisation internationale pour les migrations
    https://www.iom.int/fr/news/le-nombre-record-de-retours-de-migrants-transfrontaliers-contribue-assombrir-le
    https://www.iom.int/sites/default/files/styles/highlights/public/press_release/media/afghanistan-2.jpg?itok=0bl17zmT

    Kaboul - Au cours de l’année écoulée, plus d’un million de migrants afghans sont rentrés ou ont été expulsés vers l’Afghanistan depuis le Pakistan et l’Iran voisins, tandis que la COVID-19 continue de priver nombre d’entre eux d’un emploi et de soins de santé. L’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM) estime que plus de 650 000 migrants sans papiers rentreront en 2021 et que tous auront un besoin urgent d’aide humanitaire à un moment où le financement des donateurs ne représente qu’une petite partie des fonds nécessaires.Au 11 mars, l’OIM rapporte que plus de 200 000 migrants afghans sans papiers sont rentrés depuis le début de l’année. C’est plus du double du nombre de retour sur la même période en 2019 et 2020. Environ la moitié de ces retours étaient des expulsions au cours des dernières semaines.

    Le nombre élevé de personnes rentrant au pays devrait rester élevé tout au long du mois de mars en raison des fêtes religieuses en Iran, pendant lesquelles de nombreuses personnes rentrent chez elles pour voir leurs proches. « Le désespoir des personnes pauvres en Afghanistan n’a cessé de croître au fil des années, car les possibilités d’emploi sont moins nombreuses dans le pays. De nombreux Afghans n’ont d’autre choix que de migrer vers les zones urbaines ou vers d’autres pays à la recherche d’un lieu de vie plus sûr, de soins de santé et d’une éducation », a déclaré Nicholas Bishop, responsable du programme d’intervention transfrontalière de l’OIM.
    De nombreux migrants afghans rentrent chez eux avec les seules affaires qu’ils transportent sur leur dos. La plupart d’entre eux ont contracté des emprunts importants pour partir à l’étranger et ont été victimes d’exactions pendant leur séjour hors du pays. Les retours transfrontaliers massifs ne sont qu’un symptôme d’un problème beaucoup plus vaste. Cette année, non moins de 13,2 millions de personnes devraient être confrontées à une sécheresse généralisée et à un scénario proche de la famine, selon le plan d’urgence afghan du printemps récemment lancé par l’OCHA.
    Si l’on ajoute à cela l’escalade du conflit et les conséquences de la COVID-19, la probabilité de nouvelles vagues de déplacements internes, de migrations transfrontalières et d’un pic des besoins humanitaires est élevée. Malheureusement, le Plan de réponse humanitaire de l’Afghanistan pour 2021 n’est financé qu’à hauteur de 5 pour cent en date du 9 mars.
    En collaboration avec le Ministère des réfugiés et du rapatriement et les partenaires humanitaires, l’OIM fournit une aide humanitaire et d’autres services aux migrants de retour aux principaux postes frontières internationaux avec l’Iran et le Pakistan. Un réseau d’installations de transit fournit un hébergement pour la nuit, des repas chauds, des services de santé et de protection, ainsi qu’une aide au transport.
    Cependant, en raison du financement limité, seuls 5 pour cent des migrants de retour sans papiers reçoivent chaque semaine l’aide dont ils ont besoin.
    Au 9 mars, l’Afghanistan a officiellement confirmé plus de 55 000 infections par la COVID-19 et 2 450 décès. En raison du financement limité de la réponse du pays à la COVID-19, le taux réel d’infections non enregistrées se chiffrerait en millions, selon les responsables du Ministère de la santé publique et de l’OMS. Malgré la livraison, ces dernières semaines, de vaccins en provenance d’Inde et du pilier COVAX - le mécanisme multilatéral créé pour assurer une distribution équitable des vaccins contre la COVID-19 entre les pays - et le lancement d’une campagne de vaccination à l’échelle nationale, l’identification de nouveaux variants du virus est très préoccupante pour l’Afghanistan, car il est peu probable que les vaccins soient largement disponibles avant 2022 ou plus tard.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#afghanistan#iran#pakistan#sante#retour#IOM#rapatriement#vaccination#covax#OMS

  • Des femmes migrants en Grèce et en Libye : leadership féminin dans le monde de la Covid-19 | The Storyteller
    https://storyteller.iom.int/fr/stories/des-femmes-migrants-en-grece-et-en-libye-leadership-feminin-dans-le

    Cette année, nous célébrons la 2e Journée internationale des femmes pendant l’urgence sanitaire de la COVID-19. À l’échelle mondiale, les femmes migrantes ont été et continuent d’être des travailleuses de première ligne qui se dévouent pour soutenir leurs communautés en tant que personnel de santé, scientifiques, professeures et prestataires de services, dont beaucoup travaillent dans des services essentiels. Les femmes maintiennent les familles et les communautés unies alors que les filets de sécurité de la société menacent de s’effilocher.En cette Journée internationale des femmes, l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM) rend hommage au leadership des femmes dans le cadre de la réponse à la COVID-19, alors qu’elles continuent à se battre pour un monde plus juste et plus équitable. Les participantes aux diverses initiatives de l’OIM à travers le monde montrent comment les femmes et les filles en situation de déplacement élargissent leurs horizons et empruntent des chemins difficiles pour réussir.
    Zahra M. et Sakineh R., deux femmes qui sont nées de parents afghans en Iran, vivent aujourd’hui dans un camp de migrants en Grèce. Elles ont décidé de prendre les choses en main lorsque les activités éducatives ont dû être interrompues en raison de la COVID-19. Sakineh se souvient : « Au début, nous restions à la maison, nous ne savions pas à quoi nous attendre. Nous suivions les protocoles sanitaires, mais au fil du temps, nous avons décidé de créer un environnement plus éducatif et plus divertissant pour nos enfants. J’enseigne l’anglais aux débutants en tant que bénévole. Je me sens heureuse et fière parce qu’à travers cette situation difficile, j’ai pu compter sur mes propres forces et contribuer à ma communauté ».Avec le soutien de l’équipe de l’OIM sur place, Zahra et Sakineh ont lancé des cours, dispensés à une trentaine de personnes vivant dans le camp, des matières telles que l’anglais, le persan, les mathématiques et l’artisanat, tout en respectant strictement les directives et le protocole COVID-19 en matière de santé et de sécurité.« Personne n’a manqué aucun de nos cours. Nous sommes heureuses et satisfaites d’avoir contribué à notre communauté. L’absence d’éducation est l’une des raisons pour lesquelles nous avons quitté l’Iran. Nous ne voulions pas que la même chose se produise ici », explique Zahra.Elle se voit comme une leader qui aimerait « servir sa communauté et être à ses côtés dans les situations les plus difficiles » et a fait remarquer qu’elle trouvait les leaders féminines « confiantes, œuvrant avec courage et patience pour obtenir le meilleur pour la société ».
    Zahra et Sakineh pensent que la migration leur a permis de se trouver et « a ouvert un tout nouveau monde de possibilités », et elles ne laisseront pas la COVID-19 entraver l’éducation de qui que ce soit dans le camp. Zahra et Sakineh ne sont que deux des nombreuses femmes qui migrent dans le monde entier pour bénéficier de meilleures possibilités d’éducation.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#iran#afghanistan#femme#sante#education#inclusion#securite#IOM