• Greece is planning a €40m automated surveillance system at borders with North Macedonia and Albania

    The European Commission wants Greece to build an automated wall to prevent some people from leaving the country. Locals are not enthusiastic, but their opinion counts for little.
    Many people holding Syrian, Afghan, Somalian, Bangladeshi or Pakistani passports seeking asylum in the European Union move out of Greece when they have the feeling that their administrative situation will not improve there. The route to other EU countries through the Balkans starts in northern Greece, onward to either North Macedonia or Albania. Greek police, it is said, are quite relaxed about people leaving the country.

    “We have many people who pass our area who want to go to Europe,” says Konstantinos Sionidis, the mayor of Paionia, a working-class municipality of 30,000 at Greece’s northern border. “It’s not a pleasant situation for us,” he adds.

    But leaving via Paionia is getting more difficult. In May 2023, Frontex guards started patrolling at North Macedonia’s border. Near the highway, one young woman from Sierra Leone said she and her friend tried to leave four times in the past month. Once, they got as far as the Serbian border. The other times, they were arrested immediately in North Macedonia at night, coming out of the forest, by Frontex officers asking “Do you want to go to Germany?” (No.) “They don’t want us here [in Greece],” she says. “Let us go!”

    However, the European Commission has plans to make it harder for people to travel through North Macedonia (and other parts of the Western Balkan route). According to a national programming document for the 2021 - 2027 EU “border management” funding for Greek authorities, €47m are budgeted to build an “automated border surveillance system” at Greece’s borders with North Macedonia and Albania. The new system shall explicitly be modeled on the one already deployed at the land border with Türkiye, along the Evros river.
    The virtual border wall

    Evros is described as a surveillance “testing ground.” (https://www.dw.com/en/is-greece-failing-to-deploy-eu-funded-surveillance-system-at-turkish-border-as-intended/a-63055306) In the early 2000s, police used thermal cameras and binoculars to spot people attempting to cross the border. As Greece and other Member-States increased their efforts to keep people out of the EU, more funding came in for drones, heartbeat detectors, more border guards – and for an “automated border surveillance system.”

    In 2021, the Greek government unveiled dozens of surveillance towers, equipped with cameras, radars and heat sensors. Officials claimed these would be able to alert regional police stations when detecting people approaching the border. At the time, media outlets raved about this 24-hour “electronic shield” (https://www.kathimerini.gr/society/561551092/ilektroniki-aspida-ston-evro-se-leitoyrgia-kameres-kai-rantar) that would “seal” (https://www.staratalogia.gr/2021/10/blog-post_79.html#google_vignette) Evros with cameras that can see “up to 15 km” into Türkiye (https://meaculpa.gr/stithikan-oi-pylones-ston-evro-oi-kamer).

    Greece is not the first country to buy into the vision of automated, omnipotent border surveillance. The German Democratic Republic installed automated rifles near the border with West-Germany, for instance. But the origin of the current trend towards automated borders lies in the United States. In the 1970s, sensors originally built for deployment in Vietnam were installed at the Mexican border. Since then, “the relationship between surveillance and law enforcement has been one between salespeople and officers who are not experts,” says Dave Maas, an investigator at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Somebody buys surveillance towers, leaves office and three administrations later, people are like: ‘Hey, this did not deliver as promised’, and then the new person is like: ‘Well I wasn’t the one who paid for it, so here is my next idea’.”

    At the US-Mexico border, the towers are “like a scarecrow,” says Geoff Boyce, who used to direct the Earlham College Border Studies Program in Arizona. His research showed that, in cases where migrants could see the towers, they took longer, more dangerous routes to avoid detection. “People are dying outside the visual range of the towers.”

    No data is available that would hint that the Greek system is different. While the Greek government shares little information about the system in Evros, former minister for citizen protection Takis Theodorikakos mentioned it earlier this year in a parliamentary session. He claimed that the border surveillance system in Evros had been used to produce the official statistics for people deterred at the Evros border in 2022 (https://www.astynomia.gr/2023/01/03/03-01-2022-koino-deltio-typou-ypourgeiou-prostasias-tou-politi-kai-ellinik). But thermal cameras, for example, cannot show an exact number of people, or even differentiate people from animals.

    In Evros, the automated border surveillance system was also intended to be used for search-and-rescue missions. Last year, a group of asylum-seekers were stranded on an islet on the Evros river for nearly a month. Deutsche Welle reported that a nearby pylon with heat sensors and cameras should have been able to immediately locate the group. Since then, authorities have continued to be accused of delaying rescue missions.

    “At the border, it is sometimes possible to see people stranded with your own eyes,” says Lena Karamanidou, who has been researching border violence in Evros for decades. “And [they] are saying the cameras that can see up to 15 kilometers into Türkiye can’t see them.”
    Keeping people in

    In contrast to the system in Evros, the aim of the newly planned automated border surveillance systems appears to be to stop people from leaving Greece. Current policing practices there are very different from those at Evros.

    At Greece’s border with North Macedonia, “we’ve heard reports that the police were actively encouraging people to leave the country,” says Manon Louis of the watchdog organization Border Violence Monitoring Network. “In testimonies collected by BVMN, people have reported that the Greek police dropped them off at the Macedonian border.”

    “It’s an open secret,” says Alexander Gkatsis from Open Cultural Center, a nonprofit in the center of Paionia, “everybody in this area knows.”

    Thirty years ago, lots of people came from Albania to Paionia, when there were more jobs in clothing factories and agriculture, many of which are now done by machines. These days, the region is struggling with unemployment and low wages. In 2015, it drew international media attention for hosting the infamous Idomeni camp. Sionidis, the Paionia mayor, says he didn’t know anything about plans for an automated border system until we asked him.

    “The migration policy is decided by the minister of migration in Athens,” says Sionidis. He was also not consulted on Frontex coming to Paionia a few years ago. But he readily admits that his municipality is but one small pawn in a Europe-wide negotiation. “[Brussels and Athens] have to make one decision for the whole European border,” says Sionidis, “If we don’t have the electronic wall here, then we won’t have it at Evros.”


    #Albanie #Macédoine_du_Nord #frontières #migrations #réfugiés #barrières #fermeture_des_frontières #Grèce #frontières_terrestres #surveillance #contrôles_frontaliers #technologie #complexe_militaro-industriel #Paionia #militarisation_des_frontières #Frontex #border_management #automated_border_surveillance_system #Evros #efficacité #inefficacité #caméra_thermiques

  • Oltre 28mila persone respinte alle frontiere europee nel 2023 : 8° rapporto #PRAB

    Di fronte all’emergenza umanitaria i respingimenti illegali e le violazioni dei diritti continuano ad essere diffusi e sono diventati uno strumento accettato per la gestione delle frontiere europee .

    L’ottavo rapporto di Protecting Rights at Borders (PRAB) “Respinti alle Frontiere dell’Europa: una crisi continuamente ignorata” documenta ancora una volta le continue violazioni dei diritti umani che si verificano lungo le frontiere europee.

    Il monitoraggio conferma violenze e numeri crescenti

    Secondo il rapporto, nel 2023 più di 28.609 migranti hanno subito respingimenti e violazioni dei diritti umani alle frontiere europee, di cui oltre 8.400 solo negli ultimi quattro mesi dell’anno. Tuttavia, tali numeri rappresentano solo una frazione degli effettivi respingimenti illegali.

    Questo rapporto copre il periodo dal 1 settembre al 31 dicembre 2023. I dati raccolti direttamente dai partner di PRAB o ottenuti dalle fonti governative documentano un totale di 8.403 casi di respingimento durante il periodo di rilevamento. Come parte della documentazione, 1.448 persone sono state intervistate dai partner di PRAB, fornendo dettagli sulle violazioni dei diritti alle quali hanno dichiarato di essere stati esposti.

    I numeri riportati dall’iniziativa PRAB rappresentano una frazione delle persone respinte alle frontiere dell’Europa. La natura delle aree di confine europee e i metodi utilizzati per attraversarle, uniti alla mancanza di accesso a alcune zone di frontiera, rendono difficile raggiungere tutte le persone che subiscono respingimenti e violazioni correlate. Inoltre, la registrazione dei respingimenti dipende dal momento dell’evento e dalla volontà delle vittime di segnalarlo. Come documentato dai partner di PRAB, molte vittime di respingimenti hanno paura di segnalare l’incidente, temendo che ciò possa influire negativamente sulla loro possibilità di entrare o rimanere in uno Stato membro dell’UE.

    I fatti principali che vengono riconfermati dal monitoraggio:

    Numeri allarmanti – Nel solo 2023, più di 28.609 migranti hanno subito respingimenti e violazioni dei diritti umani alle frontiere europee. Nel periodo settembre-dicembre 2023, sono stati documentati oltre 8.400 casi.

    Mancanza di vie legali sicure – Molti migranti, provenienti da regioni colpite da conflitti, persecuzioni o disastri naturali, intraprendono viaggi pericolosi verso l’Europa in cerca di sicurezza e opportunità.

    Respinti con violenza: I respingimenti illegali coinvolgono l’uso di metodi violenti e disumani, con migliaia di persone respinte forzatamente oltre il confine e sottoposte a violenze e abusi.

    Violazioni documentate: PRAB ha intervistato 1.448 persone, documentando i trattamenti disumani e degradanti subiti dall’83% degli arrivi al confine tra Croazia e Bosnia ed Erzegovina e dal 61% al confine tra Francia e Italia.

    Distruzione e confisca illegittima dei beni personali: Oltre alle violenze fisiche, i respingimenti forzati privano le persone dei loro beni, lasciandole vulnerabili e senza mezzi vitali.

    La situazione ai confini italiani

    L’ottavo rapporto di Protecting Rights at Borders (PRAB) rivela la dura realtà dei respingimenti che riguardano quanti arrivano alle frontiere italiane e tentano di attraversarle.

    In Italia, le organizzazioni della rete PRAB hanno documentato il respingimento di 3.180 persone nelle zone di Oulx e Ventimiglia, con particolare preoccupazione per i 737 bambini, di cui 519 erano minori non accompagnati. Un aspetto inquietante è la pratica di respingere minori registrati erroneamente come adulti.

    La maggior parte delle persone coinvolte nei respingimenti proveniva dall’Etiopia, Costa d’Avorio, Marocco e Sudan, con quasi il 40% di loro che ha dichiarato di essere arrivato in Italia via Tunisia.

    Oltre al persistere dei respingimenti , il rapporto registra anche nuovi peggioramenti per chi cerca asilo in Italia.

    Inoltre, l’Italia ha recentemente reintrodotto controlli alle frontiere con la Slovenia, giustificando tale misura con una presunta minaccia alla sicurezza con il conflitto in Medio Oriente. Il governo italiano ha dichiarato apertamente di avere l’intenzione di riprendere i respingimenti dei richiedenti asilo, in violazione della legge nazionale e internazionale.

    Il rapporto critica, infine, anche gli accordi con paesi terzi, tra cui il recente Accordo tra Italia e Albania, evidenziando le problematiche relative al trasferimento dei migranti e la detenzione in Albania.
    Dal patto europeo nuove violazioni

    Il rapporto dimostra come l’impiego sistematico di respingimenti alle frontiere e la mancanza di percorsi sicuri e legali per raggiungere l’UE spinga i rifugiati a mettere a rischio le proprie vite.

    La volontà politica, il coraggio e il realismo nel mettere i diritti delle persone prima della protezione delle frontiere sembrano assenti dagli accordi politici che si tengono a livello europeo e nazionale.

    Sia gli accordi, come il Memorandum tra Italia e Albania, sia il nuovo Patto UE su Asilo e Migrazione rischiano di compromettere ulteriormente i diritti delle persone in cerca di asilo, invece che mettere fine alle violazioni alle frontiere europee.

    Pour télécharger le rapport :

    #rapport #Protecting_Rights_at_Borders (#PRAB) #2023 #statistiques #chiffres #refoulements #push-backs #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières #droits_humains #violence #violences #Italie #Bosnie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Grèce #Macédoine_du_Nord #Biélorussie #Pologne #Lithuanie

  • Border justice

    Instead of forging safe, legal pathways to protection, European states and the EU are fostering strategies of deterrence, exclusion and externalization. Most people on the move are left with no alternative but to cross borders irregularly. When they do, state actors routinely detain, beat and expel them – mostly in secret, with no assessment of their situation, and denying them access to legal safeguards.

    These multiple human rights violations are all part of the pushback experience. Often reliant on racial profiling, pushbacks have become a normalized practice at European borders. ECCHR challenges this state of rightlessness through legal interventions and supports affected people to document and tell their stories. Together we hold states accountable and push for changes in border practice and policies.

    Our team brings together a diverse group of lawyers and interdisciplinary researchers, working transnationally with partners to develop legal strategies and tackle rights violations at borders. We meticulously reconstruct and verify the experiences of those subjected to pushbacks. Confronted with states’ denial of the reality at Europe’s borders, we collect, analyze and publicise in-depth knowledge. Our aim is to enforce the most basic of legal principles: the right to have rights.


    #frontières #justice #refoulements #push-backs #violence #migrations #réfugiés #asile #justice_frontalière #justice_migratoire #Espagne #rapport #Ceuta #Grèce #Macédoine_du_Nord #Libye #Italie #hotspots #Allemagne #Croatie #Slovénie #frontière_sud-alpine #droit_d'asile #ECCHR

  • En Serbie, 4 500 migrants interpellés en 15 jours dans une opération nationale de lutte contre l’immigration clandestine - InfoMigrants

    En Serbie, 4 500 migrants interpellés en 15 jours dans une opération nationale de lutte contre l’immigration clandestine
    Par La rédaction Publié le : 10/11/2023
    Lancée il y a 15 jours, l’opération nationale serbe visant à mettre un coup d’arrêt à l’immigration clandestine dans le pays a mené à l’arrestation de 4 500 migrants. Ces interpellations font suite à la fusillade meurtrière du 27 octobre lors de laquelle trois migrants avaient été tués non loin de la frontière hongroise. Il l’avait promis. « Nous ne bougerons pas d’ici tant que les personnes responsables d’actes criminels n’auront pas été éliminés ». Le ministre de l’Intérieur serbe Bratislav Gasic était alors en visite dans la région frontalière avec la Hongrie, fin octobre.
    C’est ici que d’importants effectifs policiers avaient été dépêchés après une fusillade meurtrière qui avait éclaté le 27 octobre entre réseaux de passeurs. Trois migrants y avaient perdu la vie. Les résultats sont là. Quinze jours après le lancement d’une vaste opération contre les trafiquants et contre l’immigration clandestine, les autorités serbes ont annoncé mercredi 8 novembre avoir interpellé 4 500 migrants « irréguliers ». Lors de cette opération nationale, huit personnes soupçonnées de trafic d’êtres humains ont été arrêtées aux côtés de 119 autres placées en détention provisoire pour « diverses infractions pénales », a précisé le ministère de l’Intérieur dans un communiqué. Cinq pistolets, cinq fusils automatiques et plus de 1 500 munitions ont également été saisis dans les zones frontalières du sud-est et du nord de la Serbie.
    « Le ministère de l’Intérieur persévèrera dans cette lutte jusqu’à ce que le problème de la migration irrégulière soit résolu et que la chaîne de la traite des êtres humains soit complètement brisée », a souligné la police serbe.
    Les autorités ont ajouté que 3 000 des migrants arrêtés avaient été transférés dans des centres d’accueil, contrôlés par l’État. Sans préciser ce qu’il est advenu des 1 500 autres. Le 27 octobre, trois personnes avaient été tuées et une autre blessée lors d’une fusillade entre migrants près de la frontière serbe avec la Hongrie. La police avait alors lancé cette opération dans tout le pays. Plus de 81 000 voitures et 300 endroits ont déjà été contrôlés, a également annoncé la police serbe.
    La frontière serbo-hongroise se situe sur la route migratoire terrestre des Balkans qui mène à l’Europe occidentale. C’est dans cette zone frontalière que des centaines de migrants squattent des bâtiments abandonnés avant de tenter de franchir la frontière avec la Hongrie, membre de l’Union européenne (UE). Ils continuent ensuite leur route vers l’Europe de l’Ouest. La Serbie, engagée depuis plusieurs mois dans la lutte contre l’immigration clandestine, avait déjà conclu un accord fin 2022 avec la Hongrie et l’Autriche. Elle avait également déployé des forces de police vers le sud du pays, notamment à la frontière avec la Macédoine du Nord. Près de 130 000 entrées irrégulières dans l’UE à partir de la route des Balkans occidentaux avaient été enregistrées en 2022, soit le nombre le plus fort depuis le pic de la crise migratoire de 2015, selon l’agence européenne des garde-frontières, Frontex.


  • Trois migrants tués dans une fusillade à la frontière entre la Serbie et la Hongrie - InfoMigrants

    Trois migrants tués dans une fusillade à la frontière entre la Serbie et la Hongrie
    Par La rédaction Publié le : 30/10/2023
    Trois migrants sont morts et un quatrième a été blessé vendredi dans une fusillade survenue près de la frontière entre la Serbie et la Hongrie. La zone est souvent le théâtre d’affrontements entre réseaux de passeurs et exilés, qui tentent d’entrer en Hongrie, membre de l’Union européenne, pour continuer leur route vers l’ouest. Un affrontement entre migrants a tourné au drame vendredi 27 octobre en Serbie, près de la frontière avec la Hongrie. Une fusillade s’est produite dans les bâtiments d’une ferme abandonnée près du village frontalier de Horgos. Trois exilés ont été tués et un quatrième a été blessé, a rapporté la télévision étatique RTS. La personne blessée a été transportée à l’hôpital et une enquête a été ouverte pour faire la lumière sur ce drame. La nationalité des victimes n’a pas été précisée. D’importants effectifs policiers ont été dépêchés dans la zone, où se sont produits ces derniers mois des heurts parfois meurtriers entre réseaux de passeurs et groupe de migrants. Les actions de la police visent à « freiner la migration irrégulière et à élever le niveau de sécurité dans cette partie du pays, où les affrontements entre migrants sont fréquents, parfois avec usage d’armes à feu », a indiqué la police dans un communiqué.
    Quelques heures après l’incident, quatre ressortissants afghans et deux Turcs, soupçonnés de possession illégale d’armes à feu et d’explosifs, ont été interpellés, a annoncé la police. On ne sait pas en revanche si ces arrestations sont liées à la fusillade.Lors de la descente de police dans la région, deux fusils automatiques et des munitions ont été saisis. Soixante-dix-neuf exilés ont également été découverts et transférés vers des centres d’accueil du pays, a précisé la police dans le même communiqué. Samedi, deux personnes originaires du Kosovo, accusées de trafic de migrants et d’avoir fourni des armes, ont été interpellées. Les policiers ont par ailleurs trouvé 54 passeports turcs. En visite dans la région, le ministre de l’Intérieur, Bratislav Gasic, a promis que « nous ne bougerons pas d’ici tant que toutes les personnes responsables d’un acte ou d’un incident criminel n’auront pas été éliminées ».
    C’est dans cette zone frontalière que des centaines de migrants squattent dans des bâtiments abandonnés avant de tenter de franchir la frontière avec la Hongrie, membre de l’Union européenne (UE). Ils continuent ensuite leur route vers l’Europe de l’Ouest.
    La frontière serbo-hongroise se situe sur la route migratoire terrestre des Balkans vers l’Europe occidentale, qui mène de la Turquie à la Grèce et à la Bulgarie, puis à la Macédoine du Nord, à la Serbie ou à la Bosnie.La police serbe a effectué des descentes dans la zone frontalière à plusieurs reprises au cours des derniers mois, arrêtant des passeurs présumés et confisquant des armes. Le président Aleksandar Vucic a déclaré vendredi que la Serbie pourrait faire appel à l’armée « pour résoudre ce problème », a rapporté la télévision d’État RTS.


  • Macedonia del Nord: poche risorse per gestire gli incendi nei parchi naturali

    Le aree protette macedoni hanno una grande importanza ecologica, ma sono sempre più esposte – tra gli altri – al rischio di incendi. La frammentazione politica e la carenza di personale e risorse pongono sfide notevoli, ma si stanno registrando dei progressi incoraggianti. Un reportage dal parco dei Monti Šar

  • Signature par le Conseil d’un #accord avec l’#Albanie sur la #coopération avec #Frontex

    Le Conseil a adopté une décision relative à la signature d’un accord avec l’Albanie en ce qui concerne les activités opérationnelles menées par l’Agence européenne de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes (Frontex). Cet accord permettra l’organisation d’#opérations_conjointes et le déploiement d’équipes de Frontex spécialisées dans la gestion des frontières en Albanie. Le déploiement d’équipes de Frontex aura lieu sous réserve que le pays soit d’accord. La décision a été prise par voie de procédure écrite.

    « La criminalité transfrontière et la gestion de l’immigration constituent des défis importants tant pour les pays de l’UE que pour nos voisins les plus proches. »
    Fernando Grande-Marlaska Gómez, ministre espagnol de l’intérieur par intérim

    Grâce à cet accord, Frontex sera en mesure d’aider l’Albanie à gérer les flux migratoires, et à lutter contre l’immigration clandestine et contre la criminalité transfrontière.


    Depuis l’adoption d’un nouveau règlement relatif à l’Agence européenne de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes en 2019, Frontex peut prêter assistance aux pays avec lesquels elle signe des accords sur l’ensemble de leur territoire et pas seulement dans les régions limitrophes de l’UE, comme c’était le cas en vertu du mandat précédent. Le règlement permet également au personnel de Frontex d’exercer des pouvoirs d’exécution, comme les vérifications aux frontières et l’enregistrement de personnes.

    Cet accord remplacera l’accord actuel entre l’Albanie et Frontex, qui est entré en vigueur en 2019 (et qui a été conclu avant l’entrée en vigueur du nouveau règlement relatif à l’Agence européenne de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes).

    Frontex a conclu des accords de coopération en matière de gestion des frontières avec la #Serbie (2020) en vertu des règles précédentes, et avec la #Moldavie (2022), la #Macédoine_du_Nord et le #Monténégro (tous deux en 2023) en vertu des nouvelles règles.

    Prochaines étapes

    Une fois que le Parlement européen aura donné son approbation à l’accord, celui-ci pourra être définitivement conclu par le Conseil.

    L’accord entrera en vigueur le premier jour du deuxième mois suivant la date à laquelle l’Albanie et l’UE se seront notifié l’accomplissement de leurs procédures de ratification.

    - Renforcer les frontières extérieures de l’UE (informations générales) : https://www.consilium.europa.eu/fr/policies/strengthening-external-borders
    - Accord entre l’Union Européenne et la République d’Albanie concernant les activités opérationnelles menées par l’Agence européenne de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes en République d’Albanie : https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-11944-2023-INIT/fr/pdf
    – Décision du Conseil relative à la conclusion de l’accord entre l’Union européenne et la République d’Albanie concernant les activités opérationnelles menées par l’Agence européenne de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes en République d’Albanie : https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-11945-2023-INIT/fr/pdf

    #frontières #migrations #asile #réfugiés #contrôle_frontalier


    Medici per i Diritti Umani presenta Frontiera solidale: un podcast di tre puntate per raccontare, attraverso le voci dei testimoni diretti, il fenomeno epocale delle migrazioni, assumendo come osservatorio una frontiera nel cuore dell’Europa, quella tra l’Italia e la Francia, nell’Alta Val di Susa.

    #podcast #audio #Alpes #frontière_sud-alpine #montagne #Italie #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières #Val_de_Suse

  • Nessuno vuole mettere limiti all’attività dell’Agenzia Frontex

    Le istituzioni dell’Ue, ossessionate dal controllo delle frontiere, sembrano ignorare i problemi strutturali denunciati anche dall’Ufficio europeo antifrode. E lavorano per dispiegare le “divise blu” pure nei Paesi “chiave” oltre confine

    “Questa causa fa parte di un mosaico di una più ampia campagna contro Frontex: ogni attacco verso di noi è un attacco all’Unione europea”. Con questi toni gli avvocati dell’Agenzia che sorveglia le frontiere europee si sono difesi di fronte alla Corte di giustizia dell’Unione europea. Il 9 marzo, per la prima volta in oltre 19 anni di attività (ci sono altri due casi pendenti, presentati dalla Ong Front-Lex), le “divise blu” si sono trovate di fronte a un giudice grazie alla tenacia dell’avvocata olandese Lisa-Marie Komp.

    Non è successo, invece, per le scioccanti rivelazioni del rapporto dell’Ufficio europeo antifrode (Olaf) che ha ricostruito nel dettaglio come l’Agenzia abbia insabbiato centinaia di respingimenti violenti: quell’indagine è “semplicemente” costata la leadership all’allora direttore Fabrice Leggeri, nell’aprile 2022, ma niente di più. “Tutto è rimasto nel campo delle opinioni e nessuno è andato a fondo sui problemi strutturali -spiega Laura Salzano, dottoranda in Diritto europeo dell’immigrazione presso l’Università di Barcellona-. C’erano tutti gli estremi per portare l’Agenzia di fronte alla Corte di giustizia e invece nulla è stato fatto nonostante sia un’istituzione pubblica con un budget esplosivo che lavora con i più vulnerabili”. Non solo l’impunità ma anche la cieca fiducia ribadita più volte da diverse istituzioni europee. Il 28 giugno 2022 il Consiglio europeo, a soli due mesi dalle dimissioni di Leggeri, dà il via libera all’apertura dei negoziati per portare gli agenti di Frontex in Senegal con la proposta di garantire un’immunità totale nel Paese per le loro azioni.

    A ottobre, invece, a pochi giorni dalla divulgazione del rapporto Olaf -tenuto segreto per oltre quattro mesi- la Commissione europea chiarisce che l’Agenzia “si è già assunta piena responsabilità di quanto successo”. Ancora, a febbraio 2023 il Consiglio europeo le assicura nuovamente “pieno supporto”. Un dato preoccupante soprattutto con riferimento all’espansione di Frontex che mira a diventare un attore sempre più presente nei Paesi chiave per la gestione del fenomeno migratorio, a migliaia di chilometri di distanza dal suo quartier generale di Varsavia.

    “I suoi problemi sono strutturali ma le istituzioni europee fanno finta di niente: se già è difficile controllare gli agenti sui ‘nostri’ confini, figuriamoci in Paesi al di fuori dell’Ue”, spiega Yasha Maccanico, membro del centro di ricerca indipendente Statewatch.

    A fine febbraio 2023 l’Agenzia ha festeggiato la conclusione di un progetto che prevede la consegna di attrezzature ai membri dell’Africa-Frontex intelligence community (Afic), finanziata dalla Commissione, che ha permesso dal 2010 in avanti l’apertura di “Cellule di analisi del rischio” (Rac) gestite da analisti locali formati dall’Agenzia con l’obiettivo di “raccogliere e analizzare informazioni strategiche su crimini transfrontalieri” oltre che a “sostenere le autorità nella gestione dei confini”. A partire dal 2021 una potenziata infrastruttura garantisce “comunicazioni sicure e istantanee” tra le Rac e gli agenti nella sede di Varsavia. Questo è il “primo livello” di collaborazione tra Frontex e le autorità di Paesi terzi che oggi vede, come detto, “cellule” attive in Nigeria, Gambia, Niger, Ghana, Senegal, Costa d’Avorio, Togo e Mauritania oltre a una ventina di Stati coinvolti nelle attività di formazione degli analisti, pronti ad attivare le Rac in futuro. “Lo scambio di dati sui flussi è pericoloso perché l’obiettivo delle politiche europee non è proteggere i diritti delle persone, ma fermarle nei Paesi più poveri”, continua Maccanico.

    Un gradino al di sopra delle collaborazioni più informali, come nell’Afic, ci sono i cosiddetti working arrangement (accordi di cooperazione) che permettono di collaborare con le autorità di un Paese in modo ufficiale. “Non serve il via libera del Parlamento europeo e di fatto non c’è nessun controllo né prima della sottoscrizione né ex post -riprende Salzano-. Se ci fosse uno scambio di dati e informazioni dovrebbe esserci il via libera del Garante per la protezione dei dati personali, ma a oggi, questo parere, è stato richiesto solo nel caso del Niger”. A marzo 2023 sono invece 18 i Paesi che hanno siglato accordi simili: da Stati Uniti e Canada, passando per Capo Verde fino alla Federazione Russa. “Sappiamo che i contatti con Mosca dovrebbero essere quotidiani. Dall’inizio del conflitto ho chiesto più volte all’Agenzia se queste comunicazioni sono state interrotte: nessuno mi ha mai risposto”, sottolinea Salzano.

    Obiettivo ultimo dell’Agenzia è riuscire a dispiegare agenti e mezzi anche nei Paesi terzi: una delle novità del regolamento del 2019 rispetto al precedente (2016) è proprio la possibilità di lanciare operazioni non solo nei “Paesi vicini” ma in tutto il mondo. Per farlo sono necessari gli status agreement, accordi internazionali che impegnano formalmente anche le istituzioni europee. Sono cinque quelli attivi (Serbia, Albania, Montenegro e Macedonia del Nord, Moldova) ma sono in via di sottoscrizione quelli con Senegal e Mauritania per limitare le partenze (poco più di 15mila nel 2022) verso le isole Canarie, mille chilometri più a Nord: accordi per ora “fermi”, secondo quanto ricostruito dalla parlamentare europea olandese Tineke Strik che a fine febbraio ha visitato i due Stati, ma che danno conto della linea che si vuole seguire. Un quadro noto, i cui dettagli però spesso restano nascosti.

    È quanto emerge dal report “Accesso negato”, pubblicato da Statewatch a metà marzo 2023, che ricostruisce altri due casi di scarsa trasparenza negli accordi, Niger e Marocco, due Paesi chiave nella strategia europea di esternalizzazione delle frontiere. “Con la ‘scusa’ della tutela della riservatezza nelle relazioni internazionali e mettendo la questione migratoria sotto il cappello dell’antiterrorismo l’accesso ai dettagli degli accordi non è consentito”, spiega Maccanico, uno dei curatori dello studio. Non si conoscono, per esempio, i compiti specifici degli agenti, per cui si propone addirittura l’immunità totale. “In alcuni accordi, come in Macedonia del Nord, si è poi ‘ripiegato’ su un’immunità connessa solo ai compiti che rientrano nel mandato dell’Agenzia -osserva Salzano-. Ma il problema non cambia: dove finisce la sua responsabilità e dove inizia quella del Paese membro?”. Una zona grigia funzionale a Frontex, anche quando opera sul territorio europeo.

    Lo sa bene l’avvocata tedesca Lisa-Marie Komp che, come detto, ha portato l’Agenzia di fronte alla Corte di giustizia dell’Ue. Il caso, su cui il giudice si pronuncerà nei prossimi mesi, riguarda il rimpatrio nel 2016 di una famiglia siriana con quattro bambini piccoli che, pochi giorni dopo aver presentato richiesta d’asilo in Grecia, è stata caricata su un aereo e riportata in Turchia: quel volo è stato gestito da Frontex, in collaborazione con le autorità greche. “L’Agenzia cerca di scaricare le responsabilità su di loro ma il suo mandato stabilisce chiaramente che è tenuta a monitorare il rispetto dei diritti fondamentali durante queste operazioni -spiega-. Serve chiarire che tutti devono rispettare la legge, compresa l’Agenzia le cui azioni hanno un grande impatto sulla vita di molte persone”.

    Le illegittimità nell’attività dei rimpatri sono note da tempo e il caso della famiglia siriana non è isolato. “Quando c’è una forte discrepanza nelle decisioni sulle domande d’asilo tra i diversi Paesi europei, l’attività di semplice ‘coordinamento’ e preparazione delle attività di rimpatrio può tradursi nella violazione del principio di non respingimento”, spiega Mariana Gkliati, docente di Migrazione e Asilo all’università olandese di Tilburg. Nonostante questi problemi e un sistema d’asilo sempre più fragile, negli ultimi anni i poteri e le risorse a disposizione per l’Agenzia sui rimpatri sono esplosi: nel 2022 questa specifica voce di bilancio prevedeva quasi 79 milioni di euro (+690% rispetto ai dieci milioni del 2012).

    E la crescita sembra destinata a non fermarsi. Frontex nel 2023 stima di poter rimpatriare 800 persone in Iraq, 316 in Pakistan, 200 in Gambia, 75 in Afghanistan, 57 in Siria, 60 in Russia e 36 in Ucraina come si legge in un bando pubblicato a inizio febbraio 2023 che ha come obiettivo la ricerca di partner in questi Paesi (e in altri, in totale 43) per garantire assistenza di breve e medio periodo (12 mesi) alle persone rimpatriate. Un’altra gara pubblica dà conto della centralità dell’Agenzia nella “strategia dei rimpatri” europea: 120 milioni di euro nel novembre 2022 per l’acquisto di “servizi di viaggio relativi ai rimpatri mediante voli di linea”. Migliaia di biglietti e un nuovo sistema informatico per gestire al meglio le prenotazioni, con un’enorme mole di dati personali delle persone “irregolari” che arriveranno nelle “mani” di Frontex. Mani affidabili, secondo la Commissione europea.

    Ma il 7 ottobre 2022 il Parlamento, nel “bocciare” nuovamente Frontex rispetto al via libera sul bilancio 2020, dava conto del “rammarico per l’assenza di procedimenti disciplinari” nei confronti di Leggeri e della “preoccupazione” per la mancata attivazione dell’articolo 46 (che prevede il ritiro degli agenti quando siano sistematiche le violazioni dei diritti umani) con riferimento alla Grecia, in cui l’Agenzia opera con 518 agenti, 11 navi e 30 mezzi. “I respingimenti e la violenza sui confini continuano sia alle frontiere terrestri sia a quelle marittime così come non si è interrotto il sostegno alle autorità greche”, spiega la ricercatrice indipendente Lena Karamanidou. La “scusa” ufficiale è che la presenza di agenti migliori la situazione ma non è così. “Al confine terrestre di Evros, la violenza è stata documentata per tutto il tempo in cui Frontex è stata presente, fin dal 2010. È difficile immaginare come possa farlo in futuro vista la sistematicità delle violenze su questo confine”. Su quella frontiera si giocherà anche la presunta nuova reputazione dell’Agenzia guidata dal primo marzo dall’olandese Hans Leijtens: un tentativo di “ripulire” l’immagine che è già in corso.

    Frontex nei confronti delle persone in fuga dal conflitto in Ucraina ha tenuto fin dall’inizio un altro registro: i “migranti irregolari” sono diventati “persone che scappano da zone di conflitto”; l’obiettivo di “combattere l’immigrazione irregolare” si è trasformato nella gestione “efficace dell’attraversamento dei confini”. “Gli ultimi mesi hanno mostrato il potenziale di Frontex di evolversi in un attore affidabile della gestione delle frontiere che opera con efficienza, trasparenza e pieno rispetto dei diritti umani”, sottolinea Gkliati nello studio “Frontex assisting in the ukrainian displacement. A welcoming committee at racialised passage?”, pubblicato nel marzo 2023. Una conferma ulteriore, per Salzano, dei limiti strutturali dell’Agenzia: “La legge va rispettata indipendentemente dalla cornice in cui operi: la tutela dei diritti umani prescinde dagli umori della politica”.


    #Frontex #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #justice #Lisa-Marie_Komp #OLAF #Sénégal #externalisation #Africa-Frontex_intelligence_community (#Afic) #Rac #Nigeria #Gambie #Niger #Ghana #Côte_d'Ivoire #Togo #Mauritanie #status_agreement #échange_de_données #working_arrangement #Serbie #Monténégro #Albanie #Moldavie #Macédoine_du_Nord #CJUE #cours_de_justice #renvois #expulsions

    • I rischi della presenza di Frontex in Africa: tanto potere, poca responsabilità

      L’eurodeputata #Tineke_Strik è stata in Senegal e Mauritania a fine febbraio 2023: in un’intervista ad Altreconomia ricostruisce lo stato dell’arte degli accordi che l’Ue vorrebbe concludere con i due Paesi ritenuti “chiave” nel contrasto ai flussi migratori. Denunciando la necessità di una riforma strutturale dell’Agenzia.

      A un anno di distanza dalle dimissioni del suo ex direttore Fabrice Leggeri, le istituzioni europee non vogliono mettere limiti all’attività di Frontex. Come abbiamo ricostruito sul numero di aprile di Altreconomia, infatti, l’Agenzia -che dal primo marzo 2023 è guidata da Hans Leijtens- continua a svolgere un ruolo centrale nelle politiche migratorie dell’Unione europea nonostante le pesanti rivelazioni dell’Ufficio europeo antifrode (Olaf), che ha ricostruito nel dettaglio il malfunzionamento nelle operazioni delle divise blu lungo i confini europei.

      Ma non solo. Un aspetto particolarmente preoccupante sono le operazioni al di fuori dei Paesi dell’Unione, che rientrano sempre di più tra le priorità di Frontex in un’ottica di esternalizzazione delle frontiere per “fermare” preventivamente i flussi di persone dirette verso l’Europa. Non a caso, a luglio 2022, nonostante i contenuti del rapporto Olaf chiuso solo pochi mesi prima, la Commissione europea ha dato il via libera ai negoziati con Senegal e Mauritania per stringere un cosiddetto working arrangement e permettere così agli “agenti europei” di operare nei due Paesi africani (segnaliamo anche la recente ricerca pubblicata dall’Associazione per gli studi giuridici sull’immigrazione sul tema).

      Per monitorare lo stato dell’arte di questi accordi l’eurodeputata Tineke Strik, tra le poche a opporsi e a denunciare senza sconti gli effetti delle politiche migratorie europee e il ruolo di Frontex, a fine febbraio 2023 ha svolto una missione di monitoraggio nei due Paesi. Già professoressa di Diritto della cittadinanza e delle migrazioni dell’Università di Radboud di Nimega, in Olanda, è stata eletta al Parlamento europeo nel 2019 nelle fila di GroenLinks (Sinistra verde). L’abbiamo intervistata.

      Onorevole Strik, secondo quanto ricostruito dalla vostra visita (ha partecipato alla missione anche Cornelia Erns, di LeftEu, ndr), a che punto sono i negoziati con il Senegal?
      TS La nostra impressione è che le autorità senegalesi non siano così desiderose di concludere un accordo di status con l’Unione europea sulla presenza di Frontex nel Paese. L’approccio di Bruxelles nei confronti della migrazione come sappiamo è molto incentrato su sicurezza e gestione delle frontiere; i senegalesi, invece, sono più interessati a un intervento sostenibile e incentrato sullo sviluppo, che offra soluzioni e affronti le cause profonde che spingono le persone a partire. Sono molti i cittadini del Senegal emigrano verso l’Europa: idealmente, il governo vuole che rimangano nel Paese, ma capisce meglio di quanto non lo facciano le istituzioni Ue che si può intervenire sulla migrazione solo affrontando le cause alla radice e migliorando la situazione nel contesto di partenza. Allo stesso tempo, le navi europee continuano a pescare lungo le coste del Paese (minacciando la pesca artigianale, ndr), le aziende europee evadono le tasse e il latte sovvenzionato dall’Ue viene scaricato sul mercato senegalese, causando disoccupazione e impedendo lo sviluppo dell’economia locale. Sono soprattutto gli accordi di pesca ad aver alimentato le partenze dal Senegal, dal momento che le comunità di pescatori sono state private della loro principale fonte di reddito. Serve domandarsi se l’Unione sia veramente interessata allo sviluppo e ad affrontare le cause profonde della migrazione. E lo stesso discorso può essere fatto su molti dei Paesi d’origine delle persone che cercano poi protezione in Europa.

      Dakar vede di buon occhio l’intervento dell’Unione europea? Quale tipo di operazioni andrebbero a svolgere gli agenti di Frontex nel Paese?
      TS Abbiamo avuto la sensazione che l’Ue non ascoltasse le richieste delle autorità senegalesi -ad esempio in materia di rilascio di visti d’ingresso- e ci hanno espresso preoccupazioni relative ai diritti fondamentali in merito a qualsiasi potenziale cooperazione con Frontex, data la reputazione dell’Agenzia. È difficile dire che tipo di supporto sia previsto, ma nei negoziati l’Unione sta puntando sia alle frontiere terrestri sia a quelle marittime.

      Che cosa sta avvenendo in Mauritania?
      TS Sebbene questo Paese sembri disposto a concludere un accordo sullo status di Frontex -soprattutto nell’ottica di ottenere un maggiore riconoscimento da parte dell’Europa-, preferisce comunque mantenere l’autonomia nella gestione delle proprie frontiere e quindi non prevede una presenza permanente dei funzionari dell’Agenzia nel Paese. Considerano l’accordo sullo status più come un quadro giuridico, per consentire la presenza di Frontex in caso di aumento della pressione migratoria. Inoltre, come il Senegal, ritengono che l’Europa debba ascoltare e accogliere le loro richieste, che riguardano principalmente i visti e altre aree di cooperazione. Anche in questo caso, Bruxelles chiede il mandato più ampio possibile per gli agenti in divisa blu durante i negoziati per “mantenere aperte le opzioni [più ampie]”, come dicono loro stessi. Ma credo sia chiaro che il loro obiettivo è quello di operare sia alle frontiere marittime sia a quelle terrestri.
      Questo a livello “istituzionale”. Qual è invece la posizione della società civile?
      TS In entrambi i Paesi è molto critica. In parte a causa della cattiva reputazione di Frontex in relazione ai diritti umani, ma anche a causa dell’esperienza che i cittadini senegalesi e mauritani hanno già sperimentato con la Guardia civil spagnola, presente nei due Stati, che ritengono stia intaccando la sovranità per quanto riguarda la gestione delle frontiere. È previsto che il mandato di Frontex sia addirittura esecutivo, a differenza di quello della Guardia civil, che può impegnarsi solo in pattugliamenti congiunti in cui le autorità nazionali sono al comando. Quindi la sovranità di entrambi i Paesi sarebbe ulteriormente minata.

      Perché a suo avviso sarebbe problematica la presenza di agenti di Frontex nei due Paesi?
      TS L’immunità che l’Unione europea vorrebbe per i propri operativi dispiegati in Africa non è solo connessa allo svolgimento delle loro funzioni ma si estende al di fuori di esse, a questo si aggiunge la possibilità di essere armati. Penso sia problematico il rispetto dei diritti fondamentali dei naufraghi intercettati in mare, poiché è difficile ottenere l’accesso all’asilo sia in Senegal sia in Mauritania. In questo Paese, ad esempio, l’Alto commissariato delle Nazioni Unite per i rifugiati (Unhcr) impiega molto tempo per determinare il loro bisogno di protezione: fanno eccezione i maliani, che riescono a ottenerla in “appena” due anni. E durante l’attesa queste persone non hanno quasi diritti.

      Ma se ottengono la protezione è comunque molto difficile registrarsi presso l’amministrazione, cosa necessaria per avere accesso al mercato del lavoro, alle scuole o all’assistenza sanitaria. E le conseguenze che ne derivano sono le continue retate, i fermi e le deportazioni alla frontiera, per impedire alle persone di partire. A causa delle attuali intercettazioni in mare, le rotte migratorie si stanno spostando sulla terra ferma e puntano verso l’Algeria: l’attraversamento del deserto può essere mortale. Il problema principale è che Frontex deve rispettare il diritto dell’Unione europea anche se opera in un Paese terzo in cui si applicano norme giuridiche diverse, ma l’Agenzia andrà a operare sotto il comando delle guardie di frontiera di un Paese che non è vincolato dalle “regole” europee. Come può Frontex garantire di non essere coinvolta in operazioni che violano le norme fondamentali del diritto comunitario, se determinate azioni non sono illegali in quel Paese? Sulla carta è possibile presentare un reclamo a Frontex, ma poi nella pratica questo strumento in quali termini sarebbe accessibile ed efficace?

      Un anno dopo le dimissioni dell’ex direttore Leggeri ritiene che Frontex si sia pienamente assunta la responsabilità di quanto accaduto? Può davvero, secondo lei, diventare un attore affidabile per l’Ue?
      TS Prima devono accadere molte cose. Non abbiamo ancora visto una riforma fondamentale: c’è ancora un forte bisogno di maggiore trasparenza, di un atteggiamento più fermo nei confronti degli Stati membri ospitanti e di un uso conseguente dell’articolo 46 che prevede la sospensione delle operazioni in caso di violazioni dei diritti umani (abbiamo già raccontato il ruolo dell’Agenzia nei respingimenti tra Grecia e Turchia, ndr). Questi problemi saranno ovviamente esacerbati nella cooperazione con i Paesi terzi, perché la responsabilità sarà ancora più difficile da raggiungere.


    • «Un laboratorio di esternalizzazione tra frontiere di terra e di mare». La missione di ASGI in Senegal e Mauritania

      Lo scorso 29 marzo è stato pubblicato il rapporto «Un laboratorio di esternalizzazione tra frontiere di terra e di mare» (https://www.asgi.it/notizie/rapporto-asgi-della-senegal-mauritania), frutto del sopralluogo giuridico effettuato tra il 7 e il 13 maggio 2022 da una delegazione di ASGI composta da Alice Fill, Lorenzo Figoni, Matteo Astuti, Diletta Agresta, Adelaide Massimi (avvocate e avvocati, operatori e operatrici legali, ricercatori e ricercatrici).

      Il sopralluogo aveva l’obiettivo di analizzare lo sviluppo delle politiche di esternalizzazione del controllo della mobilità e di blocco delle frontiere implementate dall’Unione Europea in Mauritania e in Senegal – due paesi a cui, come la Turchia o gli stati balcanici più orientali, gli stati membri hanno delegato la gestione dei flussi migratori concordando politiche sempre più ostacolanti per lo spostamento delle persone.

      Nel corso del sopralluogo sono stati intervistati, tra Mauritania e Senegal, più di 40 interlocutori afferenti a istituzioni, società civile, popolazione migrante e organizzazioni, tra cui OIM, UNHCR, delegazioni dell’UE. Intercettare questi soggetti ha consentito ad ASGI di andare oltre le informazioni vincolate all’ufficialità delle dichiarazioni pubbliche e di approfondire le pratiche illegittime portate avanti su questi territori.

      Il report parte dalle già assodate intenzioni di collaborazione tra l’Unione Europea e le autorità senegalesi e mauritane – una collaborazione che in entrambi i paesi sembra connotata nel senso del controllo e della sorveglianza; per quanto riguarda il Senegal, si fa menzione del ben noto status agreement, proposto nel febbraio 2022 a Dakar dalla Commissaria europea agli affari interni Ylva Johansson, con il quale si intende estendere il controllo di Frontex in Senegal.

      L’obiettivo di tale accordo era il controllo della cosiddetta rotta delle Canarie, che tra il 2018 e il 2022 è stata sempre più battuta. Sebbene la proposta abbia generato accese discussioni nella società civile senegalese, preoccupata all’idea di cedere parte della sovranità del paese sul controllo delle frontiere esterne, con tale accordo, elaborato con un disegno molto simile a quello che regola le modalità di intervento di Frontex nei Balcani, si legittimerebbe ufficialmente l’attività di controllo dell’agenzia UE in paesi terzi, e in particolare fuori dal continente europeo.

      Per quanto riguarda la Mauritania, si menziona l’Action Plan pubblicato da Frontex il 7 giugno 2022, con il quale si prospetta una possibilità di collaborare operativamente sul territorio mauritano, in particolare per lo sviluppo di governance in materia migratoria.


      Sin dai primi anni Duemila, il dialogo tra istituzioni europee e senegalesi è stato focalizzato sulle politiche di riammissione dei cittadini senegalesi presenti in UE in maniera irregolare e dei cosiddetti ritorni volontari, le politiche di gestione delle frontiere senegalesi e il controllo della costa, la promozione di una legislazione anti-trafficking e anti-smuggling. Tutto questo si è intensificato quando, a partire dal 2018, la rotta delle Canarie è tornata a essere una rotta molto percorsa. L’operatività delle agenzie europee in Senegal per la gestione delle migrazioni si declina principalmente nei seguenti obiettivi:

      1. Monitoraggio delle frontiere terrestri e marittime. Il memorandum firmato nel 2006 da Senegal e Spagna ha sancito la collaborazione ufficiale tra le forze di polizia europee e quelle senegalesi in operazioni congiunte di pattugliamento; a questo si aggiunge, sempre nello stesso anno, una presenza sempre più intensiva di Frontex al largo delle coste senegalesi.

      2. Lotta alla tratta e al traffico. Su questo fronte dell’operatività congiunta tra forze senegalesi ed europee, la normativa di riferimento è la legge n. 06 del 10 maggio 2005, che offre delle direttive per il contrasto della tratta di persone e del traffico. Tale documento, non distinguendo mai fra “tratta” e “traffico”, di fatto criminalizza la migrazione irregolare tout court, dal momento che viene utilizzato in maniera estensiva (e arbitraria) come strumento di controllo e di repressione della mobilità – fu utilizzato, ad esempio, per accusare di traffico di esseri umani un padre che aveva imbarcato suo figlio su un mezzo che poi naufragato.

      Il sistema di asilo in Senegal

      Il Senegal aderisce alla Convenzione del 1951 sullo status de rifugiati e del relativo Protocollo del 1967; la valutazione delle domande di asilo fa capo alla Commissione Nazionale di Eleggibilità (CNE), che al deposito della richiesta di asilo emette un permesso di soggiorno della durata di 3 mesi, rinnovabile fino all’esito dell’audizione di fronte alla CNE; l’esito della CNE è ricorribile in primo grado presso la Commissione stessa e, nel caso di ulteriore rifiuto, presso il Presidente della Repubblica. Quando il richiedente asilo depone la propria domanda, subentra l’UNHCR, che nel paese è molto presente e finanzia ONG locali per fornire assistenza.

      Il 5 aprile 2022 l’Assemblea Nazionale senegalese ha approvato una nuova legge sullo status dei rifugiati e degli apolidi, una legge che, stando a diverse associazioni locali, sulla carta estenderebbe i diritti cui i rifugiati hanno accesso; tuttavia, le stesse associazioni temono che a tale miglioramento possa non seguire un’applicazione effettiva della normativa.

      Data la collocazione geografica del paese, a ridosso dell’Atlantico e delle isole Canarie, in prossimità di paesi ad alto indice di emigrazione (Senegal, Mali, Marocco), la Mauritania rappresenta un territorio strategico per il monitoraggio dei flussi migratori diretti in Europa. Pertanto, analogamente a quanto avvenuto in Senegal, anche in Mauritania la Spagna ha proceduto a rafforzare la cooperazione in tema di politiche migratorie e di gestione del controllo delle frontiere e a incrementare la presenta e l’impegno di attori esterni – in primis di agenzie quali Frontex – per interventi di contenimento dei flussi e di riammissione di cittadini stranieri in Mauritania.

      Relativamente alla Mauritania, l’obiettivo principale delle istituzioni europee sembra essere la prevenzione dell’immigrazione lungo la rotta delle Canarie. La normativa di riferimento è l’Accordo di riammissione bilaterale firmato con la Spagna nel luglio 2003. Con tale accordo, la Spagna può chiedere alla Mauritania di riammettere sul proprio territorio cittadini mauritani e non solo, anche altri cittadini provenienti da paesi terzi che “si presume” siano transitati per la Mauritania prima di entrare irregolarmente in Spagna. Oltre a tali interventi, il report di ASGI menziona l’Operazione Hera di Frontex e vari interventi di cooperazione allo sviluppo promossi dalla Spagna “con finalità tutt’altro che umanitarie”, bensì di gestione della mobilità.

      In tale regione, nella fase degli sbarchi risulta molto dubbio il ruolo giocato da organizzazioni come OIM e UNHCR, poiché non è codificato; interlocutori diversi hanno fornito informazioni contrastanti sulla disponibilità di UNHCR a intervenire in supporto e su segnalazione delle ONG presenti al momento dello sbarco. In ogni caso, se effettivamente UNHCR fosse assente agli sbarchi, ciò determinerebbe una sostanziale impossibilità di accesso alle procedure di protezione internazionale da parte di qualsiasi potenziale richiedente asilo che venga intercettato in mare.

      Anche in questo territorio la costruzione della figura del “trafficante” diventa un dispositivo di criminalizzazione e repressione della mobilità sulla rotta atlantica, strumentale alla soddisfazione di richieste europee.
      La detenzione dei cittadini stranieri

      Tra Nouakchott e Nouadhibou vi sono tre centri di detenzione per persone migranti; uno di questi (il Centro di Detenzione di Nouadhibou 2 (anche detto “El Guantanamito”), venne realizzato grazie a dei fondi di un’agenzia di cooperazione spagnola. Sovraffollamento, precarietà igienico-sanitaria e impossibilità di accesso a cure e assistenza legale hanno caratterizzato tali centri. Quando El Guantanamito fu chiuso, i commissariati di polizia sono diventati i principali luoghi deputati alla detenzione dei cittadini stranieri; in tali centri, vengono detenute non solo le persone intercettate in prossimità delle coste mauritane, ma anche i cittadini stranieri riammessi dalla Spagna, e anche le persone presenti irregolarmente su territorio mauritano. Risulta delicato il tema dell’accesso a tali commissariati, dal momento che il sopralluogo ha rilevato che le ONG non hanno il permesso di entrarvi, mentre le organizzazioni internazionali sì – ciò nonostante, nessuna delle persone precedentemente sottoposte a detenzione con cui la delegazione ASGI ha avuto modo di interloquire ha dichiarato di aver riscontrato la presenza di organizzazioni all’interno di questi centri.

      La detenzione amministrativa risulta essere “un tassello essenziale della politica di contenimento dei flussi di cittadini stranieri in Mauritania”. Il passaggio successivo alla detenzione delle persone migranti è l’allontanamento, che si svolge in forma di veri e propri respingimenti sommari e informali, senza che i migranti siano messi nelle condizioni né di dichiarare la propria nazionalità né di conoscere la procedura di ritorno volontario.
      Il ruolo delle organizzazioni internazionali in Mauritania

      OIM riveste un ruolo centrale nel panorama delle politiche di esternalizzazione e di blocco dei cittadini stranieri in Mauritania, tramite il supporto delle autorità di pubblica sicurezza mauritane nello sviluppo di politiche di contenimento della libertà di movimento – strategie e interventi che suggeriscono una connotazione securitaria della presenza dell’associazione nel paese, a scapito di una umanitaria.

      Nonostante anche la Mauritania sia firmataria della Convenzione di Ginevra, non esiste a oggi una legge nazionale sul diritto di asilo nel paese. UNHCR testimonia come dal 2015 esiste un progetto di legge sull’asilo, ma che questo sia tuttora “in attesa di adozione”.

      Pertanto, le procedure di asilo in Mauritania sono gestite interamente da UNHCR. Tali procedure si differenziano a seconda della pericolosità delle regioni di provenienza delle persone migranti; in particolare, i migranti maliani provenienti dalle regioni considerate più pericolose vengono registrati come rifugiati prima facie, quanto non accade invece per i richiedenti asilo provenienti dalle aree urbane, per loro, l’iter dell’asilo è ben più lungo, e prevede una sorta di “pre-pre-registrazione” presso un ente partner di UNHCR, cui segue una pre-registrazione accordata da UNHCR previo appuntamento, e solo in seguito alla registrazione viene riconosciuto un certificato di richiesta di asilo, valido per sei mesi, in attesa di audizione per la determinazione dello status di rifugiato.

      Le tempistiche per il riconoscimento di protezione, poi, sono differenti a seconda del grado di vulnerabilità del richiedente e in taluni casi potevano condurre ad anni e anni di attesa. Alla complessità della procedura si aggiunge che non tutti i potenziali richiedenti asilo possono accedervi – ad esempio, chi proviene da alcuni stati, come la Sierra Leone, considerati “paesi sicuri” secondo una categorizzazione fornita dall’Unione Africana.

      In fase conclusiva, il report si sofferma sul ruolo fondamentale giocato dall’Unione Europea nel forzare le politiche senegalesi e mauritane nel senso della sicurezza e del contenimento, a scapito della tutela delle persone migranti nei loro diritti fondamentali. Le principali preoccupazioni evidenziate sono rappresentate dalla prospettiva della conclusione dello status agreement tra Frontex e i due paesi, perché tale ratifica ufficializzerebbe non solo la presenza, ma un ruolo legittimo e attivo di un’agenzia europea nel controllo di frontiere che si dispiegano ben oltre i confini territoriali comunitari, ben oltre le acque territoriali, spingendo le maglie del controllo dei flussi fin dentro le terre di quegli stati da cui le persone fuggono puntando all’Unione Europea. La delegazione, tuttavia, sottolinea che vi sono aree in cui la società civile senegalese e mauritana risulta particolarmente politicizzata, dunque in grado di esprimere insofferenza o aperta contrarietà nei confronti delle ingerenze europee nei loro paesi. Infine, da interviste, colloqui e incontri con diretti interessati e testimoni, il ruolo di organizzazioni internazionali come le citate OIM e UNHCR appare nella maggior parte dei casi “fluido o sfuggevole”; una prospettiva, questa, che sembra confermare l’ambivalenza delle grandi organizzazioni internazionali, soggetti messi innanzitutto al servizio degli interessi delle istituzioni europee.

      Il report si conclude auspicando una prosecuzione di studio e analisi al fine di continuare a monitorare gli sviluppi politici e legislativi che legano l’Unione Europea e questi territori nella gestione operativa delle migrazioni.


    • Pubblicato il rapporto #ASGI della missione in Senegal e Mauritania

      Il Senegal e la Mauritania sono paesi fondamentali lungo la rotta che conduce dall’Africa occidentale alle isole Canarie. Nel 2020, dopo alcuni anni in cui la rotta era stata meno utilizzata, vi è stato un incremento del 900% degli arrivi rispetto all’anno precedente. Il dato ha portato la Spagna e le istituzioni europee a concentrarsi nuovamente sui due paesi. La cosiddetta Rotta Atlantica, che a partire dal 2006 era stata teatro di sperimentazioni di pratiche di contenimento e selezione della mobilità e di delega dei controlli alle frontiere e del diritto di asilo, è tornata all’attenzione internazionale: da febbraio 2022 sono in corso negoziazioni per la firma di un accordo di status con Frontex per permettere il dispiegamento dei suoi agenti in Senegal e Mauritania.

      Al fine di indagare l’attuazione delle politiche di esternalizzazione e i loro effetti, dal 7 al 13 maggio 2022 un gruppo di socз ASGI – avvocatз, operatorз legali e ricercatorз – ha effettuato un sopralluogo giuridico a Nouakchott, Mauritania e a Dakar, Senegal.

      Il report restituisce il quadro ricostruito nel corso del sopralluogo, durante il quale è stato possibile intervistare oltre 45 interlocutori tra istituzioni, organizzazioni internazionali, ONG e persone migranti.


    • Au Sénégal, les desseins de Frontex se heurtent aux résistances locales

      Tout semblait devoir aller très vite : début 2022, l’Union européenne propose de déployer sa force anti-migration Frontex sur les côtes sénégalaises, et le président Macky Sall y semble favorable. Mais c’était compter sans l’opposition de la société civile, qui refuse de voir le Sénégal ériger des murs à la place de l’Europe.

      Agents armés, navires, drones et systèmes de sécurité sophistiqués : Frontex, l’agence européenne de gardes-frontières et de gardes-côtes créée en 2004, a sorti le grand jeu pour dissuader les Africains de prendre la direction des îles Canaries – et donc de l’Europe –, l’une des routes migratoires les plus meurtrières au monde. Cet arsenal, auquel s’ajoutent des programmes de formation de la police aux frontières, est la pierre angulaire de la proposition faite début 2022 par le Conseil de l’Europe au Sénégal. Finalement, Dakar a refusé de la signer sous la pression de la société civile, même si les négociations ne sont pas closes. Dans un climat politique incandescent à l’approche de l’élection présidentielle de 2024, le président sénégalais, Macky Sall, soupçonné de vouloir briguer un troisième mandat, a préféré prendre son temps et a fini par revenir sur sa position initiale, qui semblait ouverte à cette collaboration. Dans le même temps, la Mauritanie voisine, elle, a entamé des négociations avec Bruxelles.

      L’histoire débute le 11 février 2022 : lors d’une conférence de presse à Dakar, la commissaire aux Affaires intérieures du Conseil de l’Europe, Ylva Johansson, officialise la proposition européenne de déployer Frontex sur les côtes sénégalaises. « C’est mon offre et j’espère que le gouvernement sénégalais sera intéressé par cette opportunité unique », indique-t-elle. En cas d’accord, elle annonce que l’agence européenne sera déployée dans le pays au plus tard au cours de l’été 2022. Dans les jours qui ont suivi l’annonce de Mme Johansson, plusieurs associations de la société civile sénégalaise ont organisé des manifestations et des sit-in à Dakar contre la signature de cet accord, jugé contraire aux intérêts nationaux et régionaux.

      Une frontière déplacée vers la côte sénégalaise

      « Il s’agit d’un #dispositif_policier très coûteux qui ne permet pas de résoudre les problèmes d’immigration tant en Afrique qu’en Europe. C’est pourquoi il est impopulaire en Afrique. Frontex participe, avec des moyens militaires, à l’édification de murs chez nous, en déplaçant la frontière européenne vers la côte sénégalaise. C’est inacceptable, dénonce Seydi Gassama, le directeur exécutif d’Amnesty International au Sénégal. L’UE exerce une forte pression sur les États africains. Une grande partie de l’aide européenne au développement est désormais conditionnée à la lutte contre la migration irrégulière. Les États africains doivent pouvoir jouer un rôle actif dans ce jeu, ils ne doivent pas accepter ce qu’on leur impose, c’est-à-dire des politiques contraires aux intérêts de leurs propres communautés. » Le défenseur des droits humains rappelle que les transferts de fonds des migrants pèsent très lourd dans l’économie du pays : selon les chiffres de la Banque mondiale, ils ont atteint 2,66 milliards de dollars (2,47 milliards d’euros) au Sénégal en 2021, soit 9,6 % du PIB (presque le double du total de l’aide internationale au développement allouée au pays, de l’ordre de 1,38 milliard de dollars en 2021). « Aujourd’hui, en visitant la plupart des villages sénégalais, que ce soit dans la région de Fouta, au Sénégal oriental ou en Haute-Casamance, il est clair que tout ce qui fonctionne – hôpitaux, dispensaires, routes, écoles – a été construit grâce aux envois de fonds des émigrés », souligne M. Gassama.

      « Quitter son lieu de naissance pour aller vivre dans un autre pays est un droit humain fondamental, consacré par l’article 13 de la Convention de Genève de 1951, poursuit-il. Les sociétés capitalistes comme celles de l’Union européenne ne peuvent pas dire aux pays africains : “Vous devez accepter la libre circulation des capitaux et des services, alors que nous n’acceptons pas la libre circulation des travailleurs”. » Selon lui, « l’Europe devrait garantir des routes migratoires régulières, quasi inexistantes aujourd’hui, et s’attaquer simultanément aux racines profondes de l’exclusion, de la pauvreté, de la crise démocratique et de l’instabilité dans les pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest afin d’offrir aux jeunes des perspectives alternatives à l’émigration et au recrutement dans les rangs des groupes djihadistes ».

      Depuis le siège du Forum social sénégalais (FSS), à Dakar, Mamadou Mignane Diouf abonde : « L’UE a un comportement inhumain, intellectuellement et diplomatiquement malhonnête. » Le coordinateur du FSS cite le cas récent de l’accueil réservé aux réfugiés ukrainiens ayant fui la guerre, qui contraste avec les naufrages incessants en Méditerranée et dans l’océan Atlantique, et avec la fermeture des ports italiens aux bateaux des ONG internationales engagées dans des opérations de recherche et de sauvetage des migrants. « Quel est ce monde dans lequel les droits de l’homme ne sont accordés qu’à certaines personnes en fonction de leur origine ?, se désole-t-il. À chaque réunion internationale sur la migration, nous répétons aux dirigeants européens que s’ils investissaient un tiers de ce qu’ils allouent à Frontex dans des politiques de développement local transparentes, les jeunes Africains ne seraient plus contraints de partir. » Le budget total alloué à Frontex, en constante augmentation depuis 2016, a dépassé les 754 millions d’euros en 2022, contre 535 millions l’année précédente.
      Une des routes migratoires les plus meurtrières

      Boubacar Seye, directeur de l’ONG Horizon sans Frontières, parle de son côté d’une « gestion catastrophique et inhumaine des frontières et des phénomènes migratoires ». Selon les estimations de l’ONG espagnole Caminando Fronteras, engagée dans la surveillance quotidienne de ce qu’elle appelle la « nécro-frontière ouest-euro-africaine », entre 2018 et 2022, 7 865 personnes originaires de 31 pays différents, dont 1 273 femmes et 383 enfants, auraient trouvé la mort en tentant de rejoindre les côtes espagnoles des Canaries à bord de pirogues en bois et de canots pneumatiques cabossés – soit une moyenne de 6 victimes chaque jour. Il s’agit de l’une des routes migratoires les plus dangereuses et les plus meurtrières au monde, avec le triste record, ces cinq dernières années, d’au moins 250 bateaux qui auraient coulé avec leurs passagers à bord. Le dernier naufrage connu a eu lieu le 2 octobre 2022. Selon le récit d’un jeune Ivoirien de 27 ans, seul survivant, le bateau a coulé après neuf jours de mer, emportant avec lui 33 vies.

      Selon les chiffres fournis par le ministère espagnol de l’Intérieur, environ 15 000 personnes sont arrivées aux îles Canaries en 2022 – un chiffre en baisse par rapport à 2021 (21 000) et 2020 (23 000). Et pour cause : la Guardia Civil espagnole a déployé des navires et des hélicoptères sur les côtes du Sénégal et de la Mauritanie, dans le cadre de l’opération « Hera » mise en place dès 2006 (l’année de la « crise des pirogues ») grâce à des accords de coopération militaire avec les deux pays africains, et en coordination avec Frontex.

      « Les frontières de l’Europe sont devenues des lieux de souffrance, des cimetières, au lieu d’être des entrelacs de communication et de partage, dénonce Boubacar Seye, qui a obtenu la nationalité espagnole. L’Europe se barricade derrière des frontières juridiques, politiques et physiques. Aujourd’hui, les frontières sont équipées de moyens de surveillance très avancés. Mais, malgré tout, les naufrages et les massacres d’innocents continuent. Il y a manifestement un problème. » Une question surtout le hante : « Combien d’argent a-t-on injecté dans la lutte contre la migration irrégulière en Afrique au fil des ans ? Il n’y a jamais eu d’évaluation. Demander publiquement un audit transparent, en tant que citoyen européen et chercheur, m’a coûté la prison. » L’activiste a été détenu pendant une vingtaine de jours en janvier 2021 au Sénégal pour avoir osé demander des comptes sur l’utilisation des fonds européens. De la fenêtre de son bureau, à Dakar, il regarde l’océan et s’alarme : « L’ère post-Covid et post-guerre en Ukraine va générer encore plus de tensions géopolitiques liées aux migrations. »
      Un outil policier contesté à gauche

      Bruxelles, novembre 2022. Nous rencontrons des professeurs, des experts des questions migratoires et des militants belges qui dénoncent l’approche néocoloniale des politiques migratoires de l’Union européenne (UE). Il est en revanche plus difficile d’échanger quelques mots avec les députés européens, occupés à courir d’une aile à l’autre du Parlement européen, où l’on n’entre que sur invitation. Quelques heures avant la fin de notre mission, nous parvenons toutefois à rencontrer Amandine Bach, conseillère politique sur les questions migratoires pour le groupe parlementaire de gauche The Left. « Nous sommes le seul parti qui s’oppose systématiquement à Frontex en tant qu’outil policier pour gérer et contenir les flux migratoires vers l’UE », affirme-t-elle.

      Mme Bach souligne la différence entre « statut agreement » (accord sur le statut) et « working arrangement » (arrangement de travail) : « Il ne s’agit pas d’une simple question juridique. Le premier, c’est-à-dire celui initialement proposé au Sénégal, est un accord formel qui permet à Frontex un déploiement pleinement opérationnel. Il est négocié par le Conseil de l’Europe, puis soumis au vote du Parlement européen, qui ne peut que le ratifier ou non, sans possibilité de proposer des amendements. Le second, en revanche, est plus symbolique qu’opérationnel et offre un cadre juridique plus simple. Il n’est pas discuté par le Parlement et n’implique pas le déploiement d’agents et de moyens, mais il réglemente la coopération et l’échange d’informations entre l’agence européenne et les États tiers. » Autre différence substantielle : seul l’accord sur le statut peut donner – en fonction de ce qui a été négocié entre les parties – une immunité partielle ou totale aux agents de Frontex sur le sol non européen. L’agence dispose actuellement de tels accords dans les Balkans, avec des déploiements en Serbie et en Albanie (d’autres accords seront bientôt opérationnels en Macédoine du Nord et peut-être en Bosnie, pays avec lequel des négociations sont en cours).

      Cornelia Ernst (du groupe parlementaire The Left), la rapporteuse de l’accord entre Frontex et le Sénégal nommée en décembre 2022, va droit au but : « Je suis sceptique, j’ai beaucoup de doutes sur ce type d’accord. La Commission européenne ne discute pas seulement avec le Sénégal, mais aussi avec la Mauritanie et d’autres pays africains. Le Sénégal est un pays de transit pour les réfugiés de toute l’Afrique de l’Ouest, et l’UE lui offre donc de l’argent dans l’espoir qu’il accepte d’arrêter les réfugiés. Nous pensons que cela met en danger la liberté de circulation et d’autres droits sociaux fondamentaux des personnes, ainsi que le développement des pays concernés, comme cela s’est déjà produit au Soudan. » Et d’ajouter : « J’ai entendu dire que le Sénégal n’est pas intéressé pour le moment par un “statut agreement”, mais n’est pas fermé à un “working arrangement” avec Frontex, contrairement à la Mauritanie, qui négocie un accord substantiel qui devrait prévoir un déploiement de Frontex. »

      Selon Mme Ernst, la stratégie de Frontex consiste à envoyer des agents, des armes, des véhicules, des drones, des bateaux et des équipements de surveillance sophistiqués, tels que des caméras thermiques, et à fournir une formation aux gardes-frontières locaux. C’est ainsi qu’ils entendent « protéger » l’Europe en empêchant les réfugiés de poursuivre leur voyage. La question est de savoir ce qu’il adviendra de ces réfugiés bloqués au Sénégal ou en Mauritanie en cas d’accord.
      Des rapports accablants

      Principal outil de dissuasion développé par l’UE en réponse à la « crise migratoire » de 2015-2016, Frontex a bénéficié en 2019 d’un renforcement substantiel de son mandat, avec le déploiement de 10 000 gardes-frontières prévu d’ici à 2027 (ils sont environ 1 500 aujourd’hui) et des pouvoirs accrus en matière de coopération avec les pays non européens, y compris ceux qui ne sont pas limitrophes de l’UE. Mais les résultats son maigres. Un rapport de la Cour des comptes européenne d’août 2021 souligne « l’inefficacité de Frontex dans la lutte contre l’immigration irrégulière et la criminalité transfrontalière ». Un autre rapport de l’Office européen de lutte antifraude (Olaf), publié en mars 2022, a quant à lui révélé des responsabilités directes et indirectes dans des « actes de mauvaise conduite » à l’encontre des exilés, allant du harcèlement aux violations des droits fondamentaux en Grèce, en passant par le refoulement illégal de migrants dans le cadre d’opérations de rapatriement en Hongrie.

      Ces rapports pointent du doigt les plus hautes sphères de Frontex, tout comme le Frontex Scrutiny Working Group (FSWG), une commission d’enquête créée en février 2021 par le Parlement européen dans le but de « contrôler en permanence tous les aspects du fonctionnement de Frontex, y compris le renforcement de son rôle et de ses ressources pour la gestion intégrée des frontières et l’application correcte du droit communautaire ». Ces révélations ont conduit, en mars 2021, à la décision du Parlement européen de suspendre temporairement l’extension du budget de Frontex et, en mai 2022, à la démission de Fabrice Leggeri, qui était à la tête de l’agence depuis 2015.
      Un tabou à Dakar

      « Actuellement aucun cadre juridique n’a été défini avec un État africain », affirme Frontex. Si dans un premier temps l’agence nous a indiqué que les discussions avec le Sénégal étaient en cours – « tant que les négociations sur l’accord de statut sont en cours, nous ne pouvons pas les commenter » (19 janvier 2023) –, elle a rétropédalé quelques jours plus tard en précisant que « si les négociations de la Commission européenne avec le Sénégal sur un accord de statut n’ont pas encore commencé, Frontex est au courant des négociations en cours entre la Commission européenne et la Mauritanie » (1er février 2023).

      Interrogé sur les négociations avec le Sénégal, la chargée de communication de Frontex, Paulina Bakula, nous a envoyé par courriel la réponse suivant : « Nous entretenons une relation de coopération étroite avec les autorités sénégalaises chargées de la gestion des frontières et de la lutte contre la criminalité transfrontalière, en particulier avec la Direction générale de la police nationale, mais aussi avec la gendarmerie, l’armée de l’air et la marine. » En effet, la coopération avec le Sénégal a été renforcée avec la mise en place d’un officier de liaison Frontex à Dakar en janvier 2020. « Compte tenu de la pression continue sur la route Canaries-océan Atlantique, poursuit Paulina Bakula, le Sénégal reste l’un des pays prioritaires pour la coopération opérationnelle de Frontex en Afrique de l’Ouest. Cependant, en l’absence d’un cadre juridique pour la coopération avec le Sénégal, l’agence a actuellement des possibilités très limitées de fournir un soutien opérationnel. »

      Interpellée sur la question des droits de l’homme en cas de déploiement opérationnel en Afrique de l’Ouest, Paulina Bakula écrit : « Si l’UE conclut de tels accords avec des partenaires africains à l’avenir, il incombera à Frontex de veiller à ce qu’ils soient mis en œuvre dans le plein respect des droits fondamentaux et que des garanties efficaces soient mises en place pendant les activités opérationnelles. »

      Malgré des demandes d’entretien répétées durant huit mois, formalisées à la fois par courriel et par courrier, aucune autorité sénégalaise n’a accepté de répondre à nos questions. « Le gouvernement est conscient de la sensibilité du sujet pour l’opinion publique nationale et régionale, c’est pourquoi il ne veut pas en parler. Et il ne le fera probablement pas avant les élections présidentielles de 2024 », confie, sous le couvert de l’anonymat, un homme politique sénégalais. Il constate que la question migratoire est devenue, ces dernières années, autant un ciment pour la société civile qu’un tabou pour la classe politique ouest-africaine.

      #conditionnalité #conditionnalité_de_l'aide_au_développement #remittances #résistance

    • What is Frontex doing in Senegal? Secret services also participate in their network of “#Risk_Analysis_Cells

      Frontex has been allowed to conclude stationing agreements with third countries since 2016. However, the government in Dakar does not currently want to allow EU border police into the country. Nevertheless, Frontex has been active there since 2006.

      When Frontex was founded in 2004, the EU states wrote into its border agency’s charter that it could only be deployed within the Union. With developments often described as the “refugee crisis,” that changed in the new 2016 regulation, which since then has allowed the EU Commission to negotiate agreements with third countries to send Frontex there. So far, four Balkan states have decided to let the EU migration defense agency into the country – Bosnia and Herzegovina could become the fifth candidate.

      Frontex also wanted to conclude a status agreement with Senegal based on this model (https://digit.site36.net/2022/02/11/status-agreement-with-senegal-frontex-wants-to-operate-in-africa-for-t). In February 2022, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, announced that such a treaty would be ready for signing by the summer (https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220211-eu-seeks-to-deploy-border-agency-to-senegal). However, this did not happen: Despite high-level visits from the EU (https://digit.site36.net/2022/02/11/status-agreement-with-senegal-frontex-wants-to-operate-in-africa-for-t), the government in Dakar is apparently not even prepared to sign a so-called working agreement. It would allow authorities in the country to exchange personal data with Frontex.

      Senegal is surrounded by more than 2,600 kilometers of external border; like neighboring Mali, Gambia, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, the government has joined the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Similar to the Schengen area, the agreement also regulates the free movement of people and goods in a total of 15 countries. Senegal is considered a safe country of origin by Germany and other EU member states like Luxembourg.

      Even without new agreements, Frontex has been active on migration from Senegal practically since its founding: the border agency’s first (and, with its end in 2019, longest) mission started in 2006 under the name “#Hera” between West Africa and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic (https://www.statewatch.org/media/documents/analyses/no-307-frontex-operation-hera.pdf). Border authorities from Mauritania were also involved. The background to this was the sharp increase in crossings from the countries at the time, which were said to have declined successfully under “Hera.” For this purpose, Frontex received permission from Dakar to enter territorial waters of Senegal with vessels dispatched from member states.

      Senegal has already been a member of the “#Africa-Frontex_Intelligence_Community” (#AFIC) since 2015. This “community”, which has been in existence since 2010, aims to improve Frontex’s risk analysis and involves various security agencies to this end. The aim is to combat cross-border crimes, which include smuggling as well as terrorism. Today, 30 African countries are members of AFIC. Frontex has opened an AFIC office in five of these countries, including Senegal since 2019 (https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news/news-release/frontex-opens-risk-analysis-cell-in-senegal-6nkN3B). The tasks of the Frontex liaison officer stationed there include communicating with the authorities responsible for border management and assisting with deportations from EU member states.

      The personnel of the national “Risk Analysis Cells” are trained by Frontex. Their staff are to collect strategic data on crime and analyze their modus operandi, EU satellite surveillance is also used for this purpose (https://twitter.com/matthimon/status/855425552148295680). Personal data is not processed in the process. From the information gathered, Frontex produces, in addition to various dossiers, an annual situation report, which the agency calls an “#Pre-frontier_information_picture.”

      Officially, only national law enforcement agencies participate in the AFIC network, provided they have received a “mandate for border management” from their governments. In Senegal, these are the National Police and the Air and Border Police, in addition to the “Department for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and Similar Practices.” According to the German government, the EU civil-military missions in Niger and Libya are also involved in AFIC’s work.

      Information is not exchanged with intelligence services “within the framework of AFIC activities by definition,” explains the EU Commission in its answer to a parliamentary question. However, the word “by definition” does not exclude the possibility that they are nevertheless involved and also contribute strategic information. In addition, in many countries, police authorities also take on intelligence activities – quite differently from how this is regulated in Germany, for example, in the separation requirement for these authorities. However, according to Frontex’s response to a FOIA request, intelligence agencies are also directly involved in AFIC: Morocco and Côte d’Ivoire send their domestic secret services to AFIC meetings, and a “#Center_for_Monitoring_and_Profiling” from Senegal also participates.

      Cooperation with Senegal is paying off for the EU: Since 2021, the total number of arrivals of refugees and migrants from Senegal via the so-called Atlantic route as well as the Western Mediterranean route has decreased significantly. The recognition rate for asylum seekers from the country is currently around ten percent in the EU.

      #services_de_renseignement #données #services_secrets

  • 25,000 violent pushbacks at EU borders documented in the ‘Black Book’

    The Left in the European Parliament today launches the second edition of the “#Black_Book_of_Pushbacks”: over 3,000 pages mapping the systematic violence unfolding at Europe’s borders. The four volumes of the Black Book are a collection of more than one thousand testimonies of people on the move compiled by independent experts from the #Border_Violence_Monitoring_Network (#BVMN). It documents how almost 25,000 thousand people were beaten, kicked, humiliated and arbitrarily detained before being illegally pushed back, both at the EU’s external borders and from deep within the territory of its member states.

    Key data:

    - 1,635 testimonies impacting 24,990 persons
    - 4 volumes, consisting of more than 3,000 pages
    - 15 countries covered: Austria, Italy, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Albania 


    #Black_Book #refoulements #push-backs #frontières #migrations #réfugiés #asile #violence #frontières_extérieures #frontières_intérieures #rapport #statistiques #chiffres #Autriche #Italie #Slovénie #Grèce #Croatie #Pologne #Hongrie #Roumanie #Serbie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Bosnie #Monténégro #Kosovo #Bulgarie #Macédoine_du_Nord #Albanie #frontière_sud-alpine #Balkans #route_des_Balkans


    voir aussi ce fil de discussion :

    • - 15 countries covered: Austria, Italy, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Albania

      ce qui veut dire que si on inclut la France et ses 10aines de pushback à la frontière avec l’Italie (Montgenèvre en particulier) par semaine (jours !) on doit arriver à des chiffres nettement supérieurs...


  • At the heart of Fortress Europe: A new study about Austria’s role in border externalization policies in the Balkans

    On the 28th of September 2020, Ayoub N. and six of his friends were chain pushed back from Austria to Slovenia, Croatia, and eventually back to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), from where Ayoub had begun his journey to Austria a few weeks earlier. Ayoub, like many others, had been stuck for years in between the EU member states, in the Balkans, and this was just another attempt to reach the Schengen Zone. He continued trying even after this push-back. In July 2022, Ayoub was still stuck inside the Balkan Circuit (Stojić Mitrović and Vilenica 2019), a region of transit with many loops, within which movement is circular, going forward and backwards because of border violence.

    Exactly one year after Ayoub and his group of friends experienced the chain push-back, Austrian Interior Minister, Karl Nehammer, finished his trip to Kosovo, Albania, and Montenegro meant to coordinate joint frameworks for fighting what he calls illegal migration, terrorism, and organized crime. During the trip, he announced that a “Return Conference” would take place a few months later in Vienna. The gathering in February 2022 brought together high-ranking officials from more than 22 countries, including representatives of EU agencies and think tanks. The main focus of the event was supporting Western Balkan[1] states with effective deportation practices through the newly established “Joint Coordination Platform against irregular migration.” BiH was mentioned as one of the platform’s main partners, and during the press conference organized after the event BiH Security Minister Selmo Cikotić stated that “With the support of the EU and some proactive partners, like Austria, we could move from a crisis situation to migration management.”

    It is not known to the public how the “return mechanisms” discussed would materialize and on what legal grounds the return of people would take place. In 2021, a parliamentary request for information focused specifically on Austria’s plans to return people to the Western Balkans, while another asked details about the role of BiH. In response to the queries, the interior minister emphasized that Austria is “only” providing good practice, expertise, and training, while partner countries can state their specific needs and are, in the end, responsible for ensuring that the human rights of those concerned will be upheld. This is a common rhetorical practice in the context of EU border externalization policies, with EU countries only providing knowledge and equipment, while “accession” countries in the Balkans have to fulfil the dark side of Europeanization.

    Austria took over a key role in building up a network of multilateral stakeholders that enables the fortification of Europe on diplomatic and informal levels, while states and locations near and far from Central Europe face the consequences of these policies; BiH is one example.

    Lobbying for Externalization

    In July 1998, Austria took over the EU presidency. As its first intervention on the issue of EU-migration policy, it introduced the Strategy Document on Immigration and Asylum Policies, which was sent to the European Council for further discussion. In this document, Austria advocated for a unified approach to migration in the Schengen area, which at that moment comprised 15 countries. It proposed the “Europeanization of migration policy,” while describing the existing approach and structures dealing with migration as “relatively clumsy.” The document called for more cooperation with “third states” in exchange for economic and other benefits. The Strategy envisaged that “Fortress Europe” should be replaced by the “concentric circles of the migration policy,” which included EU neighboring countries. Further, the neighboring partners “should be gradually linked into a similar system” that would eventually be similar to the “first circle,” meaning the EU member states. As for “transit countries,” the main approach would be to “eliminate push factors” in them. The Strategy called for the “tightening of the pre-accession strategy… as far as migration policies are concerned.” In addition, it stressed the need for agreements with third countries that would allow the return of people whose asylum applications were rejected, as well as the introduction of policies that would deter migration in general. The paper also argued that the Geneva Convention was outdated and that individual rights should be replaced with “political offers” of EU membership, or other types of cooperation.

    By the end of the year, this proposal had been amended twice, but in the end it was rejected. A number of non-governmental organizations, including the International Federation for Human Rights, condemned the document on account of its harsh language and the restrictive measures proposed. Even though it was never adopted, the document remains a guideline, and some of its measures were put in place, especially in Austria. Along with several Balkan neighboring countries, Austria became more involved in security-related questions in the region, establishing various organizations and groups that are visibly active in the field, including the Salzburg Forum as one key intergovernmental group. Since the early 1990s, the forum functioned as a lobbying group, not only within the framework of the EU and on a regional level between its partners, but also on an often invisible level that reaches far beyond the EU. Austria played a key role in establishing the forum and is also one of its leading members. While the forum did not always achieve its strategic goals (Müller 2016, 28), it became a testing ground for fueling anti-Muslim and anti-migrant sentiments in Europe, and spearheaded plans for the dark future of EU border externalization policies. The multilateral cooperation within the Forum was based on debate, dialogue, exchange of ideas, and strategic planning; the establishment of its operative tool, the Joint Coordination Platform, is another step in cementing the externalization of border management to the Balkans.

    Coordinating “Migration Management”

    The Joint Coordination Platform (JCP) is a network that coordinates political and strategic intervention outside the Schengen Area, monitoring and controlling the EU’s external borders, as well as actions in third countries. Although it was already in the planning for several years, the JCP was inaugurated in Vienna after the Return Conference in February 2022. The JCP office is led by former Frontex Vice-President Berndt Körner and by lawyer Bohumil Hnidek,[2] and will provide a hinge function for Frontex operations in the Balkans (Monroy 2022). As the Frontex agency is not allowed to organize deportations to third countries, in the future it may support deportations from different EU countries to the Balkans, while the JCP would coordinate and monitor the rest of the “local” operations. In September 2022, the first deportations from Bosnia to Morocco with the support of the JCP already took place.

    The investigative journalist Matthias Monroy further links the Vienna-based think tank ICMPD, led by former Austrian Vice-Chancellor Michael Spindelegger (ÖVP), to the operational implementation of regional return mechanisms to the Balkans. As early as 2020, the JCP started training police officers from BiH for conducting deportations. The training of 50 “return specialists” was recently described by Austrian Interior Minister Karner: “We help with training, impart standards, but that doesn’t change the responsibility that remains in the respective countries. It is about observing all international standards.”

    To understand ICMPD’s practices on the ground, it is worth reviewing the project descriptions of its Western Balkans and Turkey office in recent years. The long-standing partner of the Salzburg Forum implements migration management, border management, and capacity building in the Balkans, for example by providing the border police in Kosovo[3] with technical and biometric equipment to register people on the move; and supporting the border police in Albania[4] with equipment for land border surveillance and maritime border surveillance and control. Capacity building in Albania means in particular providing patrol boats and surveillance vehicles. The regional capacity building projects further cover information campaigns for people in Afghanistan, Iraq, and people on the move in the Western Balkans.[5] Labelled as protection and support for migrants, ICMPD invests in the enhancement of migrant information systems[6] for authorities in BiH to implement entry control, registration, and data collection mechanisms. The “electronic biometric residence permit cards,” which should be made available through such projects, point not only to the on-ground preparation but also to the implementation of what investigative journalists call “extra-European Dublin.” This includes for example “Balkandac,” a fingerprint database in the Balkans that would allow countries to deport third-country nationals to countries with readmission agreements before entering the EU Schengen area.

    It is important to highlight that ICMPD has entered the Joint Coordination Platform with years of experience in implementing EU border externalization projects in Africa and the Middle East (Naceur 2021).

    Another active regional partner of the Joint Coordination Platform is Hilfswerk International. Next to the 1 million Euro in Austrian Development Aid that was used as an emergency relief fund through IOM in BiH in 2021, the Upper Austrian Federal Government donated 100,000 Euro to support the construction of a water system in the Lipa camp.[7] The project was implemented by Hilfswerk International, which has been working in the Balkans and especially in BiH as a humanitarian aid organization since 1996. While the organization covers a broad range of services in BiH, it recently joined the niche of network and capacity building in the field of “migration management” in BiH, Serbia, North Macedonia, and Montenegro.

    Hilfswerk International has joined the field of migration management in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a player that can offer extensive experience on the ground. Considering the top-down and dysfunctional approach implemented by IOM in the region, Hilfswerk International is an organization that is closely linked to Austria-based actors and accessible for unbureaucratic and, according to its managing director, pragmatic solutions. As Regional Director Jašarević stated in an interview about their most recent project:

    … we all know, and it is not a secret, that the EU does not want migrants on their territory. And what now? Should we leave them here to suffer or to disappear? It’s not possible.

    They [the JCP] can use our infrastructure here if needed, but they also organize some events themselves. They are connecting donors and infrastructure. They know what is going on at a much deeper level than we do. And we are happy to contribute. They are working very hard as far as I know. Very few people and very big plans, but very capable people. I think it will be more visible this year. But it has only just started.[8]

    Balkan Route: better coordination with Austrian aid

    Even at the end of the 1990s, Austria’s political landscape paved the way for defining the Western Balkans as a strategic buffer zone for Europe’s increasingly restrictive migration and asylum policies. What has been drafted as a strategy to contain migration in “concentric circles” has since developed into the full-scale implementation of land and sea border zones that legitimate legislation, control, tracking, management of, and violence against people moving in circuits while trying to reach the EU Schengen zone.

    Our study can be used as a tool to further investigate Austrian-based and Austrian-initiated organizations, security corporations, and individual actors that are heavily involved in violent EU border externalization from Vienna to Sarajevo and beyond.

    The full study can be accessed here.


    Müller, Patrick. 2016. “Europeanization and regional cooperation initiatives: Austria’s participation in the Salzburg Forum and in Central European Defence Cooperation.” Österreichische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft 45, no. 2: 24-34.

    Stojić Mitrović, Marta, and Ana Vilenica. 2019. “Enforcing
    and disrupting circular movement in an EU
    Borderscape: housingscaping in Serbia.” Citizenship Studies 23, no. 6: 540-55.

    Stojić Mitrović, Marta, Nidzara Ahmetašević, Barbara Beznec, and Andrej Kurnik. 2020. The Dark Sides of Europeanisation: Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the European Border Regime. Belgrade: Rosa-Luxemburg Stiftung Southeast Europe; and Ljubljana: Inštitut Časopis za kritiko znanosti. https://rosalux.rs/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/169_the-dark-side-of-europeanisation-_vladan_jeremic_and_wenke_christoph_rls.

    [1] The authors only use the term Western Balkans in relation to the process of EU border externalization and accession plans of Albania, BiH, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia. See Stojić Mitrović et al. 2020, 20-22.

    [2] Bohumil Hnidek is a lawyer and the former Director for International Cooperation and EU Affairs to the Ministry of interior of the Czech Republic.

    [3] MIK: Manage increased influx of migrants in Kosovo, April, March 2021 (Fact Sheet ICMPD, 4).

    [4] EU4SAVEALB: EU Support for the Effective Management of Green and Blue Borders in Albania, February 2019-April 2022 (Fact Sheet ICMPD, 7-8).

    [5] IKAM: Information and capacity building on asylum, legal and irregular migration in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Western Balkans, March 2021-March 2022 (ICMPD Fact Sheet, 9).

    [6] MiS BiH: Enhancement of Migration Information System for Strengthening Migration, Asylum and Border Management in Bosnia and Herzegovina, November 2021-March 2023 (ICMPD Fact Sheet, 9-10).

    [7] In mid-June 2022, people living in Lipa reached out to local volunteers in BiH to inform them that for a week they did not have running water. At that moment, the temperatures were over 40 degrees. Even though less than 400 people were in the camp (capacity is 1,500), people were crammed in containers (six in each) with one small fan, and were receiving a gallon of water per person a day. Every day, one cistern was used. According to the testimony, there was no water in the bathrooms and toilets, either. After the information was published on social media, people in the camp told local volunteers that the employees in the camp threatened some of the residents, warning them that they cannot talk about the camp and saying that if they did not like the place they could leave.

    [8] Interview Suzana Jašarević online, 15 March 2022.


    #Autriche #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #push-backs #refoulements #refoulements_en_chaîne #Slovénie #Croatie #migrerrance #violence #Balkan_Circuit #Return_Conference #Joint_Coordination_Platform_against_irregular_migration #renvois #expulsions #Joint_Coordination_Platform (#JCP) #Frontex #ICMPD #Michael_Spindelegger #return_specialists #spécialistes_du_retour #Salzburg_Forum #Kosovo #militarisation_des_frontières #complexe_militaro-industriel #Albanie #surveillance #surveillance_des_frontières #biométrie #Balkandac #empreintes_digitales #réadmission #Hilfswerk_International #Lipa #Bosnie #Bosnie_et_Herzégovine #Serbie #Macédoine_du_Nord #Monténégro

    • At the Heart of Fortress Europe

      The study provides a broad mapping of Austrian-based multilateral cooperation, actors, and or­ganisations that are heavily involved in EU border externalisation policies far beyond Austrian borders – and therefore in the violent and sometimes lethal approach to people on the move.

      Since the ‘long summer of migration’ in 2015 and the sealing of the Balkan Route in 2016, people on the move are trying to make their way to the European Schengen area via Bosnia-Herzegovina. According to Frontex, the Western Balkans has become one of the main migrant routes to Europe. The actors examined here are therefore of particular importance.



    • Balkans : la #Serbie, la #Hongrie et l’Autriche s’unissent contre l’immigration illégale

      La Serbie a accepté mercredi, en concertation avec la Hongrie et l’Autriche, de déployer des forces de police supplémentaires à sa frontière Sud avec la Macédoine du Nord, afin de lutter contre l’immigration illégale. L’Autriche va envoyer 100 policiers en renfort dans cette zone.

      La Serbie est parvenue à un accord avec la Hongrie et l’Autriche, mercredi 16 novembre, sur le déploiement de patrouilles de police conjointes le long de sa frontière Sud.

      « Nous avons convenu d’engager plus de police (...) à la frontière avec la Macédoine du Nord », a déclaré le président serbe Aleksandar Vucic, lors d’une conférence de presse organisée après la signature de l’accord avec les Premiers ministres hongrois et autrichien, Viktor Orban et Karl Nehammer.

      L’accord vise à freiner en amont les arrivées dans l’Union européenne (UE), la Serbie étant utilisée comme un pays de transit par les migrants. La route des Balkans occidentaux, via la Turquie, la Bulgarie, la Macédoine du Nord et la Serbie, reste la principale porte d’entrée dans l’UE pour les migrants. Près de 130 000 entrées irrégulières dans l’UE à partir de la route des Balkans occidentaux ont été enregistrées sur les dix premiers mois de l’année 2022, soit le nombre le plus fort depuis le pic de la crise migratoire de 2015, selon Frontex.
      « La migration illégale ne devrait pas être gérée, elle devrait être stoppée »

      Karl Nehammer a annoncé que son pays allait déployer 100 officiers de police pour aider son voisin serbe à patrouiller la frontière avec la Macédoine du Nord. Ces patrouilles seront secondées par des moyens techniques tels que « des caméras à vision thermique, des drones et des véhicules », a précisé le Premier ministre autrichien. Le même genre de matériel est déjà utilisé à la frontière serbo-hongroise où, depuis 2017, une clôture s’étend sur 160 km.

      Viktor Orban a, de son côté, affirmé que, depuis le début de l’année 2022, la Hongrie avait empêché 250 000 franchissements illégaux de frontières, dont beaucoup organisés par des passeurs armés. « La migration illégale ne devrait pas être gérée, elle devrait être stoppée », a-t-il ajouté, décrivant la situation à la frontière avec la Serbie comme « difficile ».

      Conséquence du mur érigé entre la Serbie et la Hongrie : les migrants se tournent vers les passeurs, seuls espoirs pour les aider à franchir. Résultat, dans la zone, leur mainmise s’exerce partout, dans les camps informels comme à l’intérieur des centres officiels, comme a pu le constater InfoMigrants sur place en octobre.
      En finir avec le « tourisme de l’asile »

      Toujours mercredi, Aleksandar Vucic a déclaré que son pays imposait désormais des visas aux ressortissants de la Tunisie et du Burundi, une mesure déjà annoncée en octobre mais qui entre ces jours-ci en vigueur.

      L’UE et la Suisse avaient fait pression pendant plusieurs semaines sur la Serbie afin qu’elle modifie sa politique des visas. Ces pays avaient reproché à la Serbie de servir de porte d’entrée vers l’UE à des migrants turcs, indiens, tunisiens, cubains et burundais, dispensés de visas jusque là pour venir dans le pays. C’est maintenant chose faite.

      Le président de la Serbie, du pays candidat à l’UE depuis 2012, avait promis que Belgrade alignerait sa politique des visas sur celle de Bruxelles « d’ici la fin de l’année » en commençant par la révocation des dispenses accordées aux Tunisiens, Burundais et Indiens. « Bientôt, deux autres pays seront soumis à cette même mesure car nous devrons avoir le même régime de visas que l’UE », a-t-il prévenu, sans préciser de quels pays il s’agissait.

      « Je suis reconnaissant envers le président de la Serbie pour tout ce qu’il fait pour en finir avec le ’tourisme de l’asile’ », a réagi, mercredi, Karl Nehammer.

      Ensemble, les Tunisiens, les Burundais, les Indiens, les Cubains et les Turcs représentent seulement 20% des migrants passés par la route des Balkans occidentaux depuis janvier 2022. La grande majorité des personnes qui transitent par la Serbie ne sont donc pas des exilés exemptés de visas. La plupart sont originaires d’Afghanistan et de Syrie.


  • #Route_des_Balkans : avec #Frontex, l’UE met les grands moyens pour enrayer les migrations

    La route des Balkans des réfugiés s’impose comme une priorité pour l’UE, qui accorde une enveloppe supplémentaire de 39,2 millions d’euros. Frontex va se déployer en #Albanie, en #Bosnie-Herzégovine, au #Monténégro et en #Serbie. La mission européenne vient aussi de signer un accord avec la #Macédoine_du_Nord.

    La #Commission_européenne a donné son #accord à une présence renforcée de Frontex, l’Agence européenne de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes, dans quatre pays des Balkans occidentaux. Cette autorisation porte sur les frontières entre l’UE, l’Albanie, la Serbie, le Monténégro et la Bosnie-Herzégovine. Bruxelles a aussi adopté un nouveau plan d’aides à hauteur de 39,2 millions d’euros, dans le cadre de l’#Instrument_d’aide_de_préadhésion (#IAP) pour le renforcement de la gestion des frontières dans ces pays candidats à l’intégration.

    Selon les accords actuellement en vigueur entre Frontex et l’Albanie, la Serbie et le Monténégro, des effectifs permanents de l’Agence européenne ne peuvent être déployées que sur les frontières de ces pays avec l’UE, sans exercer de compétences exécutives. Désormais, des #effectifs_permanents de Frontex pourront également être déployés sur les frontières de ces pays avec des États tiers. Cela veut dire, par exemple que des agents Frontex pourront patrouiller sur la frontière entre l’Albanie et le Monténégro ou entre la Serbie et la Bosnie-Herzégovine.

    Le plan d’aides financières annoncé servira surtout à financer du #matériel spécialisé (systèmes de #surveillance mobiles, #drones ou appareils biométriques). Ce plan financera aussi de la #formation et une aide à la mise en place et au fonctionnement de #centres_de_coordination_nationaux, dont des #centres_d’accueil et de #rétention des migrants. Ces 39,2 millions d’euros viennent renforcer les dispositifs sécuritaires pour un meilleur contrôle des frontières, dotés jusque là de 171,7 millions d’euros.

    “Nous nous concentrons sur le renforcement de la protection des frontières, la lutte contre les réseaux de trafiquants et l’intensification des #retours depuis la région.”

    La Commissaire aux Affaires intérieures #Ylva_Johansson a souligné que l’UE était très impliquée dans le soutien aux Balkans occidentaux au renforcement de la #coopération pour la gestion des migrations sur le terrain. « Voilà pourquoi nous proposons de négocier des accords de statut conformes au nouveau cadre juridique, qui permettront le déploiement de Frontex dans nos quatre pays partenaires avec la pleine force de son mandat, afin d’assurer que leurs frontières soient respectées et protégées conformément aux meilleures pratiques et normes européennes. »

    De son côté, le Commissaire européen à l’Élargissement #Oliver_Varhelyi estime que ce paquet arrive à point nommé, car les migrations restent, selon lui, un domaine dans lequel la collaboration avec les partenaires des Balkans occidentaux doit être renforcée. « Étant donné la pression migratoire accrue dans la région, nous nous concentrons sur le renforcement de la #protection_des_frontières, la lutte contre les réseaux de trafiquants et l’intensification des retours depuis la région. C’est dans ce but que nous renforçons notre soutien politique et financier. »

    Oliver Varhelyi a annoncé que la Commission avait l’intention d’augmenter ses financements en la matière d’ici 2024 pour les pays candidats des Balkans occidentaux, soit une enveloppe totale d’au moins 350 millions d’euros. Cette somme doit permettre à ces pays candidats de développer un système efficace de gestion des migrations dans tous les domaines, y compris l’asile, l’accueil, la sécurité aux frontières et les procédures de retour.

    #Balkans #migrations #réfugiés #asile #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #aide_financière #biométrie #militarisation_des_frontières #renvois #expulsions

    ping @isskein @karine4 @_kg_

    • Tracking the Pact: EU seeks to seal off Balkan Route with expanded Frontex deployments

      The European Commission wants to launch negotiations with Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Albania so that EU border agency Frontex can extend its zone of operations. Currently, Frontex operations in those states can only take place at the borders they share with EU member states, in accordance with the 2016 Frontex Regulation. Upgrading the EU’s agreements with the Balkan states to take into account the powers granted to Frontex by the 2019 Regulation will make it possible to deploy EU border guards at non-EU borders - for example, between Bosnia and Serbia, or between Serbia and Montenegro. An agreement with North Macedonia has already been signed. The aim is to halt the irregular movement of people through the Balkans towards “core” EU member states.

      In order to launch negotiations the Commission needs the approval of the Council of the EU, and has thus sent to the Council four recommendations that, once they are signed off, will allow it to enter into negotiations with each of the four states:

      - Albania (COM(2022) 690 final, in Council doc. 14060/22, LIMITE, 26 October 2022, pdf)
      – Bosnia and Herzegovina (COM(2022) 691 final, in Council doc. 14061/22, LIMITE, 26 October 2022, pdf)
      – Montenegro (COM(2022) 692 final, in Council doc. 14062/22, LIMITE, 26 October 2022, pdf)
      – Serbia (COM(2022) 693 final, in Council doc. 14063/22, LIMITE, 26 October 2022, pdf)

      An upgraded agreement with North Macedonia based on the 2019 Frontex Regulation has already been approved.

      Each of the documents contains an explanatory memorandum before coming to the draft text of the proposed Council Recommendations.

      For example, the proposal on Albania notes:

      “Albania lies on the Western Balkans migration route, which sees significant irregular migration towards the core of the European Union, both via land and across the Adriatic Sea...

      Given that Albania is a neighbouring third country that remains an important country of transit for irregular migration to the European Union, the value of cooperation between the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and the relevant authorities of Albania remains high. Albania has been a model for the successful deployment of Frontex joint operations to third countries, and it therefore represents an ideal candidate for the expansion of such cooperation.”

      Amongst other things, the memoranda note bilateral agreements signed by each of the states - for example, Bosnia has signed “readmission agreements with all the Western Balkan countries, Türkiye, Russia, Moldova and Pakistan whose practical implementation started in August 2022.” The intention is that Balkan states will not just prevent people from arriving in “core” EU territory - they will also deport them.

      There is no mention in any of the documents of the controversy the agency is mired in for its failure to uphold fundamental rights standards within the EU, in particular at the Greek-Turkish border, as confirmed by the recently-published report of the European Anti-Fraud Office.

      An annex to each of the above documents contains the negotiating directives for the Commission to follow, subject to possible amendment and then approval by the Council.

      - Albania (as above, ANNEX/ADD 1, pdf)
      - Bosnia and Herzegovina (as above, ANNEX/ADD 1, pdf)
      - Montenegro (as above, ANNEX/ADD 1, pdf)
      - Serbia (as above, ANNEX/ADD 1, pdf)

      Although marked ’SENSITIVE’ (as are the proposals for recommendations), the annexes merely state that the agreement with each country should meet the standards set out in the model status agreement adopted by the European Commission in December last year.

      The final terms of the agreements are of course subject to negotiations with each state, with the texts then sent to the Council and Parliament for approval (or not).

      This is likely to lead to certain discrepancies. For example, the current status agreements with Balkan states contain differences on the privileges and immunities of officials deployed on Frontex operations:

      “While the agreements with Albania, Montenegro, and North Macedonia include the provision that the executive director’s decision [on whether to waive criminal immunity or not] will be binding upon the authorities of the host state, no such article is found in the agreements with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.”

      Negotiations on status agreements that would allow Frontex operations in Senegal and Mauritania are also ongoing. When approved, Frontex operations in those two countries will be the first ones outside the European continent.


    • Communiqué de presse du Conseil de l’UE du 24 février 2023 au sujet du nouvel accord conclu entre Frontex et la Macédoine du Nord (signé en octobre 2022, déploiement opérationnel à partir du 1er avril 2023: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2023/02/24/border-management-eu-concludes-agreement-with-north-macedonia-on-fr).

      Le communiqué refait le point sur les accords entre Frontex et les Etats non UE :

      - Border management cooperation agreements in place with Albania (2019), Montenegro (2020) and Serbia (2020) under the previous rules.
      - In November 2022, the Council authorised the opening of negotiations with these countries to broaden these agreements. It also agreed to open negotiations for an agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
      - In July 2022, the Council also authorised the opening of negotiations for agreements with Mauritania and Senegal.
      - An agreement with Moldova, already under the new rules, entered into force on 1 November 2022.
      - The agreement with North Macedonia was signed on 26 October 2022. North Macedonia has reported its conclusion of the agreement, meaning it will enter into force on 1 April 2023 following today’s decision by the Council.


      Border management: EU concludes agreement with North Macedonia on Frontex cooperation

      The Council gave today its final green light to an agreement with North Macedonia on operational activities carried out by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex). The agreement will allow joint operations to be organised and Frontex border management teams to be deployed in North Macedonia, subject to the country’s agreement.

      As of 1st April, Frontex will be able to assist North Macedonia in its efforts to manage migratory flows, counter illegal immigration, and tackle cross-border crime. Reinforcing controls along North Macedonia’s borders will contribute to further enhancing security at the EU’s external borders.

      In line with the European border and coast guard regulation, the agreement also includes provisions for compliance monitoring and for the protection of fundamental rights.


      In 2019 a new Frontex regulation was adopted, broadening the agency’s mandate on several areas, including cooperation with third countries. The new mandate allows the agency to assist those countries with a status agreement throughout their territory and not only in the regions bordering the EU, as was the case with the previous mandate. It also allows Frontex staff to exercise executive powers, such as border checks and registration of persons. Status agreements allowing for joint operations can now be concluded with a wider range of countries and are no longer limited to neighbouring countries.

      Frontex had border management cooperation agreements in place with Albania (2019), Montenegro (2020) and Serbia (2020) under the previous rules. In November 2022, the Council authorised the opening of negotiations with these countries to broaden these agreements. It also agreed to open negotiations for an agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

      In July 2022, the Council also authorised the opening of negotiations for agreements with Mauritania and Senegal.

      An agreement with Moldova, already under the new rules, entered into force on 1 November 2022.

      The agreement with North Macedonia was signed on 26 October 2022. North Macedonia has reported its conclusion of the agreement, meaning it will enter into force on 1 April 2023 following today’s decision by the Council.


  • Rossolje, salade estonienne

    Salade estonienne de #Betterave, hareng et pommes de terre. Mélange étonnant, mais délicieux, pour cette salade venue du froid. Couper les filets de harengs, la viande de bœuf, les betteraves rouges, les pommes de terre, les cornichons, les pommes, les œufs et l’oignon en cubes. Verser la crème fraîche dans un saladier, ainsi que la moutarde, le sucre, le sel et le poivre. Mélanger le tout. Ajouter du sel et du poivre si nécessaire. Laisser au réfrigérateur pendant une demi-heure et servir en…

    Betterave, #Macédoines, #Salades_de patates, #Cuisine_de l’Est, #Hareng salé #matjes / #Sans gluten
    #Hareng_salé #Estonie

  • L’Affaire Khaled #El-Masri

    Détenu illégalement par la CIA, l’Allemand Khaled El-Masri a dû mener un long combat pour faire reconnaître la violation des droits dont il a été victime. Retour sur une tragique affaire mardi 31 août à 22:55 sur ARTE.

    En 2003, Khaled El-Masri, un citoyen allemand d’origine libanaise, père de cinq enfants, franchit la frontière macédonienne. Immédiatement arrêté, il est remis aux services de renseignements américains car il porte le même nom que celui d’un proche d’Al-Qaida, recherché par les États-Unis.

    Détenu illégalement pendant cinq mois par la CIA, il est interrogé et régulièrement torturé. La méprise découverte, Khaled El-Masri est relâché, mais un long combat commence alors pour lui afin de rétablir sa dignité et de faire reconnaître la violation des droits dont il a été victime.

    Malgré ses efforts pour rendre son histoire publique, traumatisé par ce qui lui est arrivé, El-Masri enchaîne les actes violents et, après avoir frappé le maire de Neu-Ulm, est condamné à deux ans de prison. Jusqu’à ce que des avocats spécialisés dans les droits de l’homme parviennent à contraindre la CIA à divulguer des documents secrets prouvant son innocence...

    Revenant sur les rouages de cette dramatique affaire, ce documentaire montre comment Berlin, en se soumettant aux intérêts géopolitiques de son allié américain, a brisé la vie de Khaled El-Masri et celle de sa famille, qui ont décidé de quitter l’Allemagne en 2014.

    #film #film_documentaire #documentaire
    #kidnapping #Allemagne #CIA #enlèvement #Macédoine #anti-terrorisme #war_on_terror #Afghanistan #Mallorca #11_septembre_2001 #rendition_flights #Salt_Pit #Dick_Marty #Otto_Schily #Franz-Walter_Steinmeier #Joshka_Fischer #BKA #Albanie #extraordinary_renditions #Khaled_El-Masri

  • Sudan says willing to host Afghan refugees

    Sudan on Thursday said willing to host Afghan refugees evacuated recently after the withdrawal of the U.S. troops from the Muslim country located in South Central Asia.

    The U.S. army evacuated more than 100,000 Afghans from Kabul since August But they have not been taken directly to the U.S. as many friendly countries showed a willingness to give them temporary asylum to allow Washington to prepare their resettlement.

    Until now, Uganda is the only African country that has received Afghan refugees in transit to the United States. Rwanda also agreed to house Afghan refugees, according to the State Department.

    On Thursday the Sudanese Security and Defence Council discussed the matter in a meeting chaired by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Head of the Sovereign Council.

    Defence Minister Lt-Gen Yassin Ibrahim Yassin stated that the meeting discussed hosting a limited group of Afghans in the country for a known period.

    “Based on Humanitarian grounds, the Council agreed in principle (to temporarily host Afghan refugees), while subjecting the matter to further arrangements and procedures (...),” Yassin further said.

    In a briefing call to the US House of Representatives on 20 August, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told lawmakers that some countries including Sudan offered to house Afghan evacuees.

    The evacuated Afghan may face extended-stay in third countries. Besides the logistical preparations before resettling the Afghan refugees, U.S. security services prefer to conduct security screening for the evacuated people.

    U.S. Army has already placed in custody an Afghan who failed the screening in a military base in Germany. French authorities took a similar decision for an evacuee that was linked to the Taliban.


    Après le #Kosovo, l’#Albanie, la #Macédoine_du_Nord, l’#Ouganda, c’est au tour du #Soudan d’accueillir des #réfugiés_afghans évacués de l’#Afghanistan, et qui attendront (à l’infini ?) une #réinstallation...
    C’est l’heure de commencer une métaliste, la voilà :

  • Covid-19 dans le monde : l’UE réimpose des restrictions aux voyageurs américains

    Dans le cadre de la lutte contre la pandémie de Covid-19, les pays membres de l’Union européenne (UE) ont décidé d’imposer à nouveau des restrictions aux voyages non essentiels vers son territoire, selon une recommandation publiée lundi 30 août. Six pays sont concernés : les Etats-Unis, Israël, le Kosovo, le Monténégro, le Liban et la Macédoine du Nord. Mais les Etats membres conservent la possibilité de lever ces restrictions pour les personnes totalement vaccinées, précise la Commission européenne dans un communiqué.
    Avant la décision du Conseil européen, plusieurs Etats membres, dont l’Allemagne et la Belgique, classaient déjà les Etats-Unis sur une liste « rouge », exigeant des tests de dépistage et des périodes d’isolement pour les voyageurs en provenance du pays, mais d’autres, comme la France ou les Pays-Bas, les considéraient comme un pays sûr. La liste « verte » de l’UE compte désormais dix-sept pays, dont le Canada, le Japon et la Nouvelle-Zélande. L’UE autorise toujours la venue des voyageurs pleinement vaccinés en provenance des pays extérieurs à sa zone, même si des tests de dépistage ou des périodes de quarantaine sont requis dans certains cas, selon le pays d’arrivée.
    Les Etats-Unis, quant à eux, interdisent toujours aux ressortissants de l’UE de se rendre librement sur leur territoire, en dépit des appels du bloc communautaire. Une absence de mesures de réciprocité qui divise les Vingt-Sept. Les Etats membres dépendants du tourisme se montrent soucieux de ne pas restreindre les arrivées de voyageurs américains. Loin de montrer des signes d’ouverture, Washington déconseille désormais aux Américains de se rendre en Suisse, en raison de la situation sanitaire liée au Covid-19 dans ce pays. Dans un bulletin publié lundi, le département d’Etat a relevé à 4 son niveau d’alerte relatif à la Confédération suisse, invitant les Américains à « ne pas voyager » dans ce pays. Une recommandation émise également par les Centres de prévention et de lutte contre les maladies, principale agence sanitaire des Etats-Unis. « En raison de la situation actuelle en Suisse, même les voyageurs complètement vaccinés peuvent être à risque de contracter et de propager les variants du Covid-19 », précise l’agence. A l’instar d’un grand nombre de pays européens, la Suisse connaît une résurgence du nombre de cas de Covid-19 depuis l’apparition du variant Delta, avec 35 150 cas enregistrés depuis le 16 août, selon les données de l’Office fédéral de santé publique. Les Etats-Unis avaient déjà émis une notice similaire le 10 août pour la France, là aussi en raison d’une hausse du nombre de cas de Covid-19.


  • #Doors_Wide_Shut – Quarterly report on push-backs on the Western Balkan Route

    As part of the #Protecting_Rights_at_Borders initiative funded by the European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM), the second quarterly report on unlawful push-backs carried out by authorities in Greece, North Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hungary, and Italy was published: https://helsinki.hu/en/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/07/PRAB-Report-April-to-June-2021.pdf

    A key finding is that the informal cooperation between states has prevented thousands of women, men and children from seeking protection in Europe this year, in often extremely violent and humiliating ways. Rights violations at borders are not an isolated issue. There is an overall trend, a so–called race to the bottom, with regards to respect for the fundamental rights of migrants, asylum–seekers and refugees. While governments deliberately do not respect and often directly violate migrants’, refugees’, and asylum seekers’ rights under human rights law, humanitarian organizations are often prevented from providing assistance in line with their humanitarian mandates.

    Country chapters were written by Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione (ASGI), Diaconia Valdese (DV) and Danish Refugee Council (DRC) regarding Italy; the Hungarian Helsinki Committee regarding Hungary; DRC BiH for Bosnia-Herzegovina; Humanitarian Center for Integration and Tolerance (HCIT) regarding Serbia; Macedonian Young Lawyers Association (MYLA) regarding North-Macedonia, and the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) and DRC Greece regarding Greece.

    The previous quarterly report is also available here: https://helsinki.hu/en/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/05/prab-report-january-may-2021-_final_10052021.pdf


    Dans le rapport on trouve une carte avec le nombre de refoulements entre janvier et juin 2021 :

    #push-backs #refoulements #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Grèce #Macédoine_du_Nord #Serbie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Hongrie #Italie

  • UK plans #offshore_asylum_centres in other countries for Afghans

    Defence secretary says processing #hubs will be used for those Britain has ‘an obligation to’.

    Britain plans to establish offshore asylum centres for Afghan refugees in countries such as Pakistan and Turkey, as ministers admit that the UK will not be able to rescue those eligible for resettlement before troops leave Kabul.

    The defence secretary, Ben Wallace, said in a newspaper article on Sunday that the UK planned to establish a series of #processing_hubs across the region outside Afghanistan, for Afghans it had “an obligation to”.

    At least 1,429 Afghans have been evacuated from Kabul since last Friday, as part of the #Arap_relocation_scheme designed to help interpreters and others who have helped the British during their 20 years in Afghanistan.

    But it is estimated that a similar number – or more – remain in the country. The emergency airlift was continuing on Sunday, with RAF flights operating despite a crush at the airport gates as desperate Afghans try to flee.

    Nato believes 20 people have died around the airport in the last week, but Britain’s armed forces minister, James Heappey, said the flow outside the airport had improved because the Taliban were “marshalling people into separate queues for the US evacuation and the UK evacuation”.

    A total of 1,721 people – Britons, Afghans and people from allied countries – had been evacuated from Kabul on eight flights in the past 24 hours, Heappey said, with the RAF receiving help from its Australian counterpart in getting people to safety.

    But British officials already acknowledge that it is virtually impossible to evacuate people coming from outside Kabul, although Afghans with a claim have told charity workers they would risk crossing the country if they knew they had a flight.

    The new proposal was born out of the emergency, Wallace said, in an article in the Mail on Sunday. “The [Arap] scheme is not time-limited. We shall stand by our obligations and are investigating now how to process people from third countries and refugee camps,” he wrote.

    However, there were signs that the asylum plan had not been very far developed on Sunday night, when Turkey said it had not been approached and would reject any approach that was made.

    The names of countries had been briefed out by UK officials as examples of where processing centres might be established.

    A scheme to establish an offshore immigration centre was included as part of the Home Office’s nationality and borders bill, published in the early summer, before the western-backed government in Afghanistan collapsed.

    It was controversial because the intention was to allow the UK to send people to a third country to allow their claims to be processed. Officials had begun talks with Denmark about creating a processing centre in Africa – but how it will link together to the emergency centres is unclear.

    Britain has also agreed to take 20,000 Afghan refugees in a separate scheme announced on Tuesday, 5,000 of which will be in the first year. Priority will be given to groups who are most at risk of human rights abuses, such as women, girls and those from religious minorities.

    Ministers are also debating how to respond to the Taliban, with the home secretary, Priti Patel, understood to be exploring with security officials whether they should be proscribed as a terrorist organisation alongside the likes of Isis.

    But the prime minister, Boris Johnson, and other government departments have been holding out the possibility of recognising the Taliban government in Kabul, arguing the regime should be judged by “actions not words”.


    #réfugiés_afghans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #externalisation #UK #Angleterre #Pakistan #Turquie #procédure_d'asile #réinstallation #interprètes #interprètes_afghans #évacuation

    Comme dit l’article :

    A scheme to establish an offshore immigration centre was included as part of the Home Office’s nationality and borders bill, published in the early summer, before the western-backed government in Afghanistan collapsed.

    –-> voir ici le fil de discussion sur ce sujet (qui concerne le Royaume-Uni et le Danemark) :
    #Priti_Patel ’opens talks with Denmark to open new centre in AFRICA to process asylum seekers who want to come to UK’


    Pour rappel, les #USA ont apparemment signé un accord avec 4 pays pour un accueil temporaire (?) des réfugiés afghans, en attente d’un visa états-uniens : #Albanie, #Kosovo, #Macédoine_du_Nord et #Ouganda :

    ping @isskein @karine4 @_kg_

  • Albania, Kosovo say ready to temporarily house Afghan refugees

    Albania and Kosovohave accepted a U.S. request to temporarily take in Afghan refugees seeking visas to enter the United States, the country two countries said on Sunday.

    In Tirana, Prime Minister Edi Rama Rama said U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration had asked fellow NATO member Albania to assess whether it could serve as a transit country for a number of Afghan refugees whose final destination is the United States.

    “We will not say ’No’, not just because our great allies ask us to, but because we are Albania,” Rama said on Facebook.

    Sources had told Reuters that Biden’s administration had held discussions with such countries as Kosovo and Albania about protecting U.S.-affiliated Afghans from Taliban reprisals until they completed the process of approval of their U.S. visas.

    In Kosovo, President Vjosa Osmani said the government had been in contact with the U.S. authorities about housing Afghan refugees since mid-July.

    “Without any hesitation and ... conditioning I gave my consent to that humanitarian operation,” Osmani said on her Facebook account.

    Osmani said Afghan refugees would be vetted by the U.S. security authorities, and added they would stay in Kosovo until their documentation for U.S. immigration visas was arranged.

    Hundreds of U.S. troops are still stationed in Kosovo as peacekeepers more than two decades after the 1998-99 war with the then-Yugoslav security forces.


    #Albanie #Kosovo #réfugiés_afghans #anti-chambre #asile #migrations #réfugiés #réinstallation #dans_l'attente_d'un_visa (qui probablement n’arrivera pas?) #externalisation #USA #Etats-Unis #transit

    ping @isskein @karine4

    • Prime Minister Rama Confirms Albania Will Accept Afghan Refugees

      Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama announced that Albania will accept Afghan refugees fleeing Taliban rule.

      Rama made the announcement this morning, confirming reports that the American government had asked Albania to host Afghan refugees waiting for their US visas.

      He expects Albania to become a transition destination, as Afghan refugees wait to settle in the US.

      He also said that he didn’t know if Kosovo’s government had been asked to do the same. Nevertheless, he expressed his hopes that if approached, Kosovo would also accept the US’s request.

      In his post, Rama mentioned that Albania had already agreed to host several hundreds high risk refugees, such as intellectual figures and women, at the request of various institutions. Rama did not name the institutions in question.

      Earlier this week, Reuters wrote that the US government had been conducting secret talks with Kosovo and Albania to temporarily house Afghan refugees who had worked for the US government.



      Nuk e ka shqiptaria një histori më të lavdishme për botën, se sa marrja në mbrojtje e hebrenjve gjatë Luftës së Dytë Botërore. Askush s’ua kërkoi gjyshërve tanë ta rrezikonin jetën e tyre për të shpëtuar hebrenjtë, siç pakkush bëri në Europën e përpirë nga flama naziste. Ata e bënë. Pa dallim krahine e feje. Disa syresh e paguan me jetën e tyre, po asnjë hebre për be nuk e dorëzuan tek nazistët. Falë nderit të tyre shqiptar, Shqipëria u bë vendi i vetëm i Europës që pati më shumë hebrenj pas Luftës së Dytë se sa para nisjes së saj.
      Përpara disa vitesh, ne strehuam në Shqipëri mbi dymijë njerëz që përndiqen nga regjimi i ajatollahëve të Iranit. U shpëtuam jetën, duke i tërhequr nga i quajturi, Camp Liberty, në Irak, ku sulmoheshin prej shërbimit sekret iranian e thereshin të gjallë. Dhe e vërteta, ndryshe nga ç’jashtënxorri çisterna e mexhelisit të korruptuar mediatik të Tiranës, është se askush nuk na e vuri litarin në fyt, përkundrazi.
      Qeveria e mëparshme kishte marrë mbi njëqind syresh prej tyre, me kërkesë të qeverisë amerikane dhe nder i kishte bërë vetes e këtij vendi. Më pas ne morëm afro treqind të tjerë. Mirëpo përtej moralit në vetvete të kësaj fabule njerëzore, ca shqipo mendjefikur e harrojnë se ne jemi kahera aleatë të Shteteve të Bashkuara, jo vetëm kur na duhen për hallet tona, siç na u deshën bombat e tyre për t’u mbrojtur nga spastrimi etnik i Sllobodan Millosheviçit ; siç na u desh zëri i tyre i superfuqishëm për ta hapur rrugën e pavarësisë së Kosovës apo për ta anëtarësuar Shqipërinë në NATO ; siç na duhet gjithnjë mbështetja e tyre për të forcuar pozitat tona kombëtare e shtetërore, po edhe kur ne u duhemi atyre ndonjëherë, jo për t’i shpëtuar ata siç ata na kanë shpëtuar ne në kthesa historike, por për t’u gjendur në krah të tyre kur edhe ata, ja që ndodh, kanë nevojë për diçka të vogël prej nesh.
      Por ata qindra iranianë të ardhur me kërkesë të aleatëve amerikanë, u bënë mbi dymijë jo me insistimin amerikan, po me kërkesën tonë drejtuar miqve tanë të mëdhenj ! Po po, e lexuat tamam, pjesën e madhe të iranianëve në rrezik për jetën të mbetur në mëshirë të fatit e kërkuam ne, pas një masakre të llahtarshme atje në Camp Liberty, ku u vranë me dhjetra, mes të cilëve plot gra e fëmijë.
      Dhe për ta mbyllur këtë pjesë, pyetja ime është : Çfarë problemi u kanë krijuar sharësve e mallkuesve pa din e as iman të rrjeteve sociale, ata njerëz të shkretë, që rrinë mbyllur dhe jetojnë me hallin e tyre e me paratë e tyre, në zonën e banuar të ndërtuar po me fondet e tyre diku në periferi të Tiranës ?
      Zero probleme.
      Tani le të vijmë tek lajmi i parmbrëmshëm se Amerika kërkon të sjellë përkohësisht në Shqipëri e në Kosovë, afganë të shkretë që vetëm pse u rreshtuan me NATO-n e ndihmuan ushtarët tanë në misionin e tyre paqeruajtës, rrezikojnë të theren si kafshë nga talebanët. Menjëherë pas daljes së lajmit, qysh dje në mëngjes, ka nisur të hidhet përpjetë llumi njerëzor i rrjeteve sociale, me sharjet e mallkimet e shqipes së vet bazike me 100 fjalë - edhe ato të shkruara për ibret - me të cilat mbron me zjarrin e padijes detin nga greku, dheun nga serbi, ajrin nga armiku imagjinar i radhës, duke shpërfaqur krejt egërsinë e injorancës, në emër të një kinse patriotizmi mu si ai i talebanëve, të cilët tjetrin, të ndryshmin e këdo mendon si ai, e konsiderojnë një armik që duhet asgjësuar, sakatuar e poshtëruar, vetëm pse as nuk është i verbër si ata, as nuk friket nga helmi i kafshimit të tyre.
      Nuk e di nëse amerikanët i kanë kërkuar edhe Kosovës të strehojë afganët që u ekspozuan si miq dhe mbështetës të ushtrive aleate ; uroj që në rast se po, qeveria e Kosovës të përgjigjet pozitivisht, për nderin e saj e të Kosovës sigurisht. Por bëj me dije se në Samitin e NATO-s isha unë që e ngrita këtë shqetësim, për jetët e bashkëpunëtorëve afganë të Aleancës pas tërheqjes së saj nga Afganistani. Madje iu referova si shembull eksperiencës tragjike të kundërshtarëve të regjimit komunist në vendin tonë, që vrau, burgosi, torturoi, shkatërroi çdo armik të brendshëm pasi triumfoi mbi armiqtë e jashtëm dhe mbylli totalisht Shqipërinë, siç do të bëjnë së shpejti tanimë, talebanët me Afganistanin.
      Thashë në samit se pas tërheqjes së ushtrive të saj, bashkësia e qytetërimit demokratik të NATO-s nuk mund t’i lerë në mëshirën e barbarëve triumfatorë, njerëzit e ekspozuar si mbështetës të afërt të misioneve paqeruajtëse atje. Dhe nënvizova me gojën plot, se Shqipëria ishte e gatshme të merrte pjesën e saj të barrës, të cilën të gjitha vendet e NATO-s duhet ta ndajnë mes tyre. Kjo është bindja ime, jo vetëm si njeri i një populli që ka shpëtuar hebrenjtë nga nazistët e shekullit të XX, po edhe si kryeministër i një vendi që i njeh mirë të dyja anët e medaljes, qoftë kur të lënë vetëm në duart e një regjimi xhelatësh në atdheun tënd, qoftë kur kërkon një jetë të re si i huaj në vendet e të tjerëve.
      Eshtë e vërtetë po, se ditët e fundit qeveria amerikane i ka kërkuar Shqipërisë të vlerësojë nëse mund të shërbejë si një vend tranzit, për një numër të caktuar emigrantësh politikë afganë, të cilët destinacion fundor kanë Shtetet e Bashkuara. Dhe padiskutim që ne nuk do të themi jo, e jo thjesht pse na e kërkojnë aleatët tanë të mëdhenj, po sepse ne jemi Shqipëria ! Shqipëria është shtëpia e shqiptarit që as me Kanun, as me Zakon, e as me Moral po të doni, nuk ua përplas derën në fytyrë të panjohurve që trokasin për mbrojtje. Ne nuk jemi të pasur, por s’jemi as pa kujtesë, as pa zakone, as pa moral dhe është në nderin tonë t’u gjendemi të tjerëve, siç të tjerë na janë gjendur ne, po sidomos të mos u kthejmë kurrizin hallexhinjve të huaj, siç shpesh na e kthyen ne dikur, kur ishim të huaj hallexhinj. Kjo është arsyeja morale pse ende pa ardhur kërkesa e qeverisë amerikane, ne kemi mikpritur dy kërkesa prej dy institucionesh shoqërore shumë të respektueshme përtej oqeanit, për të vlerësuar strehimin e përkohshëm në Shqipëri të disa qindra personave, nga rrethet intelektuale dhe të grave aktiviste afgane, të cilët janë nga të parët në listat e ekzekutimeve të barbarëve të Afganistanit.
      Kujt nuk është dakord me gjithë sa thashë për këtë lajm, i them me keqardhje se kjo nuk e ndryshon qëndrimin tim e të shumicës qeverisëse në emër të Shqipërisë. Shqipëria nuk është e salltanetit të atyre që hidhen për të në flakën e ndezur nga egërsia dhe padija e kinse patriotizmit, por është e amanetit shekullor të mikpritjes së të panjohurve në rrezik🇦🇱


    • L’Albanie et le Kosovo vont accueillir « plusieurs milliers » de réfugiés d’Afghanistan

      L’Albanie et le Kosovo ont confirmé mener des négociations secrètes avec les États-Unis pour accueillir « plusieurs milliers » de ressortissants d’Afghanistan qui ont collaboré avec les forces américaines, le temps que soit examinée leur demande d’asile.

      (Avec Radio Slobodna Evropa et Top Chanel TV) - Le gouvernement du Kosovo a confirmé qu’il travaillait « depuis la mi-juillet » avec les autorités américaines pour élaborer un plan permettant d’accueillir des Afghans qui ont collaboré avec les États-Unis. Luan Dalipi, chef de cabinet du Premier ministre Albin Kurti, a confirmé à Radio Free Europe (RFE) que les pourparlers « se concluaient positivement ». « Il faut régler beaucoup de questions logistiques, techniques, sécuritaires et sociales. Nous agissons avec prudence. Les États-Unis sont notre allié et partenaire stratégique. »

      La Présidente du Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, a également confirmé qu’elle avait été contactée par l’ambassadeur américain à Pristina, Philip Kosnett, qui lui a fait part de la demande du Président Joe Biden que le Kosovo puisse accueillir temporairement des civils afghans. Elle a expliqué que le Kosovo avait accepté cette « sans aucune hésitation et sans aucune condition ». « Les ressortissants afghans devront passer par un processus d’évaluation sécuritaire, ils ne resteront que temporairement au Kosovo, jusqu’à ce que leurs documents d’immigration aux États-Unis soient établis », a précisé Vjosa Osmani.

      Le 13 août, l’agence Reuters avait annoncé que le gouvernement américain menait des négociations secrètes avec l’Albanie et le Kosovo pour trouver un hébergement temporaire pour des Afghans qui ont coopéré avec les forces américaines en Afghanistan. Les sources de Reuters assurent que les États-Unis offriraient au Kosovo des avantages économiques et politiques en contrepartie de l’accueil de plusieurs milliers d’Afghans. Cependant, des diplomates américains auraient exprimé des inquiétudes quant aux capacités du Kosovo à mener à bien cette mission.
      Le précédent des Moudjahidines du peuple en Albanie

      Alors que les talibans sont rapidement en train de reprendre le contrôle de tout l’Afghanistan, de nombreux Afghans qui ont coopéré avec les forces internationales craignent des représailles. Le département d’État américain a annoncé un programme qui permettra à des milliers d’Afghans de s’installer aux États-Unis en tant que réfugiés. Cependant, ils doivent d’abord être placés dans un pays tiers, où ils séjourneront pendant « douze à quatorze mois », le temps de l’analyse de leur demande de visa américain.

      Le Premier ministre d’Albanie Edi Rama a également confirmé dimanche 15 août qu’elle avait répondu positivement à la demande des États-Unis, et que son pays allait accueillir « quelques centaines » de réfugiés afghans. L’Albanie accueille déjà plusieurs milliers de moudjahidines du peuple d’Iran, évacués depuis leurs bases situées en Irak. Ils sont arrivés en Albanie en 2013 et 2014. Le camp d’Ashraf-3, situé près de Durrës, accueille plus de 3000 membres de l’organisation.


    • Balkan Countries Offer Refuge to Afghans After Taliban Takeover

      After Taliban forces swept to power in Afghanistan, governments in Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia have accepted a US request to offer temporary refuge to some political refugees who are fleeing the country in fear of retaliation.

      Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia have expressed readiness to temporarily host an undefined number of Afghans fleeing their country after Taliban forces seized control over the weekend as the United States pulled out.

      “It is true that in recent days, US government has asked Albania to assess if we could serve as a transit country for a certain number of Afghan political migrants, which have US as the final destination. And undoubtedly we will not say no, not only because our allies are asking this, but because we are Albania,” Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said in a statement on Facebook on Sunday.

      The final destination for the refugees, who fear retaliation from the Taliban because they cooperated with NATO forces in Afghanistan, is the US. Their number is so far unknown.

      Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani also confirmed that her country agreed to the request to give temporary safe haven refugees “without any hesitation”.

      “Kosovo respects the international right and obligation to not close the door to refugees,” Osmani said.

      The Kosovo government said that discussions with the US government over hosting the refugees started in mid-July.

      Luan Dalipi, chief of staff of Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti, told BIRN that since then, the government has been in “constant communication and cooperation” with the US authorities.

      “There are many logistical, technical, security and social issues we are carefully addressing. The US is our main ally and our strategic partner,” Dalipi said.

      North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev told media on Sunday that his country will accept civilians from Afghanistan who need evacuation and that they will be allowed to stay in the country until a more permanent solution is found for them.

      “With the aim of saving the lives of the local population [in Afghanistan], we have informed the US that we are ready to accept civilians from Afghanistan who over the past 20 years have been working for peace in that country, who were the local support for the allied NATO troops, including our forces, including activists from the humanitarian and human rights organisations,” Zaev said.

      He said that North Macedonia could accommodate the refugees in hotels and resorts, and that the financial cost for this accommodation, until a more permanent solution is found, will be covered by the US.

      “We are a country of solidarity. Our people and our society have always given support and help, the same way we have been receiving help during major catastrophes,” Zaev said.

      Washington wants to evacuate thousands of people from Afghanistan and has been seeking other countries to host them temporarily while their papers for entering the US are finalised.

      Adrian Shtuni, a Washington-based foreign policy and security specialist, told BIRN that Tirana and Pristina’s move to shelter Afghans was “as much a sign of moral leadership and humanitarian compassion as it is a confirmation that Albanians are reliable partners of the United States”.

      “The main concerns associated with refugee relocations are often related to potential security risks and financial costs. From a security perspective, there’s no reason to believe the contingent of Afghan refugees would present a risk. These are interpreters and contractors (as well as family members) employed by the US Military, waiting to be issued Special Immigration Visas by the US State Department. They are not former fighters or militants,” Shtuni said.

      Adrian Shtuni said that both Albania and Kosovo will not be burdened by hosting the Afghans because “the refugee contingent will be a few hundred people and nor Albania neither Kosovo are intended as their final destination the financial costs will be contained”.

      The chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez, welcomed Albania’s decision to give temporary safe haven to the Afghans.

      “The people of Albania are once again showing the world what ‘BESA’ [‘word of honour’ in Albanian] means. You have our respect and thanks,” Menendez wrote on Twitter on Sunday.



    • Les premiers Afghans exfiltrés par les États-Unis sont arrivés en Albanie et au Kosovo

      Un premier groupe de 111 réfugiés afghans exfiltrés par les États-Unis est arrivé dimanche soir au Kosovo. Un autre groupe de 121 réfugiés était arrivé vendredi matin en Albanie. Ils doivent séjourner temporairement dans ces pays jusqu’à ce qu’ils obtiennent leur visa américain.



    • Quand l’Afghanistan était une manne financière pour les Kosovars

      Les États-Unis ont demandé au Kosovo d’abriter des Afghans devant quitter leur pays pour des raisons de sécurité. Pristina a aussitôt accepté. Les Kosovars connaissent en effet bien l’Afghanistan : depuis 2001, des milliers d’entre eux ont travaillé pour des #contractants américains dans la reconstruction du pays.

      Traduit par Belgzim Kamberi (article original : https://www.koha.net/veshtrime/284704/kur-afganistani-ishte-parajse-financiare-per-kosovaret). Depuis la prise du pouvoir par les talibans en Afghanistan, le Kosovo est l’un des rares pays à qui les États-Unis ont demandé d’abriter un certain nombre d’Afghans devant quitter le pays pour des raisons de sécurité. Pristina a accepté. Même si l’on ne sait pas encore combien de personne cela représente, la nouvelle semble avoir été bien accueillie par l’opinion publique.

      Cela n’est pas une surprise. Depuis 2001, les Kosovars ont développé des liens avec l’Afghanistan. Ils sont notamment des milliers à avoir travaillé à la reconstruction du pays, recevant pendant des années des salaires de différents contractants américains. Selon un rapport de l’Institut GAP publié en novembre 2011, 7000 à 8000 Kosovars ont été engagés entre 2001 et 2011 sur différents chantiers en tant que chauffeurs, mécaniciens, ou occupaient d’autres emplois physiques...

      Les Kosovars ont été principalement engagés par les entreprises américaines #Fluor_Group, #Dyncorp_International et #Kellogg_Brown & Root, les même qui étaient chargées de la construction de la #base_militaire américaine #Bondsteel, près de #Ferizaj, au Kosovo. Cette base employait entre 2000 et 2500 Kosovars au début des années 2000. Il n’est donc pas étonnant que ces contractants aient fait appel aux services des Kosovars pour leurs missions en Afghanistan.

      Des millions d’euros pour l’#économie kosovare

      En Afghanistan, le salaire de base annuel pour les ressortissants des pays en développement, dont font partie les pays des Balkans, se situait en effet entre 14 800 et 29 700 dollars. Pour l’économie kosovare, cela a représenté 50 à 55 millions d’euros de rentrées annuelles, soit plus d’un demi-milliard d’euros sur la période 2001-2011. La plus grande partie des #travailleurs_kosovars en Afghanistan provenait de la région de Ferizaj (56%), de Pristina (21%) et Gjilan (19%).

      Les revenus depuis l’Afghanistan n’étaient pas considérés comme des rémittences (les fonds envoyés au pays par les émigrés) par la Banque centrale du Kosovo. Mais si on les compare avec les rémittences envoyées d’autres pays, l’Afghanistan se rangeait tout de suite après l’Allemagne et la Suisse.

      Le travail là-bas n’était pourtant pas sans danger. De 2001 à 2011, 78 595 travailleurs employés par des contractants américains ont été blessés sur leur lieu de travail et 2871 y ont perdu la vie. Les Kosovars n’ont pas été épargnés. En octobre 2004, Shqipe Hebibi, qui travaillait pour le bureau des Nations-Unies en Afghanistan, a été kidnappée, avant d’être libérée un mois plus tard. En octobre 2011, une employée originaire de Ferizaj a perdu la vie. On ne connaît pas le nombre de travailleurs kosovars blessés en Afghanistan ces dernières années. Selon les informations de Pristina, seuls trois Kosovars étaient présents en Afghanistan quand le pays est tombé aux mains des talibans. Deux d’entre aux auraient réussi de sortir du pays.


    • Afghanistan : les témoignages des premiers évacués transférés en Albanie

      Ils sont arrivés à Tirana dans la nuit de vendredi à samedi. Les premiers 121 réfugiés afghans ont été provisoirement installés dans les bâtiments de la Cité universitaire. En quittant Kaboul, ils ne savaient pas qu’ils partaient pour l’Albanie...


      Je travaillais pour le ministère de l’Agriculture dans le cadre d’un projet financé par USAID. J’étais responsable de la communication. J’ai un master de la Khazak American Free University et plus de treize ans d’expérience, mais je ne sais pas si mon diplôme sera encore reconnu quelque part. J’avais un bon travail, un bon salaire, tout se passait bien. Maintenant, je ne sais pas si je vais devoir travailler comme serveur quelque part, ou bien comme chauffeur Uber. Ma vie a été bouleversée », raconte Ahmad [Tous les noms ont été modifiés, NDLR], l’un de ces premiers réfugiés afghans arrivés en Albanie. « J’avais encore de l’espoir. Je pense que la jeunesse avait le devoir d’aider l’Afghanistan à se développer, mais nous n’avions plus d’autre choix que de partir ». La fuite n’a pourtant pas été facile. Ahmad et sa famille, comme beaucoup d’autres, ont dû attendre des heures, voire des jours, pour pénétrer dans l’aéroport de Kaboul, où des milliers de personnes se pressaient pour s’échapper.

      39 de ces premiers Afghans venus en Albanie sont d’anciens employés du ministère de l’Agriculture, qui travaillaient sur un projet américain mené en partenariat avec l’Université du Michigan. Leur évacuation a été bien organisée. « Il était difficile d’embarquer à bord d’un avion même avec un visa valide », raconte toutefois Ali, la quarantaine. « Mais nos amis et nos collègues américains nous ont aidés. Une fois dans l’avion, la vie semblait à nouveau simple. »

      Avant de partir, ils ne savaient pas qu’ils allaient venir en Albanie. La destination leur a été communiquée deux ou trois heures avant le décollage. De toute façon, leur but était de monter dans un avion, quelle qu’en soit la destination. « Quand je suis parti, ma dignité ne comptait plus. À l’aéroport, nous dormions au milieu des poubelles. Cela n’aurait pas dû se passer comme cela, nous sommes tous des êtres humains… On a des sentiments », confie Ahmad, au bord des larmes.

      Les réfugiés arrivés samedi 28 août ont été accueillis par la ministre des Affaires étrangères, Olta Xhaçka, et par l’ambassadrice des États-Unis en Albanie. De l’aéroport, ils ont été immédiatement amenés dans les bâtiments 11 et 12 de la Cité universitaire de Tirana. C’est là qu’ils seront logés jusqu’à nouvel ordre.

      “Parmi les choses déconseillée : parler aux journalistes. Et la recommandation ne valait pas seulement pour les Afghans.”

      « Même dans mon propre pays, je n’avais pas cette possibilité d’atterrir à l’aéroport, de monter directement dans un bus et de m’en aller », explique Ali. L’enregistrement des documents s’est déroulé durant la matinée de samedi. Des employés municipaux ont accompagnés les réfugiés pendant presque toute la journée, leur montrant où aller et leur donnant des indications sur ce qu’ils devaient faire. Parmi les choses déconseillée : parler aux journalistes. Et la recommandation ne valait pas seulement pour les Afghans, la direction de la Cité universitaire et la municipalité n’étant pas plus ouvertes à la communication.

      L’enregistrement à la police était plutôt simple, ne durant souvent pas plus d’une demi-heure. Les gens qui ne possédaient pas de passeport du tout, un passeport périmé ou bien juste le tazkira, la pièce d’identité afghane, ont été mis en relation avec la police. « Je n’ai pas d’informations particulières, mais si l’on croit les rumeurs qui courent parmi les évacués, les pays tiers comme l’Albanie facilitent les visites à l’ambassade afghane pour pouvoir récupérer nos passeports et recevoir le visa américain », explique Ahmad. Ses enfants n’ont pas de documents d’identité. Ahmad espère recevoir le précieux visa américain dans les vingt prochains jours. En général, les réfugiés afghans ne veulent pas rester en Albanie, mais partir pour les États-Unis ou vers d’autres pays européens.

      Obligés de ne prendre qu’un petit sac à main à leur embarquement à Kaboul, les réfugiés n’ont presque pas de vêtements de rechange et, le plus souvent, pas un sou dans les poches. En collaboration avec les États-Unis, le gouvernement albanais va aider ces personnes à satisfaire leurs besoins fondamentaux. Vers 15h, une liste de tout ce dont les réfugiés avaient besoin a été dressée. « On a rempli des formulaires, mais ils n’ont pas pris nos mesures... Je ne sais pas quel genre de vêtements ils vont m’apporter », plaisante Ahmad.

      Malgré la présence de soignants, la seule assistance médicale reçue jusqu’à présent a été le test de dépistage de la Covid-19. Les réfugiés n’ont pas encore été invités à consulter une cellule d’aide psychologique. Mal renseignés sur ce qu’il leur ait ou non permis de faire, ces derniers essaient de ne pas s’éloigner de la petite rue qui relie les bâtiments où ils sont logés au bureau de la police. Ils ne veulent pas créer de problèmes et tiennent à faire bonne impression aux Albanais. Préoccupés par le sort de la famille qu’ils ont laissée derrière eux et de la situation en Afghanistan, où ils aimeraient revenir un jour, leur but est dans l’immédiat de savoir où ils vont pouvoir s’installer pour commencer une nouvelle vie.


    • The fact that the Afghan refugees who were evacuated by NATO and who are currently in Kosovo, have been in detention since their arrival, speaks of the fact that the human rights of refugees from Afghanistan are constantly being violated. Namely, the refugees are housed inside two camps, Camp Bechtel and Camp Lyia, and according to a spokesman for the US Embassy in Kosovo, the refugees were not allowed to move freely outside the camps to protect the safety of them and other Kosovo citizens. It should be noted that these are not the first Afghan refugees in Kosovo. Refugees who go through the so-called Balkan route also come to Kosovo and meantime have the right to move freely. What is even more worrying is the kind of limbo in which the evacuated refugees currently are. It is still unclear how visas will be granted, or what types of visas will be obtained. If the rule of restriction of movement is maintained until people are granted visas, the question arises as to how will they access services, health care, education, especially bearing in mind that the duration of this process is unknown.

      Reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodosli, du 24.09.2021

    • Afghan evacuees in Kosovo de facto detained

      The first group of Afghan evacuees landed in Kosovo on August 29 following a chaotic airport evacuation in the wake of the United States’ abrupt exit from Afghanistan after 20 years of war. These Afghans’ futures are unclear, as is their present situation. But one thing is clear: they aren’t being granted the right to move freely.

      In fact, it is easier for an Afghan asylum seeker who arrived in Kosovo through the difficult Balkan route to move about the country. Once in Kosovo such an asylum seeker can request asylum, with or without identification. They will be offered basic amenities, an identification card, and, notably, the freedom to move in and out of the asylum housing complex.

      But this is not the case for the approximately 1,000 Afghans brought by NATO into Kosovo as part of an international effort to offer safe haven to thousands who fear persecution after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.

      On August 16 Kosovo’s government approved a decision offering Afghan evacuees — largely U.S. visa applicants, former NATO contractors and their families — temporary protection, a form of immediate protection different from the refugee status recognized in the Law on Asylum. Persons under temporary protection enjoy clearly defined rights, such as the right to schooling, healthcare and freedom of movement.

      The government’s decision specifies that freedom of movement may be restricted if considered necessary, and that a verification process will be put in place for issues of national security.

      Since arriving, the evacuees have been housed at two camps referred to as Camp Bechtel and Camp Liya, located on the premises of the Bechtel Enka company and inside the U.S. military base Bondsteel. NATO’s international command is running Camp Bechtel and the U.S. is running Camp Liya inside Bondsteel.

      As of yet, there has been no public information provided about the living conditions of these Afghan evacuees, a contrast to other countries, including some in the region, where journalists have been granted access to speak directly to arriving refugees.

      The Ministry of Internal Affairs has declined to answer K2.0’s questions on the matter, while the minister of Internal Affairs, Xhelal Sveçla, gave few details during a recent press conference. When asked about the evacuees’ freedom of movement, Sveçla said that movement outside the camp would be organized only if necessary, noting apparent security concerns.

      Neither NATO nor the Ministry of Internal Affairs have granted media access to the Afghan evacuees’ living conditions, while the government of Kosovo has not formally asked international organizations working in this field to assist.

      The government insists that the U.S. and NATO have promised a quick operation with Kosovo only functioning as a transit country. NATO spokesperson Jason Salata said that “Camp Bechtel is a temporary lodging until they identify follow-on resettlement options.”

      A first group of 117 NATO-affiliated Afghan evacuees departed Camp Bechtel for the UK on September 16.

      Government spokesperson Perparim Kryeziu told K2.0 that Kosovo’s legal framework guarantees freedom of movement, but he noted it also foresees specific cases where restrictions are allowed.

      “At the moment, we are in the process of providing Afghan citizens with all necessary documents,” said Kryeziu. “Due to this and also taking into consideration their own safety for the moment they are free to move within their hosting facilities. However, we expect them to have the opportunity to move freely outside these facilities in the near future following the finalization of documents and other needed administrative procedures.”

      The law on asylum specifies cases in which freedom of movement can be restricted for persons under international protection. It also says that each individual must be given the right to complain about their restriction of movement, and in the case of children, it also states that detention should be only a last measure.

      A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo agreed to respond to K2.0’s questions on the issue only after specifically designated “U.S.-affiliated” evacuees arrived on September 13.

      The embassy spokesperson said that “to ensure the health and safety of both Afghan guests and Kosovan hosts, the Government of Kosovo has stated that Afghans being temporarily hosted at Camp Liya must remain within the boundaries of the facility while U.S. interagency teams work to complete processing for their eventual admission to the United States or resettlement in a third country.”

      The spokesperson also said that U.S. law enforcement members arrived in Kosovo to screen and vet all U.S.-affiliated Afghan “travelers” before they are allowed into the United States.

      According to the embassy spokesperson, who referred to the Afghans as travelers, all Afghans currently hosted at Camp Liya have already transited through other third countries since leaving Afghanistan, where they received initial biometric and medical screenings.

      Who’s in charge?

      Human rights experts are having difficulty accessing knowledge about the condition of Afghan evacuees in Kosovo.

      Jelena Sesar, Amnesty International’s researcher for the Balkans and the EU, said that the lack of information about the status of the facilities or the management of the camps makes it hard to monitor any potential human rights violations.

      “Under normal circumstances, the temporary protection status would guarantee people full freedom of movement on the territory of Kosovo, food, clothes, access to health and education, and a range of other support services,” said Sesar. “This does not seem to be the case here. Afghan nationals in Bechtel-Enka and Bondsteel are not allowed to go out and media and humanitarian organizations do not seem to have access to the camps.”

      While the government of Kosovo created the legal framework for temporary protection, the outsized role of NATO and the U.S. in the management of camps and processing of Afghans makes it unclear what role, if any, the government of Kosovo has in activities occurring within its own borders.

      “If these Afghan families are to remain in Kosovo until their Special Immigrant Visas are processed, which can take a very long time for some applicants, it is essential that Kosovo’s authorities assume full responsibility for the management of the camps and ensure that the protection needs of the people there are fully met, as required by law,” Sesar said.

      “This entails full freedom of movement and access to health, education and other support, as well as access to asylum procedures in Kosovo,” she said. “If the current approach doesn’t change, these people would be subjected to an indefinite confinement and a de-facto detention, which would be contrary to Kosovo’s and international law.”

      Unanswered questions

      In early September the Associated Press, citing an anonymous U.S. government source, reported that Kosovo has agreed to take in Afghans who fail to clear initial rounds of screening and host them for up to a year, raising questions about potential reasons behind restrictions on evacuees’ freedom of movement.

      The temporary protection provided by Kosovo has a limit of one year with the possibility of extension, according to the Law on Asylum.

      The AP’s reporting shows the conditions established at other transit sites like in Germany or Italy, where the authorities are given a two week deadline to complete the verification and processing of evacuees.

      According to the government source the AP spoke to, transferring Afghans to Kosovo who do not pass the initial screening is a response to potential gaps in security that may have occurred during the chaotic evacuation from Afghanistan.

      There is a rising use of transit countries in the asylum process. Countries like the United Kingdom and Denmark proposed legislation to send asylum seekers to third countries while their applications are processed, something that human rights advocates and international organizations like the United Nations have criticized.

      The evacuations out of the Kabul airport were chaotic and deadly, leaving the world with terrible images, such as the footage of bodies plummeting from the sky after people attempted to cling to the exterior of a U.S. military plane. In the chaos of the last days of the evacuation, two suicide bombers and gunmen at the airport led to the deaths of 60 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops.

      The people who made it onto the planes in the midst of this chaos are considered the lucky ones. But many of those who were evacuated were already in the process of migrating to the U.S.

      The Afghan evacuees awaiting entry into the U.S. and other affiliated countries are largely people who had already started the Special Immigrant Visa process as well as applicants for a special U.S. refugee program. They are former contractors who worked with international governments as well as in vulnerable professions such as journalists, as well as these peoples’ families.

      Neither NATO nor the government of Kosovo have responded to K2.0’s questions submitted about the AP’s report.

      The U.S. Embassy in Kosovo published a statement saying that such reports may leave people with the “incorrect impression” that the U.S. is sending to Kosovo individuals they deem inadmissible. The statement insists, “this is not the case,” and says that American officials in Kosovo are assisting in the processing of applicants who may require additional paperwork in order to clarify “an applicant’s identity, employment history or other ties to the United States.”

      “Afghan travelers being temporarily hosted at Camp Liya are in the process of having their paperwork and eligibilities confirmed for eventual admission to the United States or resettlement to a third country,” a U.S. embassy spokesperson told K2.0. “None have been deemed inadmissible to the United States because their cases are still being processed.”

      On the matter of how long the process may take, the spokesperson said that “under the agreement with the Government of Kosovo, U.S.-affiliated Afghan travelers may shelter at Camp Liya for up to a year while their cases are being processed for eventual admission to the United States or resettlement in a third country. However, individuals may be approved for travel to the United States sooner, as soon as their processing is complete.”

      On September 10, the minister of Internal Affairs met with representatives of international organizations who could provide assistance, but the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration have not yet received a formal request to assist in the operation.

      The IOM and UNHCR in Kosovo could only tell K2.0 that they are monitoring the situation closely. Sources from these organizations said that they have little information about the Afghan evacuees and remain on standby awaiting a request for assistance from the government.

      According to Amnesty International’s Sesar, “the inaccessibility of the camps to independent and public scrutiny raises concerns about the conditions in these facilities as well as the commitment to genuinely assist Afghans who had to flee their country.”

      The situation is no clearer for Jeff Crisp, international migration expert from the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University. “The rapid evacuation from Kabul has certainly left many questions unanswered,” said Crisp via email to K2.0, who offered a number of questions that can be used to hold institutions accountable.

      “How were decisions made with respect to the temporary locations to which they have been sent? What will happen to any refugees who are ‘screened out’ by the U.S., is there a risk that they could become stateless, or be sent back to Afghanistan?”

      Millions displaced

      The long war in Afghanistan has displaced an enormous number of people. It is estimated by UNHCR that only in the first half of 2021 more than half a million people were newly displaced in Afghanistan, while 3 million were displaced in 2020.

      Afghans have often taken the long refugee journey far into Europe, across the Balkans. Despite not being a key country on the Balkan refugee route, Kosovo registered 31 Afghan asylum seekers in the first half of 2021, while many others pass through unnoticed and uncounted, continuing their journey to seek asylum further on in other European countries.

      After the U.S. exit from Afghanistan and the Taliban takeover, the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic published an advisory, asking members and cooperative third countries to stop any forced returns for Afghans who saw their asylum requests rejected and had not yet been deported, and asked states to offer asylum to Afghans forced to flee and to cooperate in protecting their rights.


    • https://twitter.com/CdBalkans/status/1444193687144120322

      Kosovo : #camps_fermés pour les Afghans évacués

      Le 16 août dernier, alors que Kaboul venait de tomber entre les mains des Talibans, le Kosovo a accepté d’accueillir sur son sol 2000 Afghans nécessitant d’être évacués. Aujourd’hui, personne ne sait combien sont réellement arrivés. Selon les informations disponibles, environ un millier seraient aujourd’hui hébergés au Kosovo.

      Les autorités de Pristina se sont engagées à leur offrir une « protection temporaire », différente du statut de réfugié, mais censée leur donner un accès à la scolarisation et aux soins, et leur garantir la liberté de mouvement. Or, il semble qu’aucun de ces droits ne soit respecté. Les informations restent confidentielles et les journalistes ne sont pas autorisés à visiter les deux camps d’accueil, l’un se trouvant sur un site appartenant au conglomérat turco-américain Bechtel-Enka, l’autre dans la controversée base américaine de Bondsteel. Les travailleurs humanitaires n’ont pas de permis pour opérer auprès de ces Afghans et ni le Haut Commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés (UNHCR), ni l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM) ne sont impliqués dans la gestion de leur situation.

      Pour justifier un tel isolement, le gouvernement d’Albin Kurti met en avant des questions de « sécurité nationale » et souligne que la liberté de mouvement des personnes bénéficiant de la protection temporaire peut être restreinte si nécessaire. Le ministre de l’Intérieur Xhelal Sveçla a tenu une conférence de presse, mais s’est montré avare en détails. C’est tout juste s’il a reconnu que les déplacements à l’extérieur des camps ne seraient organisés qu’en cas d’extrême nécessité. Un processus de vérification, des identités notamment, a été mis en place pour des questions de sécurité nationale, a-t-il indiqué.

      Le Kosovo n’est « qu’un pays de transit » pour ces Afghans avant qu’ils ne soient accueillis dans un pays tiers, insistent les autorités. « Le camp Bechtel est un hébergement temporaire jusqu’à ce que soient identifiées des options de réinstallation ultérieures », a confirmé le porte-parole de l’Otan, Jason Salata. Le 16 septembre, 117 Afghans ayant travaillé pour l’Otan ont ainsi pris la route du Royaume-Uni.

      Du côté de l’Ambassade des États-Unis, on explique que des policiers sont arrivés au Kosovo pour des opérations de contrôle des Afghans évacués afin de s’assurer qu’ils offrent toutes les garanties pour obtenir l’autorisation d’entrer sur le territoire américain.

      « Si l’approche actuelle ne change pas, ces personnes seraient soumises à un confinement indéfini et à une détention de facto, ce qui serait contraire au droit du Kosovo et au droit international », souligne Jelena Sesar, analyste à Amnesty International, interrogée par Kosovo 2.0. La protection temporaire fournie par le Kosovo est limitée à un an, avec possibilité de prolongation, conformément à la loi sur l’asile. Une durée particulièrement longue comparée à d’autres pays de transit, comme l’Allemagne ou l’Italie, où les autorités ne disposent que d’un délai de quinze jours pour opérer les vérifications nécessaires. Rappelons que la plupart des Afghans évacués aujourd’hui en transit avaient déjà entamé la procédure d’obtention de visas spéciaux en tant qu’anciens contractants pour des gouvernements étrangers ou des organisations internationales.

      « L’inaccessibilité des camps à un examen indépendant et public soulève des inquiétudes quant aux conditions de vie dans ces installations, de même qu’à l’engagement à aider véritablement les Afghans qui ont dû fuir leur pays », déplore Jelena Sesar.
      Dans des hôtels au bord de l’Adriatique

      Lorsque les premiers vols transportant des réfugiés afghans sont arrivés en Albanie, à la mi-août, le Premier ministre albanais avait été catégorique : aucun ne serait placé dans un camp de réfugiés, des installations qualifiées de « déshumanisantes » par Edi Rama. Sur Twitter, il avait alors publié deux images accolées, l’une montrant des centaines d’Afghans entassés dans un avion militaire américain à l’aéroport de Kaboul, l’autre des milliers d’Albanais prenant d’assaut un cargo, en 1991, après la chute du régime communiste.

      Très critiqué pour sa dérive autoritaire, Edi Rama a ici trouvé un moyen de se racheter une bonne image auprès des Occidentaux. À bon compte : personne ne sait combien Tirana a reçu d’aide de la part des États-Unis pour prendre en charge ces réfugiés. « Nous devons nous préparer aussi à ce que le financement des organisations américaines prenne fin », s’est contenté de dire le Premier ministre albanais, interrogé par Le Monde.

      Aujourd’hui, 700 Afghans sont hébergés dans des hôtels de la côte adriatique, surtout au nord de Tirana, entre Lezhe et Shëngjin. Des colis de bienvenue contenant des produits de première nécessité ont été préparés pour les nouveaux arrivants, des équipes de travailleurs humanitaires offrant une aide médicale et psychologique étaient sur place et, très vite, certains journalistes autorisés ont pu constater que les réfugiés étaient libres de se mêler aux clients habituels sur les plages et au bord des piscines des hôtels.

      Les Afghans vivant en Albanie ont obtenu le statut de « protection temporaire » pour un an, avec la possibilité d’une prolongation si nécessaire. Si leurs droits, notamment la liberté de mouvement, sont garantis par la loi albanaise sur l’asile, les autorités se sont toutefois réservé le droit de restreindre la liberté de mouvement de certaines personnes « si cela est jugé nécessaire, sur la base de l’évaluation individuelle de chaque cas ».

      Cet accueil n’est pas une première pour l’Albanie : depuis 2014, déjà à la demande de Washington, le pays accueille 3000 moudjahidines du peuple iranien, arrivés après le retrait des forces américaines d’Irak, où ces opposants radicaux au régime de Téhéran avaient été regroupés, ainsi que cinq Ouïgours sortis de Guantanamo en 2006.

      En Macédoine du Nord, les 200 Afghans arrivés à Skopje ont été logés dans plusieurs hôtels réquisitionnés autour de la capitale et un jeune homme homosexuel a même reçu l’autorisation d’être accueilli dans un refuge destiné aux personnes LGBT+. Si les médias ne peuvent pas accéder à ces sites, les ONG de défense des droits humains qui s’y sont rendues assurent qu’aucun signe de violations de leurs libertés individuelles n’est à déplorer.

      « Jusqu’à présent, nous n’avons pas reçu de plaintes suggérant que les droits de l’homme des réfugiés sont menacés », raconté à Balkan Insight Uranija Pirovska, la responsable du Comité Helsinki pour les droits de l’homme de Macédoine du Nord. « Nous avons pu visiter l’hôtel Bellevue [près de Skopje] et nous allons continuer à surveiller leur statut pendant leur séjour ici. » La présence policière est visible autour des centres d’accueil, mais la liberté de mouvement des Afghans n’est pas restreinte.



  • Covid-19 : la Serbie commence à vacciner les migrants et étrangers - InfoMigrants

    Covid-19 : la Serbie commence à vacciner les migrants et étrangers
    Depuis vendredi, les migrants et ressortissants étrangers séjournant en Serbie ont été inclus dans la campagne vaccinale pour lutter contre le coronavirus. Seul le vaccin AstraZeneca, dont l’utilisation a été temporairement suspendue la semaine dernière par de nombreux pays européens, peut leur être administré.La Serbie, qui se montre parmi les pays les plus réactifs en matière de vaccination anti-Covid sur le continent européen, permet depuis vendredi 26 mars aux migrants et ressortissants étrangers vivant sur son territoire de recevoir leurs injections. La télévision d’État RTS rapporte que la vaccination de migrants a notamment débuté dans plusieurs camps, dont celui de Krnjaca près de Belgrade. Plus de 500 migrants, provenant principalement des pays de la région des Balkans et aussi de pays de l’UE, se sont enregistrés pour recevoir leurs doses.
    Les migrants et étrangers peuvent également être vaccinés à la Foire de Belgrade où est situé le principal centre de vaccination, selon la RTS. En revanche, seul le vaccin AstraZeneca peut leur être administré.Son utilisation a été temporairement suspendue la semaine dernière par de nombreux pays européens après le signalement de cas de thrombose, de troubles de la coagulation et de formation de caillots sanguins. L’Agence européenne des médicaments l’a, depuis, jugé « sûr et efficace ».La Serbie a également ouvert la vaccination à ses voisins : en Macédoine du Nord, les médias rapportent que des milliers de citoyens ont été appelés vendredi à se rendre à Belgrade pour y être vaccinés. La RST a d’ailleurs annoncé au cours du week-end le lancement d’une campagne de vaccination de propriétaires d’entreprises et de leurs employés venant d’Albanie, de Macédoine du Nord, du Monténégro, de la Bosnie et du Kosovo. Au total, 10 000 doses de vaccins ont été mises à leur disposition.
    Plus de 1,3 million d’habitants de ce petit pays européen des Balkans qui en compte 7 millions ont reçu une dose de vaccin et près d’un million deux doses.La télévision nationale n’a toutefois pas avancé de chiffres sur le nombre de ressortissants étrangers et de migrants présents dans le pays, ni expliqué si la décision de les vacciner est due à une chute de l’intérêt des citoyens serbes.Dans un rapport publié au début du mois, la Croix-Rouge alertait sur le manque d’accès à la vaccination pour les migrants, partout dans le monde. En Grèce, par exemple, 50 000 étrangers qui n’ont pas de numéro de sécurité sociale n’ont pas accès à la vaccination, indique l’ONG qui rappelle que le virus continuera de circuler si tout le monde n’est pas vacciné. Peu importe qu’ils aient des papiers ou non.


  • #Grèce : à #Idomeni, les migrants reviennent au grand désespoir des habitants

    A Idomeni, les migrants reviennent au grand désespoir des locaux. Depuis plusieurs années, ce petit village dans le nord de la Grèce est un lieu de transit : situé sur la route des Balkans, les migrants qui tentent de traverser vers la #Macédoine_du_Nord y restent coincés.

    « Ils viennent à Idomeni dans le seul but de pouvoir passer la frontière et aller en Europe, explique Xanthoula Soupli, la présidente du village. Leur but n’est pas de rester ici, c’est simplement le point à partir duquel ils essaient de passer la frontière. Les réfugiés et les migrants ont augmenté au cours du dernier mois ».

    Des bâtiments abandonnés dans la campagne servent de refuge aux migrants. Ils sont arrivés en trains depuis Thessalonique et ont sauté des wagons peu avant Idomeni, au péril de leur vie. Nous rencontrons un petit groupe d’Afghans, qui vient de se faire refouler par les gardes-frontières de Macédoine du Nord.

    « Maintenant, à la frontière du côté de la Macédoine du Nord, c’est dur. Il y a beaucoup de policiers. Maintenant nous sommes en Grèce sans papiers et sans argent », dit un jeune homme.

    Ils sont originaires d’Afghanistan, du Pakistan, d’Irak, de Syrie, d’Algérie, du Maroc.

    La grande majorité sont des hommes et dans certains cas, il y a aussi des mineurs.

    Sans argent, ils demandent de l’aide aux habitants, mais la cohabitation est tendue :

    « Comme ils ont faim, ils s’introduisent dans nos propriétés, font des dégâts, ce qui nous coûte cher, explique Christos Kovatsis, un apiculteur. Ils détruisent aussi nos cultures, et beaucoup d’autres choses . Ils entrent dans nos maisons ».

    La présence de la police dans le village aurait diminué à cause de la pandémie. La police affirme que tous ceux qui ne possèdent pas les documents requis sont transférés dans des centres de détention, et commence alors pour eux le processus d’expulsion.


    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #2021

  • The fortified gates of the Balkans. How non-EU member states are incorporated into fortress Europe.

    Marko Gašperlin, a Slovenian police officer, began his first mandate as chair of the Management Board of Frontex in spring 2016. Less than two months earlier, then Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar had gone to North Macedonia to convey the message from the EU that the migration route through the Balkans — the so-called Balkan route — was about to close.

    “North Macedonia was the first country ready to cooperate [with Frontex] to stop the stampede we had in 2015 across the Western Balkans,” Gašperlin told K2.0 during an interview conducted at the police headquarters in Ljubljana in September 2020.

    “Stampede” refers to over 1 million people who entered the European Union in 2015 and early 2016 in search of asylum, the majority traveling along the Balkan route. Most of them were from Syria, but also some other countries of the global South where human rights are a vague concept.

    According to Gašperlin, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency’s primary interest at the EU’s external borders is controlling the movement of people who he describes as “illegals.”

    Given numerous allegations by human rights organizations, Frontex could itself be part of illegal activity as part of the push-back chain removing people from EU territory before they have had the opportunity to assert their right to claim asylum.

    In March 2016, the EU made a deal with Turkey to stop the flow of people toward Europe, and Frontex became even more active in the Aegean Sea. Only four years later, at the end of 2020, Gašperlin established a Frontex working group to look into allegations of human rights violations by its officers. So far, no misconduct has been acknowledged. The final internal Frontex report is due at the end of February.

    After allegations were made public during the summer and fall of 2020, some members of the European Parliament called for Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri to step down, while the European Ombudsman also announced an inquiry into the effectiveness of the Agency’s complaints mechanism as well as its management.

    A European Parliament Frontex Scrutiny Working Group was also established to conduct its own inquiry, looking into “compliance and respect for fundamental rights” as well as internal management, and transparency and accountability. It formally began work this week (February 23) with its fact-finding investigation expected to last four months.

    2021 started with more allegations and revelations.

    In January 2021 the EU anti-fraud office, OLAF, confirmed it is leading an investigation over allegations of harassment and misconduct inside Frontex, and push-backs conducted at the EU’s borders.

    Similar accusations of human rights violations related to Frontex have been accumulating for years. In 2011, Human Rights Watch issued a report titled “The EU’s Dirty Hands” that documented the ill-treatment of migrant detainees in Greece.

    Various human rights organizations and media have also long reported about Frontex helping the Libyan Coast Guard to locate and pull back people trying to escape toward Europe. After being pulled back, people are held in notorious detention camps, which operate with the support of the EU.

    Nonetheless, EU leaders are not giving up on the idea of expanding the Frontex mission, making deals with governments of non-member states in the Balkans to participate in their efforts to stop migration.

    Currently, the Frontex plan is to deploy up to 10,000 border guards at the EU external borders by 2027.

    Policing Europe

    Frontex, with its headquarters in Poland, was established in 2004, but it remained relatively low key for the first decade of its existence. This changed in 2015 when, in order to better control Europe’s visa-free Schengen area, the European Commission (EC) extended the Agency’s mandate as it aimed to turn Frontex into a fully-fledged European Border and Coastguard Agency. Officially, they began operating in this role in October 2016, at the Bulgarian border with Turkey.

    In recent years, the territory they cover has been expanding, framed as cooperation with neighboring countries, with the main goal “to ensure implementation of the European integrated border management.”

    The budget allocated for their work has also grown massively, from about 6 million euros in 2005, to 460 million euros in 2020. According to existing plans, the Agency is set to grow still further and by 2027 up to 5.6 billion euros is expected to have been spent on Frontex.

    As one of the main migration routes into Europe the Balkans has become the key region for Frontex. Close cooperation with authorities in the region has been growing since 2016, particularly through the “Regional Support to Protection-Sensitive Migration Management in the Western Balkans and Turkey” project: https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Partners/Third_countries/IPA_II_Phase_II.pdf.

    In order to increase its powers in the field, Frontex has promoted “status agreements” with the countries in the region, while the EC, through its Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) fund, has dedicated 3.4 million euros over the two-year 2019-21 period for strengthening borders.

    The first Balkan state to upgrade its cooperation agreement with Frontex to a status agreement was Albania in 2018; joint police operations at its southern border with Greece began in spring 2019. According to the agreement, Frontex is allowed to conduct full border police duties on the non-EU territory.

    Frontex’s status agreement with Albania was followed by a similar agreement with Montenegro that has been in force since July 2020.

    The signing of a status agreement with North Macedonia was blocked by Bulgaria in October 2020, while the agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina requires further approvals and the one with Serbia is awaiting ratification by the parliament in Belgrade.

    “The current legal framework is the consequence of the situation in the years from 2014 to 2016,” Gašperlin said.

    He added that he regretted that the possibility to cooperate with non-EU states in returns of “illegals” had subsequently been dropped from the Frontex mandate after an intervention by EU parliamentarians. In 2019, a number of changes were made to how Frontex functions including removing the power to “launch return interventions in third countries” due to the fact that many of these countries have a poor record when it comes to rule of law and respect of human rights.

    “This means, if we are concrete, that the illegals who are in BiH — the EU can pay for their accommodation, Frontex can help only a little with the current tools it has, while when it comes to returns, Frontex cannot do anything,” Gašperlin said.

    Fortification of the borders

    The steady introduction of status agreements is intended to replace and upgrade existing police cooperation deals that are already in place with non-EU states.

    Over the years, EU member states have established various bilateral agreements with countries around the world, including some in the Balkan region. Further agreements have been negotiated by the EU itself, with Frontex listing 20 “working arrangements” with different non-member states on its website.

    Based on existing Frontex working arrangements, exchange of information and “consultancy” visits by Frontex officials — which also include work at border crossings — are already practiced widely across the Balkan-EU borders.

    The new status agreements allow Frontex officers to guard the borders and perform police tasks on the territory of the country with which the agreement is signed, while this country’s national courts do not have jurisdiction over the Frontex personnel.

    Comparing bilateral agreements to status agreements, Marko Gašperlin explained that, with Frontex taking over certain duties, individual EU states will be able to avoid the administrative and financial burdens of “bilateral solidarity.”

    Radoš Đurović, director of the NGO Asylum Protection Centre (APC) which works with migrants in Serbia, questions whether Frontex’s presence in the region will bring better control over violations and fears that if past acts of alleged violence are used it could make matters worse.

    “The EU’s aim is to increase border control and reduce the number of people who legally or illegally cross,” Đurović says in a phone interview for K2.0. “We know that violence does not stop the crossings. It only increases the violence people experience.”

    Similarly, Jasmin Redžepi from the Skopje-based NGO Legis, argues that the current EU focus on policing its borders only entraps people in the region.

    “This causes more problems, suffering and death,” he says. “People are forced to turn to criminals in search of help. The current police actions are empowering criminals and organized crime.”

    Redžepi believes the region is currently acting as some kind of human filter for the EU.

    “From the security standpoint this is solidarity with local authorities. But in the field, it prevents greater numbers of refugees from moving toward central Europe,” Redžepi says.

    “They get temporarily stuck. The EU calls it regulation but they only postpone their arrival in the EU and increase the violations of human rights, European law and international law. In the end people cross, just more simply die along the way.”

    EU accused of externalizing issues

    For the EU, it was a shifting pattern of migratory journeys that signified the moment to start increasing its border security around the region by strengthening its cooperation with individual states.

    The overland Balkan route toward Western Europe has always been used by people on the move. But it has become even more frequented in recent years as changing approaches to border policing and rescue restrictions in the Central Mediterranean have made crossings by sea even more deadly.

    For the regional countries, each at a different stage of a still distant promise of EU membership, partnering with Frontex comes with the obvious incentive of demonstrating their commitment to the bloc.

    “When regional authorities work to stop people crossing towards the EU, they hope to get extra benefits elsewhere,” says APC Serbia’s Radoš Đurovic.

    There are also other potential perks. Jasmin Redžepi from Legis explains that police from EU states often leave behind equipment for under-equipped local forces.

    But there has also been significant criticism of the EU’s approach in both the Balkans and elsewhere, with many accusing it of attempting to externalize its borders and avoid accountability by pushing difficult issues elsewhere.

    According to research by Violeta Moreno-Lax and Martin Lemberg-Pedersen, who have analyzed the consequences of the EU’s approach to border management, the bloc’s actions amount to a “dispersion of legal duties” that is not “ethically and legally tenable under international law.”

    One of the results, the researchers found, is that “repressive forces” in third countries gain standing as valid interlocutors for cooperation and democratic and human rights credentials become “secondary, if at all relevant.”

    APC’s Radoš Đurović agrees, suggesting that we are entering a situation where the power of the law and international norms that prevent illegal use of force are, in effect, limited.

    “Europe may not have enough power to influence the situations in places further away that push migration, but it can influence its border regions,” he says. “The changes we see forced onto the states are problematic — from push-backs to violence.”

    Playing by whose rules?

    One of the particular anomalies seen with the status agreements is that Albanian police are now being accompanied by Frontex forces to better control their southern border at the same time as many of Albania’s own citizens are themselves attempting to reach the EU in irregular ways.

    Asked about this apparent paradox, Marko Gašperlin said he did “not remember any Albanians among the illegals.”

    However, Frontex’s risk analysis for 2020, puts Albania in the top four countries for whose citizens return orders were issued in the preceding two years and second in terms of returns effectively carried out. Eurostat data for 2018 and 2019 also puts Albania in 11th place among countries from which first time asylum seekers come, before Somalia and Bangladesh and well ahead of Morocco and Algeria.

    While many of these Albanian citizens may have entered EU countries via regular means before being subject to return orders for reasons such as breaching visa conditions, people on the move from Albania are often encountered along the Balkan route, according to activists working in the field.

    Meanwhile, other migrants have complained of being subjected to illegal push-backs at Albania’s border with Greece, though there is a lack of monitoring in this area and these claims remain unverified.

    In Serbia, the KlikAktiv Center for Development of Social Policies has analyzed Belgrade’s pending status agreement for Frontex operations.

    It warns that increasing the presence of armed police, from a Frontex force that has allegedly been involved in violence and abuses of power, is a recipe for disaster, especially when they will have immunity from local criminal and civil jurisdiction.

    It also flags that changes in legislation will enable the integration of data systems and rapid deportations without proper safeguards in place.

    Police activities to secure borders greatly depend on — and supply data to — EU information technology systems. But EU law provides fewer protections for data processing of foreign nationals than for that of EU citizens, effectively creating segregation in terms of data protection.

    The EU Fundamental Rights Agency has warned that the establishment of a more invasive system for non-EU nationals could potentially lead to increased discrimination and skew data that could further “fuel existing misperceptions that there is a link between asylum-seekers, migration and crime.”

    A question of standards

    Frontex emphasizes that there are codified safeguards and existing internal appeal mechanisms.

    According to the status agreements, violations of fundamental rights such as data protection rules or the principle of non-refoulement — which prohibits the forcible return of individuals to countries where they face danger through push-backs or other means — are all reasons for either party to suspend or terminate their cooperation.

    In January, Frontex itself suspended its mission in Hungary after the EU member state failed to abide by an EU Court of Justice decision. In December 2020, the court found that Hungarian border enforcement was in violation of EU law by restricting access to its asylum system and for carrying out illegal push-backs into Serbia.

    Marko Gašperlin claimed that Frontex’s presence improved professional police standards wherever it operated.

    However, claims of raising standards have been questioned by human rights researchers and activists.

    Jasmin Redžepi recounts that the first complaint against a foreign police officer that his NGO Legis filed with North Macedonian authorities and international organizations was against a Slovenian police officer posted through bilateral agreement; the complaint related to allegations of unprofessional conduct toward migrants.

    “Presently, people cross illegally and the police push them back illegally,” Redžepi says. “They should be able to ask for asylum but cannot as police push people across borders.”

    Gašperlin told K2.0 that it is natural that there will be a variation of standards between police from different countries.

    In its recruitment efforts, Frontex has sought to enlist police officers or people with a customs or army background. According to Gašperlin, recruits have been disproportionately from Romania and Italy, while fewer have been police officers from northern member states “where standards and wages are better.”

    “It would be illusory to expect that all of the EU would rise up to the level of respect for human rights and to the high standards of Sweden,” he said. “There also has not been a case of the EU throwing a member out, although there have been examples of human rights violations, of different kinds.”

    ‘Monitoring from the air’

    One of the EU member states whose own police have been accused of serious human rights violations against refugees and migrants, including torture, is Croatia.

    Despite the allegations, in January 2020, Croatia’s Ministry of the Interior Police Academy was chosen to lead the first Frontex-financed training session for attendees from police forces across the Balkan route region.

    Frontex currently has a presence in Croatia, at the EU border area with Bosnia and Herzegovina, amongst other places.

    Asked about the numerous reports from international NGOs and collectives, as well as from the national Ombudsman Lora Vidović and the Council of Europe, of mass human rights violations at the Croatian borders, Gašperlin declined to engage.

    “Frontex helps Croatia with monitoring from the air,” he said. “That is all.”

    Gašperlin said that the role of his agency is only to notify Croatia when people are detected approaching the border from Bosnia. Asked if Frontex also monitors what happens to people once Croatian police find them, given continuously worsening allegations, he said: “From the air this might be difficult. I do not know if a plane from the air can monitor that.”

    Pressed further, he declined to comment.

    To claim ignorance is, however, becoming increasingly difficult. A recent statement on the state of the EU’s borders by UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs, notes: “The pushbacks [at Europe’s borders] are carried out in a violent and apparently systematic way.”

    Radoš Đurović from APC Serbia pointed out that Frontex must know about the alleged violations.

    “The question is: Do they want to investigate and prevent them?” he says. “All those present in the field know about the violence and who perpetrates it.”

    Warnings that strict and violent EU border policies are increasing the sophistication and brutality of smugglers, while technological “solutions” and militarization come with vested interests and more potential human rights violations, do not seem to worry the head of Frontex’s Management Board.

    “If passage from Turkey to Germany is too expensive, people will not decide to go,” said Gašperlin, describing the job done by Frontex:

    “We do the work we do. So people cannot simply come here, sit and say — here I am, now take me to Germany, as some might want. Or — here I am, I’m asking for asylum, now take me to Postojna or Ljubljana, where I will get fed, cared for, and then I’ll sit on the bus and ride to Munich where I’ll again ask for asylum. This would be a minimal price.”

    Human rights advocates in the region such as Jasmin Redžepi have no illusions that what they face on the ground reflects the needs and aims of the EU.

    “We are only a bridge,” Redžepi says. “The least the EU should do is take care that its policies do not turn the region into a cradle for criminals and organized crime. We need legal, regular passages and procedures for people to apply for asylum, not illegal, violent push-backs.

    “If we talk about security we cannot talk exclusively about the security of borders. We have to talk about the security of people as well.”


    #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #externalisation #frontex #Macédoine_du_Nord #contrôles_frontaliers #militarisation_des_frontières #push-backs #refoulements #refoulements_en_chaîne #frontières_extérieures #Regional_Support_to_Protection-Sensitive_Migration_Management_in_the_Western_Balkans_and_Turkey #Instrument_for_Pre-Accession (#IPA) #budget #Albanie #Monténégro #Serbie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #accords_bilatéraux


    ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
    Et plus particulièrement ici :

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • Renvois : la pratique des autorités migratoires suisses menace les #droits_humains

    Le #Tribunal_administratif_fédéral prononce encore et toujours le renvoi de personnes vers des « #Etats_tiers_sûrs » ou des « #Etats_d'origine_sûrs » sans procéder à un examen suffisant de la situation des droits humains dans ces pays et à une évalutation minutieuse des #risques encourus par les personnes concernées. Aussi s’accumulent les #mesures_conservatoires (#interim_measures) à l’encontre de la Suisse, sur la base desquelles les comités onusiens suspendent provisoirement les menaces de renvoi. Conclusion : les #critères_d’examen des autorités suisses sont inadéquats du point de vue des droits humains.

    Une femme seule avec des enfants fuit un pays en guerre civile pour se rendre en #Bulgarie, où elle obtient le statut de réfugiée. Sur place, elle est victime de #violence_domestique. Ne recevant pas de protection de la part des autorités bulgares, elle se réfugie en Suisse avec ses enfants. Le Secrétariat d’État aux migrations (SEM) rejette sa demande d’asile, invoquant qu’elle peut retourner en Bulgarie car il s’agit d’un « État tiers sûr ». Le Tribunal administratif fédéral confirme la décision du SEM*.

    Selon la loi sur l’asile (LAsi), une demande d’asile n’est généralement pas accordée si la personne requérante peut retourner dans un « État tiers sûr » dans lequel elle résidait avant de déposer sa demande en Suisse (art. 31a LAsi). En Suisse, les États de l’UE et de l’AELE sont considérés comme des pays tiers sûrs, car ils ont ratifié la Convention de Genève sur les réfugiés et la Convention européenne des droits de l’homme, qu’ils mettent en œuvre dans la pratique selon le Secrétariat d’État aux migrations. Le Conseil fédéral peut également désigner d’autres pays comme « États tiers sûrs » si ceux-ci disposent d’un mécanisme de protection efficace contre le renvoi des personnes concernées permettant de respecter le #principe_de_non-refoulement. Enfin, sont également considérés comme des « États d’origine sûrs » les pays dans lesquels les requérant·e·s d’asile sont à l’abri de toute persécution (art. 6a al. 2 let. a et b LAsi).

    Avec le soutien de l’Organisation suisse d’aide aux réfugiés (OSAR), la mère requérante d’asile et ses enfants déposent une plainte individuelle auprès du Comité des droits de l’enfant de l’ONU. Le Comité demande instamment à la Suisse de ne pas rapatrier la famille afin d’éviter que les enfants ne subissent un préjudice irréparable du fait des violations de leurs droits humains ; il ne peut en effet pas exclure que la famille se retrouve en danger en Bulgarie. Selon Adriana Romer, juriste et spécialiste pour l’Europe au sein de l’OSAR, cette affirmation est claire : « La référence générale au respect par un État de ses obligations en vertu du #droit_international n’est pas suffisante, surtout dans le cas d’un pays comme la Bulgarie. S’il y a des indications de possibles violations des droits humains, une évaluation et un examen minutieux sont nécessaires dans chaque cas individuel ».

    Le cas d’une demandeuse d’asile qui a fui un camp de réfugié·e·s grec pour se réfugier en Suisse illustre bien la problématique. Selon le Tribunal administratif fédéral (TAF), elle n’a pas fait valoir de circonstances qui remettraient en cause la #Grèce en tant qu’« État tiers sûr » (arrêt du TAF E-1657/2020 du 26 mai 2020). Les #viols qu’elle a subis à plusieurs reprises dans le camp de réfugié·e·s et l’absence de soutien psychologique sur place n’ont pas été pris en compte. Le Comité de l’ONU pour l’élimination de la discrimination à l’égard des #femmes (#CEDEF) est finalement intervenu un mois plus tard. C’est un sort similaire qu’a connu un requérant ayant survécu à la #torture, reconnu comme réfugié en Grèce. Bien que celui-ci ait dû vivre dans la rue et n’ait pas eu accès aux #soins_médicaux en Grèce, l’Office fédéral des migrations et le Tribunal administratif fédéral ont décidé que la « présomption d’ État tiers sûr » s’appliquait à la Grèce dans cette affaire (arrêt du TAF E-2714/2020 du 9 juin 2020). Là encore, le Comité contre la torture de l’ONU est intervenu et a empêché le renvoi. Pour Stephanie Motz, avocate zurichoise qui a plaidé dans les trois cas, deux fois avec l’association AsyLex et une fois avec l’avocate Fanny de Weck : « La situation dans les pays tiers n’est que sommairement examinée par le SEM et l’établissement des faits n’est pas suffisant pour être conforme au droit. En outre, il est fréquent que le Tribunal administratif fédéral n’examine pas en profondeur la situation des droits humains dans ces États, mais se contente de formuler des affirmations générales. En conséquence, les comités onusiens interviennent de plus en plus dans ces procédures ».

    Les critères d’évaluation peu rigoureux des autorités suisses concernent également les transferts au titre du #Règlement_de_Dublin, par lequel les requérant·e·s d’asile sont renvoyé·e·s vers l’État membre dans lequel ils et elles ont déposé leur première demande d’asile. À la fin de l’année dernière, le Comité contre la torture de l’ONU a dû interrompre temporairement un rapatriement Dublin de la Suisse vers la Pologne (arrêt du TAF F-3666/2020 du 23 juillet 2020).

    Enfin, le Comité pour l’élimination de la #discrimination_raciale de l’ONU (#CERD) est également intervenu au début de cette année lorsque la Suisse a voulu expulser un couple de #Roms vers le nord de la #Macédoine (arrêt du TAF E-3257/2017 du 30 juillet 2020, cons.10.2). Le couple était exposé à de sérieux risques et n’était pas protégé de manière adéquate par les autorités de #Macédoine_du_Nord. Le Tribunal administratif fédéral ayant désigné la Macédoine du Nord comme un « État d’origine sûr », le couple a, avec le soutien du Réseau de solidarité Berne, déposé une plainte individuelle auprès du CERD et peut rester en Suisse à titre provisoire.

    Plusieurs années peuvent s’écouler avant que les comités de l’ONU statuent définitivement sur les cas présentés. Dans trois de ceux-ci, le SEM a entre temps accepté les demandes d’asile. Dans les deux autres cas, grâce aux mesures conservatoires, les recourant·e·s sont également protégé·e·s pendant que le Comité examine le risque concret de violations des droits humains.

    En qualifiant un grand nombre de pays de « sûrs » de manière générale, les autorités suisses font courir de graves risques aux demandeur·euse·s d’asile. Les droits humains peuvent également être violés dans des #pays_démocratiques. Les nombreuses interventions des comités de l’ONU le montrent clairement : la pratique suisse n’est pas suffisante pour respecter les droits humains.

    *Pour la protection de la famille concernée, la référence correspondante n’est pas publiée.

    #renvois #expulsions #migrations #asile #réfugiés #Suisse #TAF #SEM #justice #ONU #Dublin #renvois_Dublin