naturalfeature:libyan coast

  • 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


  • #Passengers

    On 1st August 2016, 118 people were rescued from a rubber boat drifting in the Mediterranean Sea, 20 nautical miles far from the Libyan coast. One more of the hundreds of boats that have been rescued from this migratory route in the past years. Only in 2016, when historical records were beaten, 181.436 migrants were rescued safe, while 4.576 lost their lives at sea.

    But who is behind these numbers? What is the identity of the victims and survivors of this trip?

    In an attempt to put name and face to this reality, to humanize this tragedy, I carry out this work of documentation composed of 118 portraits of all the people who traveled on board the same boat, taken minutes after their rescue, once on board of the rescue vessel Iuventa. Their faces, their looks, the marks on their body, their clothes or the absence of it ... reflect the mood and physical state in which they are in a moment that has already marked their lives forever. Documenting it can serve to bring this migration reality closer to those who only observe it from a distance.

    Here are the protagonist and passengers of that rescue, that one more rescue, that took place in the Mediterranean Sea on 1st August 2016.


    http://www.cesardezfuli.com/passengers
    #photographie #portraits #migrations #asile #réfugiés #Méditerranée #sauvetage #César_Dezfuli #visages

    ping @reka @albertocampiphoto @philippe_de_jonckheere


  • Germany pulls out of Mediterranean migrant mission Sophia

    Germany is suspending participation in Operation Sophia, the EU naval mission targeting human trafficking in the Mediterranean. The decision reportedly relates to Italy’s reluctance to allow rescued people to disembark.
    Germany will not be sending any more ships to take part in the anti-people smuggling operation Sophia in the Mediterranean Sea, according to a senior military officer.

    The decision means frigate Augsburg, currently stationed off the coast of Libya, will not be replaced early next month, Bundeswehr Inspector General Eberhard Zorn told members of the defense and foreign affairs committees in the German parliament.

    The 10 German soldiers currently working at the operation’s headquarters will, however, remain until at least the end of March.

    The European Union launched Operation Sophia in 2015 to capture smugglers and shut down human trafficking operations across the Mediterranean, as well as enforce a weapons embargo on Libya. Sophia currently deploys three ships, three airplanes, and two helicopters, which are permitted to use lethal force if necessary, though its mandate also includes training the North African country’s coast guard. The EU formally extended Operation Sophia by three months at the end of December.

    The Bundeswehr reported that, since its start, the naval operation had led to the arrest of more than 140 suspected human traffickers and destroyed more than 400 smuggling boats.

    But Operation Sophia’s efforts have largely focused on rescuing thousands of refugees from unseaworthy vessels attempting to get to Europe. According to the Bundeswehr, Operation Sophia has rescued some 49,000 people from the sea, while German soldiers had been involved in the rescue of 22,534 people.

    European impasse

    The operation has caused some friction within the EU, particularly with Italy, where the headquarters are located, and whose Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has threatened to close ports to the mission.

    Salvini, chairman of the far-right Lega Nord party, demanded on Wednesday that the mission had to change, arguing that the only reason it existed was that all the rescued refugees were brought to Italy. “If someone wants to withdraw from it, then that’s certainly no problem for us,” he told the Rai1 radio station, but in future he said the mission should only be extended if those rescued were distributed fairly across Europe. This is opposed by other EU member states, particularly Poland and Hungary.

    Italy’s position drew a prickly response from German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who accused Sophia’s Italian commanders of sabotaging the mission by sending the German ship to distant corners of the Mediterranean where there were “no smuggling routes whatsoever” and “no refugee routes.”

    “For us it’s important that it be politically clarified in Brussels what the mission’s task is,” von der Leyen told reporters at the Davos forum in Switzerland.

    Fritz Felgentreu, ombudsman for the Bundestag defense committee, told public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk that Italy’s refusal to let migrants rescued from the sea disembark at its ports meant the operation could no longer fulfill its original mandate.

    The EU played down Germany’s decision. A spokeswoman for the bloc’s diplomatic service, the EEAS, told the DPA news agency that Germany had not ruled out making other ships available for the Sophia Operation in future, a position confirmed by a German Defense Ministry spokesman.

    Decision a ’tragedy’

    The decision sparked instant criticism from various quarters in Germany. Stefan Liebich, foreign affairs spokesman for Germany’s socialist Left party, called the government’s decision to suspend its involvement a “tragedy.”

    “As long as Sophia is not replaced by a civilian operation, even more people will drown,” he told the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

    The Green party, for its part, had a more mixed reaction. “We in the Green party have always spoken out against the military operation in the Mediterranean and have consistently rejected the training of the Libyan coast guard,” said the party’s defense spokeswoman, Agnieszka Brugger. But she added that Wednesday’s announcement had happened “for the wrong reasons.”

    Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, defense policy spokeswoman for the Free Democratic Party (FDP), called the decision a sign of the EU’s failure to find a common refugee policy.

    Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), meanwhile, defended the decision. “The core mission, to fight trafficking crimes, cannot currently be effectively carried out,” the party’s defense policy spokesman, Henning Otte, said in a statement. “If the EU were to agree to common procedure with refugees, this mission could be taken up again.”

    Otte also suggested a “three-stage model” as a “permanent solution for the Mediterranean.” This would include a coast guard from Frontex, the European border patrol agency; military patrols in the Mediterranean; and special facilities on the North African mainland to take in refugees and check asylum applications.

    https://www.dw.com/en/germany-pulls-out-of-mediterranean-migrant-mission-sophia/a-47189097
    #Allemagne #résistance #Operation_Sophia #asile #migrations #réfugiés #retrait #espoir (petit mais quand même)

    • EU: Italy’s choice to end or continue Operation Sophia

      The European Commission says it is up to Italy to decide whether or not to suspend the EU’s naval operation Sophia.

      “If Italy decides, it is the country in command of operation Sophia, to stop it - it is up to Italy to make this decision,” Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU commissioner for migration, told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday (23 January).

      The Italian-led naval operation was launched in 2015 and is tasked with cracking down on migrant smugglers and traffickers off the Libyan coast.

      It has also saved some 50,000 people since 2015 but appears to have massively scaled back sea rescues, according to statements from Germany’s defence minster.

      German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen was cited by Reuters on Wednesday saying that the Italian command had been sending the Germany navy “to the most remote areas of the Mediterranean where there are no smuggling routes and no migrant flows so that the navy has not had any sensible role for months.”

      Germany had also announced it would not replace its naval asset for the operation, whose mandate is set to expire at the end of March.

      But the commission says that Germany will continue to participate in the operation.

      “There is no indication that it will not make another asset available in the future,” said Avramopoulos.

      A German spokesperson was also cited as confirming Germany wants the mission to continue beyond March.

      The commission statements follow threats from Italy’s far-right interior minister Matteo Salvini to scrap the naval mission over an on-going dispute on where to disembark rescued migrants.

      Salvini was cited in Italian media complaining that people rescued are only offloaded in Italy.

      The complaint is part of a long-outstanding dispute by Salvini, who last year insisted that people should be disembarked in other EU states.

      The same issue was part of a broader debate in the lead up to a renewal of Sophia’s mandate in late December.

      https://euobserver.com/migration/143997

    • #Operazione_Sophia

      In riferimento alle odierne dichiarazioni relative all’operazione Sophia dell’UE, il Ministro degli Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale Enzo Moavero Milanesi ricorda che «L’Italia non ha mai chiesto la chiusura di Sophia. Ha chiesto che siano cambiate, in rigorosa e doverosa coerenza con le conclusioni del Consiglio Europeo di giugno 2018, le regole relative agli sbarchi delle persone salvate in mare». Infatti, gli accordi dell’aprile 2015 prevedono che siano sbarcate sempre in Italia, mentre il Consiglio Europeo del giugno scorso ha esortato gli Stati UE alla piena condivisione di tutti gli oneri relativi ai migranti.

      https://www.esteri.it/mae/it/sala_stampa/archivionotizie/comunicati/operazione-sophia.html


  • ‘It’s an Act of Murder’: How Europe Outsources Suffering as Migrants Drown

    This short film, produced by The Times’s Opinion Video team and the research groups #Forensic_Architecture and #Forensic_Oceanography, reconstructs a tragedy at sea that left at least 20 migrants dead. Combining footage from more than 10 cameras, 3-D modeling and interviews with rescuers and survivors, the documentary shows Europe’s role in the migrant crisis at sea.

    On Nov. 6, 2017, at least 20 people trying to reach Europe from Libya drowned in the Mediterranean, foundering next to a sinking raft.

    Not far from the raft was a ship belonging to Sea-Watch, a German humanitarian organization. That ship had enough space on it for everyone who had been aboard the raft. It could have brought them all to the safety of Europe, where they might have had a chance at being granted asylum.

    Instead, 20 people drowned and 47 more were captured by the Libyan Coast Guard, which brought the migrants back to Libya, where they suffered abuse — including rape and torture.

    This confrontation at sea was not a simplistic case of Europe versus Africa, with human rights and rescue on one side and chaos and danger on the other. Rather it’s a case of Europe versus Europe: of volunteers struggling to save lives being undercut by European Union policies that outsource border control responsibilities to the Libyan Coast Guard — with the aim of stemming arrivals on European shores.

    While funding, equipping and directing the Libyan Coast Guard, European governments have stymied the activities of nongovernmental organizations like Sea-Watch, criminalizing them or impounding their ships, or turning away from ports ships carrying survivors.

    More than 14,000 people have died or gone missing while trying to cross the central Mediterranean since 2014. But unlike most of those deaths and drownings, the incident on Nov. 6, 2017, was extensively documented.

    Sea-Watch’s ship and rescue rafts were outfitted with nine cameras, documenting the entire scene in video and audio. The Libyans, too, filmed parts of the incident on their mobile phones.

    The research groups Forensic Architecture and Forensic Oceanography of Goldsmiths, University of London, of which three of us — Mr. Heller, Mr. Pezzani and Mr. Weizman — are a part, combined these video sources with radio recordings, vessel tracking data, witness testimonies and newly obtained official sources to produce a minute-by-minute reconstruction of the facts. Opinion Video at The New York Times built on this work to create the above short documentary, gathering further testimonials by some of the survivors and rescuers who were there.

    This investigation makes a few things clear: European governments are avoiding their legal and moral responsibilities to protect the human rights of people fleeing violence and economic desperation. More worrying, the Libyan Coast Guard partners that Europe is collaborating with are ready to blatantly violate those rights if it allows them to prevent migrants from crossing the sea.

    Stopping Migrants, Whatever the Cost

    To understand the cynicism of Europe’s policies in the Mediterranean, one must understand the legal context. According to a 2012 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, migrants rescued by European civilian or military vessels must be taken to a safe port. Because of the chaotic political situation in Libya and well-documented human rights abuses in detention camps there, that means a European port, often in Italy or Malta.

    But when the Libyan Coast Guard intercepts migrants, even outside Libyan territorial waters, as it did on Nov. 6, the Libyans take them back to detention camps in Libya, which is not subject to European Court of Human Rights jurisdiction.

    For Italy — and Europe — this is an ideal situation. Europe is able to stop people from reaching its shores while washing its hands of any responsibility for their safety.

    This policy can be traced back to February 2017, when Italy and the United Nations-supported Libyan Government of National Accord signed a “memorandum of understanding” that provided a framework for collaboration on development, to fight against “illegal immigration,” human trafficking and the smuggling of contraband. This agreement defines clearly the aim, “to stem the illegal migrants’ flows,” and committed Italy to provide “technical and technological support to the Libyan institutions in charge of the fight against illegal immigration.”

    Libyan Coast Guard members have been trained by the European Union, and the Italian government donated or repaired several patrol boats and supported the establishment of a Libyan search-and-rescue zone. Libyan authorities have since attempted — in defiance of maritime law — to make that zone off-limits to nongovernmental organizations’ rescue vessels. Italian Navy ships, based in Tripoli, have coordinated Libyan Coast Guard efforts.

    Before these arrangements, Libyan actors were able to intercept and return very few migrants leaving from Libyan shores. Now the Libyan Coast Guard is an efficient partner, having intercepted some 20,000 people in 2017 alone.

    The Libyan Coast Guard is efficient when it comes to stopping migrants from reaching Europe. It’s not as good, however, at saving their lives, as the events of Nov. 6 show.

    A Deadly Policy in Action

    That morning the migrant raft had encountered worsening conditions after leaving Tripoli, Libya, over night. Someone onboard used a satellite phone to call the Italian Coast Guard for help.

    Because the Italians were required by law to alert nearby vessels of the sinking raft, they alerted Sea-Watch to its approximate location. But they also requested the intervention of their Libyan counterparts.

    The Libyan Coast Guard vessel that was sent to intervene on that morning, the Ras Jadir, was one of several that had been repaired by Italy and handed back to the Libyans in May of 2017. Eight of the 13 crew members onboard had received training from the European Union anti-smuggling naval program known as Operation Sophia.

    Even so, the Libyans brought the Ras Jadir next to the migrants’ raft, rather than deploying a smaller rescue vessel, as professional rescuers do. This offered no hope of rescuing those who had already fallen overboard and only caused more chaos, during which at least five people died.

    These deaths were not merely a result of a lack of professionalism. Some of the migrants who had been brought aboard the Ras Jadir were so afraid of their fate at the hands of the Libyans that they jumped back into the water to try to reach the European rescuers. As can be seen in the footage, members of the Libyan Coast Guard beat the remaining migrants.

    Sea-Watch’s crew was also attacked by the Libyan Coast Guard, who threatened them and threw hard objects at them to keep them away. This eruption of violence was the result of a clash between the goals of rescue and interception, with the migrants caught in the middle desperately struggling for their lives.

    Apart from those who died during this chaos, more than 15 people had already drowned in the time spent waiting for any rescue vessel to appear.

    There was, however, no shortage of potential rescuers in the area: A Portuguese surveillance plane had located the migrants’ raft after its distress call. An Italian Navy helicopter and a French frigate were nearby and eventually offered some support during the rescue.

    It’s possible that this French ship, deployed as part of Operation Sophia, could have reached the sinking vessel earlier, in time to save more lives — despite our requests, this information has not been disclosed to us. But it remained at a distance throughout the incident and while offering some support, notably refrained from taking migrants onboard who would then have had to have been disembarked on European soil. It’s an example of a hands-off approach that seeks to make Libyan intervention not only possible but also inevitable.

    A Legal Challenge

    On the basis of the forensic reconstruction, the Global Legal Action Network and the Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration, with the support of Yale Law School students, have filed a case against Italy at the European Court of Human Rights representing 17 survivors of this incident.

    Those working on the suit, who include two of us — Mr. Mann and Ms. Moreno-Lax — argue that even though Italian or European personnel did not physically intercept the migrants and bring them back to Libya, Italy exercised effective control over the Libyan Coast Guard through mutual agreements, support and on-the-ground coordination. Italy has entrusted the Libyans with a task that Rome knows full well would be illegal if undertaken directly: preventing migrants from seeking protection in Europe by impeding their flight and sending them back to a country where extreme violence and exploitation await.

    We hope this legal complaint will lead the European court to rule that countries cannot subcontract their legal and humanitarian obligations to dubious partners, and that if they do, they retain responsibility for the resulting violations. Such a precedent would force the entire European Union to make sure its cooperation with partners like Libya does not end up denying refugees the right to seek asylum.

    This case is especially important right now. In Italy’s elections in March, the far-right Lega party, which campaigned on radical anti-immigrant rhetoric, took nearly 20 percent of the vote. The party is now part of the governing coalition, of which its leader, Matteo Salvini, is the interior minister.

    His government has doubled down on animosity toward migrants. In June, Italy took the drastic step of turning away a humanitarian vessel from the country’s ports and has been systematically blocking rescued migrants from being disembarked since then, even when they had been assisted by the Italian Coast Guard.

    The Italian crackdown helps explain why seafarers off the Libyan coast have refrained from assisting migrants in distress, leaving them to drift for days. Under the new Italian government, a new batch of patrol boats has been handed over to the Libyan Coast Guard, and the rate of migrants being intercepted and brought back to Libya has increased. All this has made the crossing even more dangerous than before.

    Italy has been seeking to enact a practice that blatantly violates the spirit of the Geneva Convention on refugees, which enshrines the right to seek asylum and prohibits sending people back to countries in which their lives are at risk. A judgment by the European Court sanctioning Italy for this practice would help prevent the outsourcing of border control and human rights violations that may prevent the world’s most disempowered populations from seeking protection and dignity.

    The European Court of Human Rights cannot stand alone as a guardian of fundamental rights. Yet an insistence on its part to uphold the law would both reflect and bolster the movements seeking solidarity with migrants across Europe.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/12/26/opinion/europe-migrant-crisis-mediterranean-libya.html
    #reconstruction #naufrage #Méditerranée #Charles_Heller #Lorenzo_Pezzani #asile #migrations #réfugiés #mourir_en_mer #ONG #sauvetage #Sea-Watch #gardes-côtes_libyens #Libye #pull-back #refoulement #externalisation #vidéo #responsabilité #Ras_Jadir #Operation_Sophia #CEDH #cour_européenne_des_droits_de_l'homme #justice #droits_humains #droit_à_la_vie

    ping @reka

    • È un omicidio con navi italiane” L’accusa del Nyt

      Video-denuncia contro Roma e l’Ue per un naufragio di un anno fa: botte dei libici ai migranti, 50 morti.

      Patate scagliate addosso ai soccorritori della Sea Watch invece di lanciare giubbotti e salvagente ai naufraghi che stavano annegando. E poi botte ai migranti riusciti a salire sulle motovedette per salvarsi la vita. Ecco i risultati dell’addestramento che l’Italia ha impartito ai libici per far fuori i migranti nel Mediterraneo. È un video pubblicato dal New York Times che parte da una delle più gravi tra le ultime stragi avvenute del Canale di Sicilia, con un commento intitolato: “‘È un omicidio’: come l’Europa esternalizza sofferenza mentre i migranti annegano”.

      Era il 6 novembre 2017 e le operazioni in mare erano gestite dalla guardia costiera libica, in accordo con l’allora ministro dell’Interno, Marco Minniti. Il dettaglio non è secondario, lo stesso video mostra la cerimonia di consegna delle motovedette made in Italy ai partner nordafricani. Una delle imbarcazioni, la 648, la ritroviamo proprio al centro dell’azione dove, quel giorno, cinquanta africani vennero inghiottiti dal mare. Al tempo era consentito alle imbarcazioni di soccorso pattugliare lo specchio di mare a cavallo tra le zone Sar (Search and rescue, ricerca e soccorso) di competenza. Al tempo i porti italiani erano aperti, ma il comportamento dei militari libici già al limite della crudeltà. Il video e le foto scattate dal personale della Sea Watch mostrano scene durissime. Un migrante lasciato annegare senza alcun tentativo da parte dei libici di salvarlo: il corpo disperato annaspa per poi sparire sott’acqua, quando il salvagente viene lanciato è tardi. Botte, calci e pugni a uomini appena saliti a bordo delle motovedette, di una violenza ingiustificabile. Il New York Times va giù duro e nel commento, oltre a stigmatizzare attacca i governi italiani. Dalla prova delle motovedette vendute per far fare ad altri il lavoro sporco, al nuovo governo definito “di ultradestra” che “ha completato la strategia”. Matteo Salvini però non viene nominato. L’Italia, sottolinea il Nyt, ha delegato alle autorità della Tripolitania il pattugliamento delle coste e il recupero di qualsiasi imbarcazione diretta a nord. Nulla di nuovo, visto che la Spagna, guidata dal socialista Sanchez e impegnata sul fronte occidentale con un’ondata migratoria senza precedenti, usa il Marocco per “bonificare” il tratto di mare vicino allo stretto di Gibilterra da gommoni e carrette. Gli organismi europei da una parte stimolano il blocco delle migrazioni verso il continente, eppure dall’altra lo condannano. Per l’episodio del 6 novembre 2017, infatti, la Corte europea dei diritti umani sta trattando il ricorso presentato dall’Asgi (Associazione studi giuridici sull’immigrazione) contro il respingimento collettivo. Sempre l’Asgi ha presentato due ricorsi analoghi per fatti del dicembre 2018 e gennaio 2018; infine altri due, uno sulla cessione delle motovedette e l’altro sull’implementazione dell’accordo Italia-Libia firmato da Minniti.

      https://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/premium/articoli/e-un-omicidio-con-navi-italiane-laccusa-del-nyt

    • Comment l’Europe et la Libye laissent mourir les migrants en mer

      Il y a un peu plus d’un an, le 6 novembre 2017, une fragile embarcation sombre en mer avec à son bord 150 migrants partis de Tripoli pour tenter de rejoindre l’Europe. La plupart d’entre eux sont morts. Avec l’aide de Forensic Oceanography – une organisation créée en 2011 pour tenir le compte des morts de migrants en Méditerranée – et de Forensic Architecture – groupe de recherche enquêtant sur les violations des droits de l’homme –, le New York Times a retracé le déroulement de ce drame, dans une enquête vidéo extrêmement documentée.

      Depuis l’accord passé en février 2017 entre la Libye et l’Italie, confiant aux autorités libyennes le soin d’intercepter les migrants dans ses eaux territoriales, le travail des ONG intervenant en mer Méditerranée avec leurs bateaux de sauvetage est devenu extrêmement difficile. Ces dernières subissent les menaces constantes des gardes-côtes libyens, qui, malgré les subventions européennes et les formations qu’ils reçoivent, n’ont pas vraiment pour but de sauver les migrants de la noyade. Ainsi, en fermant les yeux sur les pratiques libyennes régulièrement dénoncées par les ONG, l’Europe contribue à aggraver la situation et précipite les migrants vers la noyade, s’attache à démontrer cette enquête vidéo publiée dans la section Opinions du New York Times. Un document traduit et sous-titré par Courrier international.

      https://www.courrierinternational.com/video/enquete-comment-leurope-et-la-libye-laissent-mourir-les-migra

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=10&v=dcbh8yJclGI

    • How We Made an Invisible Crisis at Sea Visible

      An ambitious Opinion Video project produced across three continents — in collaboration with a pioneering forensic research group — shines a spotlight on the more than 16,000 migrants who have died trying to cross the Mediterranean since 2014.

      Forensic Oceanography had created a report and a minute-by-minute reconstruction of the episode (http://www.forensic-architecture.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/2018-05-07-FO-Mare-Clausum-full-EN.pdf) intended partly to support a case that was about to be filed on behalf of survivors at the European Court of Human Rights.

      Their reporting was deep, but it was very technical. We wanted to build on the original research to create a short film that would sharpen the story while still embracing complexity.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/23/reader-center/migrants-mediterranean-sea.html
      #visibilité #invisibilité #in/visiblité #Mare_clausum


  • And Yet We Move - 2018, a Contested Year

    Alarm Phone 6 Week Report, 12 November - 23 December 2018

    311 people escaping from Libya rescued through a chain of solidarity +++ About 113,000 sea arrivals and over 2,240 counted fatalities in the Mediterranean this year +++ 666 Alarm Phone distress cases in 2018 +++ Developments in all three Mediterranean regions +++ Summaries of 38 Alarm Phone distress cases

    Introduction

    “There are no words big enough to describe the value of the work you are doing. It is a deeply human act and it will never be forgotten. The whole of your team should know that we wish all of you health and a long life and the best wishes in all the colours of the world.” These are the words that the Alarm Phone received a few days ago from a man who had been on a boat in the Western Mediterranean Sea and with whom our shift teams had stayed in touch throughout the night until they were finally rescued to Spain. He was able to support the other travellers by continuously and calmly reassuring them, and thereby averted panic on the boat. His message motivates us to continue also in 2019 to do everything we can to assist people who have taken to the sea because Europe’s border regime has closed safe and legal routes, leaving only the most dangerous paths slightly open. On these paths, over 2,240 people have lost their lives this year.

    While we write this report, 311 people are heading toward Spain on the rescue boat of the NGO Proactiva Open Arms. The travellers called the Alarm Phone when they were on a boat-convoy that had left from Libya. Based on the indications of their location, Al-Khums, the civil reconnaissance aircraft Colibri launched a search operation in the morning of the 21st of December and was able to spot the convoy of three boats which were then rescued by Proactiva. Italy and Malta closed their harbours to them, prolonging their suffering. Over the Christmas days they headed toward their final destination in Spain. The successful rescue operation of the 313 people (one mother and her infant child were flown out by a helicopter after rescue) highlights the chain of solidarity that activists and NGOs have created in the Central Mediterranean Sea. It is a fragile chain that the EU and its member states seek to criminalise and tear apart wherever they can.

    Throughout the year of 2018, we have witnessed and assisted contested movements across the Mediterranean Sea. Despite violent deterrence policies and practices, about 113,000 people succeeded in subverting maritime borders and have arrived in Europe by boat. We were alerted to 666 distress situations at sea (until December 23rd), and our shift teams have done their best to assist the many thousands of people who saw no other option to realise their hope for a better future than by risking their lives at sea. Many of them lost their lives in the moment of enacting their freedom of movement. Over 2,240 women, men, and children from the Global South – and probably many more who were never counted – are not with us anymore because of the violence inscribed in the Global North’s hegemonic and brutal borders. They were not able to get a visa. They could not board a much cheaper plane, bus, or ferry to reach a place of safety and freedom. Many travelled for months, even years, to get anywhere near the Mediterranean border – and on their journeys they have lived through hardships unimaginable for most of us. But they struggled on and reached the coasts of Northern Africa and Turkey, where they got onto overcrowded boats. That they are no longer with us is a consequence of Europe’s racist system of segregation that illegalises and criminalises migration, a system that also seeks to illegalise and criminalise solidarity. Many of these 2,240 people would be alive if the civil rescuers were not prevented from doing their work. All of them would be alive, if they could travel and cross borders freely.

    In the different regions of the Mediterranean Sea, the situation has further evolved over the course of 2018, and the Alarm Phone witnessed the changing patterns of boat migration first hand. Most of the boats we assisted were somewhere between Morocco and Spain (480), a considerable number between Turkey and Greece (159), but comparatively few between Libya and Italy (27). This, of course, speaks to the changing dynamics of migratory escape and its control in the different regions:

    Morocco-Spain: Thousands of boats made it across the Strait of Gibraltar, the Alboran Sea, or the Atlantic and have turned Spain into the ‘front-runner’ this year with about 56,000 arrivals by sea. In 2017, 22,103 people had landed in Spain, 8,162 in 2016. In the Western Mediterranean, crossings are organised in a rather self-organised way and the number of arrivals speaks to a migratory dynamism not experienced for over a decade in this region. Solidarity structures have multiplied both in Morocco and Spain and they will not be eradicated despite the wave of repression that has followed the peak in crossings over the summer. Several Alarm Phone members experienced the consequences of EU pressure on the Moroccan authorities to repress cross-border movements first hand when they were violently deported to the south of Morocco, as were several thousand others.

    Turkey-Greece: With about 32,000 people reaching the Greek islands by boat, more people have arrived in Greece than in 2017, when 29,718 people did so. After arrival via the sea, many are confined in inhumane conditions on the islands and the EU hotspots have turned into rather permanent prisons. This desperate situation has prompted renewed movements across the Turkish-Greek land border in the north. Overall, the number of illegalised crossings into Greece has risen due to more than 20,000 people crossing the land border. Several cases of people experiencing illegal push-back operations there reached the Alarm Phone over the year.

    Libya-Italy/Malta: Merely about 23,000[1] people have succeeded in fleeing Libya via the sea in 2018. The decrease is dramatic, from 119,369 in 2017, and even 181,436 in 2016. This decrease gives testament to the ruthlessness of EU deterrence policies that have produced the highest death rate in the Central Mediterranean and unspeakable suffering among migrant communities in Libya. Libyan militias are funded, trained, and legitimated by their EU allies to imprison thousands of people in camps and to abduct those who made it onto boats back into these conditions. Due to the criminalisation of civil rescuers, a lethal rescue gap was produced, with no NGO able to carry out their work for many months of the year. Fortunately, three of them have now been able to return to the deadliest area of the Mediterranean.

    These snapshots of the developments in the three Mediterranean regions, elaborated on in greater detail below, give an idea of the struggles ahead of us. They show how the EU and its member states not only created dangerous maritime paths in the first place but then reinforced its migrant deterrence regime at any cost. They show, however, also how thousands could not be deterred from enacting their freedom of movement and how solidarity structures have evolved to assist their precarious movements. We go into 2019 with the promise and call that the United4Med alliance of sea rescuers has outlined: “We will prove how civil society in action is not only willing but also able to bring about a new Europe; saving lives at sea and creating a just reception system on land. Ours is a call to action to European cities, mayors, citizens, societies, movements, organisations and whoever believes in our mission, to join us. Join our civil alliance and let us stand up together, boldly claiming a future of respect and equality. We will stand united for the right to stay and for the right to go.”[2] Also in the new year, the Alarm Phone will directly engage in this struggle and we call on others to join. It can only be a collective fight, as the odds are stacked against us.

    Developments in the Central Mediterranean

    In December 2018, merely a few hundred people were able to escape Libya by boat. It cannot be stressed enough how dramatic the decrease in crossings along this route is – a year before, 2,327 people escaped in December, in 2016 even 8,428. 2018 is the year when Europe’s border regime ‘succeeded’ in largely shutting down the Central Mediterranean route. It required a combination of efforts – the criminalisation of civil search and rescue organisations, the selective presence of EU military assets that were frequently nowhere to be found when boats were in distress, the closure of Italian harbours and the unwillingness of other EU member states to welcome the rescued, and, most importantly, the EU’s sustained support for the so-called Libyan coastguards and other Libyan security forces. Europe has not only paid but also trained, funded and politically legitimised Libyan militias whose only job is to contain outward migratory movements, which means capturing and abducting people seeking to flee to Europe both at sea and on land. Without these brutal allies, it would not have been possible to reduce the numbers of crossings that dramatically.

    The ‘Nivin case’ of November 7th exemplifies this European-Libyan alliance. On that day, a group of 95 travellers reached out to the Alarm Phone from a boat in distress off the coast of Libya. Among them were people from Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Eritrea. Italy refused to conduct a rescue operation and eventually they were rescued by the cargo vessel Nivin. Despite telling the rescued that they would be brought to a European harbour, the crew of the Nivin returned them to Libya on November 10th. At the harbour of Misrata, most of the rescued refused to disembark, stating that they would not want to be returned into conditions of confinement and torture. The people, accused by some to be ‘pirates’, fought bravely against forced disembarkation for ten days but on the 20th of November they could resist no longer when Libyan security forces stormed the boat and violently removed them, using tear gas and rubber bullets in the process. Several of the protestors were injured and needed treatment in hospital while others were returned into inhumane detention camps.[3]

    Also over the past 6 weeks, the period covered in this report, the criminalisation of civil rescue organisations continued. The day that the protestors on the Nivin were violently removed, Italy ordered the seizure of the Aquarius, the large rescue asset operated by SOS Méditerranée and Médecins Sans Frontières that had already been at the docs in France for some time, uncertain about its future mission. According to the Italian authorities, the crew had falsely labelled the clothes rescued migrants had left on the Aquarius as ‘special’ rather than ‘toxic’ waste.[4] The absurdity of the accusation highlights the fact that Italy’s authorities seek out any means to prevent rescues from taking place, a “disproportionate and unfounded measure, purely aimed at further criminalising lifesaving medical-humanitarian action at sea”, as MSF noted.[5] Unfortunately, these sustained attacks showed effect. On the 6th of December, SOS Med and MSF announced the termination of its mission: “European policies and obstruction tactics have forced [us] to terminate the lifesaving operations carried out by the search and rescue vessel Aquarius.” As the MSF general director said: “This is a dark day. Not only has Europe failed to provide search and rescue capacity, it has also actively sabotaged others’ attempts to save lives. The end of Aquarius means more deaths at sea, and more needless deaths that will go unwitnessed.”[6]

    And yet, despite this ongoing sabotage of civil rescue from the EU and its member states, three vessels of the Spanish, German, and Italian organisations Open Arms, Sea-Watch and Mediterranea returned to the deadliest area of the Mediterranean in late November.[7] This return is also significance for Alarm Phone work in the Central Mediterranean: once again we have non-governmental allies at sea who will not only document what is going on along the deadliest border of the world but actively intervene to counter Europe’s border ‘protection’ measures. Shortly after returning, one of the NGOs was called to assist. Fishermen had rescued a group of travellers off the coast of Libya onto their fishing vessel, after they had been abandoned in the water by a Libyan patrol boat, as the fishermen claimed. Rather than ordering their rapid transfer to a European harbour, Italy, Malta and Spain sought out ways to return the 12 people to Libya. The fishing boat, the Nuestra Madre de Loreto, was ill-equipped to care for the people who were weak and needed medical attention. However, they were assisted only by Proactiva Open Arms, and for over a week, the people had to stay on the fishing boat. One of them developed a medical emergency and was eventually brought away in a helicopter. Finally, in early December, they were brought to Malta.[8]

    Around the same time, something rare and remarkable happened. A boat with over 200 people on board reached the Italian harbour of Pozzallo independently, on the 24th of November. Even when they were at the harbour, the authorities refused to allow them to quickly disembark – a irresponsible decision given that the boat was at risk of capsizing. After several hours, all of the people were finally allowed to get off the boat. Italy’s minister of the interior Salvini accused the Maltese authorities of allowing migrant boats to move toward Italian territory.[9] Despite their hardship, the people on the Nuestra Madre de Loreto and the 200 people from this boat, survived. Also the 33 people rescued by the NGO Sea-Watch on the 22nd of December survived. Others, however, did not. In mid-November, a boat left from Algeria with 13 young people on board, intending to reach Sardinia. On the 16th of November, the first body was found, the second a day later. Three survived and stated later that the 10 others had tried to swim to what they believed to be the shore when they saw a light in the distance.[10] In early December, a boat with 25 people on board left from Sabratha/Libya, and 15 of them did not survive. As a survivor reported, they had been at sea for 12 days without food and water.[11]

    Despite the overall decrease in crossings, what has been remarkable in this region is that the people escaping have more frequently informed the Alarm Phone directly than before. The case mentioned earlier, from the 20th of December, when people from a convoy of 3 boats carrying 313 people in total reached out to us, exemplifies this. Detected by the Colibri reconnaissance aircraft and rescued by Proactiva, this case demonstrates powerfully what international solidarity can achieve, despite all attempts by EU member states and institutions to create a zone of death in the Central Mediterranean Sea.
    Developments in the Western Mediterranean Sea

    Over the past six weeks covered by this report, the Alarm Phone witnessed several times what happens when Spanish and Moroccan authorities shift responsibilities and fail to respond quickly to boats in distress situations. Repeatedly we had to pressurise the Spanish authorities publicly before they launched a Search and Rescue (SAR) operation. And still, many lives were lost at sea. On Moroccan land, the repression campaign against Sub-Saharan travellers and residents continues. On the 30th of November, an Alarm Phone member was, yet again, arrested and deported towards the South of Morocco, to Tiznit, along with many other people. (h https://alarmphone.org/en/2018/12/04/alarm-phone-member-arrested-and-deported-in-morocco/?post_type_release_type=post). Other friends in Morocco have informed us about the deportation of large groups from Nador to Tiznit. Around the 16th of December, 400 people were forcibly removed, and on the 17th of December, another 300 people were deported to Morocco’s south. This repression against black residents and travellers in Morocco is one of the reasons for many to decide to leave via the sea. This has meant that also during the winter, cross-Mediterranean movements remain high. On just one weekend, the 8th-9th of December, 535 people reached Andalusia/Spain.[12]

    Whilst people are constantly resisting the border regime by acts of disobedience when they cross the borders clandestinely, acts of resistance take place also on the ground in Morocco, where associations and individuals are continuously struggling for the freedom of movement for all. In early December, an Alarm Phone delegation participated at an international conference in Rabat/Morocco, in order to discuss with members of other associations and collectives from Africa and Europe about the effects of the outsourcing and militarisation of European borders in the desire to further criminalise and prevent migration movements. We were among 400 people and were impressed by the many contributions from people who live and struggle in very precarious situations, by the uplifting atmosphere, and by the many accounts and expressions of solidarity. Days later, during the international meeting in Marrakesh on the ‘Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration’, the Alarm Phone was part of a counter-summit, protesting the international pact on migration which is not meant to reduce borders between states, but to curtail the freedom of movement of the many in the name of ‘legal’ and ‘regulated’ migration. The Alarm Phone delegation was composed of 20 activists from the cities of Tangier, Oujda, Berkane, Nador and Fes. One of our colleagues sums up the event: “We have expressed our ideas and commitments as Alarm Phone, solemnly and strongly in front of the other organisations represented. We have espoused the vision of freedom of movement, a vision without precedent. A vision which claims symbolically all human rights and which has the power to help migrants on all continents to feel protected.” In light of the Marrakesh pact, several African organisations joined together and published a statement rejecting “…the wish to confine Africans within their countries by strengthening border controls, in the deserts, at sea and in airports.”[13]

    Shortly after the international meeting in Marrakesh, the EU pledged €148 million to support Morocco’s policy of migrant containment, thus taking steps towards making it even more difficult, and therefore more dangerous for many people on the African continent to exercise their right to move freely, under the pretext of “combating smuggling”. Making the journeys across the Mediterranean more difficult does not have the desired effect of ending illegalised migration. As the routes to Spain from the north of Morocco have become more militarised following a summer of many successful crossings, more southern routes have come into use again. These routes, leading to the Spanish Canary Islands, force travellers to overcome much longer distances in the Atlantic Ocean, a space without phone coverage and with a heightened risk to lose one’s orientation. On the 18th of November, 22 people lost their lives at sea, on their way from Tiznit to the Canary Islands.[14] Following a Spanish-Frontex collaboration launched in 2006, this route to the Canary Islands has not been used very frequently, but numbers have increased this year, with Moroccan nationals being the largest group of arrivals.[15]
    Developments in the Aegean Sea

    Over the final weeks of 2018, between the 12th of November and the 23rd of December, 78 boats arrived on the Greek islands while 116 boats were stopped by the Turkish coastguards and returned to Turkey. This means that there were nearly 200 attempts to cross into Europe by boat over five weeks, and about 40 percent of them were successful.[16] Over the past six weeks, the Alarm Phone was involved in a total of 19 cases in this region. 6 of the boats arrived in Samos, 3 of them in Chios, and one each on Lesvos, Agathonisi, Farmkonisi, and Symi. 4 boats were returned to Turkey (3 of them rescued, 1 intercepted by the Turkish coastguards). In one distress situation, a man lost his life and another man had to be brought to the hospital due to hypothermia. Moreover, the Alarm Phone was alerted to 2 cases along the Turkish-Greek land border. While in one case their fate remains uncertain, the other group of people were forcibly pushed-back to Turkey.

    Thousands of people still suffering in inhuman conditions in hotspots: When we assist boats crossing the Aegean Sea, the people are usually relieved and happy when arriving on the islands, at least they have survived. However, this moment of happiness often turns into a state of shock when they enter the so-called ‘hotspots’. Over 12,500 people remain incarcerated there, often living in tents and containers unsuitable for winter in the five EU-sponsored camps on Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Kos, and Leros. In addition to serious overcrowding, asylum seekers continue to face unsanitary and unhygienic conditions and physical violence, including gender-based violence. Doctors without Borders has reported on a measles outbreak in Greek camps and conducted a vaccination campaign.[17] Amnesty International and 20 other organizations have published a collective call: “As winter approaches all asylum seekers on the Aegean islands must be transferred to suitable accommodation on the mainland or relocated to other EU countries. […] The EU-Turkey deal containment policy imposes unjustified and unnecessary suffering on asylum seekers, while unduly limiting their rights.”

    The ‘humanitarian’ crisis in the hotspots is the result of Greece’s EU-backed policy of containing asylum seekers on the Aegean islands until their asylum claims are adjudicated or until it is determined that they fall into one of the ‘vulnerable’ categories listed under Greek law. But as of late November, an estimated 2,200 people identified as eligible for transfer are still waiting as accommodation facilities on the mainland are also severely overcrowded. Those who are actually transferred from the hotspot on Lesvos to the Greek mainland are brought to far away camps or empty holiday resorts without infrastructure and without a sufficient number of aid workers.

    Criminalisation along Europe’s Eastern Sea Border: A lot has been written about the many attempts to criminalise NGOs and activists carrying out Search and Rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Much less publicly acknowledged are the many cases in which migrant travellers themselves become criminalised for their activist involvement, often for protesting against the inhuman living conditions and the long waiting times for the asylum-interviews. The case of the ‘Moria 35’ on Lesvos was a case in point, highlighting how a few individual protesters were randomly selected by authorities to scare others into silence and obedience. The Legal Centre Lesvos followed this case closely until the last person of the 35 was released and they shared their enquiries with “a 15-month timeline of injustice and impunity” on their website: “On Thursday 18th October, the last of the Moria 35 were released from detention. Their release comes one year and three months – to the day – after the 35 men were arbitrarily arrested and subject to brutal police violence in a raid of Moria camp following peaceful protests, on July 18th 2017.” While the Legal Centre Lesbos welcomes the fact that all 35 men were finally released, they should never have been imprisoned in the first place. They will not get back the 10 to 15 months they spent in prison. Moreover, even after release, most of the 35 men remain in a legally precarious situation. While 6 were granted asylum in Greece, the majority struggles against rejected asylum claims. Three were already deported. One individual was illegally deported without having exhausted his legal remedies in Greece while another individual, having spent 9 months in pre-trial detention, signed up for so-called ‘voluntary’ deportation.[18] In the meantime, others remain in prison to await their trials that will take place with hardly any attention of the media.

    Humanitarian activists involved in spotting and rescue released after 3 months: The four activists, Sarah Mardini, Nassos Karakitsos, Panos Moraitis and Sean Binder, were released on the 6th of December 2018 after having been imprisoned for three months. They had been held in prolonged pre-trial detention for their work with the non-profit organization Emergency Response Center International (ERCI), founded by Moraitis. The charges misrepresented the group as a smuggling crime ring, and its legitimate fundraising activities as money laundering. The arrests forced the group to cease its operations, including maritime search and rescue, the provision of medical care, and non-formal education to asylum seekers. They are free without geographical restrictions but the case is not yet over. Mardini and Binder still face criminal charges possibly leading to decades in prison.[19] Until 15 February the group ‘Solidarity now!’ is collecting as many signatures as possible to ensure that the Greek authorities drop the case.[20]

    Violent Pushbacks at the Land Border: During the last six weeks, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two groups at the land border separating Turkey and Greece. In both situations, the travellers had already reached Greek soil, but ended up on Turkish territory. Human Right Watch (HRW) published another report on the 18th of December about violent push-backs in the Evros region: “Greek law enforcement officers at the land border with Turkey in the northeastern Evros region routinely summarily return asylum seekers and migrants […]. The officers in some cases use violence and often confiscate and destroy the migrants’ belongings.”[21] Regularly, migrants were stripped off their phones, money and clothes. According to HRW, most of these incidents happened between April and November 2018.[22] The UNHCR and the Council of Europe’s Committee for Prevention of Torture have published similar reports about violent push backs along the Evros borders.[23]
    CASE REPORTS

    Over the past 6 weeks, the WatchTheMed Alarm Phone was engaged in 38 distress cases, of which 15 took place in the Western Mediterranean, 19 in the Aegean Sea, and 4 in the Central Mediterranean. You can find short summaries and links to the individual reports below.
    Western Mediterranean

    On Tuesday the 13th of November at 6.17pm, the Alarm Phone was alerted by a relative to a group of travellers who had left two days earlier from around Orán heading towards Murcia. They were around nine people, including women and children, and the relative had lost contact to the boat. We were also never able to reach the travellers. At 6.46pm we alerted the Spanish search and rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo (SM) to the distress of the travellers. For several days we tried to reach the travellers and were in contact with SM about the ongoing rescue operation. We were never able to reach the travellers or get any news from the relative. Thus, we are still unsure if the group managed to reach land somewhere on their own, or if they will add to the devastating number of people having lost their lives at sea (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1085).

    On Thursday the 22nd of November, at 5.58pm CET, the Alarm Phone received news about a boat of 11 people that had left Nador 8 hours prior. The shift team was unable to immediately enter into contact with the boat, but called Salvamento Maritimo to convey all available information. At 11.48am the following day, the shift team received word from a traveler on the boat that they were safe (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1088).

    At 7.25am CET on November 24, 2018, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 70 people (including 8 women and 1 child) that had departed from Nador 3 days prior. The shift team was able to reach the boat at 7.50am and learned that their motor had stopped working. The shift team called Salvamento Maritimo, who had handed the case over to the Moroccan authorities. The shift team contacted the MRCC, who said they knew about the boat but could not find them, so the shift team mobilized their contacts to find the latest position and sent it to the coast guard at 8.55am. Rescue operations stalled for several hours. At around 2pm, the shift team received news that rescue operations were underway by the Marine Royale. The shift team remained in contact with several people and coast guards until the next day, when it was confirmed that the boat had finally been rescued and that there were at least 15 fatalities (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1087).

    On Friday the 7th of December 2018, we were alerted to two boats in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea. One boat was brought to Algeria, the second boat rescued by Moroccan fishermen and returned to Morocco (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1098).

    On Saturday, the 8th of December 2018, we were informed by a contact person at 3.25pm CET to a boat in distress that had left from Nador/Morocco during the night, at about 1am. There were 57 people on the boat, including 8 women and a child. We tried to establish contact to the boat but were unable to reach them. At 4.50pm, the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM) informed us that they were already searching for this boat. At 8.34pm, SM stated that this boat had been rescued. Some time later, also our contact person confirmed that the boat had been found and rescued to Spain (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1099).

    On Monday the 10th of December, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to three boats in the Western Med. Two had left from around Nador, and one from Algeria. One boat was rescued by the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo, one group of travellers returned back to Nador on their own, and the boat from Algeria returned to Algeria (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1101).

    On Wednesday the 12th of December the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted two boats in the Western Med, one carrying seven people, the other carrying 12 people. The first boat was rescued by the Spanish search and rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo (SM), whilst the second boat was intercepted by the Moroccan Navy and brought back to Morocco, where we were informed that the travellers were held imprisoned (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1102).

    On December 21st, 2018, we were informed of two boats in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea. The first had left from Algeria and was probably rescued to Spain. The other one had departed from Tangier and was rescued by the Marine Royale and brought back to Morocco (for full report, see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1110).

    On the 22nd of December, at 5.58pm CET, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 81 people (including 7 women) that had left the previous day from Nador. The motor was not working properly. They informed that they were in touch with Salvamiento Maritimo but as they were still in Moroccan waters, Salvamiento Maritimo said they were unable to perform rescue operations. The shift team had difficulty maintaining contact with the boat over the course of the next few hours. The shift team also contacted Salvamiento Maritimo who confirmed that they knew about the case. At 7.50pm, Salvamiento Maritimo informed the shift team that they would perform the rescue operations and confirmed the operation at 8.15pm. We later got the confirmation by a contact person that the people were rescued to Spain (see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1111).

    On the 23rd of December 2018, at 1.14am CET, the Alarm Phone received an alert of a boat with 11 men and 1 woman who left from Cap Spartel at Saturday the 22nd of December. The Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to this rubber boat in the early hours of Sunday the 23rd of December. The shift team informed the Spanish Search and Rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM) at 4:50am CET about the situation and provided them with GPS coordinates of the boat. SM, however, rejected responsibility and shifted it to the Moroccan authorities but also the Moroccan Navy did not rescue the people. Several days later, the boat remains missing (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1112).
    Aegean Sea

    On Saturday the 17th of November the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two boats in the Aegean Sea. The first boat returned back to Turkey, whilst the second boat reached Samos on their own (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1086).

    On the 19th of November at 8.40pm CET the shift team was alerted to a boat of 11 travelers in distress near the Turkish coast on its way to Kos. The shift team called the Turkish Coastguard to inform them of the situation. At 9.00pm, the Coastguard called back to confirm they found the boat and would rescue the people. The shift team lost contact with the travelers. At 9.35pm, the Turkish coast guard informed the shift team that the boat was sunk, one man died and one person had hypothermia and would be brought to the hospital. The other 9 people were safe and brought back to Turkey (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1090).

    On the 20th of November at 4.07am CET, the shift team was alerted to a boat with about 50 travelers heading to Samos. The shift team contacted the travelers but the contact was broken for both language and technological reasons. The Alarm Phone contacted the Greek Coastguard about rescue operations. At 7.02am, the shift team was told that a boat of 50 people had been rescued, and the news was confirmed later on, although the shift team could not obtain direct confirmation from the travelers themselves (see:http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1089).

    On the 23rd of November at 7.45pm CET, the Alarm Phone was contacted regarding a group of 19 people, (including 2 women, 1 of whom was pregnant, and a child) who had crossed the river Evros/ Meric and the Turkish-Greek landborder 3 days prior. The shift team first contacted numerous rescue and protection agencies, including UNHCR and the Greek Police, noting that the people were already in Greece and wished to apply for asylum. Until today we remained unable to find out what happened to the people (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1091).

    On the 26th of November at 6:54am CET the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a group of 30 people (among them 7 children and a pregnant woman) who were stranded on the shore in southern Turkey, close to Kas. They wanted us to call the Turkish coastguard so at 7:35am we provided the coastguard with the information we had. At 8:41am we received a photograph from our contact person showing rescue by the Turkish coastguard (see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1092).

    On the 29th of November at 4am CET the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat carrying 44 people (among them 19 children and some pregnant women) heading towards the Greek island of Samos. Shortly afterwards the travellers landed on Samos and because of their difficulties orienting themselves we alerted the local authorities. At 9:53am the port police told us that they had rescued 44 people. They were taken to the refugee camp (see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1093).

    On Monday, the 3rd of December 2018, the Alarm Phone was alerted at 5.30am CET to a boat in distress south of Chios, with 43 people on board, among them 14 children. We were able to reach the boat at 5.35am. When we received their position, we informed the Greek coastguards at 7.30am and forwarded an updated GPS position to them ten minutes later. At 8.52am, the coastguards confirmed the rescue of the boat. The people were brought to Chios Island. On the next day, the people themselves confirmed that they had all safely reached Greece (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1095).

    On Tuesday the 4th of December 2018, at 6.20am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted to a boat in distress near Agathonisi Island. There were about 40 people on board. We established contact to the boat at 6.38am. At 6.45am, we alerted the Greek coastguards. The situation was dangerous as the people on board reported of high waves. At 9.02am, the Greek coastguards confirmed that they had just rescued the boat. The people were brought to Agathonisi (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1096).

    On Wednesday the 5th of December 2018, at 00:08am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted by a contact person to a boat in distress near Chios Island, carrying about 50 people. We received their GPS position at 00.17am and informed the Greek coastguards to the case at 00.30am. At 00.46am, we learned from the contact person that a boat had just been rescued. The Greek authorities confirmed this when we called them at 00.49am. At around 1pm, the people from the boat confirmed that they had been rescued (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1097).

    On Friday the 7th of December 2018, the Alarm Phone was contacted at 5.53am CET by a contact person and informed about a group of 19 people who had crossed the Evros river to Greece and needed assistance. We assisted them for days, but at some point contact was lost. We know that they were returned to Turkey and thus suspect an illegal push-back operation (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1109).

    On Thursday the 13th of December the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two boats in the Aegean sea. In both cases we were not able to reach the travellers, but we were in contact with both the Turkish and Greek coast guard and were in the end able to confirm that one boat had arrived to Lesvos on their own, whilst the others had been rescued by Turkish fishermen (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1100).

    On the 17th of December, 2018, at 6.39am, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 60 travellers. Water was entering the boat, and so the travelers were in distress. Though the shift team had a difficult time remaining in contact with the boat, they contacted the Greek Coastguard to inform them of the situation and the position of the boat. Although the team was not able to remain in contact with the travelers, they received confirmation at 8.18am that the boat had been brought to Greece (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1103).

    On the 18th of December at 2.11am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two boats. The first, of 29 travellers, had landed on the island of Symi and needed help to exit the place of landing. The second was a boat of 54 travellers (including 16 children, and 15 women) that was rescued by the Greek Coastguard later (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1104).

    On the 21st of December, our shift teams were alerted to 2 boats on the Aegean. The first boat was directed to Chios Island and was likely rescued by the Greek Coastguard. The second boat was in immediate distress and after the shift team contacted the Greek Coastguard they rescued the boat (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1105).

    On the 23rd of December 2018 at 6am CET, the Alarm Phone received information about a boat in distress heading to Samos with around 60 travellers (including 30 children and 8 women, 4 pregnant). The shift team made contact with the boat and was informed that one of the women was close to giving birth and so the situation was very urgent. The shift team then called the Greek Coast Guard. At 8.07am, the shift team received confirmation that the boat had been rescued (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1106).
    Central Mediterranean

    On Monday the 12th of November at 6.57pm, the Alarm Phone was called by a relative, asking for help to find out what had happened to his son, who had been on a boat from Algeria towards Sardinia, with around 11 travellers on the 8t of November. Following this, the Alarm Phone was contacted by several relatives informing us about missing people from this boat. Our shift teams tried to gain an understanding of the situation, and for days we stayed in contact with the relatives and tried to support them, but it was not possible to obtain information about what had happened to the travellers (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1094).

    On November 23rd at 1.24pm CET, the Alarm Phone shift team was called by a boat of 120 travelers that was in distress and had left the Libyan coast the night before. The shift team remained in touch with the boat for several hours, and helped recharge their phone credit when it expired. As the boat was in distress, and there were no available NGO operations near the boat, the shift team had no choice but to contact the Italian Coast Guard, but they refused to engage in Search and Rescue (SAR) activities, and instead told the Libyan Coastguard. The boat was intercepted and returned to Libya (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1107).

    On December 20th, 2018, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two cases in the Central Mediterranean Sea. The first was a boat of 20 people that was intercepted and brought back to Libya. The second concerned 3 boats with 300 people in total, that were rescued by Open Arms and brought to Spain (for full report see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1108).

    https://alarmphone.org/en/2018/12/27/and-yet-we-move-2018-a-contested-year/?post_type_release_type=post


  • As the World Abandons Refugees, UNHCR’s Constraints Are Exposed

    The U.N. refugee agency lacks the funding, political clout and independence to protect refugees in the way that it is supposed to, says former UNHCR official and refugee policy expert #Jeff_Crisp.

    Over the past three years, the world has been confronted with a number of major new refugee emergencies – in Myanmar, Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen and Venezuela, as well as the Central American region. In addition, existing crises in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and Syria have gone unresolved, making it impossible for large exiled populations to return to their own country. As a result, the global refugee population has soared to more than 25 million, the highest figure ever recorded.

    This means that the role of the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, which is supposed to protect and find solutions for this growing population, is more important than ever. But is it up to the task? The proliferating crises have stretched it to the limit. Funding, most of which comes from a dozen key donor states, has not kept up with the rising numbers the agency is expected to support. In April, UNHCR said it had received just $2.3 billion of the $8.2 billion it needed for its annual program.

    Things look unlikely to improve. UNHCR is losing the support of the United States, traditionally the organization’s most important government partner, whether under Republican or Democrat administrations. Since Donald Trump’s election, the country has slashed the number of refugees it admits through its resettlement program. In his final years in office, Barack Obama had raised the annual quota to 110,000 refugees. That is now down to 45,000 and may yet be reduced to 25,000.

    There is also the prospect that the Trump administration will demonstrate its disdain for the U.N. and limited interest in the refugee issue by reducing its funding to the agency, as it has already done with UNRWA, a separate agency that supports Palestinian refugees. Given that the U.S. currently contributes almost 40 percent of the UNHCR budget, even a modest reduction in its support will mean serious cuts in expenditure.

    The agency therefore has little choice but to look for alternative sources of funding and diplomatic support, especially from the European Union and its member states. But that may come at a price. One of the E.U.’s top priorities is to halt the arrival of refugees and asylum seekers who have transited through nearby countries such as Libya, Morocco and Turkey. Populist political parties throughout much of the E.U. are reaping the electoral benefits of taking a hard line on the issue of refugees and migration. Several European governments have shown little hesitation in violating the international refugee laws they have signed in their desperation to seal Europe’s borders.

    The E.U. thus looks to UNHCR for two things: first, the expertise and operational capacity of an organization that has years of experience in responding to mass movements of people; and second, the legitimacy that E.U. policies can acquire by means of close association with an agency deemed by its founding statute to be “entirely non-political and humanitarian.” In this context, it should come as no surprise that E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has been at pains to point out that the E.U. and UNHCR “work together” and have a “close partnership” – and that the E.U. remains “the strongest supporter of UNHCR.”

    But this partnership (which involved $436 million in funding from Brussels alone in 2017) also involves an important element of compromise on the part of UNHCR. In the Mediterranean, for example, the E.U. is funding the Libyan coast guard to intercept and return any refugees who try to leave the country by boat. Those people are subsequently confined to detention centers where, according to Amnesty International, they are at risk of torture, forced labor, extortion and murder at the hand of smugglers, bandits or the Libyan authorities.

    The U.N. high commissioner for human rights has publicly chastised the E.U. for its failure to improve the situation of migrants in Libya. By contrast, UNHCR has kept very quiet about the E.U.’s role in the process of interception, return and detention, despite the fact that these actions violate a fundamental principle of refugee protection: that no one should be returned to a country where their life or freedom would be threatened.

    This reveals a fundamental tension in the organization’s character. Ostensibly, UNHCR enjoys a high degree of independence and moral authority. As part of the U.N. system, it is treated with more respect by states and other actors than NGOs doing similar work. It has regular access to heads of state, government leaders, regional organizations, the U.N. security council and the secretary-general himself (who was previously UNHCR chief).

    But in practice, the autonomy enjoyed by UNHCR is at best a relative one. Almost 90 percent of the agency’s funding is provided by states, much of it earmarked for specific programs, projects and countries. UNHCR’s governing board consists entirely of states.

    The organization can operate in a country only if it has the agreement of the government, which also has the ability to shape the scope of UNHCR’s operational activities, as well as the partners it works with. In countries such as Ethiopia, Pakistan, Sudan and Syria, for example, the organization is obliged to work with government departments whose priorities may well be different from those of UNHCR.

    Almost 90 percent of the agency’s funding is provided by states, much of it earmarked for specific programs, projects and countries. UNHCR’s governing board consists entirely of states.

    The tensions at the heart of UNHCR seem unlikely to diminish. Throughout the world, governments are closing their borders to refugees and depriving them of basic rights. Exiled populations are being induced to repatriate against their will and to countries that are not safe. As epitomized by the E.U.’s deal with Turkey, asylum seekers have become bargaining chips in interstate relations, used by political leaders to extract financial, political and even military concessions from each other.

    Given the constitutional constraints imposed on the organization, UNHCR’s options are now limited. It can try (as it has done for many years) to diversify its funding base. It could assume a more assertive stance with states that violate refugee protection principles – and in doing so risk the loss of its already diminished degree of diplomatic support. And it can hope that the recently completed Global Compact on Refugees, a nonbinding declaration of principles that most U.N. member states are expected to sign, will have some effect on the way that governments actually treat refugees.

    A final option available to UNHCR is to be more transparent about its limitations, to moderate the relentless self-promotion of its branding and marketing campaign and give greater recognition to the efforts that refugees are making to improve their own lives. In that respect, UNHCR’s favourite hashtag, “We Stand #WithRefugees,” could usefully be changed to “Refugees Are #StandingUpForThemselves.”

    #UN #ONU #HCR #UNHCR #crise #indépendance #fonds #financement #it_has_begun


    • Un bon article de #Matteo_Villa qui résume ces questions, paru en septembre 2018 :

      Outsourcing European Border Control : Recent Trends in Departures, Deaths and Search and Rescue Activities in the Central Mediterranean

      In our previous blog post ‘Border Deaths in the Mediterranean: what we can learn from the latest data?’ on Border Criminologies (March 2017) we discussed the existing data sources on Mediterranean Sea migration and provided an analysis of key patterns and trends. We found that Search and Rescue (SAR) has little or no effect on the number of arrivals, and it is rather the absence of SAR that leads to more deaths. These results, which are in line with other research, were covered by various European media outlets and also resulted in a peer reviewed publication in Sociology (also available as a free preprint).

      These findings covered the period until December 2016. Since then, however, the context of European border policy has changed considerably:

      Through a mix of political pressure, financial incentives and military assistance, the EU has tried to induce transit countries in the Sahel to close their borders to Europe-bound migrants. According to European parliament president Tajani, this resulted in a 95% drop in crossings through Niger, a key transition point for migrants on the way to Libya, although it cannot be excluded that migrants are taking different, more dangerous routes in order to reach Northern African countries (either via Niger or through Algeria).
      From the beginning of 2017 onwards, the Italian government backed by the EU has increasingly cooperated with Libyan authorities to block depatures in exchange for financial and logistical support. The UN-backed government in Libya in turn, has allegedly forged deals with a number of militias.
      Increased European support for the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG), resulting in an increase in interceptions and the declaration of a Libyan SAR zone.
      Increasing legal and political attacks on NGOs engaged in SAR have culminated in Italy’s decision to declare its ports to be “closed” to NGO vessels and (temporarily) to EU rescue ships in June 2018.

      Each of these developments can be seen as part of a broader strategy to close the European borders by externalizing border control to third countries, a practice that was tried earlier with Turkey, and to relax commitments enshrined in international law, such as search and rescue at sea and non refoulement.

      In view of these recent developments, we document estimated trends in arrivals, deaths, mortality rates and rescue activities covering the most recent period, between January 2016 and July 2018. In doing so, we strongly rely on detailed statistical analyses conducted by the Italian research institute ISPI. Our analyses are based on publicly available data from the IOM and the UNHCR for arrivals and interceptions, and IOM’s Missing Migrants Project for deaths. It is important to note that recorded deaths are a lower bound estimate of the actual death toll, because some deaths are likely to remain unreported. We provide an extensive discussion of data sources, data quality and challenges for their interpretation in our academic article on the issue. Since most of the above developments relate to the situation in Libya, we focus on migrants departing from that country. Libya is also the only Northern African country where interceptions at sea by the Coast Guard are independently monitored by both IOM and UNHCR personnel at disembarkation points.

      Although each of these individual developments have been reported elsewhere, together they paint a picture of Europe’s resolve to close its external borders and deter irregular migration, regardless of the (human) cost.

      Trend #1: A sharp drop in departures

      Figure 1 plots trends in the number of migrants departing irregularly from Libya by sea since January 2016. Until mid-2017, migrant departures show a remarkably regular seasonal pattern, with around 20,000 departures during the summer months. As of July 2017, however, the number of arrivals dropped dramatically, and it has stayed at comparatively low levels up to the present. The decrease in arrivals occurred after alleged ’deals’ between Libyan authorities and the militias in Western Libya that control the smuggling networks, and a few months after the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Italy and Libya. Convergent diplomatic action induced some militias to switch from smuggling to preventing departures. Other factors, such as the activity of the LCG, private and public SAR providers, or dynamics in the rate of dead and missing along the route, are relevant per se but appear to play no significant role in the decrease in arrivals to Europe. Europe’s efforts to block migrants passing though transit countries may have played a role as well, but evidence is still too sparse to be reliably assessed.

      Trend #2: An increased risk of interception by the Libyan Coast Guard

      The Libyan Coast Guard plays a pivotal role in Europe’s strategy of externalizing migration control to third countries. A report by Human Rights Watch suggests that in recent months “the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (IMRCC) has routinized a practice, tested since at least May 2017, of transferring responsibility to Libyan coast guard forces in international waters even when there are other, better-equipped vessels, including its own patrol boats or Italian navy vessels, closer to the scene.” This practice has been termed ’refoulement by proxy’ because the LCG is financed, equipped and instructed by the Italian and European authorities, as described in this recent investigative report. Migrants who are forcibly returned to Libya are imprisoned in detention centres for indefinite periods, and they face systematic violence—including torture and rape—as has been documented in numerous reports.

      The new Italian government intensified and formalized the policy of transferring responsibility to the LCG. Since June, it has instructed ships undertaking rescues in the Libyan SAR zone to refer all emergency calls to the Libyan authorities, who will then arrange their interception and pull-back to Libya. The declarations that Italian ports are “closed” to NGO ships are also part of this strategy, as their operations are considered to interfere with LCG interceptions. In late July, this practice resulted in the first instance of a non-Libyan vessel, the Asso Ventotto, being instructed to coordinate with the Tripoli Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC). The ship ultimately disembarked the rescued persons on Libyan territory and thus effectively engaged in refoulement and collective expulsion of migrants.

      The practice of outsourcing European border control to the Libyan Coast Guard has brought about a sharp increase in its activity: by the end of July 2018, the LCG had intercepted 12,490 migrants at sea compared to 8,851 during the same period in the previous year, which amounts to a 41% increase. In combination with the drop in departures, this policy has resulted in a rapid increase in the risk of interception. To illustrate this fact, in July 2017 just 6% of migrants leaving Libya by sea ended up being caught and brought back, while almost 94% made it to Europe. In July 2018, instead, 71% of migrants leaving Libya’s shores were intercepted and brought back, while just 24% arrived safely in a European country (see Figure 2).

      Trend #3: An increase in the absolute and relative mortality rate between mid-June and July 2018

      In this section, we look at trends in absolute mortality (the number of dead and missing people at sea) and relative mortality (the risk of crossing) of migrants departing from Libya. In particular, we analyse the widely reported spike in deaths that occurred in late June 2018, after virtually all SAR NGOs had been prevented from operating as a result of policies introduced by the new Italian Minister of Interior Salvini from the far-right Lega and the continued denial by the Maltese authorities to offer Valetta as a port of entry. On June 10, Italy unilaterally decided to declare its ports to be “closed” to NGO rescue ships, as well as (temporarily) to commercial and EU vessels carrying rescued migrants. Also Malta tightened its position on rescue activities and cracked down on two SAR NGOs in early July. Since then, rescue operations close to the Libyan coast have been almost entirely delegated to the LCG.

      First, we look at trends in the absolute mortality rate. Figure 3 shows a reduction in the monthly number of deaths since July 2017, commensurate with the reduction in the number of departures described above. For example, 20 deaths were recorded in April 2018, and 11 in May (Figure 3). In June, however, an estimated 451 migrants died on their way from Libya to Europe—of which 370 between 16 and 30 June. It is important to note that these deaths occurred during a time when departures were comparatively low. As a result, the risk of crossing has increased from 2.8% in the previous months to a staggering 7% since mid-June 2018 (Figure 4). These findings are also robust to using different time frames for the pre-NGO absence period, including the entire period since the drop of arrivals in July 2017 until the NGO ban. Whereas relative mortality has fluctuated in recent years, 7% constitute an extraordinary spike.

      Figure 5 maps shipwreck events occurring between 16 June and 31 July 2018 with at least estimated 15 dead or missing persons, using geocoded data provided by IOM’s Missing Migrants Project. While the precise location of each shipwreck is only an estimate, as “precise locations are not often known” (as explained in the “Methodology” section of the Missing Migrants Project), such estimates do provide an indication of where such shipwrecks have taken place. In particular, IOM data shows that shipwrecks between 16 June and 31 July took place well within 50 nautical miles from Libya’s shores, an area which used to be patrolled by either the LCG or NGO vessels. Yet, during the time when deaths spiked, only two NGO vessels had been operating, and only discontinuously.

      These observations are reminiscent of what happened in 2015, when the withdrawal of competent SAR providers (the Italian mission Mare Nostrum) similarly created the conditions for avoidable loss of life. Although these findings are based on a relatively short time period, they are suggestive of the risk of leaving the Libyan SAR zone to the operations of the LCG alone. Continuous monitoring of the situation remains of utmost importance.

      Conclusion

      In combination, the three trends described above highlight the harsh realities of recent European migration policies, which seek to limit irregular migration regardless of the moral, legal and humanitarian consequences. The current European obsession with reducing migration at all costs is even less comprehensible when considering that arrivals decreased drastically prior to the most recent escalation of rhetoric and externalization of migration control. Arrivals to Italy in the first half of 2018 were down by 79% compared to the same time frame in 2017. Although increasingly inhumane policies are often cloaked in a rhetoric about reducing deaths at sea, it is important to remember that those who are prevented from crossing or forcibly returned are generally not safe but remain subject to precarious and often lethal conditions in countries of transit. Rather than providing a sustainable response to the complex challenges involved in irregular migration, Europe has outsourced the management of its migration ’problem’ to countries like Libya and Niger, where violence and death often remains hidden from the public view.

      https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/centre-criminology/centreborder-criminologies/blog/2018/09/outsourcing

    • Arrivées en Europe via la Méditerranée :
      2018 :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/705781
      Arrivées en Europe toute frontière confondue :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/739902
      –-> attention, c’est les « crossings »... rappelez-vous de la question des doubles/triples contages des passages :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/705957

      Pour #2016 #2017 et #2018, chiffres de Matteo Villa :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/768142
      database : https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ncHxOHIx4ptt4YFXgGi9TIbwd53HaR3oFbrfBm67ak4/edit#gid=0
      #base_de_données #database


  • Autour des #gardes-côtes_libyens... et de #refoulements en #Libye...

    Je copie-colle ici des articles que j’avais mis en bas de cette compilation (qu’il faudrait un peu mettre en ordre, peut-être avec l’aide de @isskein ?) :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705401

    Les articles ci-dessous traitent de :
    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Méditerranée #push-back #refoulement #externalisation #frontières

    • Pour la première fois depuis 2009, un navire italien ramène des migrants en Libye

      Une embarcation de migrants secourue par un navire de ravitaillement italien a été renvoyée en Libye lundi 30 juillet. Le HCR a annoncé mardi l’ouverture d’une enquête et s’inquiète d’une violation du droit international.

      Lundi 30 juillet, un navire battant pavillon italien, l’Asso Ventotto, a ramené des migrants en Libye après les avoir secourus dans les eaux internationales – en 2012 déjà l’Italie a été condamnée par la Cour européenne des droits de l’Homme pour avoir reconduit en Libye des migrants secourus en pleine mer en 2009.

      L’information a été donnée lundi soir sur Twitter par Oscar Camps, le fondateur de l’ONG espagnole Proactiva Open Arms, avant d’être reprise par Nicola Fratoianni, un député de la gauche italienne qui est actuellement à bord du bateau humanitaire espagnol qui sillonne en ce moment les côtes libyennes.

      Selon le quotidien italien La Repubblica, 108 migrants à bord d’une embarcation de fortune ont été pris en charge en mer Méditerranée par l’Asso Ventotto lundi 30 juillet. L’équipage du navire de ravitaillement italien a alors contacté le MRCC à Rome - centre de coordination des secours maritimes – qui les a orienté vers le centre de commandement maritime libyen. La Libye leur a ensuite donné l’instruction de ramener les migrants au port de Tripoli.

      En effet depuis le 28 juin, sur décision européenne, la gestion des secours des migrants en mer Méditerranée dépend des autorités libyennes et non plus de l’Italie. Concrètement, cela signifie que les opérations de sauvetage menées dans la « SAR zone » - zone de recherche et de sauvetage au large de la Libye - sont désormais coordonnées par les Libyens, depuis Tripoli. Mais le porte-parole du Conseil de l’Europe a réaffirmé ces dernières semaines qu’"aucun navire européen ne peut ramener des migrants en Libye car cela serait contraire à nos principes".

      Violation du droit international

      La Libye ne peut être considérée comme un « port sûr » pour le débarquement des migrants. « C’est une violation du droit international qui stipule que les personnes sauvées en mer doivent être amenées dans un ‘port sûr’. Malgré ce que dit le gouvernement italien, les ports libyens ne peuvent être considérés comme tels », a déclaré sur Twitter le député Nicola Fratoianni. « Les migrants se sont vus refuser la possibilité de demander l’asile, ce qui constitue une violation des accords de Genève sur les sauvetages en mer », dit-il encore dans le quotidien italien La Stampa.

      Sur Facebook, le ministre italien de l’Intérieur, Matteo Salvini, nie toutes entraves au droit international. « La garde-côtière italienne n’a ni coordonné, ni participé à cette opération, comme l’a faussement déclarée une ONG et un député de gauche mal informé ».

      Le Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés (HCR) a de son côté annoncé mardi 31 juillet l’ouverture d’une enquête. « Nous recueillons toutes les informations nécessaires sur le cas du remorqueur italien Asso Ventotto qui aurait ramené en Libye 108 personnes sauvées en Méditerranée. La Libye n’est pas un ‘port sûr’ et cet acte pourrait constituer une violation du droit international », dit l’agence onusienne sur Twitter.

      http://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/10995/pour-la-premiere-fois-depuis-2009-un-navire-italien-ramene-des-migrant

    • Nave italiana soccorre e riporta in Libia 108 migranti. Salvini: «Nostra Guardia costiera non coinvolta»

      L’atto in violazione della legislazione internazionale che garantisce il diritto d’asilo e che non riconosce la Libia come un porto sicuro. Il vicepremier: «Nostre navi non sono intervenute nelle operazioni». Fratoianni (LeU): «Ci sono le prove della violazione»

      http://www.repubblica.it/cronaca/2018/07/31/news/migranti_nave_italiana_libia-203026448/?ref=RHPPLF-BH-I0-C8-P1-S1.8-T1
      #vos_thalassa #asso_28

      Commentaire de Sara Prestianni, via la mailing-list de Migreurop:

      Le navire commerciale qui opere autour des plateformes de pétrole, battant pavillon italien - ASSO 28 - a ramené 108 migrants vers le port de Tripoli suite à une opération de sauvetage- Les premiers reconstructions faites par Open Arms et le parlementaire Fratoianni qui se trouve à bord de Open Arms parlent d’une interception en eaux internationales à la quelle a suivi le refoulement. Le journal La Repubblica dit que les Gardes Cotes Italiennes auraient invité Asso28 à se coordonner avec les Gardes Cotes Libyennes (comme font habituellement dans les derniers mois. Invitation déclinés justement par les ong qui opèrent en mer afin de éviter de proceder à un refoulement interdit par loi). Le Ministre de l’Interieur nie une implication des Gardes Cotes Italiens et cyniquement twitte “Le Garde cotes libyenne dans les derniers heures ont sauvé et ramené à terre 611 migrants. Les Ong protestent les passeurs font des affaires ? C’est bien. Nous continuons ainsi”

    • Départs de migrants depuis la Libye :

      Libya : outcomes of the sea journey

      Migrants intercepted /rescued by the Libyan coast guard

      Lieux de désembarquement :


      #Italie #Espagne #Malte

      –-> Graphiques de #Matteo_Villa, posté sur twitter :
      source : https://twitter.com/emmevilla/status/1036892919964286976

      #statistiques #chiffres #2016 #2017 #2018

      cc @simplicissimus

    • Libyan Coast Guard Takes 611 Migrants Back to Africa

      Between Monday and Tuesday, the Libyan Coast Guard reportedly rescued 611 migrants aboard several dinghies off the coast and took them back to the African mainland.

      Along with the Libyan search and rescue operation, an Italian vessel, following indications from the Libyan Coast Guard, rescued 108 migrants aboard a rubber dinghy and delivered them back to the port of Tripoli. The vessel, called La Asso 28, was a support boat for an oil platform.

      Italian mainstream media have echoed complaints of NGOs claiming that in taking migrants back to Libya the Italian vessel would have violated international law that guarantees the right to asylum and does not recognize Libya as a safe haven.

      In recent weeks, a spokesman for the Council of Europe had stated that “no European ship can bring migrants back to Libya because it is contrary to our principles.”

      Twenty days ago, another ship supporting an oil rig, the Vos Thalassa, after rescuing a group of migrants, was preparing to deliver them to a Libyan patrol boat when an attempt to revolt among the migrants convinced the commander to reverse the route and ask the help of the Italian Coast Guard. The migrants were loaded aboard the ship Diciotti and taken to Trapani, Sicily, after the intervention of the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella.

      On the contrary, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini has declared Tuesday’s operation to be a victory for efforts to curb illegal immigration. The decision to take migrants back to Africa rather than transporting them to Europe reflects an accord between Italy and Libya that has greatly reduced the numbers of African migrants reaching Italian shores.

      Commenting on the news, Mr. Salvini tweeted: “The Libyan Coast Guard has rescued and taken back to land 611 immigrants in recent hours. The NGOs protest and the traffickers lose their business? Great, this is how we make progress,” followed by hashtags announcing “closed ports” and “open hearts.”

      Parliamentarian Nicola Fratoianni of the left-wing Liberi and Uguali (Free and Equal) party and secretary of the Italian Left, presently aboard the Spanish NGO ship Open Arms, denounced the move.

      “We do not yet know whether this operation was carried out on the instructions of the Italian Coast Guard, but if so it would be a very serious precedent, a real collective rejection for which Italy and the ship’s captain will answer before a court,” he said.

      “International law requires that people rescued at sea must be taken to a safe haven and the Libyan ports, despite the mystification of reality by the Italian government, cannot be considered as such,” he added.

      The United Nations immigration office (UNHCR) has threatened Italy for the incident involving the 108 migrants taken to Tripoli, insisting that Libya is not a safe port and that the episode could represent a breach of international law.

      “We are collecting all the necessary information,” UNHCR tweeted.

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/santiago-anti-abortion-women-stabbed-chile-protest-a8469786.html
      #refoulements #push-back

    • Libya rescued 10,000 migrants this year, says Germany

      Libyan coast guards have saved some 10,000 migrants at sea since the start of this year, according to German authorities. The figure was provided by the foreign ministry during a debate in parliament over what the Left party said were “inhumane conditions” of returns of migrants to Libya. Libyan coast guards are trained by the EU to stop migrants crossing to Europe.

      https://euobserver.com/tickers/142821

    • UNHCR Flash Update Libya (9 - 15 November 2018) [EN/AR]

      As of 14 November, the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) has rescued/intercepted 14,595 refugees and migrants (10,184 men, 2,147 women and 1,408 children) at sea. On 10 November, a commercial vessel reached the port of Misrata (187 km east of Tripoli) carrying 95 refugees and migrants who refused to disembark the boat. The individuals on board comprise of Ethiopian, Eritrean, South Sudanese, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Somali nationals. UNHCR is closely following-up on the situation of the 14 individuals who have already disembarked and ensuring the necessary assistance is provided and screening is conducted for solutions. Since the onset, UNHCR has advocated for a peaceful resolution of the situation and provided food, water and core relief items (CRIs) to alleviate the suffering of individuals onboard the vessel.

      https://reliefweb.int/report/libya/unhcr-flash-update-libya-9-15-november-2018-enar
      #statistiques #2018 #chiffres

    • Rescued at sea, locked up, then sold to smugglers

      In Libya, refugees returned by EU-funded ships are thrust back into a world of exploitation.

      The Souq al Khamis detention centre in Khoms, Libya, is so close to the sea that migrants and refugees can hear waves crashing on the shore. Its detainees – hundreds of men, women and children – were among 15,000 people caught trying to cross the Mediterranean in flimsy boats in 2018, after attempting to reach Italy and the safety of Europe.

      They’re now locked in rooms covered in graffiti, including warnings that refugees may be sold to smugglers by the guards that watch them.


      This detention centre is run by the UN-backed Libyan government’s department for combatting illegal migration (DCIM). Events here over the last few weeks show how a hardening of European migration policy is leaving desperate refugees with little room to escape from networks ready to exploit them.

      Since 2014, the EU has allocated more than €300 million to Libya with the aim of stopping migration. Funnelled through the Trust Fund for Africa, this includes roughly €40 million for the Libyan coast guard, which intercepts boats in the Mediterranean. Ireland’s contribution to the trust fund will be €15 million between 2016 and 2020.

      Scabies

      One of the last 2018 sea interceptions happened on December 29th, when, the UN says, 286 people were returned to Khoms. According to two current detainees, who message using hidden phones, the returned migrants arrived at Souq al Khamis with scabies and other health problems, and were desperate for medical attention.


      On New Year’s Eve, a detainee messaged to say the guards in the centre had tried to force an Eritrean man to return to smugglers, but others managed to break down the door and save him.

      On Sunday, January 5th, detainees said, the Libyan guards were pressurising the still-unregistered arrivals to leave by beating them with guns. “The leaders are trying to push them [to] get out every day,” one said.

      https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/rescued-at-sea-locked-up-then-sold-to-smugglers-1.3759181

    • Migranti, 100 persone trasferite su cargo e riportate in Libia. Alarm Phone: “Sono sotto choc, credevano di andare in Italia”

      Dopo l’allarme delle scorse ore e la chiamata del premier Conte a Tripoli, le persone (tra cui venti donne e dodici bambini, uno dei quali potrebbe essere morto di stenti) sono state trasferite sull’imbarcazione che batte bandiera della Sierra Leone in direzione Misurata. Ma stando alle ultime informazioni, le tensioni a bordo rendono difficoltoso lo sbarco. Intanto l’ong Sea Watch ha salvato 47 persone e chiede un porto dove attraccare

      https://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2019/01/21/migranti-100-persone-trasferite-su-cargo-e-riportate-in-libia-alarm-phone-sono-sotto-choc-credevano-di-andare-in-italia/4911794

    • Migrants calling us in distress from the Mediterranean returned to Libya by deadly ‘refoulement’ industry

      When they called us from the sea, the 106 precarious travellers referred to their boat as a white balloon. This balloon, or rubber dinghy, was meant to carry them all the way to safety in Europe. The people on board – many men, about 20 women, and 12 children from central, west and north Africa – had left Khoms in Libya a day earlier, on the evening of January 19.

      Though they survived the night at sea, many of passengers on the boat were unwell, seasick and freezing. They decided to call for help and used their satellite phone at approximately 11am the next day. They reached out to the Alarm Phone, a hotline operated by international activists situated in Europe and Africa, that can be called by migrants in distress at sea. Alongside my work as a researcher on migration and borders, I am also a member of this activist network, and on that day I supported our shift team who received and documented the direct calls from the people on the boat in distress.

      The boat had been trying to get as far away as possible from the Libyan coast. Only then would the passengers stand a chance of escaping Libya’s coastguard. The European Union and Italy struck a deal in 2017 to train the Libyan coastguard in return for them stopping migrants reaching European shores. But a 2017 report by Amnesty International highlighted how the Libyan authorities operate in collusion with smuggling networks. Time and again, media reports suggest they have drastically violated the human rights of escaping migrants as well as the laws of the sea.

      The migrant travellers knew that if they were detected and caught, they would be abducted back to Libya, or illegally “refouled”. But Libya is a dangerous place for migrants in transit – as well as for Libyan nationals – given the ongoing civil conflict between several warring factions. In all likelihood, being sent back to Libya would mean being sent to detention centres described as “concentration-camp like” by German diplomats.

      The odds of reaching Europe were stacked against the people on the boat. Over the past year, the European-Libyan collaboration in containing migrants in North Africa, a research focus of mine, has resulted in a decrease of sea arrivals in Italy – from about 119,000 in 2017 to 23,000 in 2018. Precisely how many people were intercepted by the Libyan coastguards last year is unclear but the Libyan authorities have put the figure at around 15,000. The fact that this refoulement industry has led to a decrease in the number of migrant crossings in the central Mediterranean means that fewer people have been able to escape grave human rights violations and reach a place of safety.
      Shifting responsibility

      In repeated conversations, the 106 people on the boat made clear to the Alarm Phone activists that they would rather move on and endanger their lives by continuing to Europe than be returned by the Libyan coastguards. The activists stayed in touch with them, and for transparency reasons, the distress situation was made public via Twitter.

      Around noon, the situation on board deteriorated markedly and anxiety spread. With weather conditions worsening and after a boy had fallen unconscious, the people on the boat expressed for the first time their immediate fear of dying at sea and demanded Alarm Phone to alert all available authorities.

      The activists swiftly notified the Italian coastguards. But both the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, and in turn the Maltese authorities, suggested it was the Libyan coastguard’s responsibility to handle the distress call. And yet, eight different phone numbers of the Libyan coastguards could not be reached by the activists.

      In the afternoon, the situation had come across the radar of the Italian media. When the Alarm Phone activists informed the people on board that the public had also been made aware of the situation by the media one person succinctly responded: “I don’t need to be on the news, I need to be rescued.”

      And yet media attention catapulted the story into the highest political spheres in Italy. According to a report in the Italian national newspaper Corriere della Sera, the prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, took charge of the situation, stating that the fate of the migrant boat could not be left to Alarm Phone activists. Conte instructed the Italian foreign intelligence service to launch rapid negotiations with the Libyan coastguards. It took some time to persuade them, but eventually, the Libyans were convinced to take action.

      In the meantime, the precarious passengers on the boat reported of water leaking into their boat, of the freezing cold, and their fear of drowning. The last time the Alarm Phone reached them, around 8pm, they could see a plane in the distance but were unable to forward their GPS coordinates to the Alarm Phone due to the failing battery of their satellite phone.
      Sent back to Libya

      About three hours later, the Italian coastguards issued a press release: the Libyans had assumed responsibility and co-ordinated the rescue of several boats. According to the press release, a merchant vessel had rescued the boat and the 106 people would be returned to Libya.

      According to the survivors and Médecins Sans Frontières who treated them on arrival, at least six people appeared to have drowned during the voyage – presumably after the Alarm Phone lost contact with them. Another boy died after disembarkation.

      A day later, on January 21, members of a second group of 144 people called the Alarm Phone from another merchant vessel. Just like the first group, they had been refouled to Libya, but they were still on board. Some still believed that they would be brought to Europe.

      Speaking on the phone with the activists, they could see land but it was not European but Libyan land. Recognising they’d been returned to their place of torment, they panicked, cried and threatened collective suicide. The women were separated from the men – Alarm Phone activists could hear them shout in the background. In the evening, contact with this second group of migrants was lost.

      During the evening of January 23, several of the women of the group reached out to the activists. They said that during the night, Libyan security forces boarded the merchant vessel and transported small groups into the harbour of Misrata, where they were taken to a detention centre. They said they’d been beaten when refusing to disembark. One of them, bleeding, feared that she had already lost her unborn child.

      On the next day, the situation worsened further. The women told the activists that Libyan forces entered their cell in the morning, pointing guns at them, after some of the imprisoned had tried to escape. Reportedly, every man was beaten. The pictures they sent to the Alarm Phone made it into Italian news, showing unhygienic conditions, overcrowded cells, and bodies with torture marks.

      Just like the 106 travellers on the “white balloon”, this second group of 144 people had risked their lives but were now back in their hell.
      Profiteering

      It’s more than likely that for some of these migrant travellers, this was not their first attempt to escape Libya. The tens of thousands captured at sea and returned over the past years have found themselves entangled in the European-Libyan refoulement “industry”. Due to European promises of financial support or border technologies, regimes with often questionable human rights records have wilfully taken on the role as Europe’s frontier guards. In the Mediterranean, the Libyan coastguards are left to do the dirty work while European agencies – such as Frontex, Eunavfor Med as well as the Italian and Maltese coastguards – have withdrawn from the most contentious and deadly areas of the sea.

      It’s sadly not surprising that flagrant human rights violations have become the norm rather than the exception. Quite cynically, several factions of the Libyan coastguards have profited not merely from Europe’s financial support but also from playing a “double game” in which they continue to be involved in human smuggling while, disguised as coastguards, clampdown on the trade of rival smuggling networks. This means that the Libyan coastguards profit often from both letting migrant boats leave and from subsequently recapturing them.

      The detention camps in Libya, where torture and rape are everyday phenomena, are not merely containment zones of captured migrants – they form crucial extortion zones in this refoulement industry. Migrants are turned into “cash cows” and are repeatedly subjected to violent forms of extortion, often forced to call relatives at home and beg for their ransom.

      Despite this systematic abuse, migrant voices cannot be completely drowned out. They continue to appear, rebelliously, from detention and even from the middle of the sea, reminding us all about Europe’s complicity in the production of their suffering.

      https://theconversation.com/migrants-calling-us-in-distress-from-the-mediterranean-returned-to-


  • Thousands of Sudanese fled Libya for #Niger, seeking safety. Not all were welcome

    At first, the Sudanese filtered out of the migrant ghettos and across the desert by the handful. It was December 2017 in the city of #Agadez, Niger when the first group approached UNHCR, asking for protection. The UN’s refugee agency had spent the past couple of months building up its presence in the area, but the arrival of the Sudanese was not what it expected.

    A sprawling collection of walled compounds and dusty, rutted streets in the heart of the Sahara, Agadez has long been a gateway between West and North Africa. For most of its history, the travellers passing through have been caravanning traders and people moving within the African continent in search of work. But as Libya descended into chaos following the fall of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, an unregulated route to Europe opened up from Libyan shores – and 2,000 kilometers to the south, hundreds of thousands of West Africans flocked to Agadez to join convoys of pickup trucks setting out across the desert towards the Libyan coast.

    With its expanded presence in the city, UNHCR anticipated identifying asylum cases among people following this route before they started the dangerous journey into Libya and across the sea. But the arrival of the Sudanese – most driven from their homes in the conflict-ridden region of Darfur more than a decade ago – signalled something new: instead of heading north towards Europe, this group of refugees and asylum seekers was travelling south from Libya in search of protection. And, once the first group arrived, more kept coming – by the dozens – until there were around 2,000 Sudanese asylum seekers in Agadez.

    What prompted the Sudanese to turn to the south was probably a confluence of factors: a desire to escape conflict and the abuses committed by militias and smugglers; European policies that have led to a nearly 78 percent drop in the number of people crossing the sea from Libya to Italy since July last year; and rumours of aid and protection for asylum seekers in Niger, and maybe – just maybe – the chance of a legal way to reach Europe.

    The fact that the Sudanese were compelled to venture to Agadez at all highlights a broader truth: the international refugee protection system has failed in its response to long-term displacement. The tense reception of the Sudanese by Nigerien authorities – ultimately resulting in the deportation of 132 people back to Libya – speaks to the consequences of that failure.

    By that point, there were close to 2,000 Sudanese in the town. For months, there had been a stalemate between UNHCR, which was negotiating for space to process the Sudanese cases and look for solutions, and the Nigerien government, which wanted to send people back to Chad and Libya.

    In the meantime, more Sudanese had arrived than there was space for in the UNHCR shelters, and people were spilling into the streets. Residents in the neighbourhood complained that some of the Sudanese were stealing fruit from gardens and going to the bathroom outdoors, and that they felt uncomfortable with the Sudanese men living in such close proximity to Nigerien women and girls. The escalation of those tensions appears to have triggered the arrests.

    https://www.irinnews.org/special-report/2018/07/05/destination-europe-deportation
    #Libye #asile #migrations #réfugiés #réfugiés_soudanais #migrerrance #renvois #expulsions #parcours_migratoires #routes_migratoires

    –-> @_kg_ : c’est probablement la même idée que les départs vers la Tunisie ?

    instead of heading north towards Europe, this group of refugees and asylum seekers was travelling south from Libya in search of protection. And, once the first group arrived, more kept coming – by the dozens – until there were around 2,000 Sudanese asylum seekers in Agadez

    • La même idée de départ, oui selon les témoignages. Pour plus de détails sur Agagdez j’attends l’entretien MdM. Vue la Tunisie : arrêt de deportations vers la frontière d’Algérie et Libye depuis hiver 2016 selon les témoignages...mais pas assez d’informations pour le Sud : Qu’est ce que se passe dans le zone bloqué de 20km par le militaire tunisien ? Où disparaissent les personnes mis ou Centre de logement à Médenine juste après quelques jours (j’ai mal à croire que le retour volontaire de l’OIM se fait dans 2 semaines...) ?


  • For an open migration policy to end the deaths and crises in the Mediterranean

    The current crisis surrounding migration is not one of numbers – migrants’ crossings of the sea are at their lowest since 2013 – but of policies. The drive towards closure and the politicisation of migration are so strong after years of tension that the frail bodies of a few thousand migrants arriving on European shores are triggering a major political crisis throughout the EU.

    One epicentre of this crisis is in Italy, where Matteo Salvini, the country’s new far-right Interior Minister, is preventing NGOs from disembarking rescued migrants. Such was the case with the 629 people on board the Aquarius.

    Another is Germany, where the governing coalition led by Angela Merkel is at risk as the hardline Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has threatened to turn back refugees at the German borders. The European Council summit on 28 June 2018 promises to be rife with tensions. As EU member states will most probably continue to prove unable to offer a common response to migrants once they have arrived on European shores, they will reinforce the policy they have implemented since 2015: preventing migrants from crossing the sea by outsourcing border control to non-European countries.
    The consensus of closure

    This policy of closure has had horrendous consequences for migrants – such as the subjection to torture of those who are intercepted at sea by the Libyan coast guard, which has been equipped, trained and coordinated by Italy and the EU. Despite this, it has gathered growing consensus. Faced with the politicisation of migration which has fuelled the rise of far-right populist parties across Europe and threatens the EU itself with disintegration, even humanists of the centre left and right ask whether these inhumane policies are not a necessary evil.

    Would it not be better for migrants to “stay home” rather then reach a Europe which has turned its back on them and which they threaten in turn? Whispering or shouting, reluctantly or aggressively, European citizens increasingly wish migrants would simply disappear.

    Powerful forces driving migration, failed policies

    This consensus towards closure is delusional. Policies of closure that are completely at odds with the dynamics of migration systematically fail in their aim of ending the arrivals of illegalised migrants, as the record of the last 30 years demonstrates.

    Ever since the European states consolidated freedom of movement for European citizens in the 1990s all the while denying access to most non-European populations, the arrival of “undesirable” migrants has not stopped, but only been pushed underground. This is because as long as there are strong “push factors” – such as wars and economic crisis, and “pull factors” – such as work and welfare opportunities as well as respect for human rights, and that these continue to be connected by migrants’ transnational networks, state policies have little chance of succeeding in durably stemming the migration they aim to restrict.

    Over the last 30 years, for every route states have succeeded in closing, it has only been a matter of time before migrants opened several new ones. Forced to use precarious means of travel – often controlled by criminal networks, migrants’ lives were put at growing risk. More than 30,000 migrants are recorded to have died at sea since the beginning of the 1990s. A sea which has connected civilisations for millennia has become a mass grave.

    Fear breeds more fear: the vicious cycle

    These policies of closure, often implemented by centre governments allegedly in the aim of preventing the further rise of anti-immigrant sentiments, ultimately contributed to them. Despite the spectacular military means deployed by states to police borders, illegalised migration continued, giving European populations a sense that their states had “lost control” – a feeling that has only been heightened in the wake of the Arab uprisings.

    Migrants’ illegalisation has led to unjustifiable status inequality within European societies, allowing employers to pull salaries down in the sectors in which precaritized migrants are employed. This has lent to working classes the impression that migrants constitute an unfair competition.

    Policies of closure and discrimination thus only generate more fear and rejection of migrants. The parties which have mobilised voters on the basis of this fear have left unaddressed – and in fact diverted attention from – the rising unemployment, social insecurity, and inequality amongst Europe’s “losers of globalisation”, whose resentment has served as a fertile ground for anti-immigrant sentiments.

    In this way, we have become trapped in a vicious cycle that has fuelled the rise of the far-right.
    Towards an open migration policy, de-escalate the mobility conflict

    Over the years, the Mediterranean has become the main frontline of a mobility conflict, which has intensified in the wake of the 2011 Arab uprisings and European debt crisis. Since then, both the factors spurring migrants’ movement towards Europe and those leading to the drive to exclude them have been heightened.

    The lack of solidarity within the EU to respond to arrivals in so-called “frontline states” in southern and eastern Europe have further fuelled it. As long as the same policies continue to be applied, there is no end in sight to the political tensions and violence surrounding migration and the worrying political trends they are nurturing.

    A fundamental paradigm shift is necessary to end this vicious cycle. European citizens and policy makers alike must realise that the question is not whether migrants will exercise their freedom to cross borders, but at what human and political cost.

    State policies can only create a legal frame for human movement to unfold and thereby partly organise it, they cannot block it. Only a more open policy would allow migration to unfold in a way that threatens neither migrants themselves nor European citizens.

    With legal access to Europe, migrants would no longer need to resort to smugglers and risk their lives crossing the sea. No longer policed through military means, migration could appear as a normal process that does not generate fear. States could better detect individuals that might pause a threat among migrants as they would not be pushed underground. Migrants’ legal status would no longer allow employers to push working conditions down.

    Such a policy is however far from being on the European agenda. For its implementation to be even faintly imaginable in the medium term, the deep and entangled roots of the mobility conflict must addressed.
    Beyond the EU’s incoherent and one-sided “global approach”

    Today, the EU claims to address one side of the mobility conflict. Using development aid within its so-called “global approach to migration”, it claims to tackle the “root causes” that spur migration towards Europe. Researchers however have shown that development does not automatically lead to less migration. This policy will further have little effect as long as the EU’s unfair trade policies with the global south are perpetuated – for example concerning agriculture and fishing in Africa.

    In effect, the EU’s policy has mostly resulted in the use of development aid to impose policies of migration control on countries of the global south. In the process, the EU is lending support to authoritarian regimes – such as Turkey, Egypt, Sudan – which migrants are fleeing.

    Finally, when it has not worsened conflicts through its own military intervention as in Libya, the EU has proven unable of acting as a stabilizing force in the face of internationalised civil conflicts. These are bound to multiply in a time of intense competition for global hegemony. A true commitment to global justice and conflict resolution is necessary if Europe wishes to limit the factors forcing too many people onto the harsh paths of exile from their countries and regions, a small share of whom reach European shores.
    Tackling the drivers of migrant exclusion

    Beyond its lack of coherence, the EU’s so-called “global approach” suffers from one-sidedness, focused as it is on migration as “the problem”.

    As a result, it fails to see migration as a normal social process. Furthermore, it does not address the conditions that lead to the social and political drive to exclude them. The fact that today the arrival of a few thousand migrants is enough to put the EU into crisis clearly shows the limits of this approach.

    It is urgent for policy makers – at the national and local levels, but also researchers, cultural producers and social movements – to not only morally condemn racism and xenophobia, but to tackle the deep forces that shape them.

    What is needed is a more inclusive and fair economic system to decrease the resentment of European populations. In addition, a positive vision for living in common in diverse societies must be affirmed, so that the tensions that arise from the encounter between different people and cultures can be overcome.

    Crucially, we must emphasise the commonality of fate that binds European citizens to migrants. Greater equality and solidarity between migrants and European citizens is one of the conditions to defend all workers’ conditions.

    All in the same boat

    Addressing the entangled roots of the mobility conflict is a challenging agenda, one which emerges from the realisation that the tensions surrounding migration cannot be resolved through migration policies only – and by policy makers on their own for that matter.

    It charts a path worth following collectively as it points in the direction of a more open migration policy, but also a more just society. These are necessary to bring an end to the unbearable deaths of migrants at sea and end the vicious cycle of closure, violence, and politicisation of migration.

    Policies of closure have failed to end illegalised migration and only fuelled the rise of the far-right and the disintegration of Europe. If Europe is to stop sinking, it must end the policies that lead to migrants’ mass drowning in the Mediterranean. The NGOs being criminalised and prevented from disembarking migrants in Italy are not only saving migrants, but rescuing Europe against itself. Whether we like it or not, we are all in the same boat.

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/charles-heller/for-open-migration-policy-to-end-deaths-and-crises-in-mediterranea

    #tribune #Charles_Heller #solution #alternatives #migrations #asile #frontières #fermeture_des_frontières #fermeture #ouverture_des_frontières #décès #morts #mourir_en_mer

    • Une politique migratoire plus ouverte pour moins de morts en Méditerranée

      La fermeture des frontières a coûté la vie à plus de 30 000 migrants qui tentaient de parvenir en Europe. Cette vision politique a favorisé la montée de l’extrême droite qu’elle prétendait combattre. Il est donc temps de changer de paradigme et d’adopter une nouvelle approche.

      Le sommet du Conseil européen du 28 juin n’aura que confirmé ce que tous savaient déjà. Face à la montée des partis d’extrême droite et à la menace de désintégration d’une Union européenne (UE) incapable d’offrir un accueil solidaire aux migrants arrivés sur le sol européen, la seule solution envisageable semble être de les empêcher à tout prix de pouvoir y mettre pied en externalisant le contrôle des migrations (1). Malgré la documentation de nombreux cas de tortures parmi les migrants interceptés par les gardes-côtes libyens financés, équipés, et coordonnés par l’Italie et l’Union européenne, ce soutien a été réitéré (2). Des ONG, qui ont courageusement déployé leurs bateaux pour combler le vide mortel laissé par le retrait des secours étatiques, sont sommées de laisser les Libyens faire le sale boulot, criminalisées, et interdites d’accès aux ports italiens. Chaque jour, la mer charrie son lot de corps sans vie.

      Il serait illusoire de penser que cette énième crise pourra être résolue par les mêmes politiques de fermetures qui échouent depuis plus de trente ans. Celles-ci n’ont pas mis un terme aux arrivées des migrants désignés comme indésirables, mais les ont seulement illégalisées. Tant qu’existeront des facteurs qui poussent les populations du Sud global sur les chemins de l’exil - guerres, crises économiques - et des facteurs d’attraction vers l’Europe - travail, Etat social, respect des droits humains - et que les réseaux transnationaux de migrants relient les continents, les politiques de fermetures ne parviendront pas à réduire durablement les migrations (3). Pour chaque route que les Etats ferment, plusieurs nouvelles voies seront bientôt ouvertes. La liste répertoriant plus de 30 000 migrants morts en mer depuis le début des années 90 ne cessera de s’allonger (4).

      Ces politiques de fermeture, souvent mises en œuvre par des gouvernements prétendant lutter contre la montée de sentiments anti-immigrants, n’ont fait que les renforcer. En dépit des moyens militaires spectaculaires déployés par les Etats pour contrôler les frontières, la migration illégale s’est poursuivie, confortant chez les populations européennes le sentiment que leurs gouvernements avaient « perdu le contrôle ». L’illégalisation des migrants permet aux employeurs de baisser les salaires dans les secteurs où sont employés des migrants précarisés, et des ouvriers en ont tiré la conclusion que les migrants sont une concurrence déloyale. Les partis, qui ont mobilisé les votants sur la base de sentiments anti-immigrés, n’ont offert aucune réponse à la hausse du chômage, de l’insécurité sociale et des inégalités qui ont généré un profond ressentiment parmi les « perdants de la globalisation » en Europe (5). Ceux-ci ont été d’autant plus réceptifs aux discours haineux. Nous sommes ainsi prisonniers d’un cercle vicieux qui a encouragé la montée de l’extrême droite et qui a perpétué les politiques de fermetures.

      Au fil des ans, la Méditerranée est devenue la principale ligne de front d’un conflit de mobilités qui s’est intensifié à la suite des « printemps arabes » de 2011 et de la crise de la dette européenne. Depuis, tant les facteurs qui amènent les migrants à venir vers l’Europe que ceux qui poussent à leur exclusion se sont intensifiés. Le manque de solidarité entre Etats européens a attisé le rejet des migrants. Tant qu’on appliquera les mêmes politiques de fermeture, il n’y aura pas d’issue aux tensions politiques et à la violence qui entourent les migrations, et aux inquiétantes tendances politiques qu’elles nourrissent. Le seul horizon de sortie de cette crise permanente est une politique migratoire ouverte (5).

      Citoyens et dirigeants européens doivent se rendre compte que la question n’est pas de savoir si les migrants vont exercer leur liberté de mouvement en franchissant les frontières, mais quel en sera le coût humain et politique. Les politiques des Etats ne peuvent que créer le cadre légal pour les mouvements humains, donc les organiser en partie, mais en aucun cas les bloquer. S’il existait des voies d’accès légales à l’Europe, les migrants n’auraient plus besoin de recourir aux passeurs et de risquer leur vie. En l’absence d’une gestion militarisée, la migration apparaîtrait pour ce qu’elle est : un processus normal qui n’engendre aucune peur. Les migrants disposant d’un statut légal, les employeurs n’auraient plus les mains libres pour dégrader les conditions de travail. Une telle politique est bien loin d’être à l’agenda européen, et suscite de nombreuses peurs. Pour qu’à moyen terme sa mise en place soit envisageable, il faut s’attaquer aux racines profondes et enchevêtrées du conflit de mobilité.

      Si l’Europe veut limiter les raisons qui poussent de trop nombreux êtres humains sur les chemins de l’exil, elle doit s’engager fermement en faveur d’une justice globale et de la résolution des conflits. C’est-à-dire réformer complètement la prétendue « approche globale de la migration » (6) de l’Union européenne qui, prétextant s’attaquer aux « causes profondes » des migrations, a surtout imposé aux pays du Sud l’externalisation des contrôles migratoires en leur faisant miroiter l’aide au développement. Bien plus, obsédée par la migration comme « problème », elle n’apporte aucune réponse aux conditions qui mènent à l’exclusion des migrants par l’Europe. Un système économique plus juste et inclusif permettrait de désamorcer le ressentiment des populations européennes. Une vision positive de la vie en commun dans des sociétés marquées par la diversité, de vaincre les tensions nées de la rencontre entre peuples et cultures. Il est vital d’insister sur la communauté de destin qui lie les citoyens européens aux migrants : plus d’égalité et de solidarité entre eux est l’une des conditions pour défendre les droits de tous les travailleurs.

      Une politique migratoire ouverte ne suffira ainsi pas à elle seule à surmonter les tensions entourant les migrations, elle devra être accompagnée d’une transformation profonde de notre monde. Mais pour se sauver du naufrage, l’Europe doit urgemment abandonner les politiques de fermeture qui sont la cause des dizaines de milliers de noyades en Méditerranée et ont attisé la montée de l’extrême droite. Les ONG aujourd’hui criminalisées font bien plus que sauver des migrants, elles sauvent l’Europe d’elle-même. Que nous le voulions ou non, nous sommes tous dans le même bateau.

      http://www.liberation.fr/debats/2018/07/03/une-politique-migratoire-plus-ouverte-pour-moins-de-morts-en-mediterranee
      #économie #illégalisation #extrême_droite #populisme #politique_migratoire #capitalisme #libéralisme #fermeture_des_frontières #ouverture_des_frontières #Charles_Heller


  • Banu Cennetoğlu: ’As long as I have resources, I will make The List more visible’ | World news | The Guardian

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/20/banu-cennetoglu-interview-turkish-artist-the-list-europe-migrant-crisis

    http://unitedagainstrefugeedeaths.eu

    http://unitedagainstrefugeedeaths.eu/about-the-campaign

    http://unitedagainstrefugeedeaths.eu/map

    http://unitedagainstrefugeedeaths.eu/about-the-campaign/fortress-europe-death-by-policy

    he artist Banu Cennetoğlu can remember precisely the moment she was overwhelmed by the List, a catalogue, made by volunteers, of those who had died in their attempt to make a new life in Europe. It was 2002. She was based at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, studying photography. Researching the architecture of border posts for a project, she stumbled across it on the website of United for Intercultural Action, a network of NGOs supporting migrants and refugees. Back then, it was a document of 15 pages and 6,000 names; now it has over 30,000. “I started to read, and that was it,” she says. It was the start of a relationship that still continues in all its original fervour. “I know,” she adds, “that as long as I have resources as an artist I will continue to make this list more visible.”

    Cennetoğlu, an intense, warm woman in her mid-40s, immediately realised that she wanted – needed – people to encounter the List, in all its terrible rawness and cumulative power. She printed it out and pressed it on to people she met, left copies in cafes, made stickers and stuck them on ATMs around the city. It didn’t seem enough. She liked the idea of hiring billboards – not enormous hoardings but the kind of eye-level, poster-size advertising sites that were dotted around Amsterdam. The question was where to get the money, though that seemed easy enough – the Netherlands, at the time, had plenty of money for artists. “But then there were five years of constant attempts and they all failed,” she says. The conversations with potential funders played out repetitively. “People would ask me, ‘Is it an artwork?’ I would reply that it wasn’t. And they would say, ‘Well, if it’s not art, we cannot give you the money.’”

    –---

    The Guardian publishes the full UNITED List of 34,361 Refugee Deaths on 20 June International Refugee Day

    In recognition of World Refugee day, The Guardian, in collaboration with artist Banu Cennetoglu, Chisenhale Gallery and Liverpool Biennial is distributing the full UNITED ’List of Deaths’ in its print and online edition.

    Since 1993, UNITED for Intercultural Action has recorded the reported names, origins and causes of death for more than 34,000 refugees and migrants who have died whilst trying to get into Europe due to the restrictive policies of “Fortress Europe”. The List, which currently contains 56 pages of names, will be included in full in print and available to download on The Guardian’s as well as the UNITED website.

    In a 64-page print supplement, The List is accompanied by thought pieces covering how the shape of the refugee crisis has changed over the years. There are also case studies taking a deeper look behind some of the names of those listed and an interview with artist Banu Cennetoglu, who since 2007, facilitates distribution of the List around the world.

    Free of charge copies of the newspaper with the 64-page supplement will be available at Chisenhale Gallery (28 June-26 August 2018) and Liverpool Biennial (14 July-28 October 2018).

    UNITED Campaign “Fatal Policies of Fortress Europe”: No More Deaths - Time for Change!
    Fortress Europe is nearly impenetrable. Several deals made over the last years, such as the EU-Turkey deal or the more recent Italy-Libya deal, as well as the continued construction of walls and fences increasingly close routes to a life in safety. As a last chance, many are forced to choose a journey of life and death crossing the Mediterranean. However, most Lifeseekers don’t get to the other side of the Mediterranean. Refugees die suffocated in trucks, crossing rivers and mountains or are shot by guards. They die due to the inhumane conditions of detention centers or lack of medical assistance, commit suicide out of despair, or are killed after being deported to their country. They are denied both protection of our authorities and recourse to justice. Rescue boats are stranded on the Mediterranean for weeks while their passengers try to survive under inhumane conditions until an EU member state agrees to accept them at their port, such as in the recent case of the Aquarius. As diverse as they may seem, all of these deaths are direct results of EU border militarization, asylum laws, detention policies and deportations.

    Many national governments throughout Europe have shifted to the right and changes in asylum legislation follow suit. Afghanistan today is categorised as a safe country of origin to deport people to, whereas European citizens are not advised to travel there claiming the country is one of the most dangerous in the world. Such explicit double standards are persistent and established in migration legislation throughout the European Union. Italy’s recent deal with Libya has resulted in severe human rights violations by the Libyan coast guards and increased the risk of [refugees to be subject to] human trafficking.

    Every human has the right to look for a safe place to live, and the EU needs to establish secure access and humane treatment for those seeking refuge in Europe. We demand that death by policy ends and all member states provide safety and dignity for all as a minimum standard of human rights.

    Mark Rice-Oxley, special projects editor, Guardian News & Media, said:
    “This List of Deaths is a startling and heroic piece of work by UNITED for Intercultural Action. It exposes a terrifying truth of mounting human misery, of utterly preventable death stretching back more than 25 years - and of a failure of imagination by the world’s biggest bloc of liberal democracies. That is why The Guardian is publishing it in full on 20 June.”

    Banu Cennetoglu, artist, said:
    “I believe the power of printed material and its possible impact especially in the case of this List. I hope the dissemination and the contextualisation through The Guardian and its editors will remind people of the capacity they do have in order to interfere with those fatal policies and their makers.”

    Geert Ates, UNITED, said:
    “Since 1993, we have recorded the names and incidents of refugee deaths to draw public attention to the deadly consequences of the building of a Fortress Europe. The dissemination of our full list by the world’s leading newspaper, The Guardian, on World Refugee Day, will help UNITED enormously to find wider support for the necessary change of policies: No More Deaths! Time for Change!”

    For more information, please contact:
    Geert Ates (UNITED)
    +31-6-48808808
    listofdeaths@unitedagainstracism.org

    #migrations #asile #Réfugiés #mourir_en_mer #forteresse_europe


  • Attivarsi ovunque contro le frontiere assassine

    Guido Viale, presidente dell’#Osservatorio_solidarietà della #Carta_di_Milano, ha aperto i lavori della conferenza Solidarietà attraverso i confini, il 25 marzo a Fa’ la cosa giusta, illustrando semplicemente che la viva voce dei tanti protagonisti presenti avrebbe dato il senso dell’iniziativa oggi ancora più importante dopo il sequestro della nave di Proactivia Openarms operato in dispregio delle leggi italiane e internazionali come atto intimidatorio contro chi nel pieno rispetto delle leggi e dei Diritti umani è impegnato per salvare vite umane che i governi della Fortezza Europa, Italia in testa, vorrebbero si concludessero senza clamore in fondo al mare nostrum. Dopo una sintetica illustrazione di Daniela Padoan delle attività dell’Osservatorio solidarietà e una poesia di Ahmed, letta da Denise Rogers, una ragazza argentina che ha dato voce ai tanti migranti morti, si sono susseguite le testimonianze da Ventimiglia, Bolzano, Lesbo, Atene, Como formando un quadro tragico della situazione ma dimostrando anche che c’è un’Europa della solidarietà e dei diritti che lotta contro leggi e governi custodi implacabili di frontiere assassine.

    https://ecoinformazioni.wordpress.com/2018/03/25/attivarsi-ovunque-contro-le-frntiere-assassine

    #solidarité #mer #terre #Méditerranée #Alpes #frontière_sud-alpine #criminalisation_de_la_solidarité #délit_de_solidarité #sauvetage

    J’aimerais ici reprendre les propos de Charles Heller, qui ont été publié dans une interview dans Libé :

    Ceux qui ont imposé le contrôle des frontières de l’espace européen utilisent le terme de #integrated_border_management, la « #gestion_intégrée_des_frontières » : il ne suffit pas de contrôler la limite de la frontière territoriale, il faut contrôler avant, sur et après la frontière. La violence du contrôle s’exerce sur toute la trajectoire des migrants. De la même manière, les pratiques de solidarité, plus ou moins politisées, s’exercent sur l’ensemble de leur trajectoire. On pourrait imaginer une « #solidarité_intégrée », qui n’est pas chapeautée par une organisation mais qui de fait opère, petit bout par petit bout, sur les trajectoires.

    https://www.pacte-grenoble.fr/sites/pacte/files/files/liberation_20171215_15-12-2017-extrait.pdf
    cc @isskein

    • Crimes of solidarity. Migration and containment through rescue

      ‘Solidarity is not a crime.’ This is a slogan that has circulated widely across Europe in response to legal prosecutions and municipal decrees, which, especially in Italy and France, have been intended to act against citizens who provide logistical and humanitarian support to transiting migrants. Such criminalisation of individual acts of solidarity and coordinated platforms of refugee support is undertaken both in the name of national and European laws, in opposition to the facilitation of irregular entries, and through arbitrary police measures. In Calais on the French coast, for example, locals have been prohibited from allowing migrants to take showers in their homes or to recharge their mobile phones, while in the Roya Valley at the Italian-French border, many locals have been placed on trial, including the now famous ploughman Cedric Herrou. Responding to accusations that he has been one of the main facilitators along the French-Italian underground migrant route, Herrou has replied that ‘it is the State that is acting illegally, not me’, referring to the French State’s own human rights violations. 1

      ‘Crimes of solidarity’, to use the expression employed by activists and human rights organisations, are defined and prosecuted according to the 2002 EU Directive which prevents and penalises ‘the facilitation of unauthorised entry, transit and residence’ of migrants. In both Italy and France there are national laws that criminalise the facilitation and the support of ‘irregular’ migration; what in France activists call ‘délit de solidarité’. Notably, citizens who help migrants to cross national borders are prosecuted in Italy under the same law that punishes smugglers who take money from migrants. In France, the ‘humanitarian clause’, which exempts from sanctions citizens who support migrants whose life, dignity and physical integrity is at risk, is often disregarded. Nonetheless, the expression ‘crimes of solidarity’ should not lead us to overstate the legal dimension of what is at stake in this. Indeed, the ‘crime’ that is posited here goes well beyond the legal boundaries of European law, as well as national ones, and acquires an ethical and political dimension. In particular, the criminalisation of individuals and groups who are facilitating the crossing of migrants, without making a profit from doing so, opens up the critical question of exactly ‘who is a smuggler?’ today. Significantly, the very definition of ‘smuggling’ in European and international documents is a fairly slippery one, as the boundaries between supporting migrants for one’s own financial benefit or for ‘humanitarian’ reasons are consistently blurred. 2

      In a 1979 interview, Michel Foucault stressed the potential strategic role that might be played by ‘rights’ to ‘mark out for a government its limit’. 3 In this way, Foucault gestured towards an extralegal conceptualisation and use of rights as actual limits to be set against governments. In the case of crimes of solidarity, we are confronted less, however, with the mobilisation of rights as limits to states’ action than with what Foucault calls ‘infra-legal illegalisms’; 4 namely, with practices of an active refusal of states’ arbitrary measures that are taken in the name of migration containment, regardless of whether or not the latter are legally grounded or in violation of the law.

      NGOs and independent organisations that undertake search and rescue activities to save migrants in the Mediterranean have also been under attack, accused of collaborating with smuggling networks, of constituting a pull-factor for migrants, and of ferrying them to Europe. Three years after the end of the military-humanitarian operation Mare Nostrum, which was deployed by the Italian Navy to save migrant lives at sea, the Mediterranean has become the site of a sort of naval battle in which the obligation to rescue migrants in distress is no longer the priority. The fight against smugglers and traffickers has taken central stage, and the figure of the shipwrecked refugee has consequently vanished little by little. Today, the war on smugglers is presented as the primary goal and, at the same time, as a strategy to protect migrants from ‘traffickers’. The criminalisation of NGOs, like Doctors without Borders, Save the Children and SOS Mediterranee, and of independent actors, including Sea-Eye, Sea-Watch, Jugend-Rettet and Arms Pro-Activa, who conduct search and rescue operations, started with the simultaneous implementation of the Libyan mobile sea-barrier, which charges the Libyan Coast Guard with responsibility for intercepting migrant vessels and bringing them back to Libya. As a consequence of this agreement, being rescued means being captured and contained.

      Following the signing of a new bilateral agreement between Libya and Italy in March 2017, in July, the Italian government put pressure on one of the three Libyan governments (the one led by Fayez al-Serraj) demanding better cooperation in intercepting and returning migrants who head to Europe by sea. In order to accelerate this process, Italy sent two Navy ships into Libyan national waters, with the purpose of ‘strengthening Libyan sovereignty by helping the country to keep control of its national waters’. 5

      Far from being a smooth negotiation, however, the Libyan government led by General Khalifa Haftar threatened to shoot in the direction of the Italian ships if they were to violate Libya’s sovereignty by entering their national territory. 6

      Overall, the ‘migration deal’ has been made by the EU and Italy in the context of different asymmetric relationships: on the one hand, with a ‘rogue state’ such as Libya, characterised by a fragmented sovereignty, and on the other, with non-state actors, and more precisely with the same smugglers that Europe has supposedly declared war on. Indeed, as various journalistic investigations have proved, Italy has paid Libyan militias and smuggling networks to block migrants’ departures temporarily in exchange for fewer controls on other smuggling channels, specifically those involving drugs and weapons. In this way, smugglers have been incorporated into a politics of migration containment. Governing migration through and with smugglers has become fully part of the EU’s political agenda. As such, a critical appraisal of the criminalisation of migrant smuggling requires undoing the existing narrative of a war on smugglers, as well as challenging those analyses that simply posit smugglers as the straightforward enemies of society.

      The naval battle in the Mediterranean has not been an exclusive affair of Italy and Libya. On the contrary, it is within this type of geopolitical context that the escalating criminalisation of sea rescue is more broadly taking place. 7 On July 31, at the request of the European Commission, the Italian Home Office released a ‘Code of Conduct’ that NGOs have been asked to sign if they want to continue search and rescue activities. Given that the code of conduct imposes on NGOs the obligation to have armed judicial police on board, 8 some organisations, including Doctors without Borders, Sea Watch and Jugend Rettet, have refused to sign, arguing that through the enforcement of the Code of Conduct, and under pressure from the European Commission, Italy has turned towards a militarisation of humanitarianism and of independent actors. As a consequence of the refusal to sign, their ships have been prevented from docking in Italian ports and the rescuers of the Jugend Rettet are currently on trial, accused of collaborating with Libyan smugglers. On August 11, Libya traced new virtual restrictive sea borders for NGOs, declaring that search and rescue ships will not be allowed to get closer than one hundred miles from the Libyan coast. The humanitarian scene of rescue has been shrunk.

      In such a political context, two interrelated aspects emerging from the multiplication of attacks against refugee support activities and against search and rescue operations are worth considering. The first concerns a need to unpack what is now meant by the very expression ‘crime of solidarity’ within the framework of this shift towards the priority of fighting smugglers over saving migrants. This requires an engagement with the biopolitical predicaments that sustain a debate centered on the question of to what extent, and up to which point, rescuing migrants at sea is deemed legitimate. The second, related point concerns the modes of containment through rescue that are currently at work in the Mediterranean. One consequence of this is that the reframing of the debate around migrant deaths at sea has lowered the level of critique of a contemporary politics of migration more generally: the fight against smugglers has become the unquestioned and unyielding point of agreement, supported across more or less the entire European political arena.

      The criminalisation of NGOs, accused of ferrying migrants to Europe, should be read in partial continuity with the attack against other forms of support given to migrants in many European countries. The use of the term ‘solidarity’ is helpful in this context insofar as it helps to highlight both actions undertaken by citizens in support of refugees and, more importantly, the transversal alliances between migrants and non-migrants. In fact, acting in solidarity entails supporting migrant struggles – for example, as struggles for movement or struggles to stay in a certain place – more than it does acting in order to save or bring help to them. 9 As Chandra Mohanty argues, practices of solidarity are predicated upon the recognition of ‘common differences’, 10 and in this sense they entail a certain shared political space and the awareness of being governed by the same mechanisms of precaritisation and exploitation. 11 In other words, solidarity does not at all imply a simple politics of identity, but requires building transversal alliances and networks in support of certain struggles. The reduction of migrants to bodies to be fished out of the water, simultaneous with the vanishing of the figure of the refugee, preemptively denies the possibility of establishing a common ground in struggling for freedom of movement and equal access to mobility.

      Despite the many continuities and similarities between the criminalisation of refugee support activities on the mainland and at sea, if we shift the attention to the Mediterranean Sea, what is specifically at stake here is a biopolitics of rescuing or ‘letting drown’. Under attack in the Mediterranean scene of rescue and drowning are what could be termed crimes of humanitarianism; or, that is, crimes of rescue. Humanitarianism as such, precisely in its acts of taking migrants out of the sea through independent search and rescue operations that exercise an active refusal of the geographical restrictions imposed by nation states, has become an uncomfortable and unbearable mode of intervention in the Mediterranean.
      Geographies of ungrievability

      The criminalisation of alliances and initiatives in support of migrants’ transit should not lead us to imagine a stark opposition between ‘good humanitarians’, on the one side, and bad military actors or national authorities, on the other. On the contrary, it is important to keep in mind the many entanglements between military and humanitarian measures, as well as the role played by military actors, such as the Navy, in performing tasks like rescuing migrants at sea that could fall under the category of what Cuttitta terms ‘military-humanitarianism’. 12 Moreover, the Code of Conduct enforced by the Italian government actually strengthens the divide between ‘good’ NGOs and ‘treacherous’ humanitarian actors. Thus, far from building a cohesive front, the obligation to sign the Code of Conduct produced a split among those NGOs involved in search and rescue operations.

      In the meantime, the figure of the refugee at sea has arguably faded away: sea rescue operations are in fact currently deployed with the twofold task of not letting migrants drown and of fighting smugglers, which de facto entails undermining the only effective channels of sea passage for migrants across the Mediterranean. From a military-humanitarian approach that, under Mare Nostrum, considered refugees at sea as shipwrecked lives, the unconditionality of rescue is now subjected to the aim of dismantling the migrants’ logistics of crossing. At the same time, the migrant drowning at sea is ultimately not seen any longer as a refugee, i.e. as a subject of rights who is seeking protection, but as a life to be rescued in the technical sense of being fished out of the sea. In other words, the migrant at sea is the subject who eventually needs to be rescued, but not thereby placed into safety by granting them protection and refuge in Europe. What happens ‘after landing’ is something not considered within the framework of a biopolitics of rescuing and of letting drown. 13 Indeed, the latter is not only about saving (or not saving) migrants at sea, but also, in a more proactive way, about aiming at human targets. In manhunting, Gregoire Chamayou explains, ‘the combat zone tends to be reduced to the body of the enemy’. 14 Yet who is the human target of migrant hunts in the Mediterranean? It is not only the migrant in distress at sea, who in fact is rescued and captured at the same time; rather, migrants and smugglers are both considered the ‘prey’ of contemporary military-humanitarianism.

      Public debate in Europe about the criminalisation of NGOs and sea rescue is characterised by a polarisation between those who posit the non-negotiable obligation to rescue migrants and those who want to limit rescue operations in the name of regaining control over migrant arrivals, stemming the flows and keeping them in Libya. What remains outside the order of this discourse is the shrinking and disappearing figure of the refugee, who is superseded by the figure of the migrant to be taken out of the sea.

      Relatedly, the exclusive focus on the Mediterranean Sea itself contributes to strengthening geographies of ungrievability. By this I mean those produced hierarchies of migrant deaths that are essentially dependent on their more or less consistent geographic distance from Europe’s spotlight and, at the same time, on the assumption of shipwrecked migrants as the most embodied refugee subjectivities. More precisely, the recent multiplication of bilateral agreements between EU member states and African countries has moved back deadly frontiers from the Mediterranean Sea to the Libyan and Niger desert. As a consequence, migrants who do not die at sea but who manage to arrive in Libya are kept in Libyan prisons.
      Containment through rescue

      On 12 August 2017, Doctors without Borders decided to stop search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean after Libya enforced its sea-barrier by forbidding NGOs to go closer than about one hundred miles from the Libyan coast, and threatening to shoot at those ships that sought to violate the ban. In the space of two days, even Save the Children and the independent German organisation Sea-Eye declared that they would also suspend search and rescue activities. The NGOs’ Mediterranean exit has been presented by humanitarian actors as a refusal to be coopted into the EU-Libyan enforcement of a sea barrier against migrants. Yet, in truth, both the Italian government and the EU have been rather obviously pleased by the humanitarians’ withdrawal from the Mediterranean scene of drown and rescue.

      Should we therefore understand the ongoing criminalisation of NGOs as the attempt to fully block migrant flows? Does it indicate a return from the staging of a ‘good scene of rescue’ back to an overt militarisation of the Mediterranean? The problem is that such an analytical angle risks, first, corroborating the misleading opposition between military intervention and humanitarianism in the field of migration governmentality. Second, it re-instantiates the image of a Fortress Europe, while disregarding the huge ‘migration industry’ that is flourishing both in Libya, with the smuggling-and-detention market, and on the Northern shore of the Mediterranean. 15 With the empty space left by the NGOs at sea, the biopolitics of rescuing or letting drown has been reshaped by new modes of containment through rescue: migrants who manage to leave the Libyan coast are ‘rescued’ – that is, intercepted and blocked – by the Libyan Coast Guard and taken back to Libya. Yet containment should not be confused with detention nor with a total blockage of migrants’ movements and departures. Rather, by ‘containment’ I refer to the substantial disruptions and decelerations of migrant movements, as well as to the effects of more or less temporary spatial confinement. Modes of containment through rescue were already in place, to some extent, when migrants used to be ‘ferried’ to Italy in a smoother way, by the Navy or by NGOs. Indeed, from the moment of rescue onward, migrants were transferred and channelled into the Hotspot System, where many were denied international protection and, thus, rendered ‘illegal’ and constructed as deportable subjects. 16 The distinction between intercepting vessels sailing to Europe and saving migrants in distress has become blurred: with the enforcement of the Libyan sea barrier, rescue and capture can hardly be separated any longer. In this sense, visibility can be a trap: if images taken by drones or radars are sent to Italian authorities before migrants enter international waters, the Italian Coast Guard has to inform Libyan authorities who are in charge of rescuing migrants and thus taking them back to Libya.

      This entails a spatial rerouting of military-humanitarianism, in which migrants are paradoxically rescued to Libya. Rather than vanishing from the Mediterranean scene, the politics of rescue, conceived in terms of not letting people die, has been reshaped as a technique of capture. At the same time, the geographic orientation of humanitarianism has been inverted: migrants are ‘saved’ and dropped in Libya. Despite the fact that various journalistic investigations and UN reports have shown that after being intercepted, rescued and taken back to Libya, migrants are kept in detention in abysmal conditions and are blackmailed by smugglers, 17 the public discussion remains substantially polarised around the questions of deaths at sea. Should migrants be saved unconditionally? Or, should rescue be secondary to measures against smugglers and balanced against the risk of ‘migrant invasion’? A hierarchy of the spaces of death and confinement is in part determined by the criterion of geographical proximity, which contributes to the sidelining of mechanisms of exploitation and of a politics of letting die that takes place beyond the geopolitical borders of Europe. The biopolitical hold over migrants becomes apparent at sea: practices of solidarity are transformed into a relationship between rescuers and drowned. 18

      The criminalisation of refugee support activities cannot be separated from the increasing criminalisation of refugees as such: not only those who are labelled and declared illegal as ‘economic migrants’, but also those people who are accorded the status of refugees. Both are targets of restrictive and racialised measures of control. The migrant at sea is presented as part of a continuum of ‘tricky subjectivities’ 19 – which include the smuggler, the potential terrorist and the refugee – and as both a ‘risky subject’ and a ‘subject at risk’ at the same time. 20 In this regard, it is noticeable that the criminalisation of refugees as such has been achieved precisely through the major role played by the figure of the smuggler. In the EU’s declared fight against smuggling networks, migrants at sea are seen not only as shipwrecked lives to be rescued but also as potential fake refugees, as concealed terrorists or as traffickers. At the same time, the fight against smugglers has been used to enact a further shift in the criminalisation of refugees, which goes beyond the alleged dangerousness of migrants. Indeed, in the name of the war against the ‘illegal’ smuggling economy, as a shared priority of both left- and right-wing political parties in Europe, the strategy of letting migrants drown comes, in the end, to be justified. As Doctors without Borders have pointed out, ‘by declaring Libya a safe country, European governments are ultimately pushing forward the humanitarianisation of what appears at the threshold of the inhuman.’ 21

      The migrant at sea, who is the subject of humanitarianism par excellence, is no longer an individual to be saved at all costs, but rather the object of thorny calculations about the tolerated number of migrant arrivals and the migrant-money exchange with Libya. Who is (in) danger(ous)? The legal prosecutions and the political condemnation of ‘crimes of rescue’ and of ‘crimes of solidarity’ bring to the fore the undesirability of refugees as refugees. This does not depend so much on a logic of social dangerousness as such, but, rather, on the practices of spatial disobedience that they enact, against the restrictions imposed by the European Union. Thus, it is precisely the irreducibility of migrants to lives to be rescued that makes the refugee the main figure of a continuum of tricky subjectivities in a time of economic crisis. Yet, a critical engagement with the biopolitics of rescuing and drowning cannot stick to a North-South gaze on Mediterranean migrations. In order not to fall into a Eurocentric (or EU-centric) perspective on asylum, analyses of crimes of solidarity should also be articulated through an inquiry into the Libyan economy of migration and the modes of commodification of migrant bodies, considering what Brett Neilson calls ‘migration as a currency’; 22 that is, as an entity of exchange and as a source of value extraction.

      Crimes of solidarity put in place critical infrastructures to support migrants’ acts of spatial disobedience. These infra-legal crimes shed light on the inadequacy of human rights claims and of the legal framework in a time of hyper-visible and escalating border violence. Crimes of solidarity consist of individual and collective active refusals of states’ interventions, which are specifically carried out at the very edges of the law. In this way, crimes of solidarity manage to undo the biopolitics of rescuing and letting drown by acting beyond the existing scripts of ‘crisis’ and ‘security’. Rather than being ‘rescued’ from the sea or ‘saved’ from smugglers, migrants are supported in their unbearable practices of freedom, unsettling the contemporary hierarchies of lives and populations.
      Notes

      See the interview with Herrou in l’Humanité, accessed 30 September 2017, https://www.humanite.fr/cedric-herrou-cest-letat-qui-est-dans-lillegalite-pas-moi-629732. ^

      Economic profit is an essential dimension of ‘smuggling’, as it is defined by the United Nations Conventions against Transnational Organised Crime (2000). However, it is not in the 2002 EU Council Directive defining the facilitation of unauthorised entry, transit and residence. ^

      Michel Foucault, ‘There can’t be societies without uprisings’, trans. Farès Sassine, in Foucault and the Making of Subjects, ed. Laura Cremonesi, Orazio Irrera, Daniele Lorenzini and Martina Tazzioli (London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), 40. ^

      See Michel Foucault, The Punitive Society: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1972-1973, trans. Graham Burchell (Houndmills and New York: Palgrave, 2015). ^

      See ‘Il governo vara la missione navale, prima nave italiana in Libia’, La Stampa, 18 July 2017, http://www.ilsecoloxix.it/p/italia/2017/07/28/ASBvqlaI-parlamento_missione_italiana.shtml. ^

      See, for example, the report in Al Arabiya, 3 August 2017, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/08/03/Haftar-instructs-bombing-Italian-warships-requested-by-Fayez-al-S ^

      See Liz Fekete, ‘Europe: crimes of solidarity’, Race & Class 50:4 (2009), 83 – 97; and Eric Fassin, ‘Le procès politique de la solidarité (3/4): les ONG en Méditerranée’ (2017), Mediapart, accessed 30 September 2017, https://blogs.mediapart.fr/eric-fassin/blog/170817/le-proces-politique-de-la-solidarite-34-les-ong-en-mediterranee ^

      The Code of Conduct can be found at: http://www.interno.gov.it/sites/default/files/allegati/codice_condotta_ong.pdf; see also the transcript by Euronews, 3 August 2017, http://www.euronews.com/2017/08/03/text-of-italys-code-of-conduct-for-ngos-involved-in-migrant-rescue ^

      Sandro Mezzadra and Mario Neumann, ‘Al di la dell’opposizione tra interesse e identità. Per una politica di classe all’altezza dei tempi’ (2017), Euronomade, accessed September 30 2017, http://www.euronomade.info/?p=9402 ^

      Chandra Mohanty, “‘Under western eyes’’ revisited: feminist solidarity through anticapitalist struggles’, in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 28:2 (2003), 499-–535. ^

      As Foucault puts it, ‘In the end, we are all governed, and in this sense we all act in solidarity’. Michel Foucault, ‘Face aux gouvernement, les droits de l’homme’, in Dits et Ecrits II (Paris: Gallimard, 2000), 1526. ^

      P. Cuttitta, ‘From the Cap Anamur to Mare Nostrum: Humanitarianism and migration controls at the EU’s Maritime borders’, in The Common European Asylum System and Human Rights: Enhancing Protection in Times of Emergency, ed. Claudio Matera and Amanda Taylor (The Hague: Asser Institute, 2014), 21–-38. See also Martina Tazzioli, ‘The desultory politics of mobility and the humanitarian-military border in the Mediterranean: Mare Nostrum beyond the sea’, REMHU: Revista Interdisciplinar da Mobilidade Humana 23:44 (2015), 61-–82. ^

      See Lucia Ciabarri and Barbara Pinelli, eds, Dopo l’Approdo: Un racconto per immagini e parole sui richiedenti asilo in Italia (Firenze: Editpress, 2016). ^

      Gregoire Chamayou, ‘The Manhunt Doctrine’, Radical Philosophy 169 (2011), 3. ^

      As a matter of fact, the vessels of the EU naval operation EU Navfor Med and the vessels of the Frontex operation ‘Triton’ were increased in number a few days after the pull-out of the NGOs. ^

      Nicholas De Genova, ‘Spectacles of migrant “illegality”: the scene of exclusion, the obscene of inclusion’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 36:7 (2013), 1180-–1198. ^

      See, for instance, the UN Report on Libya (2017), accessed 30 September 2017,http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/N1711623.pdf. ^

      Tugba Basaran, ‘The saved and the drowned: Governing indifference in the name of security’, Security Dialogue 46:3 (2015), 205 – 220. ^

      Glenda Garelli and Martina Tazzioli, ‘The Biopolitical Warfare on Migrants: EU Naval Force and NATO Operations of migration government in the Mediterranean’, in Critical Military Studies, forthcoming 2017. ^

      Claudia Aradau, ‘The perverse politics of four-letter words: risk and pity in the securitisation of human trafficking’, Millennium 33:2 (2004), 251-–277. ^

      Interview with Doctors without Borders, Rome, 21 August 2017. ^

      Brett Neilson, ‘The Currency of Migration’, in South Atlantic Quarterly, forthcoming 2018.

      https://www.radicalphilosophy.com/commentary/crimes-of-solidarity

      signalé par @isskein sur FB


  • Pushing Migrants Back to Libya, Persecuting Rescue NGOs: The End of the Humanitarian Turn (Part I).
    https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/centre-criminology/centreborder-criminologies/blog/2018/04/pushing-migrants

    This was not to be the end of the matter, however. Instead, the Italian authorities responded, first, by denying the Open Arms permission to bring the migrants to Italy, which has always been the landing point for NGO vessels acting under the coordination of the Italian MRCC. When the Open Arms was finally allowed to dock in the Sicilian port of Pozzallo, the Italian authorities confiscated the ship. The captain and the head of mission were subsequently charged with aiding ‘illegal immigration’.

    This case is unique insofar as it is the first time that: a) The Italian MRCC declares to have transferred SAR coordination to a Libyan counterpart; b) Investigations are opened for acting against the code of conduct that the Italian government imposed on SAR NGOs in the summer of 2017; c) Investigations are opened for not disembarking people in Malta, as requested by the Italian MRCC when the Open Arms transited Maltese waters to evacuate two persons in immediate need of medical care.

    On 31 March 2018, the Italian authorities were involved in a similar incident with the Aquarius, a ship operated in partnership by SOS Méditerranée and MSF. After a negotiation with the Libyan Coast Guard, the Aquarius was allowed to take on board only 39 vulnerable and medical cases of the 129 passengers. The rest were forcibly returned to Libya.

    In this post, I argue that these incidents are part of a series of developments, which show that Italy is tightening its policy of containment to prevent ‘unwanted’ migrants from reaching European soil, while at the same time waging a war against humanitarian organizations. Through these actions, the government facilitates returns to Libya, which are carried out on Italy’s behalf by the Libyan coast guard and navy. In so doing, Italy is putting an end to its humanitarian turn and moving towards a more exclusionary management of the space of the sea.


  • Speech by High Representative/Vice-President Federica #Mogherini at the European Parliament plenary session on the Progress on the UN Global Compact for safe, regular and orderly migration and UN Global Compact on refugees

    Let me start with a good news, a good story for once; a little, big European achievement of the last few months. You might remember, last December I came to Strasbourg and here, in this hemicycle we talked about detention centres in Libya. I took in front of you, and most of all, in front of all those people who are suffering inside these detention centres in Libya, the commitment to bring back to their homes 15.000 migrants from within the detention centres to their countries or origin, in a safe manner with Assisted Voluntary Returns, made with our assistance, through the IOM [International Organisation for Migration].

    At that moment we had just reached an unprecedented agreement between our European Union, the African Union, and the United Nations, in particular the United Nations’ agencies for migrants and refugees – at our EU-Africa Union Summit in Abidjan. Thanks to this agreement, in the first two months of this year – so January and February - we managed to rescue and free more than 16.000 people from the camps in Libya. In two months, we managed to achieve more than in the previous year and already in 2017, the results were ten times better than the previous year.

    Now, in the detention camps, there are still some 4.000 to 5.000 people. It is far too much and we are going to continue our work with the United Nations and with the African Union to empty the camps. We have managed to bring out from there 16.000 people in two months, I believe we can make it and empty them completely, within the, at maximum, coming next couple of months.

    This has been possible for one reason: we joined forces – first of all within Europe, second with our African partners and friends, and on a global scale, within the UN system. I am glad to start with this positive note - while acknowledging that there is still work to be done -because sometimes we forget to focus on the achievements we managed to build. I think the achievements are important to lead us towards the solution.

    https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/41272/speech-high-representativevice-president-federica-mogherini-european-par
    #Libye #camps #centres_de_détention #détention #asile #migrations #réfugiés #vide #plein

    Commentaire de Marie Martin via la mailing list Migreurop :

    No resettlement from Libya to the EU was mentioned, if anyone has information on this it will be welcome

    #réinstallation

    @reka :
    ça rentre aussi peut-être dans tes réflexions sur la #géographie_du_vide et #géographie_du_plein


  • Je pensais avoir archivé sur seenthis un article (au moins) qui montrait qu’une partie des personnes rapatriées (#retours_volontaires), par l’#OIM (#IOM) notamment, du #Niger et de #Libye vers leurs pays d’origine reprenaient la route du Nord aussitôt...
    Mais je ne retrouve plus cet article... est-ce que quelque seenthisien se rappelle de cela ? ça serait super !
    #renvois #expulsions #migrations #réfugiés #retour_volontaire

    J’étais presque sûre d’avoir utilisé le tag #migrerrance, mais apparemment pas...

    • #merci @02myseenthis01, en effet il s’agit d’articles qui traitent du retour volontaire, mais non pas de ce que je cherche (à moins que je n’ai pas loupé quelque chose), soit de personnes qui, une fois rapatriées via le programme de retour volontaires, décident de reprendre la route de la migration (comme c’est le cas des Afghans, beaucoup plus documenté, notamment par Liza Schuster : https://www.city.ac.uk/people/academics/liza-schuster)

    • Libya return demand triggers reintegration headaches

      “This means that the strain on the assistance to integration of the country of origin has been particularly high because of the success, paradoxically of the return operation,” said Eugenio Ambrosi, IOM’s Europe director, on Monday (12 February).

      “We had to try, and we are still trying, to scale up the reintegration assistance,” he said.

      Since November, It has stepped up operations, along with the African Union, and helped 8,581 up until earlier this month. Altogether some 13,500 were helped given that some were also assisted by African Union states. Most ended up in Nigeria, followed by Mali and Guinea.

      People are returned to their home countries in four ways. Three are voluntary and one is forced. The mixed bag is causing headaches for people who end up in the same community but with entirely different integration approaches.

      “The level of assistance and the type of reintegration assistance that these different programmes offer is not the same,” noted Ambrosi.

      https://euobserver.com/migration/140967
      #réintégration

      Et une partie de cet article est consacrée à l’#aide_au_retour par les pays européens :

      Some EU states will offer in-kind support, used to set up a business, training or other similar activities. Others tailor their schemes for different countries of origin.

      Some others offer cash handouts, but even those differ vastly.

      Sweden, according to a 2015 European Commission report, is the most generous when it comes to cash offered to people under its voluntary return programme.

      It noted that in 2014, the maximum amount of the in-cash allowance at the point of departure/after arrival varied from €40 in the Czech Republic and €50 in Portugal to €3,750 in Norway for a minor and €3,300 in Sweden for an adult.

      Anti-migrant Hungary gave more (€500) than Italy (€400), the Netherlands (€300) and Belgium (€250).

      However, such comparisons on cash assistance does not reveal the full scope of help given that some of the countries also provide in-kind reintegration support.

    • For Refugees Detained in Libya, Waiting is Not an Option

      Niger generously agreed to host these refugees temporarily while European countries process their asylum cases far from the violence and chaos of Libya and proceed to their resettlement. In theory it should mean a few weeks in Niger until they are safely transferred to countries such as France, Germany or Sweden, which would open additional spaces for other refugees trapped in Libya.

      But the resettlement process has been much slower than anticipated, leaving Helen and hundreds of others in limbo and hundreds or even thousands more still in detention in Libya. Several European governments have pledged to resettle 2,483 refugees from Niger, but since the program started last November, only 25 refugees have actually been resettled – all to France.

      As a result, UNHCR announced last week that Niger authorities have requested that the agency halt evacuations until more refugees depart from the capital, Niamey. For refugees in Libya, this means their lifeline to safety has been suspended.

      Many of the refugees I met in Niger found themselves in detention after attempting the sea journey to Europe. Once intercepted by the Libyan coast guard, they were returned to Libya and placed in detention centers run by Libya’s U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). The E.U. has prioritized capacity building for the Libyan coast guard in order to increase the rate of interceptions. But it is an established fact that, after being intercepted, the next stop for these refugees as well as migrants is detention without any legal process and in centers where human rights abuses are rife.

      https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/community/2018/03/12/for-refugees-detained-in-libya-waiting-is-not-an-option

      #limbe #attente

      #réinstallation (qui évidemment ne semble pas vraiment marcher, comme pour les #relocalisations en Europe depuis les #hotspots...) :

      Several European governments have pledged to resettle 2,483 refugees from Niger, but since the program started last November, only 25 refugees have actually been resettled – all to France.

    • “Death Would Have Been Better” : Europe Continues to Fail Refugees and Migrants in Libya

      Today, European policies designed to keep asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants from crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Italy are trapping thousands of men, women and children in appalling conditions in Libya. This Refugees International report describes the harrowing experiences of people detained in Libya’s notoriously abusive immigration detention system where they are exposed to appalling conditions and grave human rights violations, including arbitrary detention and physical and sexual abuse.

      https://www.refugeesinternational.org/reports/libyaevacuations2018

      #rapport

      Lien vers le rapport :

      The report is based on February 2018 interviews conducted with asylum seekers and refugees who had been evacuated by UNHCR from detention centers in Libya to Niamey, Niger, where these men, women, and children await resettlement to a third country. The report shows that as the EU mobilizes considerable resources and efforts to stop the migration route through Libya, asylum seekers, refugees and migrants continue to face horrendous abuses in Libya – and for those who attempt it, an even deadlier sea crossing to Italy. RI is particularly concerned that the EU continues to support the Libyan coast guard to intercept boats carrying asylum seekers, refugees and migrants and bring them back to Libyan soil, even though they are then transferred to detention centers.

      https://static1.squarespace.com/static/506c8ea1e4b01d9450dd53f5/t/5ad3ceae03ce641bc8ac6eb5/1523830448784/2018+Libya+Report+PDF.pdf
      #évacuation #retour_volontaire #renvois #Niger #Niamey

    • #Return_migration – a regional perspective

      The current views on migration recognize that it not necessarily a linear activity with a migrant moving for a singular reason from one location to a new and permanent destination. Within the study of mixed migration, it is understood that patterns of movements are constantly shifting in response to a host of factors which reflect changes in individual and shared experiences of migrants. This can include the individual circumstance of the migrant, the environment of host country or community, better opportunities in another location, reunification, etc.[1] Migrants returning to their home country or where they started their migration journey – known as return migration—is an integral component of migration.

      Return migration is defined by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) as the act or process of going back to the point of departure[2]. It varies from spontaneous, voluntary, voluntary assisted and deportation/forced return. This can also include cyclical/seasonal return, return from short or long term migration, and repatriation. Such can be voluntary where the migrant spontaneously returns or assisted where they benefit from administrative, logistical, financial and reintegration support. Voluntary return includes workers returning home at the end of their labour arrangements, students upon completion of their studies, refugees and asylum seekers undertaking voluntary repatriation either spontaneously or with humanitarian assistance and migrants returning to their areas of origin after residency abroad. [3] Return migration can also be forced where migrants are compelled by an administrative or judicial act to return to their country of origin. Forced returns include the deportation of failed asylum seekers and people who have violated migration laws in the host country.

      Where supported by appropriate policies and implementation and a rights-based approach, return migration can beneficial to the migrant, the country of origin and the host country. Migrants who successfully return to their country of origin stand to benefit from reunification with family, state protection and the possibility of better career opportunities owing to advanced skills acquired abroad. For the country of origin, the transfer of skills acquired by migrants abroad, reverse ‘brain drain’, and transactional linkages (i.e. business partnerships) can bring about positive change. The host country benefits from such returns by enhancing strengthened ties and partnerships with through return migrants. However, it is critical to note that return migration should not be viewed as a ‘solution’ to migration or a pretext to arbitrarily send migrants back to their home country. Return migration should be studied as a way to provide positive and safe options for people on the move.
      Return migration in East Africa

      The number of people engaging in return migration globally and in the Horn of Africa and Yemen sub-region has steadily increased in recent years. In 2016, IOM facilitated voluntary return of 98,403 persons worldwide through its assisted voluntary return and re-integration programs versus 69,540 assisted in 2015. Between December 2014 and December 2017, 76,589 refugees and asylum seekers were assisted by humanitarian organisations to return to Somalia from Kenya.

      In contexts such as Somalia, where conflict, insecurity and climate change are common drivers for movement (in addition to other push and pull factors), successful return and integration of refugees and asylum seekers from neighbouring countries is likely to be frustrated by the failure to adequately address such drivers before undertaking returns. In a report titled ‘Not Time To Go Home: Unsustainable returns of refugees to Somalia’,Amnesty International highlights ongoing conflict and insecurity in Somalia even as the governments of Kenya and Somali and humanitarian agencies continue to support return programs. The United Nations has cautioned that South and Central parts of Somalia are not ready for large scale returns in the current situation with over 2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country and at least half of the population in need of humanitarian assistance; painting a picture of returns to a country where safety, security and dignity of returnees cannot be guaranteed.

      In March 2017, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ordered all undocumented migrants to regularize their status in the Kingdom giving them a 90-day amnesty after which they would face sanctions including deportations. IOM estimates that 150,000 Ethiopians returned to Ethiopia from Saudi Arabia between March 2017 and April 2018. Since the end of the amnesty period in November 2017, the number of returns to Ethiopia increased drastically with approximately 2,800 migrants being deported to Ethiopia each week. Saudi Arabia also returned 9,563 Yemeni migrants who included migrants who were no longer able to meet residency requirements. Saudi Arabia also forcibly returned 21,405 Somali migrants between June and December 2017.

      Migrant deportations from Saudi Arabia are often conducted in conditions that violate human rights with migrants from Yemen, Somalia and Ethiopia reporting violations. An RMMS report titled ‘The Letter of the Law: Regular and irregular migration in Saudi Arabia in a context of rapid change’ details violations which include unlawful detention prior to deportation, physical assault and torture, denial of food and confiscation of personal property. There were reports of arrest and detention upon arrival of Ethiopian migrants who had been deported from Saudi Arabia in 2013 during which the migrants were reportedly tortured by Ethiopian security forces.

      Further to this, the sustainability of such returns has also been questioned with reports of returnees settling in IDP camps instead of going back to their areas of origin. Such returnees are vulnerable to (further) irregular migration given the inability to integrate. Somali refugee returnees from Kenya face issues upon return to a volatile situation in Somalia, often settling in IDP camps in Somalia. In an RMMS research paper ‘Blinded by Hope: Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Ethiopian Migrants’, community members in parts of Ethiopia expressed concerns that a large number of returnees from Saudi Arabia would migrate soon after their return.

      In November 2017, following media reports of African migrants in Libya being subjected to human rights abuses including slavery, governments, humanitarian agencies and regional economic communities embarked on repatriating vulnerable migrants from Libya. African Union committed to facilitating the repatriation of 20,000 nationals of its member states within a period of six weeks. African Union, its member states and humanitarian agencies facilitated the return of 17,000 migrants in 2017 and a further 14,000 between January and March 2018.[4]
      What next?

      Return migration can play an important role for migrants, their communities, and their countries, yet there is a lack of research and data on this phenomenon. For successful return migration, the drivers to migration should first be examined, including in the case of forced displacement or irregular migration. Additionally, legal pathways for safe, orderly and regular migration should be expanded for all countries to reduce further unsafe migration. Objective 21 of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (Draft Rev 1) calls upon member states to ‘cooperate in facilitating dignified and sustainable return, readmission and reintegration’.

      In addition, a legal and policy framework facilitating safe and sustainable returns should be implemented by host countries and countries of origin. This could build on bilateral or regional agreements on readmissions, creation of reception and integration agencies for large scale returns, the recognition and assurance of migrant legal status, provision of identification documents where needed, amending national laws to allow for dual citizenship, reviewing taxes imposed on the diaspora, recognition of academic and vocational skills acquired abroad, support to vulnerable returnees, financial assistance where needed, incentives to returnee entrepreneurs, programs on attracting highly skilled returnees. Any frameworks should recognize that people have the right to move, and should have their human rights and dignity upheld at all stages of the migration journey.

      http://www.mixedmigration.org/articles/return-migration-a-regional-perspective

    • Reçu via la mailing-list Migreurop, le 20.09.2018

      Niamey, le 20 septembre 2018

      D’après des témoignages recueillis près du #centre_de_transit des #mineurs_non_accompagnés du quartier #Bobiel à Niamey (Niger), des rixes ont eu lieu devant le centre, ce mardi 18 septembre.

      A ce jour, le centre compterait 23 mineurs et une dizaine de femmes avec des enfants en bas âge, exceptionnellement hébergés dans ce centre en raison du surpeuplement des structures réservées habituellement aux femmes.

      Les jeunes du centre font régulièrement état de leurs besoins et du non-respect de leurs droits au directeur du centre. Certains y résident en effet depuis plusieurs mois et ils sont informés des services auxquels ils devraient avoir accès grâce à une #charte des centre de l’OIM affichée sur les murs (accès aux soins de santé, repas, vêtements - en particulier pour ceux qui sont expulsés de l’Algérie sans leurs affaires-, activité récréative hebdomadaire, assistance légale, psychologique...). Aussi, en raison de la lourdeur des procédures de « #retours_volontaires », la plupart des jeunes ne connaissent pas la date de leur retour au pays et témoignent d’un #sentiment_d'abandon.

      Ces derniers jours certains jeunes ont refusé de se nourrir pour protester contre les repas qui leur sont servis (qui seraient identiques pour tous les centres et chaque jour).
      Ce mardi, après un vif échange avec le directeur du centre, une délégation de sept jeunes s’est organisée et présentée au siège de l’OIM. Certains d’entre eux ont été reçus par un officier de protection qui, aux vues des requêtes ordinaires des migrants, s’est engagé à répondre rapidement à leurs besoins.
      Le groupe a ensuite rejoint le centre où les agents de sécurité du centre auraient refusé de les laisser entrer. Des échanges de pierres auraient suivi, et les gardiens de la société #Gadnet-Sécurité auraient utilisé leurs matraques et blessé légèrement plusieurs jeunes. Ces derniers ont été conduits à l’hôpital, après toutefois avoir été menottés et amenés au siège de la société de gardiennage.

      L’information a été diffusée hier soir sur une chaine de télévision locale mais je n’ai pas encore connaissance d’articles à ce sujet.

      Alizée

      #MNA #résistance #violence

    • Agadez, des migrants manifestent pour rentrer dans leurs pays

      Des migrants ont manifesté lundi matin au centre de transit de l’Organisation Internationale pour les Migrations (OIM). Ce centre est situé au quartier #Sabon_Gari à Agadez au Niger. Il accueille à ce jour 800 migrants.

      Parmi eux, une centaine de Maliens. Ces migrants dénoncent la durée de leurs séjours, leurs conditions de vie et le manque de communication des responsables de l’OIM.


      https://www.studiotamani.org/index.php/magazines/16726-le-magazine-du-21-aout-2018-agadez-des-migrants-maliens-manifest
      #manifestation #Mali #migrants_maliens


  • Migrants in Libya : Pushed away, pulled back

    As EU policies drive migrants away, Libyan authorities push them into dire detention centres. For some who reach Europe, it is worth the risk

    http://www.middleeasteye.net/fr/news/migrants-libya-pushed-back-pulled-back-409483752
    #pull-back #push-back #Libye #externalisation
    #renvois #expulsions #retour_au_pays #prostitution #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Nigeria #trafic_d'êtres_humains :

    Eight years ago, Joy was a teenager when she was offered a job as a nanny in London. In the event, she was flown by plane to Milan, and ordered to work off a nearly $60,000 debt as a sex worker.

    When Joy fled to what she thought was the safety of her home in southern Nigeria’s Edo State however, it turned out to be “hell”.

    “Returning was one of the worst things I could have done,” she said.
    Her local recruiters repeatedly threatened the lives of her family for cash. Joy’s uncle beat her, and sold her off to be married twice.

    Et qu’est-ce qu’elle fait Joy quelques années après ?

    Years later, she resolved to return to Italy for a better life, by land through Libya, with her eyes open. “Everyone knows the story about Libya,” she said. “We all know it is dangerous.”

    • Dopo la Libia, l’inferno è in Italia: le donne nigeriane di #Castel_Volturno

      A Castel Volturno le donne nigeriane arrivano dopo essere passate dalla Libia. Qui le aspetta la paura del «juju», la prostituzione nelle case chiuse, lo sfruttamento. Finché non finiscono di pagare il debito che hanno contratto per arrivare in Italia. Sara Manisera e Federica Mameli sono state a parlare con loro nelle «connection house» di Castel Volturno.

      http://openmigration.org/analisi/dopo-la-libia-linferno-e-in-italia-le-donne-nigeriane-di-castel-voltu

    • UNHCR expresses concern over lack of rescue capability in Mediterranean, but condones Libyan coast guard pull back operations

      While UNHCR rightly calls for a change in EU practices, it fails to acknowledge or address the serious problems with the Libyan coast guard’s pull back practices in Libyan territorial waters – practices enabled and funded by the EU. UNHCR’s latest statement on this subject condones EU-funded Libyan coast guard pull back practices.

      From Jeff Crisp (@JFCrisp): “A simple question for UNHCR and IOM: Should asylum seekers who leave Libya by boat have an opportunity to submit an application for refugee status elsewhere, rather than being summarily intercepted and forcibly returned to and detained in the country of departure? Because UNHCR’s global policy says: ‘persons rescued or intercepted at sea cannot be summarily turned back or otherwise returned to the country of departure, including in particular where to do so would deny them a fair opportunity to seek asylum.’”

      UNHCR’s statement: “UNHCR continues to be very concerned about the legal and logistical restrictions that have been placed on a number of NGOs wishing to conduct search and rescue (SAR) operations, including the Aquarius. These have had the cumulative effect of the Central Mediterranean currently having no NGO vessels conducting SAR. Should NGO rescue operations on the Mediterranean cease entirely we risk returning to the same dangerous context we saw after Italy’s Mare Nostrum naval operation ended in 2015 and hundreds of people died in an incident on the central Mediterranean Sea. UNHCR welcomes the rescue efforts of the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG), as without them more lives would have been lost. Nonetheless, with the LCG now having assumed primary responsibility for search and rescue coordination in an area that extends to around 100 miles, the LCG needs further support. Any vessel with the capability to assist search and rescue operations should be allowed to come to the aid of those in need. UNHCR reiterates that people rescued in international waters (i.e. beyond the 12 nautical miles of the territorial waters of Libya) should not be brought back to Libya where conditions are not safe. The largest proportion of deaths have been reported in crossings to Italy, which account for more than half of all deaths reported this year so far, despite Spain having become the primary destination of those newly arrived. More than 48, 000 people have arrived there by sea, compared to around 22,000 in Italy and 27,000 in Greece. There is an urgent need to break away from the current impasses and ad-hoc boat-by-boat approaches on where to dock rescued passengers. UNHCR reiterates that in recent months, together with IOM, we have offered a regional solution that would provide clarity and predictability on search and rescue operations.”

      https://migrantsatsea.org/2018/11/12/week-in-review-11-november-2018


  • Liquid Traces - The Left-to-Die Boat Case on Vimeo

    https://vimeo.com/89790770

    Pour ne pas oublier, les protagonistes surtout, et le remarquable travail d’enquête des auteurs au sein du groupe « Forensic Architecture » du Goldsmiths Institute à Londres

    Directed by Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani, 17 min, 2014

    Liquid Traces offers a synthetic reconstruction of the events concerning what is known as the “left-to-die boat” case, in which 72 passengers who left the Libyan coast heading in the direction of the island of Lampedusa on board a small rubber boat were left to drift for 14 days in NATO’s maritime surveillance area, despite several distress signals relaying their location, as well as repeated interactions, including at least one military helicopter visit and an encounter with a military ship. As a result, only 9 people survived.

    In producing this reconstruction, our research has used against the grain the “sensorium of the sea” – the multiple remote sensing devises used to record and read the sea’s depth and surface. Contrary to the vision of the sea as a non-signifying space in which any event immediately dissolves into moving currents, with our investigation we demonstrated that traces are indeed left in water, and that by reading them carefully the sea itself can be turned into a witness for interrogation.

    #mourir_en_mer #migrations #asile #crie_d_etat

    • Avec un très long texte paru dans Open Democraty, qui vient éclairer utilement la vidéo :

      Time to end the EU’s left-to-die policy | openDemocracy
      http://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/charles-heller-lorenzo-pezzani/time-to-end-eu%E2%80%99s-lefttodie-policy

      Time to end the EU’s left-to-die policy
      Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani 25 June 2014

      Researchers participating in the reconstruction of the 2011 “Left-to-die boat” case in which 63 migrants lost their life under NATO’s eyes, summarize three years of inconclusive demands for disclosure and justice. As the European Council addresses the EU’s long-term migration policy, they say deaths of migrants at sea will continue short of ending the EU’s policy of closure towards non-European migrants.

      Two years ago, we published a report on what came to be known as the “left-to-die” boat case.

      Two years ago, we published a report on what came to be known as the “left-to-die” boat case. Co-authored with the architectural office SITU Studio, the report used imaging, mapping, and modelling technologies in order to produce a visual and spatial picture of how, in March 2011, sixty-three migrants lost their lives in the Central Mediterranean while attempting to reach the small Italian island of Lampedusa from the coast of Libya.


  • Europe’s Plan to Close Its Sea Borders Relies on Libya’s Coast Guard Doing Its Dirty Work, Abusing Migrants
    https://theintercept.com/2017/11/25/libya-coast-guard-europe-refugees

    In the last six months, with new support from European governments, the Libyan coast guard has substantially ramped up operations to intercept #migrant boats in the international waters off their coast, where most shipwrecks take place. Confrontations with the European NGOs that work there have increased as well, with multiple organizations reporting warning shots and direct threats of violence from Libyan boats. The violence has led some organizations to stop their Mediterranean rescue operations.

    The Libyan coast guard is a decentralized force often accused of working with local militias and smugglers and violating the rights of migrants. At the same time, it is a key player in Europe’s response to the refugee crisis.

    #Europe #nos_valeurs


  • Il video integrale della tragedia del 6 novembre costata la vita ad oltre 50 persone

    Nel video si evince la negligenza della Guardia Costiera libica ed il totale dispregio del valore della vita. Una lunga sequenza di oltre 30 minuti con audio e comunicazione radio registrate nel corso del naufragio

    http://www.mediterraneocronaca.it/2017/11/13/il-video-integrale-della-tragedia-del-6-novembre-costata-la-vita
    #mourir_en_mer #6_novembre_2017 #vidéo #asile #migrations #réfugiés #décès #Méditerranée #gardes-côtes_libyens #gardes-côtes #contrôles_frontaliers #Sea_Watch

    Lien vers la vidéo:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_phI-f_yFXQ

    • Breaking: Dramatic first rescue operation for Sea-Watch 3

      The violent and reckless behavior of Libyan Coast Guards has caused at least five deaths on the Central Mediterranean Sea this morning, as the crew of the Sea-Watch 3 was called to their first rescue mission by the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Center. A helicopter of the Italian Navy had to intervene to prevent more fatalities. 58 people are now safe aboard the Sea-Watch 3, despite all efforts, our medical team was not able to revive an infant in our clinic. The Libyan Coast Guards forced a few of the passengers on their vessel and took them back in direction Libya. By interfering in the rescue operation, the Libyans clearly violated international law: The incident took place at 30 nm off the coast, in international waters far outside of Libyan territorial waters.

      https://sea-watch.org/en/dramatic-rescue-operation-sea-watch-3

    • Clarification on the incident of November 6th

      Yesterday, the 6th of November, a tragedy occurred in international waters approximately 30 nm north of Tripoli. A rubber boat sent a distress call, to which different units reacted in coordination with the responsible Maritime Rescue Coordination Center in Rome. The situation was grave: people were already in the water when the Sea-Watch 3 arrived on scene. An Italian navy helicopter, a French warship and the Sea-Watch 3 were coordinating effectively via marine radio channel 16. According to the protocol for such situations, the ship best equipped for the rescue operation takes over the ‘On-Scene Command’, so the French warship and the helicopter acknowledged Sea-Watch 3 as such and tried to take the necessary steps to coordinate and carry out the rescue together calmly.

      However, a patrol vessel of the Libyan Coast Guard was not willing to respond to radio calls, both from Sea-Watch 3 and the military units present to help coordinate the rescue. Instead, the Libyan patrol boat closed in at high speed – even though it is not an appropriate vessel to take people out of the water compared with the other assets on the scene, due to its shape and equipment. The Libyan coast guards did indeed take out people from the water, but mainly, people climbed onto the Libyan Coast Guard vessel themselves in fear of their lives without assistance by the coast guards. The Libyans’ aggressive and uncoordinated behaviour caused more stress and chaos than relief. When the Libyan Coast Guards started to beat and threaten people on their vessel, some tried to jump back into the water. Instead of calming the situation down, Libyan Coast Guards even threw potatoes and lifebuoys at the Sea-Watch rescue boats that were deployed to take people out of the water. In such a serious situation it is paramount to avoid further stress and panic, yet the Libyan Coast Guards did the opposite, their only aim to take as many people back to the Libyan shore as possible.

      The Libyan Coast Guards have not even deployed their rescue boat which is meant to be an asset in case of man overboard. They left it stored on their aftdeck during the whole operation. Instead of throwing potatoes at our crew, the self-declared coast guards could have made themselves useful for once. Obviously, their priority was not the rescue, but to drag people back to Libya.

      With this intention in mind, the Libyan Coast Guard vessel departed the scene at full speed, even though one person was still hanging on to the starboard side and was dragged through the water. This life-threatening situation was reported by Sea-Watch through CH 16 repeatedly with no response. In the end, the Italian helicopter had to intervene to avoid another fatality. We acknowledge the role of the Libyan Coast Guard saving lives during rescue operations, but their reckless behaviour while trying to ‘pull back’ as many migrants as possible to Libya have repeatedly caused more harm than help. Furthermore, their actions – for which they are funded by the European Union – violate international law. We urge the Libyan Coast Guards to respect international law and to avoid increasing the level of chaos in a rescue operation.

      https://sea-watch.org/en/clarification-on-the-incident-of-november-6th

    • Migranti. Dramma naufragi e motovedette libiche. Intervista a Nico Stalla della nave Aquarius.

      Soccorsi ma anche storie di naufragi e dispersi a causa delle aggressive motovedette libiche in acque internazionali.

      Intervista di Sergio Scandura al coordinatore dei soccorsi Nico Stalla a bordo della nave Aquarius della Ong SOS Mediterranee con a bordo lo staff medico di Medici Senza Frontiere.

      «Migranti. Dramma naufragi e motovedette libiche. Intervista a Nico Stalla della nave Aquarius.» realizzata da Sergio Scandura con Nicola Stalla (coordinatore SAR di SOS Méditerranée Italia).

      L’intervista è stata registrata martedì 6 marzo 2018 alle 16:30.

      Nel corso dell’intervista sono stati trattati i seguenti temi: Emigrati, Guardia Costiera, Libia, Marina, Mediterraneo, Militare, Ong.

      https://www.radioradicale.it/scheda/535192/migranti-dramma-naufragi-e-motovedette-libiche-intervista-a-nico-stall

      Commentaire sur twitter de MSF Italie:

      Zio non lasciarmi". Le ultime parole che un uomo ha sentito dire dalla nipote di 7 anni prima di separarsi da lei. Lui è stato soccorso da #Aquarius, lei è stata vista tra le persone intercettate dalla Guardia Costiera libica e riportate indietro.

      https://twitter.com/MSF_ITALIA/status/971015104551628800


    • Juncker : « les États membres contribuent trop peu au fonds pour l’Afrique »

      Après un premier tour de négociations lors du premier jour du Conseil, le président de la Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, a prévenu devant la presse que l’action extérieure de l’UE atteignait ses limites à cause d’un manque de financement.

      https://www.euractiv.fr/section/migrations/news/juncker-member-states-committed-too-little-for-africa-fund
      #fonds_pour_l'afrique

    • “EU-Africa migration funds were used on Libya’s coast guard patrol vessels »

      Genoa - EU international cooperation funding destined for development projects in Africa was used to refurbish patrol boats for Libya’s coast guard, and handed over to Libyan militia units who practice torture and extrajudicial killings, in violation of Libyan and international standards.

      http://www.themeditelegraph.com/en/markets/finance-and-politics/2017/11/16/africa-migration-funds-were-used-libya-coast-guard-patrol-vessels-ZxeIfzI2rMZYW6ixGchHKP/index.html

      #Libye #gardes-côtes_libyens #externalisation #développement #aide_au_développement

      –-> je ne sais pas si le fonds dans lequel il est question ici c’est aussi celui qui est mentionné dans le premier article de la liste... @isskein : tu en sais plus ?

    • Europe’s Plan to Close Its Sea Borders Relies on Libya’s Coast Guard Doing Its Dirty Work, Abusing Migrants

      When a Libyan coast guard officer raised his hands and pointed, as if holding a rifle, Thomas Schaible wasn’t too worried. It wasn’t his first violent encounter with the Libyan coast guard, but this time, with a helicopter from the Italian navy overhead and Italian and French warships nearby, Schaible knew it was an empty threat.

      https://theintercept.com/2017/11/25/libya-coast-guard-europe-refugees

    • Libya human bondage risks overshadowing Africa-EU summit

      #Mogherini was questioned about the EU’s strategy of outsourcing the migration crisis to foreign countries such as Libya and Turkey, which received billions to prevent Syrian refugees from crossing to Greece.

      She said the situation was different on two counts: first, the migrants stranded in Libya were not legitimate asylum seekers like those fleeing the war in Syria. And second, different international bodies were in charge.

      “When it comes to Turkey, it is mainly refugees from Syria; when it comes to Libya, it is mainly migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa and the relevant international laws apply in different manners and the relevant UN agencies are different – the UNHCR on one side, especially in Turkey, and the IOM especially in Libya.”

      https://www.euractiv.com/section/development-policy/news/libya-human-bondage-risks-overshadowing-africa-eu-summit
      #IOM #OIM #HCR #Libye #Turquie #migrants_économiques #réfugiés #tri #catégorisation

      En lien avec cela, lire:
      http://seen.li/dn2v
      #mixed_migrations

    • Commission européenne - Fond fiduciaire d’urgence pour l’Afrique - Nouveaux programmes

      Trois nouveaux programmes d’un montant de 29,6 millions d’euros ont été adoptés dans le cadre du Fonds fiduciaire d’urgence de l’UE pour l’Afrique. Ces programmes complètent l’action de l’UE visant à relever les défis de la migration en Méditerranée. Ces nouveaux programmes intensifieront le travail en cours de l’UE pour renforcer la protection des migrants, soutenir leur réintégration durable et permettre une augmentation du nombre de retours volontairement assistés depuis la Libye. Ils contribueront également à la lutte contre les réseaux criminels dans la région.

      Three new programmes worth €29.6 million have been adopted in the framework of the EU Trust Fund for Africa as part of EU work in addressing migration challenges in the Mediterranean. A set of priorities for 2018 have also been agreed.

      These new programmes will step up the EU’s ongoing work to strengthening protection of migrants, support sustainable reintegration and provide assisted voluntary returns. The programmes will also contribute to fight criminal networks across the region.

      High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “Last week we established a joint EU/AU/UN Task Force to accelerate our work to protect migrants and refugees and fight the criminal networks. With these new programmes, we will step up our commitments, save lives, guarantee the respect of human rights and of international standards, provide alternatives to those wishing to return to their homes and support to host communities. We already assisted over 14,000 people stranded in Libya to return and will support an additional 15,000 returns by February 2018. And we will support our partners to counter traffickers and smugglers, assisting them in bringing peace and security to the region.”

      Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said: “The current challenges in the Mediterranean Sea remain a top priority for the European Union. The EU Trust Fund for Africa continues to take action to tackle the root causes of irregular migration and to defend the rights of people who risk falling into the hands of traffickers and smugglers. With our new programmes, we will help dismantle criminal networks in North of Africa, support migrants who wish to return to their home countries and facilitate access for migrants to legal advice. We will also promote socio-economic integration in Morocco and will foster socio-economic development of the Libyan Municipalities”.

      Regional programme - Facility for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in North Africa, €10 million

      This programme will be implemented by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and will further contribute to the ongoing efforts under the assistance voluntary return scheme. It will strengthen protection of migrants, support sustainable reintegration systems in North Africa and provide assisted voluntary return to migrants wishing to return to their home from Northern Africa. This Facility is conceived as a regional flexible mechanism able to adapt to the specific needs of the countries. This is yet another action towards enhancing support to stranded migrants as well as reinforcing national return and reintegration systems across the North of Africa region.

      Regional programme - Dismantling the criminal networks operating in North Africa and involved in migrant smuggling and human trafficking, €15 million

      This project will focus on regional dimension of fight against smugglers and traffickers. It will target the public sector of the countries in the region (in particular the Ministries of Interior, Justice, Finance, and Health). Under this programme, implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), capacity-building as well as light equipment, such as IT and forensic tools, will be provided to actors dealing with law enforcement and criminal justice. The final beneficiaries will be the general public, victims of trafficking, smuggled migrants, and families of the latter two categories.

      Morocco - Legal Empowerment for migrants, €4.58 million

      This programme implemented by the Belgian Technical Cooperation will reinforce the protection and resilience of migrants and refugees, displaced persons and host communities in Morocco. Whilst strengthening awareness on their rights and access to legal counselling, the project will also contribute to promote the socio-economic integration of migrants and facilitate migrants’ integration in the Moroccan society. This is a new very specific action complementing the EU support to the implementation of the Moroccan National Strategy on Migration (SNIA). The programme will support actors who help migrants and refugees access to their rights, such as lawyers, students, civil society associations and justice staff. It will develop and create legal clinics in Rabat, Casablanca, Tanger and Oujda.

      Objectives for 2018

      The Commission also outlined the priorities of the EUTF/North of Africa window for 2018. The situation in Libya will remain a top priority, with on the one hand increased efforts for the protection of migrants and refugees, including through the support for additional assisted voluntary returns and support for evacuation of the most vulnerable ones (in line with the recent decision of the EU-African Union summit); and on the other hand support to host communities. More specifically, funding will be provided to the UNHCR’s evacuation mechanism through the EUTF and discussions with the IOM on additional measures under the assisted voluntary return scheme are being finalised. The Commission is also working together with Italy on a new initiative to be presented to the Operational Committee early in 2018, which is aimed at fostering the socio-economic development of the Libyan Municipalities, on the basis of needs of local authorities and in close coordination with the PC/Government of National Accord (GNA).

      http://www.europeanmigrationlaw.eu/fr/articles/actualites/commission-europeenne-fond-fiduciaire-d-urgence-pour-l-afrique-

    • Come viene usato il Fondo Fiduciario per l’Africa?

      “Vertice UE-Africa: l’Europa non paga”. Così titolava il settimanale tedesco Der Spiegel alla vigilia del Summit di Abidjan di fine novembre, evidenziando un problema crescente nell’approccio europeo al contenimento dei flussi migratori: come reperire le risorse con cui finanziare il Fondo fiduciario per l’Africa. Perché se da un lato aumentano obiettivi e programmi da finanziare, dall’altro non cresce il coinvolgimento economico dei governi europei.

      http://openmigration.org/analisi/come-viene-usato-il-fondo-fiduciario-per-lafrica

    • 2.12.2017 – Commission européenne - Fond fiduciaire d’urgence pour l’Afrique - Nouvelles actions pour renforcer la stabilité dans la corne de l’Afrique

      Le Comité opérationnel du Fond fiduciaire d’urgence pour l’Afrique a adopté une nouvelle série de 13 programmes d’un montant de 174,4 millions d’euros pour la région de la #Corne_de_l'Afrique

      http://www.europeanmigrationlaw.eu/fr/articles/actualites/commission-europeenne-fond-fiduciaire-d-urgence-pour-l-afrique-

    • Fondo Africa, quelle risorse destinate a progetti lontani dall’aiuto allo sviluppo

      Il dossier realizzato sugli atti di delibera e ottenuto grazie alla richiesta dell’Associazione per gli Studi giuridici sull’Immigrazione (ASGI) e sulla risposta del sottosegretario agli Esteri Della Vedova all’interrogazione del PD sull’utilizzo delle risorse stanziate. Risorse spese in Tunisia, Niger e Libia che pongono, secondo ActionAid, problemi di costituzionalità e trasparenza

      http://www.repubblica.it/solidarieta/cooperazione/2017/12/18/news/fondo_africa-184514509

    • A ‘blind spot’ in the migration debate? International responsibility of the EU and its Member States for cooperating with the Libyan coastguard and militias

      The discussion on the restrictive migration management policies of the European Union (EU) and its Member States (MS) has so far focused on the potential violation of the primary rules of international law that determine the conduct of subjects of international law. The question of applicability of the secondary rules of international responsibility that provide for the consequences of the commitment of a wrongful act has attracted less attention. The main question in the current context is whether the cooperation of the EU and its MS with the Libyan coastguard and militias with the view of stemming irregular migration flows to Europe generates international responsibility for the above actors. More specifically, it is asked whether there is an autonomous basis in the law of international responsibility for holding the EU and its the MS responsible for the violations of human rights occurring in Libya, even if they do not exercise directly jurisdiction over migrants. Three aspects of this theme will be developed here: first, the nature and scope of the cooperation of the EU and its MS, in particular Italy, with the Libyan authorities, coastguard and militias in view of restricting the access of migrants to the EU; second, the extent of human rights violations of migrants in Libya; and third, the alleged complicity and responsibility of the EU and MS for the violations of these rights.

      http://eumigrationlawblog.eu/a-blind-spot-in-the-migration-debate-international-responsibility

    • L’Europe affirme que la formation des gardes-côtes libyens avance

      La formation des gardes-côtes libyens, notamment pour le sauvetage de migrants, avance, a déclaré jeudi à Tunis le commandant de l’opération navale européenne Sophia, chargée de lutter contre les passeurs.

      « La formation se passe bien », a affirmé Enrico Credendino, commandant de la force navale européenne en Méditerranée (Sophia).

      « Les gardes-côtes libyens ont été très actifs, en particulier au cours du second semestre 2017. Ils ont secouru beaucoup de migrants, presque 18.000 alors qu’en 2015 par exemple, ils en avaient secouru seulement 800 », a-t-il précisé.

      Lancée en 2015 par l’UE, l’opération navale Sophia est chargée de lutter contre les passeurs et de former les gardes-côtes libyens.

      Sa mission a été reconduite en juillet par le Conseil européen jusqu’en décembre 2018.

      Déchirée par les rivalités entre groupes armés et les autorités qui se disputent le pouvoir, la Libye a sombré dans le chaos depuis la chute du régime de Mouammar Kadhafi en 2011.

      Des centaines de milliers de migrants, certains fuyant des conflits, d’autres la pauvreté tentent de traverser la Méditerranée depuis la Libye pour rejoindre l’Europe. Depuis le début de l’année, au moins 337 d’entre eux sont morts ou disparus au large de la Libye, selon l’Organisation internationale des migrations.

      https://www.voaafrique.com/a/migrations-formations-de-garde-cotes-libyens-avance/4300524.html
      #Opération_sophia

      A mettre en lien avec cet article :
      La guardia costiera libica minaccia l’ong Proactiva Open Arms
      https://www.internazionale.it/bloc-notes/annalisa-camilli/2018/03/16/guardia-costiera-libica-open-arms

    • Un film de #Andrea_Segre, à voir absolument. Il montre les manoeuvres italiennes en Libye:
      L’ordine delle cose (L’ordre des choses):

      Rinaldi, policier italien de grande expérience, est envoyé par son gouvernement en Libye afin de négocier le maintien des migrants sur le sol africain. Sur place, il se heurte à la complexité des rapports tribaux libyens et à la puissance des trafiquants exploitant la détresse des réfugiés.
      Au cours de son enquête, il rencontre dans un centre de rétention, Swada, une jeune somalienne qui le supplie de l’aider. Habituellement froid et méthodique, Rinaldi va devoir faire un choix douloureux entre sa conscience et la raison d’Etat : est-il possible de renverser l’ordre des choses ?


      https://lordinedellecose.it

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b8mp4N4Blw

      Il est actuellement en salle à Grenoble...

      #film

    • Migranti, gli occhi della Libia sui radar europei nel Mediterraneo

      A dicembre 2016 un ufficiale di collegamento della guardia costiera libica è entrato nel cuore del #Sea_Horse_Mediterranean_Network, il sistema di monitoraggio dell’Unione per il controllo delle frontiere Sud del Mediterraneo e che vede in prima linea l’Italia. Ma il governo libico era ritenuto inaffidabile dalla Commissione Ue nel 2015 ed escluso dal progetto. Ora perché è coinvolto? E a quale titolo?

      Occhi elettronici. Radar potenti e sofisticati. Satelliti militari in grado di scansionare ogni centimetro quadrato del Mediterraneo centrale, quel pezzo di mare tra la Libia e l’Italia divenuto tomba per migliaia di migranti, morti mentre cercavano di fuggire alle guerre dei loro paesi e alle torture dei carcerieri libici. Mezzi straordinariamente potenti, soprattutto se messi in rete, formando un flusso di dati in grado di salvare vite – avvistando ogni piccolo gommone che tenta la traversata – e di bloccare i traffici. Non solo di esseri umani, ma anche di petrolio, droga, armi. Si chiama Sea Horse Mediterranean Network ed è l’asset più prezioso della rete di controllo della frontiera sud dell’Europa.

      Un progetto costato milioni di euro, promosso direttamente dall’Unione europea e che vede un ruolo da protagonista dell’Italia. Una rete che – stando a documenti consultati da Famiglia Cristiana – potrebbe però cadere in pessime mani. Quelle delle milizie libiche, ovvero le forze di Tripoli che compongono quella stessa Guardia costiera pronta ad usare le armi contro le Ong, accusata un anno fa dalle Nazioni Unite di essere stata complice in alcuni casi degli stessi trafficanti. Il progetto in origine riguardava l’area dell’Atlantico. La responsabilità, in quel caso, era stata affidata alla Guardia Civil spagnola e l’area interessata era sostanzialmente il tratto di mare a sud delle Canarie, una delle rotte delle migrazioni via mare attive fino a una decina di anni fa. Il sistema permette di «scambiare informazioni via satellite per combattere l’immigrazione irregolare via mare», si legge in un documento delle autorità spagnole che abbiamo consultato, creando dei punti di contatto in ogni paese coinvolto «per accedere a questa rete sicura».

      Le informazioni raccolte sono estremamente sensibili e costituiscono una base di conoscenza e di intelligence sicuramente strategica. Dopo l’avvio di una prima fase sulla zona atlantica, il progetto Sea Horse punta, dal 2015, al Mediterraneo. Tre i paesi del nord Africa coinvolti: l’Egitto, la Tunisia e la Libia. Nel novembre del 2015 il commissario europeo Dimitris Avramopoulos aveva risposto ad una interrogazione delle deputate europee Sabine Lösing e Cornelia Ernst (GUE/NGL), spiegando che il progetto era in una fase di stallo. Il problema principale riguardava proprio la Libia: «A causa della situazione d’insicurezza e alla mancanza di stabilità del governo nazionale libico – si legge nella risposta all’interrogazione pubblicata sul sito del Parlamento europeo – tutte le attività per installare il #National_Contact_Point in Libia sono sospese. Di conseguenza le autorità libiche interessate non sono collegate al #Mebocc, che sarà ospitato dal centro di coordinamento italiano per la sorveglianza delle frontiere».

      La sigla Mebocc sta per #Mediterranean_Border_Cooperation_Center, ed è il cuore della rete di controllo del mare tra Italia e Libia. La collocazione di questo centro, come ha spiegato il commissario europeo, è prevista nel nostro paese, con un backup a Malta. Tutto, però, sembrava fermo fino al novembre del 2015.

      Un ufficiale di collegamento libico era presente nel cuore della rete europea di sorveglianza delle frontiere marittime

      Alla fine del 2016, dopo il cambio ai vertici del ministero dell’Interno e l’arrivo di Marco Minniti, il progetto ha subito un’accelerazione. Nella “Relazione sulla performance per il 2016” del Viminale c’è un paragrafo dove si annuncia l’operatività del progetto: «L’infrastruttura satellitare», si legge nel documento, «è stata installata nel #Centro_Interforze_di_Gestione_e_Controllo (#CIGC) #SICRAL di Vigna di Valle, teleporto principale del Ministero della Difesa, mentre presso il Centro Nazionale di Coordinamento per l’immigrazione “Roberto Iavarone” – #EUROSUR, sede del MEBOCC, sono stati installati gli altri apparati funzionali alla rete di comunicazione. Al 31 dicembre 2016, quello dell’Italia risultava essere l’unico nodo realmente attivo e pronto per le comunicazioni».

      Tutto pronto, dunque, per operare. Pronto e operativo, a quanto sembra, era anche il governo libico, che solo un anno prima veniva definito instabile dalla Commissione europea. Si legge nel rapporto del Ministero dell’Interno, documento che Famiglia Cristiana ha consultato: «Si segnala inoltre che nel 2016, nell’ambito del progetto Sea Horse Mediterranean Network, quattro ufficiali della Guardia Costiera – Marina Militare Libica sono stati ospitati in Italia, in qualità di osservatori, uno presso l’#ICC - #International_Coordination_Center, altri due imbarcati sull’assetto spagnolo “#Rio_Segura” durante il mese di settembre e uno presso il Centro nazionale di coordinamento – EUROSUR della Direzione Centrale per l’Immigrazione dal 5 al 9 dicembre, con funzioni di collegamento con le autorità libiche e per migliorare/stimolare la cooperazione nella gestione degli eventi di immigrazione irregolare provenienti dalla Libia».

      Dunque un ufficiale di collegamento libico era presente nel cuore della rete europea di sorveglianza delle frontiere marittime del Mediterraneo poco più di un anno fa. Fatto che potrebbe avere come conseguenza la possibilità di accesso al sistema Sea Horse da parte del governo di Tripoli, impegnato, come abbiamo visto, nel respingimento in mare dei migranti che fuggono dal Nord Africa verso l’Europa. La sensibilità delle informazioni che il network raccoglie e gestisce è evidente. Un mese fa è stata presentata una seconda interrogazione al Parlamento europeo per capire se i libici già sono in grado di accedere ai dati dei satelliti che monitorano il Mediterraneo: «Dove, in Libia o in Italia, sono stati realizzati i Centri Operativi (ad esempio il Mebocc) e quali autorità o milizie sono coinvolte?», hanno chiesto i deputati Sabine Lösing e Cornelia Ernst. Al momento non hanno ottenuto nessuna risposta. La Libia è sempre più vicina.

      http://www.famigliacristiana.it/articolo/migranti-gli-occhi-della-libia-sui-radar-europei-nel-mediterraneo.
      #Egypte #Tunisie #Libye #images_satellitaires

    • Migranti, affidarne i soccorsi alla Libia significa respingerli

      Un verbale della riunione dell’ Organizzazione mondiale del mare del 30 ottobre scorso svela la contrarietà di creare un coordinamento libico dei salvataggi nel Mediterraneo. Ma giovedì scorso la nave della Ong spagnola Open Arms è stata affidata proprio alle motovedette di Tripoli come ha spiegato anche la Guardia Costiera italiana. Ora cominciano i respingimenti collettivi per conto terzi?

      http://m.famigliacristiana.it/articolo/migranti-affidarne-i-soccorsi-in-mare-alla-libia-significa-respi

    • EU Trust Fund for Africa: five new programmes adopted for the Sahel and Lake Chad region

      The European Commission has adopted five new programmes worth over €141 million under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.

      Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said: "Our new EU programmes, worth €141 million, are particularly focusing on important opportunities for young people. They will furthermore support our #G5-Sahel partners to strengthen development and stability in border areas, as well as help us to save more lives and fight human traffickers, who take advantage of vulnerable people’s despair. We also continue our actions to support partner countries to better manage migration and to develop civil registries. Those needs do not decrease, and the resources from the EU Trust Fund are quickly depleting”

      At the regional level, two programmes totalling €75 million will seek to shore up stability and youth participation in the G5 #Sahel countries (#Burkina_Faso, Chad, #Mali, Mauritania and #Niger). A new €70 million Emergency programme will increase people’s access to social services in border areas. The programme was designed under the Sahel Alliance and responds directly to the needs voiced by the G5 Sahel countries under the #Priority_Investment_Programme. Another €5 million will ensure the implementation of the second phase of “#The_Voices_of_young_people_in_the_Sahel” programme, which was launched in 2017 and contributes to integrating youth organisations into the processes of designing and implementing development and social policies.

      A new €7.6 million programme in Niger will further boost migrant protection on migratory routes and support host communities. Also in Niger, the ongoing AJUSEN budget support programme in the justice, security and border management sectors will receive an additional €10 million to continue this work.

      In Senegal, a €9 million initiative will help tackle criminal networks that are linked to irregular migration, migrant smuggling and human trafficking, and enhance regional cooperation in this area.

      In #Côte_d'Ivoire, a new programme worth €30 million will support the country’s ongoing efforts to create a coherent and robust civil registry system that will help improve the management of public policies, enable people to exercise their fundamental rights and improve their access to public services, including the facilitation of voluntary return and the sustainable reintegration of migrants.

      Last but not least, the #Technical_Cooperation_Facility covering all Trust Fund regions and the Research and Evidence Facility covering the Sahel and Lake Chad and the North of Africa regions have been reinforced with an additional amount of €12 million. In line with the evidence-based approach under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa to ensure strategic and efficient interventions, this additional funding will facilitate more studies and research, as well as technical support when necessary.

      The five programmes adopted today bring the total number of programmes adopted since December 2015 for the Sahel and Lake Chad region to 91, with a total value of €1.7 billion.

      Background

      The EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa was established in 2015 to address the root causes of instability, irregular migration and forced displacement. Resources currently allocated to this Trust Fund are €4.1 billion from EU institutions, European Member States and other donors.

      Today’s assistance adds to the 165 programmes already approved across the three regions (North of Africa, Sahel and Lake Chad region and Horn of Africa), worth a total of €3,157 million. These funds were divided up as follows: Sahel/Lake Chad €1,549 million (86 programmes); Horn of Africa €1,141.3 million (58 programmes); North of Africa €467.1 million (17 programmes). This amount includes 4 cross-region programmes (€145.1 million).

      http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-6447_en.htm?locale=EN
      #Tchad #Mauritanie #jeunesse #Sénégal #réintégration #retours_volontaires #retour_volontaire



  • L’OIM établit le profil des centres de détention en Libye
    https://asile.ch/2017/07/03/loim-etablit-profil-centres-de-detention-libye

    Les premières évaluations ont permis d’établir le profil de 13 centres de détention à travers l’est, l’ouest et le sud de la Libye et d’autres centres seront ajoutés dans les prochains cycles de collecte de données.


  • From Gambia to Italy: a refugee’s perilous journey

    When Malick Jeng, 19, left Banjul, his hometown and capital of Gambia, on March 14, 2016, he never imagined the risks he would face on his way to Europe.

    Malick crossed the desert in Mali inside an oil tank where he almost suffocated. He was later held in a Libyan prison, where he witnessed the murder of some of his fellow travellers and only gained his freedom thanks to a payment sent by his family.

    On the night of August 1, after a month in Libya, he was transferred by smugglers to a beach near Tripoli, where he clambered into a rubber boat with 120 people on board to cross the Mediterranean. Hours later, the rescue vessel Iuventa, from the NGO Jugend Rettet, rescued them 20 nautical miles off the Libyan coast.

    Malick was first transferred to Catania, Sicily, and later to Biella, a city in the north of Italy, where he has lived ever since, in a temporary reception centre called Hotel Colibri - an old hotel that had been closed for 10 years. The hotel was turned into a reception centre for migrants in August 2016. The cooperative that manages it, which has other centres in the area, receives 35 euros ($37.7) per migrant per day from the Italian state. Malick and other migrants receive their basic necessities, including three meals per day and a bed, as well as monthly pocket money of 75 euros ($80.8).

    Malick is awaiting a response to his asylum application to find out if he can begin a life in Europe legally, as a refugee, or whether he will be forced to keep fighting for his future.


    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2017/03/gambia-italy-refugee-perilous-journey-170305105814251.html
    #Gambie #parcours_migratoire #itinéraire_migratoire #Italie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #photographie
    cc @albertocampiphoto



    • The comment of Fulvio Vassallo via facebook:

      Omicidio preterintenzionale ed arresto a piede libero. Uno scandalo che nessuno vuole vedere. Se fosse stato un immigrato a colpire gli avrebbero contestato un omicidio premeditato.

    • Nigerian asylum-seeker murdered in Italy

      Security officials have arrested an Italian man suspected of murdering a Nigerian asylum-seeker who fled Boko Haram’s terror in northeastern Nigeria, Italy’s interior minister said Thursday. The killing reflects the growing xenophobia asylum-seekers across Europe face on a daily basis.

      Authorities said the suspect, Amadeo Manicini, verbally attacked Emmanuel Chidi Nnamdi and his wife, Chimiary, while they were out for a walk in Fermo, Italy. Mancini hurled racist insults at Chimiary, and the altercation turned violent when Nnamdi, 36, attempted to defend her. Mancini’s lawyer said he acted in self-defense, but Chimiary said her husband jumped to her defense only after Mancini grabbed her arm. Nnamdi fell into a coma and died Wednesday from injuries he sustained in the scuffle.
      Prosecutors on Thursday said they will charge Mancini with manslaughter aggravated by racist motives. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano denounced the attack and said Chimiary will be granted humanitarian protection in Italy.

      “The great heart of Italy is not represented by the man who committed this homicide,” Alfano told reporters in Fermo. “The germ of racism needs to be cut off before it can plant a poisonous seed.”

      Nnamdi and his wife fled their village in northeastern Nigeria in 2015 after Boko Haram torched their church and killed two of Nnamdi’s relatives and their child, church officials in Fermo said. The couple began the perilous journey to Europe by land. They took a smuggler’s boat from the Libyan coast and arrived in #Fermo, where the Catholic Community of Capodarco received them.

      “Why do you leave me in this wicked world?” Chimiary

      cried to her late husband during a Wednesday vigil.

      Tension has grown in recent months in communities welcoming migrants. Earlier this year, security officials found explosive devices outside four Fermo churches that assist migrants.

      The European Union has a legal framework that should ensure the integration of migrants and combat xenophobic incidents, but the directives are not fully implemented, said Judit Tanczos, a legal policy analyst with the Migration Policy Group in Belgium. Tanczos said her organization has received reports of vandalism against migrant reception centers, as well as verbal attacks and, in some cases, physical violence against migrants. The amount of reported xenophobic attacks increased by 50 percent three days after Britain voted to leave the European Union on June 23, Tanczos added.

      “These xenophobic attacks happen against asylum seekers on a daily basis,” she said. “It shows once there’s exclusionary speech that allows people to say we don’t want you in our country, people will feel open to do these things and feel they can get away with it.”

      Doris Peschke with the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe agreed the rising number of racist attacks across the continent is becoming a worrying trend. Peschke noted cases of people standing outside migrant centers and shouting their opposition to the migrants’ presence. Those opposing migration, though in the minority, often are louder than those who want to help, she added.

      “These are people who don’t have a perspective of their own because of unemployment and economic difficulties, and they feel left out of society,” Peschke said. “Some of the populists promise them better chances when there are no migrants. Its not logic, but it’s how it happens.”

      Tanczos said European countries need to address the social insecurity many people feel in the face of globalization. On a local level, authorities need to further engage with the local communities where migrants are increasingly arriving, Peschke added. She called for more meeting spaces between migrants and community members in each community to reduce anxiety local residents might have about migrants.

      “Many of the parishes across Europe are doing this in many ways, and many people have overcome their hesitation,” she said.

      https://world.wng.org/2016/07/nigerian_asylum_seeker_murdered_in_italy

    • Da Fermo a Macerata, la vera emergenza è il fascismo

      “Scimmia africana”: così #Amedeo_Mancini aveva chiamato una giovane nigeriana prima di sferrare un pugno contro il marito, uccidendolo. Succedeva il 5 luglio 2016, meno di due anni fa, vicino al belvedere di Fermo, una cittadina marchigiana a 45 chilometri da #Macerata. Per l’omicidio di #Emmanuel_Chidi_Nnamdi, colpevole di aver reagito agli insulti rivolti alla sua compagna Chiniery, Amedeo Mancini, ultrà della #Fermana vicino ad ambienti neofascisti, è stato condannato a quattro anni di carcere con il patteggiamento e rimesso in libertà nel maggio del 2017, a nemmeno un anno dall’omicidio.

      All’epoca i difensori di Mancini invocarono la legittima difesa e accusarono la vittima di aver provocato l’aggressore. Dissero anche che Mancini, ex pugile, era vicino agli ambienti dell’estrema destra, ma non era fascista. A nemmeno due anni di distanza, un sabato mattina a Macerata, #Luca_Traini, 28 anni, entra in macchina e gira per la città sparando con una pistola Glock contro i passanti, vuole uccidere chi ha la pelle nera. #Jennifer_Odion, una ragazza nigeriana di 25 anni, è colpita da un proiettile alla spalla mentre si trova alla fermata dell’autobus. Si accascia per terra davanti allo sguardo incredulo del suo fidanzato. Traini riparte sulla sua Alfa nera e colpisce altre cinque persone in dieci punti della città. Sono tutti uomini, sono tutti richiedenti asilo. Nessuno di loro conosce Traini e ha mai avuto contatti con lui. Sconosciuti.

      https://www.internazionale.it/bloc-notes/annalisa-camilli/2018/02/05/macerata-fascismo-luca-traini
      #meurtre #fascisme