• Pandora papers in Montenegro
    https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/aree/Montenegro/Pandora-papers-in-Montenegro-213230

    Paradisi fiscali e patriottismo vanno mano nella mano in Montenegro. La recente inchiesta denominata Pandora papers vede coinvolti anche i Đukanović, padre e figlio. Le inchieste dei giornalisti di Mans hanno rivelato società offshore non dichiarate

  • Populations croisées dans le Sandjak de Novi Pazar en 2008
    https://visionscarto.net/sandjak-de-novi-pazar

    Titre : Populations croisées dans le Sandjak de Novi Pazar en 2008 Mots-clés : #minorités #yougoslavie #ex-yougoslavie #monténégro #serbie Contexte : « La boîte de Pandore des frontières balkaniques : Simple corridor ou carrefour d’échanges ? » dans le Monde diplomatique de janvier 2008 page 14 et 15 Source : - Auteur : Philippe Rekacewicz Date : 2008 #Musée_et_archives

  • #Monténégro : les #boues_rouges du #KAP, une #bombe_écologique à retardement - Le Courrier des Balkans
    https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Montenegro-les-boues-rouges-du-KAP-une-bombe-ecologique-a-retarde

    | PDF | Réagissez

    C’est une bombe écologique à retardement. Les deux bassins de boues rouges du Combinat d’#aluminium de Podgorica, au Monténégro, menacent directement les riverains et le milieu fragile du lac de Skadar. La #privatisation et la vente à la découpe de l’entreprise ont favorisé toutes les magouilles. Enquête.

    #pollution #bauxite #plans_sociaux #métaux_lourds #antisyndicalisme #eau #alimentation #santé #terres_rares #criminalité_en_col_blanc #banque_mondiale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    2021 started with more allegations and revelations.

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

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

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

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

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

    Policing Europe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Fortification of the borders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    EU accused of externalizing issues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Playing by whose rules?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    A question of standards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ‘Monitoring from the air’

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Pressed further, he declined to comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    https://kosovotwopointzero.com/en/the-fortified-gates-of-the-balkans

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

    –—

    ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749
    Et plus particulièrement ici :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message782649

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • Is Frontex involved in illegal ’pushbacks’ in the Balkans ?

    Refugees and migrants in Greece trying to reach western Europe have accused EU border protection agency Frontex of taking part in illegal deportations known as “pushbacks.” DW reports.

    Ali al-Ebrahim fled in 2018 from Manbij, a Syrian city that was under Kurdish control, to escape being forced to fight in the conflict.

    Al-Ebrahim, now 22, first tried his luck in Turkey. When he arrived in Antakya, not far from the Syrian border, Turkish authorities took his details and sent him back home without citing any reasons, the young Syrian man says in very good English. He explains that this meant he was banned from legally entering Turkey again for five years.

    Nevertheless, al-Ebrahim decided to try again, this time with the aim of reaching Greece. He managed to make his way to Turkey’s Aegean coastline and eventually reached the Greek island of Leros in a rubber dinghy. When he applied for asylum, however, his application was rejected on the grounds that Turkey was a safe third country.

    But al-Ebrahim was not able to return to Turkey, and certainly not Syria — though this was of no interest to Greek authorities. “The new Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is very strict when it comes to migrants,” he says. “So I decided to go to Albania.”
    Uniforms with the EU flag

    Al-Ebrahim says that in September 2020, he traveled by bus with five others to the northern Greek city of Ioannina, and then walked to the Albanian border without encountering any Greek police.

    But, he says, staff from the EU border protection agency Frontex stopped them in Albania and handed them over to Albanian authorities in the border town of Kakavia. When asked how he knew they were Frontex officials, al-Ebrahim replies, “I could tell from their armbands.”

    Frontex staff wear light-blue armbands with the EU flag on them.
    €5,000 to reach Austria

    Al-Ebrahim says that he and the other migrants asked the Albanian authorities for asylum but were told that the coronavirus pandemic made it impossible to file any new asylum applications. They were then just sent back to Greece without the Greek authorities being notified, he says.

    Al-Ebrahim had more luck on the second attempt. He managed to travel to the Albanian capital, Tirana, and then on to Serbia via Kosovo.

    His interview with DW takes place at a refugee camp in the Serbian city of Sombor, near the Hungarian border. Al-Ebrahim says he wants to travel on through Hungary into Austria, but the traffickers charge €5,000 to get as far as the Austrian border.

    Detention instead of asylum

    Hope Barker has heard many similar stories before. She coordinates the project “Wave - Thessaloniki,” which provides migrants traveling the Balkan route with food, medical care and legal advice. Barker tells DW that the northern Greek city was a safe haven until the new conservative government took office in summer 2019.

    In January 2020, a draconian new law came into effect in Greece. According to Barker, it allows authorities to detain asylum seekers for up to 18 months without reviewing their cases — and detention can then be extended for another 18 months.

    “So you can be held in detention for three years without any action on your case if you ask for asylum,” says Baker.

    Pushbacks by Frontex?

    Baker tells DW that the illegal deportation of migrants, known as “pushbacks,” happen both at the borders and further inland. Migrants trying to reach western Europe avoid any contact with Greek authorities.

    Refugee aid organizations say there have been “lots of pushbacks” at the border with North Macedonia and Albania. Baker says that witnesses have reported hearing those involved speaking German, for example, and seeing the EU insignia on their blue armbands.

    Frontex rejects allegations

    Baker says that it is, nonetheless, difficult to prove pushbacks at the Greek border because of the confusing situation, but she adds that they know that Frontex is active in Albania and that there are pushbacks on a daily basis across the River Evros that flows through Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey and forms a large part of the border. “We know that pushbacks are happening daily. So, to think that they don’t know or are not at all involved in those practices seems beyond belief,” says Baker.

    A Frontex spokesman told DW that the agency had investigated some of the allegations and “found no credible evidence to support any of them.”

    Frontex added that its staff was bound by a code of conduct, which explicitly calls for the “prevention of refoulement and the upholding of human rights, all in line with the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.”

    “We are fully committed to protecting fundamental rights,” it added.

    Border protection from beyond the EU

    So why does the European border protection agency protect an external border of the European Union from the Albanian side? “The main aim of the operation is to support border control, help tackle irregular migration, as well as cross-border crime, including migrant smuggling, trafficking in human beings and terrorism, and identify possible risks and threats related to security,” said Frontex to DW.

    Frontex also said that cooperation with countries in the western Balkans was one of its priorities. “The agency supports them in complying with EU standards and best practices in border management and security,” the spokesman said.

    Yet it is worthwhile taking a look at another part of Greece’s border. While military and police officers are omnipresent at the Greek-Turkish border and are supported by Frontex staff, you seldom encounter any uniforms in the mountains between Greece and Albania. As a result, this route is regarded as safe by refugees and migrants who want to travel onward to western Europe via Greece.

    The route west

    Many migrants travel from Thessaloniki to the picturesque town of Kastoria, about 30 kilometers outside Albania. “There, the police pick us up from the bus and take us to the Albanian border,” Zakarias tells DW at the Wave Center in Thessaloniki. He is Moroccan and arrived in Greece via Turkey.

    But at this point, these are just rumors.

    That afternoon the men get on the bus. Another Moroccan man, 46-year-old Saleh Rosa, is among them. He has been in Greece for a year and was homeless for a long time in Thessaloniki. “Greece is a good country, but I cannot live here,” Rosa tells DW. He aims to reach western Europe via Albania, Kosovo, Serbia and then Hungary.

    Ominous police checks

    Police stop the bus shortly before its arrival in Kastoria. There is a parked police car with uniformed officers. Two men in plain clothes board the bus, claiming to be police. Without showing any ID, they target the foreigners, detaining Saleh, Zakarias and their companions.

    At around 11pm that same evening, the migrants send a WhatsApp message and their Google coordinates. They say that the men in plainclothes have taken them to a place some 15 kilometers from the Albanian border, but within Greece. Later in the Albanian capital, Tirana, DW met with Rosa again, who stresses that his papers were not checked in Greece.

    Conflicting accounts

    When asked by DW, Greek police authorities confirmed the existence of the plain-clothed officers and the roadside check. But then their account diverges from that of the two men. Police said they wanted to check if the migrants were legally permitted to be in Greece and they were released once this was confirmed.

    But the migrants say that Saleh Rosa was the only one with the papers to stay in Greece legally and that the other men were unregistered. Moreover, there is a curfew in Greece because of COVID-19. You are only allowed to travel from one district to another in exceptional cases. Even if they had been carrying papers, the men should have been fined.

    The police refused to comment on that.

    https://www.dw.com/en/is-frontex-involved-in-illegal-pushbacks-in-the-balkans/a-56141370

    #Frontex #Balkans #route_des_balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #push-backs #refoulements #Albanie #Serbie #Kosovo #Sombor #Hongrie #Macédoine_du_Nord #Evros #Grèce

    –---

    voir aussi les accusations envers Frontex de refoulement en #Mer_Egée :
    Migrations : l’agence européenne #Frontex mise en cause pour des #refoulements en mer
    https://seenthis.net/messages/882952

    • Frontex confronted with allegations of violence in North Macedonia

      Allegations that officials deployed on Frontex operations have participated in or condoned violence against people on the move in North Macedonia must be investigated, says a letter (https://www.statewatch.org/media/2494/letter-to-frontex-sw-and-bvmn.pdf) sent to Frontex today by #Statewatch and #Border_Violence_Monitoring_Network (#BVMN).

      Allegations that officials deployed on Frontex operations have participated in or condoned violence against people on the move in North Macedonia must be investigated, says a letter sent to Frontex today by Statewatch and Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN).

      Since September 2019, volunteers for BVMN have gathered five separate testimonies from people pushed back from North Macedonia to Greece alleging the presence of Frontex officers on North Macedonian territory, where the agency has no legal authority to act. The reports involve a total of 130 people.

      The testimonies include allegations that officers deployed by Frontex engaged in or condoned brutal violence – including the use of tasers and electroshock batons, throwing people into rivers, and tying people up and beating them.

      Frontex says it has no records of any such incidents. The agency’s press office said to Statewatch last month that “Frontex does not have any operational activities at the land border from the North Macedonian side,” and “is only present on the Greek side of the border.”

      The letter, addressed to Frontex’s executive director, the new Fundamental Rights Officer, and the agency’s Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights, calls for a thorough investigation into the allegations to clarify the facts and ensure appropriate action against any individuals found to have engaged in, condoned or consented to violence and/or to have acted on North Macedonian territory.

      The violence allegedly meted out or condoned by Frontex officials is part of a broader wave of violence against people on the move through North Macedonia. Since February 2019, BVMN volunteers have gathered 37 reports of pushbacks from North Macedonia to Greece, which are likely only a fraction of the total number of pushback cases.

      The five reports alleging the presence of Frontex officials are a subset of 15 testimonies that cite the involvement of foreign officials working alongside North Macedonian officers.

      An analysis published today by Statewatch (https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2021/foreign-agents-and-violence-against-migrants-at-the-greek-macedonian-bor) looks at the deployment of foreign border guards to North Macedonia, which since 2015 has played a key role in the EU’s efforts to prevent migrants and refugees departing from Greece to reach ‘core’ EU territory further north.

      A number of states (members of the EU and other states in the region) have signed bilateral deals with the North Macedonian government that allow the deployment of border guards in the country.

      Frontex, meanwhile, is not yet legally able to operate there. An agreement between the EU and North Macedonia is in the works, but is being held up in a dispute over language (https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2021/briefing-external-action-frontex-operations-outside-the-eu).

      The agency must provide answers and an investigation into the numerous allegations of its officials being involved in abuse.

      https://www.statewatch.org/news/2021/june/frontex-confronted-with-allegations-of-violence-in-north-macedonia
      #Macédoine_du_Nord

    • Briefing: External action: Frontex operations outside the EU

      The EU has negotiated five agreements with states in the Balkans that allow Frontex operations on their territories, and most of the agreements have now been approved by both sides. This briefing looks at the main provisions of those agreements, highlights key differences and similarities, and argues that they will likely serve as a template for future deals with states that do not border the EU, as made possible by the 2019 Regulation governing Frontex.

      For an overview of the key points of the agreements, see the table at the end of this article, or here as a PDF (https://www.statewatch.org/media/2011/eu-frontex-external-action-briefing-table.pdf).

      Frontex launched its first official joint operation on non-EU territory at Albania’s border with Greece in May 2019. Still ongoing today, this was the first operation resulting from a series of Status Agreements between the EU and a number of Western Balkan states – Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and North Macedonia.

      These agreements make it possible for Frontex to undertake operations on those other states’ territories. Signed in accordance with the agency’s 2016 Regulation, all five agreements allow the agency to carry out joint operations and rapid border interventions on the states’ borders, where those borders are coterminous with those of an EU member state or states. Frontex can also assist those states with deportation operations from EU member states to those countries. Since the entry into force of Frontex’s 2019 mandate, the EU can now also make such agreements with states that do not border EU territory.

      The contents of the status agreements, all based on a template document produced by the Commission, are very similar, with small but important differences emerging from the negotiation procedures with each state, explored below.

      The first agreements in context

      The five Balkan states targeted for the first agreements make up what is seen by officials as a “buffer zone” between Greece and other Schengen states, and they have long been embroiled in the bloc’s border policies. Through long negotiations over accession to the Union (https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/albania-dealing-with-a-new-migration-framework-on-the-edge-of-the-empire), Western Balkan states are at various stages of approximating domestic law with the EU’s legal ‘acquis’, involving substantial amendments to migration and asylum systems.

      In theory, these systems must match up to EU legal and fundamental rights standards in order to allow accession, though violence against migrants is well documented on both sides of these “coterminous borders”. The so-called Balkan Route is the site of well-documented abuses (https://www.statewatch.org/news/2021/january/eu-the-black-book-of-pushbacks-testimonies-of-pushbacks-affecting-over-1) suffered by people on the move, recently compiled and published in a ‘Black Book of pushbacks’ which detail violence perpetrated by border agents, member state police and soldiers. Pushbacks from Croatia (https://www.statewatch.org/news/2020/november/european-commission-plans-to-visit-croatia-in-light-of-human-rights-viol) and Hungary are particularly notorious, with Frontex finally withdrawing its support for operations in Hungary (https://www.statewatch.org/statewatch-database/frontex-suspends-operations-in-hungary) in January this year due to the state’s violation of a European Court of Justice ruling against pushbacks into Serbia.

      The agency had long-insisted that its presence discouraged fundamental rights violations (https://www.statewatch.org/news/2021/february/frontex-management-board-pushes-back-against-secrecy-proposals-in-prelim) - a far less credible claim in the wake of allegations (https://www.statewatch.org/news/2021/february/frontex-management-board-pushes-back-against-secrecy-proposals-in-prelim) of Frontex complicity in serious incidents in the Aegean, including possible pushbacks.

      Frontex expands external operations while future agreements remain on hold

      Following deployment of officers to Montenegro’s border with Croatia in July, Frontex launched a second operation in Montenegro in October. The third executive operation outside the EU (and the second in Montenegro), the aim of this activity is “to tackle cross-border crime at the country’s sea borders, including the smuggling of drugs and weapons, smuggling of migrants, trafficking in human beings and terrorism”.

      The agency says it will provide aerial surveillance, deploy officers from EU member states, and provide technical and operational assistance with coast guard functions in international waters, “including search and rescue support, fisheries control and environmental protection”.

      The agreement with Serbia was approved by the European Parliament in February this year, along with the agreement with Montenegro. Three presidential entities need to sign the agreement in order for it to be ratified by Bosnia and Herzegovina’s government; the Serb entity has so far refused to do so.

      Meanwhile, the agreement with North Macedonia was due to be tabled in the European Parliament this autumn, but negotiations have been held up, in part by Bulgaria’s objection to the language in which it is written. According to the site European Western Balkans, “Bulgaria does not recognise the language of North Macedonia as ‘Macedonian’”, but “as a dialect of Bulgarian”. It will apparently take “a change in terminology regarding Macedonian language in order to allow progress in drafting a final negotiating framework”. While negotiations are stalled, the agreement cannot be considered by the European Parliament.

      Once the status agreements are in force, Frontex operations are launched in accordance with an operational plan agreed with each state. These plans include the circumstances under which Frontex staff can use executive powers and other details of the operations not available elsewhere. These plans are not systematically made public and although it is possible for the public to request their release, Frontex can refuse access to them. These non-public documents contain important provisions on fundamental rights and data protection, as well as details on the aims and objectives of the agency’s operations.

      Fundamental rights

      Under article 8 of the agreements with Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina (article 9 of the other agreements) all parties are obliged to:

      “[H]ave a complaint mechanism to deal with allegations of a breach of fundamental rights committed by its staff in the exercise of their official functions in the course of a joint operation, rapid border intervention or return operation performed under this agreement”.

      Both Frontex and the host state must operate such a complaints mechanism, to handle allegations against their own team members. Frontex’s complaint mechanism is currently the subject of an Ombudsman inquiry, following years of research showing it up as inaccessible and ineffective. Details of updates bringing the mechanism into line with Frontex’s 2019 Regulation have not yet been made public, although the rules set out in that Regulation have problems of their own. It is noteworthy that the agreements do not explicitly require an independent complaints mechanism.

      On the question of parallel complaints mechanisms for Frontex officers and host country officers, a Frontex spokesperson explained:

      “The complaints team within Frontex Fundamental Rights Office has been working since 2019 on the concept of how to deal with complaints concerning Frontex activities in [Albania]. For that purpose, the FRO team met with competent national authorities in Albania in October 2019. Both parties agreed on the draft of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the purpose of which is a coordination between both complaints mechanisms. The MoU draft proposal was shared with Albanian authorities for their consideration on September 2020 and finalization of the modalities.

      The draft of this MoU will serve as basis for other third countries arrangements on the coexistence of complaints mechanisms, such as the case for Montenegro.”

      An extra article 3

      The agreements with Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia contain an article not included in the agreements with Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina. From article 3, on launching an action:

      “The Agency may propose launching an action to the competent authorities of [the host state].

      The competent authorities of [the host state] may also request the Agency to consider launching an action.”

      The launching of any action requires the consent of competent authorities of the host-state and of Frontex (Article 3(2) of the status agreements), while any disputes over the content of the status agreements shall be resolved between the non-EU state in question and the European Commission (Article 11).

      Privileges and immunities of the members of the team

      Members of teams deployed in each of the host states shall enjoy immunity from the criminal, civil and administrative jurisdiction of the host state, for all acts carried out in the exercise of official functions, where these are committed in the course of actions contained in the operational plan (articles 6 or 7). It is at the discretion of the executive director of Frontex (currently Fabrice Leggeri) to determine whether acts were committed in the course of actions following the operational plan. This immunity may be waived by the team members’ home state – that is to say, the state of nationality of a Frontex team member, such as Spain or Germany.

      While the agreements with Albania, Montenegro, and North Macedonia include the provision that the executive director’s decision will be binding upon the authorities of the host state, no such article is found in the agreements with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.

      A further difficulty with this article was highlighted earlier this year in an internal Frontex report: Protocol No 7 annexed to the Treaty of the European Union (TEU) and to the TFEU, under which the privileges and immunities Agency and its statutory staff are covered, is not applicable outside of the EU. The Commission has not yet responded to a request for comment on an investigation said to be underway into this issue.

      Acting on behalf of the host non-EU state

      Across the status agreements, members of the teams are limited to performing tasks and exercising powers in the host territory in the presence and under instructions of the host state’s border guards or other relevant authorities. The host state may authorise members of teams to act on its behalf, taking into consideration the views of the agency via its coordinating officer. The agreement with Serbia contains extra emphasis (article 5):

      “the competent authority of the Republic of Serbia may authorise members of the teams to act on its behalf as long as the overall responsibility and command and control functions remain with the border guards or other police officers of the Republic of Serbia present at all times.”

      This agreement also emphasises that “the members of the team referred to in paragraphs 1 and 3 to 6 do not include agency staff”.

      Members of teams shall be authorised to use force, including service weapons as permitted by the host state, home state, and Frontex. Each host state may authorise members of the team to use force in the absence of border guards or other relevant staff under article 4 (6) – Albania and Bosnia and Herzegoviina – or 5 (6) – Montenegro,

      Access to databases

      The agreements with Albania and Montenegro allow the host state to authorise members of the team to consult national databases if necessary for the operational aims or for return operations. Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s status agreements are more cautious, allowing certain data from national databases to be shared at the request of a member of the team, provided it is needed to fulfil operational aims as outlined in the operational plan. The agreement with Serbia contains, once more, additional provisions: “members of the team may be communicated only information concerning relevant facts which is necessary for performing their tasks and exercising their powers”, though it also includes in the subsequent paragraph:

      “For the purposes of fulfilling operational aims specified in the operation plan and the implementing actions, the competent authority of the Republic of Serbia and members of the team may exchange other information and findings”.

      Language on discrimination

      The agreement with Serbia once again follows slightly different wording to the others in terms of the prohibition of discrimination. The agreements with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and North Macedonia recite:

      “While performing their tasks and exercising their powers, they shall not arbitrarily discriminate against persons on any grounds including sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

      However, the agreement with Serbia does not include (https://www.statewatch.org/news/2017/july/eu-frontex-in-the-balkans-serbian-government-rejects-eu-s-criminal-immun) any reference to gender identity.

      Obligation to give evidence as witnesses in criminal proceedings

      Under each of the agreements with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Serbia, members of the team shall not be obliged to give evidence as witnesses. Not only does the agreement with Montenegro omit this provision, it also outlines:

      “Members of the team who are witnesses may be obliged by the competent authorities of Montenegro, while respecting paragraphs 3 and 4, to provide evidence through a statement and in accordance with the procedural law of Montenegro.”

      Frontex and home state obligation not to jeopardise criminal proceedings

      The agreement with Serbia is the only agreement not to include an obligation on the agency and home state of a team member to “refrain from taking any measure likely to jeopardise possible subsequent criminal prosecution of the member of the team by the competent authorities” of the host non-EU state.

      Lingering uncertainty

      On top of uncertainty over when the agreements with North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina might be completed, questions remain regarding the accessibility of complaints mechanisms and the application of rules governing privileges and immunity of team members, even in Albania and Montenegro, where operations have been launched already.

      Additionally, since the entry into force of its new regulation in 2019 and the removal of provisions limiting Frontex’s extra-EU operations only to neighbouring states, the EU can now conclude status agreements with countries not bordering the EU. The implementation of these agreements, as well as their contents, will likely set a precedent for negotiations and operations further afield.

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2021/briefing-external-action-frontex-operations-outside-the-eu
      #Albanie #Monténégro #Serbie #Bosnie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #buffer-zone #zone-tampon

    • Albania: dealing with a new migration framework on the edge of the empire

      In 2014, Albania was formally accepted as a candidate for membership to the EU. The country is aiming to approximate its domestic law with the EU legal ’acquis’ within the next two years, prompting big changes in the country’s immigration and asylum system - at least on paper. Currently, those systems cannot be said to meet fundamental rights or EU legal standards, but given conditions within the EU itself - notably in Greece - it remains to be seen whether this will be a barrier to Albania joining the bloc.

      Background

      In the 1990s Albania, a small country in the middle of the Balkans, was just emerging from a harsh communist dictatorship. In 1991, a new era in Europe began for the country, as it opened diplomatic relationships with the then-European Community. But it was not until 2014 that Albania was formally accepted as a candidate for membership of the EU, following the endorsement of the European Council.[1]

      In that time, the European Community had evolved into the fortress of the European Union, its borders and expansion reminiscent of the spread of the Roman Empire. Speaking of the EU’s borders, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has even commented, “big empires go down if the external borders are not well-protected”.[2] Since 2014, Albania has been racing to fulfil all the requirements needed to be accepted among the fabulous 27, making major changes in the five main areas identified by the EU: public administration, rule of law, tackling corruption, organised crime and fundamental rights.

      In February 2018, the European Commission declared that further enlargement to encompass the states of the ‘Western Balkans’ (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo) would be “an investment in the EU’s security, economic growth and influence and in its ability to protect its citizens”.[3] In short, the EU was presenting a so-called win-win agreement, where all sides stand to gain.

      In March 2020 – following a limping reform of the justice system, some destabilizing stop-and-go of talks between the EU and Albania, a gloomy summer election crisis in 2019, German concerns, a temporary French veto and a devastating earthquake in November 2019 – the EU finally said ‘I do’ and committed to opening accession negotiations with Albania, in a statement that underscored the need to ‘keep an eye’ on the country:

      “The Council further invites the Commission to continue to monitor the progress and compliance in all areas related to the opening of negotiations and to carry out and complete the process of analytical examination of the EU acquis with the country, starting with the fundamentals’ cluster”.[4]

      Aligning Albania with the EU’s “area of freedom, security and justice”

      The current ‘Project Plan for European integration 2020-2022’[5] lists all the legislative reforms and changes required to align Albanian and EU law. The full approximation of Albanian law with that of the European Union, and its full and effective implementation, is one of the criteria for membership. Indeed, the process of membership negotiations is in itself that process of approximation.

      The process involves the following steps: analysis of EU legislation; identification of deficiencies or contradictory acts of Albanian law; drafting or reviewing of the approximated Albanian acts; and monitoring the implementation of approximated legislation. The 24th chapter of the plan, on “justice, freedom and security”, focuses on: border control; visas; external migration; asylum; police cooperation; the fight against organised crime and terrorism; cooperation on drugs issues; customs; and judicial cooperation in criminal and civil matters.

      Following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the area of Freedom, Security and Justice is regulated in Title V of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, running from Article 67 to Article 89.[6] This covers secondary legislation on: border checks, asylum and immigration; police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters; judicial cooperation in civil matters; and police cooperation. Primary and secondary legislation is complemented by a large body of jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the EU, whose primacy is a cornerstone principle of EU law. The acquis inherited by Albania for this specific chapter consists of a volume of 392 acts, divided into a “hard acquis” (which derives from binding acts such as treaties, directives, regulations, etc.) and a “soft acquis” (which derives from standards, principles and recommendations of EU or other relevant international organizations).

      Updating the laws on immigration and borders

      The government affirms to have completed and adopted a comprehensive national cross-sectoral migration strategy, included a new strategy on the diaspora for the period 2018-2024.[7] The government also says it has updated a contingency plan for a possible massive influx of migrants and asylum seekers, expected to be approved soon. But the other side of the coin is that Albania, as the project plan admits, is largely unprepared to host and protect migrants on its territory. Albania currently has one reception centre for irregular migrants in Karreç, with a capacity of only 150 beds. The centre was visited in September 2019 by the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which found it to be inadequate in many respects.[8] Even more concerning is the lack of facilities for unaccompanied minors.

      According to a footnote in a 2016 law,[9] Albania’s border control legislation has been aligned with the Schengen Borders Code.[10] However, it appears that the wider legal framework for managing Albania’s external borders is not yet fully in line with EU standards. The government reports that the implementation of the integrated border management strategy and action plan is proceeding: the reconstruction of the two border crossing points Hani i Hotit and Morina has been completed; the country has signed a protocol with Montenegro on the establishment of joint checkpoints; the trilateral centre in Plav (in Northern Macedonia) has become operational; an agreement with Kosovo on the joint border crossing point in Morina has been concluded; anti-corruption preventive measures have been implemented at border crossing points through the installation of cameras; and cooperation between agencies and neighbouring countries has improved.

      Frontex: already on the scene

      The section of the government’s report on regular and irregular immigration states that the agreement with the EU permitting the deployment of Frontex officials on Albanian territory was finalised in February 2019.[11] The deployment began on 22 May 2019, for an indefinite period.[12]

      The joint operation – Frontex’s first outside the EU – deploys 50 EU officers in Albania to “help Albanian authorities with border surveillance and border checks… They will also assist their Albanian counterparts in screening of migrants”.[13] This is not the first time that an EU presence has been active on Albanian territory – an Italian operation in 1997 sought to prevent migration, and there have also been monitoring missions. However, the Frontex presence is an executive mission, marking a more active departure from the monitoring exercises of the past.[14]

      The Albanian Minister of Internal Affairs, Sander Lleshaj, has described the operation as “really effective, very collaborative… crucial in the way to EU integration”.[15] The Prime Minister, Edi Rama, has said the operation makes Albania a contributor to the EU in countering illegal migration and organised crime.[16] The Albanian press has so far expressed an uncritical view of the Frontex mission. In a state where many are supportive of EU accession, appetite for critical investigation is possibly low.

      And asylum?

      Albania reports that its Asylum Law is partially in line with the EU acquis. The country has the necessary institutions and procedures to handle asylum applications. Complaints can be filed with the National Commission for Refugees and Asylum, which was established in 2017 and reopened in 2019. All relevant national legislation should be publicly available on the government website,[17] but the information available does not clarify if complaints related to the application process are admissible, or if the word “complaints” refers to appeals related to unsuccessful applications. Regarding the asylum procedure, applications are registered by the Border and Migration Police by filling out the pre-screening forms, then reported to the Directorate of Asylum and Citizenship to proceed with the status determination procedures.

      Although the number of asylum seekers increased significantly in 2018, with 5,730 arrivals, the authorities say they have responded to the large number of asylum applications. According to UNHCR asylum applications that year increased to 4,378, a 14-fold increase compared to 2017.[18] Albania’s official Gazette outlined in March 2020 that the number of people applying for asylum was at its highest in 2018, and 40 times higher than it had been in 2015.[19] According to the Project Plan for European integration, an asylum database has been functioning since April 2019; it serves as an integral data centre between the Directorate of Asylum and Citizenship, the Directorate of Border and Migration and the National Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers, exchanging information in real time between these institutions and enabling the completion of procedures as well as the issuance of statistics.

      The government also says it tripled its reception capacity for asylum seekers in October 2017. Total reception capacity, including the national reception centre in Tirana and the temporary accommodation centres in Gjirokastra and Korça, reaches almost 380 places. In October 2019, a new centre with a reception capacity of 60 beds was inaugurated to cope with the expected increase of people needing temporary housing in Kapshticë/Korça,[20] which has the same parameters as the transit centre in Gërhot of Gjirokastra.

      Summary

      Both Albania and the EU have undergone a transformative thirty years, with talks of accession beginning six years ago. The EU sees Albania’s incorporation into the bloc as a way of contributing to the economic growth and strengthened security; a different understanding of “expanding the fortress”. Accession negotiations were reinvigorated in March 2020, and the current goal is for Albania to approximate its law to the EU acquis, and implement those measures, within two years. This includes legislation on immigration and borders, which have been updated on paper. Though conditions for asylum seekers and migrants in Albania are not in line with fundamental rights law or the EU acquis, nor are those in EU member states – most notably the Greek island hotspots. The deployment of the EU’s border agency in Albania, unlikely to be criticised locally, represents further step in the EU’s mission to control migration across a wider terrain.

      Sara Ianovitz, Ph.D. in International Law

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/albania-dealing-with-a-new-migration-framework-on-the-edge-of-the-empire

      #Albanie

    • Foreign agents and violence against migrants at the Greek-Macedonian border

      An increasing number of reports of violent pushbacks at the Greek-Macedonian border have been collected by volunteers in recent years. Some reports allege the presence of Frontex, but bilateral policing deals in place may also explain the presence of foreign officers in Macedonia. The violence underpins a long-standing plan to close the ‘Balkan Route’ and keep people out of ‘core’ EU territory. Whoever is behind the violence, there is no shortage of border guards to mete it out – but justice is in short supply.

      Midnight in Macedonia

      Around midnight on 14 August last year, a group of some 20 people were intercepted by border police just north of the Greek-Macedonian border, near the small town of Gevgelija. What happened next, according to the testimony of one member of the group, makes for grim reading.

      “[T]he police officers approached the group and became physically violent. The officers struck various group-members with their batons. Others were pepper-sprayed, including the women and children. After this, the officers loaded the group into a van and left them there without any air conditioning, jammed, soaking in sweat for around two hours, while going about to catch more transit groups. In the end, they squashed around 40 people in a van for fit for ten persons.”[1]

      Macedonian officials were not the only ones involved in the operation. The testimony also recounts “foreign officers wearing uniforms with the European Union flags on their shoulders,” the distinctive mark of EU border agency Frontex.

      Foreign agents

      The testimony is one of five reports gathered by Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN), altogether involving some 130 people, that describe violence being meted out in the presence of, or even by, border guards allegedly deployed by Frontex on North Macedonian territory. A further 10 reports gathered by the network, encompassing some 123 people, recount the use of violence by foreign border guards and police officers operating in North Macedonia, but do not mention uniforms bearing the EU flag.[2]

      Statewatch and Border Violence Monitoring Network have written to Frontex to demand an investigation into the allegations recounted in this article. Read more here.

      The violence recounted in those testimonies is shocking. According to the report on the 14 August incident, after cramming people into the van, the police drove them to the banks of the Vardar river. There, they threw peoples’ possessions into the water, took their phones and money, and “the group was beaten brutally with metal electroshock batons and some people were thrown into the river by the police. One person was thrown in despite crying and begging not to be thrown in.” They were subsequently taken back to the border and pushed through a gate leading to the Greek side, while police beat them with electroshock batons.

      In that incident, the witness said that officials with uniforms bearing EU flags were present, but did not directly participate in the violence. But a report from the same area, concerning an incident less than a week later, refers to officials in uniforms bearing Croatian, Slovenian, Czech and EU flags, who bound a group of four men with zip ties and beat three of them with batons (one of the group, who was a minor, was spared the beating).[3] Reports of other incidents allege the presence of Italian, German and Austrian officials.

      No reports at Frontex

      While BVMN volunteers have gathered multiple testimonies that allege Frontex’s presence or involvement in violence in North Macedonia, the agency itself says it has received no reports of any such incidents. The agency also denies any presence in the country – in May, a press officer told Statewatch that “Frontex does not have any operational activities at the land border from the North Macedonian side,” and “is only present on the Greek side of the border.”

      In December 2020, Frontex responded to an access to documents request filed by Statewatch some months earlier. The request sought copies of all serious incident reports (SIRs) concerning the agency’s activities at the Greek-Macedonian land border from 1 January 2020 onwards. SIRs are supposed to be filed by officials deployed on Frontex operations for a variety of reasons, including in case of “suspected violations of fundamental rights or international protection obligations.”[4]

      In its response, the agency said that it did not hold any SIRs concerning the geographic area and time period covered by the request. This does not mean, however, that the incidents recorded by BVMN did not take place – it may simply be that nobody is reporting them.

      A working group set up by Frontex’s own Management Board, in response to allegations of involvement in pushbacks in Greece, found numerous problems with the agency’s reporting system. It noted that there was no way of monitoring the quality of reports submitted, and there were no confidential avenues for team members to report rights violations by their colleagues.

      The report also called for “a newly introduced culture,” suggesting that the existing ambience at the agency is not one in which the rights of migrants and refugees are at the forefront of officials’ minds. The working group said that the agency needed “awareness of and sensitiveness towards possible misconduct,”[5] a call it repeated in its final report.[6]

      Not even numbers

      Serious incident reports may not exist, but the request from Statewatch to Frontex also sought to establish the scale of the agency’s activities at the Greek-Macedonian border through another means – by requesting data on the number of migrants and migrant smugglers apprehended at the Greek-Macedonian border over the same period (1 January 2020 onwards).

      This data, argued Frontex, could not be released – doing so “would jeopardize the work of law enforcement officials and pose a hazard to the course of ongoing and future operations aimed at curtailing the activities of such networks,” despite the request seeking nothing more than figures that Frontex itself has published in previous reports.

      A public evaluation of the tongue-twistingly titled ‘Joint Operation Flexible Operational Activities 2018 Land on Border Surveillance’ (JO FOA Land) says that in 2018, 16,337 migrants and 313 smugglers were apprehended in the area covered by the operation – “the ‘green borders’ of Greece with Turkey, the North Macedonia [sic] and Albania, Bulgaria with Turkey, North Macedonia and Serbia.”[7] Yet for reasons known only to Frontex, providing a breakdown of these figures for the Greek-Macedonian border would apparently undermine public security.

      A significant presence

      According to Frontex’s evaluation report, 25 member states took part in operations at land borders in south-eastern Europe in 2018, along with 47 officers acting as observers from six different “third countries”, namely Georgia, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Moldova, Serbia and Ukraine. Over 1,800 officials were deployed by Frontex over the course of the year. The operations recorded 2,011 “incidents”.

      A substantial Frontex presence at the border between Greece and North Macedonia has been in place since then. In a response to a parliamentary question from German MEP Özlem Demirel, the European Commission said last June that at Greece’s land borders with Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Turkey, 71 officials, 24 patrols and three “thermo-vision vans” were deployed as part of the 2020 edition of JO FOA Land. Thirteen different member states were providing contributions to the operation: Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain.[8]

      While Frontex denies any physical presence on North Macedonia territory, the testimonies gathered by BVMN that allege the presence or participation of Frontex officials in violent acts raise serious questions for the agency. All the testimonies concern incidents that took place in North Macedonia, where the agency has no legal basis to operate. An agreement between the EU and North Macedonia that would permit Frontex deployments, similar to those currently in place with Montenegro and Albania, is facing hold-ups due to objections from the Bulgarian authorities.[9]

      Bilateral agreements

      Frontex operations are not the only deployments of foreign officials in North Macedonia. As noted above, nine of the 15 reports gathered by BVMN describing the involvement of non-Macedonian officers in pushbacks to Greece make no mention of Frontex at all. There are, however, multiple references to violence being meted out by officials in uniforms bearing the flags of Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany and Serbia.

      The presence of some of these officials in the country is made possible by bilateral border control agreements. North Macedonia has cooperation agreements with eight other states in the region (Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Serbia), who provide the Macedonian authorities “with assistance from foreign police officers in patrolling the south border with Greece and in performing their daily duties.”[10] The agreement with Austria, Hungary and Serbia has come in for particular criticism, as it is a memorandum of understanding rather than a formal agreement, and therefore has faced no parliamentary scrutiny in Macedonia.[11] Germany, meanwhile, does not appear to have such a formal agreement with North Macedonia at the federal level – which makes the allegations of the presence of German officers puzzling – but the EU’s largest state has provided a ready supply of equipment, including vehicles, mobile thermal imaging cameras, boots and torches.[12]

      The Croatian and Czech governments have made extensive deployments under these agreements. Between December 2015 (when Croatia and North Macedonia signed a police cooperation deal) and February 2019 “over 560 Croatian police… intercepted almost 6,000 illegal migrants in North Macedonia.”[13] The Czech deployments have been even larger – by December 2019, “1,147 police officers [had] been sent to North Macedonia” to police the border with Greece, according to the Czech government.[14]

      High-level police coordination preceded the signing of many of these agreements. In July 2016, the police chiefs of 12 states said that “the deployment of foreign police officers along borders which are strongly affected by irregular migration conveys a strong message that the countries concerned are resolute in jointly coping with the migration crisis.”[15] Under the agreements with Macedonia, foreign officials can “use technical equipment and vehicles with symbols, wear uniforms, carry weapons and other means of coercion”.[16] In some instances, it seems coercion tips over into outright violence.

      An incident dating from 16 August 2020, recorded by BVMN volunteers, refers to officers “with black ski masks over their faces” and “Croatian and Czech flags emblazoned on their uniforms.” The interviewees said that “these officers were violent with them – kicking the group, destroying their mobile phones, taking their money, insulting them, pushing their faces on the ground with tied hands behind the back. One of the respondents was also attacked by a dog, while the officers [were] laughing at him.”[17] As far back as March 2016, an activist supporting refugees at the increasingly well-guarded Greek-Macedonian border told the newspaper Lidovky that, in Macedonia, “the Czech police are known for violence and unprofessionalism.”[18]

      Buffer states in the Balkans

      Bilateral cooperation between EU states and North Macedonia extends far beyond these police cooperation agreements. In September 2020, the German Presidency of the Council of the EU described the region stretching from Turkey to Hungary (known in official jargon as the “Eastern Mediterranean/Western Balkans”) as being “of great strategic importance for the EU in terms of migration management.”[19] Significant attention is therefore being given to reinforcing the ability of states in the region to control peoples’ movements (an issue highlighted in another recent Statewatch report).

      As of May 2020, 15 EU member states were providing bilateral “support” on migration issues to states in the Western Balkans through a total of 228 activities, according to a survey carried out by the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU. The majority of that support was focused on control measures, “namely border management and combating the smuggling of migrants (over 50% of all MS activities),” said a summary produced by the Presidency. More than 50% of the 228 activities were taking place in Serbia and North Macedonia, both of which border EU territory.[20]

      The Croatian Presidency highlighted the “geopolitical importance” of those two countries, given that “Member States’ focus is on the prevention of irregular migratory movements to the EU.” This was “both expected and understandable, but may contribute to strengthening the Western Balkan partners’ self-perception as a transit region, which poses a challenge for the further improvement of all aspects of their migration capacities.” Rather than a transit region, the plan is to provide ‘capacity-building’ and technical assistance to develop buffer states that can keep people out of the ‘core’ of the EU after they depart from Greece.

      This is, of course, not a new plan. In February and March 2016, as the EU-Turkey deal was heading for agreement and in the wake of the arrival of hundreds of thousands of people travelling by foot, road and rail to the ‘core’ of the EU, the ‘Balkan Route’ was declared closed by EU leaders. Initially done on the crude, discriminatory basis of nationality,[21] exclusion measures were extended to apply to all those crossing borders in the region. That process of closure continues today, and violence is a longstanding component of the strategy.[22] Indeed, it is a prerequisite for it to work effectively, and has been denounced repeatedly over the years by NGOs and international organisations. In March 2016, the Macedonian authorities sought supplies of pepper spray, tasers, rubber bullets, “special bomb (shock, with rubber balls)” and “acoustic device to break the mob.”[23] The concern now may be with smaller groups of people attempting to pass through the country, rather than with “the mob”, but the violence is no less brutal.

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2021/foreign-agents-and-violence-against-migrants-at-the-greek-macedonian-bor

  • L’Europe centrale fait face à une hausse des cas de Covid-19
    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2020/07/08/l-europe-centrale-fait-face-a-une-hausse-des-cas-de-covid-19_6045612_3210.ht

    Si les chiffres absolus restent encore limités et que les systèmes sanitaires locaux semblent tenir la charge, ce pic vient démontrer les limites de la méthode de protection des ex-pays de l’Est. Ceux-ci s’étaient barricadés derrière leurs frontières dès que les premiers cas étaient apparus à l’Ouest, en mars. Cela avait permis de protéger les populations locales. Mais les travailleurs partis à l’Ouest sont désormais de retour pour les congés d’été et importent le virus avec eux. Sans compter la particularité de la Croatie, qui a rouvert largement ses frontières aux touristes, cruciaux pour l’économie, ce qui s’est immédiatement traduit par une hausse des cas, même si les autorités se veulent rassurantes. Dans ce contexte, certaines capitales ont décidé de réintroduire des contrôles aux frontières dans la cacophonie. La Slovénie exige par exemple des tests négatifs de certains Tchèques en route pour la Croatie, tandis que la Slovaquie a placé le Monténégro en « zone rouge » et interdit à ses concitoyens d’y partir en vacances. L’Autriche exige de son côté à nouveau aux voyageurs venant de Bulgarie ou de Roumanie de présenter un test négatif ou de se soumettre à une quatorzaine.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#serbie#slovenie#croatie#montenegro#slovaquie#autriche#retour#tourisme#economie#sante

  • Frontex bientôt sur les frontières du #Monténégro et de la #Serbie

    1er juin - 8h : L’Union européenne a approuvé, mardi 26 mai, un #accord passé avec le Monténégro et la Serbie, prévoyant le déploiement de la #mission_Frontex sur les frontières de ces deux pays. Il s’agit d’aider le Monténégro et la Serbie, candidats à l’intégrer, à « mieux gérer les flux migratoires ». Le déploiement de #Frontex sera effectif dès juillet au Monténégro, tandis qu’une date doit encore être fixée pour la Serbie.

    https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Les-dernieres-infos-Refugies-Balkans-Bosnie-Herzegovine-un-nouvea

    #Balkans #route_des_balkans #militarisation_des_frontières #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés

    –---

    Voir aussi :

    2018 :
    « Come il Montenegro si prepara a un’emergenza che non c’è »
    https://seenthis.net/messages/712376

    2019 :
    European Border and Coast Guard : Agreement reached on operational cooperation with Montenegro
    https://seenthis.net/messages/758359

    À partir de 22 mai 2019, Frontex déploiera des équipes conjointes à la frontière grecque avec des agents albanais. La Commission européenne a passé des accords semblables avec la Macédoine du Nord, la Serbie, le Monténégro et la Bosnie-Herzégovine, qui devraient également entrer en vigueur.
    https://seenthis.net/messages/782260

    ping @isskein @reka @karine4

  • Les #Roms souffrent du « #racisme_environnemental » de l’UE, conclut le rapport | Nouvelles du monde

    Un rapport conclut que les communautés roms d’#Europe vivent souvent sur des terrains vagues pollués et manquent d’#eau_courante ou d’#assainissement à cause du « racisme environnemental ».

    Le #Bureau_européen_de_l'environnement (#EEB), un réseau paneuropéen d’ONG vertes, a constaté que les communautés roms étaient souvent exclues des #services_de_base, tels que l’#eau_potable courante, l’assainissement et la collecte des #ordures, tout en vivant fréquemment sur ou à proximité de certains des sites les plus sales de Europe, comme les #décharges ou les #terrains_industriels contaminés.

    Jusqu’à 10 millions de Roms vivent en Europe, dont 6 millions dans les États membres de l’UE. Bien que leur exclusion sociale soit documentée depuis longtemps, les chercheurs du BEE disent que le déni des services de base et l’exposition à la pollution ont été négligés.

    L’EEB, en collaboration avec des chercheurs d’Europe centrale et orientale, a trouvé 32 cas de « racisme environnemental » dans cinq pays européens : #Hongrie, #Bulgarie, #Roumanie, #Slovaquie et #Macédoine_du_Nord. Les chercheurs se sont également appuyés sur les travaux existants sur les conditions de vie des Roms en #Bosnie-Herzégovine, en #Serbie, au #Monténégro et au #Kosovo.

    L’absence d’eau, d’assainissement et de collecte des ordures a été un problème dans plus de la moitié des études de cas, comme #Stolipinovo en Bulgarie, la plus grande colonie rom d’Europe et une partie de la ville de #Plovdiv. On estime qu’environ 60000 personnes vivent dans le quartier, mais beaucoup sont coupées des services d’eau courante et d’assainissement du reste de Plovdiv, capitale européenne de la culture en 2019.

    En Hongrie, l’accès à l’approvisionnement public en eau de certaines communautés roms a été fermé pendant les vagues de chaleur estivales – des décisions ont touché 800 personnes à #Gulács en août 2017 et 1 500 habitants de #Huszártelep en 2013. La ville du nord de la Hongrie d’#Ózd a reçu près de 5,5 millions d’euros (£ 4,8 m) de la Suisse pour améliorer l’approvisionnement en eau courante des communautés roms, mais les chercheurs ont déclaré que beaucoup n’avaient pas bénéficié du programme. Les autorités ont affirmé que les ménages roms n’avaient pas payé leurs factures.

    Des recherches antérieures ont conclu que seulement environ 12% des communautés roms avaient des toilettes à chasse d’eau et des systèmes de drainage fonctionnels.

    Pata-Rât, à la périphérie de Cluj-Napoca, dans le nord-ouest de la Roumanie, est connue pour son architecture gothique et ses palais baroques.

    https://www.villagefse2016.fr/les-roms-souffrent-du-racisme-environnemental-de-lue-conclut-le-rappo

    #exclusion #eau_potable #accès_à_l'eau

    ping @albertocampiphoto

  • CoVid-19 dans les #pays_méditerranéens

    En collaboration avec les ingénieurs de la plateforme universitaire de données d’Aix-Marseille (PUD-AMU), l’Observatoire démographique vous propose ci-dessous des ressources #statistiques officielles concernant la situation de l’#épidémie. (Merci aux chercheurs qui nous ont fait des retours pour améliorer cette page : Hala Bayoumi, Eric Verdeil, Philippe Sierra).

    Pour chaque pays, nous donnons le lien vers la ou les sources officielles : #Albanie, #Algérie, #Bosnie-et-Herzégovine, #Bulgarie, #Chypre, #Croatie, #Egypte, #Espagne, #France, #Grèce, #Israël, #Italie, #Jordanie, #Kosovo, #Liban, #Libye, #Macédoine, #Malte, #Maroc, #Monténégro, #Palestine, #Portugal, #Serbie, #Slovénie, #Syrie, #Tunisie, #Turquie

    https://demomed.org/index.php/fr/ressources-en-ligne/coronavirus-situation
    #Méditerranée #comparaison #chiffres #graphiques #contamination #décès #coronavirus #visualisation

    ping @simplicissimus @reka

  • Balkan Countries Close Border Crossings to Stop Coronavirus

    https://balkaninsight.com/2020/03/13/balkan-countries-close-border-crossings-to-stop-coronavirus

    To slow the spread of the coronavirus, several Balkan countries have closed most of their border crossings with neighbouring states, making travel in some parts of the region practically impossible.

    Serbia, Albania and Romania have closed many of their border crossings in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus, leaving some parts of the Balkans practically cut off for civil traffic.

    All countries of the region have either banned entry or introduced special restrictive measures for passengers arriving from countries with mid to high to risk of coronavirus.

    Serbia has closed 44 border crossings with neighbouring Romania, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Croatia, so that its border police can focus on the main and most frequently used crossings. Crossings have been closed mainly to increase staff numbers on the main crossings that remain open. Most closed borders are road border crossings but river, railway and ferry transport is also affected.

    Romania has closed several crossing points that connect the country by land with its neighbours. The closures affect crossings to Hungary, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Moldova, the Interior Minister, Marcel Vela, announced on Thursday night. He also said the Serbian authorities had unilaterally closed several crossing points, presumably without informing Romania first. The crossings at the Iron Gates, Moravita and Jimbolia remain open on the border with Serbia, Vela added.

    Albania has unilaterally closed several border crossings with neighbouring Montenegro, Kosovo and North Macedonia.

    North Macedonia has not closed any borders so far, but, as a result of the unilateral moves made by its neighbours, two crossings with Serbia and three with Albania are closed. Traffic with Serbia continues only through the main Tabanovce crossing.

    Bosnia and Herzegovina has not closed any of its borders, though passenger control measures have been strengthened and a temporary entry ban has been imposed on arrivals from the countries worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

    Croatia has also not closed its borders, even with Italy, the worst affected country in Europe. A government session on Friday was expected to clarify whether the crossings will remain open or not.

    In Montenegro, the border crossing with Albania at Sukobin-Muricani was closed on Friday morning on the request of Albania. Border crossings with Serbia in Jabuka near Pljevlja and at Godovo near Rozaje were closed on Thursday at the request of Serbia.

    Moldova has not closed border crossings, but its neighbours, Ukraine and Romania, have closed some crossings, making travel there harder. Bulgaria also has not closed any border crossings, except those closed from the Serbian side.

    #Covid-19 #migrant #migration #Balkans #Serbie #Albanie #Roumanie #Bulgarie #RépubliquedeMacédoine #Monténégro #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Kosovo #Croatie #Frontière

    • European Border and Coast Guard: Launch of first ever joint operation outside the EU

      Today, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, in cooperation with the Albanian authorities, is launching the first ever joint operation on the territory of a neighbouring non-EU country. As of 22 May, teams from the Agency will be deployed together with Albanian border guards at the Greek-Albanian border to strengthen border management and enhance security at the EU’s external borders, in full agreement with all concerned countries. This operation marks a new phase for border cooperation between the EU and its Western Balkan partners, and is yet another step towards the full operationalisation of the Agency.

      The launch event is taking place in Tirana, Albania, in the presence of Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Fabrice Leggeri, Executive Director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Edi Rama, Albanian Prime Minister and Sandër Lleshaj, Albanian Interior Minister.

      Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, said: "With the first ever deployment of European Border and Coast Guard teams outside of the EU, we are opening an entirely new chapter in our cooperation on migration and border management with Albania and with the whole Western Balkan region. This is a real game changer and a truly historical step, bringing this region closer to the EU by working together in a coordinated and mutually supportive way on shared challenges such as better managing migration and protecting our common borders.”

      Fabrice Leggeri, Executive Director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, said: “Today we mark a milestone for our agency and the wider cooperation between the European Union and Albania. We are launching the first fully fledged joint operation outside the European Union to support Albania in border control and tackling cross-border crime.”

      While Albania remains ultimately responsible for the protection of its borders, the European Border and Coast Guard is able to lend both technical and operational support and assistance. The European Border and Coast Guard teams will be able to support the Albanian border guards in performing border checks at crossing points, for example, and preventing unauthorised entries. All operations and deployments at the Albanian border with Greece will be conducted in full agreement with both the Albanian and Greek authorities.

      At the start of the operation, the Agency will be deploying 50 officers, 16 patrol cars and 1 thermo-vision van from 12 EU Member States (Austria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Romania, Poland and Slovenia) to support Albania in border control and tackling cross-border crime.

      Strengthened cooperation between priority third countries and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency will contribute to the better management of irregular migration, further enhance security at the EU’s external borders and strengthen the Agency’s ability to act in the EU’s immediate neighbourhood, while bringing that neighbourhood closer to the EU.

      http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-2591_en.htm
      #externalisation

    • Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos in Albania at the official launch of first ever joint operation outside the EU

      Ladies and Gentlemen,

      We are here today to celebrate an important achievement and a milestone, both for Albania and for the EU.

      Only six months ago, here in Tirana, the EU signed the status agreement with Albania on cooperation on border management between Albania and the European Border and Coast Guard. This agreement, that entered into force three weeks ago, was the first agreement ever of its kind with a neighbouring country.

      Today, we will send off the joint European Border and Coast Guard Teams to be deployed as of tomorrow for the first time in a non-EU Member State. This does not only mark a new phase for border cooperation between the EU and Western Balkan partners, it is also yet another step towards the full operationalisation of the Agency.

      The only way to effectively address migration and security challenges we are facing today and those we may be confronted with in the years to come is by working closer together, as neighbours and as partners. What happens in Albania and the Western Balkans affects the European Union, and the other way around.

      Joint approach to border management is a key part of our overall approach to managing migration. It allows us to show to our citizens that their security is at the top of our concerns. But effective partnership in ensuring orderly migration also enables us, as Europe, to remain a place where those in need of protection can find shelter.

      Albania is the first country in the Western Balkans with whom the EU is moving forward with this new important chapter in our joint co-operation on border management.

      This can be a source of pride for both Albania and the EU and an important step that brings us closer together.

      While the overall situation along the Western Balkans route remains stable with continuously low levels of arrivals - it is in fact like night and day when compared to three years ago - we need to remain vigilant.

      The Status Agreement will help us in this effort. It expands the scale of practical, operational cooperation between the EU and Albania and hopefully soon with the rest of the Western Balkan region.

      These are important elements of our co-operation, also in view of the continued implementation of the requirements under the visa liberalisation agreement. Visa-free travel is a great achievement, which brings benefits to all sides and should be safeguarded.

      Together with Albanian border guards, European Border and Coast Guard teams will be able to perform border checks at crossing points and perform border surveillance to prevent unauthorized border crossings and counter cross-border criminality.

      But, let me be clear, Albania remains ultimately responsible for the protection of its borders. European Border and Coast Guard Teams may only perform tasks and exercise powers in the Albanian territory under instructions from and, as a general rule, in the presence of border guards of the Republic of Albania.

      Dear Friends,

      When it comes to protecting our borders, ensuring our security and managing migration, the challenges we face are common, and so must be our response.

      The European Border and Coast Guard Status Agreement and its implementation will allow us to better work together in all these areas. I hope that these agreements can be finalised also with other Western Balkans partners as soon as possible.

      I wish to thank Prime Minister Edi Rama, the Albanian authorities, and the Executive Director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Fabrice Leggeri and his team for their close cooperation in bringing this milestone achievement to life. I also want to thank all Member States who have contributed with staff and the personnel who will be part of this first deployment of European Border and Coast Guard teams in a neighbouring country.

      With just a few days to go before the European Elections, the need for a more united and stronger European family is more important than ever. We firmly believe that a key priority is to have strong relations with close neighbours, based on a clear balance of rights and obligations – but above all, on genuine partnership. This includes you, fellow Albanians.

      Albania is part of the European family.Our challenges are common. They know no borders. The progress we are witnessing today is another concrete action and proof of our commitment to bring us closer together. To make us stronger.

      http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-19-2668_en.htm

    • Externalisation: Frontex launches first formal operation outside of the EU and deploys to Albania

      The EU has taken a significant, if geographically small, step in the externalisation of its borders. The European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, has launched its first Joint Operation on the territory of a non-EU-Member State, as it begins cooperation with Albania on the border with Greece.

      After the launch of the operation in Tirana on 21 May a deployment of 50 officers, 16 patrol cars and a thermo-vision van started yesterday, 22 May (European Commission, link). Twelve Member States (Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Romania, Poland and Slovenia) have contributed to the operation.

      New agreements

      The move follows the entry into force on 1 May this year of a Status Agreement between the EU and Albania on actions carried out by Frontex in that country (pdf). Those actions are made possible by the conclusion of operational plans, which must be agreed between Frontex and the Albanian authorities.

      The Status Agreement with Albania was the first among several similar agreements to be signed between the Agency and Balkan States, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and North Macedonia.

      The nascent operation in Albania will give Frontex team members certain powers, privileges and immunities on Albanian territory, including the use of force in circumstances authorised by Albanian border police and outlined in the operational plan.

      Frontex does not publish operational plans whilst operations (which can be renewed indefinitely) are ongoing, and documents published after the conclusion of operations (usually in response to requests for access to documents) are often heavily-redacted (Ask the EU, link).

      Relevant articles

      Article 4 of the Status Agreement outlines the tasks and powers of members of Frontex teams operating in Albanian territory. This includes the use of force, if it is authorised by both the Frontex team member’s home Member State and the State of Albania, and takes place in the presence of Albanian border guards. However, Albania can authorise team members to use force in their absence.

      Article 6 of the Status Agreement grants Frontex team members immunity from Albanian criminal, civil and administrative jurisdiction “in respect of the acts performed in the exercise of their official functions in the course of the actions carried out in accordance with the operational plan”.

      Although a representative of Albania would be informed in the event of an allegation of criminal activity, it would be up to Frontex’s executive director to certify to the court whether the actions in question were performed as part of an official Agency function and in accordance with the Operational Plan. This certification will be binding on the jurisdiction of Albania. Proceedings may only continue against an individual team member if the executive director confirms that their actions were outside the scope of the exercise of official functions.

      Given the closed nature of the operational plans, this grants the executive director wide discretion and ensures little oversight of the accountability of Agency team members. Notably, Article 6 also states that members of teams shall not be obliged to give evidence as witnesses. This immunity does not, however, extend to the jurisdiction of team members’ home Member States, and they may also waive the immunity of the individual under Albanian jurisdiction.

      Right to redress

      These measures of immunity alongside the lack of transparency surrounding documents outlining team members’ official functions and activities (the operational plan) raise concerns regarding access to redress for victims of human rights violations that may occur during operations.

      Human rights organisations have denounced the use of force by Frontex team members, only to have those incidents classified by the Agency as par for the course in their operations. Cases include incidents of firearm use that resulted in serious injury (The Intercept, link), but that was considered to have taken place according to the standard rules of engagement. This opacity has implications for individuals’ right to good administration and to the proper functioning of accountability mechanisms.

      If any damage results from actions that were carried out according to the operational plan, Albania will be held liable. This is the most binding liability outlined by the Status Agreement. Albania may only “request” that compensation be paid by the Member State of the team member responsible, or by the Agency, if acts were committed through gross negligence, wilful misconduct or outside the scope of the official functions of the Agency team or staff member.

      Across the board

      The provisions regarding tasks, powers and immunity in the Status Agreements with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of North Macedonia and Serbia are all broadly similar, with the exception of Article 6 of the agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina. This states:

      “Members of the team who are witnesses may be obliged by the competent authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina… to provide evidence in accordance with the procedural law of Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

      The Status Agreement with Serbia, an early draft of which did not grant immunity to team members, is now consistent with the Agreement with Albania and includes provisions stating that members of teams shall not be obliged to give evidence as witnesses.

      It includes a further provision that:

      “...members of the team may use weapons only when it is absolutely necessary in self-defence to repel an immediate life-threatening attack against themselves or another person, in accordance with the national legislation of the Republic of Serbia”.

      http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/may/fx-albania-launch.htm

    • La police des frontières extérieures de l’UE s’introduit en Albanie

      Frontex, l’agence chargée des frontières extérieures de l’Union européenne, a lancé mardi en Albanie sa première opération hors du territoire d’un de ses États membres.

      Cette annonce de la Commission européenne intervient quelques jours avant les élections européennes et au moment où la politique migratoire de l’UE est critiquée par les candidats souverainistes, comme le ministre italien de l’Intérieur Matteo Salvini ou le chef de file de la liste française d’extrême droite, Jordan Bardella, qui a récemment qualifié Frontex d’« hôtesse d’accueil pour migrants ».

      Cette opération conjointe en Albanie est « une véritable étape historique rapprochant » les Balkans de l’UE, et témoigne d’une « meilleure gestion de la migration et de la protection de nos frontières communes », a commenté à Tirana le commissaire chargé des migrations, Dimitris Avramopoulos.

      L’Albanie espère convaincre les États membres d’ouvrir des négociations d’adhésion ce printemps, ce qui lui avait été refusé l’an passé. Son premier ministre Edi Rama a salué « un pas très important dans les relations entre l’Albanie et l’Union européenne » et a estimé qu’il « renforçait également la coopération dans le domaine de la sécurité ».

      À partir de 22 mai, Frontex déploiera des équipes conjointes à la frontière grecque avec des agents albanais.

      La Commission européenne a passé des accords semblables avec la Macédoine du Nord, la Serbie, le Monténégro et la Bosnie-Herzégovine, qui devraient également entrer en vigueur.

      Tous ces pays sont sur une des « routes des Balkans », qui sont toujours empruntées clandestinement par des milliers de personnes en route vers l’Union européenne, même si le flux n’est en rien comparable avec les centaines de milliers de migrants qui ont transité par la région en quelques mois jusqu’à la fermeture des frontières par les pays de l’UE début 2016.

      Ce type d’accord « contribuera à l’amélioration de la gestion de la migration clandestine, renforcera la sécurité aux frontières extérieures de l’UE et consolidera la capacité de l’agence à agir dans le voisinage immédiat de l’UE, tout en rapprochant de l’UE les pays voisins concernés », selon un communiqué de la Commission.

      Pour éviter de revivre le chaos de 2015, l’Union a acté un renforcement considérable de Frontex. Elle disposera notamment d’ici 2027 d’un contingent de 10 000 garde-frontières et garde-côtes pour aider des pays débordés.


      https://www.lapresse.ca/international/europe/201905/21/01-5226931-la-police-des-frontieres-exterieures-de-lue-sintroduit-en-albani

    • European Border and Coast Guard Agency began to patrol alongside the Albanian-Greek border in late May (https://www.bilten.org/?p=28118). Similar agreements have recently been concluded with Serbia, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina but Albania is the first country to start implementing programs aimed at blocking refugees entering the EU. Bilten states that Frontex employees can carry arms and fight “against any kind of crime, from” illegal migration “to theft of a car or drug trafficking”. Frontex’s mission is not time-bound, i.e. it depends on the EU’s need. The Albanian authorities see it as a step forward to their membership in the Union.

      Reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa dobrodosli, le 10.06.2019

      L’article original:
      Što Frontex radi u Albaniji?

      Nakon što je Europska unija službeno zatvorila “balkansku migrantsku rutu”, očajni ljudi počeli su tražiti nove puteve. Jedan od njih prolazi kroz Albaniju, a tamošnja se vlada odrekla kontrole nad vlastitom granicom u nadi da će time udobrovoljiti unijske dužnosnike.

      Agencija za europsku graničnu i obalnu stražu, Frontex, počela je krajem prošlog mjeseca patrolirati uz albansko-grčku granicu. Već prvog dana, raspoređeno je pedesetak policajaca iz različitih zemalja članica EU koji bi se u suradnji s albanskim graničarima trebali boriti protiv “ilegalne migracije”. Iako je slične dogovore Unija nedavno sklopila sa zemljama poput Srbije, Sjeverne Makedonije, Crne Gore te Bosne i Hercegovine – a sve s ciljem blokiranja mogućnosti izbjeglica da uđu na područje EU – Albanija je prva zemlja u kojoj je počela provedba tog programa. Zaposlenici Frontexa ne samo da smiju nositi oružje, već imaju i dozvolu da se bore protiv bilo koje vrste kriminala, od “ilegalnih migracija” do krađe automobila ili trgovine drogom. Također, njihova misija nije vremenski ograničena, što znači da će Frontexovi zaposlenici patrolirati s albanske strane granice dok god to Unija smatra potrebnim.

      Unatoč nekim marginalnim glasovima koji su se žalili zbog kršenja nacionalne suverenosti prepuštanjem kontrole nad granicom stranim trupama, javnost je reagirala bilo potpunom nezainteresiranošću ili čak blagom potporom sporazumu koji bi tobože trebao pomoći Albaniji da uđe u Europsku uniju. S puno entuzijazma, lokalni su se mediji hvalili kako su u prva četiri dana Frontexovi zaposlenici već ulovili 92 “ilegalna migranta”. No to nije prvo, a ni najozbiljnije predavanje kontrole nad granicom koje je poduzela albanska vlada. Još od kasnih 1990-ih i ranih 2000-ih jadranskim i jonskim teritorijalnim vodama Republike Albanije patrolira talijanska Guardia di Finanza. Tih se godina albanska obala često koristila kao most prema Italiji preko kojeg je prelazila većina migranata azijskog porijekla, ne samo zbog blizine južne Italije, već i zbog slabosti državnih aparata tijekom goleme krize 1997. i 1998. godine.

      Helikopteri Guardije di Finanza također kontroliraju albansko nebo u potrazi za poljima kanabisa i to sve u suradnji s lokalnom državnom birokracijom koja je sama dijelom suradnica dilera, a dijelom nesposobna da im se suprotstavi. No posljednjih godina, zbog toga što su druge rute zatvorene, sve veći broj ljudi počeo se kretati iz Grčke preko Albanije, Crne Gore i BiH prema zemljama EU. Prema Međunarodnoj organizaciji za migracije, granicu je prešlo oko 18 tisuća ljudi, uglavnom iz Sirije, Pakistana i Iraka. To predstavlja povećanje od sedam puta u odnosu na godinu ranije. Tek manji dio tih ljudi je ulovljen zbog nedostatka kapaciteta granične kontrole ili pak potpune indiferencije prema ljudima kojima siromašna zemlja poput Albanije nikada neće biti destinacija.
      Tranzitna zemlja

      Oni koje ulove smješteni su u prihvatnom centru blizu Tirane, ali odatle im je relativno jednostavno pobjeći i nastaviti put dalje. Dio njih službeno je zatražio azil u Albaniji, ali to ne znači da će se dulje zadržati u zemlji. Ipak, očekuje se da će ubuduće albanske institucije biti znatno agresivnije u politici repatrijacije migranata. U tome će se susretati s brojnim pravnim i administrativnim problemima: kako objašnjavaju lokalni stručnjaci za migracije, Albanija sa zemljama iz kojih dolazi većina migranata – poput Sirije, Pakistana, Iraka i Afganistana – uopće nema diplomatske odnose niti pravne predstavnike u tim zemljama. Zbog toga je koordiniranje procesa repatrijacije gotovo nemoguće. Također, iako sporazum o repatrijaciji postoji s Grčkoj, njime je predviđeno da se u tu zemlju vraćaju samo oni za koje se može dokazati da su iz nje došli, a većina migranata koji dođu iz Grčke nastoji sakriti svaki trag svog boravka u toj zemlji.

      U takvoj situaciji, čini se izvjesnim da će Albanija biti zemlja u kojoj će sve veći broj ljudi zapeti na neodređeno vrijeme. Prije nekih godinu i pol dana, izbila je javna panika s dosta rasističkih tonova. Nakon jednog nespretnog intervjua vladinog dužnosnika njemačkom mediju proširile su se glasine da će se u Albaniju naseliti šesto tisuća Sirijaca. Brojka je već na prvi pogled astronomska s obzirom na to da je stanovništvo zemlje oko tri milijuna ljudi, ali teorije zavjere se obično šire kao požar. Neki od drugorazrednih političara čak su pozvali na oružanu borbu ako dođu Sirijci. No ta je panika zapravo brzo prošla, ali tek nakon što je vlada obećala da neće primiti više izbjeglica od onog broja koji bude određen raspodjelom prema dogovoru u Uniji. Otad zapravo nema nekog osobitog antimigrantskog raspoloženja u javnosti, unatoč tome što tisuće ljudi prolazi kroz zemlju.
      Europski san

      Odnos je uglavnom onaj indiferencije. Tome pridonosi nekoliko stvari: činjenica da je gotovo trećina stanovništva Albanije također odselila u zemlje Unije,1 zatim to što ne postoje neke vjerske i ultranacionalističke stranke, ali najviše to što nitko od migranata nema nikakvu namjeru ostati u zemlji. No zašto je albanska vlada tako nestrpljiva da preda kontrolu granice i suverenitet, odnosno zašto je premijer Edi Rama izgledao tako entuzijastično prilikom ceremonije s Dimitrisom Avramopulosom, europskim povjerenikom za migracije, unutrašnje poslove i državljanstvo? Vlada se nada da će to ubrzati njezin put prema članstvu u Europskoj uniji. Posljednjih pet godina provela je čekajući otvaranje pristupnih pregovora, a predavanje kontrole nad granicom vidi kao još jednu ilustraciju svoje pripadnosti Uniji.

      S druge strane, stalna politička kriza koju su izazvali studentski protesti u prosincu 2018., te kasnije bojkot parlamenta i lokalnih izbora od strane opozicijskih stranaka, stavlja neprestani pritisak na vladu. Očajnički treba pozitivan znak iz EU jer vodi političku i ideološku borbu protiv opozicije oko toga tko je autentičniji kulturni i politički predstavnik europejstva. Vlada naziva opoziciju i njezine nasilne prosvjede antieuropskima, dok opozicija optužuje vladu da svojom korupcijom i povezanošću s organiziranim kriminalom radi protiv europskih želja stanovništva. Prije nekoliko dana, Komisija je predložila početak pristupnih pregovora s Albanijom, no Europsko vijeće je to koje ima zadnju riječ. Očekuje se kako će sve ovisiti o toj odluci. Ideja Europe jedno je od čvorišta vladajuće ideologije koja se desetljećima gradi kao antipod komunizmu i Orijentu te historijska destinacija kojoj Albanci stoljećima teže.

      Neoliberalna rekonstrukcija ekonomije i društva gotovo je uvijek legitimirana tvrdnjama kako su to nužni – iako bolni – koraci prema integraciji u Europsku uniju. Uspješnost ove ideologije ilustrira činjenica da otprilike 90% ispitanih u različitim studijama podržava Albansku integraciju u EU. U toj situaciji ne čudi ni odnos prema Frontexu.

      https://www.bilten.org/?p=28118

    • Frontex expands operations in EU neighbouring countries

      After Albania and Montenegro, the EU Commission has concluded a Frontex status agreement with Serbia, to be followed by Northern Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. A first deployment of the EU border troops has meanwhile been increased.

      The European Commission has now also signed an arrangement with Serbia on „cooperation on border management“. The so-called status agreement regulates the implementation of „Joint Operations“ with the EU border agency Frontex at the common borders with the European Union. It was already published by the Commission in January and has now been ratified by the Serbian Parliament. Kosovo’s territory is excluded.

      The objectives of the agreement include the fight against irregular migration and cross-border crime in accordance with the Frontex Regulation. The EU also promises „increased technical and operational assistance“ to the Serbian border police.

      Model status agreement for „priority third countries“

      The negotiations with Serbia followed a model status agreement approved by the Commission under the „European Migration Agenda“ for operational cooperation with „priority third countries“. The Commission first concluded a status agreement with Albania a year ago, followed by a similar agreement with Montenegro on 7 October this year. Further status agreements with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Northern Macedonia have been negotiated but still need to be ratified by the national parliaments. The European Parliament must also give its assent.

      Once all five status agreements have been signed, Frontex could be deployed throughout the whole Western Balkans with the exception of Kosovo. The EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, describes the agreements as „yet one more step towards bringing the Western Balkan region closer to the EU“. All countries concerned are considered candidates for EU membership and the agreement to the Frontex operations is intended to facilitate the negotiations.

      However, this rapprochement is likely to be damaged by the decision of the French government to refuse negotiations on EU membership to Northern Macedonia and Albania despite fulfilling the necessary conditions. The North Macedonian parliament could therefore delay the planned Frontex agreement. The same applies to Bosnia-Herzegovina, which France’s President Macron described as a „ticking time bomb“ for returning jihadists.

      Police powers and immunity

      The border police officers sent by Frontex from the EU Member States receive a special identity card from the country of deployment and wear their own uniforms with a blue Frontex armband. They will also carry weapons, ammunition and equipment from their sending state and may use force.

      The troops enjoy immunity during Frontex operations. If a criminal offence is found, it will be prosecuted by the jurisdiction of the Member State of origin. Frontex team members also enjoy full protection against civil and administrative prosecution in the State of operation. The latter will also be liable for any damage caused by a member of the team during „all acts performed in the exercise of the official functions“.

      Deployment plan agreed with Greece

      Following the conclusion of the status agreement with Albania, it took six months for Frontex to launch its by now „first-ever joint operation“ on the territory of a neighbouring third country. According to Frontex, the governments in Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Romania, Poland and Slovenia have sent personnel to a total of 16 patrol vehicles and one thermovision car.

      According to the operational plan, which Frontex says is agreed with the Greek government, the operation will take place along the entire „green“ border and, in addition to border surveillance in the sections Sopik, Çarçovë, Leskovik, Shtikë, Kapshticë and Livadhja, will include border control at the Albanian-Greek crossing points Kakavija, Tre Urat (Çarçovë), Kapshticë, Rips and Qafe Bote. Frontex has set up support offices in Gjirokaster, Kakavija and Kapshticë to coordinate operations.

      In the meantime, the operation, which started with 50 EU officials, has grown to 66. One sixth comes from the German Federal Police, which also brought along six of the twelve patrol vehicles currently in use. In addition to operational border control, training measures are also planned in Albania. The operation will also facilitate the exchange of operational information and „best practices“.

      No Albanian human rights groups involved

      The new Frontex Regulation will apply from 4 December. The border agency will be then granted more powers and will set up a border troop of 10,000 border guards. The measures taken by Frontex should be observed by a Fundamental Rights Officer, among others. Frontex has also set up a Consultative Forum with non-governmental organisations to advise the Agency on how to prevent infringements.

      For „Joint Operations“ in third countries, the Consultative Forum recommends involving human rights groups active there in the operational plan. However, the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, which sends eleven officers to Albania, has „no knowledge“ of the involvement of Albanian non-governmental organisations. The German Government also does not know which Albanian organisations might be asked to participate.

      https://digit.site36.net/2019/11/25/frontex-expands-operations-in-eu-neighbouring-countries

  • From Bosnia and Herzegovina a video showing seven adults and five children detained in cage-like detention cells in #Klobuk near #Trebinje as part of the #International_Border_Crossing (#MGP) was published. It is terrifying to read the official statement of the BiH Border Police, where they state how all is in line with EU standards- we must ask whether inhumane and humiliating treatment of people who migrate is an EU standard?

    #Bosnie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Monténégro #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #route_des_Balkans #Balkans

    –-> signalé par Inicijativa Dobrodosli, via leur mailing-list (29.04.2019)

    Held in a cage?!

    We have received footage and photos displaying two detained families after they were pushed back in the border area between Bosnia and Herzegovina with Montenegro, Klobuk border crossing near Trebinje.


    Video and the photos show people being held in cage-like detention cells, previously also seen and mentioned with the case of the Houssiny family. There were reportedly 7 adults and 5 children among the detained people. The youngest is 3 years old.

    They were detained in this way and stayed over night. However, the authorities claim everything is “by the book” and in accordance with the EU standards.

    They say since the border crossing where people were later taken to is not a firm building, they have no barred rooms to detain people, so they use this — ironically funded by the European Commission — in order to “provide daylight” to the people and they stress the people were not locked inside.

    Either way, the question remains — is this the standard and a collective decision to treat and detain currently the most vulnerable group in the planet, refugees?

    Will anyone finally bring into question and condemn the methods and current human rights breaking detention and push back practice?

    https://medium.com/are-you-syrious/ays-daily-digest-23-4-19-weekend-of-violent-push-backs-from-croatia-and-bosn

    Lien vers la vidéo:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4YAoBPGBHw


    #cages #cage #vidéo #animalisation #brutalisation

    • In our neighbouring country Bosnia and Herzegovina, the local authorities consider volunteers to disturb public order and peace by helping migrants. As a result, the work of some of them has been banned - you can read more about it in this article: https://www.telegram.hr/politika-kriminal/vlasti-bih-smatraju-da-volonteri-remete-javni-red-i-mir-tako-sto-pomazu-mig. This is the last example of the criminalization of solidarity work, yet it’s not the only one: nowadays Europe is becoming more and more a place of repression towards those who are willing to oppose hate speech and intolerance, promoting and everyday practicing solidarity. You can read more about it in this article: http://novilist.hr/Komentari/Kolumne/Pronadena-zemlja-Borisa-Pavelica/BORIS-PAVELIC-Brigade-bespomocnih?meta_refresh=true.

      Reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodošli, le 31.05.2019

    • Migrants dying in Bosnia: Red Cross

      Thousands of migrants and refugees are stranded in Bosnia on their way to Western Europe. They are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. The international Red Cross says some have died while trying to find shelter.

      About 6,000 people have entered Bosnia and Herzegovina since the start of the year, according to the country’s security agencies. But all the transit centers, which can accommodate around 3,500 people, are full, forcing thousands to sleep rough.

      “People are sleeping in parks, in carparks, on the footpath, and in dangerous buildings,” said Indira Kulenovic, operations manager for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Bosnia.

      “A few weeks ago, three migrants sheltering in an abandoned building burned to death when a candle they were using caused a fire. Soon after, another fell from the top floor of a building he was sheltering in. Psychological stress among migrants is high – just last week one man set himself on fire in desperation,” Kulenovic said.

      ‘Humanitarian crisis’

      Bosnia is on the route of thousands of people from Asia and North Africa who try to enter Europe via neighboring Croatia, an EU member state. Last year, about 25,000 people entered Bosnia from Serbia and Montenegro.

      Mobile teams from the Bosnian Red Cross society have been handing out food, water, clothes, blankets and first aid to the migrants, as well as trying to provide psychological support.

      Red Cross workers are also distributing information about active landmine fields to warn people of the dangers of unexploded bombs. Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the most landmine-contaminated countries in Europe.

      The Red Cross is working in five migrant centers across the country providing meals for 3,000 people a day, as well as clothing, bedding, tents and first aid. Meanwhile, the UN migration agency, IOM, is providing food supplies.

      Despite their efforts, the head of the Bosnian Red Cross, Rajko Lazic, says living conditions for many people remain inadequate in the centers and worse for those outside. “The situation has reached a critical point. This is a humanitarian crisis,” Lazic said.

      Disease outbreaks

      In migrant reception centers, overcrowding has led to an increase in infectious diseases. The Bosnian health minister, Nermina Cemalovic, said on 15 May there were 800 cases of scabies in transit centers in Bihac, one of the western towns where migrants are concentrated.

      Health workers have also been trying to prevent an outbreak of measles after aid workers were hospitalized with the disease.

      “We are extremely concerned for people on the move in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” the IFRC’s Kulenovic said. “They are arriving in poor condition, and many, including children, have walked for weeks. They are hungry, exhausted, sick and cold and traumatized by their journeys. The recent wet weather has just made their journeys worse.”

      Kulenovic added that the local population was also suffering from the pressure that extra numbers had put on services, land and property. The IFRC and the Red Cross Society of Bosnia aim to provide food, first aid and other assistance to 7,600 of the most vulnerable migrants as well as cash grants for 1,500 host families during 2019.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/17218/migrants-dying-in-bosnia-red-cross?ref=tw
      #mourir_en_Bosnie #morts #décès #Kljuc #OIM #IOM #Croix-Route

  • VIOLENCE REPORTS

    The collective expulsion and violent return of asylum seekers to the Bosnian border surrounding #Velika_Kladuša is a routine occurrence. Men, women, and even children regularly return from their attempts to cross through Croatia and Slovenia with split lips, black eyes, and broken bones. The search for safety and asylum is all too often met with police batons and closed fists.

    The brutal practices of the Croatian police are against international laws and directives. Firstly, the beating and deportation of all people on the move, both irregular migrants and asylum seekers, is against the prohibition of collective expulsion (Article 4 Protocol 4 ECHR*), and the absolute prohibition of torture and non-humane or degrading treatment or punishment (Article 3 ECHR*).

    Secondly, according to the EU Directive on Asylum Procedures (2005/85/EC), all people on the move are entitled to information about asylum, translation assistance, the ability to present their case to a competent authority, notification of the outcome, and the right to appeal a negative decision (1). But most importantly, viewing people searching safety as mere illegal numbers and dangerous bodies pushes them to a grey zone. Within this grey zone, they are stripped of the right to have rights, resulting in their humiliation without legal consequence, leaving perpetrators unrecognisable and unpunished.

    Thousands of lives are being slowly destroyed while the EU community silently overlooks the brutality of its own border regime, absolving itself of any real sense of responsibility.

    To this end, No Name Kitchen, in coordination with several other independent groups operating in the area, has been engaged in the collection and presentation of the violence which occurs at Europe’s doorstep. In this capacity, we collect the testimonies of victims of border violence and present them to a variety of actors within the field in the hopes of highlighting the systematic nature of this violence. The methodological process for these reports is centered on leveraging the close social contact that we have as independent volunteers with refugees and migrants to monitor pushbacks from Croatia. When individuals return with significant injuries or stories of abuse, one of our violence monitoring volunteers will sit down with them and collect their testimonies. We collect hard data (dates, geo-locations, officer descriptions, photos of injuries/medical reports, etc.) but also open narratives of the abuse.

    http://www.nonamekitchen.org/en/violence-reports

    Lien pour télécharger le rapport :


    http://www.nonamekitchen.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Finished-Border-Violence-on-the-Balkan-Route.pdf
    #violence #rapport #route_des_balkans #Balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Bosnie #frontières #Croatie #Slovénie

    • Garaža za mučenje migranata

      “Policija je dovela njih sedmero u garažu u Korenicu, gdje su im oduzeli sve stvari. Slomili su im mobitele, uništili punjače. Uzeli su im novac, cigarete i hranu. Kad su skinuli odjeću policajci su ih počeli tući rukama, laktovima, nogama”. U posljednjih pola godine pojavila su se višestruka svjedočanstva koja ukazuju na to da hrvatska policija pritvara i muči izbjeglice i migrante u garaži u policijskoj postaji u Korenici. Garaža s plavim vratima, u kojoj, kako se opisuje u svjedočanstvima, izbjeglice i migranti bivaju pretučeni i izgladnjivani, nalazi se svega par metara od dječjeg igrališta.

      U više izvještaja različitih organizacija, a najnovije i u posljednjem izvještaju Border Violence Monitoringa, opisuju se garažna mjesta za pritvaranja i zlostavljanje, koja po opisu mogu odgovarati policijskoj postaji u Korenici, koja je zbog blizina granice često u službi odvraćanja izbjeglica i migranta natrag u Bosnu i Hercegovinu.

      Prema posljednjim svjedočanstvima u travnju je grupa muškaraca iz Sirije, Alžira i Maroka, uhvaćena blizu granice sa Slovenijom, odvedena u garažu u Korenicu i zatim vraćena natrag u Bosnu i Hercegovinu. Izrazili su namjeru za službenim traženjem azila, ali im je odbijen pristup proceduri, iako na nju imaju zakonsko pravo.

      “Policija je dovela njih sedmero u garažu u Korenicu, gdje su im oduzeli sve stvari. Slomili su im mobitele, uništili punjače. Uzeli su im novac, cigarete i hranu. Jednoj su osobi uzeli čak i naočale. U prostoru je samo prljavi pod, bez deka, spužvi, wc-a. Morali su na njemu ležati, iako je bilo užasno hladno. Kad su skinuli odjeću policajci su ih počeli tući rukama, laktovima, nogama. Imali su i elektrošokere i pepper sprej, koje su koristili nekoliko puta. Svi su ljudi plakali”, stoji u svjedočanstvu.

      Prva svjedočanstva i opisi garaže pojavili su se u prosincu prošle godine, od strane migranata koji su nakon prelaska granice u Hrvatsku uhićeni, odvedeni u “garažu” pa protjerani natrag u Bosnu i Hercegovinu, bez da im je omogućeno pravo da u Hrvatskoj zatraže azil.

      U prosincu 2018. godine, kako je evidentirao Border Violence Monitoring, grupu Alžiraca je nakon prelaska granice pokupio kombi s policajcima u maskirnim uniformama, koji su izgledali kao vojska. Odveli su ih u garažu.

      “Policijska postaja je ispred garaže. Dvorište je između policijske postaje i garaže. Unutra je umiovaonik i grijalica, te svjetla na stropu. Prostorija je malena. Nema prozora, samo plava vrata”, stoji u opisu. Istaknuli su kako je bilo hladno te zbog hladnoće nisu mogli spavati. Policajci su, navodi se, s njima pričali nasilno te su im odbili dati hranu.

      Naposljetku su, s drugim migrantima koji su već bili u garaži, bez da im se omogući da zatraže azil, izbačeni u planinama i poslani da hodaju natrag u Bosnu satima. Kad su izišli iz kombija, policajci su naložili vatru u koju su bacili sve njihove stvari. “Jedan je policajac htio uzeti i deku u kojoj je bila umotana djevojčica iz iračke obitelji, ali ga je drugi policajac zaustavio da to ne napravi”, navodi se u svjedočanstvu. Vreće za spavanje i šatori su završili u plamenu.

      “Policija radi što hoće”, komentar je koji se učestalo čuje među brojnim izbjeglicama koji su više puta protjerani iz Hrvatske. Većina odvraćenih i protjeranih u Velikoj Kladuši, gradu blizu granice u kojem smo nedavno bili, žale se upravo najgorljivije na hrvatsku policiju.

      I mještani Velike Kladuše, pogotovo oni koji svakodnevno pomažu izbjeglicama i migrantima, ističu kako ljudi s granice dolaze izmučeni i gladni, nerijetko s modricama, ožiljcima, otvorenim ranama. “Svi ti prizori podsjećaju me na zadnji rat, jedino što nema bombardiranja”, komentira nam jedna mještanka. Nasilje koje provodi hrvatska granična policija tako je postalo svakodnevna tema.

      Krajem prošle godine pojavljuje se još jedno svjedočanstvo o “garaži”, u kojem stoji: “Stavili su nas u ćeliju, ali to zapravo nije ćelija, nego više kao garaža, s plavim vratima i pločicama. Ispred je parkiralište i policijska postaja”. “Kad nas je policija uhvatila, nisu nam dali ništa. Tamo je bio neki stari kruh, dosta star. Zatražio sam taj kruh, ali mi ga nisu dali”, opisuje jedan od migranata.

      Ponukani ovim svjedočanstvima i opisima garaže za mučenje, nedavno smo posjetili Korenicu. Na ulazu u Korenicu primjećujemo jedan policijski auto parkiran kraj šume, i policajca koji se upravo izvlači iz šume prema autu. Tijekom zimskih mjeseci mogli smo čitati kako “službenici postaje granične policije Korenice provode mjere pojačanog suzbijanja nezakonitih migracija”. U razgovoru s mještanima doznajemo kako su pojačane policijske snage u okolici u posljednje vrijeme, a izbjeglice i migrante se intenzivno traži po okolnim brdima.

      Prilikom našeg kratkog boravka u Korenici, ispred policijske postaje se izmijenio velik broj policajaca, dolazili su i odlazili autima i kombijima. Osim policajaca u redovnim uniformama, bilo je i obučenih u tamnozelene uniforme. U postaju dolaze i kombiji bez policijskih oznaka, a prisutni su i policajci u civilnoj odjeći.

      Prednji dio postaje sastoji se od velike zgrade s mnogo prozora, dok je unutarnji dio kompleksa ograđen i s malim dvorištem na kojem je parkirano nekoliko policijskih automobila i kombija, uz prostorije koje nalikuju na garaže, s plavim vratima. Te prostorije s jedne strane gledaju i na obližnje dječje igralište i na tom dijelu nema nijednog prozora. U dvorištu se nalaze i Toi Toi WC-i.

      U najnovijem svjedočanstvu koje je dokumentirao Border Violence Monitoring stoji: “Možemo ići samo dva puta dnevno na zahod, ujutro i navečer. Za ovo nas se vodi van u dvorište, gdje se nalaze tri plastična WC-a”, što ukazuje da postoji mogućnost da se radi upravo o ovoj policijskoj postaji. Aktivisti nam potvrđuju kako su svjedočanstva o “garaži” postala učestalija i sve detaljnija u opisima.

      I u svjedočanstvima iz ožujka izbjeglice i migranti navode kako su bili zatvoreni satima bez vode i hrane, te su iz nužde morali urinirati u kutu prostorije. “Bili smo kao kokoši. Ne želim se prisjećati tog trenutka. Bili smo poput životinja”, opisuje jedan migrant. “Pod je betoniran, hladno je, moramo spavati na njemu. Postoji samo jedna slavina za vodu i mali grijač na zidu. Vrata su plava i na njima je ispisano na mnogo jezika, datumi, imena i mjesta. Pakistanski, alžirski, marokanski, iranski, sirijski, odasvud”, opisuje se.

      Kad su pušteni iz pritvora garaže, kažu, policija ih je ostavila u planinskom području i poslala da hodaju kilometrima natrag prema Bihaću. Učestalo se spominje oduzimanje novca i mobitela i vrijednih stvari koje migranti sa sobom nose.

      Procedure odvraćanja izbjeglica i migranata obično se izvode iza zatvorenih vrata i u skrovitim područjima, čime se umanjuje rizik da će biti onih koji će im svjedočiti. Paralelu možemo povući i sa tzv. trećestupanjskim policijskim ispitivanjima.

      “Većina trećestupanjskih ispitivanja događala se tijekom pritvaranja na izoliranim lokacijama, uključujući policijske postaje, garaže, ponekad i hotele i mrtvačnice. Ali obično se takva mučenja događaju u pozadinskim sobama, incommunicado prostorijama, posebno dizajniranima u ove svrhe. U javnosti se postojanje takvih prostorija poriče, a njihovo održavanje zahtjeva šutnju čitavog sustava. Policija je rijeko kažnjavana za brutalne metode ispitivanja, korištene za izvlačenje priznanja, ali i da se ’nepoželjne’ otjera iz grada”, navodi se u radu Police Interrogation and Coercion in Domestic American History: Lessons for the War on Terror, Richarda A. Leoa i Alexe Koenig.

      “Ovakve prakse postaju sredstvo putem kojeg policija nadilazi svoju ispitivačku ulogu, pojačava svoju moć i zaobilazi ulogu koja je dizajnirana kako bi se spriječila koncentracija i zlouporaba moći od strane države”, zaključuju autori.

      Brutalne prakse zlostavljanja i prisilnih protjerivanja koje provode policijski službenici na hrvatskoj granici i o kojima sad već postoje kontinuirana i detaljna svjedočanstva, protivne su i domaćim i međunarodnim zakonima te direktivama.

      “Premlaćivanje i deportacija ljudi protivni su zabrani kolektivnih protjerivanja (Članak 4 Protokola 4 ECHR) i zabrani mučenja i nečovječnog ili ponižavajućeg postupanja ili kazni (Članak 3 ECHR)”, navodi se u Petom izvještaju o nezakonitim protjerivanjima i nasilju Republike Hrvatske, koji su nedavno objavile organizacije Are You Syrious?, Centar za mirovne studije i Incijativa Dobrodošli.

      Vraćanje migranata u Bosnu i Hercegovinu bez uzimanja u obzir osobnih okolnosti svakog pojedinog slučaja, a posebice zanemarujući njihovu potrebu za međunarodnom zaštitom, pa čak i na izričito traženje azila, uporaba sredstava prisile te ponižavanje ozbiljna su povreda izbjegličkih i migantskih prava, ali i enorman prijestup MUP-a, na što je upozoravala i pučka pravobraniteljica.

      MUP-u smo uputili upit za komentar o opžubama za nasilje i mučenje od strane hrvatske policije, kao i za slučaj “garaže” koju se povezuje s policijskom postajom u Korenici. Upitali smo ih i jesu li, s obzirom na svjedočanstva koja se pojavljuju od prosinca, reagirali na optužbe i posvetili se detaljnoj istrazi i uvidu u potencijalne prijestupe i prekoračenja policijske ovlasti u Korenici. Do zaključenja teksta odgovor na upite nismo dobili.

      Kada su u pitanju optužbe za policijsko nasilje, u prijašnjim reakcijama iz MUP-a su isticali kako “prilikom postupanja prema migrantima policija poštuje njihova temeljna prava i dostojanstvo te im omogućuje pristup sustavu međunarodne zaštite, ukoliko im je takva zaštita potrebna, sukladno općim dokumentima o ljudskim pravima, regulativi EU-a te nacionalnom zakonodavstvu. Želimo naglasiti nultu stopu tolerancije ovog ministarstva na nezakonitu uporabu sredstava prisile od strane hrvatske policije naspram bilo koje populacije, kao i nultu stopu tolerancije nad neprocesuiranjem bilo kojeg kaznenog djela ili prekršaja počinjenog od strane policijskih službenika”.

      Kako je moguće da se u zemlji “nulte stope tolerancije na nezakonitu upotrebu sredstava prisile” kontinuirano pojavljuju svjedočanstva o garažama za mučenje? Ostaje nam zapitati se je li zaista moguće da su sva ova detaljna svjedočanstva, koja se u mnogočemu podudaraju, prikupljena u različitim vremenskim periodima, od ljudi čiji se putevi uglavnom nisu sreli, lažna? Volonteri i aktivisti koji prikupljaju svjedočanstva također se rotiraju i dolaze iz različitih organizacija, pa je i njihova “sugestivnost” faktor koji bi se moglo prekrižiti.

      Garaža za mučenje mali je prostor, ali je bijeg od suočavanja s njenim postojanjem velik i indikativan. Arundhati Roy piše: “Ne postoje oni koji nemaju glas. Postoje samo oni koji su namjerno ušutkani i oni koje biramo da ne čujemo.”

      https://www.h-alter.org/vijesti/garaza-za-mucenje-migranata
      #Korenica

      Commentaire reçu par email de Inicijativa Dobrodosli, le 22.05.2019 :

      H-alter published a text based on refugee testimonies and previously published reports of torture in a blue-coloured door garage that may correspond to the description of the police station in Korenica, located near the children’s playground. The testimonies describe denial of food, limited use of toilet and physical violence that occurs not only at the border but also in the depths of the Croatian territory.

    • ‘Nobody Hears You’ : Migrants, Refugees Beaten on Balkan Borders

      Migrants and refugees say they continue to face violence at the hands of police while trying to cross the Balkan peninsula.

      It was supposed to have closed. But migrants and refugees from the Middle East, Asia and Africa are still crossing the Balkan peninsula en route to Western Europe. Many report brutality at the hands of the police.

      In April this year, some 3,600 migrants and refugees – mainly from Afghanistan and Iran – were registered in Serbia, according to the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR.

      Bosnia last year registered 25,000, though only 3,500 chose to stay in the country while the rest crossed quickly into European Union member Croatia.

      No Name Kitchen, NNK, an NGO assisting migrants and refugees, says police violence is on the rise.

      Between May 2017 and May last year, NNK recorded 215 reported cases of push-backs by Croatian police to Serbia, of which 45 per cent involved physical violence.

      Between May 2017 and December last year, there were 141 push-backs from Croatia to Bosnia, NNK reported, of which 84 per cent involved violence.

      Croatian authorities denied police used violence against migrants and refugees, telling BIRN that such accusations were often made up.

      BIRN journalists spoke to a number of refugees and migrants in Serbia, Bosnia and Slovenia about their experiences with Croatian police. Most chose to be identified only by their first names.

      Ahmed: ‘Nobody hears you’

      “They make the music loud and start beating us, one by one. With sticks, electrical sticks…,” said Ahmed, a Moroccan who had spent the past month in a migrant camp in the small Serbian border town of Sid.

      Ahmed said he had tried several times to cross the nearby border into Croatia, running a gauntlet known among migrants and refugees as ‘The Game’, but had been turned back each time by Croatian police.

      “I’ve been captured and they turn me back, beat me and turn me back,” he told BIRN. “They would come out from the car, one by one and they start, like that until you scream and nobody hears you,” he said.

      Ali: ‘Police have no heart’

      Ali and a group of friends had made it into Croatia from Bosnia in April and walked for six days in the direction of Slovenia.

      “Police officers, they caught us and after that, they brought us in the police station and we were for four hours in the police station like a prisoner and after that… they beat us,” he told BIRN in the northwestern Bosnian town of Bihac, a hub for migrants and refugees trying to cross the Croatian border.

      “Police have no heart. They don’t want to see that the guys are human. It’s really horrible.”

      Nue: ‘I don’t have a country’

      Some of those BIRN spoke to said they were fleeing repression in their own countries.

      Nue, a Palestinian now also stuck in Sid, said: “My country, I don’t have a country because I am from Palestine… I have ID just to say I am from Palestine.”

      Nue said that when he tried to cross the border, he was caught by the Croatian police. He pointed to a cut on his head.

      “When he’s [the police officer] catching me, he does like this,” he said, imitating being beaten. “I have to just stay in the tent because maybe I have a problem in my head because [the beating was] very strong.”

      Nue said he was now sleeping in the street.

      Another man, in the centre of Sid, said police were also violent towards his wife, who was nine months pregnant when BIRN spoke to the couple.

      “They don’t care if she’s pregnant or not,” he said. “There is no human qualities in them, you understand. I never seen such people.”

      Muhamed: Old and new injuries

      Muhamed, from Tunisia, said he had been in Serbia for six weeks having been beating by police on the Croatian border.

      “They done with you everything,” he said, and showed injuries he said were inflicted the day before by Croatian police.

      Muhamed said he was beaten for 10 minutes and then sent back to Serbia.

      “Everytime, doing this, everytime, look, this old and this new,” he said, pointing to the bruises and cuts.

      Khalid: It was necessary

      In a migrant camp in Slovenia, Khalid, from Eritrea, said he had been deported back to Bosnia eight times.

      “I came to Ljubljana by walk,” he said.

      “[Croatian police] deported me eight times – four times to [Velika Kladusa] and four times to Bihac. They beat us, and they take [our] phones. They make many things.”

      Though he personally had not faced violence, Khalid said he knew of many others who had.

      “All the people now, they forget everything because they crossed the borders and also we have to tell them sorry, we cross your country… It was necessary to do it.”

      Activist: ‘It’s worse and worse’

      Diego Menjibar, an activist with No Name Kitchen, told BIRN:

      “They are beaten by batons in borders. Also, with fist, kicking them. We have a lot of cases every week of people beaten with batons, with physical violence, also verbal violence and some of them, they also passed out while they [were] beat, so we have a doctor here.”

      Menjibar spoke in a disused factory in Sid that is now filled with tents for migrants and refugees. Roughly 100 pass through the camp each day.

      “We talk with the people in the squat and we listen what they say and every time it’s worse and worse,” he said.

      Beaten around the legs

      In April, Swiss broadcaster SRF and the crew of the TV programme “Rundschau” spent three weeks in the fields on the Bosnian-Croatian border speaking to migrants and refugees in the moment after they were turned back by Croatian police.

      “I was literally running after these people when they came down [after being deported],” SRF journalist Nicole Vögele told BIRN. “I was aware that now what we really need is a full line of evidence.”

      In May, SRF broadcast a piece showing Croatian police pushing back migrants and refugees into Bosnia. Vögele said many sustained injuries to their legs from being beaten by police with sticks.

      “Most of them were showing me the [lower] parts of the legs,” Vögele said. “Two days later, I asked them if they have same traces because just an hour after the beating, as you can imagine you can see a bit of red. But two days later it is clearly visible.”

      In the SRF report, an Afghan family, including small children, spoke of bring stopped in the forest by Croatian policemen.

      “They pointed their guns at us and said ‘Stop’. We were very scared and cried,” said the oldest of the children. When the family asked for asylum, the police officers laughed and said that they would be given “Bosnian asylum” – meaning that they would be deported back to Bosnia.

      Injuries

      The Serbian-based NGO Asylum Protection Centre has also gathered extensive evidence of Croatian police brutality.

      In late April, Rados Djurovic, the director of the centre, said instances of violence were on the rise.

      The NGO has also gathered evidence of migrant families, including children, being starved and exhausted and illegally pushed back into Serbia by Hungarian police.

      Police denial

      The office of the Croatian ombudsperson said it had acted in more than 50 cases concerning refugees and migrants.

      The cases “often involve complaints on various grounds, including police treatment,” the office said in a written reply to BIRN.

      Most complaints concerned Croatian and Hungarian police.

      “The complaints relate to various types of violence, from hits by hands and sticks to the bite of official dogs,” the office said.

      The local health centre in Bihac, in northwestern Bosnia, said it saw up to 10 cases of violent injuries each month, “but injuries are done by various subjects, i.e. the internal conflicts of migrants, third parties and / or police”.

      Croatia’s interior ministry said it had looked into all complaints of alleged coercive measures against migrants and that none had warranted further criminal investigation.

      “In all these cases, detailed field inspections were carried out in police administrations, and so far in none of the cases have been found that police officers are using forced means against migrants,” it told BIRN.

      The ministry stressed its respect for the fundamental rights and dignity of migrants and that it used “prescribed procedure for returning to the country from which they illegally entered into the Republic of Croatia.”

      “Migrants are most often falsely accusing police officers of violence, expecting such accusations will help them with a new attempt to enter the Republic of Croatia and continue their journey towards the destination countries,” it said.

      In Bosnia, a police spokesman in the Una-Sana canton, where Bihac is located, said police had not received any complaints of violence against migrants and refugees by Bosnian police.

      https://balkaninsight.com/2019/06/13/nobody-hears-you-migrants-refugees-beaten-on-balkan-borders

    • Un monde de murs : en Bosnie, la matraque et les poings comme frontière

      L’Europe a fait tomber ses murs mais bétonne ses frontières. Depuis 2018, des milliers de personnes tentent de traverser le corridor croate depuis la Bosnie pour atteindre l’espace Schengen. Migrants et ONG dénoncent des refoulements ultra-violents.

      Le camp de #Vučjak est situé sur une ancienne décharge. D’après le responsable de la Croix-Rouge, du méthane s’échappe du sol dans certaines zones. Autour des terrains empruntés chaque jour par les migrants sont susceptibles d’abriter des #mines_antipersonnel. - Kristof Vadino.

      Ici, on appelle ça le « #game ». Tenter de franchir la frontière entre la Bosnie et la Croatie et atteindre la Slovénie puis l’Italie sans se faire pincer. Le « game », Anwar peut en parler : il a « joué », il a perdu. Ils sont un petit groupe d’adolescents pakistanais et afghans dans le coin d’une grande tente du camp de Vučjak, dans les montagnes du nord de la Bosnie, à manger à même le sol le deuxième (et dernier) repas de la journée. Certains sont majeurs. « La police a tout pris : mes vêtements, mes chaussures… Ils ont tout jeté dans le feu. Et puis, ils ont frappé, fort », raconte le jeune Pakistanais. Parce qu’on demande, il précise : coups de poing, coups de pied, coups de matraque. « Ils nous ont poussés dans la rivière, l’eau était vraiment très froide, mais ils nous ont forcés à rester là deux heures. Ensuite, on a dû monter dans un véhicule et ils ont mis la climatisation à fond. » Ils ont été renvoyés pieds nus dans la forêt.

      Si, à vol d’oiseau la frontière n’est qu’à quelques kilomètres du camp, il faut plusieurs heures de marche pour passer la montagne, notoirement habitée par loups, serpents et ours (un psychologue croate de Médecins du Monde raconte avoir suivi une enfant traumatisée après que sa famille a été prise en chasse par un ours). Cette fois-ci, Anwar s’en sort bien, des contusions mais pas de blessures. Celle d’avant, au tibia, a cicatrisé. Une fois, il est parvenu à marcher pendant dix jours en Croatie. Il approchait de la frontière slovène lorsqu’on l’a attrapé. « A chaque fois, ils nous lâchent dans la montagne quand ils nous ramènent. » Les violences ? « Toujours. » Un ami l’a dépanné d’une paire de chaussures et de vêtements, mais il faudra quelque temps avant de réunir à nouveau le matériel nécessaire pour camper dans la « jungle » le long des routes croates. Avant d’avoir une opportunité avec les passeurs aussi. Le tarif : 1.200 euros – payables à l’arrivée – pour rejoindre Trieste à pied depuis la Bosnie. L’option « taxi » est beaucoup plus sûre, mais trois à quatre fois plus chère.

      « C’est dur », mais pas question de dévisser de l’objectif. « Inch Allah, je retenterai et je rejoindrai la Belgique », assure Anwar, dans un grand sourire fayot. « Il n’y a pas de vie pour nous au Pakistan. » Autour, les copains qui comprennent un peu l’anglais acquiescent, sérieux.
      Une petite équipe pour 700 hommes

      L’acharnement, c’est l’impossibilité de faire machine arrière : la dette contractée auprès de sa famille – les terres vendues, les sacrifices pour financer le voyage –, l’obligation de réussite. C’est aussi que, si violentes que puissent être les fins de partie, le « game » vaut le coup. Depuis 2018, un peu plus de 50.000 migrants sont entrés en Bosnie. D’après les chiffres de l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM), ils seraient actuellement autour de 7.000 sur le territoire ; 700 ont fait le choix de rentrer dans leur pays d’origine. Les autres sont vraisemblablement passés en Europe.

      Comme beaucoup, Anwar a passé quelques nuits devant les portes de Bira, le vaste entrepôt qui parque depuis un an plus de 1.500 hommes, mineurs isolés et familles à quelques kilomètres de là. Il est complet en permanence (1.800 personnes en ce moment). L’espace permettrait de rajouter des containers pour ouvrir 500 places supplémentaires, mais le gouvernement local restreint strictement la capacité. Les conditions sont rudes mais, à côté du camp « cauchemar » de Vučjak, c’est trois étoiles. « J’ai dit à la barrière de Bira que j’avais 17 ans », raconte Anwar. « Mais ils n’ont pas voulu que j’entre. » Il a fini par lâcher l’affaire et revenir au camp.

      Dans la tente des garçons, le container de la Croix-Rouge locale conserve les pains qui restent du petit-déjeuner. Les retardataires et retournés frappent régulièrement à la porte pour en récupérer. « It’s oooooopeeeeeen. » Affalé sur la table, le garçon aux traits tirés retire prestement le masque médical en se redressant. Mohamed Cehic gère la toute petite équipe de la Croix-Rouge qui tente tant bien que mal, seule, de répondre aux besoins des 700 hommes du camp. Cinq « volontaires » mobilisés sept jours par semaine. Il est épuisé. « Rien à voir avec le travail, j’ai juste mal dormi », assure le responsable. Avant de prendre les rênes du camp, il avait travaillé un mois dans les centres gérés par l’OIM, où la Croix-Rouge assure la distribution des repas. Et avant cela, il était à l’école. Il a 19 ans.

      « On fait tout : on a monté les tentes, on collecte et distribue la nourriture, les vêtements, tout », explique Mohamed Cehic. « Ce n’est pas un camp, je dirais plutôt un… site de transit. La situation n’est pas bonne. Ce n’est pas facile pour les gens. » Il est parfois interrompu par les puissantes rafales de vent qui rabattent pluie et branches contre la paroi du container. Reprend quand cela se calme. « L’hiver approche. C’est la montagne ici, il fait beaucoup plus froid qu’en ville. Ça va vite devenir très difficile. » Est-ce qu’il y a d’autres questions, parce qu’il devrait y aller là, il y a encore… beaucoup.
      « Si une solution n’est pas trouvée rapidement, les gens vont mourir »

      Dehors, les sollicitations reprennent. Deux hommes reviennent de l’unité mobile que Médecins sans frontières fait désormais venir quatre fois par semaine à un kilomètre de là (il n’y avait avant cela aucun accès à l’aide médicale). Ils ont un papier certifiant leur diagnostic : tuberculose. Il faut organiser leur transport à l’hôpital. Entendant parler de « docteur », d’autres arrivent. Un homme a le poignet blessé. « Police. » Il a improvisé un bandage avec un t-shirt déchiré et de la ficelle. Un autre encore ; une plaie suinte à travers le tissu à sa cheville. « C’est trop tard pour le docteur. Demain. » L’eau dans la tente ? « Je sais, on n’a rien pour réparer. » Médicament ? Vêtements ? Non ; plus tard : désolé, je ne peux rien faire ; demain. « Je ne sais pas si on pourra continuer comme ça », reconnaît Mohamed Cehic. « Les autorités ont dit que le camp fermerait le 15 novembre, mais honnêtement, je ne sais plus à qui faire confiance. » Même la nourriture manque. Dans son dernier rapport, la Croix-Rouge affirme ne pas parvenir à fournir les 2.200 calories minimum nécessaires. Le chef de mission de l’OIM, Peter Van der Auweraert, est, lui, plus catégorique : « Si une solution n’est pas trouvée rapidement, les gens vont mourir. »

      Vučjak n’a rien d’un camp spontané. Il résulte de la volonté du gouvernement cantonal d’éloigner les migrants des centres-villes et des habitations. Nouvellement empruntée, la route bosnienne a vu le nombre de migrants soudainement augmenter début 2018, passant de 1.116 personnes en 2017 à 23.848 l’année suivante. Même si un centre d’accueil existe à Sarajevo (saturé, comme les autres), la population se concentre dans le seul canton d’Una Sana, très proche de la Slovénie et de l’Italie. Ce qui a pesé sur la population. En l’espace de dix mois, la police du canton a ouvert 185 dossiers criminels à l’encontre de migrants, incluant un meurtre, trois tentatives de meurtre et des intrusions dans des maisons (« Plutôt en quête d’abris que de vol », nuance le porte-parole de la police). Des migrants étaient victimes dans 26 dossiers. Mais s’agissant de Vučjak, l’OIM et la plupart des autres organisations (y compris l’Union européenne, qui finance tous les centres) ont refusé de jouer le jeu. Le site, une ancienne décharge, n’a pas été testé pour sa toxicité. Sans eau courante, ni électricité, il est entouré de zones toujours susceptibles d’abriter des mines antipersonnel, résidus de guerre.
      Violences policières

      Seule la Croix-Rouge a répondu à l’appel du gouvernement et jongle depuis avec des bouts de ficelle. Enfin, des colsons pour l’heure, seul moyen de rabibocher les tentes déchirées par les intempéries. Au petit matin, les hommes transis de froid se rassemblent près des feux aux abords des tentes. Voire à l’intérieur. C’est dangereux, mais comme tout. Encore emmitouflé dans une mince couverture, un homme se lance dans une grande supplique à l’Union européenne. « Vous nous repoussez, d’accord, mais s’il vous plaît, arrêtez de nous punir. Arrêtez les violences. »

      La violence « supposée » de la police croate, toutes les personnes rencontrées qui sont revenues de la frontière disent en avoir fait l’expérience. Les estropiés qui « se sont fait mal » en tentant de traverser font désormais partie du paysage cantonal. Tant à Vučjak que dans les rues et les centres gérés par l’OIM. Comme Ghulem, 38 ans, croisé à Miral, le centre de Velika Kladusa, dans son fauteuil roulant. Lorsque ses amis l’ont ramené du « game » il y a un mois, incapable de tenir sur ses jambes, les médecins ont fait une radio. Mais on ne lui a jamais communiqué les résultats. Il peut légèrement les bouger maintenant, pas plus. Il a mal, surtout le soir. C’était sa première tentative. Un seul coup de matraque sous les genoux. Il y pense tout le temps. Des migrants racontent que la police tape toujours plus dur sur les Pakistanais – majoritaires en ce moment – sans qu’on sache pourquoi.

      Naeem était presque en Italie, lorsque la police slovène l’a intercepté et remis aux forces croates. Retour à la montagne. Le bâton a frappé tellement fort qu’il a creusé des trous dans la chair. Sa jambe a doublé de volume avec l’infection. Un mois plus tard, les plaies suintent encore à travers les pansements. Il a de la chance, il a accès à un docteur.
      Histoires de disparitions

      Contactée, la Commission européenne assure prendre la situation très au sérieux et attend que la Croatie la « tienne informée ». Fin 2018, Bruxelles débloquait une enveloppe de 6,8 millions d’euros pour permettre à la Croatie de renforcer le contrôle de ses frontières – condition pour une intégration future du pays dans l’espace Schengen – « dans le respect du droit de l’Union européenne ». Outre l’achat de matériel, la création de nouveaux postes-frontières et le renforcement des équipes, l’argent devait financer un « monitoring indépendant », censé essentiellement passer en revue les procédures en place. Quant aux violences policières et au déni d’asile, la Croatie « s’est engagée à enquêter sur toute allégation de mauvais traitement de migrants et réfugiés à la frontière ». Le ministère de l’Intérieur croate n’a pas donné suite à nos requêtes (refusant par ailleurs l’accès à un centre d’accueil de Zagreb).
      Quotidien de migrant

      Le monitoring se fait surtout du côté des ONG. Une poignée d’organisations actives dans les Balkans alimente continuellement le Border Violence Monitoring de rapports d’entretiens menés avec des migrants, souvent complétés de rapports médicaux corroborant les témoignages. De quoi conforter l’idée d’un usage systématique de la violence incluant torture par le froid, passage à tabac, destructions des biens et vêtements et, dans certains cas, des morsures de chiens, os brisés par des coups de bâton…

      L’angle mort pour l’heure, ce sont les disparitions. Dans les camps circulent de nombreuses histoires de noyade lors de la traversée de la Glina, la rivière qui sépare la Bosnie de la Croatie. Mais elles restent quasi impossibles à documenter. Alertées par les migrants, les ONG ont amené (poussé) la police bosnienne à découvrir trois corps – dont un dans la rivière – depuis le mois de septembre, induisant ainsi l’ouverture d’enquêtes. Depuis son lit superposé dans l’immense dortoir de Miral, un garçon essaie de se faire entendre, cherche du regard un Pakistanais capable de traduire. « S’il vous plaît, mes amis, ils sont restés là-bas. » Quatre jours plus tôt, il a laissé quatre compagnons dans les bois, à proximité de la frontière slovène, raconte-t-il. « Ils ont mangé des baies empoisonnées. Ils ne se sont pas réveillés. » Les informations lui manquent, il n’a pas de données GPS. « C’est près d’un village. S’il vous plaît. Il faut les aider. »

      Déni d’asile

      L.K.

      D’après les témoignages de migrants et d’organisations locales, de nombreux cas de refoulements se feraient depuis les commissariats de police croates, seuls endroits où les personnes peuvent déclarer leur intention de demander l’asile. « Il est déjà arrivé que des personnes viennent directement dans nos locaux, qu’on les renvoie vers les commissariats… et qu’elles se retrouvent en Bosnie le lendemain », raconte Tajana Tadic, de l’association citoyenne Are you Sirious. « Ça nous met dans une situation compliquée. C’est délicat de demander aux gens de faire confiance une autorité dont ils ont peur, tout en sachant qu’ils ont de bonnes raisons de se méfier. »

      La Croatie, cela dit, accueille des demandeurs d’asile. Des familles surtout. Médecins du Monde y assure le screening médical et les consultations psychologiques. « On constate essentiellement des maladies de peau, des blessures traumatiques et des problèmes respiratoires. Côté psychologique, leur esprit est encore tourné vers la route, l’urgence d’avancer. Ce n’est qu’après quelque temps que les problèmes apparaissent, quand ils sortent du “mode survie” », explique une psychologue. « On voit des symptômes dépressifs, des crises de panique, de l’anxiété, des troubles de stress post-traumatiques… »

      https://plus.lesoir.be/259302/article/2019-11-08/un-monde-de-murs-en-bosnie-la-matraque-et-les-poings-comme-frontiere
      #Vucjak #the_game #Cazin #Bihac #Vedika_Kladusa

    • Réfugiés en Bosnie-Herzégovine : à la frontière croate, le « game » a repris

      Bloqués depuis la mi-avril par les mesures de confinement liés à la pandémie, les candidats à l’exil sont de plus en plus nombreux à reprendre la route de Bihać pour tenter de passer en Croatie puis se diriger vers l’Europe occidentale. Malgré les violences, les humiliations et les actes de torture commis par la police, dénoncés par Amnesty international (https://www.amnesty.be/infos/actualites/article/croatie-violences-policieres-torture-infligees-migrantes)

      « Je vais en Italie. J’ai fait 100 km à pied pour arriver ici », raconte Velid, un Afghan. Trois jours plus tôt, il est parti du camp de Blažuj, près de Sarajevo, afin d’essayer de passer la frontière croate par Bihać, dans le nord-ouest de la Bosnie-Herzégovine. Velid dort dans des bâtiments abandonnés en attendant de tenter le « game ». « Je n’ai rien à boire ni à manger. Les conditions de logement sont mauvaises, sans eau, ni électricité. On a essayé d’aller dans un camp officiel, mais les gens de la sécurité nous disent qu’il n’y a pas de place pour nous. ». Velid est accompagné d’Abdul Samed, lui aussi venu de Blažuj avec l’objectif de rallier l’Italie.

      Muhamed Husein est Pakistanais. Il y a trois semaines, il logeait au camp Lipa, à 30 km de Bihać. Il a fini dans les locaux désaffectés de Krajinametal après avoir échoué à passer la frontière croate. « Nous sommes arrivés dans ce bâtiment. Nous n’avons pas d’eau, pas de chaussures. Le camp de Lipa est plein et de nouvelles personnes arrivent. Quand on essaie de pénétrer en Croatie, la police nous attrape et nous reconduit à la frontière. Mais nous, on veut aller en Italie. »

      Suite à l’assouplissement des mesures de lutte contre la pandémie, l’arrivée de réfugiés et de migrants sur le territoire du canton d’Una-Sana (USK) est en forte hausse. Selon les informations de la police locale, ces dix derniers jours, 1500 à 2000 nouveaux réfugiés et migrants seraient entrés dans le canton. « Chaque jour, entre 100 et 150 nouveaux migrants en moyenne arrivent dans notre canton en autocar, depuis Sarajevo, Tuzla et Banja Luka », confirme Ale Šiljededić, porte-parole de la police de l’USK. « Comme nous avons pu nous en assurer lors de nos contrôles, certains ont des cartes de camps en activité en Bosnie-Herzégovine, plus précisément à Sarajevo, ce qui signifie qu’ils en partent librement, sans le moindre contrôle ni surveillance. »

      Dans le canton de Bihać, les autorités sont inquiètes

      Selon les autorités municipales, l’augmentation des arrivées à Bihać réveille la crainte que la situation ne revienne à son état d’avant l’état d’urgence, quand les bâtiments abandonnés, mais également les parcs de la ville, étaient devenus des lieux de rassemblement et de vie pour les migrants faute de place dans les camps officiels saturés. « Il n’y a pas eu de nouvelles arrivées pendant la pandémie », précise Ale Šiljededić. « Nous avons vidé les bâtiments squattés et installé les migrants dans le camp Lipa. Ces jours-ci, ces espaces se remplissent à nouveaux, car les centres d’accueil affichent complet. »

      Selon les données de l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM), en charge de la gestion des camps officiels en Bosnie-Herzégovine, 3500 migrants séjournent actuellement dans les camps du Canton d’Una-Sana, dont 1200 dans le nouveau camp de Lipa. Autre problème pour les autorités municipales, le camp de Bira, situé dans la ville de Bihać, dont la fermeture traîne depuis des mois. D’après l’OIM, il accueille à l’heure actuelle quelque 610 migrants. « Bira doit fermer, c’est notre objectif à long terme, mais fermer Bira et avoir des milliers de migrants dans la nature et dans les rues, ce n’est pas non plus une solution », a déclaré le maire Šuhret Fazlić lors d’une conférence de presse le 4 juin.

      Sur la base des conclusions du Groupe opérationnel de suivi de la crise migratoire dans le Canton d’Una-Sana, la police contrôle les autocars qui entrent sur le territoire du canton. « Malheureusement, nous n’arrivons pas complètement à dissuader les migrants d’entrer dans le canton, car la majorité d’entre eux poursuit son chemin vers Bihać à pied ou par d’autres moyens », précise Ale Šiljededić.

      Les migrants ont le même objectif que les Bosniens

      Azra Ibrahimović-Srebrenica, directrice du camp d’Ušivak, près de Sarajevo, confirme que les migrants sont à nouveau en mouvement. Pendant le confinement, il y avait dans ce centre d’accueil dirigé par l’OIM environ 900 migrants, ils ne sont plus que 400 aujourd’hui. « Leur objectif n’est pas la Bosnie-Herzégovine, mais les pays d’Europe occidentale », rappelle-t-elle. « Toute surveillance de la direction du camp cesse quand les migrants les quittent », poursuit-elle. « D’après ce qu’ils nous disent, ils utilisent les transports publics, selon l’argent dont ils disposent. Certains paient leur voyage, et ceux qui ne peuvent pas s’acheter un billet partent à pied. »

      Les restrictions de déplacement des migrants sont-elles toujours en vigueur ? Pour l’OIM, « depuis l’adoption de la décision du Conseil des ministres sur la restriction des déplacements et du séjour des étrangers, qui a suivi l’annonce officielle de la pandémie de Covid-19, il est impossible de quitter les centres d’accueil temporaires de manière régulière ». Cette décision, adoptée le 16 avril, interdit les déplacements et le séjour des sans-papiers en dehors des centres d’accueil. Mais les migrants, comme l’a confirmé l’OIM, quittent en général les camps en sautant les barrières.

      La population locale est inquiète, « mais c’est principalement à cause des préjugés envers les migrants », affirme la directrice du camp Ušivak. L’objectif de ces derniers, rappelle-t-elle, est exactement le même que celui des citoyens bosniens qui quittent le pays : une vie meilleure. « Les gens se font des idées fausses et des préjugés sur la base de quelques individus problématiques. En réalité, nous avons dans nos centres des gens charmants, bien élevés, éduqués, cultivés, des sportifs talentueux, comme ce groupe de six footballeurs qui se sont entraînés avec le petit club près du camp. Nous avons aussi des musiciens, des enseignants, des médecins... » Selon les données de l’OIM, il y aurait actuellement sur l’ensemble du territoire de la Bosnie-Herzégovine, plus de 5700 migrants logés dans les sept centres d’accueil sous sa tutelle.

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/A-la-frontiere-Bosnie-Herzegovine-Croatie-les-migrants-tentent-de

  • European Border and Coast Guard: Agreement reached on operational cooperation with Montenegro

    Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos and Minister of the Interior of Montenegro Mevludin Nuhodžić, initialled a status agreement that will allow European Border and Coast Guard teams to be deployed in Montenegro.

    Once the agreement enters into force, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency will be able to assist Montenegro in border management and carry out joint operations with Montenegro, in particular in the event of a sudden change in migratory flows.

    Today’s agreement is the fifth agreed with a partner country in the Western Balkans, marking yet another step towards the full operationalisation of the Agency.

    https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/news/european-border-coast-guard-agreement-reached-operational-cooperation-mont

    #Frontex #Monténégro #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #partenariat #accord
    ping @isskein

    • Border management: EU signs agreement with Montenegro on European Border and Coast Guard cooperation

      Today, the European Union signed an agreement with Montenegro on border management cooperation between Montenegro and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex). The agreement was signed on behalf of the EU by Maria Ohisalo, Minister of the Interior of Finland and President of the Council and Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, and on behalf of Montenegro by Minister of the Interior, Mevludin Nuhodžić.

      The objective of this agreement is to allow Frontex to coordinate operational cooperation between EU Member states and Montenegro on the management of the borders that the European Union and Montenegro have in common. The signing of this agreement is yet another demonstration of the deepening and expanding cooperation with Montenegro. It will bring benefits for both parties, in particular in enhancing border management activities.
      Maria Ohisalo, Minister of the Interior of Finland

      Today, we are further strengthening our border cooperation with Montenegro, taking yet one more step towards bringing the Western Balkan region closer to the EU. The migratory and security challenges we face are common and our response must be joint too.
      Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship

      This agreement allows Frontex to assist Montenegro in border management, carry out joint operations and deploy teams in the regions of Montenegro that border the EU, subject to Montenegro’s agreement.

      These activities aim at tackling illegal immigration, in particular sudden changes in migratory flows, and cross-border crime, and can involve the provision of increased technical and operational assistance at the border.

      Strengthened cooperation between priority third countries and Frontex will contribute to tackling illegal immigration and further enhance security at the EU’s external borders.
      Next steps

      The draft decision on the conclusion of the agreement was sent to the European Parliament, which needs to give its consent for the agreement to be concluded.
      Background

      Today’s status agreement is the second such agreement to be concluded with a partner country, after a similar agreement was signed with Albania in October 2018. Negotiations with Montenegro were concluded on 5 July 2018 and the draft status agreement was initialled by Commissioner Avramopoulos and Montenegro Interior Minister Mevludin Nuhodžić in February 2019. The Council then authorised the signature of the agreement on 19 March 2019.

      Similar status agreements have also been initialled with North Macedonia (July 2018), Serbia (September 2018) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (January 2019) and are pending finalisation.

      Frontex launched the first-ever joint operation on the territory of a neighbouring non-EU country in Albania on 22 May this year.

      Frontex can carry out deployments and joint operations on the territory of neighbouring non-EU countries, subject to the prior conclusion of a status agreement between the European Union and the country concerned.

      Earlier this year, following a proposal by the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council agreed to reinforce the European Border and Coast Guard. This will allow for joint operations and deployments to take place in countries beyond the EU’s immediate neighbourhood.

      Cooperation with third countries is an important element of the European integrated border management concept. This concept is applied through a four-tier access model which includes: measures in third countries, measures with neighbouring third countries, border control measures and measures within the Schengen area.

      https://www.consilium.europa.eu/fr/press/press-releases/2019/10/07/border-management-eu-signs-agreement-with-montenegro-on-european-bo

    • On October 7, the European Union signed an agreement (https://www.consilium.europa.eu/de/press/press-releases/2019/10/07/border-management-eu-signs-agreement-with-montenegro-on-european-bo) with Montenegro on border management. The agreement was signed between Montenegro and Frontex (EU Border and Coast Guard Agency), allowing Frontex to support Montenegro in the border management process, conducting joint operations and recruiting teams in the region to monitor the border. The aim of the agreement is to curb illegal migration, as the EU itself states “in the wake of sudden changes in migrant flows”. The role of Frontex’s mission has never been completely clear, and it remains unclear what the specific role of Frontex officers will be in this case - what their responsibilities and the scope of their activities will be. The presence of Frontex is always justified by the EU’s argument for strengthening security, but the only security we see strengthened in this aspect is the security of Fortress Europe, but not the security of people - both those trying to cross the border and access the asylum system and those living in border areas. Let’s not forget about the cages (https://www.telegram.hr/politika-kriminal/ovo-na-slici-su-migranti-koje-je-policija-u-bih-zatvorila-u-kaveze) in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, with migrants in them, awaiting deportation to Montenegro.

      Reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodosli, le 14.10.2019

  • #Monténégro : Tito a fait son grand retour à « #Titograd »

    Le Monténégro a ressorti des placards une statue en bronze du maréchal Tito. De taille réelle, elle trône désormais en plein cœur de la capitale #Podgorica. La ville a porté le nom de Titograd de 1946 à 1992. Ce choix d’honorer l’#antifascisme et le père fondateur de la #Yougoslavie socialiste prend le contrepied des pays voisins, qui tentent d’effacer le souvenir de l’État commun.


    https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Montenegro-Tito-Podgorica

    #Tito #Le_retour_de_Tito #mémoire #monument #ex-Yougoslavie #Yougonostalgie

  • #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

  • L’#industrie_du_tabac manœuvre pour tracer les #cigarettes

    Du 8 au 10 octobre, s’est tenue à Genève la première réunion du Protocole pour éliminer le commerce illicite des produits du tabac. Le texte exige des États la mise en place d’un système de #traçabilité indépendant des industriels, accusés par le passé d’alimenter la #contrebande. Mais en coulisses, les cigarettiers manœuvrent pour jouer un rôle, allant jusqu’à recruter d’anciens policiers français.



    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/france/111018/l-industrie-du-tabac-manoeuvre-pour-tracer-les-cigarettes
    #tabac #OMS #lobby #Codentify #Sicpa #Burkina_Faso #Montenegro_Connection #Sicpatrace #Philip_Morris_International #Inexto #Impala #British_American_Tobacco #Philippe_Chatelain #PMI_Impact #Marlboro #Luis_Moreno_Ocampo #Jürgen_Storbeck #Europol #Alain_Juillet #Association_de_lutte_contre_le_commerce_illicite #ALCCI #Hervé_Pierre #Dominique_Lapprand #Tracfin #Bercy #Pierre_Moscovici

    Un article de @marty et photos @albertocampiphoto de @wereport

  • La jeune femme serbe enfermée au 127bis avec son bébé n’avait pas assez d’argent
    https://www.rtbf.be/info/belgique/detail_la-jeune-femme-serbe-enfermee-au-127bis-avec-son-bebe-n-avait-pas-assez-

    La touriste serbe arrivée à #Bruxelles la semaine dernière avec son bébé de 9 mois n’a pas pu entrer dans le pays en raison d’un manque d’argent. Elle a été enfermée une journée au centre #127bis de #Steenokkerzeel et a encore dû attendre quatre jours avant de pouvoir rentrer chez elle, affirme le site d’information Apache https://www.apache.be/2018/09/26/servische-toeriste-met-baby-in-gesloten-centrum-omdat-ze-te-weinig-geld-bijha . L’information a été confirmée par Geert De Vulder, porte-parole de l’Office des étrangers, tout en précisant qu’il s’agissait d’une procédure standard.


    La manière d’agir des services belges n’a pas été appréciée en Serbie, ni au Monténégro, d’où la Serbe avait pris un vol le 16 septembre vers Bruxelles, pour un séjour de cinq jours chez son frère qui réside aux Pays-Bas.

    Au contrôle des frontières, il s’est avéré que la jeune femme ne répondait pas à l’une des conditions d’entrée, celle de posséder suffisamment d’argent sur soi. La loi fixe cette somme à 45 euros par jour lorsqu’on est en visite dans la famille ou chez des amis. La femme avait 300 euros, soit 20 euros par jour pour elle-même et son bébé. Apache signale que le revenu mensuel moyen en Serbie oscille entre 400 et 450 euros. « Nous n’avons fait que suivre la loi », poursuit M. De Vulder. « Cette femme aurait dû mieux préparer son voyage ».

    C’est pour cette raison qu’il a été décidé d’emmener cette personne au centre fermé 127bis. Le lendemain, elle a été transférée en centre ouvert où elle a pu recevoir la visite de son frère. Finalement, elle n’a pu prendre le chemin du retour que le jeudi 20 septembre. Lors de ce vol retour, elle a dû donner son passeport et a été escortée par des agents de police.

    #Belgique #Bruxelles #Serbie #Monténégro #tourisme dans l’#union_européenne #UE #Femme #enfant

    • My god.

      La « femme »

      La loi fixe à 45 euros par jour la somme minimale lorsqu’on est en visite dans la famille ou chez des amis. La femme avait 300 euros, soit 20 euros par jour pour elle-même et son bébé. Apache signale que le revenu mensuel moyen en Serbie oscille entre 400 et 450 euros. « Nous n’avons fait que suivre la loi », poursuit M. De Vulder. « Cette femme aurait dû mieux préparer son voyage .

      La « serbe »

      La manière d’agir des services belges n’a pas été appréciée en Serbie, ni au Monténégro, d’où la Serbe avait pris un vol le 16 septembre vers Bruxelles, pour un séjour de cinq jours chez son frère qui réside aux Pays-Bas.

  • Albania Cannot “Adopt” Asylum Seekers from Italy

    Over the weekend, the Albanian government announced that it would “adopt” 20 of the 150 Eritrean asylum seekers that had been blocked for a week in the Italian port of Catania by far-right deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini. The refugees were only allowed to leave the ship after the Italian court started proceedings against him.

    The Italian Ombudsman Mauro Palma, claimed that migrants were “de facto deprived of freedom without any legal basis or judicial oversight” and that Salvini and the Italian government had potentially violated the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights, the Italian Constitution, the Geneva Convention, as well as the Italian Criminal Code and Code of Navigation.

    The acceptance of Albania’s offer to take over 20 asylum seekers may yet be another violation, because Albania is a “third country” and not part of the common EU asylum system, the Dublin Convention.

    In an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Lorenzo Trucco, director of the Association for the Juridical Study of Immigration (ASGI), called the Albanian “solution” a “theater of the absurd”:
    Here we are outside any legal context. Albania is not in the European Union, so we are talking about a relocation to a third country that does not have everything that is foreseen by the common European asylum system. It means that we are not sure that they have the requisites required for the recognition of protection. So a transfer to this country can only take place if the migrants agree, never against their will. In that case it would be a forced removal.

    And then there is the issue of choice. How will anyone selected to go to Albania be selected? It is a theater of the absurd, an attack on the asylum system. Fortunately, there was the intervention of the judiciary.

    Transferring Eritrean refugees from Italy to Albania against their will or after they applied for asylum in Italy (for which they had the right as soon as they disembarked the ship) is a breach of EU law. The Albanian government has given Salvini a pretext for doing so, while also showing how little it understands of how the rule of law works.

    https://exit.al/en/2018/08/27/albania-cannot-adopt-asylum-seekers-from-italy
    #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Italie #Albanie

    Cette tentative d’externaliser les procédures en Albanie a été pensée pour les réfugiés à bord de la #Diciotti, navire bloqué pendant des jours et des jours en mer car le gouvernement italien a bloqué l’accès sur son territoire.
    Malheureusement, je n’ai pas trop suivi ce dernier épisode, car j’étais loin et pas toujours connectée.
    Il y a tout de même de la documentation ici, qui traite du cas Diciotti, mais pas de la tentative d’externalisation en Albanie :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/717803

    cc @isskein @reka

    • L’Italie a demandé au #Monténégro d’accepter des réfugiés du Diciotti

      30 août - 11h30 : « L’Italie a contacté le ministère des Affaires étrangères, lui demandant d’accueillir certains réfugiés du Diciotti », a confirmé le porte-parole du gouvernement monténégrin, Srđan Kusovac. Ces derniers, principalement d’origine africaine, sont bloqués depuis dix jours dans le port de Catane, en Sicile. L’Albanie doit accueillir 20 d’entre eux.

      Vu sur le site du Courrier des Balkans, dernières info, pas de URL propre, malheureusement.

    • Montenegro to Host Some Migrants From Italy

      Montenegrin on Thursday announced that it will take in up to five people from a ship full of migrants that was stranded off the coast of Italy for days.

      The government of Montenegro has said it will receive up to five refugees and migrants who disembarked at a port in Sicily after the Italian authorities kept them on the ship for days.

      “The Government, having acknowledged the principles of humanity and solidarity with people in need as a traditional value of Montenegrin society, confirmed many times in our history, decided that Montenegro should accept up to five migrants from the Diciotto,” the government said on its Twitter account on Thursday evening.

      Montenegro confirmed on August 30 that it had been approached by Italy and asked to take in a number of migrants and refugees, to help end a 10-day standoff with the ship docked off the Italian coast at Catania.

      Podgorica said then it was still mulling whether to take the mostly African-origin migrants and refugees, but had not yet taken a stance.

      “Unanimously, the Government of Montenegro confirms its commitment to the European value system and affirms human dignity,” it said on Twitter on Thursday.

      http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/montenegro-to-receive-up-to-five-migrants-from-italy-09-06-2018

  • Threatening wilderness, dams fuel protests in the Balkans

    For almost a year, a clutch of Bosnian women has kept watch over a wooden bridge to disrupt the march of hydropower - part of a Balkan-wide protest against the damming of Europe’s wild rivers.

    From Albania to Slovenia, critics fear the proposed run of dams will destroy their majestic landscape, steal their water and extinguish species unique to the Balkans.

    So the village women stake out the bridge around the clock, listening out for the telltale sounds of diggers on the move.

    “We are always here, during the day, at night, always,” said Hata Hurem, a 31-year-old housewife, in the shadow of the towering mountains that dominate the Balkan landscape.

    Clustered by a creek on the edge of the village of Kruscica, about 40 miles north west of Sarajevo, the local women have taken turns to stand firm, blocking trucks and scrapers from accessing the construction sites of two small plants.

    Investment in renewable energy is growing worldwide as countries rush to meet goals set by the Paris Agreement on climate change. But from China to South America, dams cause controversy for flooding fragile ecosystems and displacing local communities.

    Plans to build almost 3,000 hydropower plants were underway across the Balkans in 2017, about 10 percent of them in Bosnia, according to a study by consultancy Fluvius.

    Authorities and investors say boosting hydropower is key to reducing regional dependency on coal and to falling in line with European Union energy policies as Western Balkan states move toward integration with the bloc.

    Sponsored

    The energy ministry of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of Bosnia’s two autonomous regions, where Kruscica is located, did not respond to a request for comment.

    The government of Bosnia’s other region, Republika Srpska, said building dams was easier and cheaper than shifting toward other power sources.

    “The Republic of Srpska has comparative advantages in its unused hydro potential and considers it quite justified to achieve the goals set by the EU by exploiting its unused hydropower,” said energy ministry spokeswoman Zorana Kisic.
    DAMS AND PICKETS

    Yet, critics say the “dam tsunami” - a term coined by anti-hydropower activists - endangers Europe’s last wild rivers, which flow free.

    If rivers stop running freely, they say dozens of species, from the Danube Salmon to the Balkan Lynx, are at risk.

    About a third of the planned dam projects are in protected areas, including some in national parks, according to the 2017 study, commissioned by campaign groups RiverWatch and Euronatur.

    Most plants are small, producing as little as up to 1 MW each - roughly enough to power about 750 homes - but their combined impact is large as activists say they would cut fish migration routes and damage their habitat.

    “Three thousand hydropower plants ... will destroy these rivers,” said Viktor Bjelić, of the Center for Environment (CZZS), a Bosnian environmental group.

    “Many of the species depending on these ecosystem will disappear or will be extremely endangered.”

    Some local communities fear displacement and lost access to water they’ve long used for drinking, fishing and farming.

    In Kruscica, protesters say water would be diverted through pipelines, leaving the creek empty and sinking hopes for a revival of nature tourism that attracted hikers, hunters and fishing enthusiasts before war intervened in the 1990s.

    “(The river) means everything to us, it’s the life of the community,” said Kruscica’s mayor Tahira Tibold, speaking outside the barren wooden hut used as base by demonstrators.

    Locals first heard about the plants when construction workers showed up last year, added the 65-year-old.

    Women have led protests since fronting a picket to shield men during a confrontation with police last year, said Tibold.

    Campaigners have taken their plight to court, alleging irregularities in the approval process, and works have stalled. But demonstrators keep patrolling around the clock, said Bjelić of CZZS, as it is not known when or how the case will end.
    SHADES OF GREEN

    The protest was backed by U.S. clothing company Patagonia as part of a wider campaign to preserve Balkan rivers and dissuade international banks from investing in hydropower.

    Banks and multilateral investors including the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), fund hundreds of projects, according to a 2018 study by Bankwatch, a financial watchdog.

    “It’s a waste of money and a moral travesty that some of the world’s largest financial institutions have embraced this out-dated and exploitative technology,” Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard said in a statement in April.

    The World Bank, EBRD and EIB said their investments have to comply with environmental and social standards, which EBRD and EIB said they were strengthening.

    EBRD said it also improved its assessment process and pulled out of some projects near protected areas.

    “Hydropower is an important source of renewable energy for Western Balkans,” said EBRD’s spokeswoman Svitlana Pyrkalo.

    Bosnia gets 40 percent of its electricity from hydropower, the rest from coal-fired power plants. It plans to increase the share of renewables to 43 percent by 2020, under a target agreed with the EU.

    Dams are generally considered more reliable than wind and solar plants as they are less dependent on weather conditions.

    But that could change with global warming if droughts and floods grow more common, said Doug Vine, a senior fellow at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, a U.S.-based think tank.

    Last year a long drought lowered water levels across the Western Balkans, hitting hydropower output and driving up prices.

    Campaigners say Balkan states should focus on solar and wind power as they involve less building works and cost less.

    “Just because it doesn’t emit CO2 it doesn’t mean it’s good,” said Ulrich Eichelmann, head of RiverWatch.

    “Is like saying (that) … smoking is healthy because it doesn’t affect the liver”.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bosnia-environment-dams/threatening-wilderness-dams-fuel-protests-in-the-balkans-idUSKCN1J0007
    #barrages_hydroélectriques #eau #énergie #Balkans #Bosnie #résistance #manifestations #faune #wildlife

    Je commence ici une compilation avec des articles d’archive pour l’instant...
    cc @albertocampiphoto

    • Dans les Balkans, un « tsunami de barrages » déferle sur les écosystèmes

      Portée par une image verte et des financements européens, l’énergie hydroélectrique connaît de multiples projets dans les Balkans. Au grand dam des populations locales concernées et au détriment d’écosystèmes encore préservés.

      « Ne touchez pas à la #Valbona ! » « Laissez les fleuves libres ! » Le soleil automnal à peine levé, les cris et les slogans d’une trentaine de manifestants résonnent jusqu’aux plus hauts sommets des « Alpes albanaises ». Coincée entre les montagnes du #Monténégro et du #Kosovo, la vallée de la Valbona a longtemps été l’une des régions les plus isolées d’Europe. Les eaux cristallines de sa rivière et le fragile écosystème qui l’entoure attirent depuis quelques années des milliers de personnes en quête de nature sauvage.

      « Les barrages vont détruire les rares sources de revenus des habitants. Sans le tourisme, comment peut-on gagner sa vie dans une région si délaissée ? » Après avoir travaillé une quinzaine d’années à l’étranger, Ardian Selimaj est revenu investir dans le pays de ses ancêtres. Ses petits chalets en bois se fondent dans la végétation alpine. Mais, à quelques dizaines de mètres seulement, les bétonnières sont à l’œuvre. Malgré l’opposition bruyante des habitants et des militants écologistes, le lit de la rivière est déjà défiguré. « Si la Valbona est bétonnée, ce ne sera plus un parc national mais une zone industrielle », se désole Ardian Selimaj, la larme à l’œil.

      Les barrages qui se construisent aux confins albanais sont loin d’être des cas uniques. « Les Balkans sont l’un des points chauds de la construction des centrales hydroélectriques. Près de 3.000 y sont prévus ou déjà en construction ! » Militant écologiste viennois, Ulrich Eichelmann se bat depuis près de trente ans pour la protection des rivières d’Europe. Son ONG, RiverWatch, est en première ligne contre les 2.796 centrales qu’elle a recensées dans le sud-est du continent. De la Slovénie à la Grèce, rares sont les rivières épargnées par ce « tsunami de barrages ».
      Un désastre environnemental qui se fait souvent avec le soutien du contribuable européen

      « Les raisons de l’explosion du nombre de ces projets sont multiples, commente Ulrich. La corruption, la mauvaise compréhension des enjeux climatiques, les intérêts financiers qu’y trouvent les banques et les institutions financières, l’extrême faiblesse de l’application des lois... » Dans des sociétés malmenées par la corruption, les investisseurs ont peu de mal à faire valoir leurs intérêts auprès des dirigeants. Ceux-ci s’empressent de leur dérouler le tapis rouge. Et sont peu enclins à appliquer leur propre législation environnementale : 37 % des barrages envisagés le sont au cœur de zones protégées.

      Parc national ou zone Natura 2000, des points chauds de la biodiversité mondiale sont ainsi menacés. Un désastre environnemental qui se fait souvent avec le soutien du contribuable européen. « En 2015, nous avons constaté que la Banque européenne pour la reconstruction et le développement (Berd) avait financé 21 projets dans des zones protégées ou valorisées au niveau international », commente Igor Vejnovic, de l’ONG Bankwatch-CEE. Alors que l’Union européenne (UE) promeut officiellement les normes environnementales dans la région, on retrouve ses deux grandes banques de développement derrière plusieurs constructions de centrales. Igor Vejnovic dénonce « un soutien à des projets qui ne seraient pas autorisés par la législation européenne en vigueur ».

      Un soutien financier qui est d’ailleurs difficile à établir. « Leur nombre est probablement encore plus élevé, assure Igor Vejnovic, car la Banque européenne d’investissement (BEI) et la Berd financent ces centrales par des intermédiaires régionaux et les deux banques refusent systématiquement d’identifier les porteurs des projets en invoquant la confidentialité du client. » Des clients qui font souvent peu de cas des obligations légales. Selon Bankwatch-CEE, de nombreuses études d’impact environnemental ont été bâclées ou falsifiées. Des irrégularités parfois si caricaturales qu’elles ont conduit les deux banques européennes à suspendre, quand même, leurs prêts à d’importants projets dans le parc national de Mavrovo, en Macédoine. Ses forêts abritent l’une des espèces les plus menacées au monde, le lynx des Balkans.

      Grâce à une géographie montagneuse et à une histoire récente relativement épargnée par les phases destructrices de l’industrialisation, les rivières des Balkans offrent encore des paysages spectaculaires et une nature sauvage. Leurs eaux cristallines et préservées abritent près de 69 espèces de poissons endémiques de la région, dont le fameux saumon du Danube, en danger d’extinction. Une expédition de quelques jours sur la Vjosa, le « cœur bleu de l’Europe », a ainsi permis la découverte d’une espèce de plécoptères et d’un poisson encore inconnus de la science. Un trésor biologique méconnu dont les jours sont pourtant comptés. Malgré leurs conséquences catastrophiques, les petits barrages de moins de 1 MW se multiplient : ceux-ci ne nécessitent généralement aucune étude d’impact environnemental.
      La détermination des populations locales a fait reculer plusieurs barrages

      Louée pour son caractère « renouvelable », l’hydraulique représente 10 % du parc électrique français et près de 17 % de l’électricité produite sur la planète. Bénéficiant de la relative conversion du secteur énergétique au développement dit « durable », les barrages sont en pleine expansion à travers le globe. Les industriels de l’eau n’hésitent pas à le répéter : l’énergie hydraulique, « solution d’avenir », n’émet ni gaz à effet de serre ni pollution. Ces affirmations sont pourtant contredites par de récentes études. Peu relayées dans les grands médias, celles-ci démontrent que les pollutions causées par l’énergie hydraulique auraient été largement sous-estimées. Dans certaines régions du monde, les grandes retenues d’eau artificielles généreraient d’importantes productions de méthane (CH4), dont le pouvoir de réchauffement est 25 fois supérieur à celui du dioxyde de carbone (CO2).

      « L’hydroélectricité est l’une des pires formes de production d’énergie pour la nature, s’emporte Ulrich. Ce n’est pas parce qu’il n’émet pas de CO2 que c’est une énergie renouvelable. » Le militant écologiste s’indigne des conséquences de ces constructions qui transforment des fleuves libres en lacs artificiels. « La nature et les espèces détruites ne sont pas renouvelables. Quand une rivière est bétonnée, la qualité de l’eau baisse, le niveau des eaux souterraines en aval du barrage chute alors que la côte, elle, est menacée par l’érosion en raison de la diminution de l’apport en sédiments. »

      Les discours positifs des industriels tombent en tout cas à pic pour les dirigeants des Balkans, qui espèrent ainsi tempérer les oppositions à ces centaines de constructions. La diversification énergétique recherchée a pourtant peu de chances de profiter à des populations locales qui verront leur environnement quotidien transformé à jamais. « Si les promoteurs investissent parfois dans les infrastructures locales, cela a une valeur marginale par rapport aux dommages causés au patrimoine naturel et à la qualité de l’eau, explique Igor Vejnovic. L’hydroélectricité est d’ailleurs vulnérable aux périodes de sécheresse, qui sont de plus en plus fréquentes. » Les centrales dites « au fil de l’eau » prévues dans les Balkans risquent de laisser bien souvent les rivières à sec.

      Malgré les problèmes politiques et sociaux qui frappent les pays de la région, les mobilisations s’amplifient. La détermination des populations locales à défendre leurs rivières a même fait reculer plusieurs barrages. En Bosnie, où les habitants ont occupé le chantier de la Fojnička pendant près de 325 jours, plusieurs constructions ont été arrêtées. À Tirana, le tribunal administratif a donné raison aux militants et interrompu les travaux de l’un des plus importants barrages prévus sur la Vjosa. Après s’être retirée du projet sur la Ombla, en Croatie, la Berd a suspendu le versement des 65 millions d’euros promis pour les gros barrages du parc Mavrovo, en Macédoine, et a récemment commencé à privilégier des projets liés à l’énergie solaire. Cette vague de succès suffira-t-elle à contrer le tsunami annoncé ?


      https://reporterre.net/Dans-les-Balkans-un-tsunami-de-barrages-deferle-sur-les-ecosystemes
      #hydroélectricité #extractivisme

    • Balkan hydropower projects soar by 300% putting wildlife at risk, research shows
      More than a third of about 2,800 planned new dams are in protected areas, threatening rivers and biodiversity.

      Hydropower constructions have rocketed by 300% across the western Balkans in the last two years, according to a new analysis, sparking fears of disappearing mountain rivers and biodiversity loss.

      About 2,800 new dams are now in the pipeline across a zone stretching from Slovenia to Greece, 37% of which are set to be built in protected areas such as national parks or Natura 2000 sites.

      Heavy machinery is already channelling new water flows at 187 construction sites, compared to just 61 in 2015, according to the research by Fluvius, a consultancy for UN and EU-backed projects.

      Ulrich Eichelmann, the director of the RiverWatch NGO, which commissioned the paper, said that the small-scale nature of most projects – often in mountainous terrain – was, counterintuitively, having a disastrous impact on nature.

      “They divert water through pipelines away from the river and leave behind empty channels where rivers had been,” he told the Guardian. “It is a catastrophe for local people and for the environment. For many species of fish and insects like dragonflies and stoneflies, it is the end.”

      One stonefly species, Isoperla vjosae, was only discovered on Albania’s iconic Vjosa river this year, during an expedition by 25 scientists which also found an unnamed fish previously unknown to science. Like the Danube salmon and the Prespa trout, it is already thought to be at risk from what Eichelmann calls “a dam tsunami”.

      The scientists’ report described the Vjosa as a remarkably unique and dynamic eco-haven for scores of aquatic species that have disappeared across Europe. “The majority of these viable communities are expected to irrecoverably go extinct as a result of the projected hydropower dams,” it said.

      However, Damian Gjiknuri, Albania’s energy minister, told the Guardian that two planned megadams on the Vjosa would allow “the passage of fish via fish bypass or fish lanes”.

      “These designs have been based on the best environmental practices that are being applied today for minimising the effects of high dams on the circulation of aquatic faunas,” he said.

      Gjiknuri disputed the new report’s findings on the basis that only two “high dams” were being built in Albania, while most others were “run-of-the-river hydropower”.

      These generate less than 10MW of energy and so require no environmental impact assessments, conservationists say. But their small scale often precludes budgets for mitigation measures and allows arrays of turbines to be placed at intervals along waterways, causing what WWF calls “severe cumulative impacts”.

      Beyond aquatic life, the dam boom may also be threatening humans too.

      Since 2012, property conflicts between big energy companies and small farmers have led to one murder and an attempted murder, according to an EU-funded study. The paper logged three work-related deaths, and dozens of arrests linked to Albania’s wave of hydropower projects.

      Albania is a regional hotspot with 81 dams under construction but Serbia, Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina are also installing 71 hydro plants, and Serbia has a further 800 projects on the drawing board.

      Gjiknuri said the Albanian government was committed to declaring a national park on a portion of the Vjosa upstream from the planned 50m-high Kalivaçi dam, preventing further hydro construction there.


      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/27/balkan-hydropower-projects-soar-by-300-putting-wildlife-at-risk-researc
      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/27/balkan-hydropower-projects-soar-by-300-putting-wildlife-at-risk-researc
      signalé par @odilon il y a quelques temps:
      https://seenthis.net/messages/648548

    • Serbie : mobilisation citoyenne contre les centrales hydroélectriques dans la #Stara_planina

      L’État serbe a donné le feu vert aux investisseurs pour la construction de 58 centrales hydroélectriques sur plusieurs rivières dans la Stara planina. S’étalant à l’est de la Serbie, ce massif montagneux constitue la frontière naturelle entre la Serbie et la Bulgarie et continue jusqu’à la mer Noire. Cette zone protégée est l’une des plus grandes réserves naturelles de Serbie.


      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Serbie-mobilisation-citoyenne-contre-les-centrales-hydroelectriqu

    • Le #Monténégro se mobilise contre les mini-centrales hydroélectriques

      Quand les directives européennes sur les énergies renouvelables servent les intérêts des mafieux locaux... Après l’Albanie, la Bosnie-Herzégovine, la Croatie ou la Serbie, c’est maintenant le Monténégro qui entre en résistance contre les constructions de mini-centrales hydroélectriques. 80 projets sont prévus dans le pays, avec de très lourdes conséquences pour l’environnement et les communautés rurales.

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Centrales-hydroelectrique-au-Montenegro

  • Come il Montenegro si prepara a un’emergenza che non c’è

    La percezione di un’emergenza migranti percorre come una febbre i Balcani, ma in nessun paese assume sembianze surreali come nel piccolo Montenegro, dove si lavora alacremente per affrontare arrivi di massa che almeno per ora non sono ancora avvenuti. Christian Elia ha incontrato per noi i protagonisti dell’accoglienza, i rifugiati che ci sono per ora, e i giornalisti sotto minaccia che si occupano anche di immigrazione.

    Negli ultimi due mesi il governo di Podgorica ha prima dichiarato di valutare la costruzione di un muro al confine con l’Albania, le cui forze dell’ordine lascerebbero passare una quota crescente e preoccupante di migranti rifiutandone il respingimento. Pochi giorni dopo, l’esecutivo montenegrino ha discusso di un’adesione a Frontex, l’agenzia delle frontiere europee. Posizioni pubbliche premiate dal governo ungherese, pronto a donare a Podgorica il filo spinato necessario a mettere in “sicurezza” almeno 25 chilometri del proprio confine meridionale.


    https://openmigration.org/analisi/come-il-montenegro-si-prepara-a-unemergenza-che-non-ce

    #frontières #murs #Albanie #Monténégro #Frontex #asile #migrations #réfugiés #route_des_balkans

    • Albania, l’umanità che resta sulla rotta balcanica

      Sarà perché il ricordo di quando si era costretti a partire è ancora forte, o perché il paese ha vissuto in prima linea la guerra in Kosovo, ma sui migranti l’Albania non soffre le pressioni dell’opinione pubblica. Se ne parla poco e l’aiuto è tanto, come a Scutari: prima erano i kosovari, ora sono gli afgani e i siriani ad essere assistiti. Le stesse storie, gli stessi incubi e lo stesso bisogno di un giaciglio in cui dormire. Con Christian Elia torniamo sulla rotta balcanica in un reportage a cavallo tra Albania e Montenegro.

      “A volte puoi solo immaginare come ci si possa sentire. Ecco, ricordo in particolare la storia di una signora siriana. Ancora oggi, pensando a lei, ho i brividi. Con i suoi due piccoli figli, a piedi, tentava di passare in Montenegro, nella zona del triplo confine, con Albania e Kosovo. È una zona impervia, boscosa, non aveva più denaro per pagare una guida. Avrà fatto tutto quel che poteva, ma è stata morsa da una vipera. Era terrorizzata, ha iniziato a urlare, come i suoi bambini, che probabilmente neanche capivano bene la dimensione della tragedia. Se non ci fossero stati due ragazzi algerini, a loro volta a piedi, sulla stessa rotta, sarebbe morta là. Lasciando i piccoli da soli. Ecco, uno dei due, nonostante la paura di essere scoperto e respinto, è accorso, salvandole la vita e portandola indietro insieme ai bambini.”

      In Albania, rispetto ai popoli in cammino, c’è un clima molto differente che nel resto della regione e dell’Europa. E’ come se, per l’assenza sostanziale del tema nel conflitto politico, si riuscisse a mantenere quella ragionevole, lucida, umanità che è naturale quando si parla di esseri umani senza il filtro della speculazione politica.

      Per le strade di Tirana, attorno ai due centri di permanenza temporanea, è anche difficile vederli. Tanto che le loro storie restano impresse nella memoria, vengono ricordate, le storie hanno ancora volti, non sono ancora diventate numeri.

      La sede della Caritas, a Tirana, è in Rruga Don Bosco. La storia della Caritas, in Albania, è parallela a quella contemporanea del Paese delle Aquile. C’era al tempo del crollo del regime di Hoxha, c’era durante la guerra civile, che gli albanesi ricordano come ‘anarchia’, c’è oggi, che l’Albania è cambiata tanto, che i migranti arrivano e non partono – quasi – più. Al massimo, da tutto il mondo, tornano. O se partono, possono farlo legalmente.

      Nel caos del traffico cittadino e della vita frenetica dei bar, dei centri commerciali e dei negozi, il centro della Caritas è come un luogo sospeso, dove la vita albanese rallenta. Ariela Mitri è la responsabile per il settore del traffico di esseri umani e delle migrazioni, preparata e accogliente. A luglio 2018, con il sostegno della comunità internazionale, ha collaborato a un rapporto che fotografa la situazione di quello che è un paese di transito per eccellenza. Dalla Grecia alla Croazia e alla Slovenia, lungo la Balkan Route che non è mai davvero chiusa, al di là del racconto dei media. Le persone transitano, via Montenegro, via Kosovo, via Serbia, vengono respinte e si trovano intrappolate, spesso in Bosnia – Erzegovina.

      Il rapporto studia il periodo 2012 – 2017, ma è dal 2009 che i flussi di passaggio (perché solo di questo si tratta) iniziano a salire, in parallelo alla chiusura via via più ferrea di tutte le altre rotte d’accesso all’Europa.

      L’Albania ha aderito alla Convenzione di Ginevra del 1951 e il suo quadro normativo si sta adattando all’acquis europeo. La legge 121/2014 prevede che entro e non oltre quindici giorni dalla presentazione della domanda di protezione internazionale lo stato albanese deve informare il richiedente circa i suoi diritti. Secondo l’ultimo report pubblicato dalla Commissione nel 2017 hanno presentato domanda di asilo in Albania 309 persone, dato in leggera crescita rispetto all’anno prima. Le domande vengono registrate dalle autorità di frontiera, dopodiché passano al Direttorato per l’asilo politico e la cittadinanza. C’è opzione di ricorso, se ne ricordano solo tre.

      Il fronte di ingresso è l’Albania meridionale, quello di uscita è l’Albania settentrionale. Chi non prova la strada – impervia – del Kosovo, si concentra nella zona di Scutari. Ed è proprio là che Cristian, responsabile Caritas a in città, si occupa di molti di loro. “Le storie sono tante, c’è una coppia di fratellini afgani che aspettano la madre, oramai in Svezia, per il ricongiungimento familiare, ma la storia più triste è stata di sicuro quella di una bimba afgana che ha subito l’amputazione del piede per il freddo. Come si fa a dimenticare?”. Cristian racconta, mentre si avvicina al posto di frontiera di Han i Hotit, uno dei tre punti di passaggio dall’Albania al Montenegro. Le colline tutto attorno sono basse. “Capita di vederli camminare, proprio là, sulla cresta”, indica Kristian.

      Un sentiero parte tra due case di questa zona a maggioranza cattolica. Un croce su un cancello aiuta a partecipare all’idea di una mappatura simbolica dei luoghi. Due cani abbaiano all’impazzata, un gregge di pecore bruca pigramente ai margini del sentiero che si inerpica fino a scollinare dall’altra parte.

      Proprio su quella zona c’è la parrocchia di padre Adrian. Faccia da duro, crocefisso al petto. E dietro l’apparenza tanta umanità. “Mi capitava di arrivare qui e trovare, all’alba, donne e bambini, famiglie intere, che dormivano in giardino. Come si può essere indifferenti. Aprivo la sagrestia, che ha una minima struttura attrezzata per passare la notte. Questo è un piccolo paesino, un villaggio, sulla strada per il Montenegro, è ovvio che non si può fare molto. La comunità è accogliente, le donne del villaggio mi aiutano portando cibo e coperte, ma non è questa la soluzione. Le persone passano e bisogna fare qualcosa, non si possono lasciare all’addiaccio né si può pensare che questi ripari di fortuna siano la soluzione”.

      Sono almeno cinque, l’anno scorso, i casi di taxisti arrestati perché portavano (dietro lauto pagamento) i migranti verso il confine. Molti passavano da questa strada, quelli con meno mezzi tentano la fortuna a piedi.

      Il posto di confine, dalla parte del Montenegro, ha ancora l’arco di cemento d’ispirazione socialista. Dalla parte albanese, un caffè con vetrate domina il panorama mozzafiato del lago di Scutari, che durante gli anni duri del regime di Hoxha alcuni temerari provarono a passare a nuoto, in fuga verso quella Jugoslavia che era più libera, ma che spesso li rimandava indietro esponendo loro e le loro famiglie alla vendetta del regime di Tirana. Solo che all’epoca, la stampa e la politica europee, li raccontava come eroi e martiri della libertà. Un mondo a memoria selettiva. Padre Adrian, invece, ha la memoria delle persone. “Anche io sono migrato, quando qui è diventato un inferno durante gli anni della caduta del regime e dell’anarchia. Come posso voltarmi dall’altra parte?”. E a ricordarlo, ogni giorno, quel tempo, sono i cartelli che recitano “Respinti Schengen”, con azzeccagarbugli che spesso finiscono per spillare un sacco di soldi agli albanesi che non possono avere il visto Ue, senza ottenere il risultato promesso.

      I migranti, spesso, seguono il binario che – come una cicatrice del tempo – corre sulla cresta della collina al fianco del confine e porta in Montenegro.

      Tirana e Podgorica, al netto di polemiche che in Montenegro hanno portato addirittura a parlare di costruire un muro, nella realtà della politica hanno stipulato accordi più pragmatici: hanno annunciato l’apertura di un nuovo valico, moderno, che permetta di blindare quelli vetusti esistenti.

      L’Albania, dal punto di vista dei migranti, non ha pressioni dell’opinione pubblica. Se ne parla poco, ma l’esecutivo albanese non è affatto a digiuno di politica. Molti ricorderanno, cinque mesi orsono, la mano tesa del primo ministro albanese Edi Rama al governo italiano. La nave Diciotti era al largo delle coste italiane, vittima del braccio di ferro tra il ministro degli Interni italiano, Matteo Salvini, e l’Unione Europea, colpevole – secondo la vulgata di Roma – di non condividere le quote degli sbarchi. Bene, le cose sono andate diversamente, come ha scritto e dimostrato Nicola Pedrazzi su Osservatorio Balcani Caucaso.

      “Primo: diversamente da quanto si è detto e scritto, nessuna delle persone scese dalla nave Diciotti la notte tra il 25 e il 26 agosto 2018 è mai arrivata sul suolo albanese. Secondo: diversamente da quanto si è detto e scritto, né il governo italiano né il governo albanese hanno mai lavorato al trasferimento in Albania di una quota di quello sbarco”, racconta Pedrazzi.
      I motivi sono diversi, ma di base, in fondo, solo se una delle persone soccorse in mare avesse espressamente chiesto di essere portata in Albania questo poteva accadere.

      “Stando alla legge 121/2014, entro e non oltre quindici giorni dalla presentazione della domanda di protezione internazionale lo stato albanese deve informare il richiedente circa i suoi diritti; da quanto ho potuto constatare la fragilità del sistema albanese non risiede nelle norme, ma eventualmente nello stato delle istituzioni deputate al processo della domanda di asilo, che secondo l’Ue hanno margine di miglioramento”, spiega Pedrazzi nel suo articolo.

      La procedura di ingresso nell’Unione Europea è una posta in gioco che val bene un po’ di propaganda, soprattutto in un paese che ha numeri così bassi da potersi permettere ancora di giocare.

      Già in passato, l’Albania si è resa disponibile a operazioni simili. Prima con l’operazione di ricollocamento dei militanti del Mujahedeen El-Khalq (MEK), oppositori del regime iraniano per anni ospitati dal regime di Saddam in chiave anti-Teheran e divenuti scomodi nell’Iraq filo-iraniano del post invasione Usa del 2003.
      Prima, invece, era stato il caso di ex detenuti di Guantanamo, risultati innocenti dopo anni di una carcerazione drammatica, ma che non potevano tornare nel paese d’origine.

      Operazioni a basso costo di pressione interna e ad alto ritorno di affidabilità esterna.

      Nel mezzo delle piccole e delle grandi cose, come sempre, restano le persone. Alla porte di Scutari, come fosse un villaggio vacanze in cima a un bosco bellissimo, che domina la vista del lago, c’è un posto sicuro. Lo ha allestito la Caritas, negli anni Novanta. E a custodirlo c’è ancora lui, Medi, grandi occhi azzurri, qualche ruga, e mani grandi.

      “Alcune famiglie siriane son partite ieri”, racconta, mentre percorre i sentieri tra i bungalow di legno. “Qui mettiamo i singoli, qui mettiamo le famiglie.” Il posto è pulito, confortevole. Guardando i letti rifatti e i bagni puliti si può solo immaginare il sollievo di chi si concede un momento di riposo. Qui vengono smistati e alloggiati quelli fermati in transito, alcuni dei quali – nonostante le brochure che gli vengono consegnate dalla polizia – non chiedono asilo, o se lo chiedono devono attendere nei piccoli centri di Tirana, che sono due. La Caritas alloggia, rifocilla e organizza il transfer dei richiedenti asilo. Ed è come un guardarsi allo specchio. “È nato tutto ai tempi della guerra in Kosovo”, racconta Medi. “Lavoravo già qui, allora, e ricordo le famiglie in fuga dalla guerra. Per me non fa alcuna differenza: sono le stesse storie, gli stessi incubi. E tutti hanno bisogno di un giaciglio per la notte”.

      https://openmigration.org/analisi/albania-lumanita-che-resta-sulla-rotta-balcanica
      #solidarité