• Friends of the Traffickers Italy’s Anti-Mafia Directorate and the “Dirty Campaign” to Criminalize Migration

    Afana Dieudonne often says that he is not a superhero. That’s Dieudonne’s way of saying he’s done things he’s not proud of — just like anyone in his situation would, he says, in order to survive. From his home in Cameroon to Tunisia by air, then by car and foot into the desert, across the border into Libya, and onto a rubber boat in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Dieudonne has done a lot of surviving.

    In Libya, Dieudonne remembers when the smugglers managing the safe house would ask him for favors. Dieudonne spoke a little English and didn’t want trouble. He said the smugglers were often high and always armed. Sometimes, when asked, Dieudonne would distribute food and water among the other migrants. Other times, he would inform on those who didn’t follow orders. He remembers the traffickers forcing him to inflict violence on his peers. It was either them or him, he reasoned.

    On September 30, 2014, the smugglers pushed Dieudonne and 91 others out to sea aboard a rubber boat. Buzzing through the pitch-black night, the group watched lights on the Libyan coast fade into darkness. After a day at sea, the overcrowded dinghy began taking on water. Its passengers were rescued by an NGO vessel and transferred to an Italian coast guard ship, where officers picked Dieudonne out of a crowd and led him into a room for questioning.

    At first, Dieudonne remembers the questioning to be quick, almost routine. His name, his age, his nationality. And then the questions turned: The officers said they wanted to know how the trafficking worked in Libya so they could arrest the people involved. They wanted to know who had driven the rubber boat and who had held the navigation compass.

    “So I explained everything to them, and I also showed who the ‘captain’ was — captain in quotes, because there is no captain,” said Dieudonne. The real traffickers stay in Libya, he added. “Even those who find themselves to be captains, they don’t do it by choice.”

    For the smugglers, Dieudonne explained, “we are the customers, and we are the goods.”

    For years, efforts by the Italian government and the European Union to address migration in the central Mediterranean have focused on the people in Libya — interchangeably called facilitators, smugglers, traffickers, or militia members, depending on which agency you’re speaking to — whose livelihoods come from helping others cross irregularly into Europe. People pay them a fare to organize a journey so dangerous it has taken tens of thousands of lives.

    The European effort to dismantle these smuggling networks has been driven by an unlikely actor: the Italian anti-mafia and anti-terrorism directorate, a niche police office in Rome that gained respect in the 1990s and early 2000s for dismantling large parts of the Mafia in Sicily and elsewhere in Italy. According to previously unpublished internal documents, the office — called the Direzione nazionale antimafia e antiterrorismo, or DNAA, in Italian — took a front-and-center role in the management of Europe’s southern sea borders, in direct coordination with the EU border agency Frontex and European military missions operating off the Libyan coast.

    In 2013, under the leadership of a longtime anti-mafia prosecutor named Franco Roberti, the directorate pioneered a strategy that was unique — or at least new for the border officers involved. They would start handling irregular migration to Europe like they had handled the mob. The approach would allow Italian and European police, coast guard agencies, and navies, obliged by international law to rescue stranded refugees at sea, to at least get some arrests and convictions along the way.

    The idea was to arrest low-level operators and use coercion and plea deals to get them to flip on their superiors. That way, the reasoning went, police investigators could work their way up the food chain and eventually dismantle the smuggling rings in Libya. With every boat that disembarked in Italy, police would make a handful of arrests. Anybody found to have played an active role during the crossing, from piloting to holding a compass to distributing water or bailing out a leak, could be arrested under a new legal directive written by Roberti’s anti-mafia directorate. Charges ranged from simple smuggling to transnational criminal conspiracy and — if people asphyxiated below deck or drowned when a boat capsized — even murder. Judicial sources estimate the number of people arrested since 2013 to be in the thousands.

    For the police, prosecutors, and politicians involved, the arrests were an important domestic political win. At the time, public opinion in Italy was turning against migration, and the mugshots of alleged smugglers regularly held space on front pages throughout the country.

    But according to the minutes of closed-door conversations among some of the very same actors directing these cases, which were obtained by The Intercept under Italy’s freedom of information law, most anti-mafia prosecutions only focused on low-level boat drivers, often migrants who had themselves paid for the trip across. Few, if any, smuggling bosses were ever convicted. Documents of over a dozen trials reviewed by The Intercept show prosecutions built on hasty investigations and coercive interrogations.

    In the years that followed, the anti-mafia directorate went to great lengths to keep the arrests coming. According to the internal documents, the office coordinated a series of criminal investigations into the civilian rescue NGOs working to save lives in the Mediterranean, accusing them of hampering police work. It also oversaw efforts to create and train a new coast guard in Libya, with full knowledge that some coast guard officers were colluding with the same smuggling networks that Italian and European leaders were supposed to be fighting.

    Since its inception, the anti-mafia directorate has wielded unparalleled investigative tools and served as a bridge between politicians and the courts. The documents reveal in meticulous detail how the agency, alongside Italian and European officials, capitalized on those powers to crack down on alleged smugglers, most of whom they knew to be desperate people fleeing poverty and violence with limited resources to defend themselves in court.

    Tragedy and Opportunity

    The anti-mafia directorate was born in the early 1990s after a decade of escalating Mafia violence. By then, hundreds of prosecutors, politicians, journalists, and police officers had been shot, blown up, or kidnapped, and many more extorted by organized crime families operating in Italy and beyond.

    In Palermo, the Sicilian capital, prosecutor Giovanni Falcone was a rising star in the Italian judiciary. Falcone had won unprecedented success with an approach to organized crime based on tracking financial flows, seizing assets, and centralizing evidence gathered by prosecutor’s offices across the island.

    But as the Mafia expanded its reach into the rest of Europe, Falcone’s work proved insufficient.

    In September 1990, a Mafia commando drove from Germany to Sicily to gun down a 37-year-old judge. Weeks later, at a police checkpoint in Naples, the Sicilian driver of a truck loaded with weapons, explosives, and drugs was found to be a resident of Germany. A month after the arrests, Falcone traveled to Germany to establish an information-sharing mechanism with authorities there. He brought along a younger colleague from Naples, Franco Roberti.

    “We faced a stone wall,” recalled Roberti, still bitter three decades later. He spoke to us outside a cafe in a plum neighborhood in Naples. Seventy-three years old and speaking with the rasp of a lifelong smoker, Roberti described Italy’s Mafia problem in blunt language. He bemoaned a lack of international cooperation that, he said, continues to this day. “They claimed that there was no need to investigate there,” Roberti said, “that it was up to us to investigate Italians in Germany who were occasional mafiosi.”

    As the prosecutors traveled back to Italy empty-handed, Roberti remembers Falcone telling him that they needed “a centralized national organ able to speak directly to foreign judicial authorities and coordinate investigations in Italy.”

    “That is how the idea of the anti-mafia directorate was born,” Roberti said. The two began building what would become Italy’s first national anti-mafia force.

    At the time, there was tough resistance to the project. Critics argued that Falcone and Roberti were creating “super-prosecutors” who would wield outsize powers over the courts, while also being subject to political pressures from the government in Rome. It was, they argued, a marriage of police and the judiciary, political interests and supposedly apolitical courts — convenient for getting Mafia convictions but dangerous for Italian democracy.

    Still, in January 1992, the project was approved in Parliament. But Falcone would never get to lead it: Months later, a bomb set by the Mafia killed him, his wife, and the three agents escorting them. The attack put to rest any remaining criticism of Falcone’s plan.

    The anti-mafia directorate went on to become one of Italy’s most important institutions, the national authority over all matters concerning organized crime and the agency responsible for partially freeing the country from its century-old crucible. In the decades after Falcone’s death, the directorate did what many in Italy thought impossible, dismantling large parts of the five main Italian crime families and almost halving the Mafia-related murder rate.

    And yet, by the time Roberti took control in 2013, it had been years since the last high-profile Mafia prosecution, and the organization’s influence was waning. At the same time, Italy was facing unprecedented numbers of migrants arriving by boat. Roberti had an idea: The anti-mafia directorate would start working on what he saw as a different kind of mafia. The organization set its sights on Libya.

    “We thought we had to do something more coordinated to combat this trafficking,” Roberti remembered, “so I put everyone around a table.”

    “The main objective was to save lives, seize ships, and capture smugglers,” Roberti said. “Which we did.”

    Our Sea

    Dieudonne made it to the Libyan port city of Zuwara in August 2014. One more step across the Mediterranean, and he’d be in Europe. The smugglers he paid to get him across the sea took all of his possessions and put him in an abandoned building that served as a safe house to wait for his turn.

    Dieudonne told his story from a small office in Bari, Italy, where he runs a cooperative that helps recent arrivals access local education. Dieudonne is fiery and charismatic. He is constantly moving: speaking, texting, calling, gesticulating. Every time he makes a point, he raps his knuckles on the table in a one-two pattern. Dieudonne insisted that we publish his real name. Others who made the journey more recently — still pending decisions on their residence permits or refugee status — were less willing to speak openly.

    Dieudonne remembers the safe house in Zuwara as a string of constant violence. The smugglers would come once a day to leave food. Every day, they would ask who hadn’t followed their orders. Those inside the abandoned building knew they were less likely to be discovered by police or rival smugglers, but at the same time, they were not free to leave.

    “They’ve put a guy in the refrigerator in front of all of us, to show how the next one who misbehaves will be treated,” Dieudonne remembered, indignant. He witnessed torture, shootings, rape. “The first time you see it, it hurts you. The second time it hurts you less. The third time,” he said with a shrug, “it becomes normal. Because that’s the only way to survive.”

    “That’s why arresting the person who pilots a boat and treating them like a trafficker makes me laugh,” Dieudonne said. Others who have made the journey to Italy report having been forced to drive at gunpoint. “You only do it to be sure you don’t die there,” he said.

    Two years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s government, much of Libya’s northwest coast had become a staging ground for smugglers who organized sea crossings to Europe in large wooden fishing boats. When those ships — overcrowded, underpowered, and piloted by amateurs — inevitably capsized, the deaths were counted by the hundreds.

    In October 2013, two shipwrecks off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa took over 400 lives, sparking public outcry across Europe. In response, the Italian state mobilized two plans, one public and the other private.

    “There was a big shock when the Lampedusa tragedy happened,” remembered Italian Sen. Emma Bonino, then the country’s foreign minister. The prime minister “called an emergency meeting, and we decided to immediately launch this rescue program,” Bonino said. “Someone wanted to call the program ‘safe seas.’ I said no, not safe, because it’s sure we’ll have other tragedies. So let’s call it Mare Nostrum.”

    Mare Nostrum — “our sea” in Latin — was a rescue mission in international waters off the coast of Libya that ran for one year and rescued more than 150,000 people. The operation also brought Italian ships, airplanes, and submarines closer than ever to Libyan shores. Roberti, just two months into his job as head of the anti-mafia directorate, saw an opportunity to extend the country’s judicial reach and inflict a lethal blow to smuggling rings in Libya.

    Five days after the start of Mare Nostrum, Roberti launched the private plan: a series of coordination meetings among the highest echelons of the Italian police, navy, coast guard, and judiciary. Under Roberti, these meetings would run for four years and eventually involve representatives from Frontex, Europol, an EU military operation, and even Libya.

    The minutes of five of these meetings, which were presented by Roberti in a committee of the Italian Parliament and obtained by The Intercept, give an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the events on Europe’s southern borders since the Lampedusa shipwrecks.

    In the first meeting, held in October 2013, Roberti told participants that the anti-mafia offices in the Sicilian city of Catania had developed an innovative way to deal with migrant smuggling. By treating Libyan smugglers like they had treated the Italian Mafia, prosecutors could claim jurisdiction over international waters far beyond Italy’s borders. That, Roberti said, meant they could lawfully board and seize vessels on the high seas, conduct investigations there, and use the evidence in court.

    The Italian authorities have long recognized that, per international maritime law, they are obligated to rescue people fleeing Libya on overcrowded boats and transport them to a place of safety. As the number of people attempting the crossing increased, many Italian prosecutors and coast guard officials came to believe that smugglers were relying on these rescues to make their business model work; therefore, the anti-mafia reasoning went, anyone who acted as crew or made a distress call on a boat carrying migrants could be considered complicit in Libyan trafficking and subject to Italian jurisdiction. This new approach drew heavily from legal doctrines developed in the United States during the 1980s aimed at stopping drug smuggling.

    European leaders were scrambling to find a solution to what they saw as a looming migration crisis. Italian officials thought they had the answer and publicly justified their decisions as a way to prevent future drownings.

    But according to the minutes of the 2013 anti-mafia meeting, the new strategy predated the Lampedusa shipwrecks by at least a week. Sicilian prosecutors had already written the plan to crack down on migration across the Mediterranean but lacked both the tools and public will to put it into action. Following the Lampedusa tragedy and the creation of Mare Nostrum, they suddenly had both.

    State of Necessity

    In the international waters off the coast of Libya, Dieudonne and 91 others were rescued by a European NGO called Migrant Offshore Aid Station. They spent two days aboard MOAS’s ship before being transferred to an Italian coast guard ship, Nave Dattilo, to be taken to Europe.

    Aboard the Dattilo, coast guard officers asked Dieudonne why he had left his home in Cameroon. He remembers them showing him a photograph of the rubber boat taken from the air. “They asked me who was driving, the roles and everything,” he remembered. “Then they asked me if I could tell him how the trafficking in Libya works, and then, they said, they would give me residence documents.”

    Dieudonne said that he was reluctant to cooperate at first. He didn’t want to accuse any of his peers, but he was also concerned that he could become a suspect. After all, he had helped the driver at points throughout the voyage.

    “I thought that if I didn’t cooperate, they might hurt me,” Dieudonne said. “Not physically hurt, but they could consider me dishonest, like someone who was part of the trafficking.”

    To this day, Dieudonne says he can’t understand why Italy would punish people for fleeing poverty and political violence in West Africa. He rattled off a list of events from the last year alone: draught, famine, corruption, armed gunmen, attacks on schools. “And you try to convict someone for managing to escape that situation?”

    The coast guard ship disembarked in Vibo Valentia, a city in the Italian region of Calabria. During disembarkation, a local police officer explained to a journalist that they had arrested five people. The journalist asked how the police had identified the accused.

    “A lot has been done by the coast guard, who picked [the migrants] up two days ago and managed to spot [the alleged smugglers],” the officer explained. “Then we have witness statements and videos.”

    Cases like these, where arrests are made on the basis of photo or video evidence and statements by witnesses like Dieudonne, are common, said Gigi Modica, a judge in Sicily who has heard many immigration and asylum cases. “It’s usually the same story. They take three or four people, no more. They ask them two questions: who was driving the boat, and who was holding the compass,” Modica explained. “That’s it — they get the names and don’t care about the rest.”

    Modica was one of the first judges in Italy to acquit people charged for driving rubber boats — known as “scafisti,” or boat drivers, in Italian — on the grounds that they had been forced to do so. These “state of necessity” rulings have since become increasingly common. Modica rattled off a list of irregularities he’s seen in such cases: systemic racism, witness statements that migrants later say they didn’t make, interrogations with no translator or lawyer, and in some cases, people who report being encouraged by police to sign documents renouncing their right to apply for asylum.

    “So often these alleged smugglers — scafisti — are normal people who were compelled to pilot a boat by smugglers in Libya,” Modica said.

    Documents of over a dozen trials reviewed by The Intercept show prosecutions largely built on testimony from migrants who are promised a residence permit in exchange for their collaboration. At sea, witnesses are interviewed by the police hours after their rescue, often still in a state of shock after surviving a shipwreck.

    In many cases, identical statements, typos included, are attributed to several witnesses and copied and pasted across different police reports. Sometimes, these reports have been enough to secure decadeslong sentences. Other times, under cross-examination in court, witnesses have contradicted the statements recorded by police or denied giving any testimony at all.

    As early as 2015, attendees of the anti-mafia meetings were discussing problems with these prosecutions. In a meeting that February, Giovanni Salvi, then the prosecutor of Catania, acknowledged that smugglers often abandoned migrant boats in international waters. Still, Italian police were steaming ahead with the prosecutions of those left on board.

    These prosecutions were so important that in some cases, the Italian coast guard decided to delay rescue when boats were in distress in order to “allow for the arrival of institutional ships that can conduct arrests,” a coast guard commander explained at the meeting.

    When asked about the commander’s comments, the Italian coast guard said that “on no occasion” has the agency ever delayed a rescue operation. Delaying rescue for any reason goes against international and Italian law, and according to various human rights lawyers in Europe, could give rise to criminal liability.

    NGOs in the Crosshairs

    Italy canceled Mare Nostrum after one year, citing budget constraints and a lack of European collaboration. In its wake, the EU set up two new operations, one via Frontex and the other a military effort called Operation Sophia. These operations focused not on humanitarian rescue but on border security and people smuggling from Libya. Beginning in 2015, representatives from Frontex and Operation Sophia were included in the anti-mafia directorate meetings, where Italian prosecutors ensured that both abided by the new investigative strategy.

    Key to these investigations were photos from the rescues, like the aerial image that Dieudonne remembers the Italian coast guard showing him, which gave police another way to identify who piloted the boats and helped navigate.

    In the absence of government rescue ships, a fleet of civilian NGO vessels began taking on a large number of rescues in the international waters off the coast of Libya. These ships, while coordinated by the Italian coast guard rescue center in Rome, made evidence-gathering difficult for prosecutors and judicial police. According to the anti-mafia meeting minutes, some NGOs, including MOAS, routinely gave photos to Italian police and Frontex. Others refused, arguing that providing evidence for investigations into the people they saved would undermine their efficacy and neutrality.

    In the years following Mare Nostrum, the NGO fleet would come to account for more than one-third of all rescues in the central Mediterranean, according to estimates by Operation Sophia. A leaked status report from the operation noted that because NGOs did not collect information from rescued migrants for police, “information essential to enhance the understanding of the smuggling business model is not acquired.”

    In a subsequent anti-mafia meeting, six prosecutors echoed this concern. NGO rescues meant that police couldn’t interview migrants at sea, they said, and cases were getting thrown out for lack of evidence. A coast guard admiral explained the importance of conducting interviews just after a rescue, when “a moment of empathy has been established.”

    “It is not possible to carry out this task if the rescue intervention is carried out by ships of the NGOs,” the admiral told the group.

    The NGOs were causing problems for the DNAA strategy. At the meetings, Italian prosecutors and representatives from the coast guard, navy, and Interior Ministry discussed what they could do to rein in the humanitarian organizations. At the same time, various prosecutors were separately fixing their investigative sights on the NGOs themselves.

    In late 2016, an internal report from Frontex — later published in full by The Intercept — accused an NGO vessel of directly receiving migrants from Libyan smugglers, attributing the information to “Italian authorities.” The claim was contradicted by video evidence and the ship’s crew.

    Months later, Carmelo Zuccaro, the prosecutor of Catania, made public that he was investigating rescue NGOs. “Together with Frontex and the navy, we are trying to monitor all these NGOs that have shown that they have great financial resources,” Zuccaro told an Italian newspaper. The claim went viral in Italian and European media. “Friends of the traffickers” and “migrant taxi service” became common slurs used toward humanitarian NGOs by anti-immigration politicians and the Italian far right.

    Zuccaro would eventually walk back his claims, telling a parliamentary committee that he was working off a hypothesis at the time and had no evidence to back it up.

    In an interview with a German newspaper in February 2017, the director of Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, refrained from explicitly criticizing the work of rescue NGOs but did say they were hampering police investigations in the Mediterranean. As aid organizations assumed a larger percentage of rescues, Leggeri said, “it is becoming more difficult for the European security authorities to find out more about the smuggling networks through interviews with migrants.”

    “That smear campaign was very, very deep,” remembered Bonino, the former foreign minister. Referring to Marco Minniti, Italy’s interior minister at the time, she added, “I was trying to push Minniti not to be so obsessed with people coming, but to make a policy of integration in Italy. But he only focused on Libya and smuggling and criminalizing NGOs with the help of prosecutors.”

    Bonino explained that the action against NGOs was part of a larger plan to change European policy in the central Mediterranean. The first step was the shift away from humanitarian rescue and toward border security and smuggling. The second step “was blaming the NGOs or arresting them, a sort of dirty campaign against them,” she said. “The results of which after so many years have been no convictions, no penalties, no trials.”

    Finally, the third step was to build a new coast guard in Libya to do what the Europeans couldn’t, per international law: intercept people at sea and bring them back to Libya, the country from which they had just fled.

    At first, leaders at Frontex were cautious. “From Frontex’s point of view, we look at Libya with concern; there is no stable state there,” Leggeri said in the 2017 interview. “We are now helping to train 60 officers for a possible future Libyan coast guard. But this is at best a beginning.”

    Bonino saw this effort differently. “They started providing support for their so-called coast guard,” she said, “which were the same traffickers changing coats.”
    Rescued migrants disembarking from a Libyan coast guard ship in the town of Khoms, a town 120 kilometres (75 miles) east of the capital on October 1, 2019.

    Same Uniforms, Same Ships

    Safe on land in Italy, Dieudonne was never called to testify in court. He hopes that none of his peers ended up in prison but said he would gladly testify against the traffickers if called. Aboard the coast guard ship, he remembers, “I gave the police contact information for the traffickers, I gave them names.”

    The smuggling operations in Libya happened out in the open, but Italian police could only go as far as international waters. Leaked documents from Operation Sophia describe years of efforts by European officials to get Libyan police to arrest smugglers. Behind closed doors, top Italian and EU officials admitted that these same smugglers were intertwined with the new Libyan coast guard that Europe was creating and that working with them would likely go against international law.

    As early as 2015, multiple officials at the anti-mafia meetings noted that some smugglers were uncomfortably close to members of the Libyan government. “Militias use the same uniforms and the same ships as the Libyan coast guard that the Italian navy itself is training,” Rear Adm. Enrico Credendino, then in charge of Operation Sophia, said in 2017. The head of the Libyan coast guard and the Libyan minister of defense, both allies of the Italian government, Credendino added, “have close relationships with some militia bosses.”

    One of the Libyan coast guard officers playing both sides was Abd al-Rahman Milad, also known as Bija. In 2019, the Italian newspaper Avvenire revealed that Bija participated in a May 2017 meeting in Sicily, alongside Italian border police and intelligence officials, that was aimed at stemming migration from Libya. A month later, he was condemned by the U.N. Security Council for his role as a top member of a powerful trafficking militia in the coastal town of Zawiya, and for, as the U.N. put it, “sinking migrant boats using firearms.”

    According to leaked documents from Operation Sophia, coast guard officers under Bija’s command were trained by the EU between 2016 and 2018.

    While the Italian government was prosecuting supposed smugglers in Italy, they were also working with people they knew to be smugglers in Libya. Minniti, Italy’s then-interior minister, justified the deals his government was making in Libya by saying that the prospect of mass migration from Africa made him “fear for the well-being of Italian democracy.”

    In one of the 2017 anti-mafia meetings, a representative of the Interior Ministry, Vittorio Pisani, outlined in clear terms a plan that provided for the direct coordination of the new Libyan coast guard. They would create “an operation room in Libya for the exchange of information with the Interior Ministry,” Pisani explained, “mainly on the position of NGO ships and their rescue operations, in order to employ the Libyan coast guard in its national waters.”

    And with that, the third step of the plan was set in motion. At the end of the meeting, Roberti suggested that the group invite representatives from the Libyan police to their next meeting. In an interview with The Intercept, Roberti confirmed that Libyan representatives attended at least two anti-mafia meetings and that he himself met Bija at a meeting in Libya, one month after the U.N. Security Council report was published. The following year, the Security Council committee on Libya sanctioned Bija, freezing his assets and banning him from international travel.

    “We needed to have the participation of Libyan institutions. But they did nothing, because they were taking money from the traffickers,” Roberti told us from the cafe in Naples. “They themselves were the traffickers.”
    A Place of Safety

    Roberti retired from the anti-mafia directorate in 2017. He said that under his leadership, the organization was able to create a basis for handling migration throughout Europe. Still, Roberti admits that his expansion of the DNAA into migration issues has had mixed results. Like his trip to Germany in the ’90s with Giovanni Falcone, Roberti said the anti-mafia strategy faltered because of a lack of collaboration: with the NGOs, with other European governments, and with Libya.

    “On a European level, the cooperation does not work,” Roberti said. Regarding Libya, he added, “We tried — I believe it was right, the agreements [the government] made. But it turned out to be a failure in the end.”

    The DNAA has since expanded its operations. Between 2017 and 2019, the Italian government passed two bills that put the anti-mafia directorate in charge of virtually all illegal immigration matters. Since 2017, five Sicilian prosecutors, all of whom attended at least one anti-mafia coordination meeting, have initiated 15 separate legal proceedings against humanitarian NGO workers. So far there have been no convictions: Three cases have been thrown out in court, and the rest are ongoing.

    Earlier this month, news broke that Sicilian prosecutors had wiretapped journalists and human rights lawyers as part of one of these investigations, listening in on legally protected conversations with sources and clients. The Italian justice ministry has opened an investigation into the incident, which could amount to criminal behavior, according to Italian legal experts. The prosecutor who approved the wiretaps attended at least one DNAA coordination meeting, where investigations against NGOs were discussed at length.

    As the DNAA has extended its reach, key actors from the anti-mafia coordination meetings have risen through the ranks of Italian and European institutions. One prosecutor, Federico Cafiero de Raho, now runs the anti-mafia directorate. Salvi, the former prosecutor of Catania, is the equivalent of Italy’s attorney general. Pisani, the former Interior Ministry representative, is deputy head of the Italian intelligence services. And Roberti is a member of the European Parliament.

    Cafiero de Raho stands by the investigations and arrests that the anti-mafia directorate has made over the years. He said the coordination meetings were an essential tool for prosecutors and police during difficult times.

    When asked about his specific comments during the meetings — particularly statements that humanitarian NGOs needed to be regulated and multiple admissions that members of the new Libyan coast guard were involved in smuggling activities — Cafiero de Raho said that his remarks should be placed in context, a time when Italy and the EU were working to build a coast guard in a part of Libya that was largely ruled by local militias. He said his ultimate goal was what, in the DNAA coordination meetings, he called the “extrajudicial solution”: attempts to prove the existence of crimes against humanity in Libya so that “the United Nation sends troops to Libya to dismantle migrants camps set up by traffickers … and retake control of that territory.”

    A spokesperson for the EU’s foreign policy arm, which ran Operation Sophia, refused to directly address evidence that leaders of the European military operation knew that parts of the new Libyan coast guard were also involved in smuggling activities, only noting that Bija himself wasn’t trained by the EU. A Frontex spokesperson stated that the agency “was not involved in the selection of officers to be trained.”

    In 2019, the European migration strategy changed again. Now, the vast majority of departures are intercepted by the Libyan coast guard and brought back to Libya. In March of that year, Operation Sophia removed all of its ships from the rescue area and has since focused on using aerial patrols to direct and coordinate the Libyan coast guard. Human rights lawyers in Europe have filed six legal actions against Italy and the EU as a result, calling the practice refoulement by proxy: facilitating the return of migrants to dangerous circumstances in violation of international law.

    Indeed, throughout four years of coordination meetings, Italy and the EU were admitting privately that returning people to Libya would be illegal. “Fundamental human rights violations in Libya make it impossible to push migrants back to the Libyan coast,” Pisani explained in 2015. Two years later, he outlined the beginnings of a plan that would do exactly that.

    The Result of Mere Chance

    Dieudonne knows he was lucky. The line that separates suspect and victim can be entirely up to police officers’ first impressions in the minutes or hours following a rescue. According to police reports used in prosecutions, physical attributes like having “a clearer skin tone” or behavior aboard the ship, including scrutinizing police movements “with strange interest,” were enough to rouse suspicion.

    In a 2019 ruling that acquitted seven alleged smugglers after three years of pretrial detention, judges wrote that “the selection of the suspects on one side, and the witnesses on the other, with the only exception of the driver, has almost been the result of mere chance.”

    Carrying out work for their Libyan captors has cost other migrants in Italy lengthy prison sentences. In September 2019, a 22-year-old Guinean nicknamed Suarez was arrested upon his arrival to Italy. Four witnesses told police he had collaborated with prison guards in Zawiya, at the immigrant detention center managed by the infamous Bija.

    “Suarez was also a prisoner, who then took on a job,” one of the witnesses told the court. Handing out meals or taking care of security is what those who can’t afford to pay their ransom often do in order to get out, explained another. “Unfortunately, you would have to be there to understand the situation,” the first witness said. Suarez was sentenced to 20 years in prison, recently reduced to 12 years on appeal.

    Dieudonne remembered his journey at sea vividly, but with surprising cool. When the boat began taking on water, he tried to help. “One must give help where it is needed.” At his office in Bari, Dieudonne bent over and moved his arms in a low scooping motion, like he was bailing water out of a boat.

    “Should they condemn me too?” he asked. He finds it ironic that it was the Libyans who eventually arrested Bija on human trafficking charges this past October. The Italians and Europeans, he said with a laugh, were too busy working with the corrupt coast guard commander. (In April, Bija was released from prison after a Libyan court absolved him of all charges. He was promoted within the coast guard and put back on the job.)

    Dieudonne thinks often about the people he identified aboard the coast guard ship in the middle of the sea. “I told the police the truth. But if that collaboration ends with the conviction of an innocent person, it’s not good,” he said. “Because I know that person did nothing. On the contrary, he saved our lives by driving that raft.”


    #Méditerranée #Italie #Libye #ONG #criminalisation_de_la_solidarité #solidarité #secours #mer_Méditerranée #asile #migrations #réfugiés #violence #passeurs #Méditerranée_centrale #anti-mafia #anti-terrorisme #Direzione_nazionale_antimafia_e_antiterrorismo #DNAA #Frontex #Franco_Roberti #justice #politique #Zuwara #torture #viol #Mare_Nostrum #Europol #eaux_internationales #droit_de_la_mer #droit_maritime #juridiction_italienne #arrestations #Gigi_Modica #scafista #scafisti #état_de_nécessité #Giovanni_Salvi #NGO #Operation_Sophia #MOAS #DNA #Carmelo_Zuccaro #Zuccaro #Fabrice_Leggeri #Leggeri #Marco_Minniti #Minniti #campagne #gardes-côtes_libyens #milices #Enrico_Credendino #Abd_al-Rahman_Milad #Bija ##Abdurhaman_al-Milad #Al_Bija #Zawiya #Vittorio_Pisani #Federico_Cafiero_de_Raho #solution_extrajudiciaire #pull-back #refoulement_by_proxy #refoulement #push-back #Suarez

    ping @karine4 @isskein @rhoumour

  • Cinq ans d’atteintes au droit maritime

    Depuis 2014, selon l’Organisation Internationale pour les Migrations (OIM), près de 20 000 personnes sont mortes en tentant de traverser la Méditerranée sur des embarcations impropres à la navigation - une catastrophe humanitaire qui perdure et aurait pu être évitée si les Etats européens s’en étaient donné les moyens. A la veille des élections européennes, SOS MEDITERRANEE revient sur cinq ans de détérioration et d’atteintes au droit maritime international et au droit humanitaire en Méditerranée centrale.

    2013-2014 : MARE NOSTRUM, une opération de la marine italienne torpillée par l’Union européenne

    A la suite d’un terrible naufrage au large de Lampedusa, l’Italie lance l’opération de recherche et de sauvetage Mare Nostrum le 18 octobre 2013 afin de « prêter assistance à quiconque est trouvé en péril en mer ». Plus de 150 000 vies sont sauvées. Mais le 31 octobre 2014, l’Italie met fin à l’opération en raison du manque de soutien de l’Union européenne. Mare Nostrum est remplacée par Triton, dont le but premier n’est plus de sauver des vies mais de contrôler les frontières. Malgré l’absence de navires de secours en mer, les gens continuent à fuir la Libye. Résultat : plusieurs milliers d’hommes, de femmes et d’enfants meurent noyés en tentant la traversée.

    Voir la vidéo - épisode 1 :

    Depuis février 2017 : renforcement des garde-côtes libyens et création d’une zone de recherche et de sauvetage gérée depuis Tripoli

    En février 2017, les chefs d’Etat européens réunis à Malte adoptent la Déclaration de Malte prévoyant la formation, l’équipement et le financement des garde-côtes libyens afin qu’ils puissent intercepter les embarcations en détresse et les ramener de force vers la Libye. Au regard de la situation de chaos qui prévaut en Libye, ceci est totalement contraire au droit maritime et au droit des réfugiés.

    En juin 2018, une région de recherche et de sauvetage libyenne est créée dans les eaux internationales, ce qui provoque une grande confusion dans les opérations de sauvetage. Des milliers de personnes interceptées sont refoulées illégalement en Libye ; d’autres ne sont pas secourues car les garde-côtes libyens ne peuvent assurer des sauvetages efficaces et sûrs. Les rescapés sont ramenés dans des camps où ils sont soumis à des violations systématiques de leurs droits fondamentaux, à la torture, au viol, au travail forcé, à des exécutions arbitraires. L’obligation légale de conduire les survivants des sauvetages vers un « lieu sûr » est bafouée. A terre comme en mer, des milliers de personnes périssent.

    Voir la vidéo - épisode 2 :

    Depuis 2017 : graves entraves à l’action des navires civils de sauvetage

    Créées en 2014 et 2015 par des citoyens européens pour combler le vide laissé par leurs gouvernements, les ONG de recherche et de sauvetage deviennent la cible de harcèlement administratif, politique et judiciaire qui les empêche de sauver des vies. Depuis 2017, plusieurs enquêtes sont lancées contre les navires et leurs équipages, sans que les accusateurs ne puissent prouver la moindre action illégale. Des navires tels que l’Aquarius de SOS MEDITERRANEE sont privés de pavillon suite à des pressions politiques. Alors que les sauveteurs sont entravés dans leur action, le devoir d’assistance en mer est bafoué, les témoins écartés.

    Voir la vidéo - épisode 3 :

    Depuis juin 2018 : fermeture des ports, les rescapés bloqués en mer

    Juin 2018 : après la fermeture des ports italiens aux navires de sauvetage, l’odyssée de l’Aquarius, contraint de débarquer à Valence en Espagne les 630 rescapés à son bord, inaugure une longue série de blocages en mer. Les navires, quels qu’ils soient, sont bloqués des jours voire des semaines avant qu’une solution de débarquement ad hoc ne soit proposée par quelques Etats européens, avec une répartition des rescapés par quotas. Le droit maritime prévoit pourtant que les navires doivent être relevés de la responsabilité du sauvetage aussi vite que possible et traiter les survivants humainement. En mer, les navires immobilisés ne peuvent secourir d’autres personnes en détresse. La capacité de sauvetage est encore réduite et la mortalité explose.

    Vidéo à venir.

    #ONG #histoire #chronologie #Méditerranée #naufrages #sauvetages #mourir_en_mer #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières #mer_Méditerranée #vidéo #droit_maritime #Mare_Nostrum #Triton

    ping @reka

  • #Chronologie des #politiques_migratoires européennes

    En octobre #2013, l’#Italie lance l’opération #Mare_Nostrum suite au naufrage survenu à quelques kilomètres de l’île de Lampedusa en Sicile où 366 personnes ont perdu la vie. Elle débloque alors des moyens matériels (hélicoptères, bateaux, garde-côtes, aide humanitaire) et des fonds considérables (environ 9 millions d’euros par mois) pour éviter de nouveaux naufrages et contrôler les migrants arrivant au sud de l’Italie.

    Au sein de l’Union Européenne, les États votent la résolution #Eurosur qui met en place système européen de surveillance des frontières qui sera assuré par l’agence #Frontex. Frontex est chargée d’assister techniquement les pays pour protéger leurs frontières extérieures et former leurs garde-côtes. En 2018, son siège à Varsovie lui a accordé un budget de 320 millions d’euros. Elle dispose à ce jour (février 2019) de 976 agents, 17 bateaux, 4 avions, 2 hélicoptères, et 59 voitures de patrouille, des moyens qui seront accrus d’ici 2020 avec la formation d’un corps permanent de 10 000 agents et un pouvoir d’exécution renforcé et souhaité par la Commission européenne d’ici 2027.

    Dans le cadre de leur mission de surveillance de la mer, les agents de Frontex interceptent les embarcations d’exilés, contrôlent les rescapés et les remettent aux autorités du pays où ils sont débarqués. Les bateaux Frontex sillonnent ainsi les eaux internationales du Maroc à l’Albanie. Les ONG humanitaires l’accusent de vouloir repousser les migrants dans leurs pays d’origine et de transit comme le prévoient les États de l’Union Européenne.

    Octobre 2014, l’opération Mare Nostrum qui a pourtant permis de sauver 150 000 personnes en un an et d’arrêter 351 passeurs, est stoppée par l’Italie qui investit 9 millions d’euros par mois et ne veut plus porter cette responsabilité seule. L’agence européenne Frontex via l’opération Triton est chargée de reprendre le flambeau avec des pays membres. Mais elle se contente alors de surveiller uniquement les eaux territoriales européennes là où Mare Nostrum allait jusqu’aux côtes libyennes pour effectuer des sauvetages. La recherche et le sauvetage ne sont plus assurés, faisant de ce passage migratoire le plus mortel au monde. L’Italie qui est alors pointée du doigts par des États membres car elle n’assure plus sa mission de sauvetage, de recherche et de prise en charge au large de ses côtes est dans le même temps accusée par les mêmes d’inciter les traversées « sécurisées » en venant en aide aux exilés et de provoquer un appel d’air. Une accusation démentie très rapidement par le nombre de départs qui est resté le même après l’arrêt de l’opération Mare Nostrum.

    L’Italie qui avait déployé un arsenal impressionnant pour le sauvetage durant cette période n’avait pas pour autant assuré la prise en charge et procédé à l’enregistrement des dizaines de milliers d’exilés arrivant sur son sol comme le prévoit l’accord de Dublin (prise empreintes et demande d’asile dans le premier pays d’accueil). Le nombre de demandes d’asile enregistrées fut bien supérieur en France, en Allemagne et en Suède à cette même période.

    #2015 marque un tournant des politiques migratoires européennes. Le corps du petit syrien, #Aylan_Kurdi retrouvé sans vie sur une plage turque le 2 septembre 2015, a ému la communauté européenne seulement quelques semaines, rattrapée ensuite par la peur de ne pas pouvoir gérer une crise humanitaire imminente. « Elle n’a jusqu’ici pas trouvé de réponse politique et collective à l’exil », analysent les chercheurs. Les pays membres de l’Union Européenne ont opté jusqu’à ce jour pour des politiques d’endiguement des populations de migrants dans leurs pays d’origine ou de transit comme en Turquie, en Libye ou au Maroc, plutôt que pour des politiques d’intégration.

    Seule l’#Allemagne en 2015 avait opté pour une politique d’accueil et du traitement des demandes d’asile sans les conditions imposées par l’accord de #Dublin qui oblige les réfugiés à faire une demande dans le premier pays d’accueil. La chancelière allemande avait permis à un million de personnes de venir en Allemagne et d’entamer une demande d’asile. « Elle démontrait qu’on peut être humaniste tout en légalisant le passage de frontières que l’Europe juge généralement indésirables. Elle a aussi montré que c’est un faux-semblant pour les gouvernements de brandir la menace des extrêmes-droites xénophobes et qu’il est bien au contraire possible d’y répondre par des actes d’hospitalité et des paroles », décrit Michel Agier dans son livre “Les migrants et nous”.

    En mars #2016, la #Turquie et l’Union européenne signent un #accord qui prévoit le renvoi des migrants arrivant en Grèce et considérés comme non éligibles à l’asile en Turquie. La Turquie a reçu 3 milliards d’aide afin de garder sur son territoire les candidats pour l’Europe. A ce jour, des réseaux de passeurs entre la Turquie et la #Grèce (5 kms de navigation) sévissent toujours et des milliers de personnes arrivent chaque jour sur les îles grecques où elles sont comme à Lesbos, retenues dans des camps insalubres où l’attente de la demande d’asile est interminable.

    En #2017, l’OIM (Office international des migrations), remarque une baisse des arrivées de réfugiés sur le continent européen. Cette baisse est liée à plusieurs facteurs qui vont à l’encontre des conventions des droits des réfugiés à savoir le renforcement des contrôles et interceptions en mer par l’agence Frontex, le refus de l’Europe d’accueillir les rescapés secourus en mer et surtout la remise entre les mains des garde-côtes libyens des coordinations de sauvetages et de leur mise en place, encouragés et financés par l’UE afin de ramener les personnes migrantes en #Libye. Cette baisse ne signifie pas qu’il y a moins de personnes migrantes qui quittent leur pays, arrivent en Libye et quittent ensuite la Libye : 13 185 personnes ont été ainsi interceptées par les Libyens en Méditerranée en 2018, des centaines ont été secourues par les ONG et plus de 2 250 seraient mortes, sans compter celles dont les embarcations n’ont pas été repérées et ont disparu en mer.

    En avril #2018, le président Macron suggérait un pacte pour les réfugiés pour réformer le système de #relocalisation des migrants en proposant un programme européen qui soutienne directement financièrement les collectivités locales qui accueillent et intègrent des réfugiés : « nous devons obtenir des résultats tangibles en débloquant le débat empoisonné sur le règlement de Dublin et les relocalisations », déclarait-il. Mais les pourparlers qui suivirent n’ont pas fait caisse de raisonnance et l’Europe accueille au compte goutte.

    La #Pologne et la #Hongrie refuse alors l’idée de répartition obligatoire, le premier ministre hongrois
    Victor #Orban déclare : « Ils forcent ce plan pour faire de l’Europe un continent mixte, seulement nous, nous résistons encore ».

    Le 28 juin 2018, lors d’un sommet, les 28 tentent de s’accorder sur les migrations afin de répartir les personnes réfugiées arrivant en Italie et en Grèce dans les autres pays de l’Union européenne. Mais au terme de ce sommet, de nombreuses questions restent en suspend, les ONG sont consternées. La politique migratoire se durcit.

    Juillet 2018, le ministre italien Matteo #Salvini fraîchement élu annonce, en totale violation du droit maritime, la #fermeture_des_ports italiens où étaient débarquées les personnes rescapées par différentes entités transitant en #Méditerranée dont les #ONG humanitaires comme #SOS_Méditerranée et son bateau l’#Aquarius. Les bateaux de huit ONG se retrouvent sans port d’accueil alors que le droit maritime prévoit que toute personne se trouvant en danger en mer doit être secourue par les bateaux les plus proches et être débarquées dans un port sûr (où assistance, logement, hygiène et sécurité sont assurés). Malgré la condition posée par l’Italie de ré-ouvrir ses ports si les autres États européens prennent en charge une part des migrants arrivant sur son sol, aucun d’entre eux ne s’est manifesté. Ils font aujourd’hui attendre plusieurs jours, voir semaines, les bateaux d’ONG ayant à leur bord seulement des dizaines de rescapés avant de se décider enfin à en accueillir quelques uns.

    Les 28 proposent des #zones_de_débarquement hors Europe, dans des pays comme la Libye, la Turquie, le Maroc, le Niger où seraient mis en place des centres fermés ou ouverts dans lesquels serait établie la différence entre migrants irréguliers à expulser et les demandeurs d’asile légitimes à répartir en Europe, avec le risque que nombre d’entre eux restent en réalité bloqués dans ces pays. Des pays où les droits de l’homme et le droit à la sécurité des migrants en situation de vulnérabilité, droits protégés en principe par les conventions dont les Européens sont signataires, risquent de ne pas d’être respectés. Des représentants du Maroc, de la Tunisie et d’Albanie, pays également évoqués par les Européens ont déjà fait savoir qu’ils ne sont pas favorables à une telle décision.
    #plateformes_de_désembarquement #disembarkation_paltforms #plateformes_de_débarquement #regional_disembarkation_platforms

    Malgré les rapports des ONG, Médecins sans frontières, Oxfam, LDH, Amnesty International et les rappels à l’ordre des Nations Unies sur les conditions de vie inhumaines vécues par les exilés retenus en Grèce, en Libye, au Niger, les pays de l’Union européenne, ne bougent pas d’un millimètre et campent sur la #fermeture_des_frontières, avec des hommes politiques attachés à l’opinion publique qui suit dangereusement le jeu xénophobe de la Hongrie et de la Pologne, chefs de file et principaux instigateurs de la peur de l’étranger.

    Réticences européennes contre mobilisations citoyennes :
    Malgré les positions strictes de l’Europe, les citoyens partout en Europe poursuivent leurs actions, leurs soutiens et solidarités envers les ONG. SOS Méditerranée active en France, Allemagne, Italie, et Suisse est à la recherche d’une nouveau bateau et armateur, les bateaux des ONG Sea Watch et Sea Eye tentent leur retour en mer, des pilotes solidaires originaires de Chamonix proposent un soutien d’observation aérienne, la ligne de l’association Alarm Phone gérée par des bénévoles continue de recevoir des appels de détresse venant de la Méditerranée, ils sont ensuite transmis aux bateaux présents sur zone. Partout en Europe, des citoyens organisent la solidarité et des espaces de sécurité pour les exilés en mal d’humanité.

    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #EU #UE #frontières

    ping @reka

  • Europe’s deadly migration strategy. Officials knew EU military operation made Mediterranean crossing more dangerous.

    Since its creation in 2015, Europe’s military operation in the Mediterranean — named “#Operation_Sophia” — has saved some 49,000 people from the sea. But that was never really the main objective.

    The goal of the operation — which at its peak involved over a dozen sea and air assets from 27 EU countries, including ships, airplanes, drones and submarines — was to disrupt people-smuggling networks off the coast of Libya and, by extension, stem the tide of people crossing the sea to Europe.

    European leaders have hailed the operation as a successful joint effort to address the migration crisis that rocked the bloc starting in 2015, when a spike in arrivals overwhelmed border countries like Greece and Italy and sparked a political fight over who would be responsible for the new arrivals.

    But a collection of leaked documents from the European External Action Service, the bloc’s foreign policy arm, obtained by POLITICO (https://g8fip1kplyr33r3krz5b97d1-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/OperationSophia.pdf), paint a different picture.

    In internal memos, the operation’s leaders admit Sophia’s success has been limited by its own mandate — it can only operate in international waters, not in Libyan waters or on land, where smuggling networks operate — and it is underfunded, understaffed and underequipped.

    “Sophia is a military operation with a very political agenda" — Barbara Spinelli, Italian MEP

    The confidential reports also show the EU is aware that a number of its policies have made the sea crossing more dangerous for migrants, and that it nonetheless chose to continue to pursue those strategies. Officials acknowledge internally that some members of the Libyan coast guard that the EU funds, equips and trains are collaborating with smuggling networks.

    For the operation’s critics, the EU’s willingness to turn a blind eye to these shortcomings — as well as serious human rights abuses by the Libyan coast guard and in the country’s migrant detention centers — are symptomatic of what critics call the bloc’s incoherent approach to managing migration and its desire to outsource the problem to non-EU countries.

    “Sophia is a military operation with a very political agenda,” said Barbara Spinelli, an Italian MEP and member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in the European Parliament. “It has become an instrument of refoulement, legitimizing militias with criminal records, dressed up as coast guards.”

    Now the operation, which is managed by Italy and has been dogged by political disagreements since it began, is coming under increasing pressure as the deadline for its renewal approaches in March.

    Italy’s deputy prime minister, far-right leader Matteo Salvini, has said the operation should only be extended if there are new provisions to resettle rescued people across the bloc. Last month, Germany announced it would be discontinuing its participation in the program, claiming that Italy’s refusal to allow rescued migrants to disembark is undermining the mission.

    Named after a baby girl born on an EU rescue ship, Sophia is the uneasy compromise to resolve a deep split across the bloc: between those who pushed for proactive search-and-rescue efforts to save more lives and those who favored pulling resources from the sea to make the crossing more dangerous.

    The naval operation sits uncomfortably between the two, rescuing migrants in distress at sea, but insisting its primary focus is to fight smugglers off the coast of Libya. The two activities are frequently in conflict.

    The operation has cycled through a number of strategies since its launch: a campaign to destroy boats used by smugglers; law-enforcement interviews with those rescued at sea; extensive aerial surveillance; and training and funding a newly consolidated Libyan coast guard.

    But the success of these approaches is highly disputed, and in some cases they have put migrants’ lives at greater risk.

    The EU’s policy of destroying the wooden boats used by smugglers to avoid them being reused, for example, has indeed disrupted the Libyan smuggling business, but at a substantial human cost.

    As Libyan smugglers lost their wooden boats, many started to rely more heavily on smaller, cheaper rubber boats. The boats, which smugglers often overfill to maximize profit, are not as safe as the wooden vessels and less likely to reach European shores. Instead, Libyan smugglers started to abandon migrants in international waters, leaving them to be pulled out of peril by European rescue ships.

    Sophia officials tracked the situation and were aware of the increased risk to migrants as a result of the policy. “Smugglers can no longer recover smuggling vessels on the high seas, effectively rendering them a less economic option for the smuggling business and thereby hampering it,” they wrote in a 2016 status report seen by POLITICO.

    The report acknowledged however that the policy has pushed migrants into using rubber boats, putting them in greater danger. “Effectively, with the limited supply and the degree of overloading, the migrant vessels are [distress] cases from the moment they launch,” it said.

    These overfilled rubber boats, which officials described as shipwrecks waiting to happen, also present a problem for the EU operation.

    International maritime law compels vessels to respond to people in distress at sea and bring the rescued to a nearby safe port. And because European courts have held that Libya has no safe port, that means bringing migrants found at sea to Europe — in most cases, Italy.

    This has exacerbated political tensions in the country, where far-right leader Salvini has responded to the influx of new arrivals by closing ports to NGO and humanitarian ships carrying migrants and threatening to bar Sophia vessels from docking.

    Meanwhile, Sophia officials have complained that rescuing people from leaking, unseaworthy boats detracted from the operation’s ability to pursue its primary target: Libyan smugglers.

    In a leaked status report from 2017, Sophia officials made a highly unusual suggestion: that the operation be granted permission to suspend its rescue responsibilities in order to focus on its anti-smuggling operations.

    “Consideration should be given to an option that would allow the operation to be authorized for being temporarily exempt from search and rescue when actively conducting anti-smuggling operations against jackals in international waters,” the report read.

    The EU has also wilfully ignored inconvenient aspects of its policies when it comes to its collaboration with Libya’s municipal coast guard.

    The intention of the strategy — launched one year into the Sophia operation — was to equip Libyan authorities to intercept migrant boats setting off from the Libyan coast and bring people back to shore. This saved Europe from sending its own ships close to coast, and meant that people could be brought back to Libya, rather than to Europe, as required by international maritime law — or more specifically, Italy.

    Here too, the EU was aware it was pursuing a problematic strategy, as the Libyan coast guard has a well-documented relationship with Libyan smugglers.

    A leaked report from Frontex, the EU’s coast guard, noted in 2016: “As mentioned in previous reports, some members of Libya’s local authorities are involved in smuggling activities.” The report cited interviews with recently rescued people who said they were smuggled by Libyans in uniform. It also noted that similar conclusions were reported multiple times by the Italian coast guard and Operation Sophia.

    “Many of [the coast guard officers] were militia people — many of them fought with militias during the civil war" — Rabih Boualleg, Operation Sophia translator

    In Sophia’s leaked status report from 2017, operation leaders noted that “migrant smuggling and human trafficking networks remain well ingrained” throughout the region and that smugglers routinely “pay off authorities” for passage to international waters.

    “Many of [the coast guard officers] were militia people — many of them fought with militias during the civil war,” said Rabih Boualleg, who worked as a translator for Operation Sophia in late 2016 on board a Dutch ship involved in training the coast guard from Tripoli.

    “They were telling me that many of them hadn’t gotten their government salaries in eight months. They told me, jokingly, that they were ‘forced’ to take money from smugglers sometimes.”

    The coast guards talked openly about accepting money from smuggling networks in exchange for escorting rubber boats to international waters instead of turning them back toward the shore, Boualleg said.

    “If the [on-duty] coast guard came,” Boualleg added, “they would just say they were fishermen following the rubber boats, that’s all.”

    Frontex’s 2016 report documents similar cases. Two officials with close knowledge of Sophia’s training of the Libyan coast guard also confirmed that members of the coast guard are involved in smuggling networks. A spokesperson for the Libyan coast guard did not return repeated requests for comment.

    EU governments have, for the most part, simply looked the other way.

    And that’s unlikely to change, said a senior European official with close knowledge of Operation Sophia who spoke on condition of anonymity. For the first time since the start of the operation, Libyan authorities are returning more people to Libya than are arriving in Italy.

    “If Italy decides — since it is the country in command of Operation Sophia — to stop it, it is up to Italy to make this decision" — Dimitris Avramopoulos, immigration commissioner

    “Europe doesn’t want to upset this balance,” the official said. “Any criticism of the coast guards could lead to resentment, to relaxing.”

    Two years into the training program, leaked reports also show the Libyan coast guard was unable to manage search-and-rescue activities on its own. Sophia monitors their operations with GoPro cameras and through surveillance using ships, airplanes, drones and submarines.

    The operation is limited by its mandate, but it has made progress in difficult circumstances, an EEAS spokesperson said. Operation Sophia officials did not respond to multiple interview requests and declined to answer questions via email.

    “The provision of training the Libyan coast guard and navy, as well as continued engagement with them have proven to be the most effecting complementary tool to disrupt the activities of those involved in trafficking,” the EEAS spokesperson said in an email.

    The spokesperson maintained that Libyan coast guards who are trained by Operation Sophia undergo a “thorough vetting procedure." The spokesperson also stated that, while Operation Sophia does advise and monitor the Libyan coast guard, the operation is not involved “in the decision-making in relation to operations.”


    With the March deadline for the operation’s renewal fast approaching, pressure is mounting to find a way to reform Sophia or disband it altogether.

    When Salvini closed Italy’s ports to NGO and humanitarian ships last July, the country’s foreign minister turned to the EU to negotiate a solution that would ensure migrants rescued as part of Operation Sophia would be resettled among other countries. At the time, Italy said it expected results “within weeks.” Six months later, neither side has found a way through the impasse.

    “The fate of this operation is not determined yet,” European Commissioner for Immigration Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters last month, adding that discussions about allowing migrants to disembark in non-Italian ports are still underway among member countries.

    “If Italy decides — since it is the country in command of Operation Sophia — to stop it, it is up to Italy to make this decision.”

    The political fight over the future of the operation has been made more acute by an increase in criticism from human rights organizations. Reports of violence, torture and extortion in Libyan detention centers have put the naval operation and EEAS on the defensive.

    A Human Rights Watch report published in January found that Europe’s support for the Libyan coast guard has contributed to cases of arbitrary detention, and that people intercepted by Libyan authorities “face inhuman and degrading conditions and the risk of torture, sexual violence, extortion, and forced labor.” Amnesty International has also condemned the conditions under which migrants are being held, and in an open letter published earlier this month, 50 major aid organizations warned that “EU leaders have allowed themselves to become complicit in the tragedy unfolding before their eyes.”

    These human rights violations have been well documented. In 2016, the U.N. Human Rights Office said it considered “migrants to be at high risk of suffering serious human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, in Libya and thus urges States not to return, or facilitate the return of, persons to Libya.”

    Last June, the U.N. sanctioned six men for smuggling and human rights violations, including the head of the coast guard in Zawiya, a city west of Tripoli. A number of officials under his command, a leaked EEAS report found, were trained by Operation Sophia.

    An EEAS spokesperson would not comment on the case of the Zawiya coast guards trained by Operation Sophia or how the officers were vetted. The spokesperson said that none of the coast guards “trained by Operation Sophia” are on the U.N. sanctions list.

    The deteriorating human rights situation has prompted a growing chorus of critics to argue the EU’s arrangement with Libya is unsustainable.

    “What does the EU do in Libya? They throw money at projects, but they don’t have a very tangible operation on the ground" — Tarek Megerisi, Libyan expert

    “Returning anyone to Libya is against international law,” said Salah Margani, a former justice minister in Libya’s post-civil war government. “Libya is not a safe place. They will be subject to murder. They will be subjected to torture.”

    “This is documented,” Margani added. “And [Europe] knows it.”

    Sophia is also indicative of a larger, ineffective European policy toward Libya, said Tarek Megerisi, a Libya specialist at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

    “What does the EU do in Libya? They throw money at projects, but they don’t have a very tangible operation on the ground. They really struggle to convert what they spend into political currency — Operation Sophia is all they’ve got,” he said.

    The project, he added, is less a practical attempt to stop smuggling or save migrants than a political effort to paper over differences within the EU when it comes to migration policy.

    With Sophia, he said, Europe is “being as vague as possible so countries like Italy and Hungary can say this is our tool for stopping migration, and countries like Germany and Sweden can say we’re saving lives.”

    “With this operation, there’s something for everyone,” he said.


    Commentaire ECRE :

    Leaked documents obtained by @POLITICOEurope show that the #EU knew its military operation “Sophia” in the Mediterranean made sea crossing more dangerous.


    #responsabilité #Méditerranée #mourir_en_mer #asile #migrations #réfugiés #mer_Méditerranée #Frontex #EU #UE
    #leaks #sauvetage #externalisation #frontières


    Mise en exergue de quelques passages de l’article qui me paraissent particulièrement intéressants :

    The confidential reports also show the EU is aware that a number of its policies have made the sea crossing more dangerous for migrants, and that it nonetheless chose to continue to pursue those strategies. Officials acknowledge internally that some members of the Libyan coast guard that the EU funds, equips and trains are collaborating with smuggling networks.

    Named after a baby girl born on an EU rescue ship, Sophia is the uneasy compromise to resolve a deep split across the bloc: between those who pushed for proactive search-and-rescue efforts to save more lives and those who favored pulling resources from the sea to make the crossing more dangerous.
    The naval operation sits uncomfortably between the two, rescuing migrants in distress at sea, but insisting its primary focus is to fight smugglers off the coast of Libya. The two activities are frequently in conflict.

    The report acknowledged however that the policy has pushed migrants into using rubber boats, putting them in greater danger. “Effectively, with the limited supply and the degree of overloading, the migrant vessels are [distress] cases from the moment they launch,” it said.

    In a leaked status report from 2017 (https://g8fip1kplyr33r3krz5b97d1-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/ENFM-2017-2.pdf), Sophia officials made a highly unusual suggestion: that the operation be granted permission to suspend its rescue responsibilities in order to focus on its anti-smuggling operations.

    “Consideration should be given to an option that would allow the operation to be authorized for being temporarily exempt from search and rescue when actively conducting anti-smuggling operations against jackals in international waters,” the report read.

    A leaked report from #Frontex (https://theintercept.com/2017/04/02/new-evidence-undermines-eu-report-tying-refugee-rescue-group-to-smuggl), the EU’s coast guard, noted in 2016: “As mentioned in previous reports, some members of Libya’s local authorities are involved in smuggling activities.” The report cited interviews with recently rescued people who said they were smuggled by Libyans in uniform. It also noted that similar conclusions were reported multiple times by the Italian coast guard and Operation Sophia.

    In Sophia’s leaked status report from 2017, operation leaders noted that “migrant smuggling and human trafficking networks remain well ingrained” throughout the region and that smugglers routinely “pay off authorities” for passage to international waters. “Many of [the coast guard officers] were militia people — many of them fought with militias during the civil war,” said Rabih Boualleg, who worked as a translator for Operation Sophia in late 2016 on board a Dutch ship involved in training the coast guard from Tripoli. The coast guards talked openly about accepting money from smuggling networks in exchange for escorting rubber boats to international waters instead of turning them back toward the shore, Boualleg said.

    Frontex’s 2016 report documents similar cases. Two officials with close knowledge of Sophia’s training of the Libyan coast guard also confirmed that members of the coast guard are involved in smuggling networks. A spokesperson for the Libyan coast guard did not return repeated requests for comment.

    Two years into the training program, leaked reports (https://g8fip1kplyr33r3krz5b97d1-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/ENFM-Monitoring-of-Libyan-Coast-Guard-and-Navy-Report-October-2017-January-2018.pdf) also show the Libyan coast guard was unable to manage search-and-rescue activities on its own. Sophia monitors their operations with GoPro cameras and through surveillance using ships, airplanes, drones and submarines.

    A Human Rights Watch report (https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/01/21/no-escape-hell/eu-policies-contribute-abuse-migrants-libya) published in January found that Europe’s support for the Libyan coast guard has contributed to cases of arbitrary detention, and that people intercepted by Libyan authorities “face inhuman and degrading conditions and the risk of torture, sexual violence, extortion, and forced labor.” Amnesty International has also condemned (https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/LY/DetainedAndDehumanised_en.pdf) the conditions under which migrants are being held, and in an open letter published earlier this month, 50 major aid organizations warned that “EU leaders have allowed themselves to become complicit in the tragedy unfolding before their eyes.”

    “Returning anyone to Libya is against international law,” said Salah Margani, a former justice minister in Libya’s post-civil war government. “Libya is not a safe place. They will be subject to murder. They will be subjected to torture.”

    “This is documented,” Margani added. “And [Europe] knows it.”
    Sophia is also indicative of a larger, ineffective European policy toward Libya, said Tarek Megerisi, a Libya specialist at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
    “What does the EU do in Libya? They throw money at projects, but they don’t have a very tangible operation on the ground. They really struggle to convert what they spend into political currency — Operation Sophia is all they’ve got,” he said.

    With Sophia, he said, Europe is “being as vague as possible so countries like Italy and Hungary can say this is our tool for stopping migration, and countries like Germany and Sweden can say we’re saving lives.”
    “With this operation, there’s something for everyone,” he said.


  • Fires in the Void : The Need for Migrant Solidarity

    For most, Barcelona’s immigrant detention center is a difficult place to find. Tucked away in the Zona Franca logistics and industrial area, just beyond the Montjuïc Cemetery, it is shrouded in an alien stillness. It may be the quietest place in the city on a Saturday afternoon, but it is not a contemplative quiet. It is a no-one-can-hear-you-scream quiet.

    The area is often described as a perfect example of what anthropologist Marc Augé calls a non-place: neither relational nor historical, nor concerned with identity. Yet this opaque institution is situated in the economic motor of the city, next to the port, the airport, the public transportation company, the wholesale market that provides most of the city’s produce and the printing plant for Spain’s most widely read newspaper. The detention center is a void in the heart of a sovereign body.

    Alik Manukyan died in this void. On the morning of December 3, 2013, officers found the 32-year-old Armenian dead in his isolation cell, hanged using his own shoelaces. Police claimed that Manukyan was a “violent” and “conflictive” person who caused trouble with his cellmates. This account of his alleged suicide was contradicted, however, by three detainees. They claimed Alik had had a confrontation with some officers, who then entered the cell, assaulted him and forced him into isolation. They heard Alik scream and wail all through the night. Two of these witnesses were deported before the case made it to court. An “undetectable technical error” prevented the judge from viewing any surveillance footage.

    The void extends beyond the detention center. In 2013, nearly a decade after moving to Spain, a young Senegalese man named #Alpha_Pam died of tuberculosis. When he went to a hospital for treatment, Pam was denied medical attention because his papers were not in order. His case was a clear example of the apartheid logic underlying a 2012 decree by Mariano Rajoy’s right-wing government, which excluded undocumented people from Spain’s once-universal public health care system. As a result, the country’s hospitals went from being places of universal care to spaces of systematic neglect. The science of healing, warped by nationalist politics.

    Not that science had not played a role in perpetuating the void before. In 2007, during the Socialist government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, #Osamuyi_Aikpitanyi died during a deportation flight after being gagged and restrained by police escorts. The medical experts who investigated Aikpitanyi’s death concluded that the Nigerian man had died due to a series of factors they called “a vicious spiral”. There was an increase in catecholamine, a neurotransmitter related to stress, fear, panic and flight instincts. This was compounded by a lack of oxygen due to the flight altitude and, possibly, the gag. Ultimately, these experts could not determine what percentage of the death had been directly caused by the gag, and the police were fined 600 euros for the non-criminal offense of “light negligence”.

    The Romans had a term for lives like these, lives that vanish in the void. That term was #homo_sacer, the “sacred man”, who one could kill without being found guilty of murder. An obscure figure from archaic law revived by the philosopher #Giorgio_Agamben, it was used to incorporate human life, stripped of personhood, into the juridical order. Around this figure, a state of exception was produced, in which power could be exercised in its crudest form, opaque and unaccountable. For Agamben, this is the unspoken ground upon which modern sovereignty stands. Perhaps the best example of it is the mass grave that the Mediterranean has become.

    Organized Hypocrisy

    Its name suggests that the Mediterranean was once the world’s center. Today it is its deadliest divide. According to the International Organization for Migration, over 9,000 people died trying to cross the sea between January 1, 2014 and July 5, 2018. A conservative estimate, perhaps. The UN Refugee Agency estimates that the number of people found dead or missing during this period is closer to 17,000.

    Concern for the situation peaks when spectacular images make the horror unavoidable. A crisis mentality takes over, and politicians make sweeping gestures with a solemn sense of urgency. One such gesture was made after nearly 400 people died en route to Lampedusa in October 2013. The Italian government responded by launching Operation #Mare_Nostrum, a search-and-rescue program led by the country’s navy and coast guard. It cost €11 million per month, deploying 34 warships and about 900 sailors per working day. Over 150,000 people were rescued by the operation in one year.

    Despite its cost, Mare Nostrum was initially supported by much of the Italian public. It was less popular, however, with other European member states, who accused the mission of encouraging “illegal” migration by making it less deadly. Within a year, Europe’s refusal to share the responsibility had produced a substantial degree of discontent in Italy. In October 2014, Mare Nostrum was scrapped and replaced by #Triton, an operation led by the European border agency #Frontex.

    With a third of Mare Nostrum’s budget, Triton was oriented not towards protecting lives but towards surveillance and border control. As a result, the deadliest incidents in the region’s history occurred less than half a year into the operation. Between April 13 and April 19, 2015, over one thousand people drowned in the waters abandoned by European search and rescue efforts. Once again, the images produced a public outcry. Once again, European leaders shed crocodile tears for the dead.

    Instead of strengthening search and rescue efforts, the EU increased Frontex’s budget and complemented Triton with #Operation_Sophia, a military effort to disrupt the networks of so-called “smugglers”. #Eugenio_Cusumano, an assistant professor of international relations at the University of Leiden, has written extensively on the consequences of this approach, which he describes as “organized hypocrisy”. In an article for the Cambridge Review of International Affairs (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0010836718780175), Cusumano shows how the shortage of search and rescue assets caused by the termination of Mare Nostrum led non-governmental organizations to become the main source of these activities off the Libyan shore. Between 2014 and 2017, NGOs aided over 100,000 people.

    Their efforts have been admirable. Yet the precariousness of their resources and their dependence on private donors mean that NGOs have neither the power nor the capacity to provide aid on the scale required to prevent thousands of deaths at the border. To make matters worse, for the last several months governments have been targeting NGOs and individual activists as smugglers or human traffickers, criminalizing their solidarity. It is hardly surprising, then, that the border has become even deadlier in recent years. According to the UN Refugee Agency, although the number of attempted crossings has fallen over 80 percent from its peak in 2015, the percentage of people who have died or vanished has quadrupled.

    It is not my intention, with the litany of deaths described here, to simply name some of the people killed by Europe’s border regime. What I hope to have done instead is show the scale of the void at its heart and give a sense of its ruthlessness and verticality. There is a tendency to refer to this void as a gap, as a space beyond the reach of European institutions, the European gaze or European epistemologies. If this were true, the void could be filled by simply extending Europe’s reach, by producing new concepts, mapping new terrains, building new institutions.

    But, in fact, Europe has been treating the void as a site of production all along. As political theorist #Sandro_Mezzadra writes, the border is the method through which the sovereign machine of governmentality was built. Its construction must be sabotaged, subverted and disrupted at every level.

    A Crisis of Solidarity

    When the ultranationalist Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini refused to allow the MV #Aquarius to dock in June 2018, he was applauded by an alarmingly large number of Italians. Many blamed his racism and that of the Italians for putting over 600 lives at risk, including those of 123 unaccompanied minors, eleven young children and seven pregnant women.

    Certainly, the willingness to make a political point by sacrificing hundreds of migrant lives confirms that racism. But another part of what made Salvini’s gesture so horrifying was that, presumably, many of those who had once celebrated increasing search and rescue efforts now supported the opposite. Meanwhile, many of the same European politicians who had refused to share Italy’s responsibilities five years earlier were now expressing moral outrage over Salvini’s lack of solidarity.

    Once again, the crisis mode of European border politics was activated. Once again, European politicians and media talked about a “migrant crisis”, about “flows” of people causing unprecedented “pressure” on the southern border. But attempted crossings were at their lowest level in years, a fact that led many migration scholars to claim this was not a “migrant crisis”, but a crisis of solidarity. In this sense, Italy’s shift reflects the nature of the problem. By leaving it up to individual member states, the EU has made responding to the deaths at the border a matter of national conviction. When international solidarity is absent, national self-interest takes over.

    Fortunately, Spain’s freshly sworn-in Socialist Party government granted the Aquarius permission to dock in the Port of #Valencia. This happened only after Mayor Ada Colau of Barcelona, a self-declared “City of Refuge”, pressured Spanish President Pedro Sánchez by publicly offering to receive the ship at the Port of Barcelona. Party politics being as they are, Sánchez authorized a port where his party’s relationship with the governing left-wing platform was less conflictive than in Barcelona.

    The media celebrated Sánchez’s authorization as an example of moral virtue. Yet it would not have happened if solidarity with refugees had not been considered politically profitable by institutional actors. In Spain’s highly fractured political arena, younger left-wing parties and the Catalan independence movement are constantly pressuring a weakened Socialist Party to prove their progressive credentials. Meanwhile, tireless mobilization by social movements has made welcoming refugees a matter of common sense and basic human decency.

    The best known example of this mobilization was the massive protest that took place in February 2017, when 150,000 people took to the streets of Barcelona to demand that Mariano Rajoy’s government take in more refugees and migrants. It is likely because of actions like these that, according to the June 2018 Eurobarometer, over 80 percent of people in Spain believe the country should help those fleeing disaster.

    Yet even where the situation might be more favorable to bottom-up pressure, those in power will not only limit the degree to which demands are met, but actively distort those demands. The February 2017 protest is a good example. Though it also called for the abolition of detention centers, racial profiling and Spain’s racist immigration law, the march is best remembered for the single demand of welcoming refugees.

    The adoption of this demand by the Socialist Party was predictably cynical. After authorizing the Aquarius, President Sánchez used his momentarily boosted credibility to present, alongside Emmanuel Macron, a “progressive” European alternative to Salvini’s closed border. It involved creating detention centers all over the continent, with the excuse of determining people’s documentation status. Gears turn in the sovereign machine of governmentality. The void expands.

    Today the border is a sprawling, parasitic entity linking governments, private companies and supranational institutions. It is not enough for NGOs to rescue refugees, when their efforts can be turned into spot-mopping for the state. It is not enough for social movements to pressure national governments to change their policies, when individual demands can be distorted to mean anything. It is not enough for cities to declare themselves places of refuge, when they can be compelled to enforce racist laws. It is not enough for political parties to take power, when they can be conditioned by private interests, the media and public opinion polls.

    To overcome these limitations, we must understand borders as highly vertical transnational constructions. Dismantling those constructions will require organization, confrontation, direct action, sabotage and, above all, that borderless praxis of mutual aid and solidarity known as internationalism. If we truly hope to abolish the border, we must start fires in the void.

    #solidarité #frontières #migrations #réfugiés #asile #détention_administrative #rétention #Barcelone #non-lieu #Espagne #mourir_en_détention_administrative #mort #décès #mourir_en_rétention #Alik_Manukyan #renvois #expulsions #vie_nue #Méditerranée #hypocrisie #hypocrisie_organisée #ONG #sauvetage #sabotage #nationalisme #crise #villes-refuge #Valence #internationalisme #ouverture_des_frontières #action_directe

    signalé par @isskein

  • The Mediterranean crush


    Du grand Harling.

    The Mediterranean was born in a massive collision between North and South, when the African, Arab and Eurasian plates ground into each other—a process started millions of years ago and ongoing today. Mountains rose, volcanoes erupted, and a depression was formed, which was fated to become a crucible of civilizations. Contemporary Europeans, if they had it their way, would reverse this tectonic encounter, push back incoming continents, and turn the sea our world once revolved around into an ocean.

    A space intimately associated with much of what we Europeans cherish culturally—from the foundations of philosophy to the better sides of religion, through to the renaissance and its ensuing humanism—is now increasingly associated with terrorism and unwelcome migration. The estrangement between the two sides of the Mediterranean is catalyzing a wishful, paranoid and self-destructive retreat: as Europe’s heterogeneous societies play up the fear of the Other, they sow mistrust among and within themselves. The more Europe locks down in response to the fragmentation of the Arab world, the more it seems to break apart along its own myriad fault-lines.

  • Je mentionnais ici le très bon #film de #Andrea_Segre, #L'ordre_des_choses (L’ordine delle cose) :

    Le film prend le point de vue de Corrado Rinaldi, un homme de loi qui aide à régulariser le débarquement des immigrants en traitant avec les autorités libyennes.

    Sur le fil de discussion en lien avec les accords entre l’#Italie et l’#UE/#EU avec la #Libye et notamment avec les #gardes-côtes_libyens.

    Je remets ici le film, également pour ajouter l’interview à Segre publiée sur Franceinfo.
    L’interview commence par ce constat : « cette fiction que vous avez imaginée est devenue réalité » (hélas).

    Quelques passages très intéressants de l’interview :

    J’ai réalisé un documentaire, #Mare_Chiuso, qui a été distribué à partir de mars 2012 ; c’est-à-dire au moment où la Cour européenne des droits de l’Homme, basée à Strasbourg, a condamné l’Italie pour les opérations de refoulement de migrants en provenance d’Afrique sub-saharienne et les accords, conclus sous l’ère #Berlusconi, avec la Libye de Mouammar #Kadhafi. C’est une condamnation historique car elle a été unanime. L’Italie a été épinglée parce que sa marine militaire a directement participé à des opérations visant à refouler des migrants vers les côtes libyennes, sans que ces derniers n’aient eu la possibilité de demander asile. Ce qui est une violation des traités et conventions dont le pays est signataire. En 2012, Mare Chiuso s’est inscrit dans la campagne destinée à faire pression sur le gouvernement italien pour condamner politiquement la façon dont l’Italie traitait les migrants. Et j’ai compris au cours de cette campagne que le verdict de la Cour de Strasbourg avait été interprété par l’ensemble de la classe politique italienne, y compris le Parti démocrate (de centre gauche), comme un conseil implicite, à savoir celui d’organiser des opérations de refoulement sans que l’Italie ne puisse être accusée d’avoir violé les droits des migrants.

    #accord_d'amitié #traité_de_Benghazi #trattato_di_Bengasi

    C’est à la même période que les opérations de sauvetage des migrants ont été lancées dans le cadre de #Mare_Nostrum, l’opération militaro-humanitaire lancée par #Enrico_Letta, président du Conseil italien en 2013, pour secourir les migrants en mer après le naufrage meurtrier de Lampedusa. Ces opérations ont permis de positionner des navires militaires italiens dans les eaux territoriales internationales, en face de la Libye. Cette flottille a été renforcée par d’autres pays européens. La présence de tous ces navires a permis de continuer à former les garde-côtes libyens en dépit du chaos qui régnait dans leur pays.

    #Letta #3_octobre_2011

    Une certitude : le gouvernement italien est arrivé avec le soutien des Européens à conduire des opérations de #refoulement en étant pleinement conscient des conséquences humaines qu’elles entraînaient. Les fonctionnaires italiens et européens ont visité les centres de détention et se sont entretenus avec les miliciens qui les gèrent. Ils avaient une vision assez claire de la situation en Libye. Par conséquent, le choix de faire aboutir ces opérations de refoulement, coûte que coûte, est bien l’expression d’une débâcle éthique et morale.

    #push-back #milices #débâcle_éthique #débâcle_morale

    Avant l’été 2015, les Allemands et d’autres pays européens ont demandé à l’Italie d’arrêter les opérations de sauvetage parce qu’elles ouvraient les portes de l’Europe. Par ailleurs, à cette même période, tous les efforts européens se sont déplacés vers les Balkans qui étaient le théâtre d’une autre crise migratoire. À partir de ce moment, les ONG ont pris le relais pour porter secours aux migrants, mais la marine italienne a continué à coordonner les opérations de sauvetage. Quelques mois plus tard, les Européens sont revenus en Italie avec un message sans ambiguïté : « Nous avons fermé “la route des Balkans”, il faut faire de même en Méditerranée ». L’Europe se donne dès lors les moyens humains et matériels pour fermer la porte en Libye. Les autorités italiennes ont pu alors bénéficier des ressources financières et humaines émanant de l’Union européenne pour boucler les démarches entamées depuis près de quatre ans. Pour atteindre ce but, et c’est terrible, les pays européens ont accepté que la conséquence inévitable de leur nouvelle politique de refoulement serait la détention de migrants dans des centres gérés par des miliciens libyens, au mépris de leurs droits les plus élémentaires. Autrement dit, durant toutes ces années de préparation, les Européens n’avaient trouvé pour partenaires que ces miliciens, connus également pour être des trafiquants. Résultat : l’Europe a conforté le pouvoir des milices libyennes pour parvenir à ses fins, et s’est compromise sur un plan moral et éthique.

    #Méditerranée #route_des_balkans #balkans

    Dans la brochure qui était offerte dans la salle de cinéma, l’interview était plus long. Je recopie ici deux passages intéressants :

    « Quand à ces opérations de rapatriement, soi-disant volontaires, nous atteignons des sommets d’hypocrisie. C’est évident que l’on ne peut pas parler de volontariat quand on propose à un migrant, qui vit un enfer, de rentrer chez lui »


    « J’estime que la transformation xénophobe de la société européenne est liée à la pression que nous sommes en train de créer au niveau de nos frontières. »

    #xénophobie #racisme

    • Dans la même brochure un extrait traduit d’un texte de #Igiaba_Scego, écrivaine et journaliste d’origine somalienne :

      Le texte complet, en italien, ici :

      Que je copie-colle ci-desssous :
      A noi mai

      Ho sempre amato il film Casablanca. Un classico della cinematografia mondiale. Un intenso Humprhey Bogart, una fatata Ingrid Bergman, una storia d’amore che non ha uguali nel mondo della celluloide. I loro sguardi languidi, intensi, unici sono rimasti nel cuore di molti di noi. Bogie&Ingrid in the star with diamonds, ci verrebbe da dire parafrasando i Beatles, ma c’è dell’altro. E questo altro sono i rifugiati di cui il film parla. Infatti pochi si accorgono, o addirittura non l’hanno mai saputo, che Casablanca mette in scena il dramma dei rifugiati europei in fuga dal nazismo. Una folla fatta di anarchici, ebrei, dissidenti, antifascisti, gente comune, famiglie, bambini che hanno perso ogni cosa. Nel film la città marocchina è solo un riflesso di Marsiglia, un riflesso edulcorato di quella città francese che durante la guerra pullulava di trafficanti e di miseria. Hollywood non ci mostra quella miseria,non può, non sarebbe Hollywood senza un abito da sera e un paio di tacchi a spillo, ma ecco in Casablanca nonostante il glamour spunta qua e là quella verità che negli anni ‘40 era sotto gli occhi di tutti. Ho sempre trovato particolarmente intensa la scena in cui due anziani signori parlano tra loro in inglese rifiutandosi di usare la madrelingua tedesca.
      Il motivo è semplice vogliono (ancor prima di arrivarci) abituarsi all’idioma del nuovo mondo che verrà per loro, vogliono provare a sentirsi un po’ a casa in quella lingua così straniera. C’è una scena che tutti ricordano di #Casablanca, una scena a me particolarmente cara, quella in cui i rifugiati riuniti al Rick cafè (il luogo in cui potevano trovare i trafficanti e vendersi per ottenere un visto) cantano la Marsigliese per contrastare il canto arrogante dei nazisti. L’attrice Madeleine Lebeau, che interpreta Yvonne l’amante di Bogart, ci regala un fotogramma indimenticabile dove piange gridando il nome della patria perduta, Vive La France, dice e noi tutti ci commuoviamo. Le lacrime di Madelaine sono vere, infatti lei e il marito, come i personaggi del film, avevano fatto un viaggio allucinante che li aveva portati dalla Francia occupata fino a Lisbona. Il tutto usando documenti falsi, andando incontro a respingimenti e rimanendo intrappolati in quel non luogo che per molti rifugiati era Marsiglia.La vita di Madelaine sembra quella di una rifugiata siriana di oggi, la coincidenza colpisce. Sono storie quelle di Casablanca di rifugiati europei che l’Europa ha però presto dimenticato, ma che i suoi scrittori non hanno mai perso di vista. Come non pensare ad #Hercule_Poirot di #Agatha_Christie? Quell’investigatore impomatato sempre preoccupato per i suoi baffetti era anche lui un rifugiato. La dama del giallo l’avrebbe inventato ispirandosi a uno dei tanti belgi che l’Inghilterra aveva accolto (ne accoglierà 250.000) durante la prima guerra mondiale.
      L’Europa ha dimenticato quando era lei a scappare dalle guerre. Si scappava anche dalle carestie come gli irlandesi negli Stati Uniti. E poi non ultima l’epopea degli emigranti italiani che in mancanza di tutto si riversavano nelle terze classi dei bastimenti con la speranza di trovare un paese dove ricominciare. L’Europa ha davvero la memoria corta e nel dimenticare non vuole cercare soluzioni per le migrazioni odierne che la vedono come territorio di approdo. Oggi siamo intrappolati in una narrazione binaria per quanto riguarda migranti e rifugiati provenienti in Europa dal Sud globale. Il paradigma in uso è quella del contenimento o respingimento. Ed ecco che le nostre orecchie sono bombardate da una parte da “aiutiamoli a casa loro”, “Non possiamo prenderci carico di tutta l’Africa” o un secco “non li vogliamo, se la sbrigassero da soli”, dall’altra invece si parla solo di accoglienza, dove la buona volontà si unisce a tratti ad una visone solo migratoria dell’altro condita da un paternalismo a tratti coloniale. Sono pochi a parlare oggi di diritto alla mobilità e apartheid di viaggio. Pochi a parlare di reciprocità nei diritti sia per chi scappa dalle guerre sia per chi vuole semplicemente coronare un sogno.
      Così costringiamo sia i rifugiati, sia i migranti a viaggi impossibili. Anzi ultimamente stiamo costringendo molte persone, con una schizofrenia europea che non ha pari nella storia, a fingersi rifugiate. Se scappi da una guerra forse ti tollero (formalmente) un po’, ma se vieni per trovare un lavoro o per studiare non entrerai mai (o peggio entri, ma ti farò rimanere un illegale a vita, sfruttabile da mafie e caporali).
      E ora nel Mediterraneo queste contraddizioni le stiamo pagando con i morti in mare, il terrorismo nelle città, l’ansia che non ci da tregua. Questa idea di fortezza Europa sta intrappolando gli altri fuori e gli europei dentro un recinto malefico, che ci rende sempre più deboli davanti a chi vuole la distruzione delle democrazie.
      Viviamo di fatto in un pianeta dove se nasci nel posto giusto (nel Nord del mondo ricco, il cosiddetto occidente, ma anche la Cina, il Giappone, l’Australia) hai la possibilità di andare dove ti pare, basta un visto, un biglietto aereo e un trolley. Non serve altro. Ed ecco per chi nasce nel posto giusto un ventaglio di possibilità da seguire. E lì si può pensare di andare a studiare all’estero, lavorare per un po’ in un altro paese, trasferirsi per amore (o bisogno), e si perché no farsi una meritata vacanza se questo si desidera. Si è turisti e al limite, anche quando si decide di emigrare, non si viene definiti migranti economici, ma espatriati. Gli italiani lo sanno bene, i media infatti chiamano cervelli in fuga i tanti giovani che vanno all’estero per trovare il lavoro che in Italia non si trova più. Si, cervelli in fuga, anche se molti all’estero non hanno la possibilità di usare il loro cervello, ma sono costretti a raccogliere le cipolle in Australia, fare i camerieri a cottimo a Londra o vivere l’atroce situazione di essere illegale a New York City. L’emigrazione interna, italiana ed europea, viene edulcorata con perifrasi sempre più acrobatiche, Ma questa migrazione (come quella degli spagnoli, dei portoghesi, degli slovacchi, dei polacchi, dei bulgari, oggi addirittura anche dei rumeni e degli albanesi) non fa rumore, perché (per fortuna aggiungo io) è possibile in clima di legalità di viaggio. Questo purtroppo non è possibile per somali, eritrei, ghanesi, gambiani, senegalesi, ecc. Dall’Africa o dall’Asia (Afghanistan e paesi mediorientali soprattutto) si suppone che i corpi hanno come fine ultimo la migrazione, a volte è così (molti effettivamente sono in fuga da guerra e dittatura), ma altre volte no, le situazioni sono sempre complesse e legate al singolo individuo. Non si pensa mai che un corpo del Sud globale voglia studiare, specializzarsi, lavorare per un po’ e avere la possibilità dopo un lungo soggiorno di tornare indietro, al paese, con le conoscenze acquisite. Non si pensa che un corpo del Sud anche quando fugge da guerre e dittature ha bisogno di leggi sull’asilo chiare, di un percorso burocratico facilitato e di un viaggio sicuro fatto attraverso corridoi umanitari, molto lontani dalle attuali agenzie dell’orrore guidate da trafficanti senza scrupoli. Va detto chiaramente ai nostri governanti che gli abitanti del Sud non vanno considerati parassiti da fermare ad ogni costo o vittime passive da aiutare. Hanno un passato e possono riavere un futuro. Ma invece di collaborare ad una sinergia di intenti, il Nord mette in campo per “difendersi” i fantasmi della nostra contemporaneità: i tristi muri, gli apparati securitari, le strutture extraterritoriali che gestiscono enormi flussi di denaro, gli accordi ricatto con sedicenti leader locali (spesso autonominati o da noi imposti) che come usurai chiedono sempre di più ad una Europa disunita e confusa. Chiediamo agli altri di fare il lavoro sporco, di farli morire un po’ più in là questi rifugiati/migranti, non a favore di telecamera insomma. Nessuno dice agli abitanti spaventati del Nord che un viaggio legale è sicuro per il “migrante”, il rifugiato, lo studente ed è sicuro anche per il paese di approdo, perché con un sistema legale si ha la vera percezione di chi effettivamente arriva nel nostro territorio e perché. Possiamo monitorare la situazione, evitando di farci infiltrare da presenze non gradite. E soprattutto il viaggio legale ci toglierebbe dal ricatto in cui siamo precipitati pagando tagliagole e dittatori. Inoltre nessuno parla all’europeo spaventato della contraddizione del continente che da una parte non vuole le persone del Sud (anche se poi gli studi sottolineano che l’Europa senza migranti è perduta, niente più pensioni per esempio) e dall’altra vuole le sue risorse che si prende con la forza usurpando territori e cacciando popolazioni. È utopia, mi chiedo, cambiare il paradigma di questa relazione malata tra Europa (Occidente in genere) e Sud globale? Non credo sia impossibile. Io lo dico sempre che i miei genitori dalla Somalia sono venuti in Italia in aereo (non con il barcone!), erano gli anni ‘70. e ho l’immagine anche di tanti famigliari e dei loro viaggi circolari. Si andava in Svezia, in Egitto, in Francia per tornare poi a Mogadiscio. Mio fratello Ibrahim studiava a Praga. E all’epoca nessuno di loro aveva un passaporto europeo, ma viaggiavano con il passaporto somalo che oggi invece è considerato carta straccia in qualsiasi consolato. Forse dobbiamo ridare dignità ai documenti delle nazioni del Sud del mondo. Uscire dall’idea di fortezza. E cominciare a costruire una relazione diversa. Quindi non considerare chi fugge dalla guerra come un disperato, ma come una persona che a causa della guerra ha perso momentaneamente tutto, ma che è stata studente, maestra, ingegnere, dottoressa e potrà tornare ad esserlo. E lo stesso vale per chi non è in fuga, ma cerca semplicemente fortuna. I media velatamente li considerano usurpatori, invasori. E’ chiaro che questo sguardo e questo linguaggio devono cambiare.
      Perché respingere se si possono creare ponti e scambi commerciali o culturali utili?
      Se ci si può difendere reciprocamente dai pericoli (come il terrorismo) che ci colpiscono? Inoltre non sarebbe un cambio di rotta smettere di pagare dittatori per tenere nei moderni lager giovani uomini e donne e mettere in campo invece una cooperazione che non avvalla la corruzione reciproca come purtroppo è sempre stato, ma le eccellenze? Ahinoi le barriere crescono un po’ ovunque. E non è solo il Mediterraneo il dilemma. Per gli africani, per fare un esempio, è difficile al momento attuale anche viaggiare dentro il continente africano stesso. Basta pensare ai centri di detenzione in Angola. Barriere e muri sono addirittura più alti dentro il continente che fuori. La paura del Nord contagia anche il Sud e la cattiva politica spesso sguazza (per ragioni elettorali) dentro queste inquietudini. Ma serve un approccio più sereno.
      Serve soprattutto rompere il monopolio dei trafficanti che dal 1990, attraverso ricatti e violenze, si stanno arricchendo sulla pelle dei migranti e degli europei.
      Il viaggio legale del sud aiuterebbe il nord a non alimentare un mercato sommerso fatto di crimine e terrorismo, perché lì vanno i soldi che vengono depredati ai giovani in cerca di futuro. Terrorismo che (ricordiamolo!) poi usa quel denaro per compiere attentati nelle nostre città, come abbiamo visto a Manchester, a Barcelona, a Parigi, a Londra.
      Legalizzare il viaggio ci permetterebbe inoltre di mettere a riparo anche il nostro futuro. In un momento di incertezza come questo, dove l’Italia e il Sud Europa sono esposti a mille pericoli, ci conviene fare la guerra a chi è più a sud di noi? Che Dio non voglia, ma se un giorno negassero il viaggio legale anche a noi che abbiamo ora passaporti considerati forti? Basta un cambio di rotta negli equilibri politici ed economici o qualche sfortunato evento che ci schiaccia verso il basso nella scala dei poteri globali. Nulla di così improbabile purtroppo. Negli anni ‘60 i somali, belli, eleganti, facevano belle feste davanti al mare con aragoste e branzini, se qualcuno allora avesse detto loro che i figli e i nipoti avrebbero preso un barcone (e non l’aereo come loro) per andare in Europa, facendosi ricattare, stuprare, imprigionare, non ci avrebbero creduto, Avrebbero scosso la testa dicendo “a noi mai”, avrebbero riso probabilmente. E invece è successo. Il futuro è sempre incerto amici miei. Preoccuparsi per i diritti degli altri non è buonismo, ma significa anche (oltre ad essere segno di umanità) preoccuparsi dei propri. Perché non si sa a chi toccherà la prossima volta il fato avverso. Almeno affrontiamolo tutti quanti con dei diritti in tasca. Datemi retta, lo so per esperienza, è meglio. Preoccuparsi per i diritti degli altri non è buonismo, ma significa preoccuparsi dei propri. Perchè non si sa a chi toccherà la prossima volta il fato avverso.

      #WWII #seconde_guerre_mondiale #histoire #réfugiés_européens #deuxième_guerre_mondiale #paternalisme #paternalisme_colonial #fuite_Des_cerveaux #inégalité


    Sur les 600 000 migrants arrivés en Italie depuis 2014, la plupart ont traversé la #Méditerranée. Des milliers d’autres y ont péri. L’île de #Lampedusa, avant-poste de l’accueil, est débordée par cette crise humanitaire fortement liée au chaos qui règne en #Libye.

    On rejoint le jardin public en poussant les portes d’une grille qui ne ferme plus depuis longtemps. Puis, après une courte promenade au milieu des agaves et des myrtes, on arrive à un étrange réseau de grottes sommairement aménagées à proximité d’un vieux puits. L’endroit est à peine mentionné par les guides de voyage, mais il mérite qu’on s’y arrête : en effet, le vrai cœur de Lampedusa est là, en ces vestiges
    à peine entretenus d’un sanctuaire millénaire, témoignage unique de ce qu’était l’île avant sa colonisation systématique, au début du XIXe siècle.


    Avant de devenir un paradis touristique perdu au milieu de la Méditerranée, à 150 kilomètres des côtes tunisiennes, en même temps que, pour le monde entier, le symbole de l’odyssée des centaines de milliers de migrants qui, chaque année, bravent tous les dangers pour atteindre l’Europe, Lampedusa a été un havre, un lieu de repos pour les marins de toutes origines qui sillonnaient la mer.

    Marchands phéniciens, arabes ou grecs, chevaliers francs revenant de croisade, pirates barbaresques, pêcheurs en détresse : Lampedusa était leur île. Elle appartenait à tous et à personne. Chacun, du roi de France revenant de Terre sainte au plus humble pêcheur, venait s’abriter ici durant les tempêtes, prier ses dieux et reprendre des forces, en attendant l’accalmie. Aujourd’hui, une chapelle dédiée à
    la Vierge a été aménagée dans la pierre, à deux pas de la grotte, et les habitants viennent, de loin en loin, y déposer quelques fleurs ou prier, dans un calme absolu.

    La " porte de l’Europe ", pour reprendre le nom d’une œuvre d’art installée sur une plage faisant face à l’infini, à la pointe sud de Lampedusa, peut bien être présentée comme une des extrémités de l’Union européenne, un bout du monde exotique. Mais, dès que l’on pose le pied sur l’île, on est assailli par le sentiment inverse : celui d’être au centre d’un espace fluide, au sein duquel les populations ont navigué de rive en rive, depuis toujours. L’impression est encore plus
    saisissante lorsqu’on observe, grossièrement sculptées dans la roche, les traces de ce passé enfoui.

    L’homme qui nous conduit dans ce sanctuaire, un matin d’hiver, s’appelle Pietro Bartolo. Il est né sur l’île en 1956, il en est parti à 13 ans et y est revenu au milieu des années 1980, une fois achevées ses études de médecine. C’est lui qui a fondé, un peu à l’écart du bourg, le petit hôpital qui, aujourd’hui encore, constitue le seul lieu d’assistance, sur terre comme sur mer, à plus de 100 milles nautiques (185 km) à la ronde.

    En tant que directeur de l’#hôpital de Lampedusa, il a accueilli, ces dernières années, des dizaines de milliers de candidats à l’exil sur le quai minuscule qui tient lieu de débarcadère, et les a soignés. Il a aussi eu la terrible responsabilité d’ouvrir, du même geste, des centaines et des centaines de ces grands sacs verts dans lesquels on
    ramène à terre les corps des naufragés. Un film documentaire sorti en 2016, nominé pour l’Oscar, Fuocoammare. Par-delà Lampedusa, dans lequel il jouait son propre rôle, lui a valu une notoriété internationale. A sa manière, lui aussi est devenu un symbole.

    Comme c’est courant ici, l’histoire familiale de Pietro Bartolo est africaine autant qu’italienne. A l’exemple de ces milliers de Siciliens poussés par la misère qui, pendant des décennies, ont pris la mer en sens inverse des migrants d’aujourd’hui pour chercher du travail dans les colonies et protectorats d’Afrique du Nord, la famille de sa mère s’était installée un temps en Tunisie. Cette multitude d’odyssées ordinaires, dont le souvenir est entretenu par les histoires familiales, explique une bonne part des différences de perception du phénomène migratoire entre le nord et le sud de l’Italie.


    A la tête de ce qui, à l’origine, n’était guère plus qu’un dispensaire, #Pietro_Bartolo s’est trouvé aux premières loges quand tout a changé. " Ça a commencé dans les années 1990. Les migrants, des jeunes hommes venus d’Afrique du Nord, arrivaient directement sur la plage, par leurs propres moyens, avec des barques ou des canots pneumatiques. Sur l’île, on les appelait “#les_Turcs”, se souvient-il. Les habitants accueillent comme ils peuvent les arrivants, qui gagnent ensuite la Sicile puis, pour l’immense majorité, le continent.

    Le gouvernement, lui, ne considère pas encore le phénomène comme préoccupant. D’autant plus que, depuis le début des années 1990, l’#Italie a la tête ailleurs. L’arrivée dans les Pouilles, au printemps et en été 1991, de plusieurs dizaines de milliers d’Albanais fuyant la ruine de leur pays a provoqué un choc terrible. Le 8 août, le #Vlora, un cargo venu du port albanais de Durres, est entré dans celui de Bari avec à son bord 20 000 migrants, bientôt installés dans l’enceinte du stade de la ville. La désorganisation est totale : le maire multiplie les appels aux dons et à la solidarité, tandis qu’à Rome le gouvernement cherche un moyen de renvoyer chez eux ces arrivants illégaux… Rien ne sera plus jamais comme avant.

    A l’aune de ce bouleversement venu des Balkans, qui force l’Italie, pour la première fois de son histoire, à se poser la question de l’accueil et de l’intégration, les arrivées sporadiques à Lampedusa ne sont pas perçues au départ comme beaucoup plus qu’une anecdote. Selon les souvenirs des habitants, les migrants venaient surtout des côtes tunisiennes, ils étaient jeunes et en relative bonne santé. La plupart du temps, la traversée était assurée par des passeurs, payés une fois le but atteint. Bref, la route de la #Méditerranée_centrale vivait à l’heure d’une migration "artisanale".

    Mais au fil du temps, dans les années 2000, le phénomène change de nature et d’échelle. "Il ne s’agit pas seulement de géopolitique. Il s’est produit un changement anthropologique dans la jeunesse africaine il y a une quinzaine d’années", assure le vice-ministre italien des
    affaires étrangères et de la coopération, Mario Giro, qui, avant d’entrer en politique, a consacré de nombreuses années à des missions en Afrique comme responsable des questions internationales de la Communauté de Sant’Egidio. "Avant, il s’agissait de projets collectifs : une famille se cotisait pour envoyer un de ses fils en Europe, dit-il. Désormais, ce sont des #hommes_seuls qui décident de
    partir, parce qu’ils considèrent que partir est un droit. Dans les villes africaines, la famille a subi les mêmes coups de la modernité que partout dans le monde. Ces jeunes gens se sont habitués à penser seuls, en termes individuels. Dans leur choix, il y a une part de vérité – les blocages politiques – et la perception que l’avenir n’est pas dans leur pays. Alors, ils partent."
    #facteurs_push #push-factors

    Des gouvernements européens essaient de passer des accords avec les Etats africains pour qu’ils arrêtent en Afrique les candidats à l’Europe, ce qui a pour effet de criminaliser l’activité des #passeurs. Des réseaux de plus en plus violents et organisés se mettent en place.


    Un acteur central du jeu régional comprend très tôt le parti à tirer de ce phénomène, face auquel les pays européens semblent largement démunis. C’est le chef de l’Etat libyen, Mouammar #Kadhafi, qui cherche depuis le début des années 2000 à retrouver une forme de respectabilité internationale, rompant avec la politique de soutien au terrorisme qui avait été la sienne dans les années 1980 et 1990.
    Grâce aux immenses recettes de la rente pétrolière, dont il dispose dans la plus totale opacité, le Guide libyen multiplie les prises de participation en Italie (Fiat, Finmeccanica) et les investissements immobiliers. Il entre même au capital du club de football le plus prestigieux du pays, la Juventus de Turin. En contrepartie, le groupe énergétique ENI, privatisé à la fin des années 1990 mais dans lequel l’Etat italien garde une participation importante, conserve le statut d’Etat dans l’Etat dont il jouit en Libye depuis la période coloniale (1911-1942).

    Bientôt, la maîtrise des flux migratoires devient un aspect supplémentaire dans la très complexe relation entre la Libye et l’Italie. " De temps en temps, tous les deux ou trois ans, Kadhafi réclamait de l’argent pour la période coloniale. Et quand ça n’allait pas assez bien pour lui, il faisait partir des bateaux pour se rappeler à nous. C’était devenu pour lui un moyen de pression de plus, et ça signifie également qu’en Libye, des réseaux étaient déjà en place", se souvient Mario Giro.

    Entamées à l’époque du deuxième gouvernement Prodi (2006-2008), et émaillées de moments hauts en couleur – comme cette visite privée à Tripoli du ministre des affaires étrangères italien Massimo D’Alema, un week-end de Pâques 2007, au terme de laquelle Kadhafi a affirmé que l’Italie lui avait promis de construire une autoroute traversant le pays d’est en ouest –, les négociations sont poursuivies par le gouvernement de Silvio Berlusconi, revenu aux affaires au printemps 2008. Elles débouchent sur la signature d’un accord, le 30 août de la même année. En échange de 5 milliards d’euros d’investissements sur vingt-cinq ans et d’#excuses_officielles de l’Italie pour la #colonisation, le dirigeant libyen s’engage à cesser ses reproches, mais surtout à empêcher les départs de migrants depuis ses côtes. Plus encore, les migrants secourus dans les eaux internationales seront ramenés en Libye, même contre leur gré et au mépris du droit de la mer.

    L’Eglise et plusieurs ONG humanitaires peuvent bien chercher à alerter l’opinion sur les conditions dans lesquelles sont ramenés à terre les candidats à la traversée, ainsi que sur les innombrables violations des droits de l’homme en Libye, elles restent largement inaudibles. Le colonel Kadhafi peut même se permettre de pittoresques provocations, comme ses visites officielles à Rome en 2009 et 2010, où il appelle publiquement à l’islamisation de l’Europe. Le gouvernement Berlusconi, embarrassé, n’a d’autre solution que de regarder ailleurs.

    L’irruption des "#printemps_arabe s", début 2011, va faire voler en éclats ce fragile équilibre. Le soulèvement libyen, en février 2011, un mois après la chute du président tunisien Ben Ali, est accueilli avec sympathie par les chancelleries occidentales. Mais en Italie, on l’observe avec préoccupation. "Bien sûr, l’Etat libyen de Kadhafi n’était pas parfait, concède #Mario_Giro. Mais il y avait un Etat… Dans les premiers mois de 2011 – je travaillais encore pour Sant’Egidio –, alors que la France semblait déjà décidée à intervenir en Libye, le ministre des affaires étrangères du Niger m’a demandé d’organiser une entrevue avec son homologue italien, Frattini. Nous étions trois, dans un bureau du ministère, et il nous a expliqué point par point ce qu’il se passerait en cas de chute de Kadhafi. Le chaos en Méditerranée, les armes dans tout le Sahel… Tout s’est passé exactement comme il l’a dit. Mais personne n’a voulu l’écouter". Il faut dire qu’en ce début d’année 2011, le prestige international de l’Italie est au plus bas. Très affaiblie économiquement et victime du discrédit personnel d’un Silvio Berlusconi empêtré dans les scandales, l’Italie est tout simplement inaudible.

    En mai 2011, les membres du G8, réunis à Deauville, appellent Mouammar Kadhafi à quitter le pouvoir. "Lors de ce sommet, Silvio Berlusconi a plusieurs fois tenté de prendre la défense du Guide libyen, mettant en avant son aide sur le dossier des migrants et le fait qu’il s’était amendé et avait tourné le dos au terrorisme", se souvient un diplomate français, témoin des discussions. "Mais
    personne n’en a tenu compte." Le chef libyen, chassé de Tripoli en août, mourra le 20 octobre, à Syrte. Quatre semaines plus tard, le gouvernement Berlusconi 4 cessait d’exister.

    Sur le moment, entre l’euphorie de la chute de la dictature et le changement d’ère politique en Italie, ces tensions entre puissances semblent négligeables. Il n’en est rien. Au contraire, elles ne cesseront de resurgir dans le débat, nourrissant en Italie un procès durable contre la #France, accusée d’avoir déstabilisé la situation en Méditerranée pour mieux laisser l’Italie en subir, seule, les conséquences.


    Car dans le même temps, les "printemps arabes" provoquent un bouleversement de la situation en Méditerranée. Une fois de plus, c’est à Lampedusa que les premiers signes de la tempête apparaissent. Sur cette île minuscule, en hiver, on compte à peine 5 000 habitants d’ordinaire. Là, ce sont plus de 7 000 personnes venues de #Tunisie qui y débarquent en quelques jours, entre février et mars 2011. La population les accueille avec les moyens du bord, dans des conditions très précaires. Des "permis temporaires de séjours" de trois mois
    sont délivrés aux arrivants par les autorités italiennes. Ainsi, les candidats à l’exil pourront-ils circuler aisément dans tout l’espace Schengen. Plus de 60 000 migrants débarqueront en 2011 ; la grande majorité d’entre eux ne resteront pas en Italie.

    Passé les mois de désorganisation ayant suivi la chute du président tunisien #Ben_Ali, Rome et Tunis concluent en 2012 un #accord_de_réadmission, formalisant le retour au pays des migrants d’origine tunisienne expulsés d’Italie. Assez vite, se met en place une coopération qui, de l’avis de nos interlocuteurs dans les deux pays, fonctionne plutôt harmonieusement.

    En revanche, en Libye, du fait de la déliquescence du pouvoir central, Rome n’a pas d’interlocuteur. Dans un pays livré aux milices et à l’anarchie, des réseaux de trafiquants d’êtres humains s’organisent à ciel ouvert. Jusqu’à la catastrophe, qui se produit dans la nuit du 2 au #3_octobre_2013. "J’ai été réveillé à 6 heures du matin par un appel des autorités maritimes, se souvient Enrico Letta, alors chef du gouvernement italien. En quelques minutes, nous avons compris que le #naufrage qui venait d’avoir lieu près de Lampedusa était une tragédie sans précédent – le bilan sera de 366 morts. Il fallait trouver des cercueils, s’occuper des orphelins… J’ai dû presque forcer le président de la Commission européenne - José Manuel Barroso - à m’accompagner sur l’île. Quelques jours plus tard, il y a eu un autre naufrage, tout aussi meurtrier, au large de Malte. Alors que nous demandions l’aide de l’Europe, j’ai vite compris que nous n’aurions rien. Donc, nous avons décidé de nous en occuper nous-mêmes. L’émotion était si forte que l’opinion nous a suivis."

    En une dizaine de jours, l’opération "#Mare_Nostrum" est mise sur pied. Concrètement, il s’agit d’une opération navale, à la fois militaire et humanitaire, visant à lutter contre les réseaux de passeurs, tout en évitant la survenue de nouveaux drames. Ses effets sont immédiats : en moins d’un an, plus de 100 000 migrants sont secourus et le nombre de morts diminue spectaculairement. Pourtant, le gouvernement Renzi, qui succède à Letta un an plus tard, décide d’y mettre un terme, à l’automne 2014. "Ça ne coûtait pas très cher, environ 8 millions d’euros par mois, et nous avons sauvé des centaines de vie avec ce dispositif, tout en arrêtant de nombreux trafiquants, avance Enrico Letta pour défendre son initiative. Mais très vite, Mare Nostrum a été accusée de provoquer un #appel_d'air… "

    De fait, en quelques mois, le nombre de départs des côtes africaines a explosé. Surtout, une évolution capitale se produit : peu à peu, les passeurs changent de stratégie. Pour ne pas voir leurs bateaux saisis, plutôt que de chercher à gagner un port italien, ils se contentent, une fois arrivés à proximité des eaux italiennes, de débarquer les migrants à bord de petites embarcations, les laissant ensuite dériver
    jusqu’à l’arrivée des secours. La marine italienne, trouvant les migrants en situation de détresse, n’a alors d’autre choix que d’appliquer les règles immuables du #droit_de_la_mer et de les conduire en lieu sûr.

    La suppression de Mare Nostrum par le gouvernement Renzi vise à sortir de cet engrenage. En novembre 2014, est annoncée l’entrée en vigueur de l’opération "#Triton", coordonnée par l’agence européenne #Frontex. Un dispositif de moindre envergure, financé par l’Union européenne, et dans lequel la dimension humanitaire passe au second plan. Las, le nombre de départs des côtes libyennes ne diminue pas. Au contraire, en 2015, plus de 150’000 personnes sont secourues en mer. En 2016, elles seront 181’000. Et pour suppléer à la fin de Mare Nostrum, de nouveaux acteurs apparaissent en 2015 au large des côtes libyennes : des navires affrétés par des #ONG humanitaires, aussitôt
    accusés, eux aussi, de former par leur présence une sorte d’appel d’air facilitant le travail des trafiquants d’êtres humains.


    Pour Rome, les chiffres des secours en mer sont bien sûr préoccupants. Mais ils ne disent pas tout du problème. L’essentiel est ailleurs : depuis la fin de 2013, les pays limitrophes de l’Italie (#France et #Autriche) ont rétabli les contrôles à leurs frontières. Là où, jusqu’alors, l’écrasante majorité des migrants empruntant la route de la Méditerranée centrale ne faisaient que traverser le pays en direction du nord de l’Europe, ils se trouvent désormais bloqués sur le sol italien, provoquant en quelques années l’engorgement de toutes les structures d’accueil. Et les appels répétés à la solidarité européenne se heurtent à l’indifférence des partenaires de l’Italie, qui eux-mêmes doivent composer avec leurs opinions publiques, devenues très hostiles aux migrants.

    Considéré jusque-là comme un impératif moral par une large part de la population, l’accueil des demandeurs d’asile est l’objet de critiques croissantes. En 2015, en marge du scandale "#Mafia_capitale ", qui secoue l’administration de la commune de Rome, l’Italie découvre que plusieurs coopératives chargées de nourrir et d’héberger les migrants se sont indûment enrichies. S’installe dans les esprits une l’idée dévastatrice : l’#accueil des réfugiés est un "#business " juteux plus qu’une œuvre humanitaire.

    Deux ans plus tard, une série de procédures à l’initiative de magistrats de Sicile en vient à semer le doute sur les activités des ONG opérant en Méditerranée. Le premier à lancer ces accusations est le procureur de Catane, Carmelo #Zuccaro, qui dénonce en avril 2017 – tout en admettant qu’il n’a "pas les preuves" de ce qu’il avance – les ONG de collusion avec les trafiquants. Après trois mois de rumeurs et de fuites organisées dans la presse, début août 2017, le navire de l’ONG allemande #Jugend_Rettet, #Iuventa, est placé sous séquestre, tandis qu’il a été enjoint aux diverses organisations de signer un "code de bonne conduite", sous le patronage du ministre de l’intérieur, Marco #Minniti, visant à encadrer leurs activités en mer. La plupart des ONG, dont Médecins sans frontières, quitteront la zone à l’été 2017.

    Tandis que le monde entier a les yeux tournés vers la Méditerranée, c’est en réalité en Libye que se produit, mi-juillet, une rupture majeure. En quelques jours, les départs connaissent une chute spectaculaire. Moins de 4000 personnes sont secourues en mer en août, contre 21’000 un an plus tôt, à la même période. La cause de ce coup d’arrêt ? Le soutien et l’équipement, par Rome, des unités libyennes
    de #gardes-côtes, qui traquent les migrants jusque dans les eaux internationales, au mépris du droit de la mer, pour les reconduire dans des camps de détention libyens. Le gouvernement italien conclut une série d’accords très controversés avec différents acteurs locaux en
    #accord #gardes-côtes_libyens
    v. aussi : http://seen.li/cvmy

    Interrogé sur les zones d’ombre entourant ces négociations, et les témoignages venus de Libye même affirmant que l’Italie a traité avec les trafiquants, Marco Minniti nie la moindre entente directe avec les réseaux criminels, tout en mettant en avant l’intérêt supérieur du pays, qui n’arrivait plus, selon lui, à faire face seul aux arrivées. "A un moment, confiait-il fin août 2017 à des journalistes italiens, j’ai eu peur pour la santé de notre démocratie."

    De fait, l’accueil de 600’000 migrants depuis 2014 et l’attitude des partenaires européens de l’Italie, qui ont poussé à l’ouverture de "#hotspots" (centres d’enregistrement des migrants) en Sicile et dans le sud de la Péninsule, sans tenir leurs engagements en matière de #relocalisation (à peine 30 000 réfugiés arrivés en Italie et en Grèce concernés à l’automne 2017, contre un objectif initial de 160’000), a nourri le rejet de la majorité de centre-gauche au pouvoir. Il a alimenté le discours xénophobe de la Ligue du Nord de Matteo Salvini et la montée des eurosceptiques du Mouvement 5 étoiles. A quelques jours des élections du 4 mars, celui-ci est au plus haut dans les sondages.

    Depuis l’été, les départs des côtes africaines se poursuivent
    sporadiquement, au gré de la complexe situation régnant sur les côtes libyennes. Resteque des centaines de milliers de candidats à l’exil – ils seraient de 300’000 à 700’000, selon les sources – sont actuellement bloqués en Libye dans des conditions humanitaires effroyables. Pour le juriste sicilien Fulvio Vassallo, infatigable défenseur des demandeurs d’asile, cette politique est vouée à l’échec, car il ne s’agit pas d’une crise migratoire, mais d’un mouvement de fond. "Pour l’heure, l’Europe affronte le problème avec
    la seule perspective de fermer les frontières, explique-t-il. Et ça, l’histoire des vingt dernières années nous démontre que c’est sans espoir. Ça n’a pas d’autre effet que d’augmenter le nombre de morts en mer."

    Depuis 2014, selon les chiffres du Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés, 13’500 personnes au moins ont trouvé la mort en mer, sur la route de la Méditerranée centrale. Sans compter la multitude de ceux, avalés par les eaux, dont on n’a jamais retrouvé la trace.


    Un nouveau mot pour la collection de @sinehebdo sur les mots de la migration : #Les_Turcs

    A la tête de ce qui, à l’origine, n’était guère plus qu’un dispensaire, Pietro Bartolo s’est trouvé aux premières loges quand tout a changé. " Ça a commencé dans les années 1990. Les migrants, des jeunes hommes venus d’Afrique du Nord, arrivaient directement sur la plage, par leurs propres moyens, avec des barques ou des canots pneumatiques. Sur l’île, on les appelait “#les_Turcs”, se souvient-il. Les habitants accueillent comme ils peuvent les arrivants, qui gagnent ensuite la Sicile puis, pour l’immense majorité, le continent.


    #abandon de l’Italie :

    Jusqu’à la catastrophe, qui se produit dans la nuit du 2 au #3_octobre_2013. « J’ai été réveillé à 6 heures du matin par un appel des autorités maritimes, se souvient Enrico Letta, alors chef du gouvernement italien. En quelques minutes, nous avons compris que le #naufrage qui venait d’avoir lieu près de Lampedusa était une tragédie sans précédent – le bilan sera de 366 morts. Il fallait trouver des cercueils, s’occuper des orphelins… J’ai dû presque forcer le président de la Commission européenne - José Manuel Barroso - à m’accompagner sur l’île. Quelques jours plus tard, il y a eu un autre naufrage, tout aussi meurtrier, au large de Malte. Alors que nous demandions l’aide de l’Europe, j’ai vite compris que nous n’aurions rien. Donc, nous avons décidé de nous en occuper nous-mêmes. L’émotion était si forte que l’opinion nous a suivis. »

    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #mourir_en_mer #frontières

    • C’est une manière de classer les étrangers en mouvement ou en attente de statut par le pays d’accueil.
      Migrants pour étrangers en mouvement. Immigrés pour étrangers sur le territoire national quelque soit leur statut.
      Demandeur d’Asile pour ceux qui font une demande de protection.
      Réfugiés pour ceux qui ont obtenu cette protection.
      Sans papiers pour ceux qui n’ont pas encore obtenu un statut qu’ils aient fait la demande ou non. Le terme administratif en France est ESI, étranger en situation irrégulière.
      Exilés pour ceux qui ont quitté leur pays d’une manière volontaire ou involontaire avec ce qui implique de difficultés et de sentiment d’éloignement de son pays.

    • Solidarietà Ue: gli altri paesi ci hanno lasciati da soli?

      Tra settembre 2015 e aprile 2018 in Italia sono sbarcate quasi 350.000 persone. A fronte di ciò, i piani di ricollocamento d’emergenza avviati dall’Unione europea prevedevano di ricollocare circa 35.000 richiedenti asilo dall’Italia verso altri paesi Ue: già così si sarebbe dunque trattato solo del 10% del totale degli arrivi. Inoltre i governi europei avevano imposto condizioni stringenti per i ricollocamenti: si sarebbero potuti ricollocare solo i migranti appartenenti a nazionalità con un tasso di riconoscimento di protezione internazionale superiore al 75%, il che per l’Italia equivale soltanto a eritrei, somali e siriani. Tra settembre 2015 e settembre 2017 hanno fatto richiesta d’asilo in Italia meno di 21.000 persone provenienti da questi paesi, restringendo ulteriormente il numero di persone ricollocabili. Oltre a queste limitazioni, gli altri paesi europei hanno accettato il ricollocamento di meno di 13.000 richiedenti asilo. La solidarietà europea sul fronte dei ricollocamenti “vale” oggi dunque solo il 4% degli sforzi italiani e, anche se si fossero mantenute le promesse, più di 9 migranti sbarcati su 10 sarebbero rimasti responsabilità dell’Italia.

      Oltre al fallimento dei ricollocamenti, neppure le risorse finanziarie destinate dall’Europa all’Italia per far fronte all’emergenza hanno raggiunto un livello significativo. Al contrario, gli aiuti europei coprono solo una minima parte delle spese italiane: nel 2017, per esempio, gli aiuti Ue ammontavano a meno del 2% dei costi incorsi dallo Stato italiano per gestire il fenomeno migratorio.


  • Quoi de neuf sous le soleil de Sicile ? Migrations internationales et enjeux géopolitiques en mer #Méditerranée (2011-2017)

    Plan :
    Le #canal_de_Sicile, une histoire de passages et de disparitions en mer
    Le canal de Sicile au cœur de la « crise migratoire » ?
    De l’instrumentalisation de l’urgence à la mise en place de #Mare_Nostrum par le gouvernement italien (2011-2014)
    Du retour de #Frontex à la criminalisation des #ONG (2014-2017)
    Été 2017 : l’opération anti-ONG, ou le navire qui cache la forêt des relations italo-libyennes
    En guise d’épilogue

    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #sauvetages #Italie #Libye #mourir_en_mer

    L’auteure, #Camille_Schmoll, a écrit sur FB :

    un petit texte qui fait le point sur la « crise migratoire » vue du canal de Sicile. Les spécialistes connaissent déjà tout ça mais ça peut être utile comme ressource pédagogique. Enfin c’est le but.

    Du coup : #ressources_pédagogiques

  • Club Mediapart | Le procès politique de la solidarité (3/4) : les ONG en Méditerranée

    Pour appréhender le sens du procès politique intenté en France à la solidarité, il faut examiner aussi ce qui se passe au niveau européen avec les dizaines de milliers de migrants qu’on laisse mourir pendant leur traversée depuis l’Afrique… ou plutôt qu’on fait mourir aujourd’hui. Car, si la Méditerranée est devenue un véritable cimetière marin, […]

  • Je ne crois pas que ce #rapport de #Charles_Heller et #Lorenzo_Pezzani ne soit pas sur seenthis ! Du coup, je le mets... (publié en avril 2016)


    The week commencing 12 April 2015 saw what is believed to be the largest loss of life at sea in the recent history of the Mediterranean. On 12 April, 400 people died when an overcrowded boat capsized due to its passengers’ excitement at the sight of platform supply vessels approaching to rescue them. Less than a week later, on 18 April, a similar incident took an even greater toll in human lives, leading the deadliest single shipwreck recorded by the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Mediterranean. Over 800 people are believed to have died when a migrants’ vessel sank after a mis-manoeuvre led it to collide with a cargo ship that had approached to rescue its passengers. More than 1,200 lives were thus lost in a single week. As Médecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) commented at the time, these figures eerily resemble those of a war zone.

    #Mare_Nostrum #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Méditerranée #Triton #Frontex #frontières #mourir_en_mer #sauvetages

  • Je découvre aujourd’hui ce site, qui fait le point sur la tragédie du #3_octobre_2013, quand quelque 360 personnes sont décédées en #Méditerranée, à #Lampedusa, à moins d’un km de l’#isola_dei_conigli.
    C’est la tragédie à partir de laquelle l’opération #Mare_Nostrum a été mise en place par l’#Italie :

    Je mets ici pour archivage...

    Il y a d’ailleurs aussi le lien vers un #film #documentaire "#I_giorni_della_tragedia :


    #mourir_en_mer #décès #naufrage

    • Naufragio Lampedusa, chiuse le indagini, l’accusa è omissione di soccorso

      Quattro anni dopo il naufragio del 3 ottobre 2013 di fronte Lampedusa si chiudono le indagini. Sei gli indagati. L’accusa ipotizzata dalla procura di Agrigento è di omissione di soccorso. Indagati i sei uomini che componevano l’equipaggio del peschereccio Aristeus di Mazara dl Vallo. La sola barca che secondo le rilevazioni del sistema satellitare di controllo del mare, era in quelle acque nell’ora del naufragio.

      #condamnation #Aristeus

      #non-assistance_à_personne_en_danger #omissione_di_soccorso

    • La prima versione di questo documento è stata pubblicata nel 2015. Oggi pubblichiamo una versione rivista e corretta alla luce degli sviluppi legati alla strage del 3 ottobre del 2013.
      A 5 anni dall’accaduto pensiamo sia giusto mantenere viva l’attenzione su alcuni punti quali il mancato soccorso e gli interessi economico-politici che stanno alla base di questo e di altri naufragi.
      Riteniamo che il problema delle migrazioni contemporanee nell’area del Mediterraneo si debba far derivare dalle leggi che l’UE ha imposto agli stati membri per aderire al Mercato Interno Europeo e a Schengen.
      Si possono pagare fino a dieci mila euro e impiegare anche molti anni prima di arrivare in Europa. Spesso si scappa da una guerra, altre volte dallo sfruttamento del proprio territorio, altre volte si è semplicemente alla ricerca di un lavoro.
      Se i soldi spesi nella militarizzazione delle frontiere (Sicurezza) e nei centri di detenzione per migranti (Accoglienza) fossero stati impiegati nella regolarizzazione dei viaggi e nelle politiche sul lavoro, sicuramente non avremmo visto morire migliaia di persone con queste modalità.
      Dal nostro punto di vista il problema rimane il sistema economico attuale che ha fatto del profitto il fine ultimo di ogni azione. Il capitalismo neoliberista, di cui l’UE è una delle espressioni politiche, fa ogni giorno migliaia di vittime che non hanno spazio nei TG e nelle rappresentazioni di Stato, non servendo a giustificare alcun tipo di politica: ne sono semplicemente le vittime. Nessuno parlerà di loro, nessuno nominerà i loro nomi.
      Una delle cose più aberranti della strage del 3 ottobre è proprio questa: le vittime vengono continuamente evocate divenendo uno strumento per giustificare le politiche di quei soggetti responsabili delle loro morti.
      Alle vittime dell’imperialismo capitalistico.

      Deuxième version ici :

    • Nomi per tutte le vittime in mare (#Dagmawi_Yimer)

      In un attimo, in un solo giorno, il 3 ottobre 2013, tanti giovani che si chiamavano Selam “pace”, oppure Tesfaye “ speranza mia”, ci hanno lasciato.

      Diamo i nomi ai nostri figli perché vogliamo fare conoscere al mondo i nostri desideri, sogni, fedi, il rispetto che portiamo a qualcuno o a qualcosa. Gli diamo nomi carichi di significati, così come hanno fatto i nostri genitori con noi.

      Per anni questi nomi, con il loro carico di carne e ossa, sono andati lontano dal luogo della loro nascita, via dalla loro casa, componendo un testo scritto, un testo arrivato fino ai confini dell’Occidente. Sono nomi che hanno sfidato frontiere e leggi umane, nomi che disturbano, che interrogano i governanti africani ed europei.

      Se sapremo capire perché e quando questi nomi sono caduti lontano dal loro significato, forse sapremo far arrivare ai nostri figli un testo infinito, che arrivi ai loro figli, nipoti e bisnipoti.

      Malgrado i corpi che li contenevano siano scomparsi, quei nomi rimangono nell’aria perché sono stati pronunciati, e continuano a vivere anche lontano dal proprio confine umano. Noi non li sentiamo perché viviamo sommersi nel caos di milioni di parole avvelenate. Ma quelle sillabe vivono perché sono registrate nel cosmo.

      Le immagini del film danno spazio a questi nomi senza corpi. Nomi carichi di significato, anche se il loro senso è difficile da cogliere per intero.

      Siamo costretti a contarli tutti, a nominarli uno per uno, affinché ci si renda conto di quanti nomi sono stati separati dal corpo, in un solo giorno, nel Mediterraneo.



    • Tribune du 4 octobre 2013 :
      Lampedusa : l’Europe assassine

      Le drame de Lampedusa n’est pas une fatalité. L’Union européenne doit sortir de sa logique sécuritaire et renouer avec les valeurs qu’elle prétend défendre.

      Le nouveau naufrage dans lequel ont péri ou disparu, tout près de l’île de Lampedusa, au moins 300 personnes parmi les 500 passagers d’un bateau en provenance de Libye, n’est pas dû à la fatalité. En 2010, au même endroit, deux naufrages simultanés avaient provoqué près de 400 victimes. En 2009, 200 personnes se sont noyées au large de la Sicile. Pour les seuls six premiers mois de l’année 2011, le HCR estimait à 1 500 le nombre de boat people ayant trouvé la mort en tentant d’atteindre les rives de l’île de Malte ou de l’Italie. Depuis le milieu des années 90, la guerre menée par l’Europe contre les migrants a tué au moins 20 000 personnes en Méditerranée.

      La guerre ? Comment nommer autrement la mise en place délibérée de dispositifs de contrôles frontaliers destinés, au nom de la lutte contre l’immigration irrégulière, à repousser celles et ceux que chassent de chez eux la misère et les persécutions ? Ces dispositifs ont pour nom Frontex, l’agence européenne des frontières, qui déploie depuis 2005 ses navires, ses hélicoptères, ses avions, ses radars, ses caméras thermiques et bientôt ses drones depuis le détroit de Gibraltar jusqu’aux îles grecques pour protéger l’Europe des « indésirables ». Ou encore Eurosur, un système coordonné de surveillance qui, depuis 2011, fait appel aux technologies de pointe pour militariser les frontières extérieures de l’Union européenne afin de limiter le nombre d’immigrants irréguliers qui y pénètrent. Comment nommer autrement la collaboration imposée par l’Europe aux pays de transit des migrants – Libye, Algérie, Tunisie, Maroc – afin qu’ils jouent le rôle de gardes-chiourmes et les dissuadent de prendre la route du nord, au prix de rafles, arrestations, mauvais traitements, séquestrations ?

      Plus spectaculaire que d’habitude par son ampleur, le nouveau naufrage de Lampedusa n’a pas manqué de susciter les larmes de crocodile rituellement versées par ceux-là même qui en sont responsables. A la journée de deuil national décrétée par l’Italie – pays dont les gouvernants, de droite comme de gauche, n’ont jamais renoncé à passer des accords migratoires avec leurs voisins proches, y compris lorsqu’il s’agissait des dictatures de Kadhafi et de Ben Ali, pour pouvoir y renvoyer les exilés - font écho les déclarations de la commissaire européenne aux affaires intérieures, qui appelle à accélérer la mise en place d’Eurosur, destiné selon elle à mieux surveiller en mer les bateaux de réfugiés. Où s’arrêtera l’hypocrisie ? Peu d’espaces maritimes sont, autant que la Méditerranée, dotés d’un maillage d’observation et de surveillance aussi étroit. Si le sauvetage était une priorité – comme le droit de la mer l’exige – déplorerait-on autant de naufrages entre la Libye et Lampedusa ?

      Déjà sont désignés comme principaux responsables les passeurs, mafias et trafiquants d’êtres humains, comme si le sinistre négoce de ceux qui tirent profit du besoin impérieux qu’ont certains migrants de franchir à tout prix les frontières n’était pas rendu possible et encouragé par les politiques qui organisent leur verrouillage. Faut-il rappeler que si des Syriens en fuite tentent, au risque de leur vie, la traversée de la Méditerranée, c’est parce que les pays membres de l’UE refusent de leur délivrer les visas qui leur permettraient de venir légalement demander asile en Europe ?

      On parle de pêcheurs qui, ayant vu le navire en perdition, auraient continué leur route sans porter secours à ses passagers, et des voix s’élèvent pour exiger qu’ils soient poursuivis et punis pour non-assistance à personne en danger. A-t-on oublié qu’en 2007, sept pêcheurs tunisiens accusés d’avoir « favorisé l’entrée irrégulière d’étrangers sur le sol italien » ont été poursuivis par la justice italienne, mis en prison et ont vu leur bateau placé sous séquestre parce qu’ils avaient porté secours à des migrants dont l’embarcation était en train de sombrer, les avaient pris à leur bord et convoyés jusqu’à Lampedusa ?

      Non, le drame de Lampedusa n’est pas le fruit de la fatalité. Il n’est dû ni aux passeurs voraces, ni aux pêcheurs indifférents. Les morts de Lampedusa, comme ceux d’hier et de demain, sont les victimes d’une Europe enfermée jusqu’à l’aveuglement dans une logique sécuritaire, qui a renoncé aux valeurs qu’elle prétend défendre. Une Europe assassine.


    • Lampedusa, 5 anni dopo

      Il quinto anniversario di questa tragedia arriva proprio all’indomani del nulla osta del Consiglio dei Ministri a un decreto che erige l’ennesima barriera di morte in faccia a migliaia di altri rifugiati e migranti come i ragazzi spazzati via in quell’alba grigia del 3 ottobre 2013. Non sappiamo se esponenti di questo governo e questa maggioranza o, più in generale, se altri protagonisti della politica degli ultimi anni, intendano promuovere o anche solo partecipare a cerimonie ed eventi in memoria di quanto è accaduto. Ma se è vero, come è vero, che il modo migliore di onorare i morti è salvare i vivi e rispettarne la libertà e la dignità, allora non avrà senso condividere i momenti di raccoglimento e di riflessione, che la data del 3 ottobre richiama, con chi da anni costruisce muri e distrugge i ponti, ignorando il grido d’aiuto che sale da tutto il Sud del mondo. Se anche loro voglio “ricordare Lampedusa”, che lo facciano da soli. Che restino soli. Perché in questi cinque anni hanno rovesciato, distrutto o snaturato quel grande afflato di solidarietà e umana pietà suscitato dalla strage nelle coscienze di milioni di persone in tutto il mondo

      Che cosa resta, infatti, dello “spirito” e degli impegni di allora? Nulla. Si è regrediti a un cinismo e a una indifferenza anche peggiori del clima antecedente quel terribile 3 ottobre. E, addirittura, nonostante le indagini in corso da parte della magistratura, non si è ancora riusciti a capire come sia stato possibile che 366 persone abbiano trovato la morte ad appena 800 metri da Lampedusa e a meno di due chilometri da un porto zeppo di unità militari veloci e attrezzate, in grado di arrivare sul posto in pochi minuti.

      La vastità della tragedia ha richiamato l’attenzione, con la forza enorme di 366 vite perdute, su due punti in particolare: la catastrofe umanitaria di milioni di rifugiati in cerca di salvezza attraverso il Mediterraneo; il dramma dell’Eritrea, schiavizzata dalla dittatura di Isaias Afewerki, perché tutti quei morti erano eritrei.

      Al primo “punto” si rispose con Mare Nostrum, il mandato alla Marina italiana di pattugliare il Mediterraneo sino ai margini delle acque territoriali libiche, per prestare aiuto alle barche di migranti in difficoltà e prevenire, evitare altre stragi come quella di Lampedusa. Quell’operazione è stata un vanto per la nostra Marina, con migliaia di vite salvate. A cinque anni di distanza non solo non ne resta nulla, ma sembra quasi che buona parte della politica la consideri uno spreco o addirittura un aiuto dato ai trafficanti.

      Sta di fatto che esattamente dopo dodici mesi, nel novembre 2014, Mare Nostrum è stato “cancellato”, moltiplicando – proprio come aveva previsto la Marina – i naufragi e le vittime, inclusa l’immane tragedia del 15 aprile 2015, con circa 800 vittime, il più alto bilancio di morte mai registrato nel Mediterraneo in un naufragio. E, al posto di quella operazione salvezza, sono state introdotte via via norme e restrizioni che neanche l’escalation delle vittime è valsa ad arrestare, fino ad arrivare ad esternalizzare sempre più a sud, in Africa e nel Medio Oriente, le frontiere della Fortezza Europa, attraverso tutta una serie di trattati internazionali, per bloccare i rifugiati in pieno Sahara, “lontano dai riflettori”, prima ancora che possano arrivare ad imbarcarsi sulla sponda sud del Mediterraneo. Questo hanno fatto e stanno facendo trattati come il Processo di Khartoum (fotocopia del precedente Processo di Rabat), gli accordi di Malta, il trattato con la Turchia, il patto di respingimento con il Sudan, il ricatto all’Afghanistan (costretto a “riprendersi” 80 mila profughi), il memorandum firmato con la Libia nel febbraio 2017 e gli ultimi provvedimenti di questo Governo. Per non dire della criminalizzazione delle Ong, alle quali si deve circa il 40 per cento delle migliaia di vite salvate, ma che sono state costrette a sospendere la loro attività, giungendo persino a fare pressione su Panama perché revocasse la bandiera di navigazione alla Aquarius, l’ultima nave umanitaria rimasta in tutto il Mediterraneo.

      Con i rifugiati eritrei, il secondo “punto”, si è passati dalla solidarietà alla derisione o addirittura al disprezzo, tanto da definirli – nelle parole di autorevoli esponenti dell’attuale maggioranza di governo – “profughi vacanzieri” o “migranti per fare la bella vita”, pur di negare la realtà della dittatura di Asmara. E’ un processo iniziato subito, già all’indomani della tragedia, quando alla cerimonia funebre per le vittime, ad Agrigento, il Governo ha invitato l’ambasciatore eritreo a Roma, l’uomo che in Italia rappresenta ed è la voce proprio di quel regime che ha costretto quei 366 giovani a scappare dal paese. Sarebbe potuta sembrare una “gaffe”. Invece si è rivelata l’inizio di un percorso di progressivo riavvicinamento e rivalutazione di Isaias Afewerki, il dittatore che ha schiavizzato il suo popolo, facendolo uscire dall’isolamento internazionale, associandolo al Processo di Khartoum e ad altri accordi, inviandogli centinaia di milioni di euro di finanziamenti, eleggendolo, di fatto, gendarme anti immigrazione per conto dell’Italia e dell’Europa.

      Sia per quanto riguarda i migranti in generale che per l’Eritrea, allora, a cinque anni di distanza dalla tragedia di quel 3 ottobre 2013, resta l’amaro sapore di un tradimento.
      – Traditi la memoria e il rispetto per le 366 giovani vittime e tutti i loro familiari e amici.
      – Traditi le migliaia di giovani che con la loro stessa fuga denunciano la feroce, terribile realtà del regime di Asmara, che resta una dittatura anche dopo la recente firma della pace con l’Etiopia per la lunghissima guerra di confine iniziata nel 1998.
      – Tradito il grido di dolore che sale dall’Africa e dal Medio Oriente verso l’Italia e l’Europa da parte di un intero popolo di migranti costretti ad abbandonare la propria terra: una fuga per la vita che nasce spesso da situazioni create dalla politica e dagli interessi economici e geostrategici proprio di quegli Stati del Nord del mondo che ora alzano barriere. Tradito, questo grido di dolore, nel momento stesso in cui si finge di non vedere una realtà evidente: che cioè

      “…lasci la casa solo / quando la casa non ti lascia più stare / Nessuno lascia la casa a meno che la casa non ti cacci / fuoco sotto i piedi / sangue caldo in pancia / qualcosa che non avresti mai pensato di fare / finché la falce non ti ha segnato il collo di minacce…” (da Home, monologo di Giuseppe Cederna.)

      Ecco: ovunque si voglia ricordare in questi giorni la tragedia di Lampedusa, sull’isola stessa o da qualsiasi altra parte, non avrà alcun senso farlo se non si vorrà trasformare questa triste ricorrenza in un punto di partenza per cambiare radicalmente la politica condotta in questi cinque anni nei confronti di migranti e rifugiati. Gli “ultimi della terra”.


    • Che cosa è un naufragio, cosa è la speranza

      Che cosa è un naufragio ce lo racconta, nel libro La frontiera, #Alessandro_Leogrande, giornalista, scrittore, intellettuale scomparso un anno fa. Una perdita enorme per il nostro paese.

      Alessandro traccia, in questo libro-ricerca, grazie alle testimonianze dei sopravvissuti, il viaggio intrapreso da alcuni migranti che poi culminerà nel terribile naufragio del 3 ottobre 2013. Dopo un lungo peregrinare iniziato nel Corno d’Africa, i futuri naufraghi sono lasciati in pieno deserto da un gruppo di sudanesi. Qui poi sono arrivati i libici. Man mano che si avanza si ingrossa il numero dei disperati, donne, uomini, bambini che arriveranno a un’ora da Tripoli in 500. Per un mese vengono rinchiusi in una specie di villa senza poter mai uscire, sotto il controllo di uomini armati. La maggior parte di loro arriva dall’Eritrea occidentale.

      All’improvviso una sera vengono portati sulla spiaggia dove aspettano l’arrivo della nave che li trasporterà a Lampedusa. Iniziano a trasportali con i gommoni una ventina alla volta sulla nave madre. «Ammassati nella stiva, sul ponte, in ogni minimo pertugio rimasto libero... Per tutto il tempo del viaggio viene ribadito di fare attenzione al balance, al bilanciamento dei pesi. Chi sta a poppa non deve andare a prua, e chi sta a prua non deve andare a poppa, sennò la barca affonda».

      Partono alle 11.30 di sera, alle 4 del mattino sono al largo di Lampedusa. Quando sono a circa 800 metri dalla piccola isola dei Conigli si cambiano gli abiti: indossano i vestiti migliori per lo sbarco.

      Due grosse navi gli passano accanto, poi si allontano. A questo punto sul piccolo peschereccio che ha imbarcato i 500 iniziano ad agitarsi. Nella stiva si accorgono che stanno imbarcando acqua. Le urla salgono al cielo. Per calmarli il capitano dà fuoco a una coperta e la agita in aria. Si scatena la tragedia. Le persone si muovo e rompono l’equilibrio dei pesi fra prua e poppa. Il peschereccio si capovolge immediatamente. «Tutto avviene con grande rapidità, non hanno il tempo di accorgersi di quello che sta accadendo: in mezzo minuto tantissime persone sono in acqua e altrettante stanno morendo nella stiva».

      A bordo ci sono diversi quintali di gasolio, che si rovesciano in mare. «Crea un lago d’olio, mescolandosi all’acqua. Impregna ogni cosa, stordisce chi annaspa con il suo odore acre. Scoppia il finimondo».

      Molte persone muoiono perché non sanno nuotare, altre perché troppo deboli per resistere, da giorni vanno avanti a tozzi di pane e acqua. I più forti provano a raggiungere la spiaggia a nuoto. «Le donne e i bambini che riempiono la stiva muoiono per primi. Li ritroveranno abbracciati, con le mani delle donne messe a coppa sulla bocca dei bambini per cercare di farli respirare qualche secondo in più, per impedire all’acqua di entrare nei polmoni».

      Un anno dopo la strage, Alessandro va a Lampedusa per seguire le commemorazioni ed è lì che incontra alcuni sopravvissuti: ora vivono in Norvegia o in Svezia, hanno poco più di venti anni.

      Tra di loro c’è Adhanom, nella strage ha perso il fratello e lo zio e racconta del suo viaggio per lasciare l’Italia e arrivare in Svezia. Riesce a non farsi prendere le impronte digitali a Roma e così una volta giunto in Svezia può chiedere asilo lì (il Regolamento di Dublino obbliga i rifugiati a chiedere asilo politico nel primo paese in cui sono sbarcati). Da Lampedusa viene trasferito a Roma con gli altri sopravvissuti, da qui fa perdere le sue tracce. In treno raggiunge Francoforte, Amburgo, Flensburg e poi la Danimarca e infine la Svezia. Viaggia di notte per evitare controlli. In Svezia riceve un assegno mensile e frequenta un corso di due anni per imparare la lingua. Dopo un anno fa il viaggio al contrario per raggiungere Lampedusa e pregare insieme agli altri sopravvissuti i morti della strage del 3 ottobre. «È troppo duro ricordare. È troppo duro pensare a quei giorni, al fratello morto accanto a lui, alle urla avvertite nell’acqua, alla sensazione di vuoto sotto i piedi». Adhanom e gli altri sopravvissuti tornano sull’Isola dei Conigli, una delle spiagge più belle del mondo. «Un paradiso davanti al quale almeno 366 persone sono morte affogate».

      Nella piccola chiesa dell’isola si tiene un momento di preghiera. Nello spiazzo davanti alla parrocchia, racconta Leogrande, una lunga fila di cartelli bianchi ricorda i naufraghi degli ultimi mesi... «Quelli minori, quelli dimenticati, quelli mai narrati». Dall’inizio del 2014 a ottobre sono già morti 2.500 migranti. «Morire di speranza» si legge sulla copertina del breviario distribuito per l’occasione. Davanti all’altare le foto degli scomparsi del 3 ottobre 2013. I canti degli eritrei si susseguono per tutta la celebrazione e accompagnano la lettura del lunghissimo elenco delle vittime del 3 ottobre. Un elenco che sembra non avere fine: è qui che Alessandro capisce che i morti non sono 366, ma 368. 360 eritrei e 8 etiopi.

      A rendere onore alle vittime ci sono i familiari, associazioni di volontariato e molti abitanti dell’isola. Così Alessandro incontra Costantino.

      Costantino non è un pescatore di professione, ma quella mattina del 3 ottobre decise di uscire a pescare col suo amico Onder. «Siamo arrivati sul luogo del naufragio intorno alle 7 e 10 e abbiamo raccolto i superstiti del mare fino alle 8. Ne abbiamo presi 11. A galla non c’erano molti morti, in parte li avevano già recuperati, in parte erano rimasti intrappolati nella stiva». Ma in quel momento loro non sapevano della tragedia che si era consumata. Costantino li tira su con un braccio solo. E questa facilità di presa resterà impressa nella mente dei salvati oltre che nei racconti dei bar dell’isola. «Li tiravo su come sacchi di patate, prendendoli dai pantaloni, dalla cintola». Stavano andando via quando all’improvviso avvertono un lamento, nonostante il motore acceso Costantino ed Onder sentono una voce debolissima chiedere aiuto. Salvano anche lei, Luam, una ragazzina di 16 anni.

      Verso mezzogiorno Costantino chiama la moglie. "Guarda - gli dice la moglie - che si sono 150 morti e c’è lo scafo sotto che ne contiene almeno altri 250. «Che stai dicendo? - grida Costantino - che stai dicendo?» E così sono rientrati di corsa. Il giorno dopo incontra le persone che ha salvato, lui e la moglie si segneranno su un quaderno i loro nomi, per non dimenticarli.
      Tra di loro c’è Robert, per mesi prigioniero dei miliziani libici, nella tragedia ha perso un’amica che gli chiedeva aiuto. «Ma non ha potuto fare niente - racconta Costantino - Se aiutava lei, morivano tutti e due. È dura da sopportare una cosa del genere, penso. Ora vedo che sta meglio, ha la ragazza. Sorride ogni tanto».

      Le persone che Costantino quel giorno ha salvato sono tutte andate via dall’Italia. Vivono in Germania, Norvegia, Svezia.

      Intanto il corteo prosegue fino al monumento Porta d’Europa. Il canto degli eritrei continua e si fa sempre più forte. «Un lungo canto funebre che a tratti risulta addirittura gioioso». Tutti indossano una maglietta nera con la scritta bianca: «Proteggere le persone, non i confini». «Non ho mai partecipato a niente di così intensamente religioso in tutta la mia vita. Non ho mai percepito, come in questo momento per certi versi assurdo, una tale tensione verso se stessi e gli altri, un tale stringersi intorno a un testo cantato e a delle persone che non ci sono più».
      Che cos’è la speranza

      Che cos’è la speranza ce lo racconta il giornalista e scrittore Agus Morales in Non siamo rifugiati, un libro immenso lungo le orme degli esiliati della terra: Siria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Repubblica Centroafricana, Sudan del Sud, Morales cammina con i centroamericani che attraversano il Messico, con i congolesi che fuggono dai gruppi armati. Segue i salvataggi nel Mediterraneo, le sofferenze e le umiliazioni dei rifugiati in Europa. Morales ci racconta la crisi non dell’Europa, ma del mondo. Un mondo di esodi, in un momento storico che vede il maggior numero di persone sradicate dal proprio paese.

      Il libro si apre con la storia di Ulet. Un somalo di 15 anni, ridotto in schiavitù in Libia. Viaggiava solo, senza amici, senza famiglia. Quando il gommone su cui si era imbarcato è stato salvato, lui è stato immediatamente ricoverato sulla nave di soccorso. «Era incredibile che, in quelle condizioni, fosse arrivato fin qui, in questo punto di incontro tra l’Europa e l’Africa, fino alle coordinate in cui ogni vita inizia a valere – solo un po’ – ... La soglia simbolica tra il Nord e il Sud: una linea capricciosa, in mezzo al mare, che segna la differenza tra l’esistere e il non esistere...»

      «Quando Ulet arrivò alla nave riusciva solo a balbettare, delirava, mormorava desideri. Con la violenza marchiata sulla schiena e una maschera d’ossigeno, lottava per sopravvivere, si aggrappava alla vita. Non c’era nessun volto noto a sostenerlo. Dopo il salvataggio la nave si diresse verso l’Italia... Ulet si sentì meglio e chiese all’infermiera di poter uscire in coperta». Stava guardando il mar Mediterraneo, lontano ormai dalla Libia, lontano dall’inferno che fino a quel momento era stata la sua vita. In quel momento Ulet perde conoscenza e muore. «Se fosse morto in Libia, non se ne sarebbe accorto nessuno».


  • Résistance | Une mer solidaire face à une mer frontière

    L’agence Frontex a récemment lancé une offensive contre les organisations humanitaires qui se sont déployées ces dernières années pour venir en aide aux personnes en détresse en Méditerranée. Elle les accuse de faire le jeu des passeurs et de créer un « appel d’air ». Sans aucun fondement [2], cette campagne de délégitimation, amplifiée par […]

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

    J’aimerais ici mettre en avant ce passage:

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

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

    #photographie #images #sauvetage #mer #Méditerranée #asile #migrations #réfugiés #humanitarisme #spectacle
    cc @albertocampiphoto

  • Selon des documents internes, Frontex laisse délibérément les réfugiés se noyer Solidaire - Max Vancauwenberge - 18 Avril 2017

    Frontex, l’agence européenne des garde-frontières et garde-côtes européens, laisse délibérément les réfugiés se noyer. C’est ce que nous apprennent des documents internes ayant « fuités ». Depuis le début de l’année, 7 personnes meurent chaque jour en tentant la traversée de la Méditerranée…

    Zach Campbell, journaliste d’investigation, a pu mettre la main sur des documents internes de Frontex indiquant que les navires de l’agence européenne naviguent délibérément loin des zones maritimes où ont lieu la grande majorité des naufrages. Ses articles1 ont été publiés sur The Intercept, le magazine en ligne créé par le journaliste Glenn Greenwald qui y a notamment révélé l’affaire Snowden.

    « En ce moment même, nous sommes occupés sur une dizaine de sauvetages dans les eaux internationales. Un millier de personnes ont été sauvées par nos moyens depuis ce matin. Alors, on se pose une question : où est l’Union européenne ? Où sont les pays membres ? » demande Stefano Argenziano, coordinateur des opérations de Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).2 En réalité, les navires de Frontex sont délibérément absent des zones maritimes où ont lieu la grande majorité des noyades. C’est ce que nous apprennent des documents internes de Frontex ayant fuité.

    En octobre 2013, suite aux naufrages qui avaient coûté la vie à plus de 500 hommes, femmes et enfants au large des côtes italiennes de Lampedusa, l’Italie avait lancé l’opération Mare Nostrum. Avec un budget de 9.5 millions d’euros et des moyens considérables, cette opération a permis de sauver la vie à plus de 155.000 personnes en mer. Mais, devant le trop faible soutien reçu par l’Union européenne et ses États membres, l’Italie a mis fin à l’opération en novembre 2014.3

    La Commission européenne a alors mis en place l’opération Triton, une opération européenne à laquelle participent 21 États membres et pays associés à l’Espace Schengen. Cette opération n’a cependant jamais eu l’ambition de remplacer l’opération Mare Nostrum. Elle a plutôt pour rôle de surveiller les frontières, même si elle est légalement obligée de porter secours aux navires en détresse. Son budget est d’ailleurs à l’époque nettement moins élevé – 2.9 millions d’euros contre 9.5 pour l’opération Mare Nostrum – et elle ne se rend pas dans les eaux internationales où ont lieu la majorité des naufrages. Une lettre interne4 envoyée par Frontex aux autorités italiennes en novembre 2014 nous apprend par ailleurs que le directeur de l’époque indiquait que ses navires ne devaient pas être appelés pour des opérations de sauvetage en mer en dehors des zones maritimes italiennes, alors même qu’il s’agit d’une obligation légale en droit maritime de venir en aide à d’autres navires en détresse. L’opération Triton a depuis été renforcée en termes de budget et de moyens d’interventions, mais celle-ci ne se rend toujours pas dans les zones maritimes où ont lieu le plus de noyades.

    Une seule mission européenne – la mission EUNavFor/Sophia – navigue près des eaux libyennes. Cette mission a pour objectif de casser le business des passeurs et est composée de plusieurs navires militaires ainsi que de plusieurs hélicoptères et de drones. Cet équipement leur permet de savoir en permanence et en temps réel si des personnes tentent la traversée de la Méditerranée, et également si leur embarcation est capable de résister à un tel voyage. Ces informations ne sont cependant pas transmises ni aux autorités italiennes ni aux ONG.
    Rien que cette année, 663 personnes5 se sont ainsi déjà noyées en tentant la traversée, soit 7 par jour.

    Les ONG prises pour cible
    Si Frontex ne navigue pas dans les eaux où ont lieu le plus de noyades, les ONG comme Médecins Sans Frontières le font. Ces dernières sont cependant prises pour cible par Frontex. Dans une récente interview donnée au quotidien allemand Die Welt6, le directeur actuel de Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, affirmait qu’il « fallait éviter de renforcer le business de réseaux criminels et des passeurs en Libye en repêchant les migrants trop près des côtes libyennes ».

    Le 21 mars dernier, notre secrétaire d’État à l’Asile et à la Migration Theo Francken reprenait également cette idée en accusant Médecins Sans Frontières de faire du « trafic d’êtres humains ». Face aux nombreuses réactions choquées et à la demande du Premier ministre Charles Michel, Theo Francken a accepté de « nuancer » ses propos. « Comment nuancer ce genre de propos ? Il demande à MSF de les laisser dans la mer. Comment fait-on pour se noyer "un peu" ? Ces propos sont intolérables ! » affirmera Raoul Hedebouw, parlementaire du PTB au Parlement jeudi 23 mars.

    Le secrétaire d’État à l’Asile et à la Migration n’a en effet pas changer de position sur le fond. Dans une interview donnée à De Morgen, Francken confirmait une nouvelle fois que la présence d’ONG menant des opérations de sauvetage constituait un « appel d’air » pour les réfugiés. « Cet appel d’air est incontestable. Pourquoi ces gens partent-ils ? Si on achète un ticket pour un tel bateau, tu achètes aussi un ticket d’accès à l’Europe », affirme-t-il.7 Une étude réalisée par deux chercheurs d’Oxford démontre cependant que cet appel d’air est un mythe.

    Réduire les opérations de sauvetage ne fera qu’augmenter les noyades
    En effet, une étude réalisée par les chercheurs Elias Steinhilper et Rob Gruijters de l’université d’Oxford8 nous apprend que cet appel d’air est un mythe. Les deux chercheurs ont comparé les périodes comptant de nombreuses missions de sauvetage et celles où elles étaient faibles. Leur conclusion est que les missions de sauvetage n’ont aucune influence sur le nombre de personnes tentant la traversée. Réduire les opérations de sauvetage n’aurait que comme conséquence d’augmenter le nombre de noyades expliquent les deux chercheurs.

    Francken préfère cependant se ranger derrière l’avis de Frontex, qu’il considère comme « une voix importante. Celle des gens se trouvant sur le terrain. Qui est tout aussi importante que les recherches d’un professeur d’université ? »9.

    La seule manière véritable d’arrêter les noyades est d’améliorer les conditions d’accueil dans la région et d’ouvrir des procédures d’accès légales et sûres, basées sur des critères clairs, pour pouvoir se rendre en Europe afin d’y recevoir une protection internationale. Il faut en effet des corridors humanitaires. De sorte que les gens qui veulent demander asile et protection en Europe ne doivent plus recourir à des passeurs au risque de leur vie.

    2. La Dernière Heure, 18 avril 2017
    3. Myria (Centre fédéral Migration), La migration en chiffres et en droits, 2015, p.54
    4. Le lien de cette lettre se trouve dans l’article de Zach Campbell https://theintercept.com/2017/04/01/europe-keeps-its-rescue-ships-far-from-the-coast-of-libya-where-thousa
    5. Organisation Internationale pour les Migrations (IOM), à la date du 4 avril
    6. Die Welt, 27 février 2017
    7. De Morgen, 2 avril 2017
    8. https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/centre-criminology/centreborder-criminologies/blog/2017/03/border-deaths
    9. De Morgen, 2 avril 2017

    #frontex #Zach_Campbell #union_européenne #commission_européenne #Triton #schengen #Mare_Nostrum #Belgique #theo_francken

  • Border displacements. Challenging the politics of rescue between #Mare_Nostrum and #Triton

    This article deals with this ongoing spatial and political recrafting of the Mediterranean sea as a space of migration governmentality. It retraces the recent political and spatial transformations occurred with the starting of the military-humanitarian operation Mare Nostrum in the channel of Sicily and then the handover to the Triton operation coordinated by Frontex. The two specific angles from which it tackles this issue are the politics of and over life that is at stake in the government of migration at sea and the politics of visibility that underpins it. In the first section it analyses the politics and the scene of rescue that has been put into place with the start of Mare Nostrum, tacking stock of the re-articulation of military and humanitarian technologies for governing and containing migrant movements. Then, it discusses the recent transformations occurred with Triton operation and the effects on the level of political actions undertaken by activist migrant groups. The article moves on by taking into account the peculiar politics of visibility that is at stake in the government of migration in the Mediterranean.

    #Méditerranée #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #militarisation_des_frontières #sauvetage
    cc @reka

  • Ebbing and Flowing: The EU’s Shifting Practices of (Non-) Assistance and Bordering in a Time of Crisis

    The movements of illegalised migrants and the bordering of the Mediterranean Sea have seen momentous transformations since the beginning of the Arab uprisings in 2011.*1 The fall of the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia and the Qaddafi regime in Libya have allowed migrants to at least temporarily re-open maritime routes which had been sealed off through the collaboration between the EU and North African states. The civil war that has engulfed Syria since 2012 has in turn led to the largest exodus since the Second World War While the majority of population movements unleashed by conflicts in the region have occurred on the southern shore of the Mediterranean, record numbers of people have sought to reach the EU by boat, and equally unprecedented numbers of deaths at sea have been recorded – 3,195 in 2014 and 3,772 in 2015 according to IOM data.2 This intense and rapidly evolving movement of people across the sea but also on the EU’s firm land, where migrants have collectively overcome every single barrier that states have erected in front of them, has been labelled a “migration crisis.” This designation, in return, has enabled the deployment of exceptional military, humanitarian and political “solutions” (see “Keywords” in this issue). At sea we have witnessed a multiplication of actors involved in bordering and rescue practices. Border and Coast Guards have been joined by national and multinational military operations, civilian rescue missions and commercial ships and we have seen repeated shifts in their missions, operational logics, and institutional assemblages. On land, developments have been no less impressive. States have been desperately running behind migrants’ turbulent movements and re-erecting border controls between EU member-states and at the EU’s periphery. These newly staged bordering practices echo the changes to the EU’s political and economic geography in the aftermath of the EU’s “debt crisis” and the increasing polarisation between southern and northern European member-states. Rather than a “migration crisis,” then, we will argue that we are witnessing the crisis of the current EU border regime.

    cc @reka
    #Méditerranée #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Charles_Heller #non-assistance #Mare_Nostrum #EUNAVFOR_MED #mer #haute-mer #naufrages #secours #left-to-die_boat #mourir_en_mer #privatisation

  • Claude Calame | « Vague de réfugiés » et « crise des migrants » : les lourdes responsabilités européennes

    Sur une plage de Turquie, léché par les vagues, le petit Aylan Kurdi semble s’être endormi, sur le ventre, les mains retournées, comme s’endorment paisiblement les enfants de son âge. Ainsi reposent au fond de la Méditerranée centrale, avec leurs mères, des dizaines d’enfants, anonymes, enfermés dans les cales d’embarcations qui ont chaviré dans le passage clandestin entre la Libye et le Sud de l’Italie.

    #Documentation #Publications_-_Analyses_récentes #Europe #hotspot #Mare_Nostrum #Mos_Maiorum #mur #passeur #Triton

  • swissinfo.ch | « Dublin est déséquilibré et inefficace, comme le Pacte de stabilité »

    Sauver les migrants en mer ne suffit pas : l’UE doit se doter d’une politique migratoire plus solidaire et avec une vision à plus long terme et chercher à affronter les problèmes à la racine, affirme l’expert Ferruccio Pastore. Pour lui, « l’Europe n’a pas intérêt à laisser l’Afrique seule ».

    #Articles_de_presse #Documentation #Dublin #Mare_Nostrum

  • #shameless_autopromo

    Les drames en Méditerranée dans la presse romande. Une revue critique

    On aura tout lu et entendu dans les médias romands sur les derniers grands naufrages qui ont eu lieu en #Méditerranée les 12 et 19 avril 2015. Nous proposons ici une lecture critique de la couverture médiatique romande de la semaine qui a suivi ces tragédies [1]. Il s’agit également d’offrir quelques éléments d’analyse sur la problématique des naufrages en Méditerranée, en vue d’approfondissements futurs.

    #naufrages #Frontex #asile #migration #réfugiés #presse #afflux #invasion #passeurs #Triton #Mare_Nostrum #externalisation #modèle_australien

    • Et un article ad hoc sur la question du « million de personnes » prêt à quitter le Sud de la Méditerranée pour venir en Europe :
      Décryptage | Du fantasme du million de personnes prêtes à s’embarquer pour l’Europe

      On aura tout lu et entendu sur les naufrages en Méditerranée. Si des articles et témoignages de qualité ont été diffusés, certains chiffres et déclarations, repris en boucle dans les médias, ont attiré notre attention. Une revue de presse détaillée et critique vous est proposée sur notre site. Mais une petite halte s’impose quant à certaines déclarations faites par le directeur de l’agence Frontex (1).


    • C’était 2011...
      The African invasion that did not happen. Why and how?

      Do you remember? Back in February and March of this year, European politicians and the media were sowing fear that Europe was about to face a deluge of African migrants in response to the Arab Spring. Particularly the violence in Libya was predicted to push up to 1.5 million sub-Saharan migrant workers to migrate to Europe. Others believed Gaddafi’s threats that he could unleash a migrant invasion. Images of Tunisian boat migrants arriving on Lampedusa confirmed this image of a looming migration crisis.


    • Et en 2017...
      The 1 million migrants you haven’t seen

      The story that 1 million African migrants are ready or in ‘the pipeline’ to reach Europe from Libya is nothing new and Joseph Walker-Cousins’ claim reported in the Daily Mail has previously been aired by other allegedly well-informed people. It resurfaces periodically in the media (2015, 2016, 2017), but repetition is no proof of validity; rather it is an example of how charts and figures play a significant role in how we understand and debate the so-called refugee crisis and in shaping European policy responses to boat migration. This despite it has been showed (see, for example, Frontex double counting, UK’s alleged generosity vis-a-vis unaccompanied minors, and Frontex again) how the figures being circulated are often inaccurate and partial, or even systematically inflated to serve a range of different purposes, not least to legitimize growing expenditures in border infrastructures and policing, trigger donations by key donors and the public, and feed anti-immigration rhetoric for political gain.


  • Je pensais l’avoir déjà signalé... voici un reportage édifiant, mais quelle histoire triste... envie de hurler de rage en le regardant !
    Cela s’est passé il y a une année, à la frontière entre la #Suisse et l’#Italie, à #Brig plus précisément...

    Un reportage-enquête a reconstruit l’histoire :
    "Terminus Brig"

    L’affaire avait ému toute la Suisse : l’été dernier, une jeune mère de famille syrienne a perdu son bébé en gare de Brig, sans que personne ne lui porte secours. Suha traversait la Suisse avec son mari, ses autres enfants et ses parents, pour se rendre en Allemagne. Elle a été refoulée à la frontière de Vallorbe, sans visa valable. Sommes-nous devenus inhumains ou simplement dépassés par le drame des migrants ?

    Luis Lema et Frédéric Choffat ont reconstitué l’Odyssée de Suha et de sa famille, d’Alep aux plages débordées d’Italie, en passant par la Méditerranée, fatale à tant de migrants. La trajectoire d’une famille heureuse, que la guerre a fait fuir….


    #refoulement #push-back #asile #migration #réfugiés #Syrie #déshumanisation #train #frontière #Valais #mourir_aux_frontières #Syrie #film #documentaire #enquête #empreintes_digitales #garde-frontière #refoulement_en_chaîne #avortement #omission_de_secours #Domodossola #Schengen #itinéraire_migratoire

    #Parcours_migratoire de la famille :
    Alep, puis fuite vers un village en campagne, là où habite la famille du père, pendant quelques semaines, pensent-ils, mais la guerre arrive au village —> le père rejoint un cousin à Tripoli. Il trouve du travail, 4 mois après la famille le rejoint. Ils croient rester là quelques mois, le temps que la situation en Syrie se calme, mais début du chaos en #Libye —> #Méditerranée (prix payé pour la traversée de la famille : 12’000 EUR), départ du port de Zuwara —> bateau secouru par la marine militaire italienne dans le cadre de #Mare_Nostrum —> Naples —> Milan. Idée de départ : rejoindre une partie de la famille installée en Allemagne. L’Italie n’a pas enregistré leurs empreintes digitales. Sur conseil d’un migrant à la gare de Milan, le père de famille décide de prendre le train Milan —> Paris —> Munich. Mais... #Terminus_Brig !

    Après le drame de la perte du bébé, la famille est restée en Italie, où elle a obtenu le statut de réfugié.

    Témoignage de Bertrand Kiefer, médecin membre de la commission nationale d’éthique (Suisse) :
    « La #démocratie est quelque chose de très délicat qu’il faut surveiller comme le lait sur le feu et il faut sans cesse refuser les moments où elle commence à abandonner les droits de l’homme, à abandonner cette difficulté qu’il y a de traiter chaque humain comme un être humain, d’où qu’il vienne et pas seulement le citoyen. Arrêter de séparer en plusieurs groupes la communauté humaine. On est tous des humains. Dans la #déshumanisation, il y a toujours un peu d’esprit totalitaire qui s’installe »

    • Mort-né d’une Syrienne : débats devant le Tribunal militaire 4

      Berne, 07.11.2017 - Le 22 novembre 2017, le Tribunal militaire 4 se réunira pour les débats dans une affaire impliquant un membre du Corps des gardes-frontière. L’accusation reproche à ce dernier d’être responsable de la mort de l’enfant à naître d’une Syrienne qui était en transit de France vers l’Italie.


    • Fausse-couche lors du renvoi d’une réfugiée syrienne : un douanier sur le banc des accusés

      Un douanier est accusé d’être responsable de la mort du bébé que portait une réfugiée syrienne de 22 ans. Dans la nuit du 3 au 4 juillet 2014, il avait renvoyé celle-ci vers l’Italie, malgré les fortes douleurs dont elle se plaignait


    • « Tout le monde était responsable d’appeler un médecin »

      Deuxième jour du #procès d’un garde-frontière accusé d’avoir refusé de l’aide à une réfugiée syrienne qui faisait une fausse couche. Le procureur requiert sept ans de prison pour homicide


      Petit commentaire :

      Depuis le drame, « beaucoup de choses ont changé », a encore affirmé Jean-Luc Boillat. Les trajets entre Vallorbe et Brigue ne sont plus effectués par les gardes-frontière eux-mêmes en fourgonnettes, ils ont été délégués à une entreprise de transport par autocar.

      –-> la #privatisation du transport comme solution pour éviter d’autres drames... oui, bien sûr !

    • Un garde-frontière devant la justice après la fausse couche d’une réfugiée

      Un garde-frontière suisse accusé de la mort de l’enfant à naître d’une réfugiée syrienne comparaît depuis mercredi devant le Tribunal militaire à Berne. La femme avait fait une fausse couche lors de son renvoi en Italie en 2014.


      Commentaire de Liliane Maury-Pasquier (conseillère aux Etats, PS) sur twitter :

      Un garde-frontière jugé pour n’avoir pas écouté les plaintes d’une réfugiée syrienne enceinte. Comment les médias peuvent-ils utiliser le terme de #fausse-couche pour une #grossesse de 7 mois !?! C’est un #accouchement_prématuré !!! Et c’est grave ! C’est un enfant qui est mort !


    • Syrerin bringt totes Kind zur Welt - weil ein Grenzwächter nicht hilft

      Eine Syrerin erlitt auf der Flucht eine späte Fehlgeburt - und ein Schweizer Grenzbeamter untersagte ihr ärztliche Hilfe, obwohl er ihre Lage erkennen musste.
      Nun wurde der Wächter vor dem Militärgericht in Bern zu einer Freiheitsstrafe von sieben Monaten auf Bewährung verurteilt.
      Der Schweizer hatte dem Vater des toten Kindes vorgeworfen, seine schwangere Frau mit der Reise selbst in Gefahr gebracht zu haben.


    • #Procès en appel dans l’affaire du bébé mort-né lors d’un renvoi

      Le procès en appel d’un garde-frontière, condamné en première instance après la fausse couche d’une Syrienne lors d’un renvoi en 2014, s’est ouvert lundi devant un tribunal militaire à Zurich

      Le nouveau procès d’un garde-frontière condamné en première instance après la fausse couche d’une Syrienne lors d’un renvoi en 2014 s’est ouvert lundi devant le Tribunal militaire d’appel 2 à Zurich. La femme lui reproche d’avoir ignoré son état de santé.

      N’importe qui aurait pu se rendre compte qu’elle n’allait pas bien, a déclaré lundi la mère du bébé décédé devant la cour. Des traces de sang étaient visibles sur ses pantalons blancs, selon elle. En outre, son mari et d’autres membres de la famille avaient plusieurs fois demandé de l’aide ainsi qu’une ambulance en raison de ses douleurs.

      Le garde-frontière de 58 ans n’a rien remarqué de particulier chez la Syrienne lorsqu’il a pris la responsabilité du groupe, affirme-t-il pour sa part. Il n’a pas constaté d’agitation particulière, tout était calme, dit-il. Il a bien vu qu’une femme était étendue, mais ne s’est dans un premier temps pas rendu compte qu’elle était enceinte. Il n’a pas vu de sang non plus.
      Collègues italiens informés

      C’est lorsqu’il a fallu la porter dans le train à destination de l’Italie que le militaire a reconnu qu’elle allait moins bien que ce que lui et ses collègues pensaient, a-t-il ajouté. Il a alors informé les services italiens qu’une femme enceinte n’allant pas bien se trouvait dans le train.

      Sur le moment, il considérait intuitivement que c’était la meilleure chose à faire. Aujourd’hui, il ne sait pas si faire appel à une ambulance, qui dans le trafic de fin de journée aurait pu mettre une demi-heure pour arriver de Viège (VS) jusqu’à Brigue (VS), aurait permis de gagner du temps.
      Voyage interminable

      La famille syrienne, dont la femme était enceinte de sept mois, avait été interceptée à la frontière franco-suisse début juillet 2014. Elle tentait de gagner la France depuis l’Italie en compagnie d’un groupe d’une trentaine de réfugiés.

      Les réfugiés ont d’abord été transférés en bus de Vallorbe (VD) à Brigue. Une fois arrivé, le groupe a attendu deux heures et demie à la gare avant de prendre un train régional pour Domodossola (I). Durant ce transfert, la femme enceinte s’est plainte de douleurs et de saignements, problèmes qui se sont aggravés rapidement. Arrivée à Domodossola, la Syrienne accouche à l’hôpital d’un enfant mort-né.
      Urgence non reconnue

      Lors du procès en première instance au Tribunal militaire 4 de Berne en décembre dernier, la défense avait plaidé l’acquittement, estimant que le prévenu avait agi dès qu’il avait reconnu les problèmes de santé de la femme, lorsqu’elle a rejoint le train. Le procureur avait demandé jusqu’à 7 ans de prison selon la variante retenue.

      L’accusé était soumis à une pression certaine pour procéder rapidement à l’expulsion du groupe de réfugiés, a reconnu la cour. Mais il aurait dû se rendre compte au plus tard à Brigue que les plaintes de la réfugiée méritaient un examen médical sur-le-champ.

      Le sergent-major a été reconnu coupable de lésions corporelles par négligence, de tentative d’interruption de grossesse et de violations répétées des prescriptions de service. Il a écopé d’une peine privative de liberté de 7 mois et à une peine pécuniaire de 60 jours-amendes à 150 francs. Les deux sanctions sont assorties du sursis.

      Aucune des parties ne s’est montrée satisfaite du jugement. La défense réclame toujours l’acquittement. L’accusation exige une peine « correcte ». Le verdict du procès en appel est attendu mardi.


  • #Mare_Nostrum

    Zedan ha dieci anni, è partito dalla Siria. Dietro di sé ha lasciato la guerra, davanti ha un futuro da dottore, questo è il suo sogno. Faras la sua terra di origine non l’ha mai vista, quando viene raccolto da un barcone che vaga nel Mediterraneo ha solo tre giorni. Sua mamma è palestinese, ma lui è nato in Libia il giorno prima di partire verso l’Europa.

    Zedan e Faras sono al sicuro, salvati dal personale della nave San Giusto impegnata nell’operazione Mare Nostrum condotta dalla Marina Militare italiana. Mai nella storia è stato organizzato in modo così ampio e completo un sistema di soccorso dedicato ai migranti che tentano la traversata del Mediterraneo.

    La San Giusto è una Babele viaggiante, riempita fino all’orlo di migranti raccolti in mare, sono in 1700. A bordo ci sono siriani, eritrei, somali, ghanesi, nigeriani; fuggono dalla guerra e dalla povertà. Con loro viaggiano le loro storie e le emozioni dei militari che per dodici mesi, fino all’ottobre del 2014, hanno messo in salvo 170mila persone. A bordo si è al sicuro, i pericoli del mare, le urla durante i soccorsi, i pianti dei bambini sono lasciati alle spalle.

    #sauvetage #témoignage #Méditerranée #naufrage #mourir_en_mer #Forteresse_Europe #migration #asile