naturalfeature:sahara


  • Is Germany facing a mental health crisis among refugees and migrants?

    Whenever a migrant or refugee is the perpetrator of a violent crime, questions asked seem to revolve around their background and whether being a migrant has somehow predisposed them to commit the crime.

    What can mental health professionals add to the debate?

    In the German city of Freiburg, a student was gang-raped by several men, many of them of Syrian origin, spurring once again a debate in German society over a possible predisposition of migrants to committing violent acts.

    For health professionals, such acts require a different approach - one that is focused on the psychological risks of migrant journeys.

    Professor Dr. Thomas Elbert, a research professor in neuropsychology at the University of Konstanz, says that a mental health crisis among migrants is looming. As one of the authors of a new study for the Leopoldina (The German National Academy of Science), he calls for immediate action. “This [kind of violent incident] is something we have predicted.“

    Elbert warns that violent acts will occur more frequently if nothing is done to create conditions where, “young men in particular, but in general people who are seeking protection here in Germany, have the opportunity to acquire social status.”

    For Elbert, social status is key. Social status is the thing which stops many more people from committing crimes like rape or murder, he says. The loss of social status, which happens when you are sent to prison and excluded from society, is more of a barrier to crime than the actual punishment. But if you have nothing to lose then it is much easier to graduate to crime.

    That is not to say that refugees or migrants are naturally predisposed to commit such crimes because of their background or ethnicity, he adds.

    Risk factors, stress

    However, a greater proportion of migrants are exposed to risk factors which increase the likelihood of committing crimes, Elbert explains. This is due to the reasons which led them to flee or what they experienced on the road to Europe. People who have made it to Europe are often laboring under huge amounts of stress. “They feel under permanent threat,” he says.

    “We have asked refugees who have crossed the Sahara desert, how did you get here? And they told us: ’We had to commit crimes; we were attacked, people robbed us, so we also had to start attacking.’” From his research, Elbert found that out of 10 boys who leave West Africa, only two make it to the Mediterranean coast and only one actually crosses to Europe. He thinks that these people, in spite of their traumas, can be integrated successfully. They have, after all, already learnt to survive, but their traumas need to be treated, a key point of his study “Traumatized refugees –immediate response required.”

    Research conducted for the study has found that as many as half of migrants and refugees could have psychiatric problems or post-traumatic stress. The effects of these traumas can be worse for society in men than in women. And the majority of the migrants who arrived in 2015 were young men.

    Migrants abandoned in the Sahara desert Photo Sylla Ibrahima Sory


    Elbert found that one-third of men who experience a violent upbringing will turn to crime, whereas only one in 20 or 50 women will do so. However, women who have undergone trauma might be more prone to suicide or self-harm. All these things will cost society huge amounts of money – hence the call for therapy and more intensive screening.

    Treating #trauma

    Virginia Edwards-Menz is a registered nurse with 30 years experience working in mental health and more than 13 years counseling refugees and migrants on a volunteer basis near Freiburg.

    She agrees with a recent study by the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg which found that at least one in three people coming from Syria are laboring under some kind of mental health issue. However, the German system is not equipped to invest the amount of time needed to really assess each individual’s psychiatric needs, she says.


    She points out that most new arrivals are on welfare which means that only the most acute cases are even dealt with. Most social workers have more than 100 people to attend to. There is no way they can even begin to tackle the effects that violence may have had on the refugees. In addition, many refugees are not even aware that they might need that kind of help, says Edwards-Menz.

    Can trauma lead to gang-rape?

    Elbert does not see a correlation between trauma and rape. Rape he thinks is usually caused by problems of socialization and can also be the result of a continual witnessing of violence. “Once you have lost your moral barriers, what is allowed, what is not allowed, then rape is one of your options. We see that in war-like regions where there is no state or monopoly of power. Young men begin to rape. They do so in gangs, to show and test who is the most terrible cruel and dominant guy in the group.”

    Gender, attitude towards women

    Can crimes like the gang-rape in Freiburg be attested to having grown up in a different culture where the role of women is defined much differently than in Western cultures?

    Elbert and Edwards-Menz agree that there is no simple explanation. “It’s not a justification to say we have not learnt that the situation in Germany is maybe different [to the country of origin.]," Elbert says. But he also says that limits of what is OK and not OK “are learnt within a cultural context.” If the moral barriers you grew up with (for instance certain dress codes and behavior) are no longer present, then it can be easy to think that you do not have to respect the person who appears to be flouting the codes you learnt.


    As a volunteer, Edwards-Menz has often come across men from countries like Afghanistan who do adhere to Islamic codes of behavior and believe that European society should change to their way of thinking. She advocates talking to gradually shift mentalities and continually repeating the message of what is acceptable, and what is not in Germany. She notes that quite a lot of them arrive illiterate. This creates a barrier to integration and can also go some way to explaining sometimes entrenched attitudes. With no access to other ways of thinking or being, their opinions can take a long time to shift.

    The government and agencies who work with refugees and migrants are already doing this, she says. The main problem is time and resources, as in enough translators to work with people and enough time to devote to each individual and understand each separate biography. Only then, can these traumas really be overcome and people integrated successfully.

    Full assessment necessary

    Both experts agree that German society as a whole is facing a problem and that the solution cannot be to deport people and thereby push the problem onto another society.

    What both experts want is a proper assessment of the extent of the problem so that the trauma that many people are carrying can be digested. The problem is that this involves a long process and no simple answers, but it is only that which will aid better integration in the future.

    http://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/13164/is-germany-facing-a-mental-health-crisis-among-refugees-and-migrants
    #Allemagne #santé_mentale #réfugiés #asile #migrations #crime #criminalité #stress #traumatisme #viol #statut_social


  • 56,800 migrant dead and missing : ’They are human beings’

    One by one, five to a grave, the coffins are buried in the red earth of this ill-kept corner of a South African cemetery. The scrawl on the cheap wood attests to their anonymity: “Unknown B/Male.”

    These men were migrants from elsewhere in Africa with next to nothing who sought a living in the thriving underground economy of Gauteng province, a name that roughly translates to “land of gold.” Instead of fortune, many found death, their bodies unnamed and unclaimed — more than 4,300 in Gauteng between 2014 and 2017 alone.

    Some of those lives ended here at the Olifantsvlei cemetery, in silence, among tufts of grass growing over tiny placards that read: Pauper Block. There are coffins so tiny that they could belong only to children.

    As migration worldwide soars to record highs, far less visible has been its toll: The tens of thousands of people who die or simply disappear during their journeys, never to be seen again. In most cases, nobody is keeping track: Barely counted in life, these people don’t register in death , as if they never lived at all.

    An Associated Press tally has documented at least 56,800 migrants dead or missing worldwide since 2014 — almost double the number found in the world’s only official attempt to try to count them, by the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration. The IOM toll as of Oct. 1 was more than 28,500. The AP came up with almost 28,300 additional dead or missing migrants by compiling information from other international groups, requesting forensic records, missing persons reports and death records, and sifting through data from thousands of interviews with migrants.

    The toll is the result of migration that is up 49 percent since the turn of the century, with more than 258 million international migrants in 2017, according to the United Nations. A growing number have drowned, died in deserts or fallen prey to traffickers, leaving their families to wonder what on earth happened to them. At the same time, anonymous bodies are filling cemeteries around the world, like the one in Gauteng.

    The AP’s tally is still low. More bodies of migrants lie undiscovered in desert sands or at the bottom of the sea. And families don’t always report loved ones as missing because they migrated illegally, or because they left home without saying exactly where they were headed.

    The official U.N. toll focuses mostly on Europe, but even there cases fall through the cracks. The political tide is turning against migrants in Europe just as in the United States, where the government is cracking down heavily on caravans of Central Americans trying to get in . One result is that money is drying up for projects to track migration and its costs.

    For example, when more than 800 people died in an April 2015 shipwreck off the coast of Italy, Europe’s deadliest migrant sea disaster, Italian investigators pledged to identify them and find their families. More than three years later, under a new populist government, funding for this work is being cut off.

    Beyond Europe, information is even more scarce. Little is known about the toll in South America, where the Venezuelan migration is among the world’s biggest today, and in Asia, the top region for numbers of migrants.

    The result is that governments vastly underestimate the toll of migration, a major political and social issue in most of the world today.

    “No matter where you stand on the whole migration management debate....these are still human beings on the move,” said Bram Frouws, the head of the Mixed Migration Centre , based in Geneva, which has done surveys of more than 20,000 migrants in its 4Mi project since 2014. “Whether it’s refugees or people moving for jobs, they are human beings.”

    They leave behind families caught between hope and mourning, like that of Safi al-Bahri. Her son, Majdi Barhoumi, left their hometown of Ras Jebel, Tunisia, on May 7, 2011, headed for Europe in a small boat with a dozen other migrants. The boat sank and Barhoumi hasn’t been heard from since. In a sign of faith that he is still alive, his parents built an animal pen with a brood of hens, a few cows and a dog to stand watch until he returns.

    “I just wait for him. I always imagine him behind me, at home, in the market, everywhere,” said al-Bahari. “When I hear a voice at night, I think he’s come back. When I hear the sound of a motorcycle, I think my son is back.”

    ———————————————————————

    EUROPE: BOATS THAT NEVER ARRIVE

    Of the world’s migration crises, Europe’s has been the most cruelly visible. Images of the lifeless body of a Kurdish toddler on a beach, frozen tent camps in Eastern Europe, and a nearly numbing succession of deadly shipwrecks have been transmitted around the world, adding to the furor over migration.

    In the Mediterranean, scores of tankers, cargo boats, cruise ships and military vessels tower over tiny, crowded rafts powered by an outboard motor for a one-way trip. Even larger boats carrying hundreds of migrants may go down when soft breezes turn into battering winds and thrashing waves further from shore.

    Two shipwrecks and the deaths of at least 368 people off the coast of Italy in October 2013 prompted the IOM’s research into migrant deaths. The organization has focused on deaths in the Mediterranean, although its researchers plead for more data from elsewhere in the world. This year alone, the IOM has found more than 1,700 deaths in the waters that divide Africa and Europe.

    Like the lost Tunisians of Ras Jebel, most of them set off to look for work. Barhoumi, his friends, cousins and other would-be migrants camped in the seaside brush the night before their departure, listening to the crash of the waves that ultimately would sink their raft.

    Khalid Arfaoui had planned to be among them. When the group knocked at his door, it wasn’t fear that held him back, but a lack of cash. Everyone needed to chip in to pay for the boat, gas and supplies, and he was short about $100. So he sat inside and watched as they left for the beachside campsite where even today locals spend the night before embarking to Europe.

    Propelled by a feeble outboard motor and overburdened with its passengers, the rubber raft flipped, possibly after grazing rocks below the surface on an uninhabited island just offshore. Two bodies were retrieved. The lone survivor was found clinging to debris eight hours later.

    The Tunisian government has never tallied its missing, and the group never made it close enough to Europe to catch the attention of authorities there. So these migrants never have been counted among the dead and missing.

    “If I had gone with them, I’d be lost like the others,” Arfaoui said recently, standing on the rocky shoreline with a group of friends, all of whom vaguely planned to leave for Europe. “If I get the chance, I’ll do it. Even if I fear the sea and I know I might die, I’ll do it.”

    With him that day was 30-year-old Mounir Aguida, who had already made the trip once, drifting for 19 hours after the boat engine cut out. In late August this year, he crammed into another raft with seven friends, feeling the waves slam the flimsy bow. At the last minute he and another young man jumped out.

    “It didn’t feel right,” Aguida said.

    There has been no word from the other six — yet another group of Ras Jebel’s youth lost to the sea. With no shipwreck reported, no survivors to rescue and no bodies to identify, the six young men are not counted in any toll.

    In addition to watching its own youth flee, Tunisia and to a lesser degree neighboring Algeria are transit points for other Africans north bound for Europe. Tunisia has its own cemetery for unidentified migrants, as do Greece, Italy and Turkey. The one at Tunisia’s southern coast is tended by an unemployed sailor named Chamseddin Marzouk.

    Of around 400 bodies interred in the coastal graveyard since it opened in 2005, only one has ever been identified. As for the others who lie beneath piles of dirt, Marzouk couldn’t imagine how their families would ever learn their fate.

    “Their families may think that the person is still alive, or that he’ll return one day to visit,” Marzouk said. “They don’t know that those they await are buried here, in Zarzis, Tunisia.”

    ——————

    AFRICA: VANISHING WITHOUT A TRACE

    Despite talk of the ’waves’ of African migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean, as many migrate within Africa — 16 million — as leave for Europe. In all, since 2014, at least 18,400 African migrants have died traveling within Africa, according to the figures compiled from AP and IOM records. That includes more than 4,300 unidentified bodies in a single South African province, and 8,700 whose traveling companions reported their disappearance en route out of the Horn of Africa in interviews with 4Mi.

    When people vanish while migrating in Africa, it is often without a trace. The IOM says the Sahara Desert may well have killed more migrants than the Mediterranean. But no one will ever know for sure in a region where borders are little more than lines drawn on maps and no government is searching an expanse as large as the continental United States. The harsh sun and swirling desert sands quickly decompose and bury bodies of migrants, so that even when they turn up, they are usually impossible to identify .

    With a prosperous economy and stable government, South Africa draws more migrants than any other country in Africa. The government is a meticulous collector of fingerprints — nearly every legal resident and citizen has a file somewhere — so bodies without any records are assumed to have been living and working in the country illegally. The corpses are fingerprinted when possible, but there is no regular DNA collection.

    South Africa also has one of the world’s highest rates of violent crime and police are more focused on solving domestic cases than identifying migrants.

    “There’s logic to that, as sad as it is....You want to find the killer if you’re a policeman, because the killer could kill more people,” said Jeanine Vellema, the chief specialist of the province’s eight mortuaries. Migrant identification, meanwhile, is largely an issue for foreign families — and poor ones at that.

    Vellema has tried to patch into the police missing persons system, to build a system of electronic mortuary records and to establish a protocol where a DNA sample is taken from every set of remains that arrive at the morgue. She sighs: “Resources.” It’s a word that comes up 10 times in a half-hour conversation.

    So the bodies end up at Olifantsvlei or a cemetery like it, in unnamed graves. On a recent visit by AP, a series of open rectangles awaited the bodies of the unidentified and unclaimed. They did not wait long: a pickup truck drove up, piled with about 10 coffins, five per grave. There were at least 180 grave markers for the anonymous dead, with multiple bodies in each grave.

    The International Committee of the Red Cross, which is working with Vellema, has started a pilot project with one Gauteng morgue to take detailed photos, fingerprints, dental information and DNA samples of unidentified bodies. That information goes to a database where, in theory, the bodies can be traced.

    “Every person has a right to their dignity. And to their identity,” said Stephen Fonseca, the ICRC regional forensic manager.

    ————————————

    THE UNITED STATES: “THAT’S HOW MY BROTHER USED TO SLEEP”

    More than 6,000 miles (9,000 kilometers) away, in the deserts that straddle the U.S.-Mexico border, lie the bodies of migrants who perished trying to cross land as unforgiving as the waters of the Mediterranean. Many fled the violence and poverty of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador or Mexico. Some are found months or years later as mere skeletons. Others make a last, desperate phone call and are never heard from again.

    In 2010 the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team and the local morgue in Pima County, Ariz., began to organize efforts to put names to the anonymous bodies found on both sides of the border. The “Border Project” has since identified more than 183 people — a fraction of the total.

    At least 3,861 migrants are dead and missing on the route from Mexico to the United States since 2014, according to the combined AP and IOM total. The tally includes missing person reports from the Colibri Center for Human Rights on the U.S. side as well as the Argentine group’s data from the Mexican side. The painstaking work of identification can take years, hampered by a lack of resources, official records and coordination between countries — and even between states.

    For many families of the missing, it is their only hope, but for the families of Juan Lorenzo Luna and Armando Reyes, that hope is fading.

    Luna, 27, and Reyes, 22, were brothers-in-law who left their small northern Mexico town of Gomez Palacio in August 2016. They had tried to cross to the U.S. four months earlier, but surrendered to border patrol agents in exhaustion and were deported.

    They knew they were risking their lives — Reyes’ father died migrating in 1995, and an uncle went missing in 2004. But Luna, a quiet family man, wanted to make enough money to buy a pickup truck and then return to his wife and two children. Reyes wanted a job where he wouldn’t get his shoes dirty and could give his newborn daughter a better life.

    Of the five who left Gomez Palacio together, two men made it to safety, and one man turned back. The only information he gave was that the brothers-in-law had stopped walking and planned to turn themselves in again. That is the last that is known of them.

    Officials told their families that they had scoured prisons and detention centers, but there was no sign of the missing men. Cesaria Orona even consulted a fortune teller about her missing son, Armando, and was told he had died in the desert.

    One weekend in June 2017, volunteers found eight bodies next to a military area of the Arizona desert and posted the images online in the hopes of finding family. Maria Elena Luna came across a Facebook photo of a decaying body found in an arid landscape dotted with cactus and shrubs, lying face-up with one leg bent outward. There was something horribly familiar about the pose.

    “That’s how my brother used to sleep,” she whispered.

    Along with the bodies, the volunteers found a credential of a boy from Guatemala, a photo and a piece of paper with a number written on it. The photo was of Juan Lorenzo Luna, and the number on the paper was for cousins of the family. But investigators warned that a wallet or credential could have been stolen, as migrants are frequently robbed.

    “We all cried,” Luna recalled. “But I said, we cannot be sure until we have the DNA test. Let’s wait.”

    Luna and Orona gave DNA samples to the Mexican government and the Argentine group. In November 2017, Orona received a letter from the Mexican government saying that there was the possibility of a match for Armando with some bone remains found in Nuevo Leon, a state that borders Texas. But the test was negative.

    The women are still waiting for results from the Argentine pathologists. Until then, their relatives remain among the uncounted.

    Orona holds out hope that the men may be locked up, or held by “bad people.” Every time Luna hears about clandestine graves or unidentified bodies in the news, the anguish is sharp.

    “Suddenly all the memories come back,” she said. “I do not want to think.”

    ————————

    SOUTH AMERICA: “NO ONE WANTS TO ADMIT THIS IS A REALITY”

    The toll of the dead and the missing has been all but ignored in one of the largest population movements in the world today — that of nearly 2 million Venezuelans fleeing from their country’s collapse. These migrants have hopped buses across the borders, boarded flimsy boats in the Caribbean, and — when all else failed — walked for days along scorching highways and freezing mountain trails. Vulnerable to violence from drug cartels, hunger and illness that lingers even after reaching their destination, they have disappeared or died by the hundreds.

    “They can’t withstand a trip that hard, because the journey is very long,” said Carlos Valdes, director of neighboring Colombia’s national forensic institute. “And many times, they only eat once a day. They don’t eat. And they die.” Valdes said authorities don’t always recover the bodies of those who die, as some migrants who have entered the country illegally are afraid to seek help.

    Valdes believes hypothermia has killed some as they trek through the mountain tundra region, but he had no idea how many. One migrant told the AP he saw a family burying someone wrapped in a white blanket with red flowers along the frigid journey.

    Marta Duque, 55, has had a front seat to the Venezuela migration crisis from her home in Pamplona, Colombia. She opens her doors nightly to provide shelter for families with young children. Pamplona is one of the last cities migrants reach before venturing up a frigid mountain paramo, one of the most dangerous parts of the trip for migrants traveling by foot. Temperatures dip well below freezing.

    She said inaction from authorities has forced citizens like her to step in.

    “Everyone just seems to pass the ball,” she said. “No one wants to admit this is a reality.”

    Those deaths are uncounted, as are dozens in the sea. Also uncounted are those reported missing in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. In all at least 3,410 Venezuelans have been reported missing or dead in a migration within Latin America whose dangers have gone relatively unnoticed; many of the dead perished from illnesses on the rise in Venezuela that easily would have found treatment in better times.

    Among the missing is Randy Javier Gutierrez, who was walking through Colombia with a cousin and his aunt in hopes of reaching Peru to reunite with his mother.

    Gutierrez’s mother, Mariela Gamboa, said that a driver offered a ride to the two women, but refused to take her son. The women agreed to wait for him at the bus station in Cali, about 160 miles (257 kilometers) ahead, but he never arrived. Messages sent to his phone since that day four months ago have gone unread.

    “I’m very worried,” his mother said. “I don’t even know what to do.”

    ———————————

    ASIA: A VAST UNKNOWN

    The region with the largest overall migration, Asia, also has the least information on the fate of those who disappear after leaving their homelands. Governments are unwilling or unable to account for citizens who leave for elsewhere in the region or in the Mideast, two of the most common destinations, although there’s a growing push to do so.

    Asians make up 40 percent of the world’s migrants, and more than half of them never leave the region. The Associated Press was able to document more than 8,200 migrants who disappeared or died after leaving home in Asia and the Mideast, including thousands in the Philippines and Indonesia.

    Thirteen of the top 20 migration pathways from Asia take place within the region. These include Indian workers heading to the United Arab Emirates, Bangladeshis heading to India, Rohingya Muslims escaping persecution in Myanmar, and Afghans crossing the nearest border to escape war. But with large-scale smuggling and trafficking of labor, and violent displacements, the low numbers of dead and missing indicate not safe travel but rather a vast unknown.

    Almass was just 14 when his widowed mother reluctantly sent him and his 11-year-old brother from their home in Khost, Afghanistan, into that unknown. The payment for their trip was supposed to get them away from the Taliban and all the way to Germany via a chain of smugglers. The pair crammed first into a pickup with around 40 people, walked for a few days at the border, crammed into a car, waited a bit in Tehran, and walked a few more days.

    His brother Murtaza was exhausted by the time they reached the Iran-Turkey border. But the smuggler said it wasn’t the time to rest — there were at least two border posts nearby and the risk that children far younger travelling with them would make noise.

    Almass was carrying a baby in his arms and holding his brother’s hand when they heard the shout of Iranian guards. Bullets whistled past as he tumbled head over heels into a ravine and lost consciousness.

    Alone all that day and the next, Almass stumbled upon three other boys in the ravine who had also become separated from the group, then another four. No one had seen his brother. And although the younger boy had his ID, it had been up to Almass to memorize the crucial contact information for the smuggler.

    When Almass eventually called home, from Turkey, he couldn’t bear to tell his mother what had happened. He said Murtaza couldn’t come to the phone but sent his love.

    That was in early 2014. Almass, who is now 18, hasn’t spoken to his family since.

    Almass said he searched for his brother among the 2,773 children reported to the Red Cross as missing en route to Europe. He also looked for himself among the 2,097 adults reported missing by children. They weren’t on the list.

    With one of the world’s longest-running exoduses, Afghans face particular dangers in bordering countries that are neither safe nor welcoming. Over a period of 10 months from June 2017 to April 2018, 4Mi carried out a total of 962 interviews with Afghan migrants and refugees in their native languages around the world, systematically asking a series of questions about the specific dangers they had faced and what they had witnessed.

    A total of 247 migrant deaths were witnessed by the interviewed migrants, who reported seeing people killed in violence from security forces or starving to death. The effort is the first time any organization has successfully captured the perils facing Afghans in transit to destinations in Asia and Europe.

    Almass made it from Asia to Europe and speaks halting French now to the woman who has given him a home in a drafty 400-year-old farmhouse in France’s Limousin region. But his family is lost to him. Their phone number in Afghanistan no longer works, their village is overrun with Taliban, and he has no idea how to find them — or the child whose hand slipped from his grasp four years ago.

    “I don’t know now where they are,” he said, his face anguished, as he sat on a sun-dappled bench. “They also don’t know where I am.”

    https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/global-lost-56800-migrants-dead-missing-years-58890913
    #décès #morts #migrations #réfugiés #asile #statistiques #chiffres #monde #Europe #Asie #Amérique_latine #Afrique #USA #Etats-Unis #2014 #2015 #2016 #2017 #2018
    ping @reka @simplicissimus


  • Burkina Faso: June – October 2018 Chronology of Violent Incidents Related to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS)
    Sahel Memo
    http://www.sahelmemo.com/2018/11/01/burkina-faso-june-october-2018-chronology-of-violent-incidents-related-to

    Burkina Faso: June – October 2018 Takeaways and Trends
    – Militants activity in Burkina Faso have been on the rise for the past two years. Since June 2018 Sahel MeMo observed similar trend with an expansion from Northern parts bordering Mali and Niger, to the Est Region on the borders with Benin, Niger, and Togo. Militant groups have been trying to establish a base there since early 2016, explaining groups’ ability to carry complex deadly attacks, including the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
    – Violence in the eastern part of Burkina Faso by militant groups most likely to continue. In addition to targeting security forces and intimidation acts against civil servants, militants will look to continue to disrupt gold mining in the area. In fact, security forces in charge of protecting gold mines or escorting staff have been subject to attacks by militants at least in August 2018. If this to continue, livelihoods of local communities benefiting from gold mining could be at risk if security situation continues to deteriorate in the region.
    – These attacks are mostly attributed rather than claimed by militant groups known to operate in Burkina Faso. These militant groups include Ansaroul Islam, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimeen (JNIM), and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS). Out of the three only JNIM have been consistent releasing official claims of attacks. Thus analysts, observers, journalists, and Burkinabe authorities are contributing most of violent incidents based on the area where occurred and means used. Important to note that between June and October 2018 no incidents officially claimed by JNIM. This could be explained by difficulty of movement during rainy season (June – October) in the region.
    – October 3rd witnessed the first reported French airstrikes against militants after request of support from Burkinabe authorities. This was following a deadly attack against Inata gold mine gendarmerie post.


    #Burkina #Terrorisme


  • Words matter. Is it @AP style to call migrants an “army”—above a photo of mothers tending to their infants and toddlers, no less? This is not only incorrect, but it enables a racist narrative sold by this @POTUS and his supporters. Armies invade. These people are running away.


    https://twitter.com/JamilSmith/status/1054163071785037824
    #armée #terminologie #préjugés #invasion #afflux #mots #vocabulaire #migrations #réfugiés #médias #journalisme #presse

    • #Polly_Pallister-Wilkins sur la marche de migrants qui a lieu en Amérique centrale...

      Dear media reporting on the Central American migrant caravan, can you please be attentive to how you talk about it? 1/n
      People are walking, walking not pouring, flowing, or streaming. Walking. They are walking along roads, they will be tired, hungry, their feet will hurt, they will have blisters and sore joints. They are not a natural liquid phenomenon governed by the force of gravity. 2/n
      Their walking is conditioned by the infrastructures they move along like roads, the physical geographies they traverse like hills and rivers and the human controls they encounter like border controls and police checkpoints. 3/n
      All of these things are risky, they make the walk, the journey more difficult and dangerous, esepcially the police checkpoints and the border controls. These risks are the reason they are travelling as a caravan, as a large group attempting to minimise the risks of controls 4/n
      And the risks from gangs and criminals that migrants on their journeys routinely face. Their journey is a deeply embodied one, and one that is deeply conditioned both by the violence they are leaving and the violence of the journey itself. 5/n
      So media please try and reflect this in your storytelling. These people are not a river obeying gravity. They have made an active yet conditioned choice to move. When they encounter a block in their path this can be deadly. It can detain, deport, injure, rape, or kill. 6/n
      And these blockages are not boulders in a riverbed around which the river flows. These blockages, these #checkpoints, border controls or police patrols are human blockages, they are not natural. So please try and reflect the political structures of this journey. Please. End/
      Addendum: there is a long history of caravans as a form political resistance in Central America.

      https://twitter.com/PollyWilkins/status/1054267257944227840
      #marche #migrations #Honduras #Amérique_centrale #mots #vocabulaire #terminologie #média #journalisme #presse #caravane #métaphores_liquides #risque #gravité #mouvement #contrôles_frontaliers #blocages #barrières #résistance #Mexique

    • Migrants travel in groups for a simple reason: safety

      A caravan of Central American migrants traveling to through Mexico to the United States to seek asylum is about halfway through its journey.

      The caravan began on Oct. 13 in Honduras with 200 people. As it has moved through Honduras, Guatemala and now Mexico, its ranks have grown to over 7,000, according to an estimate by the International Organization of Migration.

      The migrants have been joined by representatives from humanitarian organizations like the Mexican Red Cross providing medical assistance and human rights groups that monitor the situation.

      Journalists are there, too, and their reporting has caught the attention of President Donald Trump.

      He has claimed that the caravan’s ranks probably hide Middle Eastern terrorists. Trump later acknowledged there is no evidence of this, but conservative media outlets have nevertheless spread the message.

      It is reasonable for Americans to have security concerns about immigration. But as a scholar of forced migration, I believe it’s also important to consider why migrants travel in groups: their own safety.
      Safety in numbers

      The Central Americans in the caravan, like hundreds of thousands of people who flee the region each year, are escaping extreme violence, lack of economic opportunity and growing environmental problems, including drought and floods, back home.

      Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico have some of the world’s highest murder rates. According to Doctors Without Borders, which provides medical care in crisis zones, 68 percent of the migrants and refugees it surveyed in Mexico had experienced violence. Nearly one-third of women were sexually abused.

      Whether crossing Central America, the Sahara desert or the mountains of Afghanistan, migrants are regularly extorted by criminals, militias and corrupt immigration officials who know migrants make easy targets: They carry cash but not weapons.

      Large groups increase migrants’ chance of safe passage, and they provide some sense of community and solidarity on the journey, as migrants themselves report.
      Publicizing the dangers they flee

      Large groups of migrants also attract media coverage. As journalists write about why people are on the move, they shed light on Central America’s many troubles.

      Yet headlines about huge migrant caravans may misrepresent trends at the U.S.-Mexico border, where migration is actually decreasing.

      While the number of Central American families and children seeking asylum in the U.S. has increased in the past two years, Mexican economic migrants are crossing the border at historically low levels.

      And while most migrant caravan members hope to seek asylum in the U.S., recent history shows many will stay in Mexico.

      In response to Trump’s immigration crackdown, Mexican president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador has promised to welcome Central American refugees — and try to keep them safe.


      https://theconversation.com/migrants-travel-in-groups-for-a-simple-reason-safety-105621

      #sécurité

    • Trump’s Caravan Hysteria Led to This

      The president and his supporters insisted that several thousand Honduran migrants were a looming menace—and the Pittsburgh gunman took that seriously.

      On Tuesday, October 16, President Donald Trump started tweeting.

      “The United States has strongly informed the President of Honduras that if the large Caravan of people heading to the U.S. is not stopped and brought back to Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!”

      “We have today informed the countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador that if they allow their citizens, or others, to journey through their borders and up to the United States, with the intention of entering our country illegally, all payments made to them will STOP (END)!”

      Vice President Mike Pence also tweeted:

      “Spoke to President Hernandez of Honduras about the migrant caravan heading to the U.S. Delivered strong message from @POTUS: no more aid if caravan is not stopped. Told him U.S. will not tolerate this blatant disregard for our border & sovereignty.”

      The apparent impetus for this outrage was a segment on Fox News that morning that detailed a migrant caravan thousands of miles away in Honduras. The caravan, which began sometime in mid-October, is made up of refugees fleeing violence in their home country. Over the next few weeks, Trump did his best to turn the caravan into a national emergency. Trump falsely told his supporters that there were “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners” in the caravan, a claim that had no basis in fact and that was meant to imply that terrorists were hiding in the caravan—one falsehood placed on another. Defense Secretary James Mattis ordered more troops to the border. A Fox News host took it upon herself to ask Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen whether there was “any scenario under which if people force their way across the border they could be shot at,” to which Nielsen responded, “We do not have any intention right now to shoot at people.”

      Pence told Fox News on Friday, “What the president of Honduras told me is that the caravan was organized by leftist organizations, political activists within Honduras, and he said it was being funded by outside groups, and even from Venezuela … So the American people, I think, see through this—they understand this is not a spontaneous caravan of vulnerable people.”

      The Department of Homeland Security’s Twitter account “confirmed” that within the caravan are people who are “gang members or have significant criminal histories,” without offering evidence of any such ties. Trump sought to blame the opposition party for the caravan’s existence. “Every time you see a Caravan, or people illegally coming, or attempting to come, into our Country illegally, think of and blame the Democrats for not giving us the votes to change our pathetic Immigration Laws!” Trump tweeted on October 22. “Remember the Midterms! So unfair to those who come in legally.”

      In the right-wing fever swamps, where the president’s every word is worshipped, commenters began amplifying Trump’s exhortations with new details. Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida wondered whether George Soros—the wealthy Jewish philanthropist whom Trump and several members of the U.S. Senate blamed for the protests against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and who was recently targeted with a bomb—was behind the migrant caravan. NRATV, the propaganda organ of the National Rifle Association, linked two Republican obsessions, voter fraud and immigration. Chuck Holton told NRATV’s viewers that Soros was sending the caravan to the United States so the migrants could vote: “It’s telling that a bevy of left-wing groups are partnering with a Hungarian-born billionaire and the Venezuelan government to try to influence the 2018 midterms by sending Honduran migrants north in the thousands.” On CNN, the conservative commentator Matt Schlapp pointedly asked the anchor Alisyn Camerota, “Who’s paying for the caravan? Alisyn, who’s paying for the caravan?,” before later answering his own question: “Because of the liberal judges and other people that intercede, including George Soros, we have too much chaos at our southern border.” On Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show, one guest said, “These individuals are not immigrants—these are people that are invading our country,” as another guest asserted they were seeking “the destruction of American society and culture.”

      Peter Beinart: Trump shut programs to counter violent extremists

      In the meantime, much of the mainstream press abetted Trump’s effort to make the midterm election a referendum on the caravan. Popular news podcasts devoted entire episodes to the caravan. It remained on the front pages of major media websites. It was an overwhelming topic of conversation on cable news, where Trumpists freely spread disinformation about the threat the migrants posed, while news anchors displayed exasperation over their false claims, only to invite them back on the next day’s newscast to do it all over again.

      In reality, the caravan was thousands of miles and weeks away from the U.S. border, shrinking in size, and unlikely to reach the U.S. before the election. If the migrants reach the U.S., they have the right under U.S. law to apply for asylum at a port of entry. If their claims are not accepted, they will be turned away. There is no national emergency; there is no ominous threat. There is only a group of desperate people looking for a better life, who have a right to request asylum in the United States and have no right to stay if their claims are rejected. Trump is reportedly aware that his claims about the caravan are false. An administration official told the Daily Beast simply, “It doesn’t matter if it’s 100 percent accurate … this is the play.” The “play” was to demonize vulnerable people with falsehoods in order to frighten Trump’s base to the polls.

      Nevertheless, some took the claims of the president and his allies seriously. On Saturday morning, Shabbat morning, a gunman walked into the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and killed 11 people. The massacre capped off a week of terrorism, in which one man mailed bombs to nearly a dozen Trump critics and another killed two black people in a grocery store after failing to force his way into a black church.

      Before committing the Tree of Life massacre, the shooter, who blamed Jews for the caravan of “invaders” and who raged about it on social media, made it clear that he was furious at HIAS, founded as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, a Jewish group that helps resettle refugees in the United States. He shared posts on Gab, a social-media site popular with the alt-right, expressing alarm at the sight of “massive human caravans of young men from Honduras and El Salvador invading America thru our unsecured southern border.” And then he wrote, “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

      The people killed on Saturday were killed for trying to make the world a better place, as their faith exhorts them to do. The history of the Jewish people is one of displacement, statelessness, and persecution. What groups like HIAS do in helping refugees, they do with the knowledge that comes from a history of being the targets of demagogues who persecute minorities in pursuit of power.

      Ordinarily, a politician cannot be held responsible for the actions of a deranged follower. But ordinarily, politicians don’t praise supporters who have mercilessly beaten a Latino man as “very passionate.” Ordinarily, they don’t offer to pay supporters’ legal bills if they assault protesters on the other side. They don’t praise acts of violence against the media. They don’t defend neo-Nazi rioters as “fine people.” They don’t justify sending bombs to their critics by blaming the media for airing criticism. Ordinarily, there is no historic surge in anti-Semitism, much of it targeted at Jewish critics, coinciding with a politician’s rise. And ordinarily, presidents do not blatantly exploit their authority in an effort to terrify white Americans into voting for their party. For the past few decades, most American politicians, Republican and Democrat alike, have been careful not to urge their supporters to take matters into their own hands. Trump did everything he could to fan the flames, and nothing to restrain those who might take him at his word.

      Many of Trump’s defenders argue that his rhetoric is mere shtick—that his attacks, however cruel, aren’t taken 100 percent seriously by his supporters. But to make this argument is to concede that following Trump’s statements to their logical conclusion could lead to violence against his targets, and it is only because most do not take it that way that the political violence committed on Trump’s behalf is as limited as it currently is.

      The Tree of Life shooter criticized Trump for not being racist or anti-Semitic enough. But with respect to the caravan, the shooter merely followed the logic of the president and his allies: He was willing to do whatever was necessary to prevent an “invasion” of Latinos planned by perfidious Jews, a treasonous attempt to seek “the destruction of American society and culture.”

      The apparent spark for the worst anti-Semitic massacre in American history was a racist hoax inflamed by a U.S. president seeking to help his party win a midterm election. There is no political gesture, no public statement, and no alteration in rhetoric or behavior that will change this fact. The shooter might have found a different reason to act on a different day. But he chose to act on Saturday, and he apparently chose to act in response to a political fiction that the president himself chose to spread and that his followers chose to amplify.

      As for those who aided the president in his propaganda campaign, who enabled him to prey on racist fears to fabricate a national emergency, who said to themselves, “This is the play”? Every single one of them bears some responsibility for what followed. Their condemnations of anti-Semitism are meaningless. Their thoughts and prayers are worthless. Their condolences are irrelevant. They can never undo what they have done, and what they have done will never be forgotten.

      https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/caravan-lie-sparked-massacre-american-jews/574213

    • Latin American asylum seekers hit US policy “wall”

      Trump’s new restrictions mean long waits simply to register claims.

      The movement of thousands of Central American asylum seekers and migrants north from Honduras towards the southern border of the United States has precipitated threats from US President Donald Trump – ahead of next week’s midterm elections – to block the group’s entry by deploying troops to the US-Mexican border.

      Under international law the United States is obligated to allow asylum seekers to enter and file claims. However, immigration officials at the country’s southern border have for months been shifting toward legally dubious practices that restrict people’s ability to file asylum claims.

      “Make no mistake, the administration is building a wall – one made of restrictionist policy rather than brick and mortar,” said Jason Boyd, policy counsel at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

      As a result, hundreds, possibly thousands, of asylum seekers have been left waiting for extended periods of time on the Mexican side of the border in need of shelter and basic services. Firm numbers for those affected are difficult to come by because no one is counting.

      Some of those turned away explore potentially dangerous alternatives. Aid and advocacy groups as well as the Department of Homeland Security say the wait has likely pushed some to attempt to enter the United States illegally, either with smugglers or on their own via perilous desert routes.

      While some of those in the so-called “migrant caravan” are searching for economic opportunity, others are fleeing gang violence, gender-based violence, political repression or unrest – all increasingly common factors in Central America and Mexico that push people to leave their homes.
      Menacing phone calls

      When people from the migrant caravan reach the southern border of the United States, they may find themselves in a similar position to Dolores Alzuri, 47, from Michoacan, a state in central Mexico.

      In late September, she was camped out with her husband, daughter, granddaughter, and aunt on the Mexican side of the DeConcini port of entry separating the twin cities of Nogales – one in the Mexican state of Sonora, the other in the US state of Arizona.

      Alzuri and her family were waiting for their turn to claim asylum in the United States, with only a police report in hand as proof of the threats they faced back home. Camping beside them on the pedestrian walkway just outside the grated metal door leading to the United States, nine other families waited to do the same.

      Over the preceding month Alzuri had received several menacing phone calls from strangers demanding money. In Michoacan, and many other parts of Mexico where criminal gangs have a strong presence, almost anybody can receive calls like these. You don’t know who’s on the other end of the line, Alzuri explained, but you do know the consequences of not following their orders.

      “If you do not give [money] to them, they kidnap you or they kidnap your family,” Alzuri said. “They destroy you. They kill you. That is why it is so scary to be in this country.”

      Other people she knew had received similar calls. She also knew that those who didn’t pay ended up dead – pictures of their bodies posted on Facebook as a macabre warning of what happens to those who resist.

      Fearing a similar fate, Alzuri packed her bags and her family and travelled north to ask for asylum in the United States. A friend had been granted asylum about nine months ago, and she had seen on television that other people were going, too. It seemed like the only way out.

      “I had a problem,” she said, referring to the phone calls. “They asked us for money, and since we did not give them money, they threatened us.”

      Before leaving her home, Alzuri said she filed a police report. But the authorities didn’t care enough to act on it, she said. “They are not going to risk their life for mine.”
      No way out

      Despite the danger at home, Alzuri and others in similar situations face an increasingly difficult time applying for asylum in the United States. At the Nogales crossing, asylum seekers must now wait up to a month simply to be allowed to set foot inside a border office where they can register their claims, aid workers there say.

      Those waiting are stuck in territory on the Mexican side that is controlled by gangs similar to the ones many are fleeing, though local aid groups have scrambled to find space in shelters, especially for women and children, so people will be safer while they wait.

      The situation hasn’t always been like this.

      In the past, asylum seekers were almost always admitted to register their claims the same day they arrived at the border. Since May, however, there has been a marked slowdown in registration.

      US Custom and Border Protection (CBP), the federal law enforcement agency responsible for screening people as they enter the country, says delays are due to a lack of capacity and space. But asylum advocates say similar numbers have arrived in previous years without causing a delay and the real reason for the slowdown is that CBP has shifted resources away from processing asylum seekers – not just in Nogales but across the southern US border – resulting in people being forced to wait for long periods or turned away altogether.

      This is happening despite the insistence of high-ranking Trump administration officials that asylum seekers present themselves at ports of entry or face criminal prosecution for crossing the border irregularly. Such contradictory policies, asylum advocates argue, are part of a broad-based effort by the Trump administration to dramatically reduce the number of people able to seek protection in the United States.

      “Our legal understanding is that they have the legal obligation to process asylum seekers as they arrive,” said Joanna Williams, director of education and advocacy at the Kino Border Initiative (KBI), a Nogales-based NGO. “There’s no room in the law for what they are doing right now.”
      A system in crisis

      In the past decade, migration across the southern border of the United States has undergone a dramatic change. Every year since the late 1970s US Border Patrol agents apprehended close to a million or more undocumented migrants entering the country. In 2007, that number began to fall, and last year there were just over 310,000 apprehensions – the lowest number since 1971.

      At the same time, the proportion of people entering the United States from the southern border to claim asylum has increased. Ten years ago, one out of every 100 people crossing the border was seeking humanitarian protection, according to a recent report published by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a non-partisan think tank in Washington DC. Today that number is about one in three.

      According to Boyd of AILA, the increase is being driven by ongoing humanitarian emergencies in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, an area of Central America known as the Northern Triangle. These countries have some of the highest homicide rates in the world and are wracked by gang violence, gender-based violence, extortion, and extra-judicial killings. “Many of the individuals and families arriving at the US southern border are literally fleeing for their lives,” said Boyd.

      But the system that is supposed to provide them protection is in crisis. Beginning in 2010 the number of asylum requests lodged in the United States started to balloon, mirroring an upward trend in global displacement. Last year, 79,000 people approached the US border saying they had a credible fear of returning to their home country, compared to 9,000 at the beginning of the decade.

      The increase in credible-fear claims, as well as asylum requests made by people already in the United States, has strained the system to a “crisis point”, according to the MPI report. This has led to a backlog of around 320,000 cases in US immigration courts and people having to wait many months, if not years, to receive a hearing and a decision.
      Crackdown

      Senior officials in the Trump administration, including the president, have consistently lumped asylum seekers and economic migrants together, positing that the United States is being “invaded” by a “massive influx of illegal aliens” across the southern border, and that the asylum system is subject to “systematic abuse” by people looking to gain easy entry to the country.

      People working on the ground with asylum seekers refute this. Eduardo Garcia is a communication coordinator at SOA Watch, an organisation that monitors the humanitarian impact of US policy in Latin America. He has spent time in Nogales speaking with people waiting to claim asylum.

      “The stories of many of the people we have talked to… are stories of people fleeing gang violence, are stories of people fleeing because one of their sons was killed, because one of their sons was threatened, because one of their family members [was] raped,” he said. “They have said they cannot go back to their countries. If they are sent back they are going to be killed.”

      Still, the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy on immigration – responsible for the recent child-separation crisis – has also included measures that have restricted access to asylum in the United States.

      In May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Justice Department would begin criminally prosecuting everyone who irregularly crossed the US southern border, including asylum seekers. In June, that policy was followed by a decision that the United States would no longer consider gang and sexual violence – precisely the reasons so many people flee the Northern Triangle – as legitimate grounds for asylum. Around the same time, CBP appears to have deprioritised the processing of asylum seekers at ports of entry in favour of other responsibilities, leading to the long waits and people being turned away, according to humanitarian workers and a recent report by the DHS’s Office of Inspector General.

      And even as these restrictive policies were being put in place, Trump administration officials have been encouraging asylum seekers to try. “If you’re seeking asylum, go to a port of entry,” Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said in an 18 June press conference. “You do not need to break the law of the United States to seek asylum.”

      Nogales, Mexico

      “I came here with the hope that if I asked for asylum I could be in the United States,” said Modesto, a 54-year-old from Chimaltenango, Guatemala. In mid-September he was sitting in a mess hall run a couple hundred meters from the US border run by KBI, which provides humanitarian assistance to migrants and asylum seekers.

      Modesto had already been in Nogales, Sonora for several months. Like Dolores Alzuri, he fled his home because criminal gangs had tried to extort money from him. “I worked a lot and was making a living in my country,” Modesto explained. “The problem in particular with the gangs is that they don’t let you work… If you have money they extort you. If you don’t have money they want to recruit you.” And people who don’t cooperate: “They’re dead,” he added.

      The situation Modesto found when he arrived in Nogales, Sonora was far from what he expected. For starters, there was the long wait at the border. But he also discovered that – as an adult travelling with his 18-year-old son – even once he entered the United States he would likely end up in a detention centre while his case slowly made its way through the overburdened immigration courts – a practice that has also increased under the Trump administration. “I don’t want to cross… and spend a year in prison when my family needs my help,” he said.

      Modesto is in some ways an exception, according to Williams of KBI. Many of the people arriving in Nogales, Sonora are families with children. Once in the United States they will likely be released from immigration detention with ankle monitoring bracelets to track their movements. These people often choose to wait and to claim asylum at the port of entry when there is space.

      After more than 100 people piled up to wait at the border in May, local humanitarian groups set up a system to organise and keep track of whose turn it was to submit an asylum claim to US immigration officials. They also scrambled to find spaces in shelters so people were not sleeping on the walkway over the weeks they needed to wait.

      Now, only people who are likely to enter soon are camped on the walkway. When IRIN visited, about 40 asylum seekers – mostly women and children – sat on one side of the walkway as a steady stream of people heading to the United States filtered by on the other. Some of the asylum seekers were new arrivals waiting to be taken to a shelter, while others had been sleeping there for days on thin mats waiting for their turn. Volunteers handed out clean clothing and served pasta, as a CBP agent opened and closed the metal gate leading to the United States, just a few tantalisingly short feet away.

      The slowdown of processing “leaves people stranded – in really dangerous situations sometimes – on the other side of the border, and completely violates our obligations under both domestic and international law,” said Katharina Obser, a senior policy adviser at the Women’s Refugee Commission, an NGO that advocates for women, children, and youth displaced by conflict and crisis.

      As a result, some people arrive, find out about the wait, and leave. “We’re fairly certain that those are individuals who then end up crossing the border through other means,” Williams said.

      The DHS Office of the Inspector General came to a similar conclusion, finding that the contradiction between Trump administration rhetoric and policy “may have led asylum seekers at ports of entry to attempt illegal border crossings.”
      Border-wide

      The situation in Nogales, Sonora is far from isolated, according to Boyd of the AILA. “Recent turnbacks of vulnerable asylum seekers have been documented throughout the US southern border,” he said, including at many ports of entry in Texas and California. In those states, asylum seekers have reported being stopped as they approach the border and told they cannot enter because immigration officials don’t have the capacity to process their claims.

      “Turnbacks form part of a comprehensive set of practices and policies advanced under this administration that appears aimed at shutting out asylum seekers from the United States,” Boyd continued.

      Meanwhile, people like Dolores Alzuri – and most likely some of the thousands of Central Americans who are travelling north from Honduras in the hope of claiming asylum – are left with little choice but to wait. Moving somewhere else in Mexico or returning home is not an option, said Alzuri. “The violence is the same in every state,” she said. And crossing the desert, “that’s a big danger.”

      She and her family don’t have a back-up plan. “Let’s hope that I do get [asylum], because I really do need it,” she said. “You don’t live comfortably in your own country anymore. You live in fear that something will happen to you. You can’t walk around on the streets because you feel that you’re being followed.”

      https://www.irinnews.org/news-feature/2018/10/29/latin-american-asylum-seekers-hit-us-policy-wall
      #USA #Etats-Unis #fermeture_des_frontières #Mexique

      Commentaire Emmanuel Blanchar via la mailing-list Migreurop:

      Un article intéressant car il rappelle opportunément que la « caravane des migrants » en route vers les Etats-Unis est également composée de nombreuses personnes qui souhaiteraient pouvoir déposer des demandes d’asile. Or, si la frontières Mexique-USA est loin d’être encore mûrées, un mur administratif empêche déjà que les demandes d’asile puisse être déposées et traitées dans le respect des droits des requérant.e.s.

      #mur_administratif #asile

    • No es una caravana, es un dolor que camina

      La caravana de migrantes es sólo la primera manifestación pública y masiva de la crisis humanitaria en la que vive la mayoría de la población; negada por el gobierno, por la oligarquía, embajadas, organizaciones de la sociedad civil y por algunas agencias de cooperación que le hacen comparsa a la dictadura.

      Esta crisis humanitaria es provocada por el modelo económico neoliberal impuesto a sangre y fuego, que sólo pobreza y violencia ha llevado a las comunidades, que ante la ausencia de oportunidades y ante el acoso de los grupos criminales no tienen otra alternativa que la peligrosa e incierta ruta migratoria; prefieren morir en el camino que en sus barrios y colonias.

      El infierno en que se ha convertido Honduras tiene varios responsables. En primer el lugar el imperialismo, que a través de su embajada promueve la inestabilidad política en el país con el apoyo directo al dictador, que para granjearse ese apoyo les ha entregado el país, hasta el grado del despojo y de la ignominia, como puede observarse en los foros internacionales.

      Otro responsable es el dictador, que además de la incertidumbre que genera en lo económico, en lo político y en lo social, ha profundizado y llevado al extremo las políticas neoliberales, despojando de sus recursos a comunidades enteras, para dárselas a las transnacionales, principalmente norteamericanas y canadienses.

      La oligarquía corrupta, mediocre, salvaje, inepta y rapaz también es responsable de esta crisis humanitaria, quien se ha acostumbrado a vivir del presupuesto nacional a tal grado de convertir al Estado en su patrimonio, por medio de un ejército de ocupación, de diputados y presidentes serviles y títeres, que toman las decisiones no para el pueblo, sino que para sus insaciables intereses.

      Hay otro actor importante en esta crisis y es el Ejército Nacional, fiel sirviente de los intereses imperiales y de la oligarquía, que sólo sirve para consumir una gran tajada del presupuesto nacional y más que un ejército defensor y garante de la soberanía nacional es una fuerza de ocupación; listo para asesinar, torturar y matar aquellos que se oponen al dictador, al imperio y la oligarquía.

      Desgraciadamente esta caravana la conforman los miserables, los desheredados de la tierra, los parias: “los que crían querubes para el presidio y serafines para el burdel” como dijo en su poema, Los Parias, el poeta mexicano Salvador Díaz Mirón.

      Estos miserables y desheredados no huyen de la patria, la aman, la adoran y la llevan convertida en un dolor sobre sus hombros, huyen de los verdugos y carniceros que nos gobiernan y de los otros responsables de esta crisis humanitaria. Los que huyen aman a esta tierra más que los que nos quedamos.

      https://criterio.hn/2018/10/29/no-es-una-caravana-es-un-dolor-que-camina
      #douleur


  • L’Afrique, du #Sahel et du #Sahara à la #Méditerranée : intégrations, #circulations et #fragmentations

    Catherine Fournet-Guérin et Géraud Magrin
    L’Afrique, du Sahel et du Sahara à la Méditerranée : intégrations, circulations et fragmentations [Texte intégral disponible en juillet 2019]
    Africa, from the Sahel and the Sahara to the Mediterranean Sea. Integrations, circulations and fragmentations
    Alexis Gonin

    Le #foncier_pastoral au Sahel, des #mobilités fragilisées [Texte intégral disponible en juillet 2019]
    Pastoral land tenure in Sahel : jeopardized mobilities)
    #pastoralisme
    Ronan Mugelé

    La #Grande_muraille_verte au Sahel : entre ambitions globales et ancrage local [Texte intégral disponible en juillet 2019]
    The great green wall in Sahel : from global to local ambitions
    Géraud Magrin et Christine Raimond

    La région du lac #Tchad face à la crise #Boko_Haram : interdépendances et vulnérabilités d’une charnière sahélienne [Texte intégral disponible en juillet 2019]
    The Lake Chad region and Boko Haram crisis : links and vulnerability of a sahelian hinge
    Anne Bouhali

    Les places marchandes du #made_in_China au #Caire et à# Oran : #mondialisation et transformations des espaces et des pratiques de consommation [Texte intégral disponible en juillet 2019]
    The marketplaces of made-in-China goods in Cairo and Oran : globalization and transformations of consumption spaces and practices
    Nora Mareï et Olivier Ninot
    #Chine #Chinafrique

    Entre Afrique du Nord et de l’Ouest, les #relations_transsahariennes à un moment charnière [Texte intégral disponible en juillet 2019]
    Between north Africa and west Africa : trans-Saharan relations at a key moment
    Alice Franck

    L’échec de la partition d’un État à la charnière entre monde arabe et Afrique subsaharienne : le cas du #Soudan [Texte intégral disponible en juillet 2019]
    The failure of the partition of a pivotal State between the arab world and sub-saharan Africa : the case of Sudan
    Raphaëlle Chevrillon-Guibert et Géraud Magrin

    Ruées vers l’#or au #Soudan, au #Tchad et au Sahel : logiques étatiques, mobilités et contrôle territorial [Texte intégral disponible en juillet 2019]
    Gold rushes in Sudan, Chad and the Sahel : state logic, mobility, territorial control
    Laurent Gagnol
    #extractivisme #mines_d'or #mines

    Marginalité, spécificités et instabilité du #tourisme saharien [Texte intégral disponible en juillet 2019]
    Marginality, specificities and instability of Saharan tourism
    Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy

    Du #kif au #haschich : évolution de l’industrie du #cannabis au #Maroc [Texte intégral disponible en juillet 2019]
    From kif to hashish. the evolution of the cannabis industry in Morocco

    #drogues


    https://journals.openedition.org/bagf/2953
    #revue




  • MEP: Reality of my three days in occupied Western Sahara

    In December 2016, the European Court of Justice reaffirmed that Morocco had no sovereignty over Western Sahara.

    Therefore, the EU-Morocco trade agreement had been illegally applied to that territory.

    This ruling, a mere statement of fact, brought the frozen conflict of Western Sahara to the forefront of the EU agenda, after more than four decades of European passivity or even discreet complicity with the illegal occupying force in Africa’s last colony.

    Rather than complying with the ruling and negotiating a separate agreement with the UN-recognised representative of the people of Western Sahara, the Polisario Front, the Commission chose to prioritise at all costs the preservation of its relationship with its partner in Rabat.

    In a diplomatic whirlwind, the commission and Morocco negotiated a solution that would allow Western Sahara to continue to be part of any successor agreement and it is now holding its breath while the European Parliament assesses this proposal.

    Rather than securing the ECJ-required “consent of the people of Western Sahara”, the commission travelled to Rabat in order to “consult” representatives of “the people concerned by the agreement” and to evaluate the potential benefits for “the local population”.
    Demographic engineering?

    The latter objective de facto gives credit to an illegal and massive process of demographic engineering by Morocco, resulting in the indigenous Saharawi population to become a minority in its own territory.

    The overwhelming share of the “consulted” stakeholders was composed of Moroccans or local representatives with a direct interest in preserving the status quo ante.

    It was estimated that out of the 112 stakeholders that the commission claims to have consulted, 94 of them rejected taking part in the consultation or were never even invited to such talks.

    Following repeated prodding from the Greens/EFA parliamentarians, the commission has had to concede that it does not dispose of any data whatsoever on the existing trade with and from Western Sahara.

    A delegation from the committee on international trade (INTA), including myself, visited the cities of Dakhla and Laayoune in September.

    The programme of the visit had been fully agreed with the Moroccan authorities, who accompanied us alongside a fleet of “official journalists” to every single meeting.

    Moreover, the INTA delegation did not travel outside the part occupied by Morocco.

    We did however learn that the Moroccan authorities are adamant about their intention to continue labelling products from Western Sahara as Moroccan, even though the ECJ ruling clearly states that Western Sahara and Morocco are “two separate and distinct territories”.

    The reality check came when I decided to have an additional meeting with some Saharawi activists.
    Strange incident

    The Moroccan authorities used a textbook method of harassing the human rights defenders: the activists were arrested for reportedly not wearing their seat belt.

    After hours of discussions with an inordinate number of plainclothes police officers, definitely more than needed for a minor traffic infringement, and after being told in quite an aggressive way that I should not have meetings outside of the mission, we managed to leave and hold the meeting in the early hours of the morning.

    I wonder how traffic police had so much information.

    The Sahrawis we met explained that their daily lives are full of such episodes. They showed us several videos of a demonstration that took place on that same day.

    Some of the activists ended up in the hospital after suffering from police brutality. All this happened while the parliamentary delegation was enjoying lavish food from the Moroccan-installed local authorities presenting the extraordinary development prospects of a new agreement negotiated with a benevolent Moroccan administration.

    Some in the parliament claim that “we should not oppose development” in Western Sahara and that opposing the proposed agreement would be to the detriment of the population bringing trade, jobs and income.

    This statement ignores the very fundamental fact: this agreement would consolidate the illegal annexation of Western Sahara by Morocco and run directly against the UN-led peace efforts, by dividing the territory of Western Sahara in two and strengthening one of the parties of the conflict.

    What is the incentive for Rabat to engage genuinely in the UN peace talks foreseen in early December, when it has the EU’s blessing to continue to disregard international law and when it stands to gain from further benefits from a new trade agreement with Brussels?

    If the European parliament gives its consent to this agreement, the ECJ will most likely strike it down.

    We need to stand by the principles of international law instead of signing agreements that clearly violate the rule of law and the right of Sahrawi people to reunite and enjoy their right to self-determination. Our reputation and the fate of a people is at stake.


    https://euobserver.com/opinion/143054
    #Sahara_occidental #occupation #Maroc




  • C.I.A. Drone Mission, Curtailed by Obama, Is Expanded in Africa Under Trump

    The C.I.A. is poised to conduct secret drone strikes against Qaeda and Islamic State insurgents from a newly expanded air base deep in the Sahara, making aggressive use of powers that were scaled back during the Obama administration and restored by President Trump.

    Late in his presidency, Barack Obama sought to put the military in charge of drone attacks after a backlash arose over a series of highly visible strikes, some of which killed civilians. The move was intended, in part, to bring greater transparency to attacks that the United States often refused to acknowledge its role in.

    But now the C.I.A. is broadening its drone operations, moving aircraft to northeastern Niger to hunt Islamist militants in southern Libya. The expansion adds to the agency’s limited covert missions in eastern Afghanistan for strikes in Pakistan, and in southern Saudi Arabia for attacks in Yemen.

    Nigerien and American officials said the C.I.A. had been flying drones on surveillance missions for several months from a corner of a small commercial airport in Dirkou. Satellite imagery shows that the airport has grown significantly since February to include a new taxiway, walls and security posts.

    One American official said the drones had not yet been used in lethal missions, but would almost certainly be in the near future, given the growing threat in southern Libya. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the secretive operations.

    A C.I.A. spokesman, Timothy Barrett, declined to comment. A Defense Department spokeswoman, Maj. Sheryll Klinkel, said the military had maintained a base at the Dirkou airfield for several months but did not fly drone missions from there.

    The drones take off from Dirkou at night — typically between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. — buzzing in the clear, starlit desert sky. A New York Times reporter saw the gray aircraft — about the size of Predator drones, which are 27 feet long — flying at least three times over six days in early August. Unlike small passenger planes that land occasionally at the airport, the drones have no blinking lights signaling their presence.

    “All I know is they’re American,” Niger’s interior minister, Mohamed Bazoum, said in an interview. He offered few other details about the drones.

    Dirkou’s mayor, Boubakar Jerome, said the drones had helped improve the town’s security. “It’s always good. If people see things like that, they’ll be scared,” Mr. Jerome said.

    Mr. Obama had curtailed the C.I.A.’s lethal role by limiting its drone flights, notably in Yemen. Some strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere that accidentally killed civilians, stirring outrage among foreign diplomats and military officials, were shielded because of the C.I.A.’s secrecy.

    As part of the shift, the Pentagon was given the unambiguous lead for such operations. The move sought, in part, to end an often awkward charade in which the United States would not concede its responsibility for strikes that were abundantly covered by news organizations and tallied by watchdog groups. However, the C.I.A. program was not fully shut down worldwide, as the agency and its supporters in Congress balked.

    The drone policy was changed last year, after Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director at the time, made a forceful case to President Trump that the agency’s broader counterterrorism efforts were being needlessly constrained. The Dirkou base was already up and running by the time Mr. Pompeo stepped down as head of the C.I.A. in April to become Mr. Trump’s secretary of state.

    The Pentagon’s Africa Command has carried out five drone strikes against Qaeda and Islamic State militants in Libya this year, including one two weeks ago. The military launches its MQ-9 Reaper drones from bases in Sicily and in Niamey, Niger’s capital, 800 miles southwest of Dirkou.

    But the C.I.A. base is hundreds of miles closer to southwestern Libya, a notorious haven for Al Qaeda and other extremist groups that also operate in the Sahel region of Niger, Chad, Mali and Algeria. It is also closer to southern Libya than a new $110 million drone base in Agadez, Niger, 350 miles west of Dirkou, where the Pentagon plans to operate armed Reaper drone missions by early next year.

    Another American official said the C.I.A. began setting up the base in January to improve surveillance of the region, partly in response to an ambush last fall in another part of Niger that killed four American troops. The Dirkou airfield was labeled a United States Air Force base as a cover, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential operational matters.

    The C.I.A. operation in Dirkou is burdened by few, if any, of the political sensitivities that the United States military confronts at its locations, said one former American official involved with the project.

    Even so, security analysts said, it is not clear why the United States needs both military and C.I.A. drone operations in the same general vicinity to combat insurgents in Libya. France also flies Reaper drones from Niamey, but only on unarmed reconnaissance missions.

    “I would be surprised that the C.I.A. would open its own base,” said Bill Roggio, editor of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Long War Journal, which tracks military strikes against militant groups.

    Despite American denials, a Nigerien security official said he had concluded that the C.I.A. launched an armed drone from the Dirkou base to strike a target in Ubari, in southern Libya, on July 25. The Nigerien security official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the classified program.

    A spokesman for the Africa Command, Maj. Karl Wiest, said the military did not carry out the Ubari strike.

    #Ubari is in the same region where the American military in March launched its first-ever drone attack against Qaeda militants in southern Libya. It is at the intersection of the powerful criminal and jihadist currents that have washed across Libya in recent years. Roughly equidistant from Libya’s borders with Niger, Chad and Algeria, the area’s seminomadic residents are heavily involved in the smuggling of weapons, drugs and migrants through the lawless deserts of southern Libya.

    Some of the residents have allied with Islamist militias, including Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which operates across Algeria, Mali, Niger and Libya.

    Dirkou, in northeast Niger, is an oasis town of a few thousand people in the open desert, bordered by a small mountain range. For centuries, it has been a key transit point for travelers crossing the Sahara. It helped facilitate the rise of Islam in West Africa in the 9th century, and welcomed salt caravans from the neighboring town of Bilma.

    The town has a handful of narrow, sandy roads. Small trees dot the horizon. Date and neem trees line the streets, providing shelter for people escaping the oppressive midday heat. There is a small market, where goods for sale include spaghetti imported from Libya. Gasoline is also imported from Libya and is cheaper than elsewhere in the country.

    The drones based in Dirkou are loud, and their humming and buzzing drowns out the bleats of goats and crows of roosters.

    “It stops me from sleeping,” said Ajimi Koddo, 45, a former migrant smuggler. “They need to go. They go in our village, and it annoys us too much.”

    Satellite imagery shows that construction started in February on a new compound at the Dirkou airstrip. Since then, the facility has been extended to include a larger paved taxiway and a clamshell tent connected to the airstrip — all features that are consistent with the deployment of small aircraft, possibly drones.

    Five defensive positions were set up around the airport, and there appear to be new security gates and checkpoints both to the compound and the broader airport.

    It’s not the first time that Washington has eyed with interest Dirkou’s tiny base. In the late 1980s, the United States spent $3.2 million renovating the airstrip in an effort to bolster Niger’s government against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, then the leader of Libya.

    Compared with other parts of Africa, the C.I.A.’s presence in the continent’s northwest is relatively light, according to a former State Department official who served in the region. In this part of Niger, the C.I.A. is also providing training and sharing intelligence, according to a Nigerien military intelligence document reviewed by The Times.

    The Nigerien security official said about a dozen American Green Berets were stationed earlier this year in #Dirkou — in a base separate from the C.I.A.’s — to train a special counterterrorism battalion of local forces. Those trainers left about three months ago, the official said.

    It is unlikely that they will return anytime soon. The Pentagon is considering withdrawing nearly all American commandos from Niger in the wake of the deadly October ambush that killed four United States soldiers.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/09/world/africa/cia-drones-africa-military.html
    #CIA #drones #Niger #Sahel #USA #Etats-Unis #EI #ISIS #Etat_islamique #sécurité #terrorisme #base_militaire

    • Le Sahel est-il une zone de #non-droit ?

      La CIA a posé ses valises dans la bande sahélo-saharienne. Le New-York Times l’a annoncé, le 9 septembre dernier. Le quotidien US, a révélé l’existence d’une #base_de_drones secrète non loin de la commune de Dirkou, dans le nord-est du Niger. Cette localité, enclavée, la première grande ville la plus proche est Agadez située à 570 km, est le terrain de tir parfait. Elle est éloignée de tous les regards, y compris des autres forces armées étrangères : France, Allemagne, Italie, présentes sur le sol nigérien. Selon un responsable américain anonyme interrogé par ce journal, les drones déployés à Dirkou n’avaient « pas encore été utilisés dans des missions meurtrières, mais qu’ils le seraient certainement dans un proche avenir, compte tenu de la menace croissante qui pèse sur le sud de la Libye. » Or, d’après les renseignements recueillis par l’IVERIS, ces assertions sont fausses, la CIA a déjà mené des opérations à partir de cette base. Ces informations apportent un nouvel éclairage et expliquent le refus catégorique et systématique de l’administration américaine de placer la force conjointe du G5 Sahel (Tchad, Mauritanie, Burkina-Faso, Niger, Mali) sous le chapitre VII de la charte des Nations Unies.
      L’installation d’une base de drones n’est pas une bonne nouvelle pour les peuples du Sahel, et plus largement de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, qui pourraient connaître les mêmes malheurs que les Afghans et les Pakistanais confrontés à la guerre des drones avec sa cohorte de victimes civiles, appelées pudiquement « dégâts collatéraux ».

      D’après le journaliste du NYT, qui s’est rendu sur place, les drones présents à Dirkou ressembleraient à des Predator, des aéronefs d’ancienne génération qui ont un rayon d’action de 1250 km. Il serait assez étonnant que l’agence de Langley soit équipée de vieux modèles alors que l’US Air Force dispose à Niamey et bientôt à Agadez des derniers modèles MQ-9 Reaper, qui, eux, volent sur une distance de 1850 km. A partir de cette base, la CIA dispose donc d’un terrain de tir étendu qui va de la Libye, au sud de l’Algérie, en passant par le Tchad, jusqu’au centre du Mali, au Nord du Burkina et du Nigéria…

      Selon deux sources militaires de pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest, ces drones ont déjà réalisé des frappes à partir de la base de Dirkou. Ces bombardements ont eu lieu en Libye. Il paraît important de préciser que le chaos existant dans ce pays depuis la guerre de 2011, ne rend pas ces frappes plus légales. Par ailleurs, ces mêmes sources suspectent la CIA d’utiliser Dirkou comme une prison secrète « si des drones peuvent se poser des avions aussi. Rien ne les empêche de transporter des terroristes de Libye exfiltrés. Dirkou un Guantanamo bis ? »

      En outre, il n’est pas impossible que ces drones tueurs aient été en action dans d’autres Etats limitrophes. Qui peut le savoir ? « Cette base est irrégulière, illégale, la CIA peut faire absolument tout ce qu’elle veut là-bas » rapporte un officier. De plus, comment faire la différence entre un MQ-9 Reaper de la CIA ou encore un de l’US Air Force, qui, elle, a obtenu l’autorisation d’armer ses drones (1). Encore que…

      En novembre 2017, le président Mahamadou Issoufou a autorisé les drones de l’US Air Force basés à Niamey, à frapper leurs cibles sur le territoire nigérien (2). Mais pour que cet agrément soit légal, il aurait fallu qu’il soit présenté devant le parlement, ce qui n’a pas été le cas. Même s’il l’avait été, d’une part, il le serait seulement pour l’armée US et pas pour la CIA, d’autre part, il ne serait valable que sur le sol nigérien et pas sur les territoires des pays voisins…

      Pour rappel, cette autorisation a été accordée à peine un mois après les événements de Tongo Tongo, où neuf militaires avaient été tués, cinq soldats nigériens et quatre américains. Cette autorisation est souvent présentée comme la conséquence de cette attaque. Or, les pourparlers ont eu lieu bien avant. En effet, l’AFRICOM a planifié la construction de la base de drone d’Agadez, la seconde la plus importante de l’US Air Force en Afrique après Djibouti, dès 2016, sous le mandat de Barack Obama. Une nouvelle preuve que la politique africaine du Pentagone n’a pas changée avec l’arrivée de Donald Trump (3-4-5).

      Les USA seuls maîtres à bord dans le Sahel

      Dès lors, le véto catégorique des Etats-Unis de placer la force G5 Sahel sous chapitre VII se comprend mieux. Il s’agit de mener une guerre non-officielle sans mandat international des Nations-Unies et sans se soucier du droit international. Ce n’était donc pas utile qu’Emmanuel Macron, fer de lance du G5, force qui aurait permis à l’opération Barkhane de sortir du bourbier dans lequel elle se trouve, plaide à de nombreuses reprises cette cause auprès de Donald Trump. Tous les présidents du G5 Sahel s’y sont essayés également, en vain. Ils ont fini par comprendre, quatre chefs d’Etats ont boudé la dernière Assemblée générale des Nations Unies. Seul, le Président malien, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, est monté à la tribune pour réitérer la demande de mise sous chapitre VII, unique solution pour que cette force obtienne un financement pérenne. Alors qu’en décembre 2017, Emmanuel Macron y croyait encore dur comme fer et exigeait des victoires au premier semestre 2018, faute de budget, le G5 Sahel n’est toujours pas opérationnel ! (6-7) Néanmoins, la Chine a promis de le soutenir financièrement. Magnanime, le secrétaire d’Etat à la défense, Jim Mattis a lui assuré à son homologue, Florence Parly, que les Etats-Unis apporteraient à la force conjointe une aide très significativement augmentée. Mais toujours pas de chapitre VII en vue... Ainsi, l’administration Trump joue coup double. Non seulement elle ne s’embarrasse pas avec le Conseil de Sécurité et le droit international mais sous couvert de lutte antiterroriste, elle incruste ses bottes dans ce qui est, (ce qui fut ?), la zone d’influence française.

      Far West

      Cerise sur le gâteau, en août dernier le patron de l’AFRICOM, le général Thomas D. Waldhauser, a annoncé une réduction drastique de ses troupes en Afrique (9). Les sociétés militaires privées, dont celle d’Erik Prince, anciennement Blackwater, ont bien compris le message et sont dans les starting-blocks prêtes à s’installer au Sahel (10).


      https://www.iveris.eu/list/notes_danalyse/371-le_sahel_estil_une_zone_de_nondroit__







  • Donald Trump urged Spain to ’build the wall’ – across the Sahara

    Spanish foreign minister says US president advised tactic to stem migration across the Med.

    Donald Trump suggested the Spanish government tackled the Mediterranean migration crisis by emulating one of his most famous policies and building a wall across the Sahara desert, the country’s foreign minister has revealed.

    According to Josep Borrell, the US president brushed off the scepticism of Spanish diplomats – who pointed out that the Sahara stretched for 3,000 miles – saying: “The Sahara border can’t be bigger than our border with Mexico.”

    #murs #Trump #Europe #Sahara #barrières_frontalières #désert_du_Sahara



  • Time for EU to stop being bystander in Western Sahara

    The Western Sahara conflict is at a turning point.

    UN peace talks towards a negotiated settlement are expected as early as November.

    With the recent appointment of a new UN secretary general’s special envoy, former German president Horst Koehler, and the upcoming renewal of the UN peacekeeping operation (MINURSO) in a conflict that has been frozen for nearly 40 years, there is a rare window of opportunity to change the status quo.

    It is in the interest of the EU, and the future of the Maghreb region as a whole, for decision makers in Brussels to stop being a bystander in the political process and use their effective policy options to create the conditions for meaningful negotiations.

    This is not about the EU doing the UN’s job. But instead about the EU being an active player in the security and stability of its Southern neighbourhood.

    Unfortunately, the EU’s current approach is defined by a narrow and misguided focus on trade with Morocco at the expense of the Saharawi people. This has clear negative implications for the UN political process.

    In successive judgements, the European Court of Justice ruled that EU-Morocco trade agreements could not be applied to Western Sahara – which in line with international law is deemed “separate and distinct” from Morocco.

    But the EU has continued on a course of undermining its own legal rulings and somehow finding a process that would support the illegal trading of Western Saharan resources through Morocco.

    As the prospects of renewed UN peace talks approach, the EU cannot continue to ignore the grave consequences of its actions. As the recognised representative of the Saharawi people, the Polisario is duty bound to protect the interests of our people and of our natural resources.

    We are left with no choice but to go back to the courts, which will only tie up our and the EU’s bandwidth, all at the same time when the UN and UN Security Council members are asking us to focus all our resources on the political process.

    The negative impact of the EU’s actions goes further.

    While the Polisario has stated clearly and publicly our position to negotiate with no pre-conditions, when the talks likely resume in November we will be sat opposite an empty chair.
    Happy with status quo

    Put simply, Morocco will not come to the negotiating table to agree to peacefully give up its illegal occupation of Western Sahara while the EU continues to sign trade deals which implicitly help to strengthen the status quo.

    The uncomfortable reality for the EU is that Morocco neither wants negotiations nor a genuine political process; yet it is being rewarded for the illegal occupation and exploitation of our natural resources.
    What about Saharawi?

    A key missing element in the EU’s approach has been the will of the Saharawi people.

    The EU has sadly afforded preferential treatment to Morocco’s illegal occupation of Western Sahara including by knowingly excluding from the trade talks the thousands of Saharawis forced to live in exile in refugee camps as a result of the occupation.

    To highlight this, 89 Saharawi civil society organisations wrote to EU leaders earlier this year to highlight their deep concerns over EU’s trade negotiations, the absence of consent, and to remind EU leaders of the dire human rights situation under Morocco’s brutal and illegal occupation.

    This leaves the Polisario with no other choice but to pursue all available legal avenues to ensure such agreements do not continue to violate our rights under international and European law.

    Against this backdrop, an urgent change of approach is needed, which would see the EU finally play a genuine, impartial, and constructive role in supporting peace – including by suspending all ongoing trade negotiations and agreements which concern the territory or territorial waters of Western Sahara, appointing an EU envoy to support the UN political process on Western Sahara, and using preferential trade agreements as a peace dividend to incentivise the successful conclusion of a peace agreement.

    During his recent visit to the region Koehler was clear: the ultimate goal of the political process is the self-determination of the Saharawi people.

    International law is unequivocal on this.

    It is high time for the EU to get behind this international objective for the sake of a sustainable future for the Maghreb built on democratic stability, prosperity, and the rule of law.

    https://euobserver.com/opinion/142566
    #Sahara_occidental #conflit #Sahraoui
    cc @reka






  • Le #TAF reconnaît que l’imprécision des propos d’une requérante d’asile peut venir du traumatisme subi

    Dans un arrêt du 12 juin 2018, le TAF a octroyé l’asile à une femme irakienne de confession sunnite, enlevée puis frappée et violée par des miliciens chiites. Enceinte de deux mois, elle avait perdu l’enfant suite aux violences subies. Le SEM lui avait refusé l’asile, estimant son récit stéréotypé, évasif et indigent. Le TAF considère quant à lui que le récit est cohérent et que les imprécisions « peuvent d’ailleurs être la conséquence des violences extrêmes que l’intéressée a dit avoir subies, l’amnésie traumatique étant un phénomène reconnu qui affecte notamment les victimes de violences sexuelles ». Concernant, l’art. 3 LAsi, le TAF rappelle que l’intéressée ne peut se prévaloir d’une protection en Irak vu le contexte social et culturel qui y prévaut, qu’elle est sunnite alors que le pays est majoritairement chiite. Par ailleurs, le refuge interne n’est pas envisageable dans le cas d’espèce, des sunnites de sa tribu ayant annoncé vouloir la tuer pour « rétablir leur honneur ». Ainsi, le TAF a cassé la décision du SEM et a octroyé l’asile à la recourante.

    https://odae-romand.ch/breve/le-taf-reconnait-que-limprecision-des-propos-dune-requerante-dasile-lors
    #Suisse #asile #migrations #audition #imprécisions #trauma #traumatisme #récit #réfugiés