• UK to block #visas for countries refusing to take back asylum seekers

    Bill would give home secretary power to take action against citizens of countries deemed not to be cooperating.

    The UK will block visas for visitors from countries the home secretary believes are refusing to cooperate in taking back rejected asylum seekers or offenders.

    In proposed legislation published on Tuesday, #Priti_Patel and future home secretaries would have the power to suspend or delay the processing of applications from countries that do no “cooperate with the UK government in relation to the removal from the United Kingdom of nationals of that country who require leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom but do not have it”.

    The clause in the nationality and borders bill also allows for the home secretary to impose additional financial requirements for visa applications – that is, an increase in fees – if countries do not cooperate.

    The proposals mirror US legislation that allows officials to withdraw visa routes from countries that refuse to take back undocumented migrants. It is understood that countries such as Iraq, Iran, Eritrea and Sudan are reluctant to cooperate with the UK on such matters.

    The change is one of many in the bill, described as “the biggest overhaul of the UK’s asylum system in decades” by Patel, which includes measures such as:

    - Asylum seekers deemed to have arrived in the UK illegally will no longer have the same entitlements as those who arrive in the country via legal routes. Even if their claim is successful, they will be granted temporary refugee status and face the prospect of being indefinitely liable for removal.

    - Asylum seekers will be able to be removed from the UK while their asylum claim or appeal is pending, which opens the door to offshore asylum processing.

    - For those deemed to have arrived illegally, access to benefits and family reunion rights could be limited.

    – The appeals and judicial process will be changed to speed up the removal of those whose claims are refused.

    - The home secretary will be able to offer protection to vulnerable people in “immediate danger and at risk in their home country” in exceptional circumstances. It is thought this will be used to help a small number of people.

    – The system will be made “much harder for people to be granted refugee status based on unsubstantiated claims” and will include “rigorous age assessments” to stop adults pretending to be children. The government is considering the use of bone scanners to determine age.

    - Life sentences will be brought in as a maximum penalty for people-smugglers.

    - Foreign criminals who breach deportation orders and return to the UK could be jailed for up to five years instead of the current six months.

    – A new one-stop legal process is proposed so that asylum, human rights claims and any other protection matters are made and considered together before appeal hearings.

    Campaigners have dubbed the proposed legislation the “anti-refugee bill”, claiming it will penalise those who need help the most.

    Analysis of Home Office data by the Refugee Council suggests 9,000 people who would be accepted as refugees under current rules – those confirmed to have fled war or persecution following official checks – may no longer be given safety in the UK due to their means of arrival under the changes.

    The charity’s chief executive, Enver Solomon, said that for decades people had taken “extraordinary measures to flee oppression”, but had gone on to become “law-abiding citizens playing by the rules and paying their taxes as proud Britons”.

    Steve Valdez-Symonds, refugee and migrants rights programme director at Amnesty International UK, branded the bill “legislative vandalism”, claimed it could “fatally undermine the right to asylum” and accused Patel of a “shameful dereliction of duty”, adding: “This reckless and deeply unjust bill is set to bring shame on Britain’s international reputation.”

    Sonya Sceats, chief executive of Freedom from Torture, described the plans as “dripping with cruelty” and an “affront to the caring people in this country who want a kinder, fairer approach to refugees”.

    More than 250 organisations – including the Refugee Council, the British Red Cross, Freedom from Torture, Refugee Action and Asylum Matters – have joined to form the coalition Together with Refugees to call for a more effective, fair and humane approach to asylum in the UK.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/jul/06/uk-to-block-visas-from-countries-refusing-to-take-back-undocumented-mig

    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #chantage #visas #UK #Angleterre

    La loi comprend aussi une disposition concernant l’#externalisation des #procédures_d'asile :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/918427

    Une des dispositions rappelle la loi de l’#excision_territoriale (#Australie) :

    Asylum seekers deemed to have arrived in the UK illegally will no longer have the same entitlements as those who arrive in the country via legal routes. Even if their claim is successful, they will be granted temporary refugee status and face the prospect of being indefinitely liable for removal.

    voir :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/901628#message901630
    https://seenthis.net/messages/416996
    #modèle_australien

    #offshore_asylum_processing
    #Irak #Iran #Erythrée #Sudan #réfugiés_irakiens #réfugiés_iraniens #réfugiés_soudanais #réfugiés_érythréens #réfugiés_soudanais #regroupement_familial #aide_sociale #procédure_d'asile #recours #mineurs #âge #tests_osseux #criminels_étrangers #rétention #détention_administrative #anti-refugee_bill

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • Immigration Enforcement and the Afterlife of the Slave Ship

    Coast Guard techniques for blocking Haitian asylum seekers have their roots in the slave trade. Understanding these connections can help us disentangle immigration policy from white nationalism.

    Around midnight in May 2004, somewhere in the Windward Passage, one of the Haitian asylum seekers trapped on the flight deck of the U.S. Coast Guard’s USCGC Gallatin had had enough.

    He arose and pointed to the moon, whispering in hushed tones. The rest of the Haitians, asleep or pretending to be asleep, initially took little notice. That changed when he began to scream. The cadence of his words became erratic, furious—insurgent. After ripping his shirt into tatters, he gestured wildly at the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) watchstanders on duty.

    I was one of them.

    His eyes fixed upon mine. And he slowly advanced toward my position.

    I stood fast, enraptured by his lone defiance, his desperate rage. Who could blame him? Confinement on this sunbaked, congested, malodorous flight deck would drive anyone crazy—there were nearly 300 people packed together in a living space approximately 65 feet long and 35 feet wide. We had snatched him and his compatriots from their overloaded sailing vessel back in April. They had endured week after week without news about the status of their asylum claims, about what lay in store for them.

    Then I got scared. I considered the distinct possibility that, to this guy, I was no longer me, but a nameless uniform, an avatar of U.S. sovereignty: a body to annihilate, a barrier to freedom. I had rehearsed in my mind how such a contingency might play out. We were armed only with nonlethal weapons—batons and pepper spray. The Haitians outnumbered us 40 to 1. Was I ready? I had never been in a real fight before. Now a few of the Haitian men were standing alert. Were they simply curious? Was this their plan all along? What if the women and children joined them?

    Lucky for me, one of the meanest devils on the watch intervened on my behalf. He charged toward us, stepping upon any Haitians who failed to clear a path. After a brief hand-to-hand struggle, he subdued the would-be rebel, hauled him down to the fantail, and slammed his head against the deck. Blood ran from his face. Some of the Haitians congregated on the edge of the flight deck to spectate. We fastened the guy’s wrists with zip ties and ordered the witnesses to disperse. The tension in his body gradually dissipated.

    After fifteen minutes, the devil leaned down to him. “Are you done? Done making trouble?” His silence signified compliance.

    Soon after, the Haitians were transferred to the custody of the Haitian Coast Guard. When we arrived in the harbor of Port-au-Prince, thick plumes of black smoke rose from the landscape. We were witnessing the aftermath of the CIA-orchestrated February coup against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the subsequent invasion of the country by U.S. Marines under the auspices of international “peacekeeping.” Haiti was at war.

    None of that mattered. Every request for asylum lodged from our boat had been rejected. Every person returned to Haiti. No exceptions.

    The Gallatin left the harbor. I said goodbye to Port-au-Prince. My first patrol was over.

    Out at sea, I smoked for hours on the fantail, lingering upon my memories of the past months. I tried to imagine how the Haitians would remember their doomed voyage, their detention aboard the Gallatin, their encounters with us—with me. A disquieting intuition repeated in my head: the USCG cutter, the Haitians’ sailing vessel, and European slave ships represented a triad of homologous instances in which people of African descent have suffered involuntary concentration in small spaces upon the Atlantic. I dreaded that I was in closer proximity to the enslavers of the past, and to the cops and jailors of the present, than I ever would be to those Haitians.

    So, that night, with the butt of my last cigarette, I committed to cast my memories of the Haitians overboard. In the depths of some unmarked swath of the Windward Passage, I prayed, no one, including me, would ever find them again.

    In basic training, every recruit is disciplined to imagine how the USCG is like every other branch of the military, save one principle: we exist to save lives, and it is harder to save lives than to take them. I was never a very good sailor, but I took this principle seriously. At least in the USCG, I thought, I could evade the worst cruelties of the new War on Terror.

    Perhaps I should have done more research on the USCG’s undeclared long war against Haitian asylum seekers, in order to appreciate precisely what the oath to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” would demand of me. This war had long preceded my term of enlistment. It arguably began in 1804, when the United States refused to acknowledge the newly liberated Haiti as a sovereign nation and did everything it could to insulate its slaving society from the shock waves of Haiti’s radical interpretation of universal freedom. But in our present day, it began in earnest with President Ronald Reagan’s Executive Order 12324 of 1981, also called the Haitian Migrant Interdiction Operation (HMIO), which exclusively tasked the USCG to “interdict” Haitian asylum seekers attempting to enter the United States by sea routes on unauthorized sailing vessels. Such people were already beginning to be derogatorily referred to as “boat people,” a term then borrowed (less derogatorily) into Haitian Kreyòl as botpippel.

    The enforcement of the HMIO and its subsequent incarnations lies almost entirely within the jurisdiction of federal police power acting under the authority of the executive branch’s immigration and border enforcement powers. It does not take place between nations at enmity with one another, but between vastly unequal yet allied powers. Its strategic end is to create a kind of naval blockade, a fluid maritime border around Haiti, which remains under ever-present threat of invasion by a coalition of U.S. and foreign military forces.

    Adding to its asymmetry, the “enemies” to be vanquished on the battlefield are also unconventional: they are not agents of a state, but rather noncombatant individuals who are, in one sense or another, simply acting to save their own lives. During their incarceration aboard USCG cutters, they automatically bear the legal status of “economic migrant,” a person whom authorities deem to be fleeing poverty alone and therefore by definition ineligible for asylum. The meaning of this category is defined solely by reference to its dialectical negation, the “political refugee,” a person whom authorities may (or may not) deem to have a legible asylum claim because they are fleeing state persecution on the basis of race, creed, political affiliation, or sexual orientation. These abstractions are historical artifacts of a half-baked, all-encompassing theory of preemptive deterrence: unless USCG patrols are used to place Haiti under a naval blockade, and unless botpippel are invariably denied asylum, the United States will become flooded with criminals and people who have no means of supporting themselves. By 2003 John Ashcroft and the Bush administration upped the ante, decrying botpippel to be vectors of terrorism. On January 11, 2018, President Donald Trump, during efforts to justify ending nearly all immigration and asylum, described Haiti (which he grouped with African nations) as a “shithole country” where, as he asserted several months prior, “all have AIDS.”

    Haiti is now facing another such crisis. Its president, Jovenel Moïse, having already suspended nearly all elected government save himself, refused to step down at the end of his term on February 7, 2021, despite widespread protests that have shuttered the country. Moïse’s administration is currently being propped up by criminal syndicates, but they are slipping his grasp, and kidnapping for money is now so prevalent that people are terrified to leave their homes. So far, the Biden administration’s response has not been encouraging: though it has instructed ICE to temporarily halt deportations to Haiti, naval blockades remain in force, and the U.S. State Department has expressed the opinion that Moïse should remain in office for at least another year, enforcing the sense that Haiti is once again a U.S. client state.

    With regard to the Coast Guard’s longstanding orders to block Haitians seeking asylum, the modality of killing is not straightforward, but it is intentional. It consists of snatching the Haitian enemy from their vessel, forcing them to subsist in a state of bare life, and finally abandoning them in their home country at gunpoint. Of course, many may survive the ordeal and may even attempt another journey. But especially during acute phases of armed conflict and catastrophe, it is just as likely that—whether at the behest of starvation, disease, or violence—a return to Haiti is a death sentence.

    This banal form of murder is analogous to what Ruth Wilson Gilmore offers as her definition of racism in Golden Gulag (2007): “the state sanctioned or extralegal production and exploitation of group-differentiated vulnerability to premature death.” Based on the extant documentary record, I estimate that the USCG has interdicted at least 120,000 botpippel since the HMIO of 1981 took effect. Those who fell prey to an untimely demise following deportation died because the United States, though repeatedly responsible for undermining Haitian democracy and economic stability, nonetheless refuses to acknowledge that these actions have made Haiti, for many, mortally unsafe. The true death toll will never be known. Countless botpippel have simply disappeared at sea, plunged into a gigantic watery necropolis.

    Since 2004 U.S. officials have brought their forms of border policing strategies and tactics against Haitians to bear on land-based immigration and refugee policies against non-white asylum seekers. One of the most significant technical innovations of enforcement against Haitians was the realization that by detaining them exclusively within a maritime environment, the United States could summarily classify all of them as economic migrants—whose claims for asylum de facto have no standing—and prevent them from lodging claims as political refugees, which are the only claims with any hope of success. They were thus proactively disabled from advancing a request for asylum in a U.S. federal court, with all claims instead evaluated by an INS-designated official aboard the USCG vessel. The New York Times recently reported that, since late 2009, similar techniques have been adopted by Customs and Border Control agents patrolling sea routes along the California coast, which has resulted in a notable escalation of CBP naval patrols and aerial surveillance of the region. And in fact, the USCG has cooperatively supported these efforts by sharing its infrastructure—ports, cutters, and aircraft—and its personnel with CBP. All of this has been with the aim of making sure that asylum seekers never make it to the United States, whether by land or by sea.

    The Trump administration made the most significant use of this set of innovations to date, insisting that asylum claims must be made from camps on the Mexican side of the U.S. border—and therefore automatically invalid by virtue of being limited to the status of economic migrant. Thus, hundreds of thousands of non-white asylum seekers fleeing material precariousness, yes, but also the threat of violence in the Global South are, and will continue to be, caught in carceral webs composed of ICE/CBP goon squads, ruthless INS officials, and perilous tent cities, not to mention the prison guards employed at one of the numerous semi-secret migrant detention centers operating upon U.S. soil for those few who make it across.

    From the perspective of Haitian immigrants and botpippel, this is nothing new. Thousands of their compatriots have already served time at infamous extrajudicial sites such as the Krome detention center in Miami (1980–present), Guantanamo Bay (1991–93), and, most often, the flight decks of USCG cutters. They know that the USCG has long scoured the Windward Passage for Haitians in particular, just as ICE/CBP goon squads now patrol U.S. deserts, highways, and city streets for the undocumented. And they know that Trump’s fantasy of building a “Great Wall” on the U.S.–Mexico border is not so farfetched, because the USCG continues to enforce a maritime one around Haiti.

    The Biden administration has inherited this war and its prisoners, with thousands remaining stuck in legal limbo while hoping—in most cases, without hope—that their asylum claims will advance. Opening alternative paths to citizenship and declaring an indefinite moratorium on deportations would serve as foundations for more sweeping reforms in the future. But the core challenge in this political moment is to envision nothing less than the total decriminalization and demilitarization of immigration law enforcement.

    Botpippel are not the first undocumented people of African descent to have been policed by U.S. naval forces. The legal architecture through which the USCG legitimates the indefinite detention and expulsion of Haitian asylum seekers reaches back to U.S. efforts to suppress the African slave trade, outlawed by Congress in 1807, though domestic slaveholding would continue, and indeed its trade would be not only safeguarded but bolstered by this act.

    This marked a decisive turning point in the history of maritime policing vis-à-vis immigration. Per the Slave Trade Acts of 1794 and 1800, the United States already claimed jurisdiction over U.S. citizens and U.S. vessels engaged in the slave trade within U.S. territorial borders (contemporaneously understood as extending three nautical miles into the ocean). By 1808, however, the United States sought to extend its jurisdiction over the sea itself. Slaver vessels operating around “any river, port, bay, or harbor . . . within the jurisdictional limits of the United States” as well as “on the high seas” were deemed illegal and subject to seizure without compensation. The actual physical distance from U.S. soil that these terms referred to was left purposefully vague. To board a given vessel, a Revenue Cutter captain only had to suspect, rather than conclusively determine, that that vessel eventually intended to offload “international” (i.e., non-native) enslaved people into the United States. The 1819 iteration of the law further stipulated that U.S. jurisdiction included “Africa, or elsewhere.” Hence, in theory, after 1819, the scope of U.S. maritime police operations was simply every maritime space on the globe.

    Revenue Cutter Service captains turned the lack of any description in the 1808 law or its successive iterations about what should be done with temporarily masterless slaves into an advantage. They did what they would have done to any fugitive Black person at the time: indefinitely detain them until higher authorities determined their status, and thereby foreclose the possibility of local Black people conspiring to shuttle them to freedom. During confinement, captured Africans were compelled to perform labor as if they were slaves. For instance, those captured from the Spanish-flagged Antelope (1820) spent seven years toiling at a military fort in Savannah, Georgia, as well as on the local U.S. marshal’s plantation. As wards of the state, they were human only insofar as U.S. officials had a duty to force them to remain alive. Of those “rescued” from the Antelope, 120 ultimately died in captivity and 2 went missing. Following litigation, 39 survivors were sold to U.S. slaveowners to compensate Spanish and Portuguese claimants who had stakes in the Antelope and her enslaved cargo. Per the designs of the American Colonization Society, the remaining 120 Africans were freed upon condition that they be immediately deported to New Georgia, Liberia.

    This anti-Black martial abolitionism was therefore a project framed around the unification of two countervailing tendencies. While white planters consistently pushed to extend racial slavery into the southern and western frontiers, white northern financiers and abolitionists were in favor of creating the most propitious conditions for the expansion of free white settlements throughout America’s urban and rural milieus. Black people were deemed unfit for freedom not only because of their supposed inborn asocial traits, but because their presence imperiled the possibility for white freedom. To actualize Thomas Jefferson’s “Empire of Liberty,” the United States required immigration policies that foreshortened Black peoples’ capacities for social reproduction and thereby re-whitened America.

    This political aim was later extended in legislation passed on February 19, 1862, which authorized President Abraham Lincoln—who intended to solve the contradictions that led to the Civil War by sending every Black person in America back to Africa—to use U.S. naval forces to capture, detain, and deport undocumented people of East Asian/Chinese descent (“coolies”) while at sea. Henceforth, “the free and voluntary emigration of any Chinese subject” to the U.S. was proscribed unless a ship captain possessed documents certified by a consular agent residing at the foreign port of departure. At the time, the principal means for Chinese emigrants to obtain authorization would have been at behest of some corporation seeking expendable, non-white laborers contractually bound to work to death in mines and on railroads on the western frontiers—Native American lands stolen through imperialist warfare. White settlers presupposed that these Asians’ residency was provisional and temporary—and then Congress codified that principle into law in 1870, decreeing that every person of East Asian/Chinese descent, anywhere in the world, was ineligible for U.S. citizenship.

    Twelve years later, An Act to Regulate Immigration (1882) played upon the notion that non-white immigration caused public disorder. Through the use of color-blind legal language, Section 2 of this law specified that the United States must only accept immigrants who were conclusively not “convict[s], lunatic[s], idiot[s], or any person unable to take care of himself or herself without becoming a public charge.” The burden of proof lay on non-white immigrants to prove how their racial backgrounds were not already prima facie evidence for these conditions. Section 4 also stipulated that “all foreign convicts except those convicted of political offenses, upon arrival, shall be sent back to the nations to which they belong and from whence they came.” By which means a non-white person could demonstrate the “political” character of a given conviction were cleverly left undefined.

    It was not a giant leap of imagination for the United States to apply these precedents to the maritime policing of Haitian asylum seekers in the 1980s. Nor should we be surprised that the logic of anti-Black martial abolitionism shapes present-day U.S. immigration policy.

    Political philosopher Peter Hallward estimates that paramilitary death squads executed at least a thousand supporters of Lavalas, President Aristide’s party, in the weeks following Aristide’s exile from Haiti on February 29, 2004. The first kanntè (Haitian sailing vessel) the Gallatin sighted one morning in early April had likely departed shortly thereafter.

    The first people from our ship that the Haitians met were members of the boarding team, armed with pistols, M-16s, shotguns, and zip ties. Their goal was to compel the hundred or so aboard the kanntè to surrender their vessel and allow us to deposit them on the flight deck of our ship. Negotiations can take hours. It is not uncommon for some to jump overboard, rather than allow boarding to occur uninhibited. If immediate acquiescence is not obtained, we will maneuver ourselves such that any further movement would cause the small boat to “ram” the Gallatin—an attack on a U.S. military vessel.

    On the Gallatin, we waited for uptake, outfitted with facemasks and rubber gloves. One at a time, we aided the Haitian adults to make the final step from the small boat to the deck of the cutter. We frisked them for weapons and then marched them to the fantail to undergo initial processing. Most of them appeared exhausted and confused—but compliant. Some may have already been in fear for their lives. One night aboard the USCGC Dallas, which hovered in Port-au-Prince Bay as a deportation coordination outpost and as a temporary detention site for Haitians awaiting immediate transfer to Haitian Coast Guard authorities, my friend and his shipmates asked their Kreyòl interpreter how he managed to obtain compliance from the botpippel. “I tell them you will hurt or kill them if they do not obey,” he joked, “so, of course, they listen.”

    Boarding all the Haitians took from midday until midnight. One of the last ones I helped aboard, a man dressed in a suit two sizes too large, looked into my eyes and smiled. He gently wept, clasped my hand tightly, and embraced me. I quickly pushed him off and pointed to the processing station at the fantail, leading him by the wrist to join the others. He stopped crying.

    Three things happened at the processing station. First, Haitians deposited the last of their belongings with the interpreter, ostensibly for safekeeping. Who knows if anyone got their things back. Second, a Kreyòl translator and one of the officers gave them a cursory interview about their asylum claims, all the while surrounded by armed sentries, as well as other Haitians who might pass that intelligence onto narcotics smugglers, paramilitary gangs, or state officials back in Haiti. Lastly, they received a rapid, half-assed medical examination—conducted in English. So long as they nodded, or remained silent, they passed each test and were shuffled up to the flight deck.

    We retired for the night after the boarding team set fire to the kanntè as a hazard to navigation. The Haitians probably didn’t know that this was the reason we unceremoniously torched their last hope for escape before their very eyes.

    About a week later, we found another kanntè packed with around seventy Haitians and repeated the process. Another USCG cutter transferred a hundred more over to the Gallatin. Our flight deck was reaching full capacity.

    We arrived at one kanntè too late. It had capsized. Pieces of the shattered mast and little bits of clothing and rubbish were floating around the hull. No survivors. How long had it been? Sharks were spotted circling at a short depth below the vessel.

    The Gallatin’s commanders emphasized that our mission was, at its core, humanitarian in nature. We were duty-bound to provide freshwater, food, and critical medical care. During their time aboard, Haitians would be treated as detainees and were not to be treated, or referred to, as prisoners. The use of force was circumscribed within clear rules of engagement. The Haitians were not in any way to be harmed or killed unless they directly threatened the ship or its sailors. Unnecessary violence against them could precipitate an internal review, solicit undue international criticism, and imperil the deportationist efficiency of INS officials. We were told that our batons and pepper spray were precautionary, primarily symbolic.

    It sounded like all I had to do was stand there and not screw anything up.

    Over the course of several watches, I concluded that, in fact, our job was also to relocate several crucial features of the abysmal living conditions that obtained on the kanntè onto the Gallatin’s flight deck. Though the flight deck was 80 feet by 43 feet, we blocked the edges to facilitate the crew’s movement and to create a buffer between us and the Haitians. Taking this into account, their living space was closer to 65 feet by 35 feet. For a prison population of 300 Haitians, each individual would have had only 7 feet 7 inches square to lie down and stand up. On the diagram of the eighteenth-century British slaver Brooks, the enslaved were each allocated approximately 6 feet 10 inches square, scarcely less than on the Gallatin. (Historian Marcus Rediker thinks that the Brooks diagram probably overstates the amount of space the enslaved were given.)

    Although some cutters will drape tarps over the flight deck to shield the Haitians from the unmediated effects of the sun, the Gallatin provided no such shelter. We permitted them to shower, once, in saltwater, without soap. The stench on the flight deck took on a sweet, fetid tinge.

    The only place they could go to achieve a modicum of solitude and to escape the stench was the makeshift metal toilet on the fantail. (On slave ships, solitude was found by secreting away to a hidden compartment or small boat to die alone; the “necessary tubs” that held human excrement were contained in the slave holds below deck.) They were permitted to use the toilet one at a time in the case of adults, and two at a time in the case of children and the elderly. For what was supposed to be no longer than five minutes, they had an opportunity to stretch, relax, and breathe fresh sea air. Nevertheless, these moments of respite took place under observation by the watchstander stationed at the toilet, not to mention the numerous Haitian onlookers at the rear of the flight deck.

    Despite our commanders’ reticence on the matter, the ever-present fear of revolt hovered underneath the surface of our standing orders. We were to ensure order and discipline through counterinsurgency protocols and techniques of incarceration that one might find in any U.S. prison. The military imperative aboard the Gallatin was to produce a sense of radical uncertainty and temporal disorientation in the Haitians, such that they maintain hope for an asylum claim that had already been rejected.

    In this context, there were four overlapping components to the security watch.

    The first component of the ship’s securitization was constant surveillance. We were not supposed to take our eyes off the Haitians for one moment. During the watch, we would regularly survey the flight deck for any signs of general unrest, conspiracy, or organized protest. Any minor infraction could later contribute to the eruption of a larger riot, and thus needed to be quickly identified and neutralized. We also had to observe their behavior for indications that one of them intended to jump overboard or harm another Haitian. All that said, we found a used condom one day. Surveillance is never total.

    The second was the limitation we placed on communication. We shrouded all USCG practices in a fog of secrecy. Conversing with the Haitians through anything other than hand signals and basic verbal commands was forbidden; physical contact was kept at bare minimum. Nonofficial speech among the watch was proscribed. Watchstanders were stripped of their identity, save their uniform, from which our nametags were removed. It was critical that botpippel forever be unable to identify us.

    Secrecy preemptively disabled the Haitians from collectively piecing together fragments of information about where our vessel had been, where it was now, and where it was going. Officially, the concern was that they might exploit the situation to gather intelligence about our patrol routes and pass this information to human or narcotics smugglers. We militated against their mapping out how the ship operated, its layout and complement, where living spaces and the armory were located, and so on. These were standard tactics aboard slaver vessels. As freed slave and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano observed, “When the ship we were in had got in all her cargo . . . we were all put under deck, so that we could not see how they managed the vessel.”

    On the Gallatin, the command also strove to maintain strict control over the narrative. They blocked sailors’ access to the open Internet and censored letters from home that contained news of global or domestic politics (and even just bad personal news). Knowledge of whether a particular asylum claim had failed or succeeded was hidden from all. A watchstander harboring political solidarity with—as opposed to mere empathy and pity for—the Haitians might compromise operational capacities, good judgment, and core loyalty to the USCG.

    Our third securitization strategy was to produce false knowledge of the future. The Haitians were led to believe that they were merely waiting aboard the ship because their asylum claims were still being vigorously debated by diplomatic entities in Washington. Their continued compliance was predicated on this differential of knowledge. They could not realize that they were moving in circles, being returned slowly to Haiti. If they lost all hope, we presumed they would eventually resist their intolerable conditions through violent means.

    Hence, our fourth securitization measure: USCG personnel were permitted to inflict several limited forms of physical and symbolic violence against the Haitians, not only in response to perceived noncompliance, but also as a means of averting the need to inflict even greater violence in the future.

    If it were not classified as a matter of national security, we might have a better grasp of how many times such instances occur aboard USCG vessels. I open this essay with a story of how we subdued and punished one person for resisting the rules. But it is known that punishment is sometimes inflicted on entire groups. A telling example took place on January 30, 1989, when the USCG captured the Dieu Devant with 147 Haitians aboard. One of them, Fitzroy Joseph, later reported in congressional hearings that, after they expressed a fear of being killed if returned to Haiti, USCG personnel “began wrestling with the Haitians and hitting their hands with their flashlights.” This was followed by threats to release pepper spray. Marie Julie Pierre, Joseph’s wife, corroborated his testimony, adding:

    [We were] asked at once if we feared returning to Haiti and everyone said yes we did. We said ‘down with Avril, up with Bush.’ We were threatened with tear gas but they didn’t use it. Many people were crying because they were so afraid. [Ti Jak] was hit by the officers because he didn’t want to go back. They handcuffed him. The Coast Guard grabbed others by the neck and forced them to go to the biggest boat. My older brother was also hit and treated like a chicken as they pulled him by the neck.

    Counterintuitively, our nonlethal weapons functioned as more efficient instruments of counterinsurgency than lethal weapons. Brandishing firearms might exacerbate an already tense situation in which the Haitians outnumbered the entire ship’s complement. It could also provide an opportunity for the Haitians to seize and turn our own guns against us (or one another). In contrast, losing a baton and a can of pepper spray represented a relatively minor threat to the ship’s overall security. In the event of an actual riot, the command could always mobilize armed reinforcements. From the perspective of the command, then, the first responders on watch were, to some extent, expendable. Nevertheless, sentries bearing firearms were on deck when we approached Haiti and prepared for final deportation. That is, the precise moment the Haitians realized their fate.

    Like the enslaved Africans captured by the Revenue Cutter Service, botpippel were human to us only insofar as we had to compel them, through the threat or actuality of violence, to remain alive. The Haitians ate our tasteless food and drank our freshwater—otherwise they would starve, or we might beat them for going on a hunger strike. They tended to remain silent and immobile day and night—otherwise they would invite acts of exemplary punishment upon themselves. The practices of confinement on the Gallatin represent a variant of what historian Stephanie Smallwood describes as a kind of “scientific empiricism” that developed aboard slave ships, which “prob[ed] the limits to which it is possible to discipline the body without extinguishing the life within.” Just as contemporary slavers used force to conserve human commodities for sale, so does the USCG use force to produce nominally healthy economic migrants to exchange with Haitian authorities.

    The rational utilization of limited forms of exemplary violence was an integral aspect of this carceral science. Rediker shows how slaver captains understood violence along a continuum that ranged from acceptably severe to unacceptably cruel. Whereas severity was the grounds of proper discipline as such, an act was cruel only if it led “to catastrophic results [and] sparked reactions such as mutiny by sailors or insurrection by slaves.” In turn, minor acts of kindness, such as dispensing better food or allowing slightly more free time to move above deck, were conditioned by these security imperatives. Furthermore, they exerted no appreciable change to the eventuality that the person would be sold to a slaveowner, for kindness was a self-aggrandizing ritual performance of authority that intended to lay bare the crucial imbalance of power relations at hand. This was, Rediker maintains, “as close as the owners ever came to admitting that terror was essential to running a slave ship.”

    The USCG’s undeclared long war against Haitian asylum seekers is but one front of a much longer war against people of African descent in the Americas. The entangled histories of the African slave trade and anti-Black martial abolitionism reveal how this war intimately shaped the foundations and racist intentions that underlay modern U.S. immigration and refugee policy writ large. And the Gallatin, her sailors, and the Haitians who were trapped on the flight deck, are, in some small way, now a part of this history, too.

    The Biden administration has the power to decisively end this war—indeed, every war against non-white asylum seekers. Until then, botpippel will continue to suffer the slave ships that survive into the present.

    https://bostonreview.net/race/ryan-fontanilla-immigration-enforcement-and-afterlife-slave-ship

    #esclavage #héritage #migrations #contrôles_migratoires #Haïti #gardes-côtes #nationalisme_blanc #USA #Etats-Unis #migrations #frontières #asile #réfugiés #USCG #Haitian_Migrant_Interdiction_Operation (#HMIO) #botpippel #boat_people

    #modèle_australien #pacific_solution

    ping @karine4 @isskein @reka

    • Ce décret de #Reagan mentionné dans l’article rappelle farouchement la loi d’#excision_territoriale australienne :

      But in our present day, it began in earnest with President Ronald Reagan’s Executive Order 12324 of 1981, also called the Haitian Migrant Interdiction Operation (HMIO), which exclusively tasked the USCG to “interdict” Haitian asylum seekers attempting to enter the United States by sea routes on unauthorized sailing vessels. Such people were already beginning to be derogatorily referred to as “boat people,” a term then borrowed (less derogatorily) into Haitian Kreyòl as botpippel.

      Excision territoriale australienne :


      https://seenthis.net/messages/416996

      –—

      Citation tirée du livre de McAdam et Chong : « Refugees : why seeking asylum is legal and Australia’s policies are not » (p.3)

      “Successive governments (aided by much of the media) have exploited public anxieties about border security to create a rhetorical - and, ultimately, legislative - divide between the rights of so-called ’genuine’ refugees, resettled in Australia from camps and settlements abroad, and those arriving spontaneously in Australia by boat.”

  • Inside Australia’s asylum system – a possible model for the UK

    Guardian Australia reporter Ben Doherty looks at the history behind Australia’s asylum seeker policies, including the controversial practice of offshore processing and resettlement. It’s one of the options the British government is allegedly considering to deter asylum seekers from attempting to cross the Channel to the UK. Journalist Behrouz Boochani, who spent seven years in detention in Papua New Guinea, discusses the impact the policy has had

    Amid a fourfold rise in small boats attempting to cross the Channel and reach the UK this year, Downing Street and ministers have asked Foreign Office officials to consider a wide range of options to deter asylum seekers, according to leaked documents last month. Proposals include offshore asylum processing centres, with one document suggesting Boris Johnson is personally involved in the plan, stating: ‘In addition to the work on OT [British overseas territory] options, the PM has asked for FCDO advice on potential third-country locations. We are asked to suggest options for a UK scheme similar to the Australian agreement with Papua New Guinea.’

    Guardian Australia reporter Ben Doherty tells Rachel Humphreys about the history of Australia’s immigration policies, beginning in 2001, after the Tampa crisis, when a Norwegian freighter that had rescued more than 400 mainly Afghan Hazara refugees from their sinking vessel in international waters 140km north of Christmas Island was refused entry into Australian waters. The MV Tampa provided the conservative Coalition government with a catalyst for action. That was the establishment of “offshore detention” camps on Nauru and on Papua New Guinea, the so-called Pacific solution. The detention facilities have been the subject of serious criticism by international observers and human rights groups. Journalist Behrouz Boochani, who fled Iran for Australia in 2013, was sent to Manus Island. He describes the detention centre as worse than a prison and warns the UK to think hard before they look to replicate the Australian system. “If you do this, you lose your humanity” he tells Rachel.

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/audio/2020/oct/21/inside-australias-asylum-system-a-possible-model-for-the-uk
    #modèle_australien #asile #migrations #réfugiés #UK #Angleterre #audio #podcast #Ben_Doherty

    • Migrants entering UK illegally to be liable for removal at any time

      Priti Patel’s New Plan for Immigration risks punishing refugees with no choice about how they seek safety, experts warn

      Migrants who arrive in the UK by small boats or other illegal routes will be indefinitely liable for removal even if they are granted asylum under punishing proposals to be announced by Priti Patel.

      In what the government is billing as the “biggest overhaul of the UK’s asylum system in decades”, the home secretary will announce on Wednesday that how people enter the UK will have a bearing on the progress of their asylum claim and their status if that claim is successful.

      Experts criticised the creation of a “two-tier” system that risked punishing people “forced to take extraordinary measures [without] a choice about how they seek safety”.

      Patel will vow to make every effort to remove those who enter the UK via routes deemed illegal, having travelled through a safe country in which they “could and should have claimed asylum”, under the “#New_Plan_for_Immigration”.

      If it is not possible to remove them, migrants making successful claims having entered illegally will receive a new temporary protection status rather than an automatic right to settle – and will be regularly reassessed for removal from the UK.

      People entering illegally will be further punished with limited family reunion rights and limited access to benefits.

      Earlier this week it was reported that migrants who come to the UK through a safe and legal resettlement route, conversely, will get indefinite leave to remain immediately upon arriving in the UK under the plans.

      Currently, resettled refugees get permission to stay in the UK for five years after which they must apply again for indefinite leave to remain.

      It has also been reported that asylum seekers will be shipped overseas while their claims are processed, under the proposals, though this was not mentioned in a press statement issued ahead of Wednesday’s announcement.

      The proposals have been drawn up against a backdrop of a record number of asylum seekers arriving in the UK last year in small boats across the Channel, with some political commentators suggesting Boris Johnson was frustrated with Patel’s poor handling of the situation.

      However, official figures show the total number of asylum applications received in the UK last year actually fell by nearly a fifth as alternative means of travel – such as lorries – were hit by the pandemic.

      Patel, who is expected to address the House of Commons on Wednesday, said: “I make no apology for these actions being firm, but as they will also save lives and target people-smugglers, they are also undeniably fair.”

      For migrants who have their applications refused, the government said it will reform the appeals and judicial process to speed up removal. Other proposals, which it is understood will be put out for consultation, include:

      – Reception centres for asylum seekers while their claims are being processed.

      - Clarifying the standard on what qualifies as a “well-founded fear of persecution” and making it harder for people to be granted refugee status based on unsubstantiated claims.

      - Strict age assessment processes, with a national age assessment board to stop adult migrants pretending to be children.

      – Life sentences for people-smugglers and increasing the penalty for foreign national offenders who return to the UK in breach of a deportation order from six months’ imprisonment to five years.

      The Home Office said it will expand the global reach of resettlement routes for refugees – channels facilitated by international organisations such as the UN Refugee Agency to provide safe and legal routes to the UK.

      Enver Solomon, the chief executive of the Refugee Council, said: “The government is seeking to unjustly differentiate between the deserving and undeserving refugee by choosing to provide protection for those fleeing war and terror based on how they travel to the UK.

      “The reality is that, when faced with upheaval, ordinary people are forced to take extraordinary measures and do not have a choice about how they seek safety. The government is effectively creating a two-tier system where some refugees are unfairly punished for the way they are able to get to the UK.

      “This is wholly unjust and undermines the UK’s long tradition of providing protection for people, regardless of how they have managed to find their way to our shores … All refugees deserve to be treated with compassion and dignity, and it’s a stain on ‘Global Britain’ to subject some refugees to differential treatment.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/mar/23/migrants-entering-uk-illegally-to-be-liable-for-removal-at-any-time

      #moyen_de_transport

  • Revealed: No 10 explores sending asylum seekers to Moldova, Morocco and Papua New Guinea | UK news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/sep/30/revealed-no-10-explores-sending-asylum-seekers-to-moldova-morocco-and-p

    Downing Street has asked officials to consider the option of sending asylum seekers to Moldova, Morocco or Papua New Guinea and is the driving force behind proposals to hold refugees in offshore detention centres, according to documents seen by the Guardian.

    The documents suggest officials in the Foreign Office have been pushing back against No 10’s proposals to process asylum applications in detention facilities overseas, which have also included the suggestion the centres could be constructed on the south Atlantic islands of Ascension and St Helena.

    The documents, marked “official” and “sensitive” and produced earlier this month, summarise advice from officials at the Foreign Office, which was asked by Downing Street to “offer advice on possible options for negotiating an offshore asylum processing facility similar to the Australian model in Papua New Guinea and Nauru”.

    #migration #asile #déportation #externalisation #déterritorialisation

    • Downing Street has asked officials to consider the option of sending asylum seekers to Moldova, Morocco or Papua New Guinea and is the driving force behind proposals to hold refugees in offshore detention centres, according to documents seen by the Guardian.

      The documents suggest officials in the Foreign Office have been pushing back against No 10’s proposals to process asylum applications in detention facilities overseas, which have also included the suggestion the centres could be constructed on the south Atlantic islands of Ascension and St Helena.

      The documents, marked “official” and “sensitive” and produced earlier this month, summarise advice from officials at the Foreign Office, which was asked by Downing Street to “offer advice on possible options for negotiating an offshore asylum processing facility similar to the Australian model in Papua New Guinea and Nauru”.

      The Australian system of processing asylum seekers in on the Pacific Islands costs AY$13bn (£7.2bn) a year and has attracted criticism from human rights groups, the United Nations and even the UK government, according to the documents, which reveal British ministers have “privately” raised concerns with Australia over the abuse of detainees in its offshore detention facilities.

      The Financial Times reported on Wednesday that the home secretary, Priti Patel, asked officials to consider processing asylum seekers Ascension and St Helena, which are overseas British territories. Home Office sources were quick to distance Patel from the proposals and Downing Street has also played down Ascension and St Helena as destinations for asylum processing centres.

      However, the documents seen by the Guardian suggest the government has for weeks been working on “detailed plans” that include cost estimates of building asylum detention camps on the south Atlantic islands, as well as other proposals to build such facilities in Moldova, Morocco and Papua New Guinea.

      The documents suggest the UK’s proposals would go further than Australia’s hardline system, which is “based on migrants being intercepted outside Australian waters”, allowing Australia to claim no immigration obligations to individuals. The UK proposals, the documents state, would involve relocating asylum seekers who “have arrived in the UK and are firmly within the jurisdiction of the UK for the purposes of the ECHR and Human Rights Act 1998”.

      The documents suggest that the idea that Morocco, Moldova and Papua New Guinea might make suitable destinations for UK asylum processing centres comes directly from Downing Street, with documents saying the three countries were specifically “suggested” and “floated” by No 10. One document says the request for advice on third country options for detention facilities came from “the PM”.

      The Times reported that the government was also giving serious consideration to the idea of creating floating asylum centres in disused ferries moored off the UK coast.

      While composed in the restrained language of civil servants, the Foreign Office advice contained in the documents appears highly dismissive of the ideas emanating from Downing Street, pointing out numerous legal, practical and diplomatic obstacles to processing asylums seekers oversees. The documents state that:

      • Plans to process asylum seekers at offshore centres in Ascension or St Helena would be “extremely expensive and logistically complicated” given the remoteness of the islands. The estimated cost is £220m build cost per 1,000 beds and running costs of £200m. One document adds: “In relation to St Helena we will need to consider if we are willing to impose the plan if the local government object.”

      • The “significant” legal, diplomatic and practical obstacles to the plan include the existence of “sensitive military installations” on the island of Ascension. One document warns that the military issues mean the “will mean US government would need to be persuaded at the highest levels, and even then success cannot be guaranteed”.

      • It is “highly unlikely” that any north African state, including Morocco, would agree to hosting asylum seekers relocated to the UK. “No north African country, Morocco included, has a fully functioning asylum system,” one document states. “Morocco would not have the resources (or the inclination) to pay for a processing centre.”

      • Seeming to dismiss the idea of sending asylum seekers to Moldova, Foreign Office officials point out there is protracted conflict in the eastern European country over Transnistria as well as “endemic” corruption. They add: “If an asylum centre depended on reliable, transparent, credible cooperation from the host country justice system we would not be able to rely on this.”

      • Officials warned of “significant political and logistical obstacles” to sending asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea, pointing out it is more than 8,500 miles away, has a fragile public health system and is “one of the bottom few countries in the world in terms of medical personnel per head of population”. They also warn any such a move would “renew scrutiny of Australia’s own offshore processing”. One document adds: “Politically, we judge the chances of positive engagement with the government on this to be almost nil.”

      A Foreign Office source played down the idea that the department had objected to Downing Street’s offshoring proposals for asylum seekers, saying officials’ concerns were only about the practicality of the plan. “This was something which the Cabinet Office commissioned, which we responded to with full vigour, to show how things could work,” the source said.

      However, another Whitehall source familiar with the government plans said they were part of a push by Downing Street to “radically beef-up the hostile environment” in 2021 following the end of the Brexit transition. Former prime minister Theresa May’s “hostile environment” phrase, which became closely associated with the polices that led to the Windrush scandal, is no longer being used in government.

      But the source said that moves are afoot to find a slate of new policies that would achieve a similar end to “discourage” and “deter” migrants from entering the UK illegally.

      The documents seen by the Guardian also contain details of Home Office legal advice to Downing Street, which states that the policy would require legislative changes, including “disapplying sections 77 and 78 of the Nationality Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 so that asylum seekers can be removed from the UK while their claim or appeal is pending”.

      Another likely legislative change, according to the Home Office advice, would require “defining what we mean by a clandestine arrival (and potentially a late claim) and create powers allowing us to send them offshore for the purposes of determining their asylum claims”.

      One of the documents states that the option of building detention centres in foreign countries – rather than British overseas territories – is “not the favoured No 10 avenue, but they wish to explore [the option] in case it presents easier pathways to an offshore facility”.

      On Wednesday, asked about the FT’s report about the UK considering plans to ship asylum seekers to the south Atlantic for processing, Boris Johnson’s spokesperson confirmed the UK was considering Australian–style offshore processing centres.

      He said the UK had a “long and proud history” of accepting asylum seekers but needed to act, particularly given migrants making unofficial crossings from France in small boats.

      “We are developing plans to reform our illegal migration and asylum policies so we can keep providing protection to those who need it, while preventing abuse of the system and criminality. As part of this work we’ve been looking at what a whole host of other countries do to inform a plan for the United Kingdom. And that work is ongoing.”

      Asked for comment about the proposals regarding Moldova, Morocco and Papua New Guinea, Downing Street referred the Guardian to the spokesman’s earlier comments. The Foreign Office referred the Guardian to the Home Office. The Home Office said it had nothing to add to comments by the prime minister’s spokesman.

      #UK #Angleterre #Maroc #Papoue_Nouvelle_Guinée #Moldavie
      #offshore_detention_centres
      #procédure_d'asile #externalisation_de_la_procédure #modèle_australien

      #île_de_l'Ascension

      #île_Sainte-Hélène


      #Sainte-Hélène

      –---

      Les #floating_asylum_centres pensés par l’UK rappellent d’autres structures flottantes :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/879396

      –—

      Ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/731749

    • Ascension Island: Priti Patel considered outpost for UK asylum centre location

      The government has considered building an asylum processing centre on a remote UK territory in the Atlantic Ocean.

      The idea of “offshoring” people is being looked at but finding a suitable location would be key, a source said.

      Home Secretary Priti Patel asked officials to look at asylum policies which had been successful in other countries, the BBC has been told.

      The Financial Times says Ascension Island, more than 4,000 miles (6,000km) from the UK, was a suggested location.

      What happens to migrants who reach the UK?
      More migrants arrive in September than all of 2019
      Fleeing the Syrian war for Belfast

      The Foreign Office is understood to have carried out an assessment for Ascension - which included the practicalities of transferring migrants thousands of miles to the island - and decided not to proceed.

      However, a Home Office source said ministers were looking at “every option that can stop small boat crossings and fix the asylum system”.

      "The UK has a long and proud history of offering refuge to those who need protection. Tens of thousands of people have rebuilt their lives in the UK and we will continue to provide safe and legal routes in the future.

      “As ministers have said we are developing plans to reform policies and laws around illegal migration and asylum to ensure we are able to provide protection to those who need it, while preventing abuse of the system and the criminality associated with it.”

      No final decisions have been made.
      ’Logistical nightmare’

      Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: “This ludicrous idea is inhumane, completely impractical and wildly expensive - so it seems entirely plausible this Tory government came up with it.”

      Alan Nicholls, a member of the Ascension Island council, said moving asylum seekers more than 4,000 miles to the British overseas territory would be a “logistical nightmare” and not well received by the islanders.

      He also told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the presence of military bases on the island could make the concept “prohibitive” due to security concerns.

      Australia has controversially used offshore processing and detention centres for asylum seekers since the 1980s.

      A United Nations refugee agency representative to the UK, Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor, said the proposal would breach the UK’s obligations to asylum seekers and would “change what the UK is - its history and its values”.

      Speaking to the UK Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee, she said the Australian model had “brought about huge suffering for people, who are guilty of no more than seeking asylum, and it has also cost huge amounts of money”.

      The proposal comes amid record numbers of migrants making the journey across the English Channel to the UK in small boats this month, which Ms Patel has vowed to stop.

      Laura Trott, Conservative MP for Sevenoaks in Kent, said it was “absolutely right” that the government was looking at offshore asylum centres to “reduce the pressure” on Kent, which was “unable to take any more children into care”.

      In order to be eligible for asylum in the UK, applicants must prove they cannot return to their home country because they fear persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, gender identity or sexual orientation.

      Asylum seekers cannot work while their claims are being processed, so the government offers them a daily allowance of just over £5 and accommodation, often in hostels or shared flats.

      Delays in processing UK asylum applications increased significantly last year with four out of five applicants in the last three months of 2019 waiting six months or more for their cases to be processed.

      That compared with three in four during the same period in 2018.

      –—

      Ascension Island key facts

      The volcanic island has no indigenous population, and the people that live there - fewer than 1,000 - are the employees and families of the organisations operating on the island
      The military airbase is jointly operated by the RAF and the US, and has been used as a staging post to supply and defend the Falkland Islands
      Its first human inhabitants arrived in 1815, when the Royal Navy set up camp to keep watch on Napoleon, who was imprisoned on the island of St Helena some 800 miles away
      It is home to a BBC transmitter - the BBC Atlantic Relay station - which sends shortwave radio to Africa and South America

      https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-54349796

    • UK considers sending asylum seekers abroad to be processed

      Reports suggest using #Gibraltar or the #Isle_of_Man or copying Australian model and paying third countries

      The Home Office is considering plans to send asylum seekers who arrive in the UK overseas to be processed, an idea modelled on a controversial Australian system, it is understood.

      Priti Patel, the home secretary, is expected to publish details next week of a scheme in which people who arrive in the UK via unofficial means, such as crossing the Channel in small boats, would be removed to a third country to have any claim dealt with.

      The government has pledged repeatedly to introduce measures to try to reduce the number of asylum seekers arriving across the Channel. Australia removes arrivals to overseas islands while their claims are processed.

      A Home Office source said: “Whilst people are dying making perilous journeys we would be irresponsible if we didn’t consider every avenue.”

      However, the source played down reports that destinations considered included Turkey, Gibraltar, the Isle of Man or other British islands, and that talks with some countries had begun, saying this was “all speculation”.

      Last year it emerged that meetings involving Patel had raised the possibility of asylum seekers being sent to Ascension Island, an isolated volcanic British territory in the south Atlantic, or St Helena, part of the same island group but 800 miles away.

      At the time, Home Office sources said the proposals came when Patel sought advice from the Foreign Office on how other countries deal with asylum applications, with Australia’s system given as an example.

      Labour described the Ascension Island idea as “inhumane, completely impractical and wildly expensive”.

      After the Brexit transition period finished at the end of 2020, the UK government no longer had the automatic right to transfer refugees and migrants to the EU country in which they arrived, part of the European asylum system known as the Dublin regulation.

      The UK government sought to replace this with a similar, post-Brexit version, but was rebuffed by the EU.

      With the government facing political pressure on migrant Channel crossings from some parts of the media, and from people like Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader who frequently makes videos describing the boats as “an invasion”, Patel’s department has sought to respond.

      Last year, official documents seen by the Guardian showed that trials had taken place to test a blockade in the Channel similar to Australia’s controversial “turn back the boats” tactic.

      Reports at the time, denied by Downing Street, said that other methods considered to deter unofficial Channel crossings included a wave machine to push back the craft.

      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/mar/18/asylum-seekers-could-be-sent-abroad-by-uk-to-be-processed

  • Επαναπροωθούν πρόσφυγες στα νησιά με ειδικές θαλάσσιες σκηνές

    Η « Εφ.Συν. » φέρνει στη δημοσιότητα βέβαιες, καταγεγραμμένες περιπτώσεις παράνομων επαναπροωθήσεων προσφύγων από θαλάσσης προς την Τουρκία από το Λιμενικό, με ειδική μάλιστα διαδικασία : αφού εντοπίζονται στη στεριά, τοποθετούνται σε σχεδίες που μοιάζουν με πλωτές σκηνές και αφήνονται μεσοπέλαγα στα τουρκικά ύδατα για να τους « ξεβράσει » το κύμα προς την ακτή.

    Πυκνώνουν τα περιστατικά παράνομων επαναπροωθήσεων προσφύγων και μεταναστών από τα νησιά στην Τουρκία, την ώρα που καταγράφεται μια διαστροφική ποιοτική αναβάθμιση των μεθόδων που χρησιμοποιούνται και οι οποίες εκθέτουν σε κίνδυνο για τη ζωή τους δεκάδες ανθρώπους.

    Η « Εφ.Συν. » κατάφερε να ταυτοποιήσει συγκεκριμένα πρόσωπα προσφύγων και φέρνει σήμερα για πρώτη φορά στη δημοσιότητα αποκαλυπτικά ντοκουμέντα, που όχι μόνο αποδεικνύουν τις επαναπροωθήσεις, αλλά δείχνουν ότι αυτές υλοποιούνται πλέον με ειδικές ναυαγοσωστικές σχεδίες, οι οποίες μοιάζουν με σκηνές πάνω στη θάλασσα.

    Οπως διαπιστώνεται, οι αρχές και κυρίως το Λιμενικό, αφού εντοπίσουν τους πρόσφυγες είτε στη στεριά σε κάποια απόκρημνη ακτή είτε μεσοπέλαγα, τους επιβιβάζουν σε αυτές τις ναυαγοσωστικές σχεδίες, τα επονομαζόμενα liferafts, και στη συνέχεια τους αφήνουν εντός τουρκικών χωρικών υδάτων, ώστε να παρασυρθούν από τα κύματα μέχρι να εντοπιστούν από σκάφη της τουρκικής ακτοφυλακής.

    Από τη Σάμο, πίσω

    Στη Σάμο, την 1η Απριλίου αυτόπτες μάρτυρες στις οχτώ το πρωί διαπίστωσαν την αποβίβαση μιας βάρκας με αρκετά άτομα στην παραλία Μουρτιά στην ανατολική πλευρά του νησιού. Το περιστατικό κάλυψε ο διαχειριστής της τοπικής ιστοσελίδας aegaio.blogspot.com Ιωάννης Νέγρης, ενώ ένας ακόμη κάτοικος της περιοχής ήταν παρών. Οι μετανάστες βγήκαν στην ακτή, έσκισαν τη βάρκα τους, έβγαλαν μερικές φωτογραφίες « και άρχισαν να κινούνται προς την πόλη, αφού καμία αρχή δεν ήταν στο συμβάν », σημειώνει ο κ. Νέγρης, που διαθέτει και το ανάλογο φωτογραφικό υλικό.

    Οπως περιγράφει, ο ίδιος επικοινώνησε με το λιμεναρχείο και έμαθε ότι ήδη είχε ξεκινήσει ένα πλωτό για να τους παραλάβει.

    « Από εδώ και πέρα ξεκινούν τα περίεργα », σημειώνει και περιγράφει το πώς στη συνέχεια οι άνθρωποι αυτοί « εξαφανίστηκαν » ! « Γύρω στις 12 το μεσημέρι, δέχομαι τηλέφωνο από αστυνομικό που μου λέει « μάθαμε ότι βγήκαν μετανάστες, μας ενημέρωσε η Υπατη Αρμοστεία, αλλά δεν τους βρίσκουμε.

    Μήπως επειδή είναι Ψευταπριλιά μάς κάνουν πλάκα ; ». Του απαντώ αρνητικά και κλείνει το τηλέφωνο », υποστηρίζει ο κ. Νέγρης. Στη συνέχεια γύρω στις 2.10 το μεσημέρι της ίδιας ημέρας, έμαθε τελικά ότι οι πρόσφυγες, τον αριθμό των οποίων υπολογίζει σε περίπου 25, παρελήφθησαν από ένα φουσκωτό που έφυγε προς άγνωστη κατεύθυνση.

    Σύμφωνα με αυτόπτη μάρτυρα που εντόπισε ο κ. Νέγρης, το φουσκωτό κατευθύνθηκε πίσω από ένα βουνό στην άκρη του κόλπου και μετά χάθηκε. Στη συνέχεια, ο ίδιος επικοινώνησε με το νοσοκομείο και συγκεκριμένα με τον διοικητή του, ο οποίος δήλωσε ενήμερος για το περιστατικό. Ωστόσο από το λιμεναρχείο τον διαβεβαίωσαν ότι αυτοί οι μετανάστες δεν υπάρχουν και ότι κανένα τέτοιο περιστατικό δεν έχει καταγραφεί !

    Το φωτογραφικό υλικό όμως που έδωσε στη δημοσιότητα ο κ. Νέγρης, όπως και ακόμα μία κάτοικος, πιστοποιεί όχι μόνο την άφιξη αλλά και την ταυτοπροσωπία ορισμένων εξ αυτών, που διακρίνονται σε ανάλογο υλικό το οποίο δημοσιοποίησε την επόμενη ημέρα η ακτοφυλακή της Τουρκίας. Φωτογραφίες τόσο από την περισυλλογή των προσφύγων μέσα από τη θάλασσα, επιβαινόντων πλέον σε liferaft, όσο και μέσα από την ακταιωρό που μετέφερε τους ναυαγούς !

    Συγκεκριμένα παρατηρούμε και στις δύο φωτογραφίες πρόσφυγες να κρατούν τα ίδια αντικείμενα (χαρακτηριστική η κόκκινη βαλίτσα της φωτογραφίας), να φορούν τα ίδια ρούχα, όπως η κόκκινη φόρμα παντελόνι που φοράει ο ένας, το τζιν μήκους ⅔ που διακρίνεται να φορά μια κοπέλα αφρικανικής καταγωγής και πολλά ακόμη στοιχεία, όπως παπούτσια κ.ά.! Στοιχεία που οδηγούν στο ασφαλές συμπέρασμα ότι οι ίδιοι άνθρωποι, που αποβιβάστηκαν το πρωί της 1ης Απριλίου στη Μουρτιά της Σάμου, φωτογραφήθηκαν σε σκάφος του λιμενικού της Τουρκίας την επόμενη ημέρα. Οπως αποδεικνύεται, η περίπτωση της Σάμου δεν είναι και η μοναδική, ούτε κάτι που συνέβη ευκαιριακά με πρωτοβουλία κάποιου χαμηλόβαθμου αξιωματικού που ενδεχομένως εκμεταλλεύτηκε τη συγκυρία.
    Μαρτυρίες και για Χίο

    Ενδεικτική είναι η μαρτυρία για ένα ύποπτο περιστατικό που σημειώθηκε στη Χίο στις 23 Μαρτίου. Εκεί αρχικά έγινε γνωστό ότι στην περιοχή των Καρδαμύλων κατέφτασε βάρκα με 40 πρόσφυγες, γεγονός που κατέγραψε ο τοπικός Τύπος και επιβεβαίωσε το λιμεναρχείο. Στη συνέχεια όμως από το λιμεναρχείο υποστήριζαν ότι οι συγκεκριμένοι είχαν φύγει από τη ΒΙΑΛ και πήγαν στα Καρδάμυλα, σκηνοθετώντας -υποτίθεται- την αποβίβασή τους με σκοπό να ξεγελάσουν τις αρχές και να ενταχθούν στους νεοεισερχόμενους μετά την 1η Μαρτίου, ώστε να καταφέρουν να αποχωρήσουν αμέσως για κάποια κλειστή δομή στην ηπειρωτική χώρα.

    Σύμφωνα όμως με μαρτυρία ενός πρόσφυγα που διαμένει στη ΒΙΑΛ, ανάμεσα σε αυτούς στα Καρδάμυλα ήταν και ο αδελφός του, ο οποίος ενημέρωσε για την άφιξή του στέλνοντας φωτογραφίες. Ο τελευταίος αμέσως ειδοποίησε τουλάχιστον δύο αλληλέγγυους, στους οποίους προώθησε και τη φωτογραφία με την παραλία. Η μία εκ των αλληλέγγυων στη συνέχεια μαζί με τον πρόσφυγα από τη ΒΙΑΛ έφτασε στα Καρδάμυλα, εκεί όπου η αστυνομία τούς απαγόρευσε την προσέγγιση στην παραλία.

    « Στη συνέχεια δεν υπήρξε καμία επικοινωνία και την επόμενη ημέρα ο νεοεισερχόμενος έστειλε από κινητό τρίτου ατόμου μήνυμα ότι είχε μεταφερθεί στο Τσεσμέ και από τότε αγνοούνται τα ίχνη του », δήλωσε στην « Εφ.Συν. » μέλος της ομάδας αλληλεγγύης. Οπως έγινε γνωστό, ο πρόσφυγας κατέληξε σε φυλακή της Τουρκίας, ενώ το κινητό του έχει κατασχεθεί από το Λιμεναρχείο Χίου. Ανάλογο περιστατικό σημειώθηκε και στα Γρίδια κοντά στον οικισμό των Νενήτων στη Χίο, όπου ομάδα προσφύγων κατέφτασε στην ακτή και ντόπιοι φωτογράφισαν την άφιξή της.

    Πάλι όμως το λιμεναρχείο ισχυρίστηκε ότι επρόκειτο για προσπάθεια σκηνοθετημένης άφιξης. Ωστόσο η ακτοφυλακή της Τουρκίας την επομένη, 26/3, έδωσε στη δημοσιότητα φωτογραφίες από τη διάσωση 21 ανθρώπων έξω από το Τσεσμέ, πάλι σε liferaft, μεταξύ τους 12 παιδιά και πέντε γυναίκες. Οπως μάλιστα έγινε γνωστό, στο liferaft όπου είχαν στριμωχτεί, υπήρχε δεμένο και ένα μικρό φουσκωτό σκάφος όπου είχαν στοιβάξει τις αποσκευές τους.
    Εν κρυπτώ

    Αξίζει να αναφερθεί ότι το Λιμεναρχείο Χίου ουδέποτε έδωσε στη δημοσιότητα κάποια σύλληψη για την υποτιθέμενη μεταφορά των προσφύγων από τη ΒΙΑΛ στα Καρδάμυλα (απόσταση 40 και πλέον χιλιομέτρων), ενώ και στο δεύτερο περιστατικό που συνέβη την πρώτη μέρα περιορισμού της κυκλοφορίας, θεωρείται απίθανο να μην τους αντιλήφθηκε κάποιος κατά τη διαφυγή τους από τη ΒΙΑΛ και την πορεία τους περίπου 10 χιλιόμετρα μέχρι την ακτή, όπου εντοπίστηκαν από ντόπιους. Να σημειωθεί ότι υπάρχουν και άλλες παραλίες σαφώς πιο κοντά στη ΒΙΑΛ που θα μπορούσαν να επιλέξουν οι πρόσφυγες, αν όντως ήθελαν να σκηνοθετήσουν την άφιξή τους.

    Συνολικά εννέα περιπτώσεις διάσωσης προσφύγων σε liferaft έχει δώσει στη δημοσιότητα το λιμενικό της γειτονικής χώρας, με πρόσφυγες που βρέθηκαν να πλέουν χωρίς καμία δυνατότητα ελέγχου της πορείας τους, μια και αυτές οι φουσκωτές σχεδίες στερούνται μηχανή ή όποιο άλλο προωθητικό μέσο ή και πηδάλιο.

    Πρόκειται για περιπτώσεις όπου σκάφη της ακτοφυλακής της Τουρκίας μαζεύουν ναυαγούς από liferaft σε ακτογραμμή μήκους 170 ν.μ. Και συγκεκριμένα από το Δικελί ανατολικά της Λέσβου έως και την πόλη Ντάτσα (Datça) βόρεια της Σύμης, εκεί όπου τα περιστατικά διάσωσης προσφύγων σε liferaft είναι πυκνά. Το πρώτο καταγράφηκε στις 23 Μαρτίου, όταν η τουρκική ακτοφυλακή στις 5.25 μ.μ. μάζεψε από liferaft συνολικά 31 άτομα, που δήλωσαν ότι το πρωί της ίδιας ημέρας είχαν αποβιβαστεί στη Σύμη. Το δεύτερο στη Σύμη και τρίτο χρονικά σημειώθηκε στις 27/3, σχεδόν μία ώρα μετά τα μεσάνυχτα, με τον ίδιο τρόπο, με 10 διασωθέντες.

    Επαναλήφθηκε τέταρτη φορά στις 29/3 και ώρα 23.40 πάλι στην Datça με 18 άτομα. Το πέμπτο καταγεγραμμένο περιστατικό σημειώθηκε στην πόλη Didim της δυτικής Τουρκίας απέναντι από το Φαρμακονήσι, με την τουρκική ακτοφυλακή να διασώζει από liferaft εννέα πρόσφυγες.

    Το έκτο και το έβδομο περιστατικό σημειώθηκαν έξω από το Δικελί, απέναντι από τη Λέσβο, στις 31 Μαρτίου όπου μέσα σε λίγα λεπτά στις 01.21 και 01.38 περισυνελέγησαν συνολικά 39 άνθρωποι. Το όγδοο ήταν αυτό της Σάμου την 1η Απριλίου, όπου οι πρόσφυγες μεταφέρθηκαν στο Αϊδίνι της Τουρκίας, ενώ το ένατο και πιο πρόσφατο σημειώθηκε στις 4 Απριλίου με τον εντοπισμό ενός liferaft με 15 άτομα έξω από το Αϊβαλί. Τα στοιχεία για τους αριθμούς των διασωθέντων, για την τοποθεσία και την ώρα προέρχονται από τη ΜΚΟ Aegean Boat Report, ενώ οι φωτογραφίες από το τουρκικό λιμενικό.

    https://www.efsyn.gr/ellada/koinonia/238226_epanaproothoyn-prosfyges-sta-nisia-me-eidikes-thalassies-skines

    –------

    –-> Commentaire de Vicky Skoumbi, reçu via mail, le 08.04.2020 :

    Absolument terrifiant : une nouvelle méthode de refoulement maritime extrêmement dangereuse est pratiquée au moins depuis le 23 mars par les garde-côtes grecs

    Plusieurs cas de refoulement maritime de réfugiés par une méthode extrêmement dangereuse : ils sont renvoyés vers la Turquie sur des canots de sauvetage gonflables dits #liferaft.

    Le Journal de Rédacteurs révèle des refoulements maritimes illégaux de réfugiés vers la Turquie par les garde-côtes, avec une procédure spéciale : une fois repérés à l’endroit où ils ont débarqués, les réfugiés sont placés sur des radeaux de survie qui ressemblent à des tentes flottantes et sont laissés à la dérive dans les eaux turques afin de le courant les emporte vers la côte turque.

    Cette méthode employée déjà pour repousser des dizaines de personnes est non seulement illégal mais extrêmement dangereuse : dans la mesure où ces radeaux de sauvetage n’ont ni machine ni gouvernail ils dérivent hors contrôle et mettent en danger la vie de ceux qui s’y trouvent.

    Le reportage photographique de Efimerida tôn Syntaktôn permet identifier des visages spécifiques des réfugiés en train de débarquer ; les mêmes visages se retrouvent sur les radeaux de sauvetage spéciaux, qui ressemblent à des tentes, ces liferafts à la dérive.

    Il s’avère que les autorités, et en particulier les garde-côtes, après avoir localisé les réfugiés sur terre, soit sur une ligne côtière escarpée soit au milieu de la mer, les obligent de monter à bord de ces radeaux de sauvetage, ces soi-disant radeaux de sauvetage, puis les laissent dans les eaux territoriales turques, afin qu’ils soient emportés par les vagues jusqu’à ce que les navires des garde-côtes turcs les repèrent.

    Les mêmes personnes, avec des vêtements et des objets caractéristiques, apparaissent sur des photos prises le 1er avril à Samos et le lendemain sur un bateau de la garde côte turque.

    Au total, neuf cas de sauvetage de réfugiés sur des liferafts ont été rendus publics par les garde-côtes turques, les réfugiés naviguant sans aucune possibilité de contrôler leur trajectoire, car ces radeaux gonflables ne sont dotés ni de machine, ni d’autre moyen de propulsion, ni de gouvernail.

    Les données sur le nombre de personnes secourues, l’emplacement et l’heure proviennent de l’ONG Aegean Boat Report, tandis que les photos de garde-côtes turcs. Pour voir le reportage photo Efimerida tôn Syntaktôn (https://www.efsyn.gr/ellada/koinonia/238226_epanaproothoyn-prosfyges-sta-nisia-me-eidikes-thalassies-skines)

    Voir aussi la page FB de Aegean Boat Report :
    https://www.facebook.com/AegeanBoatReport/posts/805700453286394?__tn__=-R

    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #refoulement #push-back #refoulements #push-backs #Mer_Egée #Grèce #Turquie #frontières #life_raft #liferafts #life_rafts #orange

    ping @luciebacon @isskein @karine4

    • More images published by @ABoatReport
      this morning: a floating deportation camp.

      https://twitter.com/itamann/status/1265202422177320960?s=03

      –---

      Tents at Sea: How Greek Officials Use Rescue Equipment for Illegal Deportations

      Back in 2013, Australia introduced strange new machinery in its campaign against unauthorized migration: a dozen bright-orange and windowless life vessels, shaped like missiles. These were equipped with navigational systems, air conditioning, and an engine. Each vessel, asylum seekers said, was given “just enough fuel” to reach Indonesia. When they washed ashore in February 2014, Indonesian locals were initially unsure what they were looking at. It was a piece of new deportation infrastructure, designed to launch migrants intercepted at sea back to where they had come from.

      In the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, Greek authorities have put in place comparable deportation machinery. In at least 11 incidents since March 23, migrants have been found drifting in orange, tent-like inflatable life rafts without motors or propellants and that cannot be steered. Members of the Turkish Coast Guard reported these apparitions, but Greek authorities neither explained nor documented them. Images of these life rafts, fluorescent triangular structures afloat between black sea and dark sky, looked strange enough to seem superimposed. Relying on testimony and footage we obtained from multiple sources, including asylum seekers in the area, our investigation verifies this latest show of violence at the Greek-Turkish maritime border.

      Far from Australia’s flashier orange vessels from five years back, these are more modest structures. Importantly, the Greek life rafts have appeared in a very different maritime environment: compared to the oceans surrounding Australia, the Aegean Sea is a relatively placid and narrow body of water. Yet like the Australian vessels, these too have been put in place by State authorities, in an organized way, violating fundamental rules of international law. The two sets of deportation craft share visible similarities and are each used in dangerous ways, shedding light on the legal and moral risks that states are now willing to take, just to keep out unwanted populations.

      Maximum Deterrence

      On Nov. 27, Greek Member of Parliament Kyriakos Velopoulos, leader of the right-wing Greek Solution party, appeared on a popular TV talk show on ERT, a Greek state-owned public broadcaster. He advanced a policy first adopted by the United States in Guantanamo Bay, where Haitian asylum-seekers were detained long before 9/11, and later expanded upon by Australia: open-air detention of asylum seekers on “uninhabited” islands. For those whose applications are rejected, Velopoulos suggested unilateral pushbacks to Turkey: Greek authorities should simply remove arriving migrants from the country and send them back to where they came from. Holding photos of the oblong orange vessels Australia had used, he explained: “This here … is a raft made by the Australian government … with food, actual food, and it never sinks.” An interviewer gasped: “There’s a humanitarian aspect to it!”

      The relevant background to Velopoulos’s suggestions goes back to 1990, when the Dublin Convention introduced a system whereby asylum seekers must remain in the first European Union member State they access and have their requests processed there. This created an enormous and unjust burden on states at the “external borders” of the EU, such as Greece.

      The latest version of this arrangement, the Dublin III Regulation, was adopted in 2013. In June 2015, the EU further exacerbated the disproportionate role given to Greece in “migration management”: with the announcement of the “hotspot” approach, several Aegean islands became locations for asylum-seeker screening, with departures to the mainland prohibited. By August, the flow of refugees from conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, particularly the Syrian civil war, began to surge, generating a crisis within the EU as Member States argued over how to handle the arrivals.

      The influx of migrants generated a legal challenge to the Dublin rules, but the Court of Justice of the European Union upheld them in a 2017 ruling. In the meantime, in 2016, the EU and Turkey issued a joint statement saying Turkey would prevent unauthorized migrants from leaving its territory, in return for as much as 6 billion euros from the EU. Refugees and migrants thus became a bargaining chip that Ankara continuously used in its diplomatic wrangles with Brussels.

      Earlier this year, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pressed for Western approval of his military operation against Syrian and Russian forces in northern Syria, he intensified his exploitative bargaining. On Feb. 29, he declared that the country would no longer prevent migrants from reaching Europe.

      As thousands of migrants gathered at the Turkish-Greek border, seeking to enter, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis warned in a tweet, “Once more, do not attempt to enter Greece illegally – you will be turned back.” On March 1, the Greek government issued an emergency decree suspending asylum applications. According to Human Rights Watch, the Greek National Security Council announced that unauthorized migrants would be immediately returned, without registration, “where possible, to their countries of origin or transit,” such as Turkey. As in other countries in the Mediterranean basin, which also resorted to emergency measures, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has provided a convenient pretext for cracking down on migrants.

      Adrift on the Aegean

      According to a report from the Turkish Coast Guard, the first of at least 11 alleged pushback incidents involving life rafts occurred on March 23. One of the Turkish Coast Guard’s March 23 reports on “irregular migration” stated that the Guard had rescued 31 Syrian asylum seekers found floating in a life raft off the coast of Muğla’s Datça district in the Aegean Sea. The raft in question can clearly be seen in a press release photograph published by the Coast Guard about the incident.

      The refugees contacted the Consolidated Rescue Group, a grassroots organization run by Arabic-speaking volunteers who operate an emergency hotline for migrants in distress. In a statement obtained by the group and forwarded to us, the asylum seekers rescued on March 23 said they landed on the Greek island of Symi on March 22, at approximately 6 am. At certain points, the island is less than 8 km (or 5 miles) from the Turkish shore. The next day, the Greek authorities forced them onto “a small raft that looked like a tent and was orange in color” and left them to drift.

      “Up until then, we had no idea that this was what they are going to do,” one of those on board, a construction worker (name withheld for security reasons) from the southeastern outskirts of Damascus, told us in a follow-up interview over WhatsApp.

      The Greek Coast Guard had brought them to the main port of Symi and boarded them onto a ship: “They told us they would take us for a Corona test, and then we would be given our belongings back and transferred to Athens,” he said. Instead, after two hours onboard the Greek Coast Guard vessel, the authorities forced them down into a small raft: “They put everyone in … children, women, elderly, and young people. They didn’t leave anyone in the ship,” he said, telling us that they were left to drift “for over three hours,” until they were eventually rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard.

      He provided us with video footage that he recorded of the group’s arrival on the island of Symi, as well as footage recorded from inside the raft, while awaiting rescue (see below).

      The Greek government’s daily public statistics of arrivals contains no record of their arrival on the Greek island or their deportation to Turkey.

      A series of similar incidents were reported by the Turkish Coast Guard in the following days. On March 27, the Coast Guard reported rescuing 10 migrants (eight Palestinian, two Egyptian, consisting of 3 men, 2 women and 5 children) in a “life raft” off the coast of Muğla’s Datça district (the Turkish version is written as “Can Salı”). Again, photographs accompanying the Coast Guard’s official press release show people being rescued from a tent-like raft. According to the Turkish Coast Guard’s statements, the migrants had been “pushed back towards Turkish territorial waters by Greek Coast Guard.”

      The next day, on March 28, nine Syrians (4 men, 2 women and 3 children) rescued were reported found in a “life boat” off the coast of Aydın’s Didim district, again with clear photographs of the distinctive tent-like raft accompanying the Guard’s report.

      We interviewed a Kurdish couple from Hasaka, Syria, who were among the group. According to the couple, on the morning of March 27, “around 7 or 8 a.m.,” they arrived on the Greek island of Farmakonisi. Unlike the larger Aegean islands of Chios, Lesvos, Samos, and Kos, where refugees most commonly arrive, Farmakonisi is an uninhabited island and a military base. There are no camps or reception facilities for asylum seekers.

      The couple told us they were held by the army in terrible conditions. They described being “treated like animals, … [t]he army took our phones, money, clothes, and documents then threw them into the sea. Around 3 a.m., they took us toward the sea border. Then they made us take a boat shaped like a square tent, 2 meters wide. Then we were rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard.”

      Again, on March 29, the Turkish Coast Guard reported rescuing 18 migrants (7 men, 4 women and 7 children) at 11:40 p.m. The Coast Guard issued a press release, complete with clear photos of the migrants being rescued from a life raft.

      This is consistent with statements from migrants claiming to have been among those rescued. We interviewed a Syrian man who provided us with photographs of his arrival on Rhodes on March 27. The man told us he arrived with a group of 18 people: seven Palestinians, six Syrians and five Iranians, including children and a pregnant woman. After arriving on Rhodes, the man and the rest of the group were held by the Greek police on the roadside from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m.

      “The weather was really cold and they did not let us light a fire to warm the women and children who were with us,” he said. The group was then transferred to the port by bus: “They gave us two tents, without anything in them. We were under full surveillance,” he added.

      “They [Greek authorities] were suspicious that we had corona, so we wrote a sign that none of us has corona so that we could reassure them, hoping they would treat us in a humane way,” he said. “But this changed nothing.”

      The group stayed in the makeshift camp for 2 1/2 days, until the night of March 29. He said that was when “a military van with army officers transferred us to the port and handed us over to the Greek Coast Guard.”

      They were on board the Greek Coast Guard boat for about one hour: “Then they switched off the engine of the boat and made us go down, in the middle of the sea, in a rubber boat shaped like a tent.” They were left to drift for what he describes as approximately two hours, when they were intercepted by the Turkish Coast Guard:

      When the Turkish Coast Guard found us and took us to the Turkish land, they registered our information and transferred us to the police station. They split us in half. One half was Syrians and Palestinians and the other half is the other nationalities. For us, we were detained for like 15 days and after that we were released without any rights as refugees, such as having a Kimlik [Temporary Protection Identification Document].

      Without the proper registration, he explains, he is now hiding from the Turkish authorities as he fears being forcibly returned to Syria, where he fled.

      Contravening International Rules

      “Shaped like a tent,” as migrants repeatedly describe them, the life rafts the Greek Coast Guard appears to be employing to expel migrants are, in fact, designed for emergency evacuation in the case of shipwreck. They are manufactured not for transportation, but for rescue in case of a boat or ship sinking, to keep survivors afloat and alive until assistance arrives. They are not equipped with an engine or other propellant, cannot be steered, and provide minimal protection from the elements.

      As Paul Crowley, a former captain for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in Ireland, explained to us, such life rafts are never to be deployed “for any other reason other than to preserve life if no other option is available. It would contravene any internationally recognized standard to take people from a non-life-threatening location, either land or vessel, and place them in a raft.”

      As far as the law goes, these returns risk violating the international standard of non-refoulement. This principle is at the centerpiece of international refugee protection, and prohibits returns of asylum seekers to any place where they may suffer persecution, torture, or inhuman and degrading treatment. The returns also violate Greece’s obligations under human rights law, including the prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment, and the right to life (see Articles 3 and 2, respectively, of the European Convention on Human Rights). Inasmuch as these violations constitute a “widespread or systematic attack” directed against a “civilian population,” they may raise concerns under international criminal law. Evidence continues to surface that these days, when it comes to the treatment of migrants, the Greek authorities violate fundamental edicts of international law unabated.

      While the use of rescue equipment for deportations appears to be a new development, pushbacks on the Aegean are not. On March 23, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants Felipe González Morales stated that he is “very concerned about the reported pushbacks of asylum seekers and migrants” by Greek authorities at both land and maritime borders. He also referenced recent violence committed by Greek authorities against those seeking to aid migrants in the Aegean Sea area. The Germany-based human-rights monitoring organization Mare Liberum (“The Free Sea”) told us that a more common tactic of the Greek Coast Guard is to remove the engines of migrants’ boats and leave them to drift. Likewise, reports of the Turkish Coast Guard resorting to violence have arisen since Turkey’s implementation of the 2016 deal with the EU. Examples reported to the authors by migrants and NGO workers include driving rings around boats and throwing stones to stop boats from leaving Turkish waters.

      Clearly both countries have geostrategic motives for their treatment of migrants related to their fraught relationships with the EU – including aid money and various benefits for their own citizens. Often, it seems like the two countries are playing a violent game of ping-pong across the Aegean with migrant bodies.

      An Iraqi refugee whom we interviewed over WhatsApp — we will refer to as “Hatim” for safety reasons — told us that he has been pushed back to Turkey by Greek authorities on three occasions since July 2019. Hatim and his family fled to Turkey in 2014, when ISIS took over their home city of Mosul. They were selected for resettlement in the United States, and had just finished their first interview when Trump’s January 2017 Executive Order interrupted the program. On the night of April 1, 2020, he and his family made four separate attempts to reach the Greek island of Chios. On the last attempt, their rubber dinghy, carrying approximately 40 people, entered Greek territorial waters and was intercepted by the Greek Coast Guard. The Coast Guard confiscated the fuel from their boat and returned them to Turkish waters, leaving them to drift.

      The systemic nature of such violations by the Greek authorities was recently highlighted by whistleblowers working under Frontex, the European border enforcement agency. In early March, the crew of a Danish patrol boat participating in “Operation Poseidon,” an EU maritime border patrol mission coordinated by Frontex, revealed that the Hellenic Coast Guard has explicit orders to stop migrant boats from crossing the sea border between Turkey to Greece. The Danish unit had refused to obey a pushback order from Operation Poseidon headquarters. Since then, NGOs Alarmphone and Mare Liberum have documented a series of pushbacks by Greek authorities along the Greece-Turkey border, including in the Aegean, that have become increasingly visible and severe.

      Most notably, Greek newspaper EFSYN reported an incident involving 26 migrants whose arrival on Mourtia Beach on the Greek island of Samos April 1 was documented by a resident. The arrival was not reported by the Greek authorities. In fact, government statistics recorded no new arrivals to Samos on that date.

      However, photographs taken by the Samos resident (and reproduced in EFSYN’s reporting) show the deflated dinghy and newly arrived migrants heading away from the shore. One member of the group is distinguished by bright red trousers while another carries a red duffle bag. EFSYN published photographs obtained from the Turkish Coast Guard of the same group who had arrived on Mourtia Beach aboard a Turkish Coast Guard boat after their rescue later that day, noting the marked similarities in the appearance, clothing and baggage of the migrants in the two sets of photographs. On the same day, the Turkish Coast Guard reported rescuing 26 migrants (found with a life raft) on the shore near Kuşadası national park, in a location that cannot be reached by land. According to the Turkish Coast Guard, the migrants said they had landed on Samos, were rounded up by the Greek Coast Guard and left to drift in the raft.

      On May 12, EFSYN published a video of a life raft like the ones pictured above (but without the cover) being dragged by a Greek Coast Guard boat off the southeast coast of Samos. The video was originally published by the Turkish Coast Guard on April 29, at which time it announced rescuing 22 people found drifting off the coast of Aydin province, bordering the Greek island of Samos. According to Bellingcat’s recent investigation into the incident, the group of 22 migrants rescued on April 29 (pictured in the video) had, in fact, arrived on Samos the previous day, on April 28.

      Most recently, a video surfaced on YouTube appearing to show the Turkish Coast Guard rescuing a group of 30 migrants aboard two life rafts. According to Turkish records and reports, including photographs, the Coast Guard rescued 30 migrants in two life rafts on May 13, consisting of 13 Congolese, eight Syrians, five Bangladeshis and three Palestinian nationals, along with a Lebanese national. The rescue occurred off the coast of the district of Menderes in Turkey’s İzmir province.

      On May 15, yet another group of migrants were rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard after being found in these distinctive life rafts. This group of 25 migrants also reported having been repelled by Greek authorities, again with photographic evidence.

      The Tent and the Missile

      Australians eventually replaced their orange lifeboats with fishing boats, although the intention was the same – pushing migrants away from Australian shores. But there was something chillingly memorable about that episode. It embodied the often-hypocritical moral stance of liberal democracies regarding strangers in need: a willingness to engage in extreme measures, even violence, to enforce borders, coupled with an emphasis on efficiency and a pretense of safety.

      While the Australian deportation vessels appear to have been custom-made and reportedly were purchased for $40,000 AUD each (about $25,000 USD), the Greek life raft “tents” are considerably more modest. They are the kind of equipment a yacht owner might purchase online for around $2,000. Under the 1974 Safety of Life as Sea Convention, maritime vessels are required to have such protective gear available. The Hellenic Coast Guard has now repurposed them for the opposite ends – putting people in danger.

      The Greek orange rafts seen in pictures appear to be a model manufactured by a Greek company called LALIZAS, which specialize in rescue equipment. A November 2019 LALIZAS newsletter includes an article entitled “24 hours in a LALIZAS Liferaft: Mission accomplished!” It describes a training in which members of Greece’s Hellenic Rescue Team and Hellenic Air Force carried out a simulated “‘actual’ case of emergency” by relying on a LALIZAS life raft and its food and survival equipment for a full 24 hours (see the story on the LALIZAS website here, and official video of the simulation, here). The life raft in question, code named “MEDUSSA” for the simulation, appears identical to those in many of the images of the tent-like rafts migrants have been rescued from while adrift in the Aegean.

      According to the Greek government’s procurement records available online, it purchased the life rafts for the Greek Navy in 2017. Several government ministries appear to have contracts with this company.

      The Australian life raft most closely resembles a missile. Its very image conveys the omnipotence of a regional superpower. By using such a machine, Australia effectively said to those attempting unauthorized maritime entry, “We will shoot you away.” To be sure, this missile is not fired at the migrants. It’s as if they become part of its ammunition; shot back at Indonesia’s shores, they are expected to crawl out of the shell once the missile crashes on one of the country’s countless atolls.

      Compared to the grandeur of the Australian missile-like object, and its mechanical cruelty, the Greek tent-like raft is a poignant symbol of inhumanity. Set adrift on the Aegean, its disquieting quality emerges from the fact that it becomes a kind of metaphor for the refugee’s condition. Asylum seekers describing it had often used the Arabic word ḵēma (خيمة), which is the tent one would use in a camp (and typically not a home, even if that too is a tent). It echoes the word mūẖym, which means refugee camp. No fuel is rationed to reach a destination, and the expectation appears to be that the life raft will simply drift across the relatively narrow waterway.

      The act of putting migrants to sea in inflatable tents is in line with the broader EU contemporary response to the “refugee crisis” – rejection and abandonment. This is, at least, how asylum seekers protesting at Moria camp, on the Greek island of Lesvos, see it: “We have been abandoned here,” said one asylum seeker on April 22.

      Like the Australian example, the tent too is an instrument of deterrence: “We will shoot you away” is replaced with a threat of an even more perilous exile on water. This aspect, however, does not make the Greek use of the life rafts any better than the Australian display of technological might. Both are utilized to perform what is almost an act of murder, but ultimately not quite there.

      https://www.justsecurity.org/70309/tents-at-sea-how-greek-officials-use-rescue-equipment-for-illegal-depo

      –-> #camps_flottants #camp_flottant

    • A terrifying video of a push-back in the Aegean sea; men, women –two of them pregnant- and children abandoned at sea on a liferaft by the greek coast-guards

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKsEHZKGsSE&feature=emb_title

      –—

      Le reportage complet du quotidien grec Efimerida tôn Syntaktôn:

      Επαναπροώθηση με ελληνική σφραγίδα

      Ένα ακόμα περιστατικό παράνομης επαναπροώθησης που σημειώθηκε στις 25 Μαΐου στο Αιγαίο, στη θαλάσσια περιοχή ανοιχτά της Λέσβου, έρχεται στη δημοσιότητα για να επιβεβαιώσει την σύνδεση της χρήσης σχεδιών τύπου liferafts, με τις ελληνικές λιμενικές αρχές.

      Όπως είχε αποκαλύψει πρόσφατη έρευνα που δημοσιεύτηκε στον ιστότοπο justsecurity.org από τους δρ. Itamar Mann και Niamh Keady Tabal, και παραθέτει στοιχεία και για παράνομες επαναπροωθήσεις, το Ελληνικό Δημόσιο συνεργάζεται στενά με την ελληνική εταιρεία LALIZAS, σωστικές συσκευές της οποίας προμηθεύτηκε και το Πολεμικό Ναυτικό, σύμφωνα με αρχεία αναρτημένα στη Διαύγεια, το 2017.

      Η έρευνα συζητήθηκε διεθνώς και ανάγκασε τον επικεφαλής της Frontex Φαμπρίς Λεγκέρι να παραδεχτεί τις ελληνικές παράνομες επιχειρήσεις επαναπροώθησης.

      Το βίντεο που δημοσιοποιεί σήμερα η « Εφ.Συν. » εξετάστηκε από την ερευνητική ομάδα Disinfaux, η οποία συμμετείχε στην έρευνα του justsecurity.org. Στο βίντεο διακρίνεται καθαρά πάνω στη σχεδία η επιγραφή LALIZAS ISO-RAFT. Διακρίνεται επίσης ο σειριακός αριθμός και η ημερομηνία κατασκευής της σχεδίας, βάσει της διαθέσιμης ανάλυσης (ISO 96-50-1, LALIZAS ISO-RAFT, Date of Manufacture 10/2016 Serial Number 161012174). Το προϊόν με αυτά τα χαρακτηριστικά διαφημίζεται στην ιστοσελίδα της εταιρείας.

      Σε άλλο απόσπασμα του βίντεο φαίνονται σε κοντινή απόσταση οι άλλες 3 παρόμοιες πλωτές σχεδίες, γεγονός που συνάδει με τα διαθέσιμα στοιχεία για το περιστατικό της 25ης Μαΐου, όπως είχε δημοσιευτεί το ίδιο πρωί, από τη Τουρκική Ακτοφυλακή.

      Ελληνικές σχεδίες

      Ανήκε η συγκεκριμένη σχεδία στον επίσημο εξοπλισμό του Πολεμικού Ναυτικού ή άλλων ελληνικών δυνάμεων ; Πώς βρέθηκε καταμεσής του Αιγαίου ως μέσο επαναπροώθησης προς την Τουρκία προσφύγων που είχαν βρεθεί σε κίνδυνο ; Τι αναφέρουν τα πρωτόκολλα διάσωσης για όσους βρίσκονται σε κίνδυνο στη θάλασσα ;

      Τα βίντεο τραβήχτηκαν από πρόσφυγα πάνω στη σχεδία την ώρα της επαναπροώθησης. Σε ανάρτησή του στα μέσα κοινωνικής δικτύωσης περιγράφει τις δραματικές στιγμές που έζησε αυτός και άλλοι περίπου 70 πρόσφυγες στις 25 Μαΐου, από τη στιγμή που έπεσαν στα χέρια του Λιμενικού μέχρι που τους εγκατέλειψε, και βρέθηκαν να πλέουν αβοήθητοι πάνω σε τέσσερις σχεδίες στη μέση του Αιγαίου. Παρέμειναν εκεί, ανάμεσά τους πέντε παιδιά και δύο έγκυες. Ένας τους είχε καταφέρει να κρύψει το κινητό του τηλέφωνο και κατάφεραν να καλέσουν το τουρκικό Λιμενικό, το οποίο τους εντόπισε.

      Η « Εφ.Συν. » επικοινώνησε με τον πρόσφυγα που ανάρτησε το βίντεο. Όπως αναφέρει, σκάφος της ελληνικής ακτοφυλακής έκανε μανούβρες γύρω από τη βάρκα στην οποία αρχικά επέβαιναν οι πρόσφυγες. « Όλοι οι φίλοι μου έκλαιγαν, ούρλιαζαν, ζητούσαν βοήθεια από το λιμενικό. Άντρες που φορούσαν στρατιωτικές στολές, και είχαν όπλα, πήραν τη μηχανή της βάρκας και μας είπαν : "Είμαστε εδώ για να σας βοηθήσουμε, θέλουμε να σας μεταφέρουμε στο καμπ της Μόριας" », λέει χαρακτηριστικά.

      Τους επιβίβασαν στο σκάφος του λιμενικού και αφού έλεγξαν τη θερμοκρασία τους με θερμόμετρα, τους χτύπησαν και τους αφαίρεσαν τα προσωπικά τους αντικείμενα. « Μας πήραν τα πάντα : χρήματα, τσάντες, τηλέφωνα », λέει. Αφαίρεσαν από το σκάφος του λιμενικού την ελληνική σημαία, τους οδήγησαν μεσοπέλαγα και τους επιβίβασαν σε τέσσερα liferaft. Τους ανάγκασαν να ανέβουν είκοσι άτομα σε κάθε σχεδία, ενώ η -βάσει προδιαγραφών- χωρητικότητά της είναι για 12 άτομα. Η εταιρεία LALIZAS δεν έχει στον κατάλογο της παρόμοιου τύπου liferaft με χωρητικότητα άνω των 12 ατόμων. Επισημαίνει επίσης πως οι τέσσερις τσάντες από τις οποίες έβγαλαν τα πλωτά ήταν χρώματος πορτοκαλί, όπως διαφημίζεται και το προϊόν στο site της LALIZAS.

      « Δεν έδωσαν σωσίβια στους ανθρώπους που δεν είχαν, και όταν εγώ ζήτησα από έναν λιμενικό να μου δώσει το τηλέφωνό μου για να επικοινωνήσω τουλάχιστον με την τουρκική ακτοφυλακή μου απάντησε "έλα και πάρ’ το", δείχνοντάς μου τα γεννητικά του όργανα », αναφέρει ο πρόσφυγας, ο οποίος θέλει να κρατήσει την ανωνυμία του.

      Τους περικύκλωσαν για 15 περίπου λεπτά και μετά τους εγκατέλειψαν. Ένας από τους επιβαίνοντες κατάφερε να κρύψει το κινητό του τηλέφωνο και έτσι κατάφεραν να καλέσουν την τουρκική ακτοφυλακή η οποία τους μετέφερε σώους στην Φότσα της Σμύρνης.

      « Δημοσιοποιώ αυτό το βίντεο για να δείξω στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση, την Ύπατη Αρμοστεία και το Ευρωκοινοβούλιο, τα αποτελέσματα των αποφάσεων τους για το προσφυγικό », καταλήγει στην ανάρτησή του. Την ίδια στιγμή, ο Διεθνής Οργανισμός Μετανάστευσης (ΔΟΜ), η Ύπατη Αρμοστεία, και αρκετοί φορείς ζητούν απαντήσεις και τη διεξαγωγή έρευνας για τις καταγγελλόμενες επαναπροωθήσεις και μαζικές απελάσεις προσφύγων και μεταναστών στην Τουρκία.

      https://www.efsyn.gr/ellada/dikaiomata/247726_epanaproothisi-me-elliniki-sfragida

      #Norvège

    • Greece Suspected of Abandoning Refugees at Sea

      An investigation by DER SPIEGEL and partners has revealed that the Greek Coast Guard intercepts refugee boats, puts the migrants in life rafts, tows them toward Turkey and then abandons them to their fate. What do German troops in the area know about the practice?

      Europe is just a few kilometers away, recalls Amjad Naim, when the men in masks show up. It’s the morning of May 13 and the Palestinian is sitting in an inflatable boat, having paid migrant smugglers in Turkey for the trip. Naim can already see the Greek coast, and with every second, he is getting closer and closer.

      Naim wasn’t alone in the boat. They were a group of at least 26 people and they had almost reached the island of Samos. Naim remembers hearing a helicopter, and then all hell broke loose. For the next several hours, those on board would be afraid for their lives.

      The men in the masks approached in a large vessel, says Naim, adding that he remembers seeing the Greek flag and several dinghies. And then, he says, the masked men went on the attack.

      They fired shots into the water, he says, snagged the migrants’ inflatable raft with a grappling hook and destroyed the motor, thus stopping the boat. The men then took the migrants on board their vessel, Naim says, adding that he started crying and hid his mobile phone in his underwear.

      There are videos that prove that Naim really was on his way to Samos. The images show a young man with closely cropped hair and a smooth-shaven face. The motor of the small inflatable boat hums in the background as Naim smiles into the camera. He is originally from the Gaza Strip in the Palestinian Territories, where he studied law and got married. His wife is waiting for him in the Netherlands. Naim blows a kiss into the camera.

      The next images of Naim are shaky — a 55-second clip made by Naim that clearly documents a crime. The footage shows him and the other refugees on two inflatable life rafts. The Greek Coast Guard had put them off of the ship and onto the rafts. The square-shaped platforms are little more than wobbly rubber rafts.

      In the video, a Greek Coast Guard ship, 18 meters (59 feet) long, is dragging the rafts back toward Turkey. An additional ship stands by. Water can be seen pouring into Naim’s raft.

      Then, as can be seen in the video, the Greek Coast Guard unties the tow rope, leaving the refugees to their fate in the middle of the sea. Sitting in a rubber raft that has no ability to maneuver on its own.

      It is possible that Naim’s experience could be an isolated incident. It is conceivable that the Greek sailors simply lost their patience or that that particular ship was crewed by an especially nasty group. But that is not the case. Naim is apparently just one victim among many. There is a system behind the tactics he was exposed to. In a joint investigation with Lighthouse Reports and Report Mainz, DER SPIEGEL has forensically analyzed dozens of videos and compared them with geodata in addition to speaking with numerous eyewitnesses.

      https://cdnstatic.secure.spiegel.de/SP/2020/26/OPQWeKYm-32438806.mp4

      The material shows beyond doubt: In the eastern Aegean, European values are being sacrificed in the name of protecting its external borders.

      Masked men, almost certainly Greek border control officials, regularly attack refugee boats in the area. In one case on June 4, the inflatable boat belonging to the masked men can be clearly identified as a Greek patrol boat. It belongs to Greek Coast Guard ship ΛΣ-080.

      After the refugee boats are intercepted, the Greeks, apparently, frequently put the migrants in inflatable life rafts, tow them toward Turkey and then leave them to their fates. In most cases, they are dragged ashore after several hours by the Turkish Coast Guard.

      The actions taken by the Greeks are a clear breach. It has long been known that Greek Coast Guard personnel delay rescue attempts and perform aggressive maneuvers. Now, though, they are actively putting the lives of migrants at risk and they are using life-saving equipment to put people in danger.

      Images of migrants on orange life rafts have been appearing for weeks on Facebook and Instagram. NGOs like Aegean Boat Report, Josoor and Alarm Phone have also spoken with refugees and reported their experiences - and since March 23, activists have documented a number of incidents. The Turkish Coast Guard has also published images of the orange life rafts. But Naim’s video is the first to document beyond doubt a Greek Coast Guard vessel towing life rafts toward Turkey and then abandoning the refugees on the open sea.

      These so-called pushbacks represent both a violation of international law and of the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. Asylum seekers have a right to have their cases heard on an individual basis and countries are not permitted to bring them back against their will to a place where their safety is not guaranteed.

      Itamar Mann, a lawyer at the University of Haifa and member of the Global Legal Action Network, believes pushbacks could also have criminal consequences. From a legal perspective, such operations, he says, are a kind of torture, with refugees experiencing inhumane treatment and humiliation.

      When contacted, the Greek Coast Guard denied the accusations and claimed that its personnel does not wear masks. They also said they obey all applicable laws. Delays in rescuing the refugees, they said, were due to the Turkish Coast Guard because they only accompany refugee boats if they are traveling in the direction of Greece. The Greek officials, they said, only locate the refugee boats and then inform the Turkish Coast Guard as quickly as possible.

      They claimed that they cooperated with the Turkish Coast Guard in the May 13 incident. In their statement, the Greek Coast Guard did not specifically address the video showing the pushback.
      Caught in the Middle

      Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has been in office since last July, and since then, he has taken several steps to ensure that fewer refugees arrive in Greece. He had temporarily suspended the right to asylum and shortened the deadline for appeal in asylum cases. Furthermore, during his tenure, border guards on the Maritsa River between Turkey and Greece have apparently used live ammunition against refugees, likely killing at least one. His government has considered blocking refugee boats with barriers at sea.

      His government refers to the practices as “active surveillance.” In fact, though, they are abandoning refugees on the high seas.

      There is a reason for this new degree of brutality: Since the end of February, Turkish border guards are no longer stopping refugees on their way to Europe. Indeed, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has even arranged for refugees to be bused to the Greek border, where they were pushed back by Greek border guards. Erdogan’s intention is to ratchet up the pressure on the European Union, with Brussels and Ankara currently trying to hammer out a new refugee deal.

      The cynical game seen on the banks of the Maritsa River is now being repeated in the Aegean. The Turkish and Greek Coast Guards are pushing refugee boats into the territorial waters of the other, with the migrants themselves getting caught in the middle. In such a situation, those wanting to cross the Aegean need quite a bit of luck.

      Omar, a young man from Afghanistan, had lost almost all hope for such luck on the morning of June 4, floating in a boat between the Greek island of Lesbos and the Turkish coast. Omar, whose name has been changed for this story, wasn’t alone: A total of 31 men, women and children were on board.

      Turkish and Greek vessels had repeatedly pushed the migrants back. In one video, a dinghy can be seen that doubtlessly belongs to the Greek Coast Guard. Masked men, says Omar, had pushed their motor into the water, which is why to refugees were hanging off the back of the refugee boat and kicking, doing all they can to propel the boat to European soil. The scene was captured on video.

      Omar is desperate. He makes a final video, posting it to a refugee group on Facebook. In the video, he speaks into the camera for a good six minutes. “Please help us,” he pleads. “We have a right to live.”

      Perhaps it was this video that saved Omar’s life. Activists shared it on Facebook and just a short time later, a Turkish liaison officer on the supply ship Berlin told German soldiers of the vessel in distress. The ship is part of a NATO mission and was located off Lesbos. Using a tender, the Germans took the refugees ashore.

      A subsequent press release from the Bundeswehr, as the German military is called, noted that the refugees’ lives had been in danger, which is why the commander intervened. A small boat unable to maneuver on its own: It must have seemed rather strange to the soldiers. The press release made no mention of an attack on the refugee boat.
      German Officials Pulled Into the Chaos

      The episode shows, though, just how deeply German officials have been pulled into the chaos on the Aegean. It also raises the question as to whether the Germans know of the assaults and of the lifeboats - and whether they tolerate the pushbacks or are perhaps even involved.

      Around 600 border guards are helping the Greeks monitor activity on the Aegean, all part of the Frontex operation Poseidon. And the mission hasn’t always been free of conflict. In March, a Danish Frontex crew refused to carry out an illegal pushback.

      Behind closed doors, Frontex may already have admitted that it is aware of the brutal tactics involving the lifeboats. European Parliamentarian Dietmar Köster, a member of European Parliament from the German Social Democrats (SPD), says that Frontex head Fabrice Leggeri confirmed the incidents in a meeting with him. Though Köster is certain of his understanding of that meeting, Frontex says there was a misunderstanding, adding that Frontex headquarters has received no reports about pushbacks.

      Luise Amtsberg, a Green Party spokesperson on migration policy, doesn’t believe it. The waters around Samos are not endless, she told Report Mainz and DER SPIEGEL. “Pushbacks cannot take place completely without the knowledge of the other units in the area.”

      And there are indications that German officials might know of the pushbacks. In the port of Samos, the German Coast Guard ship Uckermark is anchored. On May 13, on the day that Amjad Naim was on his way to Samos, the Germans identified a refugee boat on their radar, according to information provided by the German Federal Police when contacted.

      In all probability, it was Naim’s boat. There is no evidence that there were any other refugee boats heading for Samos on that day. The Greek Coast Guard also confirmed that a ship and a helicopter belonging to the Germans had spotted a boat that day. They say it was in Turkish waters when first seen.

      The Germans alerted the Greek Coast Guard by radio, and the Greeks then took charge of the situation, according to a written statement. The statement notes that the Germans were “not involved” in any other measures related to the incident and insists that the Germans have no knowledge of the lifeboat episode.

      The German Coast Guard has provided no comment as to why no refugees arrived on Samos that day or what happened to the refugee boat that was spotted. And they apparently aren’t particularly interested, either.

      Even if Frontex was not actively involved in the operation, they bear some of the responsibility, says the lawyer Itamar Mann. Frontex, he believes, must draw a line and even withdraw from the mission if need be.

      After the Germans apparently saw his boat and after the Greeks abandoned him to his fate on the high seas on May 13, Amjad Naim floated around for several hours. The sky was almost cloudless, and the sun was beating down, as can be seen in the videos. The refugees had nothing to eat or drink.

      The lifeboat soon began to spin in circles, Naim says, with some of the passengers becoming nauseous and others fainting. Turkish and Greek ships, he says, simply ignored them. “It was awful,” Naim says.

      It was only after several hours that a Turkish Coast Guard vessel arrived to collect them. Men in white protective equipment helped the refugees off the lifeboat and took their temperatures. Naim then had to remain in quarantine for more than two weeks - in a nasty camp full of filth and mosquitoes, he says.

      Naim is now allowed to move freely in Turkey, but still feels trapped. He says: “I can’t go forward and I can’t go back.”

      https://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/videos-and-eyewitness-accounts-greece-apparently-abandoning-refugees-at-sea-

    • ‘Catastrophe for human rights’ as Greece steps up refugee ‘pushbacks’

      Human rights groups condemn practice as evidence reviewed by the Guardian reveals systemic denial of entry to asylum seekers.

      At about 1am on 24 August, Ahmed (not his real name) climbed into a rubber dinghy with 29 others and left Turkey’s north-western Çanakkale province. After 30 minutes, he said, they reached Greek waters near Lesbos and a panther boat from the Hellenic coastguard approached.

      Eight officers in blue shorts and shirts, some wearing black masks and armed with rifles, forced the group – more than half women and including several minors and six small children – to come aboard at gunpoint. They punctured the dinghy with knives and it sank. “They said they would take us to a camp,” said Ahmed. “The children were happy and started laughing, but I knew they were lying.”

      Through the course of the night, Ahmed, a 17-year-old refugee from Eritrea, alleges that Greek officers detained the group, confiscating possessions and denying them access to toilets and drinking water. By morning, they were dispatched into a liferaft in Turkish waters. It was too small, and videos taken by Ahmed, who hid his phone, show some people were forced to swim. The Turkish coastguard confirmed it intercepted the raft at 1:20pm.

      The event described by Ahmed, who fled conflict in Eritrea after his father died, was one of seven times that he says he has been pushed back by the Hellenic coastguard. The use of these “pushbacks” has surged since March according to an investigation by the Guardian, and experts say it has become an overt policy of Greece’s rightwing New Democracy government, which came to power last year.

      Interviews with five victims of pushbacks, 10 NGOs working across the Aegean Sea including Human Rights Watch, Josoor and the Aegean Boat Report, and a tranche of videos reviewed by the Guardian reveal an organised and systemic practice of denying entry to asylum seekers.

      Next week a coalition of charities including Human Rights Watch and the Border Violence Monitoring Network will publish an open letter condemning the practice of pushbacks and calling for the Greek government and the European Commission to take action against those involved. A draft of the letter seen by the Guardian calls for “disciplinary and criminal sanctions” to be brought against those “found to have engaged in such illegal acts”.

      International law experts say these activities are in breach of international law including the convention relating to the status of refugees and the European convention on human rights. “What you are seeing is the illegal collective expulsion of refugees from Greek territory,” said Satvinder Juss, a professor of human rights and international refugee law at King’s College London. “It’s a catastrophe for human rights.”

      Often pushbacks involve teams of unidentified men in black uniforms who intercept boats of refugees that have arrived in Greek waters and forcibly return them to Turkish waters, either leaving them to drift after engines have been destroyed or in separate liferafts. In some cases, victims have arrived on Greek land before being returned by authorities to the open seas, after actively threatening them with beatings, gunshots and by creating large waves with fast boats. In one case, refugees were left on a tiny island between Greece and Turkey for two days without food before being rescued.

      AlarmPhone, an NGO that operates a telephone line and social media network for refugees in distress, said it observed a substantial increase in reports of pushbacks since the pandemic, recording 55 cases between March and August. The Greek Helsinki Monitor said it submitted a report to the supreme court, naval court and military appeals court of Greece claiming nearly 1,400 people were pushed back between March and July, though the true number is believed to be far higher.

      Minos Mouzourakis, legal officer at Refugee Support Aegean, is currently working on landmark legal cases at the European court of human rights that date back to 2014, when eight Afghan children and three women died after their vessel sank near the island of Farmakonisi during a reported pushback. “This is a regrettable resurgence of those older tactics,” said Mouzourakis.

      In December 2019, Greece said it was predicting up to 100,000 asylum seekers to arrive on its islands from Turkey in 2020. But as of 31 August, there have been 8,860 sea arrivals, according to UNHCR. Stella Nanou, the agency’s Greek representative, acknowledged the “credible accounts” of pushbacks and called on Greece to “guarantee and safeguard the rights of those seeking international protection”.

      Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek prime minister, has taken several official steps to ensure fewer refugees arrive, temporarily suspending the right to asylum, shortening the deadline for appeal in asylum cases, extending fences along the land border with Turkey and is considering installing floating barriers at sea. But the government has described accusations of illegal pushbacks as “fake news” from unreliable sources.

      “Pushbacks are inherently violent, not only physically but mentally,” said Amelia Cooper, advocacy and communications officer for Lesbos Legal Centre, which is documenting pushbacks and providing legal support to survivors. “Survivors are aware that these expulsions, and the abuses that they entail, are constitutive of both the European border and the EU’s political context with Turkey.”

      When contacted, the ministry of maritime affairs and insular policy said its operations were in accordance with international law and that the agency has been subject to “systematic targeting by a portion of the mainstream media, NGOs and other social networking platforms, which tend to promote the relevant actions in a single dimensional and fragmentary way”.

      But documents seen by the Guardian reveal a German navy supply vessel called the Berlin, which heads Nato’s Standing Maritime Group 2 in the Aegean region, observed a boat with refugees being forced into Turkish sea territory by Greek authorities on 19 June and 15 August. The findings came in response to parliamentary questions by Left party MP Andrej Hunko.

      After being detained in Turkey, Ahmed was released and has since slept in a park in the city of İzmir. “I don’t care if I die,” he said. “I don’t have a choice to go back. But I am losing hope.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/sep/27/catastrophe-for-human-rights-as-greece-steps-up-refugee-pushbacks

    • Migrants accuse Greece of pushing them back out to sea

      Shortly after reaching the Greek island of Lesbos, a group of Afghan migrants say, their hopes for a new life in Europe were cut short when Greek authorities rounded them up, mistreated them, shoved them into life rafts and abandoned them at sea.

      Associated Press journalists on a Turkish government-organized coast guard ride-along were aboard the patrol boat that picked up the 37 migrants, including 18 children, from two orange life rafts in the Aegean Sea on Sept. 12. Two other media organizations on similar government-organized trips in the same week witnessed similar scenes.

      “They took our phones and said a bus will come and take you to the camp,” Omid Hussain Nabizada said in Turkish. “But they took us and put us on a ship. They left us on the water in a very bad way on these boats.”

      Turkey, which hosts about 4 million refugees, accuses Greece of large-scale pushbacks — summary deportations without access to asylum procedures, in violation of international law. It also accuses the European Union of turning a blind eye to what it says is a blatant abuse of human rights.

      The Turkish coast guard says it rescued over 300 migrants “pushed back by Greek elements to Turkish waters” this month alone. Citing what they say are credible reports, international rights groups have called repeatedly for investigations.

      Greece, which lies on the EU’s southeastern border and has borne the brunt of migration flows from Turkey, denies the allegations and in turn accuses Ankara of weaponizing migrants.

      In March, Turkey made good on threats to send migrants to Europe, declaring its borders with the EU open. In what appeared to be a government-organized campaign, thousands headed to the Greek border, leading to scenes of chaos and violence. Turkey’s border with EU member Bulgaria was largely unaffected. Greece shut its frontier and controversially suspended asylum applications for a month.

      Greece’s coast guard says Turkey’s coast guard frequently escorts migrant smuggling boats toward Greece, and has provided videos to back its claims. It says under a 2016 EU-Turkey deal to stem migration flows, Turkey has an obligation to stop people clandestinely entering Greece.

      Greek coast guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Nikolaos Kokkalas said its patrols regularly detect boats and dinghies carrying migrants trying to enter Greece illegally, and “among them many times there are also inflatable rafts such as those described” by the AP.

      The life rafts are standard safety equipment on recreational boats, designed to keep passengers safe if they must abandon ship. They generally have no means of propulsion or steering.

      “It must be underlined that in most of the cases, the presence of the Turkish coast guard has been observed-ascertained near the dinghies incoming from the Turkish coast, but without it intervening, while in some cases the dinghies are clearly being accompanied by (Turkish coast guard) vessels,” Kokkalas said in a written response to an AP query.

      Uneasy neighbors Greece and Turkey have been at loggerheads for decades over several territorial issues, and asylum-seekers have found themselves caught up in the geopolitical conflict.

      Tension between the two countries rose dramatically this summer over eastern Mediterranean maritime boundaries, leading to fears of war.

      Both sides deployed warships as Turkish survey ships prospected for gas in waters where Greece and Cyprus claim exclusive economic rights. EU leaders are to discuss imposing sanctions on Turkey for its actions, in an Oct. 1-2 summit. Turkey has repeated its threat to send migrants into the EU if sanctions are imposed.

      The persistent allegations of pushbacks of migrants are the latest manifestations of these tensions.

      Human Rights Watch has accused Greece of summarily returning migrants across land and sea borders with Turkey, citing interviews with asylum-seekers.

      Other rights groups and refugee organizations, including the U.N. refugee agency, have repeatedly called on Greece to investigate what they say are credible reports and testimony of such expulsions occurring.

      “UNHCR is particularly concerned about the increasing reports, since March 2020, of alleged informal returns by sea of persons who, according to their own attestations or those of third persons, have disembarked on Greek shores and have thereafter been towed back to sea,” the agency said in August.

      UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Gillian Triggs, reiterating the call for an investigation, said that “with our own eyes on Lesbos, it was quite clear no boats were coming through” recently.

      Earlier this month, Greece’s Shipping Minister Giannis Plakiotakis said Greek authorities prevented more than 10,000 people from entering Greece by sea this year. He would not elaborate on how.

      Former Migration Minister Ioannis Mouzalas pressed for details from the current minister, Notis Mitarachi, in parliament Sept. 21, saying this appeared to violate Greek and international law. He asked directly whether the government carries out pushbacks.

      The four Afghans on the life rafts seen by AP said they reached Lesbos from Turkey’s western Canakkale province on the night of Sept. 11-12, and were caught by Greek law enforcement during daylight.

      One of them, Nabizada, said police hit him while forcing him into the raft.

      “They didn’t say, ‘there are children, there are families, there are women.’ … People don’t do this to animals. The Greek police did it to us,” said the 22-year-old. He said he left Kabul in 2017 and crossed to Turkey via Iran, aiming for Europe.

      Zohra Alizada, 14, said police took their phones and money, put them in the rafts and left. She was traveling with her parents and two siblings after living in Kars, in eastern Turkey, for over four years. She said the migrants called the Turkish coast guard for help.

      Her father, Mohammad Reza Alizada, said Greek authorities inflated the rafts “and they threw us like animals inside.”

      The AP was not able to independently verify their accounts.

      The Turkish coast guard, clad in protective equipment against COVID-19, took them aboard after checking them for fever. Another Turkish coast guard vessel was already in the area when the patrol boat carrying the AP crew arrived.

      Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu raised the allegations against Greece in an August news conference with his German counterpart.

      He said Turkey has shown through government and media reports that Greece is pushing back refugees at sea, adding that “there have been numerous articles published.”

      “How do sinking boats in the middle of the Aegean Sea or sending them to Turkey by pushbacks fit international rights and universal values?” Cavusoglu said.

      Greece denies sinking smuggling boats. Kokkalas noted the Greek coast guard had rescued 3,150 migrants in about 100 incidents this year.

      An independent Norway-based watchdog says it has documented at least 50 cases since March of migrants being put into life rafts and left adrift.

      “They are not going into these life rafts willingly. They are forced,” said Tommy Olsen of the Aegean Boat Report, which monitors arrivals and rights abuses in the Aegean.

      He said his group had no information about the rafts the AP saw, but that it was consistent with similar reports.

      “Usually you save people from life rafts,” Olsen said. “You don’t put them on life rafts and leave them.”

      https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-turkey-aegean-sea-greece-europe-61c54ec57c121026f4891d567f31b

    • Les vrais crimes, ce sont les refoulements et les violations des droits humains par le gouvernement grec

      Lundi, la police grecque a publié un communiqué de presse concernant l’enquête criminelle menée à l’encontre de 33 personnes appartenant à quatre ONG différentes et deux “ressortissants de pays tiers”. A la suite de cette enquête, une procédure pénale a été engagée pour délit de constitution et participation à une organisation criminelle, espionnage, violation des secrets d’Etat et facilitation de l’entrée sur le
      territoire (1). Bien que le communiqué de presse ne nomme pas les ONG ou les individus, plusieurs médias ont déclaré qu’Alarm Phone faisait partie des groupes visés (2). Pour l’instant, nous nous abstenons de commenter publiquement l’enquête en cours. Nous voulons plutôt mettre en évidence les véritables crimes qui ont lieu en ce moment-même !

      Les refoulements, les violences graves comme les coups, les vols et les coups de feu, la non-assistance, le fait de forcer les réfugié.e.s à monter dans des radeaux de sauvetage et de les laisser dériver en pleine mer. Ces crimes sont perpétrés par des corps qui appartiennent de manière manifeste à l’État grec. Nous ne sommes pas les seul.e.s témoins de cette évolution alarmante. Plusieurs acteurs ont publiquement fait état de ces actions illégales menées par les garde-côtes grecs en mer et les gardes-frontières sur terre : le HCR, le Conseil grec pour les réfugiés, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch et d’autres organisations de défense des droits humains, des ONG et des médias. (3)

      Il en va de même pour la situation à Moria, qui est également mentionnée comme étant l’un des secrets d’État dans le communiqué de presse de la police grecque. Ce n’est pas un secret mais un fait public que, avec les fonds et le soutien européens, Moria est devenu le symbole de la politique migratoire de l’UE dont le but est la dissuasion, foulant aux pieds la dignité et les droits humains.

      Les violations des droits humains ont atteint un niveau inédit en mer Égée depuis le début du mois de mars. Cette escalade en termes de violations s’est accompagnée d’actes de répression contre les ONG et
      toutes sortes de structures de solidarité pour les réfugié.e.s et les migrant.e.s. Il est évident que l’État grec veut éliminer les témoins des crimes contre l’humanité qu’il commet quotidiennement. Il est évident qu’il est gêné par notre activité : rien que cette année, Alarm Phone a été témoin et a documenté de nombreux cas de refoulements et de graves violations des droits humains. (4)

      Il faut noter que depuis la création d’Alarm Phone il y a six ans, notre relation avec les garde-côtes helléniques n’a jamais été aussi compliquée qu’elle ne l’est aujourd’hui. Depuis octobre 2014, nous avons
      transmis environ 1 975 cas de personnes en détresse aux garde-côtes grecs et à d’autres autorités grecques. À plusieurs reprises, nous avions constaté que les garde-côtes faisaient de leur mieux pour porter secours le plus rapidement possible. Nous avions établi une communication rapide et efficace qui avait conduit à des opérations de sauvetage, ce qui était crucial à une époque où nous recevions jusqu’à
      23 appels par jour de bateaux en détresse dans la mer Égée, et ce qui est toujours aussi crucial aujourd’hui.

      Au tout début de notre projet, nous nous étions ouvertement adressé.e.s à tous les garde-côtes, leur expliquant le rôle et l’objectif d’Alarm Phone. Dans cette lettre d’octobre 2014, nous avions déclaré “Nous espérons que grâce à notre travail, nous pourrons vous soutenir dans votre tâche quotidienne qui consiste à sauver la vie des migrant.e.s. Dans le même temps, nous dénoncerons vigoureusement tout échec à mener à bien cette mission. Nous espérons que vos institutions accepteront à la fois notre contribution et la responsabilité que nous exigeons, qui est demandée à toutes les institutions publiques”. C’est ce que nous avons fait et continuerons à faire avec détermination.

      L’augmentation des violations des humains et des refoulements n’est pas un phénomène isolé, concernant uniquement la route entre la Grèce et la Turquie. A Alarm Phone, nous constatons également une tendance à la multiplication des refoulements illégaux de Malte et de l’Italie vers la Libye et la Tunisie en Méditerranée centrale, ainsi que de l’Espagne vers le Maroc en Méditerranée occidentale.

      Nous appelons celles et ceux qui sont solidaires avec les personnes en migration à sensibiliser et à protester contre les crimes contre l’humanité qui sont perpétrés quotidiennement en mer Égée. Chaque
      réfugié.e qui est repoussé.e, chaque personne qui est laissée dans un bateau en mauvais état, chaque enfant qui n’est pas secouru dans une situation de détresse est une raison suffisante pour se lever et élever la voix. Nous ne nous laisserons pas réduire au silence !

      (1)http://www.astynomia.gr/index.php?option=ozo_content&lang=%27..%27&perform=view&id=97610&Itemid=25

      (2) par exemple
      https://vimapress.gr/telos-sti-drasi-evropaikon-mko-pou-diefkolynan-tin-diakinisi-metanaston-ap

      (3) Rapport sur les refoulements :
      UNHCR :
      https://www.unhcr.org/news/briefing/2020/6/5ee33a6f4/unhcr-calls-greece-investigate-pushbacks-sea-land-borders-turkey.html

      Greek Council of Refugees :
      https://www.gcr.gr/en/news/press-releases-announcements/item/1028-the-new-normality-continuous-push-backs-of-third-country-nationals-on-the-e

      Amnesty International :
      https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/eur01/2077/2020/en

      Human Rights Watch :
      https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/08/21/greece-still-denying-migrant-pushbacks

      New York Times :
      https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/14/world/europe/greece-migrants-abandoning-sea.html

      The Guardian :
      https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/sep/27/catastrophe-for-human-rights-as-greece-steps-up-refugee-pushbacks

      CNN :
      https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/17/europe/greece-migrants-turkey-intl/index.html

      (4) Alarm Phone sur les refoulements en mer Egée en 2020 :
      https://alarmphone.org/en/2020/03/04/escalating-violence-in-the-aegean-sea/?post_type_release_type=post

      https://alarmphone.org/en/2020/05/14/push-backs-the-new-old-routine-in-the-aegean-sea/?post_type_release_type=post

      https://alarmphone.org/fr/2020/10/01/les-vrais-crimes-ce-sont-les-refoulements-et-les-violations-des-droits-h

    • Migrants : Athènes lance une guerre en eaux troubles contre les ONG

      Après une enquête policière grecque menée avec de faux exilés infiltrés, des humanitaires opérant à Lesbos sont menacés de graves poursuites pénales. A l’aide d’accusations les assimilant à des passeurs, les autorités tentent de contrer la dénonciation des refoulements secrets de réfugiés vers les côtes turques.

      « Ne vous méprenez pas, ils veulent juste nous faire peur, pour nous forcer à nous taire », martèle Aegean Boat Report dans un long post publié en tête de sa page Facebook. Spécialisée dans les sauvetages en mer, l’ONG norvégienne n’a pas tardé à réagir aux accusations formulées la semaine dernière par la police grecque et confirmées ce week-end. Au moins 33 humanitaires (parmi lesquels figurerait une Française), tous membres de quatre ONG internationales opérant sur l’île de Lesbos, seraient menacés de poursuites pénales après une enquête menée pendant trois mois, non seulement par la police, mais aussi par les services de renseignement et le contre-terrorisme grec.Les noms des organisations et des humanitaires concernés n’ont pas été divulgués pour l’instant. Mais de nombreux indices, notamment une perquisition réalisée début septembre sur un bateau amarré à Lesbos, indiquent que les quatre ONG concernées ont toutes en commun de se consacrer au sauvetage en mer des migrants ou réfugiés qui tentent la traversée depuis les côtes turques.
      Mère d’Hercule

      Ce n’est pas la première fois que le gouvernement grec s’attaque à ceux qui tentent de secourir les naufragés, en les assimilant à des passeurs. Mais cette fois-ci les accusations sont particulièrement graves : les humanitaires ciblés sont non seulement accusés de « violation du code de l’immigration », mais également de « constitution d’organisation criminelle », d’« espionnage » et de « violation de secrets d’Etat ».

      Bien plus, ils auraient été piégés, selon les révélations du ministre grec des Migrations, Notis Mitarakis, dimanche, sur la chaîne de télévision Skai. Les charges contre eux auraient ainsi été recueillies lors d’une opération secrète baptisée « Alcmène » (du nom de la mère du héros antique Hercule), qui aurait notamment permis aux services grecs d’envoyer deux faux migrants à Izmir en Turquie puis sur une plage d’où ils auraient contacté par la suite les lanceurs d’alerte des ONG vouées au sauvetage des embarcations en détresse.

      En l’absence d’autres éléments concrets, l’ampleur de l’opération qui a monopolisé tant de services, passant même par une infiltration en Turquie alors que les relations entre les deux pays sont actuellement très tendues, révèle surtout combien les autorités grecques sont déterminées à faire la guerre aux humanitaires déployés sur les îles.

      A la télévision, le ministre grec l’a d’ailleurs confirmé, accusant le gouvernement précédent d’avoir laissé « les lieux d’accueil des réfugiés sous le contrôle des ONG », alors que la droite conservatrice revenue au pouvoir en juillet 2019, s’est, elle, aussitôt employée à « surveiller le rôle des ONG dans les flux d’immigration clandestine ».

      Depuis son élection, le gouvernement du Premier ministre, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, n’a eu de cesse de stigmatiser les ONG régulièrement accusées de profiter de la situation explosive créée sur les îles grecques où les flux de réfugiés venus des côtes turques n’ont jamais réellement cessé, malgré le deal conclu entre l’Europe et la Turquie en mars 2016. Seule différence notable : les candidats à l’asile sont désormais contraints d’attendre sur place l’examen de leurs dossiers, créant un goulot d’étranglement dans des camps insalubres et surpeuplés. Sans les ONG qui remédient aux carences de l’Etat grec et à l’indifférence de l’Europe, la situation serait bien pire. Mais elles sont une cible facile sur laquelle se défoulent mécontents et aigris, alimentés par un discours populiste. Il fait mouche auprès des populations locales des îles de plus en plus exaspérées par ces abcès de misère qui sont venus se greffer durablement dans leur voisinage.
      Acteurs dubitatifs

      A Lesbos, depuis un an, les humanitaires ont ainsi vu régulièrement leurs voitures vandalisées, des inscriptions hostiles peintes en rouge sur les murs des maisons où ils résident. Les révélations sur « l’opération Alcmène » n’ont fait qu’attiser ce climat d’hostilité notamment sur les réseaux sociaux. Mais à Lesbos, les humanitaires ont également entendu un autre message : la police n’a-t-elle pas affirmé avoir, dans le cadre de son enquête, piraté des conversations sur les applis régulièrement utilisées par les ONG ?

      Il n’en fallait pas plus pour déclencher une certaine méfiance, le sentiment d’être surveillé en permanence. Sous couvert d’anonymat, nombreux sont pourtant les acteurs locaux qui restent dubitatifs face aux accusations de l’enquête policière. « On ne peut jamais exclure qu’un humanitaire ait fait une bêtise, en marge de la légalité mais toutes ces révélations ne tombent pas par hasard », estime ainsi l’un d’eux, pointant la coïncidence entre la divulgation de ces accusations et celles qui se multiplient contre le gouvernement lui-même. Et dont les humanitaires impliqués dans le sauvetage en mer seraient devenus les témoins gênants.

      Depuis plusieurs mois, Athènes se contente en effet de qualifier de « fake news » l’inquiétante multiplication des refoulements (« push back ») observés notamment par les ONG qui scrutent les eaux séparant la Grèce et la Turquie et dénoncent régulièrement ces refoulements forcés, et secrets, vers les côtes turques. Des pratiques totalement illégales puisqu’elles concernent des candidats à l’asile repérés alors qu’ils se trouvent déjà dans les eaux grecques, voire après avoir accosté sur les îles.
      Bateau perquisitionné

      « Depuis mars, 7 300 réfugiés ont été victimes de push back orchestrés par les autorités grecques en mer Egée », tweetait jeudi le compte du navire Mare Liberum. Dédié aux sauvetages en mer et affrété par l’ONG allemande Sea-Watch, le Mare Liberum est justement ce bateau perquisitionné le 5 septembre par la police grecque. Laquelle affirme y avoir notamment trouvé des cartes avec des indications topographiques précises et des data concernant le profil et l’origine des candidats à l’exil. A priori, rien de très choquant s’agissant d’une ONG qui se donne pour mission de secourir des naufragés. Mais ces « preuves » seraient venues conforter les accusations selon lesquelles les humanitaires concernés auraient « au moins depuis début juin » contribué à faire passer « près de 3 000 personnes » en Grèce avec la complicité de « réseaux d’immigration clandestine ».

      Pourtant, la plupart des ONG impliquées estiment n’avoir rien à se reprocher et refusent de se laisser intimider. « Nous ne resterons pas silencieux », souligne ainsi Alarm Phone dans un communiqué publié jeudi sur son site. L’ONG, qui serait elle aussi visée par l’enquête policière, rappelle également que depuis six ans, son central d’appels a toujours cherché à collaborer avec les gardes-côtes en leur indiquant la position des embarcations à la dérive. Mais ces derniers mois, cette collaboration est devenue « plus compliquée », constate également Alarm Phone qui s’inquiète de la « recrudescence des violations des droits de l’homme en mer Egée ». Face à ces dérives, l’Europe a pour l’instant réagi plutôt mollement. « La présidente de la Commission européenne, Ursula von der Leyen, affirme qu’elle n’a pas les moyens d’enquêter. Pourtant, l’équipage d’un navire allemand qui fait partie des forces de l’Otan a admis avoir assisté à trois push back en mer Egée », observe-t-on au Legal Center de Lesbos, une association qui apporte un appui juridique aux réfugiés, et a également publié en juillet un rapport sur ces refoulements forcés.

      Dans l’immédiat, le silence de Bruxelles semble encourager Athènes à renforcer sur tous les fronts son offensive contre les humanitaires. La semaine dernière, les autorités locales annonçaient ainsi la fermeture du centre d’accueil de Pikpa, l’un des rares lieux décents pour les réfugiés à Lesbos, géré depuis 2012 par des bénévoles.
      Ancien camp militaire

      Sur les réseaux sociaux, un mouvement de solidarité s’est aussitôt créé autour du hashtag #SavePikpa. Mais si les autorités persistent, que deviendront la centaine de réfugiés accueillis à Pikpa, souvent des familles considérées comme vulnérables ? Iront-elles rejoindre les sinistrés du camp de Moria, entièrement réduit en cendres dans la nuit du 8 au 9 septembre, et qui tentent désormais de survivre dans un ancien camp militaire, où quelques milliers de tentes ont été installées à la va-vite ? « Trois semaines après l’ouverture de ce nouveau site, il n’y a toujours pas de douche », s’insurge un humanitaire, conscient qu’il faudra de plus en plus d’énergie pour résister à l’hostilité des autorités.

      Les tentatives de blocage ne se limitent pas hélas à la Grèce. En mars, le navire Mare Liberum s’était vu privé de son pavillon de navigation par le ministère allemand de la Marine. Une façon un peu radicale de limiter ses opérations de sauvetage. Mais vendredi, l’équipage exultait sur Twitter : la justice allemande venait de lui donner raison contre le ministère, considérant que le retrait du pavillon « était contraire à la réglementation européenne ». Une première victoire, en attendant d’autres batailles.

      https://www.liberation.fr/planete/2020/10/07/migrants-athenes-lance-une-guerre-en-eaux-troubles-contre-les-ong_1801701

    • HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS DEMAND THAT GREECE INVESTIGATE PUSHBACKS AND VIOLENCE AT ITS BORDERS

      Members of Greece’s parliament should urgently establish an inquiry into all allegations of unlawful returns of migrants to Turkey by law enforcement officers and others, 29 human rights and humanitarian aid organizations said in an open letter released today. These returns are carried out mainly through pushbacks and collective expulsions and are often accompanied by violence.

      Parliament should exercise its oversight authority to investigate the allegations of these illegal acts by state agents and proxies on Greece’s sea and land borders with Turkey. The parliament’s inquiry should examine whether any illegal acts identified are part of a de facto government policy at odds with international, European, and Greek law.

      Over the years, nongovernmental groups and media outlets have consistently reported the unlawful return, including through pushbacks, of groups and individuals from Greece to Turkey by Greek law enforcement officers or unidentified masked men, who appear to be working in tandem with border enforcement officials.

      Reports from 2020 recorded multiple incidents in which Greek Coast Guard personnel, sometimes accompanied by armed masked men in dark clothing, unlawfully abandoned migrants – including those who had reached Greek territory. They abandoned the migrants at sea, on inflatable vessels without motors; towed migrant boats to Turkish waters; or intercepted, attacked, and disabled boats carrying migrants.

      Nongovernmental organizations and the media have also reported persistent allegations that Greek border guards have engaged in collective expulsions and pushbacks of asylum seekers through the Evros land border with Turkey.

      On June 10, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said it was “closely monitoring” the situation at the Greek border and reported receiving “persistent reports” of migrants being arbitrarily arrested in Greece and pushed back to Turkey. The IOM said that Greece should investigate.

      On August 21, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it was “deeply concerned by an increasing number of credible reports indicating that men, women, and children may have been informally returned to Turkey immediately after reaching Greek soil or territorial waters in recent months,” and urged Greece to refrain from such practices and to seriously investigate these reports. The agency had released a statement making similar calls on June 12.

      On July 6, during a debate at the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on fundamental rights at the Greek border, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said those incidents should be investigated. In its new Pact on Migration and Asylum, presented on September 23, the European Commission recommended to member states to set up an independent monitoring mechanism, amid increased allegations of abuse at the EU’s external borders. But no such system has been instituted.

      Confronted during a CNN interview with an August 14 New York Times article documenting pushbacks, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said: “It has not happened. We’ve been the victims of a significant misinformation campaign,” suggesting instead that Turkey was responsible.

      Greek lawmakers should conduct a prompt, effective, transparent, and impartial investigation into allegations that Greek Coast Guard, Greek police, and Greek army personnel, sometimes in close coordination with uniformed masked men, have been involved in acts that not only violate the law but put the lives and safety of displaced people at risk.

      Any officer found to have engaged in such illegal acts, as well as their commanding officers and officials who have command responsibility over such forces, should be subject to disciplinary and criminal sanctions, as applicable. The investigation should seek to establish the identity and relationship of the masked men and other unidentified officers to law enforcement and take steps to hold them to account. The investigation should cover events surfaced in 2019 and 2020, the groups said.

      The following quotes may be attributed to members of the groups involved:

      “Despite government denials, over the years many witnesses and victims have told us about pushbacks from land and sea that put migrants’ lives at risk,” said Eva Cossé, Greece researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Parliament should step up now and do all it can to put an end to this life-threatening practice.”

      “The continued failure to address the serious allegations of pushbacks and violence against people on the move at Greece’s borders can no longer be tolerated,” said Adriana Tidona, migration researcher at Amnesty International. “We call on the Greek parliament to exercise its powers in the interest of all those who have been harmed by these actions and to ensure that there is no repetition.”

      “Over the years, we have filed a score of complaints about or related to pushbacks at Greece’s borders, including deaths, that Greek prosecutors seem to ignore,” said Panayote Dimitras, spokesperson for the Greek Helsinki Monitor. “Greece needs to act quickly to set up an independent border monitoring mechanism to investigate violations, as proposed by the European Commission, and end these abuses once and for all.”

      “The right to seek asylum must be upheld at all times,” said Josie Naughton, chief executive officer of Help Refugees. “The Greek parliament should urgently conduct an inquiry to examine the well-documented and illegal practices of pushbacks and mass expulsion, which endanger the lives of men, women, and children seeking asylum in Greece.”

      “We have documented the pushback of more than 1,150 asylum seekers from Greek territory in the past three months alone,” said Natalie Gruber, spokesperson for Josoor. “These are not isolated incidents but systematic violations of national, EU, and international law that the parliament cannot shrug off as fake news anymore.”

      “Greek authorities are systematically expelling migrants, including those who have reached Greek territory, and abandoning them in open water,” said Amelia Cooper from Legal Centre Lesvos. “The Greek parliament should not only open an investigation of these events, but must also decree and enforce – immediately – the cessation of illegal collective expulsions at all Greek borders.”

      “In order to break with the current failures to hold member states like Greece accountable for their pushbacks and rights violations at borders, the European Commission must step up its efforts and quickly put in place an appropriate monitoring mechanism,” said Marta Welander, executive director at Refugee Rights Europe. “Such efforts must also involve civil society, NGOs, and national human rights institutions to ensure that available evidence is taken seriously and leads to timely investigation and redress.”

      “The protection of the borders, of vital importance in itself, can be in compliance with international law and human rights standards,” said Antigone Lyberaki, SolidarityNow’s general manager. “The Greek parliament has both the means and a constitutional obligation to oversee and investigate the alleged infringement of international human rights obligations by the Greek state.”

      “As a child protection organization, Tdh Hellas is particularly worried about the fact that among those reported to have been violently expelled across EU borders are children, including babies,” said Melina Spathari of Terre des hommes Hellas. “The Greek government should stop such acts and try instead to address the chronic gaps in the reception and protection system for families and unaccompanied children.”

      https://legalcentrelesvos.org/2020/10/06/human-rights-groups-demand-that-greece-investigate-pushbacks-and-

  • Australia’s Offshore Detention Regime in Breach of International Law

    In a letter (https://uploads.guim.co.uk/2020/02/14/200213-Andrew-Wilkie-Response-from-International-Criminal-Court-Aust, the International Criminal Court (ICC) communicated that Australia’s #offshore_detention_regime amounts to “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment” and is thus unlawful under international law, but will not prosecute the Australian government.

    The prosecutor’s office of the ICC found that some of the conditions of detention and treatment of refugees and asylum-seekers in the processing centres on Nauru and on Manus Island constitute “the underlying act of imprisonment or other severe deprivations of physical liberty under Article 7(1)(e)” of the Rome Statue that defines crimes against humanity. But the case falls outside the ICC’s jurisdiction and does not demonstrate the “contextual elements” to warrant further investigation, the office states

    Australian independent MP, Andrew Wilkie, first contacted the ICC in 2014, claiming that then prime minister Tony Abbott was breaching international law by engaging in imprisonment, deportation and forcible transfer of a population. Since then, Wilkie provided the ICC with evidence of deaths in detention through murder and neglect, indefinite detention of children, forced family separation and rape, sexual abuse, self-harm and child abuse. He states that despite no further investigation of the ICC “recent developments in the government’s asylum seeker policies have opened up new avenues for further investigation and I am currently seeking legal advice as to the next step forward.”

    The Australian government runs offshore detention centres on the Pacific Islands #Nauru and Manus Island to process asylum applications. Some asylum-seekers have been there for 5 years, with minimal information on their cases and how long they will remain detained. Today, there are still 230 refugees and asylum-seekers on Nauru, and about 180 on #Manus_Island, some of them undergoing the process for resettlement in America.

    https://www.ecre.org/australias-offshore-detention-regime-in-breach-of-international-law
    #justice #droit #modèle_australien #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Australie #pacific_solution #droit_international

  • The business of building walls

    Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Europe is once again known for its border walls. This time Europe is divided not so much by ideology as by perceived fear of refugees and migrants, some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

    Who killed the dream of a more open Europe? What gave rise to this new era of walls? There are clearly many reasons – the increasing displacement of people by conflict, repression and impoverishment, the rise of security politics in the wake of 9/11, the economic and social insecurity felt across Europe after the 2008 financial crisis – to name a few. But one group has by far the most to gain from the rise of new walls – the businesses that build them. Their influence in shaping a world of walls needs much deeper examination.

    This report explores the business of building walls, which has both fuelled and benefited from a massive expansion of public spending on border security by the European Union (EU) and its member states. Some of the corporate beneficiaries are also global players, tapping into a global market for border security estimated to be worth approximately €17.5 billion in 2018, with annual growth of at least 8% expected in coming years.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAuv1QyP8l0&feature=emb_logo

    It is important to look both beyond and behind Europe’s walls and fencing, because the real barriers to contemporary migration are not so much the fencing, but the vast array of technology that underpins it, from the radar systems to the drones to the surveillance cameras to the biometric fingerprinting systems. Similarly, some of Europe’s most dangerous walls are not even physical or on land. The ships, aircrafts and drones used to patrol the Mediterranean have created a maritime wall and a graveyard for the thousands of migrants and refugees who have no legal passage to safety or to exercise their right to seek asylum.

    This renders meaningless the European Commission’s publicized statements that it does not fund walls and fences. Commission spokesperson Alexander Winterstein, for example, rejecting Hungary’s request to reimburse half the costs of the fences built on its borders with Croatia and Serbia, said: ‘We do support border management measures at external borders. These can be surveillance measures. They can be border control equipment...But fences, we do not finance’. In other words, the Commission is willing to pay for anything that fortifies a border as long as it is not seen to be building the walls themselves.

    This report is a sequel to Building Walls – Fear and securitization in the European Union, co-published in 2018 with Centre Delàs and Stop Wapenhandel, which first measured and identified the walls that criss-cross Europe. This new report focuses on the businesses that have profited from three different kinds of wall in Europe:

    The construction companies contracted to build the land walls built by EU member states and the Schengen Area together with the security and technology companies that provide the necessary accompanying technology, equipment and services;

    The shipping and arms companies that provide the ships, aircraft, helicopters, drones that underpin Europe’s maritime walls seeking to control migratory flows in the Mediterranean, including Frontex operations, Operation Sophia and Italian operation Mare Nostrum;
    And the IT and security companies contracted to develop, run, expand and maintain EU’s systems that monitor the movement of people – such as SIS II (Schengen Information System) and EES (Entry/Exit Scheme) – which underpin Europe’s virtual walls.

    Booming budgets

    The flow of money from taxpayers to wall-builders has been highly lucrative and constantly growing. The report finds that companies have reaped the profits from at least €900 million spent by EU countries on land walls and fences since the end of the Cold War. The partial data (in scope and years) means actual costs will be at least €1 billion. In addition, companies that provide technology and services that accompany walls have also benefited from some of the steady stream of funding from the EU – in particular the External Borders Fund (€1.7 billion, 2007-2013) and the Internal Security Fund – Borders Fund (€2.76 billion, 2014-2020).

    EU spending on maritime walls has totalled at least €676.4 million between 2006 to 2017 (including €534 million spent by Frontex, €28.4 million spent by the EU on Operation Sophia and €114 million spent by Italy on Operation Mare Nostrum) and would be much more if you include all the operations by Mediterranean country coastguards. Total spending on Europe’s virtual wall equalled at least €999.4m between 2000 and 2019. (All these estimates are partial ones because walls are funded by many different funding mechanisms and due to lack of data transparency).

    This boom in border budgets is set to grow. Under its budget for the next EU budget cycle (2021–2027) the European Commission has earmarked €8.02 billion to its Integrated Border Management Fund (2021-2027), €11.27bn to Frontex (of which €2.2 billion will be used for acquiring, maintaining and operating air, sea and land assets) and at least €1.9 billion total spending (2000-2027) on its identity databases and Eurosur (the European Border Surveillance System).
    The big arm industry players

    Three giant European military and security companies in particular play a critical role in Europe’s many types of borders. These are Thales, Leonardo and Airbus.

    Thales is a French arms and security company, with a significant presence in the Netherlands, that produces radar and sensor systems, used by many ships in border security. Thales systems, were used, for example, by Dutch and Portuguese ships deployed in Frontex operations. Thales also produces maritime surveillance systems for drones and is working on developing border surveillance infrastructure for Eurosur, researching how to track and control refugees before they reach Europe by using smartphone apps, as well as exploring the use of High Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS) for border security, for the European Space Agency and Frontex. Thales currently provides the security system for the highly militarised port in Calais. Its acquisition in 2019 of Gemalto, a large (biometric) identity security company, makes it a significant player in the development and maintenance of EU’s virtual walls. It has participated in 27 EU research projects on border security.
    Italian arms company Leonardo (formerly Finmeccanica or Leonardo-Finmeccanica) is a leading supplier of helicopters for border security, used by Italy in the Mare Nostrum, Hera and Sophia operations. It has also been one of the main providers of UAVs (or drones) for Europe’s borders, awarded a €67.1 million contract in 2017 by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to supply them for EU coast-guard agencies. Leonardo was also a member of a consortium, awarded €142.1 million in 2019 to implement and maintain EU’s virtual walls, namely its EES. It jointly owns Telespazio with Thales, involved in EU satellite observation projects (REACT and Copernicus) used for border surveillance. Leonardo has participated in 24 EU research projects on border security and control, including the development of Eurosur.
    Pan-European arms giant Airbus is a key supplier of helicopters used in patrolling maritime and some land borders, deployed by Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania and Spain, including in maritime Operations Sophia, Poseidon and Triton. Airbus and its subsidiaries have participated in at least 13 EU-funded border security research projects including OCEAN2020, PERSEUS and LOBOS.
    The significant role of these arms companies is not surprising. As Border Wars (2016), showed these companies through their membership of the lobby groups – European Organisation for Security (EOS) and the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD) – have played a significant role in influencing the direction of EU border policy. Perversely, these firms are also among the top four biggest European arms dealers to the Middle East and North Africa, thus contributing to the conflicts that cause forced migration.

    Indra has been another significant corporate player in border control in Spain and the Mediterranean. It won a series of contracts to fortify Ceuta and Melilla (Spanish enclaves in northern Morocco). Indra also developed the SIVE border control system (with radar, sensors and vision systems), which is in place on most of Spain’s borders, as well as in Portugal and Romania. In July 2018 it won a €10 million contract to manage SIVE at several locations for two years. Indra is very active in lobbying the EU and is a major beneficiary of EU research funding, coordinating the PERSEUS project to further develop Eurosur and the Seahorse Network, a network between police forces in Mediterranean countries (both in Europe and Africa) to stop migration.

    Israeli arms firms are also notable winners of EU border contracts. In 2018, Frontex selected the Heron drone from Israel Aerospace Industries for pilot-testing surveillance flights in the Mediterranean. In 2015, Israeli firm Elbit sold six of its Hermes UAVs to the Switzerland’s Border Guard, in a controversial €230 million deal. It has since signed a UAV contract with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), as a subcontractor for the Portuguese company CEIIA (2018), as well as contracts to supply technology for three patrol vessels for the Hellenic Coast Guard (2019).
    Land wall contractors

    Most of the walls and fences that have been rapidly erected across Europe have been built by national construction companies, but one European company has dominated the field: European Security Fencing, a Spanish producer of razor wire, in particular a coiled wire known as concertinas. It is most known for the razor wire on the fences around Ceuta and Melilla. It also delivered the razor wire for the fence on the border between Hungary and Serbia, and its concertinas were installed on the borders between Bulgaria and Turkey and Austria and Slovenia, as well as at Calais, and for a few days on the border between Hungary and Slovenia before being removed. Given its long-term market monopoly, its concertinas are very likely used at other borders in Europe.

    Other contractors providing both walls and associated technology include DAT-CON (Croatia, Cyprus, Macedonia, Moldova, Slovenia and Ukraine), Geo Alpinbau (Austria/Slovenia), Indra, Dragados, Ferrovial, Proyectos Y Tecnología Sallén and Eulen (Spain/Morocco), Patstroy Bourgas, Infra Expert, Patengineeringstroy, Geostroy Engineering, Metallic-Ivan Mihaylov and Indra (Bulgaria/Turkey), Nordecon and Defendec (Estonia/Russia), DAK Acélszerkezeti Kft and SIA Ceļu būvniecības sabiedrība IGATE (Latvia/Russia), Gintrėja (Lithuania/Russia), Minis and Legi-SGS(Slovenia/Croatia), Groupe CW, Jackson’s Fencing, Sorhea, Vinci/Eurovia and Zaun Ltd (France/UK).

    In many cases, the actual costs of the walls and associated technologies exceed original estimates. There have also been many allegations and legal charges of corruption, in some cases because projects were given to corporate friends of government officials. In Slovenia, for example, accusations of corruption concerning the border wall contract have led to a continuing three-year legal battle for access to documents that has reached the Supreme Court. Despite this, the EU’s External Borders Fund has been a critical financial supporter of technological infrastructure and services in many of the member states’ border operations. In Macedonia, for example, the EU has provided €9 million for patrol vehicles, night-vision cameras, heartbeat detectors and technical support for border guards to help it manage its southern border.
    Maritime wall profiteers

    The data about which ships, helicopters and aircraft are used in Europe’s maritime operations is not transparent and therefore it is difficult to get a full picture. Our research shows, however, that the key corporations involved include the European arms giants Airbus and Leonardo, as well as large shipbuilding companies including Dutch Damen and Italian Fincantieri.

    Damen’s patrol vessels have been used for border operations by Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Portugal, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden and the UK as well as in key Frontex operations (Poseidon, Triton and Themis), Operation Sophia and in supporting NATO’s role in Operation Poseidon. Outside Europe, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey use Damen vessels for border security, often in cooperation with the EU or its member states. Turkey’s €20 million purchase of six Damen vessels for its coast guard in 2006, for example, was financed through the EU Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), intended for peace-building and conflict prevention.

    The sale of Damen vessels to Libya unveils the potential troubling human costs of this corporate trade. In 2012, Damen supplied four patrol vessels to the Libyan Coast Guard, sold as civil equipment in order to avoid a Dutch arms export license. Researchers have since found out, however, that the ships were not only sold with mounting points for weapons, but were then armed and used to stop refugee boats. Several incidents involving these ships have been reported, including one where some 20 or 30 refugees drowned. Damen has refused to comment, saying it had agreed with the Libyan government not to disclose information about the ships.

    In addition to Damen, many national shipbuilders play a significant role in maritime operations as they were invariably prioritised by the countries contributing to each Frontex or other Mediterranean operation. Hence, all the ships Italy contributed to Operation Sophia were built by Fincantieri, while all Spanish ships come from Navantia and its predecessors. Similarly, France purchases from DCN/DCNS, now Naval Group, and all German ships were built by several German shipyards (Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, HDW, Lürssen Gruppe). Other companies in Frontex operations have included Greek company, Motomarine Shipyards, which produced the Panther 57 Fast Patrol Boats used by the Hellenic Coast Guard, Hellenic Shipyards and Israel Shipyards.

    Austrian company Schiebel is a significant player in maritime aerial surveillance through its supply of S-100 drones. In November 2018, EMSA selected the company for a €24 million maritime surveillance contract for a range of operations including border security. Since 2017, Schiebel has also won contracts from Croatia, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The company has a controversial record, with its drones sold to a number of countries experiencing armed conflict or governed by repressive regimes such as Libya, Myanmar, the UAE and Yemen.

    Finland and the Netherlands deployed Dornier aircraft to Operation Hermes and Operation Poseidon respectively, and to Operation Triton. Dornier is now part of the US subsidiary of the Israeli arms company Elbit Systems. CAE Aviation (Luxembourg), DEA Aviation (UK) and EASP Air (Netherlands) have all received contracts for aircraft surveillance work for Frontex. Airbus, French Dassault Aviation, Leonardo and US Lockheed Martin were the most important suppliers of aircraft used in Operation Sophia.

    The EU and its member states defend their maritime operations by publicising their role in rescuing refugees at sea, but this is not their primary goal, as Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri made clear in April 2015, saying that Frontex has no mandate for ‘proactive search-and-rescue action[s]’ and that saving lives should not be a priority. The thwarting and criminalisation of NGO rescue operations in the Mediterranean and the frequent reports of violence and illegal refoulement of refugees, also demonstrates why these maritime operations should be considered more like walls than humanitarian missions.
    Virtual walls

    The major EU contracts for the virtual walls have largely gone to two companies, sometimes as leaders of a consortium. Sopra Steria is the main contractor for the development and maintenance of the Visa Information System (VIS), Schengen Information System (SIS II) and European Dactyloscopy (Eurodac), while GMV has secured a string of contracts for Eurosur. The systems they build help control, monitor and surveil people’s movements across Europe and increasingly beyond.

    Sopra Steria is a French technology consultancy firm that has to date won EU contracts worth a total value of over €150 million. For some of these large contracts Sopra Steria joined consortiums with HP Belgium, Bull and 3M Belgium. Despite considerable business, Sopra Steria has faced considerable criticism for its poor record on delivering projects on time and on budget. Its launch of SIS II was constantly delayed, forcing the Commission to extend contracts and increase budgets. Similarly, Sopra Steria was involved in another consortium, the Trusted Borders consortium, contracted to deliver the UK e-Borders programme, which was eventually terminated in 2010 after constant delays and failure to deliver. Yet it continues to win contracts, in part because it has secured a near-monopoly of knowledge and access to EU officials. The central role that Sopra Steria plays in developing these EU biometric systems has also had a spin-off effect in securing other national contracts, including with Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Romania and Slovenia GMV, a Spanish technology company, has received a succession of large contracts for Eurosur, ever since its testing phase in 2010, worth at least €25 million. It also provides technology to the Spanish Guardia Civil, such as control centres for its Integrated System of External Vigilance (SIVE) border security system as well as software development services to Frontex. It has participated in at least ten EU-funded research projects on border security.

    Most of the large contracts for the virtual walls that did not go to consortia including Sopra Steria were awarded by eu-LISA (European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice) to consortia comprising computer and technology companies including Accenture, Atos Belgium and Morpho (later renamed Idema).
    Lobbying

    As research in our Border Wars series has consistently shown, through effective lobbying, the military and security industry has been very influential in shaping the discourse of EU security and military policies. The industry has succeeded in positioning itself as the experts on border security, pushing the underlying narrative that migration is first and foremost a security threat, to be combatted by security and military means. With this premise, it creates a continuous demand for the ever-expanding catalogue of equipment and services the industry supplies for border security and control.

    Many of the companies listed here, particularly the large arms companies, are involved in the European Organisation for Security (EOS), the most important lobby group on border security. Many of the IT security firms that build EU’s virtual walls are members of the European Biometrics Association (EAB). EOS has an ‘Integrated Border Security Working Group’ to ‘facilitate the development and uptake of better technology solutions for border security both at border checkpoints, and along maritime and land borders’. The working group is chaired by Giorgio Gulienetti of the Italian arms company Leonardo, with Isto Mattila (Laurea University of Applied Science) and Peter Smallridge of Gemalto, a digital security company recently acquired by Thales.

    Company lobbyists and representatives of these lobby organisations regularly meet with EU institutions, including the European Commission, are part of official advisory committees, publish influential proposals, organise meetings between industry, policy-makers and executives and also meet at the plethora of military and security fairs, conferences and seminars. Airbus, Leonardo and Thales together with EOS held 226 registered lobbying meetings with the European Commission between 2014 and 2019. In these meetings representatives of the industry position themselves as the experts on border security, presenting their goods and services as the solution for ‘security threats’ caused by immigration. In 2017, the same group of companies and EOS spent up to €2.65 million on lobbying.

    A similar close relationship can be seen on virtual walls, with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission arguing openly for public policy to foster the ‘emergence of a vibrant European biometrics industry’.
    A deadly trade and a choice

    The conclusion of this survey of the business of building walls is clear. A Europe full of walls has proved to be very good for the bottom line of a wide range of corporations including arms, security, IT, shipping and construction companies. The EU’s planned budgets for border security for the next decade show it is also a business that will continue to boom.

    This is also a deadly business. The heavy militarisation of Europe’s borders on land and at sea has led refugees and migrants to follow far more hazardous routes and has trapped others in desperate conditions in neighbouring countries like Libya. Many deaths are not recorded, but those that are tracked in the Mediterranean show that the proportion of those who drown trying to reach Europe continues to increase each year.

    This is not an inevitable state of affairs. It is both the result of policy decisions made by the EU and its member states, and corporate decisions to profit from these policies. In a rare principled stand, German razor wire manufacturer Mutanox in 2015 stated it would not sell its product to the Hungarian government arguing: ‘Razor wire is designed to prevent criminal acts, like a burglary. Fleeing children and adults are not criminals’. It is time for other European politicians and business leaders to recognise the same truth: that building walls against the world’s most vulnerable people violates human rights and is an immoral act that history will judge harshly. Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is time for Europe to bring down its new walls.

    https://www.tni.org/en/businessbuildingwalls

    #business #murs #barrières_frontalières #militarisation_des_frontières #visualisation #Europe #UE #EU #complexe_militaro-industriel #Airbus #Leonardo #Thales #Indra #Israel_Aerospace_Industries #Elbit #European_Security_Fencing #DAT-CON #Geo_Alpinbau #Dragados #Ferrovial, #Proyectos_Y_Tecnología_Sallén #Eulen #Patstroy_Bourgas #Infra_Expert #Patengineeringstroy #Geostroy_Engineering #Metallic-Ivan_Mihaylov #Nordecon #Defendec #DAK_Acélszerkezeti_Kft #SIA_Ceļu_būvniecības_sabiedrība_IGATE #Gintrėja #Minis #Legi-SGS #Groupe_CW #Jackson’s_Fencing #Sorhea #Vinci #Eurovia #Zaun_Ltd #Damen #Fincantieri #Frontex #Damen #Turquie #Instrument_contributing_to_Stability_and_Peace (#IcSP) #Libye #exernalisation #Operation_Sophia #Navantia #Naval_Group #Flensburger_Schiffbau-Gesellschaft #HDW #Lürssen_Gruppe #Motomarine_Shipyards #Panther_57 #Hellenic_Shipyards #Israel_Shipyards #Schiebel #Dornier #Operation_Hermes #CAE_Aviation #DEA_Aviation #EASP_Air #French_Dassault_Aviation #US_Lockheed_Martin #murs_virtuels #Sopra_Steria #Visa_Information_System (#VIS) #données #Schengen_Information_System (#SIS_II) #European_Dactyloscopy (#Eurodac) #GMV #Eurosur #HP_Belgium #Bull #3M_Belgium #Trusted_Borders_consortium #économie #biométrie #Integrated_System_of_External_Vigilance (#SIVE) #eu-LISA #Accenture #Atos_Belgium #Morpho #Idema #lobby #European_Organisation_for_Security (#EOS) #European_Biometrics_Association (#EAB) #Integrated_Border_Security_Working_Group #Giorgio_Gulienetti #Isto_Mattila #Peter_Smallridge #Gemalto #murs_terrestres #murs_maritimes #coût #chiffres #statistiques #Joint_Research_Centre_of_the_European_Commission #Mutanox

    Pour télécharger le #rapport :


    https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/business_of_building_walls_-_full_report.pdf

    déjà signalé par @odilon ici :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/809783
    Je le remets ici avec des mots clé de plus

    ping @daphne @marty @isskein @karine4

    • La costruzione di muri: un business

      Trent’anni dopo la caduta del Muro di Berlino, l’Europa fa parlare di sé ancora una volta per i suoi muri di frontiera. Questa volta non è tanto l’ideologia che la divide, quanto la paura di rifugiati e migranti, alcune tra le persone più vulnerabili al mondo.

      Riassunto del rapporto «The Business of Building Walls» [1]:

      Chi ha ucciso il sogno di un’Europa più aperta? Cosa ha dato inizio a questa nuova era dei muri?
      Ci sono evidentemente molte ragioni: il crescente spostamento di persone a causa di conflitti, repressione e impoverimento, l’ascesa di politiche securitarie sulla scia dell’11 settembre, l’insicurezza economica e sociale percepita in Europa dopo la crisi finanziaria del 2008, solo per nominarne alcune. Tuttavia, c’è un gruppo che ha di gran lunga da guadagnare da questo innalzamento di nuovi muri: le imprese che li costruiscono. La loro influenza nel dare forma ad un mondo di muri necessita di un esame più profondo.

      Questo rapporto esplora il business della costruzione di muri, che è stato alimentato e ha beneficiato di un aumento considerevole della spesa pubblica dedicata alla sicurezza delle frontiere dall’Unione Europea (EU) e dai suoi Stati membri. Alcune imprese beneficiarie sono delle multinazionali che approfittano di un mercato globale per la sicurezza delle frontiere che si stima valere approssimativamente 17,5 miliardi di euro nel 2018, con una crescita annuale prevista almeno dell’8% nei prossimi anni.

      È importante guardare sia oltre che dietro i muri e le barriere d’Europa, perché i reali ostacoli alla migrazione contemporanea non sono tanto le recinzioni, quanto la vasta gamma di tecnologie che vi è alla base, dai sistemi radar ai droni, dalle telecamere di sorveglianza ai sistemi biometrici di rilevamento delle impronte digitali. Allo stesso modo, alcuni tra i più pericolosi muri d’Europa non sono nemmeno fisici o sulla terraferma. Le navi, gli aerei e i droni usati per pattugliare il Mediterraneo hanno creato un muro marittimo e un cimitero per i migliaia di migranti e di rifugiati che non hanno un passaggio legale verso la salvezza o per esercitare il loro diritto di asilo.

      Tutto ciò rende insignificanti le dichiarazioni della Commissione Europea secondo le quali essa non finanzierebbe i muri e le recinzioni. Il portavoce della Commissione, Alexander Winterstein, per esempio, nel rifiutare la richiesta dell’Ungheria di rimborsare la metà dei costi delle recinzioni costruite sul suo confine con la Croazia e la Serbia, ha affermato: “Noi sosteniamo le misure di gestione delle frontiere presso i confini esterni. Queste possono consistere in misure di sorveglianza o in equipaggiamento di controllo delle frontiere... . Ma le recinzioni, quelle non le finanziamo”. In altre parole, la Commissione è disposta a pagare per qualunque cosa che fortifichi un confine fintanto che ciò non sia visto come propriamente costruire dei muri.

      Questo rapporto è il seguito di “Building Walls - Fear and securitizazion in the Euopean Union”, co-pubblicato nel 2018 con Centre Delàs e Stop Wapenhandel, che per primi hanno misurato e identificato i muri che attraversano l’Europa.

      Questo nuovo rapporto si focalizza sulle imprese che hanno tratto profitto dai tre differenti tipi di muro in Europa:
      – Le imprese di costruzione ingaggiate per costruire i muri fisici costruiti dagli Stati membri UE e dall’Area Schengen in collaborazione con le imprese esperte in sicurezza e tecnologia che provvedono le tecnologie, l’equipaggiamento e i servizi associati;
      – le imprese di trasporto marittimo e di armamenti che forniscono le navi, gli aerei, gli elicotteri e i droni che costituiscono i muri marittimi dell’Europa per tentare di controllare i flussi migratori nel Mediterraneo, in particolare le operazioni di Frontex, l’operazione Sophia e l’operazione italiana Mare Nostrum;
      – e le imprese specializzate in informatica e in sicurezza incaricate di sviluppare, eseguire, estendere e mantenere i sistemi dell’UE che controllano i movimento delle persone, quali SIS II (Schengen Information System) e EES (Entry/Exii Scheme), che costituiscono i muri virtuali dell’Europa.
      Dei budget fiorenti

      Il flusso di denaro dai contribuenti ai costruttori di muri è stato estremamente lucrativo e non cessa di aumentare. Il report rivela che dalla fine della guerra fredda, le imprese hanno raccolto i profitti di almeno 900 milioni di euro di spese dei paesi dell’UE per i muri fisici e per le recinzioni. Con i dati parziali (sia nella portata e che negli anni), i costi reali raggiungerebbero almeno 1 miliardo di euro. Inoltre, le imprese che forniscono la tecnologia e i servizi che accompagnano i muri hanno ugualmente beneficiato di un flusso costante di finanziamenti da parte dell’UE, in particolare i Fondi per le frontiere esterne (1,7 miliardi di euro, 2007-2013) e i Fondi per la sicurezza interna - Fondi per le Frontiere (2,76 miliardi di euro, 2014-2020).

      Le spese dell’UE per i muri marittimi hanno raggiunto almeno 676,4 milioni di euro tra il 2006 e il 2017 (di cui 534 milioni sono stati spesi da Frontex, 28 milioni dall’UE nell’operazione Sophia e 114 milioni dall’Italia nell’operazione Mare Nostrum) e sarebbero molto superiori se si includessero tutte le operazioni delle guardie costiera nazionali nel Mediterraneo.

      Questa esplosione dei budget per le frontiere ha le condizioni per proseguire. Nel quadro del suo budget per il prossimo ciclo di bilancio dell’Unione Europea (2021-2027), la Commissione europea ha attribuito 8,02 miliardi di euro al suo fondo di gestione integrata delle frontiere (2021-2027), 11,27 miliardi a Frontex (dei quali 2,2 miliardi saranno utilizzati per l’acquisizione, il mantenimento e l’utilizzo di mezzi aerei, marittimi e terrestri) e almeno 1,9 miliardi di euro di spese totali (2000-2027) alle sue banche dati di identificazione e a Eurosur (il sistemo europeo di sorveglianza delle frontiere).
      I principali attori del settore degli armamenti

      Tre giganti europei del settore della difesa e della sicurezza giocano un ruolo cruciale nei differenti tipi di frontiere d’Europa: Thales, Leonardo e Airbus.

      – Thales è un’impresa francese specializzata negli armamenti e nella sicurezza, con una presenza significativa nei Paesi Bassi, che produce sistemi radar e sensori utilizzati da numerose navi della sicurezza frontaliera. I sistemi Thales, per esempio, sono stati utilizzati dalle navi olandesi e portoghesi impiegate nelle operazioni di Frontex.
      Thales produce ugualmente sistemi di sorveglianza marittima per droni e lavora attualmente per sviluppare una infrastruttura di sorveglianza delle frontiere per Eurosus, che permetta di seguire e controllare i rifugiati prima che raggiungano l’Europa con l’aiuto di applicazioni per Smartphone, e studia ugualmente l’utilizzo di “High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites - HAPS” per la sicurezza delle frontiere, per l’Agenzia spaziale europea e Frontex. Thales fornisce attualmente il sistema di sicurezza del porto altamente militarizzato di Calais.
      Con l’acquisto nel 2019 di Gemalto, multinazionale specializzata nella sicurezza e identità (biometrica), Thales diventa un attore importante nello sviluppo e nel mantenimento dei muri virtuali dell’UE. L’impresa ha partecipato a 27 progetti di ricerca dell’UE sulla sicurezza delle frontiere.

      – La società di armamenti italiana Leonardo (originariamente Finmeccanica o Leonardo-Finmeccanica) è uno dei principali fornitori di elicotteri per la sicurezza delle frontiere, utilizzati dalle operazioni Mare Nostrum, Hera e Sophia in Italia. Ha ugualmente fatto parte dei principali fornitori di UAV (o droni), ottenendo un contratto di 67,1 milioni di euro nel 2017 con l’EMSA (Agenzia europea per la sicurezza marittima) per fornire le agenzie di guardia costiera dell’UE.
      Leonardo faceva ugualmente parte di un consorzio che si è visto attribuire un contratto di 142,1 milioni di euro nel 2019 per attuare e assicurare il mantenimento dei muri virtuali dell’UE, ossia il Sistema di entrata/uscita (EES). La società detiene, con Thales, Telespazio, che partecipa ai progetti di osservazione dai satelliti dell’UE (React e Copernicus) utilizzati per controllare le frontiere. Leonardo ha partecipato a 24 progetti di ricerca dell’UE sulla sicurezza e il controllo delle frontiere, tra cui lo sviluppo di Eurosur.

      – Il gigante degli armamenti pan-europei Airbus è un importante fornitore di elicotteri utilizzati nella sorveglianza delle frontiere marittime e di alcune frontiere terrestri, impiegati da Belgio, Francia, Germania, Grecia, Italia, Lituania e Spagna, in particolare nelle operazioni marittime Sophia, Poseidon e Triton. Airbus e le sue filiali hanno partecipato almeno a 13 progetti di ricerca sulla sicurezza delle frontiere finanziati dall’UE, tra cui OCEAN2020, PERSEUS e LOBOS.

      Il ruolo chiave di queste società di armamenti in realtà non è sorprendente. Come è stato dimostrato da “Border Wars” (2016), queste imprese, in quanto appartenenti a lobby come EOS (Organizzazione europea per la sicurezza) e ASD (Associazione delle industrie aerospaziali e della difesa in Europa), hanno ampiamente contribuito a influenzare l’orientamento della politica delle frontiere dell’UE. Paradossalmente, questi stessi marchi fanno ugualmente parte dei quattro più grandi venditori europei di armi al Medio Oriente e all’Africa del Nord, contribuendo così ad alimentare i conflitti all’origine di queste migrazioni forzate.

      Allo stesso modo Indra gioca un ruolo non indifferente nel controllo delle frontiere in Spagna e nel Mediterraneo. L’impresa ha ottenuto una serie di contratti per fortificare Ceuta e Melilla (enclavi spagnole nel Nord del Marocco). Indra ha ugualmente sviluppato il sistema di controllo delle frontiere SIVE (con sistemi radar, di sensori e visivi) che è installato nella maggior parte delle frontiere della Spagna, così come in Portogallo e in Romania. Nel luglio 2018, Indra ha ottenuto un contratto di 10 milioni di euro per assicurare la gestione di SIVE su più siti per due anni. L’impresa è molto attiva nel fare lobby presso l’UE. È ugualmente una dei grandi beneficiari dei finanziamenti per la ricerca dell’UE, che assicurano il coordinamento del progetto PERSEUS per lo sviluppo di Eurosur e il Seahorse Network, la rete di scambio di informazioni tra le forze di polizia dei paesi mediterranei (in Europa e in Africa) per fermare le migrazioni.

      Le società di armamenti israeliane hanno anch’esse ottenuto numerosi contratti nel quadro della sicurezza delle frontiere in UE. Nel 2018, Frontex ha selezionato il drone Heron delle Israel Aerospace Industries per i voli di sorveglianza degli esperimenti pilota nel Mediterraneo. Nel 2015, la società israeliana Elbit Systems ha venduto sei dei suoi droni Hermes al Corpo di guardie di frontiera svizzero, nel quadro di un contratto controverso di 230 milioni di euro. Ha anche firmato in seguito un contratto per droni con l’EMSA (Agenzia europea per la sicurezza marittima), in quanto subappaltatore della società portoghese CEIIA (2018), così come dei contratti per equipaggiare tre navi di pattugliamento per la Hellenic Coast Guard (2019).
      Gli appaltatori dei muri fisici

      La maggioranza di muri e recinzioni che sono stati rapidamente eretti attraverso l’Europa, sono stati costruiti da società di BTP nazionali/società nazionali di costruzioni, ma un’impresa europea ha dominato nel mercato: la European Security Fencing, un produttore spagnolo di filo spinato, in particolare di un filo a spirale chiamato “concertina”. È famosa per aver fornito i fili spinati delle recinzioni che circondano Ceuta e Melilla. L’impresa ha ugualmente dotato di fili spinati le frontiere tra l’Ungheria e la Serbia, e i suoi fili spinati “concertina” sono stati installati alle frontiere tra Bulgaria e Turchia e tra l’Austria e la Slovenia, così come a Calais e, per qualche giorno, alla frontiera tra Ungheria e Slovenia, prima di essere ritirati. Dato che essi detengono il monopolio sul mercato da un po’ di tempo a questa parte, è probabile che i fili spinati “concertina” siano stati utilizzati presso altre frontiere in Europa.

      Tra le altre imprese che hanno fornito i muri e le tecnologie ad essi associate, si trova DAT-CON (Croazia, Cipro, Macedonia, Moldavia, Slovenia e Ucraina), Geo Alpinbau (Austria/Slovenia), Indra, Dragados, Ferrovial, Proyectos Y Tecnología Sallén e Eulen (Spagna/Marocco), Patstroy Bourgas, Infra Expert, Patengineeringstroy, Geostroy Engineering, Metallic-Ivan Mihaylov et Indra (Bulgaria/Turchia), Nordecon e Defendec (Estonia/Russia), DAK Acélszerkezeti Kft e SIA Ceļu būvniecības sabiedrība IGATE (Lettonia/Russia), Gintrėja (Lituania/Russi), Minis e Legi-SGS (Slovenia/Croazia), Groupe CW, Jackson’s Fencing, Sorhea, Vinci/Eurovia e Zaun Ltd (Francia/Regno Unito).

      I costi reali dei muri e delle tecnologie associate superano spesso le stime originali. Numerose accuse e denunce per corruzione sono state allo stesso modo formulate, in certi casi perché i progetti erano stati attribuiti a delle imprese che appartenevano ad amici di alti funzionari. In Slovenia, per esempio, accuse di corruzione riguardanti un contratto per la costruzione di muri alle frontiere hanno portato a tre anni di battaglie legali per avere accesso ai documenti; la questione è passata poi alla Corte suprema.

      Malgrado tutto ciò, il Fondo europeo per le frontiere esterne ha sostenuto finanziariamente le infrastrutture e i servizi tecnologici di numerose operazioni alle frontiere degli Stati membri. In Macedonia, per esempio, l’UE ha versato 9 milioni di euro per finanziare dei veicoli di pattugliamento, delle telecamere a visione notturna, dei rivelatori di battito cardiaco e sostegno tecnico alle guardie di frontiera nell’aiuto della gestione della sua frontiera meridionale.
      Gli speculatori dei muri marittimi

      I dati che permettono di determinare quali imbarcazioni, elicotteri e aerei sono utilizzati nelle operazioni marittime in Europa mancano di trasparenza. È dunque difficile recuperare tutte le informazioni. Le nostre ricerche mostrano comunque che tra le principali società implicate figurano i giganti europei degli armamenti Airbus e Leonardo, così come grandi imprese di costruzione navale come l’olandese Damen e l’italiana Fincantieri.

      Le imbarcazioni di pattugliamento di Damen sono servite per delle operazioni frontaliere portate avanti da Albania, Belgio, Bulgaria, Portogallo, Paesi Bassi, Romania, Svezia e Regno Unito, così come per le vaste operazioni di Frontex (Poseidon, Triton e Themis), per l’operazione Sophia e hanno ugualmente sostento la NATO nell’operazione Poseidon.

      Al di fuori dell’Europa, la Libia, il Marocco, la Tunisia e la Turchia utilizzano delle imbarcazioni Damen per la sicurezza delle frontiere, spesso in collaborazione con l’UE o i suoi Stati membri. Per esempio, le sei navi Damen che la Turchia ha comprato per la sua guardia costiera nel 2006, per un totale di 20 milioni di euro, sono state finanziate attraverso lo strumento europeo che contribuirebbe alla stabilità e alla pace (IcSP), destinato a mantenere la pace e a prevenire i conflitti.

      La vendita di imbarcazioni Damen alla Libia mette in evidenza l’inquietante costo umano di questo commercio. Nel 2012, Damen ha fornito quattro imbarcazioni di pattugliamento alla guardia costiera libica, che sono state vendute come equipaggiamento civile col fine di evitare la licenza di esportazione di armi nei Paesi Bassi. I ricercatori hanno poi scoperto che non solo le imbarcazioni erano state vendute con dei punti di fissaggio per le armi, ma che erano state in seguito armate ed utilizzate per fermare le imbarcazioni di rifugiati. Numerosi incidenti che hanno implicato queste imbarcazioni sono stati segnalati, tra i quali l’annegamento di 20 o 30 rifugiati. Damen si è rifiutata di commentare, dichiarando di aver convenuto col governo libico di non divulgare alcuna informazione riguardante le imbarcazioni.

      Numerosi costruttori navali nazionali, oltre a Damen, giocano un ruolo determinante nelle operizioni marittime poiché sono sistematicamente scelti con priorità dai paesi partecipanti a ogni operazione di Frontex o ad altre operazioni nel Mediterraneo. Tutte le imbarcazioni fornite dall’Italia all’operazione Sophia sono state costruite da Fincantieri e tutte quelle spagnole sono fornite da Navantia e dai suoi predecessori. Allo stesso modo, la Francia si rifornisce da DCN/DCNS, ormai Naval Group, e tutte le imbarcazioni tedesche sono state costruite da diversi cantieri navali tedeschi (Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, HDW, Lürssen Gruppe). Altre imprese hanno partecipato alle operazioni di Frontex, tra cui la società greca Motomarine Shipyards, che ha prodotto i pattugliatori rapidi Panther 57 utilizzati dalla guardia costiera greca, così come la Hellenic Shipyards e la Israel Shipyards.

      La società austriaca Schiebel, che fornisce i droni S-100, gioca un ruolo importante nella sorveglianza aerea delle attività marittime. Nel novembre 2018, è stata selezionata dall’EMSA per un contratto di sorveglianza marittima di 24 milioni di euro riguardante differenti operazioni che includevano la sicurezza delle frontiere. Dal 2017, Schiebel ha ugualmente ottenuto dei contratti con la Croazia, la Danimarca, l’Islanda, l’Italia, il Portogallo e la Spagna. L’impresa ha un passato controverso: ha venduto dei droni a numerosi paesi in conflitto armato o governati da regimi repressivi come la Libia, il Myanmar, gli Emirati Arabi Uniti e lo Yemen.

      La Finlandia e i Paesi Bassi hanno impiegato degli aerei Dornier rispettivamente nel quadro delle operazioni Hermès, Poseidon e Triton. Dornier appartiene ormai alla filiale americana della società di armamenti israeliana Elbit Systems.
      CAE Aviation (Lussemburgo), DEA Aviation (Regno Unito) e EASP Air (Paesi Bassi) hanno tutte ottenuto dei contratti di sorveglianza aerea per Frontex.
      Airbus, Dassault Aviation, Leonardo e l’americana Lockheed Martin hanno fornito il più grande numero di aerei utilizzati per l’operazione Sophia.

      L’UE e i suoi Stati membri difendono le loro operazioni marittime pubblicizzando il loro ruolo nel salvataggio dei rifugiati in mare. Ma non è questo il loro obiettivo principale, come sottolinea il direttore di Frontex Fabrice Leggeri nell’aprile 2015, dichiarando che “le azioni volontarie di ricerca e salvataggio” non fanno parte del mandato affidato a Frontex, e che salvare delle vite non dovrebbe essere una priorità. La criminalizzazione delle operazioni di salvataggio da parte delle ONG, gli ostacoli che esse incontrano, così come la violenza e i respingimenti illegali dei rifugiati, spesso denunciati, illustrano bene il fatto che queste operazioni marittime sono volte soprattutto a costituire muri piuttosto che missioni umanitarie.
      I muri virtuali

      I principali contratti dell’UE legati ai muri virtuali sono stati affidati a due imprese, a volte in quanto leader di un consorzio.
      Sopra Steria è il partner principale per lo sviluppo e il mantenimento del Sistema d’informazione dei visti (SIV), del Sistema di informazione Schengen (SIS II) e di Eurodac (European Dactyloscopy) e GMV ha firmato una serie di contratti per Eurosur. I sistemi che essi concepiscono permettono di controllare e di sorvegliare i movimenti delle persone attraverso l’Europa e, sempre più spesso, al di là delle sue frontiere.

      Sopra Steria è un’impresa francese di servizi per consultazioni in tecnologia che ha, ad oggi, ottenuto dei contratti con l’UE per un valore totale di più di 150 milioni di euro. Nel quadro di alcuni di questi grossi contratti, Sopra Steria ha formato dei consorzi con HP Belgio, Bull e 3M Belgio.

      Malgrado l’ampiezza di questi mercati, Sopra Steria ha ricevuto importanti critiche per la sua mancanza di rigore nel rispetto delle tempistiche e dei budget. Il lancio di SIS II è stato costantemente ritardato, costringendo la Commissione a prolungare i contratti e ad aumentare i budget. Sopra Steria aveva ugualmente fatto parte di un altro consorzio, Trusted Borders, impegnato nello sviluppo del programma e-Borders nel Regno Unito. Quest’ultimo è terminato nel 2010 dopo un accumulo di ritardi e di mancate consegne. Tuttavia, la società ha continuato a ottenere contratti, a causa del suo quasi monopolio di conoscenze e di relazioni con i rappresentanti dell’UE. Il ruolo centrale di Sopra Steria nello sviluppo dei sistemi biometrici dell’UE ha ugualmente portato alla firma di altri contratti nazionali con, tra gli altri, il Belgio, la Bulgaria, la Repubblica ceca, la Finlandia, la Francia, la Germania, la Romania e la Slovenia.

      GMV, un’impresa tecnologica spagnola, ha concluso una serie di grossi contratti per Eurosur, dopo la sua fase sperimentale nel 2010, per almeno 25 milioni di euro. Essa rifornisce ugualmente di tecnologie la Guardia Civil spagnola, tecnologie quali, ad esempio, i centri di controllo del suo Sistema integrato di sorveglianza esterna (SIVE), sistema di sicurezza delle frontiere, così come rifornisce di servizi di sviluppo logistico Frontex. L’impresa ha partecipato ad almeno dieci progetti di ricerca finanziati dall’UE sulla sicurezza delle frontiere.

      La maggior parte dei grossi contratti riguardanti i muri virtuali che non sono stati conclusi con consorzi di cui facesse parte Sopra Steria, sono stati attribuiti da eu-LISA (l’Agenzia europea per la gestione operazionale dei sistemi di informazione su vasta scale in seno allo spazio di libertà, di sicurezza e di giustizia) a dei consorzi di imprese specializzate nell’informazione e nelle nuove tecnologie, tra questi: Accenture, Atos Belgium e Morpho (rinominato Idemia).
      Lobby

      Come testimonia il nostro report “Border Wars”, il settore della difesa e della sicurezza, grazie ad una lobbying efficace, ha un’influenza considerabile nell’elaborazione delle politiche di difesa e di sicurezza dell’UE. Le imprese di questo settore industriale sono riuscite a posizionarsi come esperti della sicurezza delle frontiere, portando avanti il loro discorso secondo il quale la migrazione è prima di tutto una minaccia per la sicurezza che deve essere combattuta tramite mezzi militari e securitari. Questo crea così una domanda continua del catalogo sempre più fornito di equipaggiamenti e servizi che esse forniscono per la sicurezza e il controllo delle frontiere.

      Un numero alto di imprese che abbiamo nominato, in particolare le grandi società di armamenti, fanno parte dell’EOS (Organizzazione europea per la sicurezza), il più importante gruppo di pressione sulla sicurezza delle frontiere.

      Molte imprese informatiche che hanno concepito i muri virtuali dell’UE sono membri dell’EAB (Associazione Europea per la Biometria). L’EOS ha un “Gruppo di lavoro sulla sicurezza integrata delle frontiere” per “permettere lo sviluppo e l’adozione delle migliori soluzioni tecnologiche per la sicurezza delle frontiere sia ai checkpoint che lungo le frontiere marittime e terrestri”.
      Il gruppo di lavoro è presieduto da Giorgio Gulienetti, della società di armi italiana Leonardo, Isto Mattila (diplomato all’università di scienze applicate) e Peter Smallridge di Gemalto, multinazionale specializzata nella sicurezza numerica, recentemente acquisita da Thales.

      I lobbisti di imprese e i rappresentanti di questi gruppi di pressione incontrano regolarmente le istituzioni dell’UE, tra cui la Commissione europea, nel quadro di comitati di consiglio ufficiali, pubblicano proposte influenti, organizzano incontri tra il settore industriale, i policy-makers e i dirigenti e si ritrovano allo stesso modo in tutti i saloni, le conferenze e i seminari sulla difesa e la sicurezza.

      Airbus, Leonardo e Thales e l’EOS hanno anche assistito a 226 riunioni ufficiali di lobby con la Commissione europea tra il 2014 e il 2019. In queste riunioni, i rappresentanti del settore si presentano come esperti della sicurezza delle frontiere, e propongono i loro prodotti e servizi come soluzione alle “minacce alla sicurezza” costituite dall’immigrazione. Nel 2017, queste stesse imprese e l’EOS hanno speso fino a 2,56 milioni di euro in lobbying.

      Si constata una relazione simile per quanto riguarda i muri virtuali: il Centro comune della ricerca della Commissione europea domanda apertamente che le politiche pubbliche favoriscano “l’emergenza di una industria biometrica europea dinamica”.
      Un business mortale, una scelta

      La conclusione di questa inchiesta sul business dell’innalzamento di muri è chiara: la presenza di un’Europa piena di muri si rivela molto fruttuosa per una larga fetta di imprese del settore degli armamenti, della difesa, dell’informatica, del trasporto marittimo e delle imprese di costruzioni. I budget che l’UE ha pianificato per la sicurezza delle frontiere nei prossimi dieci anni mostrano che si tratta di un commercio che continua a prosperare.

      Si tratta altresì di un commercio mortale. A causa della vasta militarizzazione delle frontiere dell’Europa sulla terraferma e in mare, i rifugiati e i migranti intraprendono dei percorsi molto più pericolosi e alcuni si trovano anche intrappolati in terribili condizioni in paesi limitrofi come la Libia. Non vengono registrate tutte le morti, ma quelle che sono registrate nel Mediterraneo mostrano che il numero di migranti che annegano provando a raggiungere l’Europa continua ad aumentare ogni anno.

      Questo stato di cose non è inevitabile. È il risultato sia di decisioni politiche prese dall’UE e dai suoi Stati membri, sia dalle decisioni delle imprese di trarre profitto da queste politiche. Sono rare le imprese che prendono posizione, come il produttore tedesco di filo spinato Mutinox che ha dichiarato nel 2015 che non avrebbe venduto i suoi prodotti al governo ungherese per il seguente motivo: “I fili spinati sono concepiti per impedire atti criminali, come il furto. Dei rifugiati, bambini e adulti, non sono dei criminali”.

      È tempo che altri politici e capi d’impresa riconoscano questa stessa verità: erigere muri contro le popolazioni più vulnerabili viola i diritti umani e costituisce un atto immorale che sarà evidentemente condannato dalla storia.

      Trent’anni dopo la caduta del muro di Berlino, è tempo che l’Europa abbatta i suoi nuovi muri.

      https://www.meltingpot.org/La-costruzione-di-muri-un-business.html

    • How the arms industry drives Fortress Europe’s expansion

      In recent years, rising calls for deterrence have intensified the physical violence migrants face at the EU border. The externalization of the border through deals with sending and transit countries signals the expansion of this securitization process. Financial gains by international arms firms in this militarization trend form an obstacle for policy change.

      In March, April, and May of this year, multiple European countries deployed military forces to their national borders. This was done to assist with controls and patrols in the wake of border closures and other movement restrictions due to the Covid-19 crisis. Poland deployed 1,460 soldiers to the border to support the Border Guard and police as part of a larger military operation in reaction to Covid-19. And the Portuguese police used military drones as a complement to their land border checks. According to overviews from NATO, the Czech Republic, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands (military police), Slovakia, and Slovenia all stationed armed forces at their national borders.

      While some of these deployments have been or will be rolled back as the Corona crisis dies down, they are not exceptional developments. Rather, using armed forces for border security and control has been a common occurrence at EU external borders since the so-called refugee crisis of 2015. They are part of the continuing militarisation of European border and migration policies, which is known to put refugees at risk but is increasingly being expanded to third party countries. Successful lobbying from the military and security industry has been an important driver for these policies, from which large European arms companies have benefited.

      The militarization of borders happens when EU member states send armies to border regions, as they did in Operation Sophia off the Libyan coast. This was the first outright EU military mission to stop migration. But border militarization also includes the use of military equipment for migration control, such as helicopters and patrol vessels, as well as the the EU-wide surveillance system Eurosur, which connects surveillance data from all individual member states. Furthermore, EU countries now have over 1,000 kilometers of walls and fences on their borders. These are rigged with surveillance, monitoring, and detection technologies, and accompanied by an increasing use of drones and other autonomous systems. The EU also funds a constant stream of Research & Technology (R&T) projects to develop new technologies and services to monitor and manage migration.

      This process has been going on for decades. The Schengen Agreement of 1985, and the subsequent creation of the Schengen Area, which coupled the opening of the internal EU borders with robust control at the external borders, can be seen as a starting point for these developments. After 2011, when the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ led to fears of mass migration to Europe, and especially since the ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015, the EU accelerated the boosting and militarising of border security, enormously. Since then, stopping migration has been at the top of the EU agenda.

      An increasingly important part of the process of border militarization isn’t happening at the European borders, but far beyond them. The EU and its member states are incentivizing third party countries to help stop migrants long before they reach Europe. This externalising of borders has taken many forms, from expanding the goals of EUCAP missions in Mali and Niger to include the prevention of irregular migration, to funding and training the Libyan Coast Guard to return refugees back to torture and starvation in the infamous detention centers in Libya. It also includes the donation of border security equipment, for example from Germany to Tunisia, and funding for purchases, such as Turkey’s acquisition of coast guard vessels to strengthen its operational capacities.

      Next to the direct consequences of European border externalisation efforts, these policies cause and worsen problems in the third party countries concerned: diverting development funds and priorities, ruining migration-based economies, and strengthening authoritarian regimes such as those in Chad, Belarus, Eritrea, and Sudan by providing funding, training and equipment to their military and security forces. Precisely these state organs are most responsible for repression and abuses of human rights. All this feeds drivers of migration, including violence, repression, and unemployment. As such, it is almost a guarantee for more refugees in the future.

      EU border security agency Frontex has also extended its operations into non-EU-countries. Ongoing negotiations and conclusions of agreements with Balkan countries resulted in the first operation in Albania having started in May 2019. And this is only a small part of Frontex’ expanding role in recent years. In response to the ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015, the European Commission launched a series of proposals that saw large increases in the powers of the agency, including giving member states binding advice to boost their border security, and giving Frontex the right to intervene in member states’ affairs (even without their consent) by decision of the Commission or Council.

      These proposals also included the creation of a 10,000 person strong standing corps of border guards and a budget to buy or lease its own equipment. Concretely, Frontex started with a budget of €6 million in 2005, which grew to €143 million in 2015. This was then quickly increased again from €239 million in 2016 to €460 million in 2020. The enormous expansion of EU border security and control has been accompanied by rapidly increasing budgets in general. In recent years, billions of euros have been spent on fortifying borders, setting up biometric databases, increasing surveillance capacities, and paying non-EU-countries to play their parts in this expansion process.

      Negotiations about the next seven-year-budget for the EU, the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, are still ongoing. In the European Commission’s latest proposal, which is clearly positioned as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the fund for strengthening member states’ border security, the Integrated Border Management Fund, has been allotted €12.5 billion. Its predecessors, the External Borders Fund (2007-2013) and the Internal Security Fund – Borders (2014-2020), had much smaller budgets: €1.76 billion and €2.70 billion, respectively. For Frontex, €7.5 billion is reserved, with €2.2 billion earmarked for purchasing or leasing equipment such as helicopters, drones, and patrol vessels. These huge budget increases are exemplary of the priority the EU attaches to stopping migration.

      The narrative underlying these policies and budget growths is the perception of migration as a threat; a security problem. As researcher, Ainhoa Ruiz (Centre Delàs) writes, “the securitisation process also includes militarisation,” because “the prevailing paradigm for providing security is based on military principles: the use of force and coercion, more weapons equating to more security, and the achievement of security by eliminating threats.”

      This narrative hasn’t come out of the blue. It is pushed by right wing politicians and often followed by centrist and leftist parties afraid of losing voters. Importantly, it is also promoted by an extensive and successful industrial lobby. According to Martin Lemberg-Pedersen (Assistant Professor in Global Refugee Studies, Aalborg University), arms companies “establish themselves as experts on border security, and use this position to frame immigration to Europe as leading to evermore security threats in need of evermore advanced [security] products.” The narrative of migration as a security problem thus sets the stage for militaries, and the security companies behind the commercial arms lobby, to offer their goods and services as the solution. The range of militarization policies mentioned so far reflects the broad adoption of this narrative.

      The lobby organizations of large European military and security companies regularly interact with the European Commission and EU border agencies. They have meetings, organise roundtables, and see each other at military and security fairs and conferences. Industry representatives also take part in official advisory groups, are invited to present new arms and technologies, and write policy proposals. These proposals can sometimes be so influential that they are adopted as policy, almost unamended.

      This happened, for instance, when the the Commission decided to open up the Instrument contributing to Security and Peace, a fund meant for peace-building and conflict prevention. The fund’s terms were expanded to cover provision of third party countries with non-lethal security equipment, for example, for border security purposes. The new policy document for this turned out to be a step-by-step reproduction of an earlier proposal from lobby organisation, Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD). Yet, perhaps the most far-reaching success of this kind is the expansion of Frontex, itself, into a European Border Guard. Years before it actually happened, the industry had already been pushing for this outcome.

      The same companies that are at the forefront of the border security and control lobby are, not surprisingly, also the big winners of EU and member states’ contracts in these areas. These include three of the largest European (and global) arms companies, namely, Airbus (Paneuropean), Leonardo (Italy) and Thales (France). These companies are active in many aspects of the border security and control market. Airbus’ and Leonardo’s main product in this field are helicopters, with EU funds paying for many purchases by EU and third countries. Thales provides radar, for example, for border patrol vessels, and is heavily involved in biometric and digital identification, especially after having acquired market leader, Gemalto, last year.

      These three companies are the main beneficiaries of the European anti-migration obsession. At the same time, these very three companies also contribute to new migration streams to Europe’s shores through their trade in arms. They are responsible for significant parts of Europe’s arms exports to countries at war, and they provide the arms used by parties in internal armed conflicts, by human rights violators, and by repressive regimes. These are the forces fueling the reasons for which people are forced to flee in the first place.

      Many other military and security companies also earn up to hundreds of millions of euros from large border security and control projects oriented around logistics and transport. Dutch shipbuilder Damen provided not only many southern European countries with border patrol vessels, but also controversially sold those to Libya and Turkey, among others. Its ships have also been used in Frontex operations, in Operation Sophia, and on the Channel between Calais and Dover.

      The Spanish company, European Security Fencing, provided razor wire for the fences around the Spanish enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla, in Morocco, as well as the fence at Calais and the fences on the borders of Austria, Bulgaria, and Hungary. Frontex, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), and Greece leased border surveillance drones from Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). These are Israeli military companies that routinely promote their products as ‘combat-proven’ or ‘battlefield tested’ against Palestinians.

      Civipol, a French public-private company owned by the state, and several large arms producers (including Thales, Airbus, and Safran), run a string of EU-/member state-funded border security projects in third party countries. This includes setting up fingerprint databases of the whole populations of Mali and Senegal, which facilitates identification and deportation of their nationals from Europe. These are just a few examples of the companies that benefit from the billions of euros that the EU and its member states spend on a broad range of purchases and projects in their bid to stop migration.

      The numbers of forcibly displaced people in the world grew to a staggering 79.5 million by the end of last year. Instead of helping to eliminate the root causes of migration, EU border and migration policies, as well as its arms exports to the rest of the world, are bound to lead to more refugees in the future. The consequences of these policies have already been devastating. As experts in the field of migration have repeatedly warned, the militarisation of borders primarily pushes migrants to take alternative migration routes that are often more dangerous and involve the risks of relying on criminal smuggling networks. The Mediterranean Sea has become a sad witness of this, turning into a graveyard for a growing percentage of refugees trying to cross it.

      The EU approach to border security doesn’t stand on its own. Many other countries, in particular Western ones and those with authoritarian leaders, follow the same narrative and policies. Governments all over the world, but particularly those in the US, Australia, and Europe, continue to spend billions of euros on border security and control equipment and services. And they plan to increase budgets even more in the coming years. For military and security companies, this is good news; the global border security market is expected to grow by over 7% annually for the next five years to a total of $65 billion in 2025. It looks like they will belong to the very few winners of increasingly restrictive policies targeting vulnerable people on the run.

      https://crisismag.net/2020/06/27/how-the-arms-industry-drives-fortress-europes-expansion
      #industrie_militaire #covid-19 #coronavirus #frontières_extérieures #Operation_Sophia #Eurosur #surveillance #drones #technologie #EUCAP #externalisation #Albanie #budget #Integrated_Border_Management_Fund #menace #lobby_industriel #Instrument_contributing_to_Security_and_Peace #conflits #paix #prévention_de_conflits #Aerospace_and_Defence_Industries_Association_of_Europe (#ASD) #Airbus #Leonardo #Thales #hélicoptères #radar #biométrie #identification_digitale #Gemalto #commerce_d'armes #armement #Damen #European_Security_Fencing #barbelé #European_Maritime_Safety_Agency (#EMSA) #Elbit #Israel_Aerospace_Industries (#IAI) #Civipol #Safran #base_de_données

      –—

      Pour @etraces :

      Civipol, a French public-private company owned by the state, and several large arms producers (including Thales, Airbus, and Safran), run a string of EU-/member state-funded border security projects in third party countries. This includes setting up fingerprint databases of the whole populations of Mali and Senegal, which facilitates identification and deportation of their nationals from Europe

    • GUARDING THE FORTRESS. The role of Frontex in the militarisation and securitisation of migration flows in the European Union

      The report focuses on 19 Frontex operations run by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (hereafter Frontex) to explore how the agency is militarising borders and criminalising migrants, undermining fundamental rights to freedom of movement and the right to asylum.

      This report is set in a wider context in which more than 70.8 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced, according to the 2018 figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (UNHCR, 2019). Some of these have reached the borders of the European Union (EU), seeking protection and asylum, but instead have encountered policy responses that mostly aim to halt and intercept migration flows, against the background of securitisation policies in which the governments of EU Member States see migration as a threat. One of the responses to address migration flows is the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (hereafter Frontex), established in 2004 as the EU body in charge of guarding what many have called ‘Fortress Europe’, and whose practices have helped to consolidate the criminalisation of migrants and the securitisation of their movements.

      The report focuses on analysing the tools deployed by Fortress Europe, in this case through Frontex, to prevent the freedom of movement and the right to asylum, from its creation in 2004 to the present day.

      The sources used to write this report were from the EU and Frontex, based on its budgets and annual reports. The analysis focused on the Frontex regulations, the language used and its meaning, as well as the budgetary trends, identifying the most significant items – namely, the joint operations and migrant-return operations.

      A table was compiled of all the joint operations mentioned in the annual reports since the Agency was established in 2005 up to 2018 (see annexes). The joint operations were found on government websites but were not mentioned in the Frontex annual reports. Of these operations, we analysed those of the longest duration, or that have showed recent signs of becoming long-term operations. The joint operations are analysed in terms of their objectives, area of action, the mandates of the personnel deployed, and their most noteworthy characteristics.

      Basically, the research sought to answer the following questions: What policies are being implemented in border areas and in what context? How does Frontex act in response to migration movements? A second objective was to analyse how Frontex securitises the movement of refugees and other migrants, with the aim of contributing to the analysis of the process of border militarisation and the security policies applied to non-EU migrants by the EU and its Member States.

      https://www.tni.org/en/guarding-the-fortress

      Pour télécharger le rapport_
      https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/informe40_eng_ok.pdf

      #rapport #TNI #Transnational_institute

    • #Frontex aircraft : Below the radar against international law

      For three years, Frontex has been chartering small aircraft for the surveillance of the EU’s external borders. First Italy was thus supported, then Croatia followed. Frontex keeps the planes details secret, and the companies also switch off the transponders for position display during operations.

      The European Commission does not want to make public which private surveillance planes Frontex uses in the Mediterranean. In the non-public answer to a parliamentary question, the EU border agency writes that the information on the aircraft is „commercially confidential“ as it contains „personal data and sensitive operational information“.

      Frontex offers EU member states the option of monitoring their external borders using aircraft. For this „Frontex Aerial Surveillance Service“ (FASS), Frontex charters twin-engined airplanes from European companies. Italy first made use of the service in 2017, followed a year later by Croatia. In 2018, Frontex carried out at least 1,800 flight hours under the FASS, no figures are yet available for 2019.

      Air service to be supplemented with #drones

      The FASS flights are carried out under the umbrella of „Multipurpose Aerial Surveillance“, which includes satellite surveillance as well as drones. Before the end of this year, the border agency plans to station large drones in the Mediterranean for up to four years. The situation pictures of the European Union’s „pre-frontier area“ are fed into the surveillance system EUROSUR, whose headquarter is located at Frontex in Warsaw. The national EUROSUR contact points, for example in Spain, Portugal and Italy, also receive this information.

      In addition to private charter planes, Frontex also uses aircraft and helicopters provided by EU Member States, in the central Mediterranean via the „Themis“ mission. The EU Commission also keeps the call signs of the state aircraft operating there secret. They would be considered „sensitive operational information“ and could not be disclosed to MEPs.

      Previously, the FOIA platform „Frag den Staat“ („Ask the State“) had also tried to find out details about the sea and air capacities of the member states in „Themis“. Frontex refused to provide any information on this matter. „Frag den Staat“ lost a case against Frontex before the European Court of Justice and is now to pay 23,700 Euros to the agency for legal fees.

      Real-time tracking with FlightAware

      The confidentiality of Frontex comes as a surprise, because companies that monitor the Mediterranean for the agency are known through a tender. Frontex has signed framework contracts with the Spanish arms group Indra as well as the charter companies CAE Aviation (Canada), Diamond-Executive Aviation (Great Britain) and EASP Air (Netherlands). Frontex is spending up to 14.5 million euros each on the contracts.

      Finally, online service providers such as FlightAware can also be used to draw conclusions about which private and state airplanes are flying for Frontex in the Mediterranean. For real-time positioning, the providers use data from ADS-B transponders, which all larger aircraft must have installed. A worldwide community of non-commercial trackers receives this geodata and feeds it into the Internet. In this way, for example, Italian journalist Sergio Scandura documents practically all movements of Frontex aerial assets in the central Mediterranean.

      Among the aircraft tracked this way are the twin-engined „DA-42“, „DA-62“ and „Beech 350“ of Diamond-Executive Aviation, which patrol the Mediterranean Sea on behalf of Frontex as „Osprey1“, „Osprey3“ and „Tasty“, in former times also „Osprey2“ and „Eagle1“. They are all operated by Diamond-Executive Aviation and take off and land at airports in Malta and Sicily.

      „Push-backs“ become „pull-backs“

      In accordance with the Geneva Convention on Refugees, the EU Border Agency may not return people to states where they are at risk of torture or other serious human rights violations. Libya is not a safe haven; this assessment has been reiterated on several occasions by the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees, among others.

      Because these „push-backs“ are prohibited, Frontex has since 2017 been helping with so-called „pull-backs“ by bringing refugees back to Libya by the Libyan coast guard rather than by EU units. With the „Multipurpose Aerial Surveillance“, Frontex is de facto conducting air reconnaissance for Libya. By November 2019, the EU border agency had notified Libyan authorities about refugee boats on the high seas in at least 42 cases.

      Many international law experts consider this practice illegal. Since Libya would not be able to track down the refugees without the help of Frontex, the agency must take responsibility for the refoulements. The lawyers Omer Shatz and Juan Branco therefore want to sue responsibles of the European Union before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

      Frontex watches refugees drown

      This is probably the reason why Frontex disguises the exact location of its air surveillance. Private maritime rescue organisations have repeatedly pointed out that Frontex aircrafts occasionally switch off their transponders so that they cannot be tracked via ADS-B. In the answer now available, this is confirmed by the EU Commission. According to this, the visibility of the aircraft would disclose „sensitive operational information“ and, in combination with other kinds of information, „undermine“ the operational objectives.

      The German Ministry of the Interior had already made similar comments on the Federal Police’s assets in Frontex missions, according to which „general tracking“ of their routes in real time would „endanger the success of the mission“.

      However, Frontex claims it did not issue instructions to online service providers to block the real-time position display of its planes, as journalist Scandura described. Nonetheless, the existing concealment of the operations only allows the conclusion that Frontex does not want to be controlled when the deployed aircraft watch refugees drown and Italy and Malta, as neighbouring EU member states, do not provide any assistance.

      https://digit.site36.net/2020/06/11/frontex-aircraft-blind-flight-against-international-law
      #avions #Italie #Croatie #confidentialité #transparence #Frontex_Aerial_Surveillance_Service (#FASS) #Multipurpose_Aerial_Surveillance #satellites #Méditerranée #Thermis #information_sensible #Indra #CAE_Aviation #Diamond-Executive_Aviation #EASP_Air #FlightAware #ADS-B #DA-42 #DA-62 #Beech_350 #Osprey1 #Osprey3 #Tasty #Osprey2 #Eagle1 #Malte #Sicile #pull-back #push-back #refoulement #Sergio_Scandura

    • Walls Must Fall: Ending the deadly politics of border militarisation - webinar recording
      This webinar explored the trajectory and globalization of border militarization and anti-migrant racism across the world, the history, ideologies and actors that have shaped it, the pillars and policies that underpin the border industrial complex, the resistance of migrants, refugees and activists, and the shifting dynamics within this pandemic.

      - #Harsha_Walia, author of Undoing Border Imperialism (2013)
      - #Jille_Belisario, Transnational Migrant Platform-Europe (TMP-E)
      - #Todd_Miller, author of Empire of Borders (2020), Storming the Wall (2019) and TNI’s report More than A Wall (2019)
      - #Kavita_Krishnan, All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA).
      https://www.tni.org/en/article/walls-must-fall
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8B-cJ2bTi8&feature=emb_logo

      #conférence #webinar

    • Le business meurtrier des frontières

      Le 21ème siècle sera-t-il celui des barrières ? Probable, au rythme où les frontières nationales se renforcent. Dans un livre riche et documenté, publié aux éditions Syllepse, le géographe Stéphane Rosière dresse un indispensable état des lieux.

      Une nuit du mois de juin, dans un centre de rétention de l’île de Rhodes, la police grecque vient chercher une vingtaine de migrant·e·s, dont deux bébés. Après un trajet en bus, elle abandonne le groupe dans un canot de sauvetage sans moteur, au milieu des eaux territoriales turques. En août, le New York Times publie une enquête révélant que cette pratique, avec la combinaison de l’arrivée aux affaires du premier ministre conservateur Kyriakos Mitsotakis et de la diffusion de la pandémie de Covid-19, est devenue courante depuis mars.

      Illégales au regard du droit international, ces expulsions illustrent surtout le durcissement constant de la politique migratoire de l’Europe depuis 20 ans. Elles témoignent aussi d’un processus mondial de « pixellisation » des frontières : celles-ci ne se réduisent pas à des lignes mais à un ensemble de points plus ou moins en amont ou en aval (ports, aéroports, eaux territoriales…), où opèrent les polices frontalières.
      La fin de la fin des frontières

      Plus largement, le récent ouvrage de Stéphane Rosière, Frontières de fer, le cloisonnement du monde, permet de prendre la mesure d’un processus en cours de « rebordering » à travers le monde. À la fois synthèse des recherches récentes sur les frontières et résultats des travaux de l’auteur sur la résurgence de barrières frontalières, le livre est une lecture incontournable sur l’évolution contemporaine des frontières nationales.

      D’autant qu’il n’y a pas si longtemps, la mondialisation semblait promettre l’affaissement des frontières, dans la foulée de la disparition de l’Union soviétique et, corollairement, de la généralisation de l’économie de marché. La Guerre froide terminée annonçait la « fin de l’histoire » et, avec elle, la disparition des limites territoriales héritées de l’époque moderne. Au point de ringardiser, rappelle Stéphane Rosière, les études sur les frontières au sein de la géographie des années 1990, parallèlement au succès d’une valorisation tous azimuts de la mobilité dans le discours politique dominant comme dans les sciences sociales.

      Trente ans après, le monde se réveille avec 25 000 kilomètres de barrières frontalières – record pour l’Inde, avec plus de 3 000 kilomètres de clôtures pour prévenir l’immigration depuis le Bangladesh. Barbelés, murs de briques, caméras, détecteurs de mouvements, grilles électrifiées, les dispositifs de contrôle frontalier fleurissent en continu sur les cinq continents.
      L’âge des « murs anti-pauvres »

      La contradiction n’est qu’apparente. Les barrières du 21e siècle ne ferment pas les frontières mais les cloisonnent – d’où le titre du livre. C’est-à-dire que l’objectif n’est pas de supprimer les flux mondialisés – de personnes et encore moins de marchandises ni de capitaux – mais de les contrôler. Les « teichopolitiques », terme qui recouvre, pour Stéphane Rosière, les politiques de cloisonnement de l’espace, matérialisent un « ordre mondial asymétrique et coercitif », dans lequel on valorise la mobilité des plus riches tout en assignant les populations pauvres à résidence.

      De fait, on observe que les barrières frontalières redoublent des discontinuités économiques majeures. Derrière l’argument de la sécurité, elles visent à contenir les mouvements migratoires des régions les plus pauvres vers des pays mieux lotis économiquement : du Mexique vers les États-Unis, bien sûr, ou de l’Afrique vers l’Europe, mais aussi de l’Irak vers l’Arabie Saoudite ou du Pakistan vers l’Iran.

      Les dispositifs de contrôle frontalier sont des outils parmi d’autres d’une « implacable hiérarchisation » des individus en fonction de leur nationalité. Comme l’a montré le géographe Matthew Sparke à propos de la politique migratoire nord-américaine, la population mondiale se trouve divisée entre une classe hypermobile de citoyen·ne·s « business-class » et une masse entravée de citoyen·ne·s « low-cost ». C’est le sens du « passport index » publié chaque année par le cabinet Henley : alors qu’un passeport japonais ou allemand donne accès à plus de 150 pays, ce chiffre descend en-dessous de 30 avec un passeport afghan ou syrien.
      Le business des barrières

      Si les frontières revêtent une dimension économique, c’est aussi parce qu’elles sont un marché juteux. À l’heure où les pays européens ferment des lits d’hôpital faute de moyens, on retiendra ce chiffre ahurissant : entre 2005 et 2016, le budget de Frontex, l’agence en charge du contrôle des frontières de l’Union européenne, est passé de 6,3 à 238,7 millions d’euros. À quoi s’ajoutent les budgets colossaux débloqués pour construire et entretenir les barrières – budgets entourés d’opacité et sur lesquels, témoigne l’auteur, il est particulièrement difficile d’enquêter, faute d’obtenir… des fonds publics.

      L’argent public alimente ainsi une « teichoéconomie » dont les principaux bénéficiaires sont des entreprises du BTP et de la sécurité européennes, nord-américaines, israéliennes et, de plus en plus, indiennes ou saoudiennes. Ce complexe sécuritaro-industriel, identifié par Julien Saada, commercialise des dispositifs de surveillance toujours plus sophistiqués et prospère au rythme de l’inflation de barrières entre pays, mais aussi entre quartiers urbains.

      Un business d’autant plus florissant qu’il s’auto-entretient, dès lors que les mêmes entreprises vendent des armes. On sait que les ventes d’armes, alimentant les guerres, stimulent les migrations : un « cercle vertueux » s’enclenche pour les entreprises du secteur, appelées à la rescousse pour contenir des mouvements de population qu’elles participent à encourager.
      « Mourir aux frontières »

      Bénéfices juteux, profits politiques, les barrières font des heureux. Elles tuent aussi et l’ouvrage de Stéphane Rosière se termine sur un décompte macabre. C’est, dit-il, une « guerre migratoire » qui est en cours. Guerre asymétrique, elle oppose la police armée des puissances économiques à des groupes le plus souvent désarmés, venant de périphéries dominées économiquement et dont on entend contrôler la mobilité. Au nom de la souveraineté des États, cette guerre fait plusieurs milliers de victimes par an et la moindre des choses est de « prendre la pleine mesure de la létalité contemporaine aux frontières ».

      Sur le blog :

      – Une synthèse sur les murs frontaliers : http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2019/01/28/lamour-des-murs

      – Le compte rendu d’un autre livre incontournable sur les frontières : http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2019/08/03/frontieres-en-mouvement

      – Une synthèse sur les barricades à l’échelle intraurbaine : http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2020/10/21/gated-communities-le-paradis-entre-quatre-murs

      http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2020/11/05/le-business-meurtrier-des-frontieres

    • How Private Security Firms Profit Off the Refugee Crisis

      The UK has pumped money to corporations turning #Calais into a bleak fortress.

      Tall white fences lined with barbed wire – welcome to Calais. The city in northern France is an obligatory stop for anyone trying to reach the UK across the channel. But some travellers are more welcome than others, and in recent decades, a slew of private security companies have profited millions of pounds off a very expensive – an unattractive – operation to keep migrants from crossing.

      Every year, thousands of passengers and lorries take the ferry at the Port of Calais-Fréthun, a trading route heavily relied upon by the UK for imports. But the entrance to the port looks more like a maximum-security prison than your typical EU border. Even before Brexit, the UK was never part of the Schengen area, which allows EU residents to move freely across 26 countries. For decades, Britain has strictly controlled its southern border in an attempt to stop migrants and asylum seekers from entering.

      As early as 2000, the Port of Calais was surrounded by a 2.8 metre-high fence to prevent people from jumping into lorries waiting at the ferry departure point. In 1999, the Red Cross set up a refugee camp in the nearby town of Sangatte which quickly became overcrowded. The UK pushed for it to be closed in 2002 and then negotiated a treaty with France to regulate migration between the two countries.

      The 2003 Le Toquet Treaty allowed the UK to check travellers on French soil before their arrival, and France to do the same on UK soil. Although the deal looks fair on paper, in practice it unduly burdens French authorities, as there are more unauthorised migrants trying to reach the UK from France than vice versa.

      The treaty effectively moved the UK border onto French territory, but people still need to cross the channel to request asylum. That’s why thousands of refugees from conflict zones like Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia have found themselves stranded in Calais, waiting for a chance to cross illegally – often in search of family members who’ve already made it to the UK. Many end up paying people smugglers to hide them in lorries or help them cross by boat.

      These underlying issues came to a head during the Syrian crisis, when refugees began camping out near Calais in 2014. The so-called Calais Jungle became infamous for its squalid conditions, and at its peak, hosted more than 7,000 people. They were all relocated to other centres in France before the camp was bulldozed in 2016. That same year, the UK also decided to build a €2.7 million border wall in Calais to block access to the port from the camp, but the project wasn’t completed until after the camp was cleared, attracting a fair deal of criticism. Between 2015 and 2018, the UK spent over €110 million on border security in France, only to top it up with over €56 million more in 2018.

      But much of this public money actually flows into the accounts of private corporations, hired to build and maintain the high-tech fences and conduct security checks. According to a 2020 report by the NGO Care4Calais, there are more than 40 private security companies working in the city. One of the biggest, Eamus Cork Solutions (ECS), was founded by a former Calais police officer in 2004 and is reported to have benefited at least €30 million from various contracts as of 2016.

      Stéphane Rosière, a geography professor at the University of Reims, wrote his book Iron Borders (only available in French) about the many border walls erected around the world. Rosière calls this the “security-industrial” complex – private firms that have largely replaced the traditional military-industrial sector in Europe since WW2.

      “These companies are getting rich by making security systems adaptable to all types of customers – individuals, companies or states,” he said. According to Rosière, three-quarters of the world’s border security barriers were built in the 21st century.

      Brigitte, a pensioner living close to the former site of the Calais Jungle, has seen her town change drastically over the past two decades. “Everything is cordoned off with wire mesh," she said. "I have the before and after photos, and it’s not a pretty sight. It’s just wire, wire, wire.” For the past 15 years, Brigitte has been opening her garage door for asylum seekers to stop by for a cup of tea and charge their phones and laptops, earning her the nickname "Mama Charge”.

      “For a while, the purpose of these fences and barriers was to stop people from crossing,” said François Guennoc, president of L’Auberge des Migrants, an NGO helping displaced migrants in Calais.

      Migrants have still been desperate enough to try their luck. “They risked a lot to get into the port area, and many of them came back bruised and battered,” Guennoc said. Today, walls and fences are mainly being built to deter people from settling in new camps near Calais after being evicted.

      In the city centre, all public squares have been fenced off. The city’s bridges have been fitted with blue lights and even with randomly-placed bike racks, so people won’t sleep under them.

      “They’ve also been cutting down trees for some time now,” said Brigitte, pointing to a patch near her home that was once woods. Guennoc said the authorities are now placing large rocks in areas where NGOs distribute meals and warm clothes, to prevent displaced people from receiving the donations. “The objective of the measures now is also to make the NGOs’ work more difficult,” he said.

      According to the NGO Refugee Rights Europe, about 1,500 men, women and minors were living in makeshift camps in and around Calais as of April 2020. In July 2020, French police raided a camp of over 500 people, destroying residents’ tents and belongings, in the largest operation since the Calais Jungle was cleared. An investigation by Slate found that smaller camps are cleared almost every day by the French police, even in the middle of winter. NGOs keep providing new tents and basic necessities to displaced residents, but they are frustrated by the waste of resources. The organisations are also concerned about COVID-19 outbreaks in the camps.

      As VICE World News has previously reported, the crackdown is only pushing people to take more desperate measures to get into the UK. Boat crossings reached record-highs in 2020, and four people have died since August 2020 while trying to cross, by land and sea. “When you create an obstacle, people find a way to get around it,” Guennoc said. “If they build a wall all the way along the coast to prevent boat departures, people will go to Normandy – and that has already started.” Crossing the open sea puts migrants at even greater risk.

      Rosière agrees security measures are only further endangering migrants.“All locks eventually open, no matter how complex they may be. It’s just a matter of time.”

      He believes the only parties who stand to profit from the status quo are criminal organisations and private security firms: “At the end of the day, this a messed-up use of public money.”

      https://www.vice.com/en/article/wx8yax/how-private-security-firms-profit-off-the-refugee-crisis

      En français:
      À Calais, la ville s’emmure
      https://www.vice.com/fr/article/wx8yax/a-calais-la-ville-semmure

    • Financing Border Wars. The border industry, its financiers and human rights

      This report seeks to explore and highlight the extent of today’s global border security industry, by focusing on the most important geographical markets—Australia, Europe, USA—listing the human rights violations and risks involved in each sector of the industry, profiling important corporate players and putting a spotlight on the key investors in each company.

      Executive summary

      Migration will be one of the defining human rights issues of the 21st century. The growing pressures to migrate combined with the increasingly militarised state security response will only exacerbate an already desperate situation for refugees and migrants. Refugees already live in a world where human rights are systematically denied. So as the climate crisis deepens and intersects with other economic and political crises, forcing more people from their homes, and as states retreat to ever more authoritarian security-based responses, the situation for upholding and supporting migrants’ rights looks ever bleaker.

      States, most of all those in the richest countries, bear the ultimate responsibility to uphold the human rights of refugees and migrants recognised under International Human Rights Law. Yet corporations are also deeply implicated. It is their finance, their products, their services, their infrastructure that underpins the structures of state migration and border control. In some cases, they are directly involved in human rights violations themselves; in other cases they are indirectly involved as they facilitate the system that systematically denies refugees and migrants their rights. Most of all, through their lobbying, involvement in government ‘expert’ groups, revolving doors with state agencies, it becomes clear that corporations are not just accidental beneficiaries of the militarisation of borders. Rather they actively shape the policies from which they profit and therefore share responsibility for the human rights violations that result.

      This state-corporate fusion is best described as a Border Industrial Complex, drawing on former US President Eisenhower’s warning of the dangers of a Military-Industrial Complex. Indeed it is noticeable that many of the leading border industries today are also military companies, seeking to diversify their security products to a rapidly expanding new market.

      This report seeks to explore and highlight the extent of today’s global border security industry, by focusing on the most important geographical markets—Australia, Europe, USA—listing the human rights violations and risks involved in each sector of the industry, profiling important corporate players and putting a spotlight on the key investors in each company.
      A booming industry

      The border industry is experiencing spectacular growth, seemingly immune to austerity or economic downturns. Market research agencies predict annual growth of the border security market of between 7.2% and 8.6%, reaching a total of $65–68 billion by 2025. The largest expansion is in the global Biometrics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) markets. Markets and Markets forecasts the biometric systems market to double from $33 billion in 2019 to $65.3 billion by 2024—of which biometrics for migration purposes will be a significant sector. It says that the AI market will equal US$190.61 billion by 2025.

      The report investigates five key sectors of the expanding industry: border security (including monitoring, surveillance, walls and fences), biometrics and smart borders, migrant detention, deportation, and audit and consultancy services. From these sectors, it profiles 23 corporations as significant actors: Accenture, Airbus, Booz Allen Hamilton, Classic Air Charter, Cobham, CoreCivic, Deloitte, Elbit, Eurasylum, G4S, GEO Group, IBM, IDEMIA, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, Mitie, Palantir, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Serco, Sopra Steria, Thales, Thomson Reuters, Unisys.

      – The border security and control field, the technological infrastructure of security and surveillance at the border, is led by US, Australian, European and Israeli firms including Airbus, Elbit, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Leonardo and Thales— all of which are among the world’s major arms sellers. They benefit not only from border contracts within the EU, US, and Australia but also increasingly from border externalisation programmes funded by these same countries. Jean Pierre Talamoni, head of sales and marketing at Airbus Defence and Space (ADS), said in 2016 that he estimates that two thirds of new military market opportunities over the next 10 years will be in Asia and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Companies are also trying to muscle in on providing the personnel to staff these walls, including border guards.

      - The Smart Borders sector encompasses the use of a broad range of (newer) technologies, including biometrics (such as fingerprints and iris-scans), AI and phone and social media tracking. The goal is to speed up processes for national citizens and other acceptable travellers and stop or deport unwanted migrants through the use of more sophisticated IT and biometric systems. Key corporations include large IT companies, such as IBM and Unisys, and multinational services company Accenture for whom migration is part of their extensive portfolio, as well as small firms, such as IDEMIA and Palantir Technologies, for whom migration-related work is central. The French public–private company Civipol, co-owned by the state and several large French arms companies, is another key player, selected to set up fingerprint databases of the whole population of Mali and Senegal.

      – Deportation. With the exception of the UK and the US, it is uncommon to privatise deportation. The UK has hired British company Mitie for its whole deportation process, while Classic Air Charter dominates in the US. Almost all major commercial airlines, however, are also involved in deportations. Newsweek reported, for example, that in the US, 93% of the 1,386 ICE deportation flights to Latin American countries on commercial airlines in 2019 were facilitated by United Airlines (677), American Airlines (345) and Delta Airlines (266).

      - Detention. The Global Detention Project lists over 1,350 migrant detention centres worldwide, of which over 400 are located in Europe, almost 200 in the US and nine in Australia. In many EU countries, the state manages detention centres, while in other countries (e.g. Australia, UK, USA) there are completely privatised prisons. Many other countries have a mix of public and private involvement, such as state facilities with private guards. Australia outsourced refugee detention to camps outside its territories. Australian service companies Broadspectrum and Canstruct International managed the detention centres, while the private security companies G4S, Paladin Solutions and Wilson Security were contracted for security services, including providing guards. Migrant detention in third countries is also an increasingly important part of EU migration policy, with the EU funding construction of migrant detention centres in ten non-EU countries.

      - Advisory and audit services are a more hidden part of public policies and practices, but can be influential in shaping new policies. A striking example is Civipol, which in 2003 wrote a study on maritime borders for the European Commission, which adopted its key policy recommendations in October 2003 and in later policy documents despite its derogatory language against refugees. Civipol’s study also laid foundations for later measures on border externalisation, including elements of the migration deal with Turkey and the EU’s Operation Sophia. Since 2003 Civipol has received funding for a large number of migration-related projects, especially in African countries. Between 2015 and 2017, it was the fourth most-funded organisation under the EU Trust Fund. Other prominent corporations in this sector include Eurasylum, as well as major international consultancy firms, particularly Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers, for which migration-related work is part of their expansive portfolio.

      Financing the industry

      The markets for military and border control procurement are characterized by massively capital intensive investments and contracts, which would not be possible without the involvement of financial actors. Using data from marketscreener.com, the report shows that the world’s largest investment companies are also among the major shareholders in the border industry.

      – The Vanguard Group owns shares in 15 of the 17 companies, including over 15% of the shares of CoreCivic and GEO Group that manage private prisons and detention facilities.

      - Other important investors are Blackrock, which is a major shareholder in 11 companies, Capital Research and Management (part of the Capital Group), with shares in arms giants Airbus and Lockheed Martin, and State Street Global Advisors (SsgA), which owns over 15% of Lockheed Martin shares and is also a major shareholder in six other companies.

      - Although these giant asset management firms dominate, two of the profiled companies, Cobham and IDEMIA, are currently owned by the private equity firm Advent International. Advent specialises in buyouts and restructuring, and it seems likely that it will attempt to split up Cobham in the hope of making a profit by selling on the component companies to other owners.

      - In addition, three large European arms companies, Airbus, Thales and Leonardo, active in the border security market, are partly owned by the governments of the countries where they are headquartered.

      In all cases, therefore, the financing depends on our money. In the case of state ownership, through our taxes, and in terms of asset management funds, through the way individual savings, pension funds, insurance companies and university endowments are directly invested in these companies via the giant Asset Management Funds. This financing means that the border industry survives on at least the tacit approved use of the public’s funds which makes it vulnerable to social pressure as the human rights costs of the industry become ever more clear.
      Human rights and the border industry

      Universal human rights apply to every single human being, including refugees and migrants. While the International Bill of Human Rights provides the foundation, including defining universal rights that are important in the context of migration, such as the right to life, liberty and security of person, the right to freedom from torture or cruel or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, and freedom from discrimination, there are other instruments such as the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention or Geneva Convention) of 1951 that are also relevant. There are also regional agreements, including the Organisation of African Unity Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) that play a role relevant to the countries that have ratified them.

      Yet despite these important and legally binding human rights agreements, the human rights situation for refugees and migrants has become ever more desperate. States frequently deny their rights under international law, such as the right to seek asylum or non-refoulement principles, or more general rights such as the freedom from torture, cruel or inhumane treatment. There is a gap with regard to effective legal means or grievance mechanisms to counter this or to legally enforce or hold to account states that fail to implement instruments such as the UDHR and the Refugee Convention of 1951. A Permanent Peoples Tribunal in 2019 even concluded that ‘taken together, the immigration and asylum policies and practices of the EU and its Member States constitute a total denial of the fundamental rights of people and migrants, and are veritable crimes against humanity’. A similar conclusion can be made of the US and Australian border and immigration regime.

      The increased militarisation of border security worldwide and state-sanctioned hostility toward migrants has had a deeply detrimental impact on the human rights of refugees and migrants.

      – Increased border security has led to direct violence against refugees, pushbacks with the risk of returning people to unsafe countries and inhumane circumstances (contravening the principle of non-refoulement), and a disturbing rise in avoidable deaths, as countries close off certain migration routes, forcing migrants to look for other, often more dangerous, alternatives and pushing them into the arms of criminal smuggling networks.

      – The increased use of autonomous systems of border security such as drones threaten new dangers related to human rights. There is already evidence that they push migrants to take more dangerous routes, but there is also concern that there is a gradual trend towards weaponized systems that will further threaten migrants’ lives.

      – The rise in deportations has threatened fundamental human rights including the right to family unity, the right to seek asylum, the right to humane treatment in detention, the right to due process, and the rights of children’. There have been many instances of violence in the course of deportations, sometimes resulting in death or permanent harm, against desperate people who try to do everything to prevent being deported. Moreover, deportations often return refugees to unsafe countries, where they face violence, persecution, discrimination and poverty.

      - The widespread detention of migrants also fundamentally undermines their human rights . There have been many reports of violence and neglect by guards and prison authorities, limited access to adequate legal and medical support, a lack of decent food, overcrowding and poor and unhealthy conditions. Privatisation of detention exacerbates these problems, because companies benefit from locking up a growing number of migrants and minimising costs.

      – The building of major migration databases such as EU’s Eurodac and SIS II, VIS gives rise to a range of human rights concerns, including issues of privacy, civil liberties, bias leading to discrimination—worsened by AI processes -, and misuse of collected information. Migrants are already subject to unprecedented levels of surveillance, and are often now treated as guinea pigs where even more intrusive technologies such as facial recognition and social media tracking are tried out without migrants consent.

      The trend towards externalisation of migration policies raises new concerns as it seeks to put the human costs of border militarisation beyond the border and out of public sight. This has led to the EU, US and Australia all cooperating with authoritarian regimes to try and prevent migrants from even getting close to their borders. Moreover as countries donate money, equipment or training to security forces in authoritarian regimes, they end up expanding and strengthening their capacities which leads to a rise in human rights violations more broadly. Nowhere are the human rights consequences of border externalisation policies clearer than in the case of Libya, where the EU and individual member states (in particular Italy and Malta) funding, training and cooperation with security forces and militias have led to violence at the borders, murder, disappearances, rape, enslavement and abuse of migrants in the country and torture in detention centres.

      The 23 corporations profiled in this report have all been involved in or connected to policies and practices that have come under fire because of violations of the human rights of refugees and migrants. As mentioned earlier, sometimes the companies are directly responsible for human rights violations or concerns. In other cases, they are indirectly responsible through their contribution to a border infrastructure that denies human rights and through lobbying to influence policy-making to prioritize militarized responses to migration. 11 of the companies profiled publicly proclaim their commitment to human rights as signatories to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), but as these are weak voluntary codes this has not led to noticeable changes in their business operations related to migration.

      The most prominent examples of direct human rights abuses come from the corporations involved in detention and deportation. Classic Air Charter, Cobham, CoreCivic, Eurasylum, G4S, GEO Group, Mitie and Serco all have faced allegations of violence and abuse by their staff towards migrants. G4S has been one of the companies most often in the spotlight. In 2017, not only were assaults by its staff on migrants at the Brook House immigration removal centre in the UK broadcast by the BBC, but it was also hit with a class suit in Australia by almost 2,000 people who are or were detained at the externalised detention centre on Manus Island, because of physical and psychological injuries as a result of harsh treatment and dangerous conditions. The company eventually settled the case for A$70 million (about $53 million) in the largest-ever human rights class-action settlement. G4S has also faced allegations related to its involvement in deportations.

      The other companies listed all play a pivotal role in the border infrastructure that denies refugees’ human rights. Airbus P-3 Orion surveillance planes of the Australian Air Force, for example, play a part in the highly controversial maritime wall that prevents migrants arriving by boat and leads to their detention in terrible conditions offshore. Lockheed Martin is a leading supplier of border security on the US-Mexico border. Leonardo is one of the main suppliers of drones for Europe’s borders. Thales produces the radar and sensor systems, critical to patrolling the Mediterrean. Elbit Systems provides surveillance technologies to both the EU and US, marketed on their success as technologies used in the separation wall in the Palestinian occupied territories. Accenture, IDEMIA and Sopra Steria manage many border biometric projects. Deloitte has been one of the key consulting companies to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency since 2003, while PriceWaterhouseCoopers provides similar consultancy services to Frontex and the Australian border forces. IBM, Palantir and UNISYS provide the IT infrastructure that underpins the border and immigration apparatus.
      Time to divest

      The report concludes by calling for campaigns to divest from the border industry. There is a long history of campaigns and movements that call for divestment from industries that support human rights violations—from the campaigns to divest from Apartheid South Africa to more recent campaigns to divest from the fossil fuel industry. The border industry has become an equally morally toxic asset for any financial institution, given the litany of human rights abuses tied to it and the likelihood they will intensify in years to come.

      There are already examples of existing campaigns targeting particular border industries that have borne fruit. A spotlight on US migrant detention, as part of former President Trump’s anti- immigration policies, contributed to six large US banks (Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Fifth Third Bancorp, JPMorgan Chase, SunTrust, and Wells Fargo) publicly announcing that they would not provide new financing to the private prison industry. The two largest public US pension funds, CalSTRS and CalPERS, also decided to divest from the same two companies. Geo Group acknowledged that these acts of ‘public resistance’ hit the company financially, criticising the banks as ‘clearly bow[ing] down to a small group of activists protesting and conducting targeted social media campaigns’.

      Every company involved or accused of human rights violations either denies them or says that they are atypical exceptions to corporate behavior. This report shows however that a militarised border regime built on exclusion will always be a violent apparatus that perpetuates human rights violations. It is a regime that every day locks up refugees in intolerable conditions, separates families causing untold trauma and heartbreak, and causes a devastating death toll as refugees are forced to take unimaginable dangerous journeys because the alternatives are worse. However well-intentioned, any industry that provides services and products for this border regime will bear responsibility for its human consequences and its human rights violations, and over time will suffer their own serious reputational costs for their involvement in this immoral industry. On the other hand, a widespread exodus of the leading corporations on which the border regime depends could force states to change course, and to embrace a politics that protects and upholds the rights of refugees and migrants. Worldwide, social movements and the public are starting to wake up to the human costs of border militarisation and demanding a fundamental change. It is time now for the border industry and their financiers to make a choice.

      https://www.tni.org/en/financingborderwars

      #TNI #rapport
      #industrie_frontalière #militarisation_des_frontières #biométrie #Intelligence_artificielle #AI #IA

      #Accenture #Airbus #Booz_Allen_Hamilton #Classic_Air_Charter #Cobham #CoreCivic #Deloitte #Elbit #Eurasylum #G4S #GEO_Group #IBM #IDEMIA #Leonardo #Lockheed_Martin #Mitie #Palantir #PricewaterhouseCoopers #Serco #Sopra_Steria #Thales #Thomson_Reuters #Unisys
      #contrôles_frontaliers #surveillance #technologie #Jean-Pierre_Talamoni #Airbus_Defence_and_Space (#ADS) #smart_borders #frontières_intelligentes #iris #empreintes_digitales #réseaux_sociaux #IT #Civipol #Mali #Sénégal #renvois #expulsions #déportations #Mitie #Classic_Air_Charter #compagnies_aériennes #United_Airlines #ICE #American_Airlines #Delta_Airlines #rétention #détention_administrative #privatisation #Broadspectrum #Canstruct_International #Paladin_Solutions #Wilson_Security #Operation_Sophia #EU_Trust_Fund #Trust_Fund #externalisation #Eurasylum #Deloitte #PricewaterhouseCoopers #Vanguard_Group #CoreCivic #Blackrock #investisseurs #investissement #Capital_Research_and_Management #Capital_Group #Lockheed_Martin #State_Street_Global_Advisors (#SsgA) #Cobham #IDEMIA #Advent_International #droits_humains #VIS #SIS_II #P-3_Orion #Accenture #Sopra_Steria #Frontex #Australie

    • Outsourcing oppression. How Europe externalises migrant detention beyond its shores

      This report seeks to address the gap and join the dots between Europe’s outsourcing of migrant detention to third countries and the notorious conditions within the migrant detention centres. In a nutshell, Europe calls the shots on migrant detention beyond its shores but is rarely held to account for the deeply oppressive consequences, including arbitrary detention, torture, forced disappearance, violence, sexual violence, and death.

      Key findings

      – The European Union (EU), and its member states, externalise detention to third countries as part of a strategy to keep migrants out at all costs. This leads to migrants being detained and subjected to gross human rights violations in transit countries in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, West Asia and Africa.

      – Candidate countries wishing to join the EU are obligated to detain migrants and stop them from crossing into the EU as a prerequisite for accession to the Union. Funding is made available through pre-accession agreements specifically for the purpose of detaining migrants.

      – Beyond EU candidate countries, this report identifies 22 countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, the Balkans and West Asia where the EU and its member states fund the construction of detention centres, detention related activities such as trainings, or advocate for detention in other ways such as through aggressively pushing for detention legislation or agreeing to relax visa requirements for nationals of these countries in exchange for increased migrant detention.

      - The main goal of detention externalisation is to pre-empt migrants from reaching the external borders of the EU by turning third countries into border outposts. In many cases this involves the EU and its member states propping up and maintaining authoritarian regimes.

      – Europe is in effect following the ‘Australian model’ that has been highly criticised by UN experts and human rights organisations for the torturous conditions inside detention centres. Nevertheless, Europe continues to advance a system that mirrors Australia’s outsourced model, focusing not on guaranteeing the rights of migrants, but instead on deterring and pushing back would-be asylum seekers at all costs.

      - Human rights are systematically violated in detention centres directly and indirectly funded by the EU and its member states, including cases of torture, arbitrary and prolonged detention, sexual violence, no access to legal recourse, humanitarian assistance, or asylum procedures, the detention of victims of trafficking, and many other serious violations in which Europe is implicated.

      - Particularly horrendous is the case of Libya, which continues to receive financial and political support from Europe despite mounting evidence of brutality, enslavement, torture, forced disappearance and death. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), implement EU policies in Libya and, according to aid officials, actively whitewash the consequences of European policies to safeguard substantial EU funding.

      - Not only does the EU deport and push back migrants to unsafe third countries, it actively finances and coercively pushes for their detention in these countries. Often they have no choice but to sign ‘voluntary’ agreements to be returned to their countries of origin as the only means of getting out of torturous detention facilities.

      - The EU implements a carrot and stick approach, in particular in its dealings with Africa, prolonging colonialist dynamics and uneven power structures – in Niger, for example, the EU pushed for legislation on detention, in exchange for development aid funding.

      – The EU envisages a greater role for migrant detention in third countries going forward, as was evidenced in the European Commission’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum.

      - The EU acts on the premise of containment and deterrence, namely, that if migrants seeking to reach Europe are intercepted and detained along that journey, they will be deterred from making the journey in the first place. This approach completely misses the point that people migrate to survive, often fleeing war and other forms of violence. The EU continues to overlook the structural reasons behind why people flee and the EU’s own role in provoking such migration.

      – The border industrial complex profits from the increased securitisation of borders. Far from being passive spectators, the military and security industry is actively involved in shaping EU border policies by positioning themselves as experts on the issue. We can already see a trend of privatising migrant detention, paralleling what is happening in prison systems worldwide.

      https://www.tni.org/en/outsourcingoppression

      pour télécharger le rapport :
      https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/outsourcingoppression-report-tni.pdf

      #externalisation #rétention #détention #détention_arbitraire #violence #disparitions #disparitions_forcées #violence #violence_sexuelle #morts #mort #décès #Afrique #Europe_de_l'Est #Balkans #Asie #modèle_australien #EU #UE #Union_européenne #torture #Libye #droits_humains #droits_fondamentaux #HCR #UNHCR #OIM #IOM #dissuasion #privatisation

  • L’Austria esce dal patto Onu per le migrazioni: “Limita la sovranità del nostro Paese”

    L’accordo internazionale che punta a difendere i diritti dei rifugiati entrerà in vigore a dicembre. Prima di Vienna, anche Usa e Ungheria si sono sfilati. Il governo Kurz: “Migrare non è un diritto fondamentale”.

    L’Austria esce dal patto Onu per le migrazioni: “Limita la sovranità del nostro Paese”

    L’accordo internazionale che punta a difendere i diritti dei rifugiati entrerà in vigore a dicembre. Prima di Vienna, anche Usa e Ungheria si sono sfilati. Il governo Kurz: “Migrare non è un diritto fondamentale”

    L’Austria annuncia il suo ritiro dal patto delle Nazioni Unite sulle migrazioni, e segue così l’esempio di Stati Uniti e Ungheria, che prima di lei sono uscite dall’accordo internazionale, in controcorrente con gli oltre 190 Paesi che l’hanno firmato. Lo ha comunicato il cancelliere Sebastian Kurz, motivando la scelta sovranista come una reazione necessaria per respingere un vincolo Onu che “limita la sovranità del nostro Paese”. Non ci sarà, dunque, nessun rappresentante di Vienna alla conferenza dell’Onu a Marrakech, in Marocco, il 10 e 11 dicembre. Mentre all’Assemblea generale delle Nazioni Unite dell’anno prossimo l’Austria si asterrà.

    COSA PREVEDE L’ACCORDO

    Il patto per le migrazioni era stato firmato da 193 Paesi a settembre 2017 ed entrerà in vigore a dicembre con la firma prevista al summit di Marrakech. Prevede la protezione dei diritti dei rifugiati e dei migranti, indipendentemente dallo status, e combatte il traffico di esseri umani e la xenofobia. E ancora, impegna i firmatari a lavorare per porre fine alla pratica della detenzione di bambini allo scopo di determinare il loro status migratorio; limita al massimo le detenzioni dei migranti per stabilire le loro condizioni, migliora l’erogazione dell’assistenza umanitaria e di sviluppo ai Paesi più colpiti. Facilita anche il cambiamento di status dei migranti irregolari in regolari, il ricongiungimento familiare, punta a migliorare l’inclusione nel mercato del lavoro, l’accesso al sistema sanitario e all’istruzione superiore e ad una serie di agevolazioni nei Paesi di approdo, oltre che ad accogliere i migranti climatici.

    LE RAGIONI DI VIENNA

    Un documento di 34 pagine, per politiche in favore di chi lascia il proprio Paese che promuovano una migrazione sicura. L’Austria in un comunicato respinge tutti i criteri stabiliti da quella che è stata ribattezzata la “Dichiarazione di New York”. Kurz, che da giovanissimo ministro degli Esteri fece il suo esordio mondiale proprio all’Assemblea generale dell’Onu, decide così di strappare e imporre il suo giro di vite sui migranti, spinto dal suo alleato al governo, l’ultradestra dell’Fpö di Heinz-Christian Strache, il quale a margine dell’annuncio del ritiro ha aggiunto: “La migrazione non è e non può essere un diritto fondamentale dell’uomo”. Il governo di Vienna, in particolare, spiega che “il patto limita la sovranità nazionale, perché non distingue tra migrazione economica e ricerca di protezione umanitaria”, tra migrazione illegale e legale. “Non può essere - continua il governo Kurz - che qualcuno riceva lo status di rifugiato per motivi di povertà o climatici”.

    “SEGUIAMO IL LORO ESEMPIO”

    Il patto, in realtà, non è vincolante ai sensi del diritto internazionale, una volta firmato. Si delinea come una dichiarazione di intenti, per mettere ordine nelle politiche sulle migrazioni a livello mondiale, all’insegna della solidarietà. Per questo, la mossa di Vienna assume un valore simbolico, sull’onda delle dichiarazioni di Kurz e i suoi che vorrebbero chiudere le porte dell’Europa all’immigrazione e controllare i confini. Trascina dietro di sé la lodi di altri partiti populisti europei, uno tra tutti l’AfD tedesca, con la leader Alice Weidel che non ha tardato a twittare: “Anche la Germania non aderisca, il Global Compact apre la strada a milioni di migranti africani e legalizza l’immigrazione irregolare”.

    https://www.lastampa.it/2018/10/31/esteri/laustria-esce-dal-patto-onu-per-le-migrazioni-limita-la-sovranit-del-nostro-paese-GbGo3HsbsGygjZ3aOjVfkJ/pagina.html
    #Global_compact #global_compact_on_refugees #migrations #réfugiés #asile #Autriche #Hongrie #USA #Etats-Unis

    • Austria to shun global migration pact, fearing creep in human rights

      Austria will follow the United States and Hungary in backing out of a United Nations migration pact over concerns it will blur the line between legal and illegal migration, the right-wing government said on Wednesday.

      The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was approved in July by all 193 member nations except the United States, which backed out last year.

      Hungary’s right-wing government has since said it will not sign the final document at a ceremony in Morocco in December. Poland, which has also clashed with Brussels by resisting national quotas for asylum seekers, has said it is considering the same step.

      “Austria will not join the U.N. migration pact,” said Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, a conservative and immigration hard-liner who governs in coalition with the far-right Freedom Party.

      “We view some points of the migration pact very critically, such as the mixing up of seeking protection with labor migration,” said Kurz, who argues that migrants rescued in the Mediterranean should not be brought straight to Europe.

      U.N. Special Representative for International Migration Louise Arbour called the move regrettable and mistaken and said the compact simply aimed to improve the management of cross-border movements of people.

      “It is no possible sense of the word an infringement on state sovereignty - it is not legally binding, it’s a framework for cooperation,” she told Reuters.

      Vienna currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, a role that usually involves playing a mediating role to bridge divisions within the bloc. Instead its move highlighted the disagreements on migration that have blighted relations among the 28 member states for years.

      The Austrian government is concerned that signing up to the pact, even though it is not binding, could eventually help lead to the recognition of a “human right to migration”. The text of a cabinet decision formally approving its move on Wednesday said it would argue against such a right.

      “We reject any movement in that direction,” Freedom Party leader and Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache told a news conference after the weekly cabinet meeting.

      Arbour said such concerns were unfounded.

      “The question of whether this is an invidious way to start promoting a ‘human right to migrate’ is not correct. It’s not in the text, there’s no sinister project to advance that.”

      Austria took in roughly 1 percent of its population in asylum seekers in 2015 during a migration crisis in which more than a million people traveled to Europe, many of them fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere.

      That experience dominated last year’s parliamentary election and helped propel Kurz’s conservatives to power. He has said he will prevent any repeat of that influx and has implemented policies that include restricting benefits for new immigrants.

      The U.N. pact addresses issues such as how to protect people who migrate, how to integrate them into new countries and how to return them to their home countries.

      The United Nations has hailed it as a historic and comprehensive pact that could serve as a basis for future policies.

      Austria will not send an envoy to the signing ceremony in Morocco and will abstain at a U.N. General Assembly vote on the pact next year, Kurz’s office said.

      In a paper this month, the Brookings Institution, a U.S. think tank, said the pact “reflects widespread recognition, among even the most skeptical member states, that managing migration effectively is in the common interest”.

      Amnesty International criticized Vienna’s stance.

      “Instead of facing global challenges on an international level, the government is increasingly isolating Austria. That is irresponsible,” the rights group said in a statement.

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-un-migrants-austria/austria-to-withdraw-from-u-n-migration-agreement-apa-idUSKCN1N50JZ

    • Communication Breakdown in Austria – How Far-Right Fringe Groups Hijacked the Narrative on the Global Compact for Migration

      Yesterday Austria announced its withdrawal from the UN Global Compact for Migration (GCM), thus joining the United States and Hungary. The decision was met with little surprise. It followed an announcement in early October that Austria would reconsider its continued participation in the GCM process. And it followed weeks of efforts by the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) and other far-right actors to discredit the GCM.

      As the Austrian decision gained media attention, many outside the world of migration policy wondered what the Global Compact for Migration is. This post is both for newcomers and long-time observers. For the newcomers, I explain how the GCM came about and why it is significant. Long-time observers may want to skip to the section discussing the context and implications of the Austrian decision to withdraw.
      What is the UN Global Compact for Migration?

      The short answer is that it is a non-binding agreement on migration at the UN level. The lengthy intergovernmental negotiations concluded in July, which means that the text of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is already available. The text lays out 23 objectives covering a wide array of policies, including objectives on addressing the drivers of migration, better data gathering, border management, enhanced regular pathways and more. In December, states will adopt the GCM in Marrakesh, right after the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD).

      The long answer is that the Global Compact for Migration encompasses more than the final text. The process leading up to the agreement is just as noteworthy. The negotiations between states and with close participation of civil society actors stretched over eighteen months. At several thematic sessions, states, non-governmental organisations, researchers, grassroots organisations, and think tanks came together in New York, Vienna, and Geneva. In the sessions, actors mostly read out their condensed two- or three-minute statements. But intense discussions happened during panels, outside, at side-events, and during breaks. And parallel to the global proceedings, there were regional and, in some cases, also national consultations. It was thus also a process of learning and coalition-forming.
      Why did Austria decide to leave the Global Compact for Migration?

      The official Austrian critique of the Global Compact for Migration rests on two points. First, it argues that the GCM would eventually be a legally binding document. Second, the GCM is portrayed to diminish states’ national sovereignty. Neither of these statements holds true. Already in the preamble, it clearly says that it is “a non-legally binding, cooperative framework” and that it “upholds the sovereignty of States.” And during the lengthy negotiations, states overwhelmingly emphasized their sovereignty. The decision to leave therefore appears to be much more about short-term domestic politics than about the above-stated concerns.

      Already during the parliamentary election in 2017, the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) and the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) outdid each other with anti-immigration rhetoric. Now that they form the current governing coalition, they have passed increasingly restrictive migration and integration policies. Their recent measures stretch from budget cuts for language courses parallel to restricting welfare based on language skills. In light of this, the Austrian decision is not surprising.

      But until recently, the Global Compact for Migration had not been a point of contention for the Freedom Party. In fact, the Austrian foreign ministry – currently headed by a minister affiliated with the FPÖ – took part in the negotiations. The timing of this withdrawal therefore merits attention. Some weeks ago, fringe groups on the far-right started to mobilize against the GCM. With online petitions, posters, and a protest in front of the UN headquarters in Vienna. The websites contain close to no information on the GCM. Instead, they make the baseless assertion that it would lead to “limitless migration” and repeat the alarmist imagery that Nigel Farage used for his “Breaking Point” banner ahead of the Brexit referendum. At the helm of this disinformation campaign is Martin Sellner, leader of the far-right Identarian movement.

      Shortly after, the Austrian Freedom Party also started to publicly criticize the Global Compact for Migration in widely read Austrian tabloids. During the evening news on the day of the official withdrawal, Armin Wolf confronted FPÖ Vice-Chancellor Strache with the question why the FPÖ had only begun its criticism after far-right fringe group activism had started. Strache denied any connection in the timing. Meanwhile, Martin Sellner celebrated the success of the imitative. Instead, Strache argued that it took time to reach a judgment on the final product. However, the text had been in its final shape for months.
      What can be learned from this?

      To be clear, one should not be tempted to overstate the significance of fringe actors. But one also should not leave the debate in the wider public about the Global Compact for Migration in their hands. The GCM negotiation process has been inclusive to those actors wishing to participate and all previous drafts of the agreement had been available online. The efforts were thus comparatively transparent. But, nonetheless, the communication with the wider public was not proactive.

      In the months that I had been involved with the GCM process, I was repeatedly surprised how many people within the world of migration and integration were unaware of the negotiations, even less so the wider public. And while it is not necessary to indulge in the technicalities of such a lengthy process, it meant that many people in Austria heard about the GCM only when far-right groups brought it to the fore. In the absence of wider public engagement, there was no counter-movement to challenge the misinformation that was spreading.

      What are the implications of this decision? And what is next?

      There is already talk of other countries following the path of Austria, Hungary, and the US. But instead of getting stuck in speculations about who else may withdraw, efforts should concentrate on the majority that upholds the Global Compact for Migration. This incident provides an opportunity to start a conversation beyond those tightly involved in migration policy.

      And it is important to remember that December will just be the beginning, not the end. Ahead lies a long road of implementation. Then, inclusiveness – especially of those directly affected by the GCM – and proactive communication will remain crucial.


      https://www.compas.ox.ac.uk/2018/communication-breakdown-in-austria-how-far-right-fringe-groups-hijacked

      –-> et sur cette image, le fameux slogan australien #No_Way (you won’t make Australia home)
      #modèle_australien #Australie

    • Le Pacte de l’ONU pour les migrations divise le parlement

      Le gouvernement souhaite signer, avec une réserve, un projet de traité international sur les réfugiés. Des commissions parlementaires délivrent des messages contradictoires.

      Le Conseil fédéral doit-il approuver le Pacte mondial des Nations unies pour les migrations les 10 et 11 décembre à Marrakech ? C’est son intention. Il l’a annoncée le 10 octobre. Mais cette perspective fait des vagues, à tel point qu’une commission parlementaire émet de sérieuses réserves à ce sujet alors que d’autres sont divisées. Comme il l’avait promis, le gouvernement les a consultées avant de prendre une décision définitive.

      La Commission des institutions politiques du Conseil national (CIP-N) s’est manifestée la première. Le 19 octobre, elle a adopté une motion qui demande que la décision d’approbation soit soumise aux Chambres fédérales. Une semaine plus tard, la Commission de politique extérieure du Conseil des Etats (CPE-E) a adressé au Conseil fédéral une lettre annonçant son intention de déposer une requête similaire. Vendredi dernier, la CIP-N a franchi un pas de plus : par 15 voix contre 9, elle a formellement décidé de recommander au Conseil fédéral de ne pas approuver ce traité migratoire. Cette revendication sera discutée en séance plénière du Conseil national le 6 décembre.

      Ambassadeur actif et décrié

      Lundi, la CPE-N a émis un avis différent. Par 14 voix contre 10, elle recommande au Conseil fédéral d’apposer sa signature au bas du pacte de l’ONU. Dans des proportions similaires, elle a refusé de soumettre celui-ci au vote obligatoire ou de recueillir formellement l’avis des Chambres fédérales. La commission sœur du Conseil des Etats n’a pas encore rendu son verdict. Elle se réunit une nouvelle fois lundi prochain.

      C’est l’UDC qui a ouvert les feux. Mi-septembre, alors que personne à Berne ne se préoccupait de la prochaine signature de cette convention migratoire, elle a condamné ce texte, contraignant politiquement mais pas juridiquement, avec la plus grande virulence. Celui-ci prône une « migration sûre, ordonnée et régulière ». Selon le Conseil fédéral, ses objectifs recoupent les siens : réduire la migration irrégulière, renforcer l’aide sur place, lutter contre la traite des êtres humains et le trafic des migrants, sécuriser les frontières, respecter les droits humains, faciliter le rapatriement, la réintégration ou l’intégration durable dans le pays d’accueil. La Suisse a même joué un rôle moteur dans l’élaboration de ce texte, puisque l’ambassadeur auprès de l’ONU, Jürg Lauber, en a été l’une des chevilles ouvrières avec son homologue mexicain, Juan José Gomez Camacho, et la représentante spéciale de l’ONU pour les migrations internationales, Louise Arbour.
      Plusieurs pays ont renoncé

      L’UDC fait de ce document une lecture très différente. Elle y voit un moyen de permettre « aux migrants d’accéder plus facilement aux pays de leur choix, indépendamment de leurs qualifications ». Elle brandit la menace d’une immigration massive vers la Suisse. A quelques semaines du vote sur l’initiative contre les juges étrangers, et en vertu de l’article constitutionnel qui dit que la Suisse doit gérer son immigration de manière indépendante, l’UDC exige le rejet de ce pacte. Elle n’est pas seule. Le projet est aussi controversé au sein du PLR.

      Pour le Conseil fédéral, la situation n’est pas simple. Les Etats-Unis, la Hongrie et l’Autriche ont déjà fait savoir qu’ils ne participeraient pas à la signature. Comme l’ambassadeur Lauber, sur qui l’UDC tire à boulets rouges et qui est aussi la cible d’une campagne sauvage de la droite identitaire, a contribué activement aux négociations, un refus de la Suisse serait considéré comme un affront au sein de l’ONU.

      Par ailleurs, on rappelle volontiers que les fondements de ce texte, dont l’élaboration a débuté en 2016, recoupent la politique migratoire défendue par Didier Burkhalter et Simonetta Sommaruga. Or, le premier nommé a quitté le Conseil fédéral et c’est son successeur Ignazio Cassis, à qui l’on reproche de ne pas défendre suffisamment son émissaire auprès des Nations unies, qui a repris le flambeau. Début octobre, le gouvernement a proposé d’approuver le pacte assorti d’une réserve portant sur le traitement des mineurs âgés d’au moins 15 ans.

      https://www.letemps.ch/suisse/pacte-lonu-migrations-divise-parlement

    • Ne pas signer le Pacte de l’ONU sur les migrations est « une erreur politique »

      La #Suisse ne signera pas le Pacte de l’ONU sur les migrations, du moins pas pour l’instant, a décidé le Conseil fédéral. « Une erreur politique », selon le président du Parti socialiste Christian Levrat.

      Le Conseil fédéral a reconnu mercredi que ce Pacte est dans l’intérêt de la Suisse, mais estime qu’il est trop tôt pour le signer.

      https://www.rts.ch/info/suisse/10013083-ne-pas-signer-le-pacte-de-l-onu-sur-les-migrations-est-une-erreur-polit

    • Pour Louise Arbour, la volte-face de la Suisse porte atteinte à sa crédibilité multilatérale

      La représentante spéciale de l’ONU pour les migrations démonte le mythe de la perte de souveraineté des Etats qui adopteront le pacte à Marrakech en décembre. Elle ne comprend pas non plus la peur des « soft laws » qui saisit le parlement fédéral

      Alors que le Conseil des Etats débat ce jeudi d’une motion de l’UDC exhortant le Conseil fédéral à ne pas adopter le Pacte mondial de l’ONU pour les migrations ainsi que d’une proposition de la Commission des institutions politiques de soumettre son adoption à l’Assemblée fédérale, les Nations unies mettent les choses au point.

      Interrogée par Le Temps au Palais des Nations à Genève, Louise Arbour, représentante spéciale du secrétaire général de l’ONU pour les migrations, s’étonne des discussions au sujet du pacte qui serait, selon certains parlementaires fédéraux, « de la soft law [droit souple, ndlr] susceptible de se transformer en droit coutumier (obligatoire) ».

      « Je suis avocate moi-même. Je ne comprends pas cette notion selon laquelle ce pacte deviendrait subrepticement obligatoire contre la volonté de la Suisse. Je vous rassure. Ce n’est pas le cas. Aucune disposition du pacte n’empiète sur la souveraineté des Etats qui l’adoptent. »

      Un débat particulièrement agressif

      La responsable onusienne relève que le pacte, qui sera formellement adopté à Marrakech les 10 et 11 décembre prochain (sans la Suisse qui a, sur proposition du conseiller fédéral Ignazio Cassis, finalement renoncé à s’y rendre), offre un menu d’options et de bonnes pratiques que les Etats peuvent choisir d’adopter ou non. « Je suis étonnée que la Suisse s’inquiète de ce pacte. Elle applique elle-même déjà pleinement ce que prévoit le document », précise la Canadienne.

      A Berne, la tonalité du débat demeure très agressive. Certains parlementaires UDC vont jusqu’à demander que l’ambassadeur de Suisse auprès des Nations unies à New York, Jürg Lauber – par ailleurs diffamé dans une campagne menée par des mouvements identitaires et d’extrême droite autrichiens, allemands et suisses – soit traduit en justice pour « trahison ».

      Ignorance ou mauvaise foi ?

      Là encore, Louise Arbour n’en revient pas : « Ce genre de discours montre comment les processus internationaux sont mal compris. J’espère que c’est de l’ignorance et non de la mauvaise foi. Il faut savoir comment un tel processus fonctionne. Quand l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU décide de mettre en place un processus, le président de l’assemblée nomme des cofacilitateurs pour leurs qualités personnelles et non pour leur appartenance nationale.

      L’élaboration du pacte a été cofacilitée de façon neutre par l’ambassadeur Jürg Lauber et son homologue mexicain, Juan José Gomez Camacho. Tant la Suisse que le Mexique avaient des délégations complètement distinctes de leurs ambassadeurs. Il ne faut pas tout mélanger quant à la réelle implication de la Suisse. »
      Un pacte basé sur les faits

      Pour la responsable onusienne, le revirement de la Suisse par rapport à ses positions de négociation est problématique. « Que les Etats qui ont négocié dans leur capacité nationale et même obtenu des concessions d’autres Etats se dissocient aujourd’hui des positions qu’ils ont prises est très décevant. Une telle volte-face porte atteinte à leur crédibilité comme partenaires dans un environnement multilatéral. »

      Louise Arbour tente d’identifier la raison des résistances : « La migration peut être une question traitée de manière très fractionnée, parfois par plusieurs ministères. Sans grande cohésion. Cela peut avoir contribué à la difficulté de faire passer le message. »

      Pas le fruit de bureaucrates

      Quant à l’idée que le pacte migratoire serait le produit de l’imagination de bureaucrates de New York, elle s’en défend : « Le processus ayant mené au pacte a été très respectueux, et surtout basé sur la réalité et des faits. » Les crispations (sensibles en Hongrie, aux Etats-Unis, en Israël, en Suisse, etc.) autour du pacte ne sont pas justifiées, estime-t-elle.

      La meilleure manière de mener une politique migratoire nationale efficace est de coopérer avec ses voisins. La migration implique forcément une interdépendance. C’est ce cadre coopératif que propose le pacte, « négocié non pas en secret, mais avec la société civile, le secteur privé, les syndicats », ajoute Louise Arbour.

      Hors de l’ONU, la pression sur le Conseil fédéral est venue mercredi du CICR dont le président, Peter Maurer, appelle à adopter le pacte « négocié de façon totalement transparente pendant près de trois ans ». La Commission fédérale des migrations abonde dans le même sens, jugeant nécessaire de s’associer à cet effort mondial de réguler la migration.

      https://www.letemps.ch/monde/louise-arbour-volteface-suisse-porte-atteinte-credibilite-multilaterale

    • Global Compact, il governo sospende il patto Onu sull’immigrazione

      L’annuncio del premier Conte su input del ministro Salvini: l’Italia non parteciperà neanche al summit di Marrakech di dicembre.
      L’Italia sospende l’adesione al Global Compact sull’immigrazione, il patto firmato da oltre 190 Paesi il 19 settembre 2016 e ribattezzato “Dichiarazione di New York“. Inoltre l’Italia non parteciperà nemmeno al summit Onu di Marrakech, in Marocco, che tra il 10 e l’11 dicembre adotterà il documento.

      https://www.tpi.it/2018/11/29/global-compact-immigrazione-italia
      #Italie

    • What’s to Fear in the U.N. Global Compact for Migration?

      The forthcoming adoption of the United Nations’ global migration compact has sparked turmoil, particularly among members of the European Union. But the compact itself refutes much of the criticism, says Solon Ardittis, director of Eurasylum.

      After two years of intense intergovernmental negotiations, the United Nations Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration will be formally adopted on December 10-11 in Marrakech. Though the compact went largely unnoticed by most political parties and the public throughout the negotiation period, its forthcoming adoption is now sparking turmoil in Europe and around the world.

      To date, at least a dozen U.N. member states have declared they do not intend to sign it or are considering doing so. Last fall, the United States became the first to withdraw. Hungary followed earlier this year, which set off a domino effect of withdrawals in the European Union over the past few weeks. Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia have said they won’t sign, and Italy has signaled its disapproval, too. In Belgium, profound disagreement among coalition partners over the compact is threatening to bring down the government.

      So what exactly does the compact proffer to make it the source of such growing discontent? The 30-page document is an international, nonbinding agreement that aims “to make an important contribution to enhanced cooperation on international migration in all its dimensions.” Emerging in the wake of Europe’s 2015 refugee crisis, it draws on a range of existing international instruments, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which the vast majority of member states are signatories. And it aims to develop an international cooperative framework acknowledging that no nation can address the contemporary problems of migration alone. This is the first time in history that all U.N. member states have come together to negotiate an agreement on migration in such a comprehensive manner.

      The compact is comprised of 23 objectives. These include, inter alia: collecting adequate data; ensuring all migrants have legal proof of identity; saving lives and establishing coordinated international efforts on missing migrants; strengthening the transnational response to smuggling and trafficking; managing borders in an integrated manner; and giving migrants access to basic services. The compact also includes a follow-up and review mechanism.

      Crucially, while acknowledging states’ shared responsibilities, the compact reaffirms their sovereign right to determine their national migration policies and to govern migration within their jurisdictions. It also stresses that the compact’s implementation will account for different national realities, capacities and levels of development; and will respect national policies and priorities.

      Given such lenient and largely unthreatening policy objectives, what’s behind the growing resentment?

      First, after only recently appearing on the radar of political parties in Europe and internationally, the compact now seems to offer a golden opportunity for populist parties and opinion-makers to push their claims that nations are losing control over their sovereignty and borders. Ironically, the same parties that now criticize the compact have traditionally challenged national governments for not taking sufficiently coordinated action to manage irregular migration, migrant smuggling and human trafficking, or for addressing the growing number of migrant fatalities at sea. The compact represents a foundation for such coordinated action.

      Its most vocal opponents claim, among other things, that the compact does not sufficiently distinguish between legal and illegal migration, that it mixes up the rights of asylum seekers with those of economic migrants, or even stipulates the number of migrants that each member state will need to accept. All this is strictly contradicted in the compact itself.

      Nevertheless, such unfounded criticism has eventually led many governments to adopt a low profile, avoid media exposure and be represented at the Marrakech conference next week at a much less senior level than anticipated. One notable exception is German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has intensified efforts to reassure “concerned citizens” and to reaffirm that the compact aims to strengthen the protection of national borders rather than weaken them.

      Also worthy of mention is E.U. migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos’s Dec. 4 warning that withdrawal from the compact could hamper cooperation with third countries to control migration and send mixed messages about the E.U.’s resolve to cooperate on an equal basis with its African partners to address future migration challenges. While the E.U. of course has its own cooperation channels and modalities with key migration origin and transit countries, particularly on development and migration management policies, there is little doubt the Global Compact would open additional avenues for the E.U. (and indeed other U.N. member states) to engage in more informal, multistakeholder and non donor-dominated discussions on a range of migration-related policy initiatives.

      The second point that needs be stressed, particularly with respect to the E.U., is that the compact bears no comparison to some of the remarkably more constraining transnational legal and policy frameworks on migration adopted over the past decade. In particular, there have been a wide array of E.U. directives on immigration (legal and irregular), migrant integration policies, migrant smuggling, trafficking in human beings and a range of related policy areas that have been regulated at European Union, rather than member state, level after the E.U. executive gained increased competences to legislate in this field.

      Of course, the E.U. has a history of controversial policy interventions on migration. However, with the exception of the E.U. refugee relocation program, which has generated limited consensus among member states, and of the United Kingdom and Denmark’s decision to opt out of some of the E.U.’s most stringent migration policy instruments, to date none of the bloc’s migration-related policies, including those that were legally binding and requiring transposition into national law, has generated as much turmoil as the U.N. Global Compact for Migration.

      The compact may have some inherent weaknesses, such as not sufficiently demonstrating that it will be relevant and actionable in member states with such contrasting migration features and policy approaches. Doubts also persist on the levels of financial resources that will be allocated to implement such a nonbinding and largely aspirational policy framework.

      It remains that the agreement to be signed next week need not become a cause for concern for any member of society, and even less so be used as a scapegoat by potentially ill-intentioned or ill-informed commentators. Despite its nonbinding nature, the Global Compact looks set to establish some potentially innovative ways for all key stakeholders – in government, civil society and the private sector – to communicate and cooperate on a range of contemporary migration issues.

      At this stage, what should really matter is the degree of genuine commitment signatory parties will express in the next few years and the quality and political clout of the follow-up and review mechanisms to be established after the compact is adopted. All the rest is unnecessary and unhelpful noise.

      https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/community/2018/12/05/whats-to-fear-in-the-u-n-global-compact-for-migration

    • Dispute over UN migration pact fractures Belgian government

      Belgium’s center-right government is fighting for its survival this week after the largest coalition party broke away from its three partners and said it would not back a global U.N.-backed migration pact.

      The right-wing N-VA party started a social media campaign against the migration pact Tuesday, more than two months after Prime Minister Charles Michel pledged he would sign the pact for Belgium at a meeting next week in Marrakech, Morocco.

      Instead of a coalition breakup, Michel announced late Tuesday he would take the issue to parliament for vote in the days to come.

      “I want parliament to have its say,” Michel said, staving off an immediate collapse of the government that has been in power for three years. “I have the intention to go to Marrakech and let the position of the parliament be known.”

      Michel’s statement came at the end of a hectic day dominated by an anti-pact social media campaign by the N-VA, of the biggest coalition partner.

      The in-your-face campaign featured pictures of Muslim women with their faces covered and stated the U.N. pact focused on enabling migrants to retain the cultural practices of their homelands.

      The party quickly withdrew the materials after the campaign received widespread criticism.

      “We made an error,” N-VA leader Bart De Wever told VRT network.

      De Wever apologized for the pictures of women wearing face-covering niqab in western Europe, but immediately added “these pictures are not fake. You can take pictures like this every day in Brussels. It is the stark reality.”

      Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel pledged at United Nations headquarters in September that he would go to a meeting in Marrakech, Morocco where the U.N.’s Global Compact Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is to be signed next week.

      Amid the N-VA upheaval, a Cabinet meeting was canceled Tuesday afternoon and Michel resumed consultations with vice-premiers looking for a way out of the crisis.

      Remarking on the party’s withdrawn campaign, Christian Democrat Vice Premier Kris Peeters said: “I only have one word for this — indecent.”

      Even with the parliamentary vote, the options for ensuring the government’s survival were slimming down.

      The United Nations says the compact will promote safe and orderly migration and reduce human smuggling and trafficking.

      The N-VA said it would force Belgium into making immigration concessions. “In our democracy, we decide. The sovereignty is with the people,” the party said in a statement.

      Many experts said the accord is non-binding, but the N-VA said it still went too far and would give even migrants who were in Belgium illegally many additional rights.

      The U.N. compact was finalized in July with only the U.S. staying out. Several European nations have since pulled out of signing the accord during the Dec. 10-11 conference in Morocco.

      https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/belgian-government-fights-for-survival-over-un-migrants-pact

      #Belgique

    • Le pacte migratoire de l’ONU sème la discorde

      191 pays ont approuvé un accord sur la migration échafaudé par l’ONU. Ce jeudi à Berne, les Chambres devraient empoigner le pacte qui en découle, sous tension, et les pays favorables l’adopteront bientôt au Maroc. Histoire d’un texte controversé

      L’Europe s’est-elle remise de la crise migratoire de 2015 ? A voir les résistances qui ont émergé ces dernières semaines contre l’adoption du Pacte mondial de l’ONU sur les migrations, qui doit être formellement adopté à Marrakech le 11 décembre, il est permis d’en douter. Le pacte suscite un déferlement de propos haineux, voire complotistes. A l’ONU, on enregistre avec incompréhension, voire avec une once de panique, les critiques virulentes qui font florès, surtout en Europe. Le pacte est-il devenu un monstre qu’on ne contrôlerait plus ? Sur les 191 pays qui avaient accepté l’accord sur un tel pacte à New York en juillet dernier, seuls deux tiers disent désormais vouloir se rendre au Maroc. Les volte-face se multiplient.

      #Libre_circulation_mondiale

      Mercredi, en Belgique, le premier ministre, Charles Michel, a évité de peu une possible chute de son gouvernement. Au sein de la coalition gouvernementale, le parti flamand N-VA s’oppose avec véhémence au pacte. Le parlement belge a finalement apporté son soutien au premier ministre. Le mouvement des « gilets jaunes » en France, qui est aussi divers que peu structuré, est également happé par la vague anti-pacte. Sur Facebook, des « gilets jaunes » disent vouloir empêcher le président Emmanuel Macron de se rendre à Marrakech. Selon eux, le pacte va créer « un #chaos total » et permettra à quelque 900 000 migrants (voire 4 millions d’entre eux selon certains) d’entrer en France.

      Ils réclament la destitution du chef de l’Elysée. A l’image de l’UDC en Suisse, qui estime à tort que l’adoption du pacte équivaudrait à instaurer une libre circulation mondiale des personnes, les républicains et le Rassemblement national de Marine Le Pen en France soufflent aussi sur les braises. Ce samedi, cette dernière participera à Bruxelles à un meeting du parti nationaliste flamand Vlaams Belang en compagnie de Steve Bannon, l’ex-chef stratège de Donald Trump et héraut du souverainisme.

      Un pacte épouvantail de la #globalisation

      Des « gilets jaunes » allemands réunis sous la bannière du mouvement #Pegida à Berlin ont véhiculé le même type de message, exigeant la démission de la chancelière Angela Merkel, laquelle s’était distinguée en autorisant l’arrivée sur sol allemand d’un million de migrants de Syrie en 2015. L’onde de choc ne s’arrête pas là. Si Budapest a tout de suite exprimé son opposition au pacte onusien, d’autres pays de l’Europe de l’Est et du centre ont suivi : la #Bulgarie, la #Pologne, la #République_tchèque et l’Autriche. En #Slovaquie, le ministre des Affaires étrangères, qui soutenait le pacte, a démissionné face au refus de son gouvernement.

      En Italie, le ministre de l’Intérieur et chef de file du parti d’extrême droite de la Lega, Matteo Salvini, a été catégorique : « Le gouvernement italien, comme les Suisses qui ont porté à bout de bras le pacte avant de faire marche arrière, ne signera rien et n’ira pas à Marrakech. C’est le parlement qui devra en débattre. » Le pacte est devenu une sorte d’épouvantail de la globalisation dont se sont saisis les mouvements populistes et extrémistes. La bataille symbolise celle qui oppose désormais violemment les élites globalisées et les populations qui estiment subir la #mondialisation.

      Aux Etats-Unis, l’opposition de l’administration de Donald Trump n’est pas surprenante tant sa politique migratoire ultra-restrictive est le moyen de cimenter une base électorale remontée contre ce que le président appelle le « #globalisme ». L’#Australie, #Israël mettent aussi les pieds au mur. Même la #République_dominicaine s’est ralliée au camp du refus, craignant que les centaines de Haïtiens tentant chaque jour de franchir la frontière puissent venir s’établir sans problème dans le pays.

      Souveraineté intacte

      Ce pacte, juridiquement non contraignant, ne touche pas à la #souveraineté des Etats. Il ne contraint aucun pays à modifier sa #politique_migratoire, aussi dure soit-elle. Sert-il dès lors à quelque chose ? Il remplit un vide. Aucun cadre n’existait pour améliorer la coordination internationale du phénomène global de la migration. Avec ses 23 objectifs, il vise à encourager les potentiels migrants à rester dans leur pays d’origine en traitant au mieux les problèmes structurels qui les poussent à partir. Il prévoit une feuille de route que les Etats peuvent utiliser ou non pour gérer les 260 millions de migrants qui se déplacent chaque année. Il veut améliorer les voies de migration régulières.

      Face à cette #rébellion inattendue, la haut-commissaire de l’ONU aux Droits de l’homme, Michelle Bachelet, a déclaré hier à Genève : « Certains responsables politiques n’agissent pas en leaders. Ils suivent les sondages. » Directeur de l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations, le Portugais Antonio Vitorino exprime lui aussi son courroux : « Nous assistons de la part de certains secteurs politiques à la #manipulation, à la distorsion des objectifs du pacte. On a la sensation que la migration est devenue le #bouc_émissaire des problèmes culturels et sociaux. »

      https://www.letemps.ch/monde/pacte-migratoire-lonu-seme-discorde
      #populisme

    • European governments in melt-down over an inoffensive migration compact

      IT WAS LIKE watching paint dry, or other people’s children play baseball. Last month Gert Raudsep, an Estonian actor, spent two hours on prime-time television reading out the text of a UN migration agreement. Estonia’s government was tottering over whether to pull out of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, to give it its full name. So Mr Raudsep was invited to present the source of the discord to worried viewers. Thoughts of weary migrants from Africa and Latin America kept him going, he said. “But my eyes got a bit tired.”

      Mr Raudsep’s recital made for dull viewing because the compact is a dull document. Its 23 “objectives” are peppered with vague declarations, platitudes and split differences. Partly in the spirit of other global agreements like the Paris climate deal, it encourages states to co-operate on tricky cross-border matters without forcing them to do anything. It urges governments to treat migrants properly, but also to work together on sending them home when necessary. At best it helps build the trust between “sending” and “receiving” countries that is the foundation of any meaningful international migration policy.

      None of this has prevented European governments from melting down over it. In the end Estonia resolved its row; it will join more than 180 other countries in Marrakesh on December 10th-11th to adopt the compact. But so far at least ten others, including seven from Europe, have followed the lead of Donald Trump and pulled out of a deal that they helped negotiate. The agreement is agitating parliaments, sparking protests and splintering coalitions; Belgium’s is on the verge of collapse. More withdrawals may follow.

      Why the fuss? The text explicitly states that governments retain the sovereign right to make immigration policy. But critics say that cannot be trusted. Although the compact is not legally binding, they argue it is “soft law” that might one day be used to press governments into hard commitments, such as acknowledging a “human right” to migration or expanding the grounds for asylum.

      This is, largely, codswallop. The compact is hardly perfect; the drafters should have refrained from urging governments to “educate” journalists on migration, for example, or to hold “culinary festivals” to celebrate multiculturalism. Yet until cynical politicians started paying attention, the main charge the compact faced was toothlessness. Most of the political arguments against it emerged after governments had already approved the draft in July.

      That suggests other forces are at work. In Slovakia, the compact stirred passions only after the speaker of parliament, embroiled in a plagiarism scandal, sought a way to change the subject. The government has since withdrawn from the compact, which led the foreign minister, a former president of the UN General Assembly, to offer his resignation. In Germany a row over the compact, triggered by the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), has forced the candidates running to succeed Angela Merkel as leader of the Christian Democratic Union to declare themselves: for or against? (The party chooses her successor on December 7th.) Now the AfD boasts, correctly, that its ideas have infiltrated the mainstream.

      As has become depressingly routine in Europe, the row over the UNcompact has little to do with its ostensible target and everything to do with the smouldering embers of a culture war that the drastic reduction in illegal immigration since the surge of 2015 has failed to extinguish. (A pointless spat over border controls nearly destroyed Mrs Merkel’s coalition earlier this year.) Immigration remains a potent topic for the right; the trouble in Belgium started when the country’s largest party, the nationalist New Flemish Alliance, began a social-media campaign against the compact, replete with imagery of women in niqabs and the like (it later apologised). But in the absence of a genuine crisis to mobilise support, fake problems must be confected. The UN compact is a sitting duck. There is no downside to hammering a multilateral agreement on a controversial subject negotiated by obscure officials in air-conditioned rooms abroad. That it was agreed by governments in plain sight, with parliamentarians invited to participate, is by-the-by.
      Displacement activity

      In Berlin, where outrage over the compact took the establishment by surprise, some say the government should have forcefully made the case for it as soon as it was agreed. Instead, caught on the back foot, Mrs Merkel and other defenders of the deal are locked into an awkward argument: that fears about the compact are overblown because it is not legally binding, but that it is also an important tool for managing migration. Yet aside from Mrs Merkel’s perennial reluctance to lead rather than react to debates, arguing for the deal earlier would simply have given opponents a bigger target and more time to shoot at it. A more sobering conclusion is that, for now, it has become impossible to have a level-headed conversation about managing migration in Europe.

      UN insiders profess themselves frustrated but unbowed by the string of withdrawals. (Many blame Sebastian Kurz, the Austrian chancellor, whose decision in October to pull out inspired several others to follow.) Although the idea for the compact was drawn up just after Europe’s refugee crisis of 2015-16—indeed, partly at the request of panicked European leaders—its provisions are global. Europe’s navel-gazing arguments have little bearing on the lot of Bangladeshi workers in the Gulf or Zimbabweans in South Africa.

      True enough. But Europe’s rejectionist governments are shooting themselves in the foot nonetheless. Even a hard-headed policy of tough border controls, swift return of illegal immigrants and encouraging would-be migrants to stay home obliges governments to work with others, if only to strike grubby repatriation deals. Building trust by sticking to international commitments lays the foundations for that. That so many governments are choosing to do precisely the opposite does not inspire hope that Europe is groping towards a more sensible migration policy.


      https://www.economist.com/europe/2018/12/08/european-governments-in-melt-down-over-an-inoffensive-migration-compact

      #dessin_de_presse #caricature

    • Under far-right pressure, Europe retreats from UN migration pact

      A previously obscure 34-page, jargon-filled document is causing political convulsions across Europe — even though it’s not even legally binding.

      Italy this week became the latest in a string of European countries to say it would not sign the U.N.’s Global Compact on Migration at a ceremony in Marrakech in just under two weeks. From the Netherlands through Belgium and Germany to Slovakia, the pact has triggered infighting in ruling parties and governments, with at least one administration close to breaking point.

      The fight over the pact illuminates how migration remains a combustible issue across the Continent, three years after the 2015 refugee crisis and with next May’s European Parliament election on the horizon. Far-right parties keen to make migration the key campaign issue have seized on the pact while some mainstream parties have sought to steal their thunder by turning against the agreement. Liberals and centrists, meanwhile, have found themselves on the defensive — arguing that the agreement poses no harm and migration is best handled through international cooperation.

      Louise Arbour, the senior U.N. official overseeing the pact, said she is surprised by the controversy, as diplomats from 180 countries — including many that have now pulled out — signed off on the text last summer after two years of negotiations.

      The initiative was launched at the request of Europe after the migration surge of 2015, Arbour said. The countries now having “second thoughts or misgivings” were very active during the negotiations and “extracted compromises from the others,” she told POLITICO in an interview.

      Arbour, a former Canadian judge and U.N. human rights commissioner, said the recent backtracking illustrates a clear “disconnect” between some countries’ foreign policies “and domestic pressures or national concerns that were not included into the process.”

      She stressed the compact is not binding and, after its formal adoption next month, “there is not a single member state that is obligated to do anything that it doesn’t want to.”

      The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, to give it its full name, sets out a “cooperative framework” for dealing with international migration. Signatories agree, for example, to limit the pressure on countries with many migrants and to promote the self-reliance of newcomers. The document states that no country can address migration alone, while also upholding “the sovereignty of States and their obligations under international law.”

      That assurance has not been enough to placate many in Europe. Hungary, whose Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has made anti-migrant policies his signature issue, pulled out while the pact was being negotiated. But the recent wave of European withdrawals was triggered by conservative Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who renounced the pact at the end of October.

      Heinz-Christian Strache, the leader of the far-right Freedom Party, Kurz’s coalition partner, declared that “Austria must remain sovereign on migration” and said the country is “playing a leading role in Europe.” At least in terms of the pact, that turned out to be true with Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Estonia and Switzerland all following Vienna’s lead. (Croatia caused confusion after its president declared she would not sign the document but the government later said a minister would go to Marrakech and support the adoption of the pact.)
      Bratislava, Berlin and beyond

      Slovakia is among the most recent countries to withdraw its support for the pact. After an EU summit on Sunday, Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini said Bratislava would not support the pact “under any circumstances and will not agree with it.”

      Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák on Thursday said he would resign after parliament decided to reject the pact. Lajčák was president of the U.N. General Assembly when the migration pact was adopted.

      Populist parties in other countries have forced the pact to the top of the political agenda. The Dutch government under Prime Minister Mark Rutte has come under pressure from far-right leaders, including Geert Wilders and Thierry Baudet, who refers to the agreement as the “U.N. Immigration Pact.” The government ordered a legal analysis of the text last week to ensure that signing it will not entail any legal consequences. The Cabinet finally decided on Thursday that it would support the pact, but would add an extra declaration, a so-called explanation of position, to prevent unintended legal consequences.

      In Germany, the pact has become an issue in the battle to succeed Angela Merkel — the EU politician most associated with a more liberal approach to migration — as leader of the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Two of the leading contenders for the post, Jens Spahn and Friedrich Merz, have both criticized the agreement and called for it to be amended.

      The German chancellor mounted a spirited defense of the pact, telling the Bundestag last week that the agreement is in Germany’s national interest as it will encourage better conditions for refugees and migrants elsewhere in the world.

      Arbour argued that although the pact is not legally binding, it is still worthwhile. “The pact is a major cooperation project ... a political initiative to align initiatives for the common benefit,” she said.

      But such arguments cut little ice with the WerteUnion ("Union of Values"), a group of thousands of conservative members of the CDU and its Bavarian sister party. It takes issue with multiple sections of the pact, such as a declaration that migrants “regardless of their status, can exercise their human rights through safe access to basic services.” The group argues that as German social benefits are high, such a commitment would encourage migrants to come to Germany.

      In Belgium, the pact has put liberal Prime Minister Charles Michel’s coalition government at risk. The Flemish nationalist N-VA, the biggest party in government, has demanded Belgium withdraw from the agreement. Michel is caught between his commitment to the pact and his coalition partner’s rejection of it — while seeking to fend off a Francophone opposition that will take any opportunity to portray him as a puppet of the Flemish nationalists ahead of federal, regional and European elections next May.

      Searching for a way to keep his government afloat, Michel has been consulting with a handful of European countries including Denmark, Estonia, the U.K. and Norway, to produce a joint statement to be attached to the pact, according to Belgian media. Another idea is for several of those countries to join the Netherlands in signing a common “explanation of position,” Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant reported.

      Arbour said it’s too late to start making changes to the pact itself. Renegotiating the text or attaching an extra statement is “not what other [countries] have signed up to,” she said.

      https://www.politico.eu/article/migration-un-viktor-orban-sebastian-kurz-far-right-pressure-europe-retreats

    • Apparemment, la #Suisse a soutenu le pacte, mais je ne comprends pas pourquoi elle a soutenu à New York, mais pas à Marrakech... reste le mystère pour moi, si je trouve la réponse à ma question, je la posterai ici.

      La CFM salue le soutien de la Suisse au Pacte mondial sur les réfugiés

      La Commission fédérale des migrations CFM salue le vote par la Suisse du Pacte mondial sur les réfugiés à l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU.

      Ce document marque la volonté internationale de mieux répondre aux défis des exodes de réfugiés. Il a le grand mérite de présenter un projet cohérent afin de soulager la pression sur les pays qui accueillent les réfugiés, de renforcer l’autonomie des réfugiés, de développer l’accès aux possibilités de réinstallation dans des pays tiers et de promouvoir les conditions permettant aux réfugiés de rentrer dans leurs pays d’origine lorsque cela redevient possible.

      Ce document n’est pas contraignant pour les États et ne va pas au-delà des engagements internationaux existants liés à la Convention de 1951 et au protocole de 1967 qui règlent les modalités d’accueil des réfugiés. Il marque cependant une volonté forte de la Communauté internationale déjà exprimée dans la déclaration de New York de 2016. Le pacte met en avant la nécessité de trouver des solutions globales et collectives au plan international pour soulager les souffrances des réfugiés au moyen de différents instruments allant de l’aide sur place à la réinstallation des plus vulnérables. Il institue un #Forum_Global_sur_les_réfugiés qui réunira tous les quatre ans des délégations de haut niveau et favorisera le dialogue et la mise en œuvre de projets communs. Cette volonté de favoriser une réponse globale et solidaire à l’échelle mondiale correspond à la tradition humanitaire de la Suisse et doit être saluée.

      https://www.ekm.admin.ch/ekm/fr/home/aktuell/stellungnahmen/2018/2018-12-14.html

    • Pacte migratoire : une large coalition de sympathisants anti-islam, extrême droite et néo-nazis a influencé les partis traditionnels en Europe

      Sur le site d’information POLITICO Europe (https://www.politico.eu/article/united-nations-migration-pact-how-got-trolled) deux chercheurs universitaires – #Laurens_Cerulus et #Eline_Schaart – racontent la virulente campagne en ligne de nombreux activistes d’#extrême_droite contre le Pacte migratoire de l’ONU. Elle a réussi à influencer les principaux partis traditionnels en Europe.

      Depuis le mois de septembre dernier une coalition de sympathisants #anti-islam, extrême droite et #néo-nazis s’est mobilisée sur les #réseaux_sociaux contre le Pacte migratoire. Le texte non contraignant n’avait jusque là pas inquiété les gouvernements, régulièrement consultés durant le processus de rédaction à l’ONU.

      Analyse du #cyber_activisme de groupuscules d’extrême droite

      L’intensité des interventions coordonnées sur Twitter notamment, les nombreuses vidéos et les pétitions en ligne, ont incité les responsables politiques de plusieurs pays à revenir en arrière sur leurs positions initiales. En Suisse, le Conseil fédéral a fait marche arrière sur son engagement favorable initial et a demandé au parlement de se prononcer. En Belgique, la controverse a conduit à la chute du gouvernement.

      Selon Laurens Cerulus et Eline Schaart, l’engouement initial quasi planétaire autour du Pacte migratoire – seuls les Etats-Unis et la Hongrie s’étaient initialement opposés au Pacte migratoire – a été stoppé par les attaques d’un réseau mondial de militants nationalistes d’extrême droite.

      Elles ont été menées par des “youtuber” populaires et des influenceurs politiques d’extrême droite comme l’activiste autrichien Martin Sellner. Ces efforts ont été coordonnés via des groupes de discussion et des sites Web hyper-partisans. Sur YouTube, les vidéos de Sellner figurent en tête de liste des clips les plus regardés, selon Tagesschau, un journal télévisé de la chaîne publique allemande.

      Ico Maly chercheur et enseignant sur les nouveaux médias et la politique à l’Université de Tilburg aux Pays-Bas est du même avis, selon lui les partis nationalistes du monde entier agissent ensembles sur des réseaux spécifiques. Tous ces acteurs s’informent mutuellement et adoptent les mêmes positions politiques.

      L’Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), un centre d’information et de recherche contre l’extrémisme basé à Londres surveille les activités de certains groupuscules sur internet et est arrivé à la même constatation, les comptes des médias sociaux gérés par le site Web Epoch Times, celui du chroniqueur populiste de droite Thomas Böhm, qui dirige le site d’information journalistenwatch.com et le blog anti-islam Philosophia Perennis figurent tous parmi les 10 comptes les plus cités dans plus d’un million de tweets analysés dans le monde après le 31 octobre, expliquent Laurens Cerulus et Eline Schaart.

      Que votera le parlement suisse ?

      Le 19 décembre dernier lors du vote à l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU, 152 pays ont approuvé l’accord. Les États-Unis, la Hongrie, Israël, la République tchèque et la Pologne ont voté contre le texte, 12 autres pays se sont abstenus (l’Algérie, l’Australie, l’Autriche, la Bulgarie, le Chili, l’Italie, la Lettonie, la Libye, le Liechtenstein, la Roumanie, Singapour et la Suisse) tandis que 24 autres pays membres n’ont pas pris part au vote.

      En Suisse trop de politiciens ont été lamentablement influencés par des groupuscules ignares, désinformés et xénophobes. Ils auront bientôt la possibilité de démontrer leur confiance dans les avis déjà exprimés des experts suisses en matière de migration (1).

      Le 14 décembre, le Conseil fédéral décidait de mandaté le Département fédéral des affaires étrangères (DFAE) pour préparer un arrêté fédéral simple permettant aux chambres de se prononcer sur la signature ou non par la Suisse de ce pacte onusien. Le DFAE a jusqu’à fin 2019 pour préparer l’arrêté.

      On espère qu’il parviendra à convaincre car le texte ne crée pas de droit à la migration mais réaffirme simplement et justement le respect des droit fondamentaux des personnes migrantes. Je vous recommande la lecture de l’article de Laurens Cerulus et Eline Schaart dans POLITICO, How the UN Migration Pact got trolled.
      https://blogs.letemps.ch/jasmine-caye/2019/01/08/pacte-migratoire-une-large-coalition-de-sympathisants-anti-islam-extre

  • #métaliste (qui va être un grand chantier, car il y a plein d’information sur seenthis, qu’il faudrait réorganiser) sur :
    #externalisation #contrôles_frontaliers #frontières #migrations #réfugiés

    Des liens vers des articles généraux sur l’externalisation des frontières de la part de l’ #UE (#EU) :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/569305
    https://seenthis.net/messages/390549
    https://seenthis.net/messages/320101

    Ici une tentative (très mal réussie, car évidement, la divergence entre pratiques et les discours à un moment donné, ça se voit !) de l’UE de faire une brochure pour déconstruire les mythes autour de la migration...
    La question de l’externalisation y est abordée dans différentes parties de la brochure :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/765967

    Petit chapitre/encadré sur l’externalisation des frontières dans l’ouvrage "(Dé)passer la frontière" :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/769367

    Les origines de l’externalisation des contrôles frontaliers (maritimes) : accord #USA-#Haïti de #1981 :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/768694

    L’externalisation des politiques européennes en matière de migration
    https://seenthis.net/messages/787450

    "#Sous-traitance" de la #politique_migratoire en Afrique : l’Europe a-t-elle les mains propres ?
    https://seenthis.net/messages/789048

    Partners in crime ? The impacts of Europe’s outsourced migration controls on peace, stability and rights :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/794636
    #paix #stabilité #droits #Libye #Niger #Turquie

    Proceedings of the conference “Externalisation of borders : detention practices and denial of the right to asylum”
    https://seenthis.net/messages/880193