naturalfeature:italian coast

  • Italie : La capitaine Pia Klemp menacée de 20 ans de prison - Secours Rouge
    https://secoursrouge.org/Italie-La-capitaine-Pia-Klemp-menacee-de-20-ans-de-prison


    Pia Klemp

    Pia Klemp a participé au sauvetage de réfugiés dans la méditerranée avec l’association Sea-Watch. Elle est maintenant accusée par la justice italienne d’aide à l’immigration illégale. Le parquet exige une peine de prison de 20 ans. Pour ses investigations, le parquet a eu recourt à des écoutes téléphoniques et à des agents infiltrés. Dans le cadre de ses six missions en tant que capitaine des bateaux de sauvetage Sea-Watch 3 et Iuventa, Pia Klemp dit avoir pu sauver les vies de 5000 personnes.

    • German boat captain Pia Klemp faces prison in Italy for migrant rescues

      Pia Klemp stands accused of aiding illegal immigration after she saved people from drowning in the Mediterranean. The Bonn native has accused Italian authorities of organizing “a show trial.”

      Nearly 60,000 people had signed a petition by Saturday afternoon demanding that Italy drop criminal proceedings against German boat captain Pia Klemp and other crew members who have rescued thousands of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.

      In an interview with the Basler Zeitung daily on Friday, Klemp said that a trial against her was due to begin soon after she and some of her compatriots were charged in Sicily with assisting in illegal immigration.

      She said that she was told by her Italian lawyer that she could be looking at “up to 20 years in prison and horrendous fines.”

      Klemp added, however, that she intended to fight the case up to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, if she had to.

      The 35-year-old Bonn native has been under investigation in Italy since her ship, the Iuventa, was impounded in the summer of 2017, and the government has moved to ban her from sailing around the Italian coast. According to German public broadcaster WDR, through the work on that ship and the Sea-Watch 3, Klemp has personally assisted in the rescue of more than 1,000 people at risk of drowning in unsafe dinghies as they attempted to cross to Europe in search of a better life.

      Read more: Italy’s Matteo Salvini wants hefty fines for migrant rescue vessels

      Salvini’s crackdown

      An already immigrant-unfriendly government in Rome became even more so in June 2018, when newly appointed Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini of the far-right League party promised a crackdown the likes of which modern Italy had never seen.

      Since assuming office, Salvini has sought to put a stop to migrant rescue ships docking on Italian shores and allowing refugees to disembark. In January, the nationalist leader made headlines with the forced evacuation of hundreds of asylum-seekers from Italy’s second-largest refugee center and his refusal to clarify where the people, many of whom had lived in Castelnuovo di Porto for years and become integrated into town life, were being taken.

      Shortly thereafter, Sicilian prosecutors ruled that Salvini could be charged with kidnapping more than 177 migrants left stranded on a ship he had ordered impounded.

      ’A yearslong show trial’

      What frustrates Klemp the most, she told the Basler Zeitung, is that the costs — amounting to hundreds of thousands of euros — that she has had to prepare to cover from her own savings and some new donations “for what is likely to be a yearslong show trial” require money that could have been spent on rescue missions.

      “But the worst has already come to pass,” she said. “Sea rescue missions have been criminalized.”

      For this, the captain blames not only the Italian government but what she sees as a failure of the European Union “to remember its avowed values: human rights, the right to life, to apply for asylum, and the duty of seafarers to rescue those in danger at sea.”

      Klemp added that “demagogues” such as Salvini, former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer were effectively allowing thousands to perish in the Mediterranean each year.

      She pushed back at criticism that rescue missions encouraged more people to attempt the highly dangerous crossing. “There are scientific studies that disprove the idea that sea rescues are a so-called pull factor,” she said. “The people come because, unfortunately, there are so many reasons to flee.” And if countries close their borders, “they come via the Mediterranean because there is no legal way to get here,” she added.

      To cover her potentially exorbitant legal costs, a bar in Bonn has announced a fundraising campaign to help Klemp. Cafe Bla has announced that for every patron who orders the “Pia beer,” 50 euro cents will be donated to their former waitress.


      https://www.dw.com/en/german-boat-captain-pia-klemp-faces-prison-in-italy-for-migrant-rescues/a-49112348?maca=en-Twitter-sharing

    • Mobilisation pour la capitaine d’un navire humanitaire

      L’ancienne capitaine du « #Iuventa », immobilisé depuis 2017, encourt vingt ans de prison en Italie. Accusée de complicité avec les passeurs, elle affirme n’avoir fait que respecter le droit international, qui impose de porter secours à toute personne en détresse.

      https://www.liberation.fr/planete/2019/06/11/mobilisation-pour-la-capitaine-d-un-navire-humanitaire_1732973

    • I Helped Save Thousands of Migrants from Drowning. Now I’m Facing 20 Years in Jail | Opinion

      In today’s Europe, people can be sentenced to prison for saving a migrant’s life. In the summer of 2017, I was the captain of the rescue ship Iuventa. I steered our ship through international waters along the Libyan coastline, where thousands of migrants drifted in overcrowded, unseaworthy dinghies, having risked their lives in search of safety. The Iuventa crew rescued over 14,000 people. Today, I and nine other members of the crew face up to twenty years in prison for having rescued those people and brought them to Europe. We are not alone. The criminalization of solidarity across Europe, at sea and on land, has demonstrated the lengths to which the European Union will go to make migrants’ lives expendable.

      Two years ago, Europe made renewed efforts to seal the Mediterranean migrant route by draining it of its own rescue assets and outsourcing migration control to the so-called “Libyan Coast Guard”, comprised of former militia members equipped by the EU and instructed to intercept and return all migrants braving the crossing to Europe. NGO ships like the Iuventa provided one of the last remaining lifelines for migrants seeking safety in Europe by sea. For European authorities, we were a critical hurdle to be overcome in their war against migration.

      In August 2017, the Iuventa was seized by the Italian authorities and the crew was investigated for “aiding and abetting illegal immigration.” Thus began an ongoing spate of judicial investigations into the operation of search and rescue vessels. Sailors like myself, who had rallied to the civil fleet when it seemed no European authority cared people were drowning at sea, were branded as criminals. The ensuing media and political campaign against us has gradually succeeded in removing almost all NGOs from the central Mediterranean, leaving migrants braving the sea crossing with little chance of survival.

      We sea-rescuers have been criminalized not only for what we do but for what we have witnessed. We have seen people jump overboard their frail dinghies on sighting the so-called Libyan Coast Guard, preferring death at sea over return to the slavery, torture, rape and starvation that awaits them in EU-funded Libyan detention centers. We have also seen what becomes of those who are found too late. For days, I steered our ship through international waters with a dead two-year-old boy in the freezer. No European country had wanted to save him when they had the chance. His mother lived, and after days of drifting in wait of an open port, our ship brought her to Europe—when it no longer mattered to her. We rescuers know that those who drown at Europe’s doorstep are not unlucky casualties of the elements. The transformation of the Mediterranean into a mass grave for migrants is a European political project.

      Over the past year, Italy’s interior minister Matteo Salvini has provided a useful alibi for centrist European political forces–those avowedly committed to “European values” of human rights. His persistent targeting of rescue NGOs and his decision to seal Italian ports to ships carrying rescued migrants has seen him cast as the “rotten egg” of an otherwise largely liberal European Union. But Matteo Salvini is neither the architect of Fortress Europe, nor its sole gatekeeper.

      Alongside Italy’s ostentatious prosecution of sea rescuers, other European nations have adopted shrewder, subtler tactics, revoking their flags or miring ships’ crews in unnecessary and lengthy bureaucratic procedures. When Salvini sealed Italian ports, other member states expressed righteous indignation—but not one of them offered its own ports as havens for later rescues. One of two remaining rescue ships, Sea-Watch 3, has since spent weeks motoring along the European coast line with hundreds of refugees on board, pleading for an open port, only to find that their “cargo” was not wanted anywhere in Europe.

      In the coming months, as the conflict in Libya intensifies, thousands more will be forced to brave the sea crossing. I know from experience that without rescue, the majority of them will die. Common sense tells me that with humanitarian vessels barred from saving lives and European commercial and military and Coast Guard ships instructed to avoid migrant routes, their chances of rescue are shrinking. I suspect European leaders share my common sense.

      Meanwhile, we sea rescuers are not alone in facing charges for “crimes of solidarity.” On land across Europe, hundreds of men and women stand trial for having offered food, shelter or clothing to migrants. Among us are countless migrants criminalized for having helped other migrants in need, whose faces will likely not appear in esteemed publications.

      None of us has been prosecuted for helping white Europeans. The simple truth is that in intimidating and punishing those of us who have offered their solidarity to migrants, Europe has worked systematically and with precision to segregate, humiliate and isolate its weakest members—if not based on race and ethnicity de jure, then certainly de facto.

      None of us facing charges for solidarity is a villain, but neither are we heroes. If it is alarming that acts of basic human decency are now criminalized, it is no less telling that we have sometimes been lauded by well-intentioned supporters as saints. But those of us who have stood in solidarity with migrants have not acted out of some exceptional reserve of bravery or selfless compassion for others. We acted in the knowledge that the way our rulers treat migrants offers a clue about how they would treat the rest of us if they thought they could get away with it. Politicians who target, scapegoat and exploit migrants, do so to shore up a violent, unequal world—a world in which we, too, have to live and by which we, too, may be disempowered.

      The criminalization of solidarity today is not only about stripping Europe’s most precarious of their means of survival. It is also an effort at foreclosing the forms of political organization that alliances between Europeans and migrants might engender; of barring the realization that in today’s Europe of rising xenophobia, racism, homophobia and austerity, the things that migrants seek—safety, comfort, dignity—are increasingly foreclosed to us Europeans as well.

      And in hounding migrants and those standing in solidarity with them, Europe is not only waging a brutal battle of suppression. It is also belying its fear of what might happen if we Europeans and migrants made common cause against Fortress Europe, and expose it for what it is: a system that would pick us off one by one, European and migrant alike, robbing each of us in turn of our freedoms, security and rights. We should show them that they are right to be afraid.

      Captain Pia Klemp is a vegan nature-lover, animal-rights and human-rights activist. Before joining search and rescue missions, Captain Pia Klemp was an activist for maritime conservation with Sea-Shepherd. Chloe Haralambous, a researcher and fellow rescue crew member, contributed to this op-ed.

      The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.​​​​​

      https://www.newsweek.com/refugees-mediterranean-sea-rescue-criminalization-solidarity-1444618

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    https://www.politico.eu/article/europe-deadly-migration-strategy-leaked-documents

    Commentaire ECRE :

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

    https://twitter.com/ecre/status/1101074946057482240

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

    –-----------------------------------------

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    #flou

  • 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

  • Boat migrant rescues surge as calm seas return to Mediterranean | Reuters
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-italy-idUSKCN0Z91NG


    Migrants rest on the deck of the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) ship Topaz Responder after being rescued around 20 nautical miles off the coast of Libya, June 23, 2016.
    REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

    Ships manned by humanitarian organizations, the Italian navy and coast guard helped rescue about 4,500 boat migrants on Thursday as calm seas returned to the Mediterranean, prompting a surge in departures from North Africa.

    Rescue operations were continuing, an Italian coast guard spokesman said. The corpse of a woman was taken from a large rubber boat, and the migrants were collected from a total of about 40 different vessels, he said.

    The Topaz Responder, a ship run by the Malta-based humanitarian group Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), said earlier in the day that around two dozen migrant boats had been spotted in the sea about 20 nautical miles from the Libyan port city of Sabratha.

  • 15 Years Fortress Europe
    http://15years.morizbuesing.com
    https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftacticaltech.org%2Fsites%2Ftacticaltech.org%2Ffi
    Interactive map of migrant and refugee deaths on the way to Europe, or trying to stay in Europe. Data compiled by themigrantsfiles.com. Click a circle to view details.

    1 dead: drowned, found dead 200 meters from Melilla (E/MA) (Apr 21, 2000)

    1 dead: Found in Lanzarote the corpse of a drowned woman during the landing of the first day (Apr 20, 2000)

    1 dead: Kurd, drowned when smugglers tried to escape border police near Italian coast (Apr 18, 2000)

    1 dead: Landing along the coasts of Lecce, 1 dead (Apr 19, 2000)

    2 dead: 2 found dead young hidden in a truck directly in Spain just landed in the port of Almeria (Apr 15, 2000)

    3 dead: drowned (one woman pregnant) when boat sank near the Canary Islands (E) (Apr 14, 2000). From Del Grande’s data set (translated): 2 women die, one of them pregnant, during a landing in Lanzarote, Canary Islands (Apr 16, 2000)

    5 dead: reportedly drowned, after boat sank near the Canary Islands (E) (Apr 14, 2000)

    1 dead: reportedly drowned in river Oder (D/PL) near Lebus (Apr 13, 2000). From Del Grande’s data set (translated): Found the body of a man who drowned trying to cross the Oder River on the border between Germany and Poland, in Lubusz (Apr 14, 2000)

    1 dead: Hidden in the hold of a freighter Moroccan, 2 men fall into the sea between the docks of Genoa, 1 dead (Apr 14, 2000)

    2 dead: stowaways, found dead in the trailer of a truck at the port of Almeria (E) (Apr 13, 2000)

    1 dead: stowaway, drowned, jumped from ship to avoid border control in port of Genova (I) (Apr 12, 2000)

    bordercamp Szombathely (H) (Oct 29, 2000)

    3 dead: drowned, bodies found off coast of Ragusa (I), reportedly thrown overboard by traffickers (Oct 29, 2000)

    11 dead: Shipwreck on the routes between Anjouan and Mayotte, in the Indian Ocean: 11 dead (Oct 30, 2000)

    2 dead: burned in fire in refugee centre in Hamburg (D) (Oct 28, 2000)

    1 dead: 1 dead, 3 hospitalized in serious condition in hospital of Vieste (Foggia), were hidden in a container on a Greek ship direct to Ancona (Oct 26, 2000)

    1 dead: kurdish stowaway, found suffocated in container of Greek ship (Oct 25, 2000). From Del Grande’s data set (translated): He died suffocated a man hiding in a container on board a Greek ship (Oct 26, 2000)

    1 dead: found dead on beach near Almeria (E) trying to cross the Strait of Gibraltar (Oct 23, 2000)

    1 dead: found dead on beach near Tarifa (E) trying to cross the Strait of Gibraltar (Oct 23, 2000). From Del Grande’s data set (translated): Found the bodies of two migrants drowned, and Almeria to Tarifa (Oct 25, 2000)

    3 dead: died in van accident near Thessalonoki (GR) (Oct 21, 2000)

    1 dead: kurd, found dead at edge of motorway near Foggia (I) reportedly suffocated in van (Oct 17, 2000)

    5 dead: kurds, found dead at edge of motorway, Foggia (I) reportedly suffocated in van (Oct 17, 2000). From Del Grande’s data set (translated): Foggia: asphyxiated on the truck where they were hidden and thrown in the street, 6 dead (Oct 19, 2000)

    1 dead: died in isolation cell of detention centre Steenokerzeel (B) after trying to escape (Oct 12, 2000)

    1 dead: reportedly drowned in river Oder (D/PL) near Groß Breesen (Oct 6, 2000)

    1 dead: reportedly drowned after shipwreck near Tarifa (E) trying to reach Spain (Dec 20, 2000)

    1 dead: suicide, hanged himself after having received deportation order (NL) (Dec 18, 2000)

    1 dead: Six men traveling without a visa in a car, near the Croatian border the driver escapes a roadblock, police car chases, shoots and kills the man at the helm (Dec 19, 2000)

    1 dead: died of heart failure during deportation from Budapest International Airport (H) (Dec 17, 2000)

    2 dead: drowned, found dead near Tarifa (E) (Dec 16, 2000). From Del Grande’s data set (translated): Found the bodies of three men drowned, 2 in Tarifa and one in Ceuta (Dec 16, 2000)

    1 dead: reportedly drowned, found at beach near Algeciras (E) (Dec 15, 2000)

    1 dead: drowned, body found on a beach near Tarifa (E) (Dec 15, 2000)

    1 dead: drowned, found dead at the coast near Tarifa (E) in advanced state of decomposition (Dec 15, 2000)

    1 dead: died of cold and exhaustion after having reached the coast of Ceuta swimming (E/MA) (Dec 15, 2000). From Del Grande’s data set (translated): A man drowned in an attempt to swim to the beaches of Ceuta (Dec 17, 2000)

    1 dead: Direct in Germany, a man dying of starvation through the desert on the border between Kazakhstan and Russia (Dec 15, 2000)

    1 dead: Man dies asphyxiated traveling for hours hidden in the trunk of a car to enter illegally in Sweden (Dec 15, 2000)

    1 dead: suicide, jumped out of train window near railway station Thyrow (D) (Dec 14, 2000)

    27 dead: reportedly drowned after boat with 27 people sank off near Gulf of Almeria (E) (Dec 14, 2000)

    2 dead: drowned, found dead near the coast of Tarifa (E) (Dec 13, 2000)

    1 dead: drowned, found dead in Spanish territorial waters near Ceuta (E/MA) (Dec 13, 2000)

    3 dead: Found on the beaches

  • Altiero Spinelli and his European dream, by Peter Fieldman
    http://mondediplo.com/blogs/altiero-spinelli-and-his-european-dream

    The European Union faces its gravest crisis since the common market came into existence at the Treaty of Rome in 1957. Individual states dissatisfied with the technocrats in Brussels are reasserting their right to determine their own policies and laws while many of Europe’s regions are seeking more autonomy or even independence. Concern over the influence of Islam and its radical factions, and massive immigration caused by poverty and military conflicts in Africa and Asia, has led to the rise of populist political parties across the continent, bringing the fear of a return to rightwing extremism.

    Instead of a European utopia, we face the break-up of the EU and the end of the dream, which began on a tiny island off the Italian coast in 1941. [#st]

    http://zinc.mondediplo.net/messages/9687 via Le Monde diplomatique

  • IOM Applauds Italy’s Weekend Rescue at Sea of 2,800 Migrants

    Italy - Some 2,800 migrants have been rescued off the Italian coast this last weekend, bringing the total number of arrivals this year to over 15,000.

    http://iom.int/cms/render/live/en/sites/iom/home/news-and-views/press-briefing-notes/pbn-2015/pbn-listing/iom-applauds-italys-weekend-resc.html
    #naufrage #sauvetage #migration #mourir_en_mer #asile #réfugiés #Méditerranée #Forteresse_Europe

  • Two charts showing that ’deterring’ migrant boats is failing

    Late last year the Italian government scrapped its Mediterranean search and rescue operation the #Mare_Nostrum after funding shortages. The project was partially replaced by Operation #Triton - but the service is far more restricted than its predecessor, both in geography (the patrols only go up to 30 miles off the Italian coast) and budget (roughly a third of Mare Nostrum). Critics have said it could leave tens of thousands of migrants at far greater risk.

    The most common argument for the shift was deterrence. Previously, proponents argued, the migrants in the boats and their smugglers could be fairly certain that they would be rescued by one of Mare Nostrum’s ships.

    Baroness Anelay, British Foreign Office minister, argued at the time that such rescue missions only encouraged more people to make the treacherous journey.

    Yet if the ending of Mare Nostrum was intended to be a deterrent, so far it has failed. There has been a spike in the numbers of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean; to around 7,000 so far in 2015 from 3,338 in the same period in 2014, according to the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR (see chart below).

    http://www.irinnews.org/report/101142/two-charts-showing-that-deterring-migrant-boats-is-failing
    #graphique #migration #asile #réfugiés #Méditerranée #mourir_en_mer #statistiques #appel_d'air #dissuasion #2014 #2015

    cc @reka

  • Dozens Of Migrants Die Of Hypothermia On Italian Coast Guard Boats

    ROME, Feb 9 (Reuters) - At least 29 migrants died of hypothermia aboard Italian coast guard vessels after being picked up from an inflatable boat adrift near Libya, the mayor of the Italian island of Lampedusa said on Monday.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/09/migrants-die-cold_n_6646078.html

    #mourir_en_mer #naufrage #Italie #Lampedusa #migration #asile #réfugiés #Forteresse_Europe #hypothermie

  • ’Crocodile tears won’t help Syrian refugees’

    Two unmanned “ghost” vessels carrying mostly Syrian refugees were intercepted and saved off the Italian coast within a week of each other. EU policies of “defending the fortress” are the cause, says Pro Asyl’s Karl Kopp.


    http://www.dw.de/crocodile-tears-wont-help-syrian-refugees/a-18170250
    #réfugiés #asile #migration #politique_migratoire #Forteresse_Europe

  • Arab spring prompts biggest migrant wave since second world war | World news | The Observer

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/commentisfree/2015/jan/03/arab-spring-migrant-wave-instability-war

    The two “ghost ships” discovered sailing towards the Italian coast last week with hundreds of migrants – but no crew – on board are just the latest symptom of what experts consider to be the world’s largest wave of mass-migration since the end of the second world war.

    Wars in Syria, Libya and Iraq, severe repression in Eritrea, and spiralling instability across much of the Arab world have all contributed to the displacement of around 16.7 million refugees worldwide.

    #migrations #asile #révoltes_arabes

  • Thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing #Egypt by boat, #Italy says
    http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/thousands-syrian-refugees-fleeing-egypt-boat-italy-says

    Coast guard help immigrants on 19 August 2013 in the Catania’s harbor after being rescued off the Italian coast. (Photo: AFP - Dario Azzaro)

    Around 3,300 Syrians have arrived in Italy by boat over recent weeks, many fleeing troubled Egypt where they had first found a haven from war, the UN refugee agency said Friday. UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said that the bulk of the refugees were families, and arrived over the past 40 days, mostly in Sicily. Some 670 landed (...)

    #syria #Top_News