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  • Asylum seeker to sue UK for funding Libyan detention centres

    Ethiopian teenager says he experienced physical abuse, extortion and forced labour in centres part-funded by UK.

    A teenage asylum seeker from Ethiopia is planning to sue the government for its role in funding detention centres in Libya, where he says he experienced physical abuse, extortion and forced labour.

    The teenager, who turned 18 a few weeks ago, cannot be named. He lives in London and is waiting for the Home Office to determine his asylum claim. His legal action against the government’s Department for International Development (DfID) for its contribution to funding these overseas centres is thought to be the first of its kind.
    Separated at sea: a Sierra Leonean father’s desperate fear for his boy
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    The Guardian previously revealed the terrible conditions in a network of 26 detention centres across Libya. The EU’s Emergency Trust Fund for Africa provides some funding for the centres. DfID says that the funding it provides is used to improve conditions in the camps.

    Children have described being starved, beaten and abused by Libyan police and camp guards. One said the conditions were like “hell on Earth”.

    The government insists the funding is necessary as part of a humane effort to dissuade people from making the dangerous Mediterranean crossing. Arguing that migrant detention centres are the responsibility of the Libyan authorities, it is understood to have raised concerns over the treatment of detainees with the Libyan government.

    A spokeswoman previously told the Guardian: “We continue to help fund the European Union Trust Fund’s work to improve conditions for migrants in detention centres.”

    But critics see the Libyan camps as a way for European countries to prevent asylum seekers and other migrants from reaching Europe, and the UK’s involvement as another plank of the so called “hostile environment” to keep people out.

    Last year the UK government spent £10m in Libya on various initiatives, including the detention centres.

    The teenager who has begun the legal action against the government claims that officials are acting unlawfully in funding the detention centres and should stop doing so. He is also asking for compensation for the suffering he endured there.

    The boy’s legal team is calling on DfID to facilitate the relocation of the detention centres to the UK or other safe countries so that asylum claims can be safely processed. His lawyers have asked DfID to disclose the funding agreements between the UK and Libyan governments and any internal documents concerning the destination of UK funding in Libya as well as any untoward incidents in the centres.
    Inside the chaos and corruption of Tripoli, where militias rule the streets
    Read more

    The teenager fled persecution in Ethiopia because of his father’s political allegiances and finally reached the UK after a dangerous journey through Libya and across the Mediterranean.

    In Libya he suffered both at the hands of traffickers and in the detention centres, some of which are controlled by local militias.

    “The period I was detained and enslaved in Libya was a living hell,” he said. An expert medical report conducted in London identified 31 different lesions, including 10 on his face, which the doctor who examined him found provided “significant corroboration” of his account of repeated ill treatment.

    Many of those in the camps are from Eritrea but there are also asylum seekers from Ethiopia, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Syria.

    James Elliott of Wilsons Solicitors, who is bringing the legal action on the teenager’s behalf, said: “DfID acknowledges that conditions in the camps are appalling. We are bringing this legal challenge because it is vital that UK taxpayers’ money is not used to allow places where men, women and children are subjected to torture, rape and slavery to continue to exist.”

    DfID has been approached for comment.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/dec/20/asylum-seeker-to-sue-uk-for-funding-libyan-detention-centres
    #Libye #externalisation #UK #Angleterre #justice #centres_de_détention #asile #migrations #réfugiés #poursuite #viol #abus_sexuels #travail_forcé #Trust_fund #Trust_fund_for_Africa



  • The Vulnerability Contest

    Traumatized Afghan child soldiers who were forced to fight in Syria struggle to find protection in Europe’s asylum lottery.

    Mosa did not choose to come forward. Word had spread among the thousands of asylum seekers huddled inside Moria that social workers were looking for lone children among the general population. High up on the hillside, in the Afghan area of the chaotic refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, some residents knew someone they suspected was still a minor. They led the aid workers to Mosa.

    The boy, whose broad and beardless face mark him out as a member of the Hazara ethnic group, had little reason to trust strangers. It was hard to persuade him just to sit with them and listen. Like many lone children, Mosa had slipped through the age assessment carried out on first arrival at Moria: He was registered as 27 years old. With the help of a translator, the social worker explained that there was still time to challenge his classification as an adult. But Mosa did not seem to be able to engage with what he was being told. It would take weeks to establish trust and reveal his real age and background.

    Most new arrivals experience shock when their hopes of a new life in Europe collide with Moria, the refugee camp most synonymous with the miserable consequences of Europe’s efforts to contain the flow of refugees and migrants across the Aegean. When it was built, the camp was meant to provide temporary shelter for fewer than 2,000 people. Since the European Union struck a deal in March 2016 with Turkey under which new arrivals are confined to Greece’s islands, Moria’s population has swollen to 9,000. It has become notorious for overcrowding, snowbound tents, freezing winter deaths, violent protests and suicides by adults and children alike.

    While all asylum systems are subjective, he said that the situation on Greece’s islands has turned the search for protection into a “lottery.”

    Stathis Poularakis is a lawyer who previously served for two years on an appeal committee dealing with asylum cases in Greece and has worked extensively on Lesbos. While all asylum systems are subjective, he said that the situation on Greece’s islands has turned the search for protection into a “lottery.”

    Asylum claims on Lesbos can take anywhere between six months and more than two years to be resolved. In the second quarter of 2018, Greece faced nearly four times as many asylum claims per capita as Germany. The E.U. has responded by increasing the presence of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and broadening its remit so that EASO officials can conduct asylum interviews. But the promises that EASO will bring Dutch-style efficiency conceal the fact that the vast majority of its hires are not seconded from other member states but drawn from the same pool of Greeks as the national asylum service.

    Asylum caseworkers at Moria face an overwhelming backlog and plummeting morale. A serving EASO official describes extraordinary “pressure to go faster” and said there was “so much subjectivity in the system.” The official also said that it was human nature to reject more claims “when you see every other country is closing its borders.”

    Meanwhile, the only way to escape Moria while your claim is being processed is to be recognized as a “vulnerable” case. Vulnerables get permission to move to the mainland or to more humane accommodation elsewhere on the island. The term is elastic and can apply to lone children and women, families or severely physically or mentally ill people. In all cases the onus is on the asylum seeker ultimately to persuade the asylum service, Greek doctors or the United Nations Refugee Agency that they are especially vulnerable.

    The ensuing scramble to get out of Moria has turned the camp into a vast “vulnerability contest,” said Poularakis. It is a ruthless competition that the most heavily traumatized are often in no condition to understand, let alone win.

    Twice a Refugee

    Mosa arrived at Moria in October 2017 and spent his first night in Europe sleeping rough outside the arrivals tent. While he slept someone stole his phone. When he awoke he was more worried about the lost phone than disputing the decision of the Frontex officer who registered him as an adult. Poularakis said age assessors are on the lookout for adults claiming to be children, but “if you say you’re an adult, no one is going to object.”

    Being a child has never afforded Mosa any protection in the past: He did not understand that his entire future could be at stake. Smugglers often warn refugee children not to reveal their real age, telling them that they will be prevented from traveling further if they do not pretend to be over 18 years old.

    Like many other Hazara of his generation, Mosa was born in Iran, the child of refugees who fled Afghanistan. Sometimes called “the cursed people,” the Hazara are followers of Shia Islam and an ethnic and religious minority in Afghanistan, a country whose wars are usually won by larger ethnic groups and followers of Sunni Islam. Their ancestry, traced by some historians to Genghis Khan, also means they are highly visible and have been targets for persecution by Afghan warlords from 19th-century Pashtun kings to today’s Taliban.

    In recent decades, millions of Hazara have fled Afghanistan, many of them to Iran, where their language, Dari, is a dialect of Persian Farsi, the country’s main language.

    “We had a life where we went from work to home, which were both underground in a basement,” he said. “There was nothing (for us) like strolling the streets. I was trying not to be seen by anyone. I ran from the police like I would from a street dog.”

    Iran hosts 950,000 Afghan refugees who are registered with the U.N. and another 1.5 million undocumented Afghans. There are no official refugee camps, making displaced Afghans one of the largest urban refugee populations in the world. For those without the money to pay bribes, there is no route to permanent residency or citizenship. Most refugees survive without papers on the outskirts of cities such as the capital, Tehran. Those who received permits, before Iran stopped issuing them altogether in 2007, must renew them annually. The charges are unpredictable and high. Mostly, the Afghan Hazara survive as an underclass, providing cheap labor in workshops and constructions sites. This was how Mosa grew up.

    “We had a life where we went from work to home, which were both underground in a basement,” he said. “There was nothing (for us) like strolling the streets. I was trying not to be seen by anyone. I ran from the police like I would from a street dog.”

    But he could not remain invisible forever and one day in October 2016, on his way home from work, he was detained by police for not having papers.

    Sitting in one of the cantinas opposite the entrance to Moria, Mosa haltingly explained what happened next. How he was threatened with prison in Iran or deportation to Afghanistan, a country in which he has never set foot. How he was told that that the only way out was to agree to fight in Syria – for which they would pay him and reward him with legal residence in Iran.

    “In Iran, you have to pay for papers,” said Mosa. “If you don’t pay, you don’t have papers. I do not know Afghanistan. I did not have a choice.”

    As he talked, Mosa spread out a sheaf of papers from a battered plastic wallet. Along with asylum documents was a small notepad decorated with pink and mauve elephants where he keeps the phone numbers of friends and family. It also contains a passport-sized green booklet with the crest of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is a temporary residence permit. Inside its shiny cover is the photograph of a scared-looking boy, whom the document claims was born 27 years ago. It is the only I.D. he has ever owned and the date of birth has been faked to hide the fact that the country that issues it has been sending children to war.

    Mosa is not alone among the Hazara boys who have arrived in Greece seeking protection, carrying identification papers with inflated ages. Refugees Deeply has documented the cases of three Hazara child soldiers and corroborated their accounts with testimony from two other underage survivors. Their stories are of childhoods twice denied: once in Syria, where they were forced to fight, and then again after fleeing to Europe, where they are caught up in a system more focused on hard borders than on identifying the most damaged and vulnerable refugees.

    From Teenage Kicks to Adult Nightmares

    Karim’s descent into hell began with a prank. Together with a couple of friends, he recorded an angsty song riffing on growing up as a Hazara teenager in Tehran. Made when he was 16 years old, the song was meant to be funny. His band did not even have a name. The boys uploaded the track on a local file-sharing platform in 2014 and were as surprised as anyone when it was downloaded thousands of times. But after the surprise came a creeping sense of fear. Undocumented Afghan refugee families living in Tehran usually try to avoid drawing attention to themselves. Karim tried to have the song deleted, but after two months there was a knock on the door. It was the police.

    “I asked them how they found me,” he said. “I had no documents but they knew where I lived.”

    Already estranged from his family, the teenager was transported from his life of working in a pharmacy and staying with friends to life in a prison outside the capital. After two weeks inside, he was given three choices: to serve a five-year sentence; to be deported to Afghanistan; or to redeem himself by joining the Fatemiyoun.

    According to Iranian propaganda, the Fatemiyoun are Afghan volunteers deployed to Syria to protect the tomb of Zainab, the granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammad. In reality, the Fatemiyoun Brigade is a unit of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, drawn overwhelmingly from Hazara communities, and it has fought in Iraq and Yemen, as well as Syria. Some estimates put its full strength at 15,000, which would make it the second-largest foreign force in support of the Assad regime, behind the Lebanese militia group Hezbollah.

    Karim was told he would be paid and given a one-year residence permit during leave back in Iran. Conscripts are promised that if they are “martyred,” their family will receive a pension and permanent status. “I wasn’t going to Afghanistan and I wasn’t going to prison,” said Karim. So he found himself forced to serve in the #Fatemiyoun.

    His first taste of the new life came when he was transferred to a training base outside Tehran, where the recruits, including other children, were given basic weapons training and religious indoctrination. They marched, crawled and prayed under the brigade’s yellow flag with a green arch, crossed by assault rifles and a Koranic phrase: “With the Help of God.”

    “Imagine me at 16,” said Karim. “I have no idea how to kill a bird. They got us to slaughter animals to get us ready. First, they prepare your brain to kill.”

    The 16-year-old’s first deployment was to Mosul in Iraq, where he served four months. When he was given leave back in Iran, Karim was told that to qualify for his residence permit he would need to serve a second term, this time in Syria. They were first sent into the fight against the so-called Islamic State in Raqqa. Because of his age and physique, Karim and some of the other underage soldiers were moved to the medical corps. He said that there were boys as young as 14 and he remembers a 15-year-old who fought using a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

    “One prisoner was killed by being hung by his hair from a tree. They cut off his fingers one by one and cauterized the wounds with gunpowder.”

    “I knew nothing about Syria. I was just trying to survive. They were making us hate ISIS, dehumanizing them. Telling us not to leave one of them alive.” Since media reports revealed the existence of the Fatemiyoun, the brigade has set up a page on Facebook. Among pictures of “proud volunteers,” it shows stories of captured ISIS prisoners being fed and cared for. Karim recalls a different story.

    “One prisoner was killed by being hung by his hair from a tree. They cut off his fingers one by one and cauterized the wounds with gunpowder.”

    The casualties on both sides were overwhelming. At the al-Razi hospital in Aleppo, the young medic saw the morgue overwhelmed with bodies being stored two or three to a compartment. Despite promises to reward the families of martyrs, Karim said many of the bodies were not sent back to Iran.

    Mosa’s basic training passed in a blur. A shy boy whose parents had divorced when he was young and whose father became an opium addict, he had always shrunk from violence. He never wanted to touch the toy guns that other boys played with. Now he was being taught to break down, clean and fire an assault rifle.

    The trainees were taken three times a day to the imam, who preached to them about their holy duty and the iniquities of ISIS, often referred to as Daesh.

    “They told us that Daesh was the same but worse than the Taliban,” said Mosa. “I didn’t listen to them. I didn’t go to Syria by choice. They forced me to. I just needed the paper.”

    Mosa was born in 2001. Before being deployed to Syria, the recruits were given I.D. tags and papers that deliberately overstated their age: In 2017, Human Rights Watch released photographs of the tombstones of eight Afghan children who had died in Syria and whose families identified them as having been under 18 years old. The clerk who filled out Mosa’s forms did not trouble himself with complex math: He just changed 2001 to 1991. Mosa was one of four underage soldiers in his group. The boys were scared – their hands shook so hard they kept dropping their weapons. Two of them were dead within days of reaching the front lines.

    “I didn’t even know where we were exactly, somewhere in the mountains in a foreign country. I was scared all the time. Every time I saw a friend dying in front of my eyes I was thinking I would be next,” said Mosa.

    He has flashbacks of a friend who died next to him after being shot in the face by a sniper. After the incident, he could not sleep for four nights. The worst, he said, were the sudden raids by ISIS when they would capture Fatemiyoun fighters: “God knows what happened to them.”

    Iran does not release figures on the number of Fatemiyoun casualties. In a rare interview earlier this year, a senior officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard suggested as many as 1,500 Fatemiyoun had been killed in Syria. In Mashhad, an Iranian city near the border with Afghanistan where the brigade was first recruited, video footage has emerged of families demanding the bodies of their young men believed to have died in Syria. Mosa recalls patrols in Syria where 150 men and boys would go out and only 120 would return.

    Escaping Syria

    Abbas had two weeks left in Syria before going back to Iran on leave. After 10 weeks in what he describes as a “living hell,” he had begun to believe he might make it out alive. It was his second stint in Syria and, still only 17 years old, he had been chosen to be a paramedic, riding in the back of a 2008 Chevrolet truck converted into a makeshift ambulance.

    He remembers thinking that the ambulance and the hospital would have to be better than the bitter cold of the front line. His abiding memory from then was the sound of incoming 120mm shells. “They had a special voice,” Abbas said. “And when you hear it, you must lie down.”

    Following 15 days of nursing training, during which he was taught how to find a vein and administer injections, he was now an ambulance man, collecting the dead and wounded from the battlefields on which the Fatemiyoun were fighting ISIS.

    Abbas grew up in Ghazni in Afghanistan, but his childhood ended when his father died from cancer in 2013. Now the provider for the family, he traveled with smugglers across the border into Iran, to work for a tailor in Tehran who had known his father. He worked without documents and faced the same threats as the undocumented Hazara children born in Iran. Even more dangerous were the few attempts he made to return to Ghazni. The third time he attempted to hop the border he was captured by Iranian police.

    Abbas was packed onto a transport, along with 23 other children, and sent to Ordugah-i Muhaceran, a camplike detention center outside Mashhad. When they got there the Shia Hazara boys were separated from Sunni Pashtuns, Afghanistan’s largest ethnic group, who were pushed back across the border. Abbas was given the same choice as Karim and Mosa before him: Afghanistan or Syria. Many of the other forced recruits Abbas met in training, and later fought alongside in Syria, were addicts with a history of substance abuse.

    Testimony from three Fatemiyoun child soldiers confirmed that Tramadol was routinely used by recruits to deaden their senses, leaving them “feeling nothing” even in combat situations but, nonetheless, able to stay awake for days at a time.

    The Fatemiyoun officers dealt with withdrawal symptoms by handing out Tramadol, an opioid painkiller that is used to treat back pain but sometimes abused as a cheap alternative to methadone. The drug is a slow-release analgesic. Testimony from three Fatemiyoun child soldiers confirmed that it was routinely used by recruits to deaden their senses, leaving them “feeling nothing” even in combat situations but, nonetheless, able to stay awake for days at a time. One of the children reiterated that the painkiller meant he felt nothing. Users describe feeling intensely thirsty but say they avoid drinking water because it triggers serious nausea and vomiting. Tramadol is addictive and prolonged use can lead to insomnia and seizures.

    Life in the ambulance had not met Abbas’ expectations. He was still sent to the front line, only now it was to collect the dead and mutilated. Some soldiers shot themselves in the feet to escape the conflict.

    “We picked up people with no feet and no hands. Some of them were my friends,” Abbas said. “One man was in small, small pieces. We collected body parts I could not recognize and I didn’t know if they were Syrian or Iranian or Afghan. We just put them in bags.”

    Abbas did not make it to the 12th week. One morning, driving along a rubble-strewn road, his ambulance collided with an anti-tank mine. Abbas’ last memory of Syria is seeing the back doors of the vehicle blasted outward as he was thrown onto the road.

    When he awoke he was in a hospital bed in Iran. He would later learn that the Syrian ambulance driver had been killed and that the other Afghan medic in the vehicle had lost both his legs. At the time, his only thought was to escape.

    The Toll on Child Soldiers

    Alice Roorda first came into contact with child soldiers in 2001 in the refugee camps of Sierra Leone in West Africa. A child psychologist, she was sent there by the United Kingdom-based charity War Child. She was one of three psychologists for a camp of more than 5,000 heavily traumatized survivors of one of West Africa’s more brutal conflicts.

    “There was almost nothing we could do,” she admitted.

    The experience, together with later work in Uganda, has given her a deep grounding in the effects of war and post-conflict trauma on children. She said prolonged exposure to conflict zones has physical as well as psychological effects.

    “If you are chronically stressed, as in a war zone, you have consistently high levels of the two basic stress hormones: adrenaline and cortisol.”

    Even after reaching a calmer situation, the “stress baseline” remains high, she said. This impacts everything from the immune system to bowel movements. Veterans often suffer from complications related to the continual engagement of the psoas, or “fear muscle” – the deepest muscles in the body’s core, which connect the spine, through the pelvis, to the femurs.

    “With prolonged stress you start to see the world around you as more dangerous.” The medial prefrontal cortex, the section of the brain that interprets threat levels, is also affected, said Roorda. This part of the brain is sometimes called the “watchtower.”

    “When your watchtower isn’t functioning well you see everything as more dangerous. You are on high alert. This is not a conscious response; it is because the stress is already so close to the surface.”

    Psychological conditions that can be expected to develop include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Left untreated, these stress levels can lead to physical symptoms ranging from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME) to high blood pressure or irritable bowel syndrome. Also common are heightened sensitivity to noise and insomnia.

    The trauma of war can also leave children frozen at the point when they were traumatized. “Their life is organized as if the trauma is still ongoing,” said Roorda. “It is difficult for them to take care of themselves, to make rational well informed choices, and to trust people.”

    The starting point for any treatment of child soldiers, said Roorda, is a calm environment. They need to release the tension with support groups and physical therapy, she said, and “a normal bedtime.”

    The Dutch psychologist, who is now based in Athens, acknowledged that what she is describing is the exact opposite of the conditions at #Moria.

    Endgame

    Karim is convinced that his facility for English has saved his life. While most Hazara boys arrive in Europe speaking only Farsi, Karim had taught himself some basic English before reaching Greece. As a boy in Tehran he had spent hours every day trying to pick up words and phrases from movies that he watched with subtitles on his phone. His favorite was The Godfather, which he said he must have seen 25 times. He now calls English his “safe zone” and said he prefers it to Farsi.

    When Karim reached Greece in March 2016, new arrivals were not yet confined to the islands. No one asked him if he was a child or an adult. He paid smugglers to help him escape Iran while on leave from Syria and after crossing through Turkey landed on Chios. Within a day and a half, he had passed through the port of Piraeus and reached Greece’s northern border with Macedonia, at Idomeni.

    When he realized the border was closed, he talked to some of the international aid workers who had come to help at the makeshift encampment where tens of thousands of refugees and migrants waited for a border that would not reopen. They ended up hiring him as a translator. Two years on, his English is now much improved and Karim has worked for a string of international NGOs and a branch of the Greek armed forces, where he was helped to successfully apply for asylum.

    The same job has also brought him to Moria. He earns an above-average salary for Greece and at first he said that his work on Lesbos is positive: “I’m not the only one who has a shitty background. It balances my mind to know that I’m not the only one.”

    But then he admits that it is difficult hearing and interpreting versions of his own life story from Afghan asylum seekers every day at work. He has had problems with depression and suffered flashbacks, “even though I’m in a safe country now.”

    Abbas got the help he needed to win the vulnerability contest. After he was initially registered as an adult, his age assessment was overturned and he was transferred from Moria to a shelter for children on Lesbos. He has since been moved again to a shelter in mainland Greece. While he waits to hear the decision on his protection status, Abbas – like other asylum seekers in Greece – receives 150 euros ($170) a month. This amount needs to cover all his expenses, from food and clothing to phone credit. The money is not enough to cover a regular course of the antidepressant Prozac and the sleeping pills he was prescribed by the psychiatrist he was able to see on Lesbos.

    “I save them for when it gets really bad,” he said.

    Since moving to the mainland he has been hospitalized once with convulsions, but his main worry is the pain in his groin. Abbas underwent a hernia operation in Iran, the result of injuries sustained as a child lifting adult bodies into the ambulance. He has been told that he will need to wait for four months to see a doctor in Greece who can tell him if he needs another operation.

    “I would like to go back to school,” he said. But in reality, Abbas knows that he will need to work and there is little future for an Afghan boy who can no longer lift heavy weights.

    Walking into an Afghan restaurant in downtown Athens – near Victoria Square, where the people smugglers do business – Abbas is thrilled to see Farsi singers performing on the television above the door. “I haven’t been in an Afghan restaurant for maybe three years,” he said to explain his excitement. His face brightens again when he catches sight of Ghormeh sabzi, a herb stew popular in Afghanistan and Iran that reminds him of his mother. “I miss being with them,” he said, “being among my family.”

    When the dish arrives he pauses before eating, taking out his phone and carefully photographing the plate from every angle.

    Mosa is about to mark the end of a full year in Moria. He remains in the same drab tent that reminds him every day of Syria. Serious weight loss has made his long limbs – the ones that made it easier for adults to pretend he was not a child – almost comically thin. His skin is laced with scars, but he refuses to go into detail about how he got them. Mosa has now turned 18 and seems to realize that his best chance of getting help may have gone.

    “Those people who don’t have problems, they give them vulnerability (status),” he said with evident anger. “If you tell them the truth, they don’t help you.”

    Then he apologises for the flash of temper. “I get upset and angry and my body shakes,” he said.

    Mosa explained that now when he gets angry he has learned to remove himself: “Sometimes I stuff my ears with toilet paper to make it quiet.”

    It is 10 months since Mosa had his asylum interview. The questions he expected about his time in the Fatemiyoun never came up. Instead, the interviewers asked him why he had not stayed in Turkey after reaching that country, having run away while on leave in Iran.

    The questions they did ask him point to his likely rejection and deportation. Why, he was asked, was his fear of being persecuted in Afghanistan credible? He told them that he has heard from other Afghan boys that police and security services in the capital, Kabul, were arresting ex-combatants from Syria.

    Like teenagers everywhere, many of the younger Fatemiyoun conscripts took selfies in Syria and posted them on Facebook or shared them on WhatsApp. The images, which include uniforms and insignia, can make him a target for Sunni reprisals. These pictures now haunt him as much as the faces of his dead comrades.

    Meanwhile, the fate he suffered two tours in Syria to avoid now seems to be the most that Europe can offer him. Without any of his earlier anger, he said, “I prefer to kill myself here than go to Afghanistan.”

    #enfants-soldats #syrie #réfugiés #asile #migrations #guerre #conflit #réfugiés_afghans #Afghanistan #ISIS #EI #Etat_islamique #trauma #traumatisme #vulnérabilité

    ping @isskein


  • 15 personnes poursuivies pour avoir tenté d’empêcher le décollage d’un charter de 57 expulsés (Ghana et Nigeria) en se couchant sur le tarmac (voir End Deportation latest newsletter : https://us16.campaign-archive.com/?u=ae35278d38818677379a2546a&id=6be6b043c3)
    –-> reçu via la mailing-list Migreurop par Claire Rodier.

    #Stansted_15 : Amnesty to observe trial amid concerns for anti-deportation activists

    Amnesty considers the 15 to be human rights defenders

    ‘We’re concerned the authorities are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut with this case’ - Kate Allen

    Amnesty International will be observing the trial of 15 human rights defenders set to go on trial at Chelmsford Crown Court next week (Monday 1 October) relating to their attempt to prevent what they believed was the unlawful deportation of a group of people at Stansted airport.

    The protesters - known as the “#Stansted 15” - are facing lengthy jail sentences for their non-violent intervention in March last year.

    Amnesty is concerned that the serious charge of “endangering safety at aerodromes” may have been brought to discourage other activists from taking non-violent direct action in defence of human rights. The organisation has written to the Director of the Crown Prosecution Service and the Attorney General calling for this disproportionate charge to be dropped.

    The trial is currently expected to last for approximately six weeks.

    Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s Director, said:

    “We’re concerned the authorities are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut with this case.

    “Public protest and non-violent direct action can often be a key means of defending human rights, particularly when victims have no way to make their voices heard and have been denied access to justice.

    “Human rights defenders are currently coming under attack in many countries around the world, with those in power doing all they can to discourage people from taking injustice personally. The UK must not go down that path.”

    https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/stansted-15-amnesty-observe-trial-amid-concerns-anti-deportation-activis

    #avion #déportation #renvois #expulsions #UK #Angleterre #résistance #procès #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières

    • The Stansted protesters saved me from wrongful deportation. They are heroes

      The ‘Stansted 15’ face jail for stopping my flight from taking off. They helped me see justice – and the birth of my daughter

      I’ll never forget the moment I found out that a group of people had blocked a charter deportation flight leaving Stansted airport on 28 March 2017, because I was one of the people that had a seat on the plane and was about to be removed from Britain against my will. While most of those sitting with me were whooping with joy when they heard the news, I was angry. After months in detention, the thought of facing even just one more day in that purgatory filled me with terror. And, crucially, I had no idea then of what I know now: that the actions of those activists, who became known as the Stansted 15, would help me see justice, and save my life in Britain.
      Stansted 15 convictions a ‘crushing blow for human rights in UK’
      Read more

      I first arrived in Britain in 2004 and, like so many people who come here from abroad, built a life here. As I sat in that plane in Stansted last year I was set to be taken “back” to a country that I had no links to. Indeed there is no doubt in my mind that had I been deported I would have been destitute and homeless in Nigeria – I was terrified.

      Imagine it. You’ve lived somewhere for 13 years. Your mum, suffering with mobility issues, lives there. Your partner lives there. Two of your children already live there, and the memory of your first-born, who died at just seven years old, resides there too. Your next child is about to be born there. That was my situation as we waited on the asphalt – imagining my daughter being born in a country where I’d built a life, while I was exiled to Nigeria and destined to meeting my newborn for the first time through a screen on a phone.

      My story was harsh, but it’s no anomaly. Like many people facing deportation from the United Kingdom, my experience with the immigration authorities had lasted many years – and for the last seven years of living here I had been in a constant state of mental detention. A cycle of Home Office appeals and its refusal to accept my claims or make a fair decision based on the facts of my case saw me in and out of detention and permanently waiting for my status to be settled. Though the threat of deportation haunted me, it was the utter instability and racial discrimination that made me feel like I was going mad. That’s why the actions of the Stansted 15 first caused me to be angry. I simply didn’t believe that their actions would be anything more than a postponement of further pain.

      My view isn’t just shaped by my own experience. My life in Britain has seen me rub along with countless people who find themselves the victims of the government’s “hostile environment” for migrants and families who aren’t white. Migration and deportation targets suck humanity from a system whose currency is the lives of people who happen to be born outside the UK. Such is the determination to look “tough” on the issue that people are rounded up in the night and put on to brutal, secretive and barely legal charter flights. Most take off away from the public eye – 60 human beings shackled and violently restrained on each flight, with barely a thought about the life they are dragged away from, nor the one they face upon arrival.
      Stansted 15 activists vow to overcome ‘dark, dark day for the right to protest’
      Read more

      I was one of the lucky few. My removal from the plane gave me two life-changing gifts. The first was a chance to appeal to the authorities over my deportation – a case that I won on two separate occasions, following a Home Office counter-appeal. But more importantly the brave actions of the Stansted 15 gave me something even more special: the chance to be by my partner’s side as she gave birth to our daughter, and to be there for them as they both needed extensive treatment after a complicated and premature birth. Without the Stansted 15 I wouldn’t have been playing football with my three-year-old in the park this week. It’s that simple. We now have a chance to live together as a family in Britain – and that is thanks to the people who lay down in front of the plane.

      On Monday the Stansted 15 were found guilty of breaching a barely used terror law. Though the jury were convinced that their actions breached this legislation, there’s no doubt in my mind that these 15 brave people are heroes, not criminals. For me a crime is doing something that is evil, shameful or just wrong – and it’s clear that it is the actions of the Home Office that tick all of these boxes; the Stansted 15 were trying to stop the real crime being committed. As the Stansted 15 face their own purgatory – awaiting sentences in the following weeks – I will be praying that they are shown leniency. Without their actions I would have missed my daughter’s birth, and faced the utter injustice of being deported from this country without having my (now successful) appeal heard. My message to them today is to fight on. Your cause is just, and history will absolve you of the guilt that the system has marked you with.

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/dec/10/stansted-15-protesters-deportation

    • Regno Unito, quindici attivisti rischiano l’ergastolo per aver bloccato la deportazione di migranti

      La criminalizzazione della solidarietà non riguarda solo l’Italia, con la martellante campagna contro le Ong che salvano vite nel Mediterraneo. In Francia sette attivisti rischiano 10 anni di carcere e 750mila euro di multa per “associazione a delinquere finalizzata all’immigrazione clandestina”. Nel Regno Unito altri quindici rischiano addirittura l’ergastolo per aver bloccato nella notte del 28 marzo 2017 nell’aeroporto di Stansted la deportazione di un gruppo di migranti caricati in segreto su un aereo diretto in Nigeria.

      Attivisti appartenenti ai gruppi End Deportations, Plane Stupid e Lesbian and Gays Support the Migrants hanno circondato l’aereo, impedendone il decollo. Come risultato della loro azione undici persone sono rimaste nel Regno Unito mentre la loro domanda di asilo veniva esaminata e due hanno potuto restare nel paese. Nonostante il carattere nonviolento dell’azione, il gruppo che ha bloccato l’aereo è finito sotto processo con accuse basate sulla legge anti-terrorismo e se giudicato colpevole rischia addirittura l’ergastolo. Il verdetto è atteso la settimana prossima.

      Membri dei movimenti pacifisti, antirazzisti e ambientalisti si sono uniti per protestare contro l’iniquità delle accuse. Amnesty International ha espresso la preoccupazione che siano state formulate per scoraggiare altri attivisti dall’intraprendere azioni dirette nonviolente in difesa dei diritti umani. Il vescovo di Chelmsford, la cittadina dove si tiene il processo, si è presentato in tribunale per esprimere il suo appoggio agli imputati. La primavera scorsa oltre 50 personalità, tra cui la leader dei Verdi Caroline Lucas, la scrittrice e giornalista Naomi Klein, il regista Ken Loach e l’attrice Emma Thompson hanno firmato una lettera in cui chiedono il ritiro delle accuse contro i “Quindici di Stansted” e la fine dei voli segreti di deportazione.

      Nel Regno Unito questa pratica è iniziata nel 2001. Molte delle persone deportate hanno vissuto per anni nel paese; vengono portate via dai posti di lavoro, in strada o dalle loro case, rinchiuse in centri di detenzione, caricate in segreto su voli charter notturni e inviate in paesi che spesso non conoscono e dove rischiano persecuzioni e morte. Alcuni non vengono preavvisati in tempo per ricorrere in appello contro la deportazione. “Il nostro è stato un atto di solidarietà umana, di difesa e resistenza contro un regime sempre più brutale” ha dichiarato un’attivista.


      https://www.pressenza.com/it/2018/12/regno-unito-quindici-attivisti-rischiano-lergastolo-per-aver-bloccato-la-
      #UK #Angleterre #solidarité #délit_de_solidarité #criminalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #expulsions

    • Activists convicted of terrorism offence for blocking Stansted deportation flight

      Fifteen activists who blocked the takeoff of an immigration removal charter flight have been convicted of endangering the safety of Stansted airport, a terrorism offence for which they could be jailed for life.

      After nearly three days of deliberations, following a nine-week trial, a jury at Chelmsford crown court found the defendants guilty of intentional disruption of services at an aerodrome under the 1990 Aviation and Maritime Security Act, a law passed in response to the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

      The court had heard how members of the campaign group End Deportations used lock-on devices to secure themselves around a Titan Airways Boeing 767 chartered by the Home Office, as the aircraft waited on the asphalt at the airport in Essex to remove undocumented immigrants to Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone.

      The prosecution argued that their actions, which led to a temporary shutdown of Stansted, had posed a grave risk to the safety of the airport and its passengers.

      The verdict came after the judge Christopher Morgan told the jury to disregard all evidence put forward by the defendants to support the defence that they acted to stop human rights abuses, instructing jurors to only consider whether there was a “real and material” risk to the airport.

      In legal arguments made without the jury present, which can now be reported, defence barristers had called for the jury to be discharged after Morgan gave a summing up which they said amounted to a direction to convict. The judge had suggested the defendants’ entry to a restricted area could be considered inherently risky.

      Human rights organisations and observers had already expressed concerns over the choice of charge, which Kate Allen, the UK director of Amnesty International, likened to “using a sledgehammer to crack a nut”. Responding to the verdict on Monday, Gracie Bradley, policy and campaigns manager at Liberty, called the verdict a “grave injustice” and a “malicious attack” on the right to peaceful protest.

      Dr Graeme Hayes, reader in political sociology at Aston University, was one of a team of academics who observed the trial throughout. The only previous use of the 1990 law he and colleagues were able to find was in 2002 when a pilot was jailed for three years after flying his helicopter straight at a control tower.

      “This is a law that’s been brought in concerning international terrorism,” he said. “But for the last 10 weeks [of the trial], we’ve heard what amounts to an extended discussion of health and safety, in which the prosecution has not said at any point what the consequences of their actions might have been.”

      In a statement released by End Deportations after the verdict, the defendants said: “We are guilty of nothing more than intervening to prevent harm. The real crime is the government’s cowardly, inhumane and barely legal deportation flights and the unprecedented use of terror law to crack down on peaceful protest.

      The protest took place on the night of 28 March 2017. The activists cut a hole in the airport’s perimeter fence, the court heard. Jurors were shown footage from CCTV cameras and a police helicopter of four protesters arranging themselves around the front landing gear of the aircraft and locking their arms together inside double-layered pipes filled with expanding foam.

      Further back, a second group of protesters erected a two-metre tripod from scaffolding poles behind the engine on the left wing on which one of them perched while others locked themselves to the base to prevent it from being moved, the videos showed. In the moments before police arrived, they were able to display their banners, one of which said: “No one is illegal.”

      Helen Brewer, Lyndsay Burtonshaw, Nathan Clack, Laura Clayson, Mel Evans, Joseph McGahan, Benjamin Smoke, Jyotsna Ram, Nicholas Sigsworth, Alistair Temlit, Edward Thacker, Emma Hughes, May McKeith, Ruth Potts and Melanie Stickland, aged 27 to 44, had all pleaded not guilty.

      They will be sentenced at a later date.


      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/dec/10/activists-convicted-of-terror-offence-for-blocking-stansted-deportation


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Violation du droit international

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Départs de migrants depuis la Libye :

      Libya : outcomes of the sea journey

      Migrants intercepted /rescued by the Libyan coast guard

      Lieux de désembarquement :


      #Italie #Espagne #Malte

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

      #statistiques #chiffres #2016 #2017 #2018

      cc @simplicissimus

    • Libyan Coast Guard Takes 611 Migrants Back to Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      https://euobserver.com/tickers/142821

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

      Scabies

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    • l’article relié est pris d’ici :

      https://www.sapiens.org/culture/globalization-downfall-gladstone-australia

      [...]

      Needless to say, there is a great deal of diversity in both the kinds of change being experienced in these places and the local reactions. To some, change offers job opportunities, peace, and improved infrastructure; to others, it means pollution, eviction, and a loss of livelihood. What all residents have in common is a loss of political autonomy. The decisions shaping their lives are being made further and further away from the specific locales where they live.

      One example from our research is a town in the Peruvian Andes where water was becoming scarce a few years ago. The locals suspected that a new mine was using their water, and they went to complain. However, the mining representatives claimed that it was not their fault and blamed global climate change for the erratic water supply. The question of who to blame and what to do suddenly became insurmountable for the townspeople. What could they do—send a worried email to then U.S. President Barack Obama and the Chinese government, urging them to curb greenhouse gas emissions? The gap was, naturally, too dizzying. Instead, some of them resorted to traditional healing rituals to placate the spirits regulating rain and meltwater. They trusted Pachamama, the goddess of Earth, more than their government or distant international organizations.

      Meanwhile in Lunsar, Sierra Leone, people were looking forward to job opportunities in a new mine (which, in any event, never opened) and a biofuel plantation (which did open). Globalization had brought them many benefits, notably an improved infrastructure. They relished the fact that, for the first time, they could buy bread from a roadside vendor that wasn’t covered in dust, since the road had finally been paved. But even in the midst of some positive outcomes, rapid change is creating discontent and frictions, not least over property rights. In traditional African societies, land was not considered property and could not be traded: It was allocated by the chief, used as a common resource available to all, or cultivated according to customary law. More recently, land has been privatized and turned into a form of capital, and suddenly, boundaries need to be drawn in an unequivocal way. Needless to say, these boundaries are contested.
      Various stakeholders try to work out a land dispute near Lunsar, Sierra Leone, in connection with a mining project.

      [...]

      In the mid-1800s, when Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote The Communist Manifesto, capitalists were easily identifiable. They were typically men, and the property owner was the proverbial man in the top hat, with his waistcoat, paunch, cigar, and gold watch. Today, the situation is far more complicated since ownership structures are transnational, corporate, and complex. Even in democratic countries, where political leaders are elected, there is a widespread feeling that the “powers that be” are further away and less approachable than before, and that there is nowhere to go with your complaints. In other words, both the economy and politics are less manageable, more difficult to understand, and harder to effectively react to.

      There are alternatives to the current situation of powerlessness. One way to counter globalized power is to globalize the response by forging alliances between local community groups and transnational organizations that are capable of putting pressure on governments, public opinion, and corporations. This has been a successful strategy among feminists, trade unionists, and environmentalists in the recent past. Another option—an opposite yet complementary strategy—is to resist the forces that threaten to overrun and disempower local communities. One of the most striking examples of this strategy is the burgeoning support for locally grown food.

      Gladstone is unique compared to previously traditional societies in that it is enmeshed in the economic globalization, which makes the little man and woman even smaller than they used to be. The city’s rise to prosperity was indeed a result of globalization. Yet, the same forces may well cause its downfall. Crucially dependent on fossil fuels, the city may once again become a dusty backwater should the world find better energy solutions.

      Signs of the city’s vulnerability are already evident: Since coal and gas prices began largely declining in 2013, and then a major construction project ended in 2015, the city has seen an unprecedented rise in unemployment and a steep fall in real estate prices.

      [...]


  • It’s 34,361 and rising: how the List tallies Europe’s migrant bodycount.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/20/the-list-europe-migrant-bodycount

    30/04/18 2 N.N. (2 men) unknown bodies recovered in Gasr Garabulli (aka Castelverde) (LY) IOM Libya
    30/04/18 1 N.N. (woman) unknown body recovered on Tajoura beach (LY) IOM Libya
    30/04/18 6 N.N. (1 baby; 5 men) unknown bodies recovered in Zuwara (LY) IOM Libya
    30/04/18 1 N.N. (man) Algeria drowned trying to swim across the Kolpa River on Croatian-Slovenian border; 7 intercepted by police IOM Slovenia/TotSloveniaNews
    29/04/18 19 N.N. (1 man) Africa 16 drowned in shipwreck off Cap Falcon, Oran (DZ) on way to Spain; 3 missing, 19 rescued ObsAlgerie/Caminando/EFE/Réf/QUOTI/IOM
    25/04/18 17 N.N. Sub-Saharan Africa 5 drowned afer boat sank between Morocco and Spain near Alboran Island; 12 missing, 17 rescued ElDiario/Caminando/SalvaM/EuroPress
    22/04/18 11 N.N. (1 boy; 10 men) unknown drowned when rubber dinghy overturned in the Mediterranean Sea near Sabratha (LY); 83 rescued MEE/Reu./IOM Libya/JapanTimes
    20/04/18 1 N.N. (boy, 6 months) Eritrea strangled by desperate mother who hanged herself afterwards in Eckolstädt asylum centre (DE) Berliner Ztg/FR-th/OTZ
    20/04/18 1 Snaid Tadese (woman, 19) Eritrea suicide, strangled her baby and hanged herself out of despair in Eckolstädt asylum centre (DE) Berliner Ztg/FR-th/OTZ
    20/04/18 1 N.N. (man, 30) unknown electrocuted when he climbed on roof of freight train in depot outside Thessaloniki (GR) AP/NYTimes/MailOnline
    19/04/18 2 N.N. unknown died in accident in Horasan (TR) when smuggler driving their truck saw control point and panicked HurriyetDN/PrensaLat
    14/04/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown died of cardiac arrest, body found near border fence in Anyera in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta (ES) FaroCeuta/APDHA/CeutaTV/IOM
    13/04/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown died of cardiac arrest, body found near border fence in Anyera in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta (ES) FaroCeuta/APDHA/IOM/CeutaTV
    10/04/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown drowned in the Kolpa River near Črnomelj (SI) on border with Croatia IOM Slovenia/AFP
    09/04/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown drowned in the Kolpa River near Črnomelj (SI) on border with Croatia DELO/IOM Slovenia
    09/04/18 36 N.N. unknown 6 presumed drowned off coast of Houara 20 km south of Tangiers (MA); 30 missing, 10 survived EFE/Caminando/El Diario/IOM
    06/04/18 1 Omar “Susi” (boy, 16) Maghreb deliberately crushed by truck near Port of Ceuta (ES) after driver chased after refugees El Faro de Ceuta/Ceuta Actualidad/IOM
    06/04/18 1 N.N. (woman) unknown drowned, found on Jabonera beach in Tarifa, Cádiz (ES) Diario de Cádiz/IOM/EPress/EFE
    02/04/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown presumed drowned, body found 6 nautical miles northwest of Port of Bouzedjar in Ain Témouchent (DZ) Liberté/Ouest Tribune/IOM
    01/04/18 11 N.N. (1 man) unknown 4 drowned after boat capsized between Tangier (MA) and Tarifa (ES); 7 missing, 1 rescued Watch TheMed/IOM Spain/SalvaM/HinduTimes
    01/04/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown presumed drowned, body found near Habibas Islands off coast of Ain Témouchent (DZ) Réf/DK/OuestT/IOM
    01/04/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown presumed drowned, body found off coast of Al Hoceima (MA) EFE/IOM/YABI
    31/03/18 1 N.N. unknown presumed drowned, body found west of Sbiaat beach in Ain Témouchent (DZ) Réf/DK/OuestT/IOM
    30/03/18 17 N.N. unknown died in vehicle accident in province of Igdir province (TR) near border with Armenia; 33 survivors Reu./LV/IOM
    29/03/18 7 N.N. (7 men) unknown presumed drowned, unspecified location in the Strait of Gibraltar between Morocco and Spain Caminando/IOM
    28/03/18 1 N.N. (boy, 16) Eritrea died in hospital in Lille after jumping from truck on motorway near Port of Calais (FR) CMS/Parisien/VoixDuNord/IOM
    24/03/18 1 N.N. (woman) unknown died of lack of access to medicines in hospital in Turin (IT) after being turned away on Italian-French border CDS/FrSoir/IOM
    22/03/18 1 N.N. (man, 22) Algeria stowaway, got stuck between 2 vehicles at Zeebrugge port (BE) while trying to get to Great Britain CMS
    20/03/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown presumed drowned, body found on shore of Tripoli (LY) IOM Libya
    18/03/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown drowned, body recovered on beach in Rota, Cádiz (ES) GuardiaCivil/EPress/IOM
    17/03/18 2 N.N. unknown died in vehicle acccident on highway near Xanthi (GR) near Bulgarian border; 7 survivors Reu./AP/IOM/ChNewsAsia
    17/03/18 19 N.N. (9 children) Afghanistan, Iraq 16 drowned after migrant boat capsized off coast of Agathonisi (GR); 3 missing, 3 rescued HellCoastG/IOM Greece/Reu./AP/ChNewsAsia
    16/03/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown presumed drowned, body found on beach in Tinajo, Lanzarote, Canary Islands (ES) EFE/La Provincia/IOM/VozDeL
    15/03/18 1 Mame Mbaye Ndiaye (man, 35) Senegal died of heart attack after police chased street vendor through Madrid (ES) until he collapsed LocalES/AfricaNews/TeleSur
    14/03/18 1 N.N. unknown went missing during rescue operation in the sea near Tangiers (MA); 9 rescued Watch TheMed
    13/03/18 1 Tesfalidet “Segen” Tesfon (man, 22) Eritrea died of tuberculosis and malnutrition after being rescued from boat; had been trapped in Libya for 18 months Proactiva/IOM/ANSA/Reu./LocalIT/HRW
    12/03/18 1 N.N. (man, ±30) unknown found dead in delta of the Evros River on Turkish-Greek border AP/MENAFN/IOM
    12/03/18 12 N.N. unknown found dead on sinking boat in the Alboran Sea between Morocco and Spain; 22 rescued Caminando Fronteras/IOM
    08/03/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown drowned, body recovered on beach in Rota, Cádiz, (ES) Guardia Civil/EPress/IOM
    06/03/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown drowned in the Evros River near Edirne (TR) near Greek border IOM Turkey/HurriyetDN
    03/03/18 23 N.N. (2 babies; 4 women; 17 men) Sub-Saharan Africa 2 found dead on boat, presumed drowned off coast of Libya; 21 missing, 30 survivors SOSMed/IOM/Reu.
    03/03/18 3 N.N. (2 women; 1 man) unknown drowned, bodies found off coast of Benzú in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta (ES); 2 survivors UNHCR/Caminando Fronteras/IOM/El Periódico
    01/03/18 1 Lamin (man, 20) Sierra Leone died due to lack of medical care in Passau (DE), had previously been deported to Italy despite severe illness Matteo
    28/02/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown found dead by coast guard near Bouzedjar beach in Ain Témouchent (DZ) RadioAlg/IOM
    27/02/18 6 N.N. (4 children; 1 woman; 1 man) unknown died of hypothermia near the Mergasur River (IQ) close to Turkish border; 4 survivors Kurdistan24/DailySabah/IOM/Rudaw
    26/02/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown died of cardiac arrest, body found in Tarifa, Cádiz (ES) EPress/IOM/JuntaAndalucía
    25/02/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown presumed drowned, body found at Levante beach in Cádiz (ES) EPress/AndalucíaInfo/IOM/CostaCádiz
    21/02/18 2 N.N. (1 woman; 1 man) unknown presumed drowned, bodies found 25 nautical miles north of Béni-Saf in Ain Témouchent (DZ) SoirAlgerie/Algérie360/IOM/Réf
    18/02/18 2 N.N. unknown presumed drowned, bodies found 8 nautical miles north of Bouzedjar beach in Ain Témouchent DZ) Réflexion/IOM Algeria
    17/02/18 1 N.N. unknown drowned, body found 10 km off coast of Benabdelmalek Ramdane in Mostaganem (DZ) IOM Algeria/TheHuff
    16/02/18 1 N.N. unknown presumed drowned, body retrieved in Zawiyah (LY) IOM Libya
    16/02/18 1 N.N. unknown presumed drowned, body retrieved in Tripoli (LY) IOM Libya
    16/02/18 1 N.N. unknown presumed drowned, body found on Madagh beach, Aïn El Kerma, west of Oran (DZ) ElW/Réf/IOM
    15/02/18 11 N.N. unknown presumed drowned, bodies retrieved in Zuwara (LY) IOM Libya
    15/02/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown presumed drowned, body found on Bouzedjar beach in Ain Témouchent (DZ) AlgériePresse/QUOTI/Réf/IOM
    15/02/18 2 N.N. (2 men) unknown presumed drowned, bodies found on Andalouses beach, Bousfer, west of Oran (DZ) ElW/Réf/IOM
    14/02/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown presumed drowned, body found on Sbiaat beach in El Messaid, Ain Témouchent (DZ) RadioAlg/QUOTI/Réf/IOM
    14/02/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown presumed drowned, body found on Sassel beach near Ouled Boudjemaa, Ain Témouchent (DZ) RadioAlg/QUOTI/Réf/IOM
    14/02/18 19 N.N. (4 children; 1 woman; 14 men) Somalia, Eritrea died in vehicle accident 60 km southeast of Bani Walid (LY); 159 survivors DTM/NationalAE/Reu./MENAFN/IOM Libya
    13/02/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown drowned, body found at Sidi Mejdoub beach, west of Mostaganem (DZ) Alg24/IOM Algeria
    13/02/18 1 Ayse Abdulrezzak (woman, 37) Turkey drowned when boat sunk in the Evros River on Turkish-Greek border; teacher fleeing crackdown in Turkey Reu./TDEMD/IOMTurkey/TurkeyPurge/TRMinute
    13/02/18 1 Ibrahim Selim (boy, 3) Turkey missing after boat sunk in the Evros River on Turkish-Greek border; was fleeing post-coup crackdown in Turkey Reu./TDEMD/IOM Turkey/TurkeyPurge/TRMinute
    13/02/18 1 Aslı Doğan (woman, 27) Turkey missing after boat sunk in the Evros River on Turkish-Greek border; was fleeing post-coup crackdown in Turkey Reu./TDEMD/IOM Turkey/TurkeyPurge/TRMinute
    13/02/18 1 Fahrettin Dogan (man, 29) Turkey missing after boat sunk in the Evros River on Turkish-Greek border; was fleeing post-coup crackdown in Turkey Reu./TDEMD/IOM Turkey/TurkeyPurge/TRMinute
    13/02/18 1 Ugur Abdulrezzak (man, 39) Turkey missing after boat sunk in the Evros River on Turkish-Greek border; was fleeing post-coup crackdown in Turkey Reu./TDEMD/IOM Turkey/TurkeyPurge/TRMinute
    13/02/18 1 Halil Munir Abdulrezzak (boy, 3) Turkey drowned when boat sunk in the Evros River on Turkish-Greek border; son of teacher fleeing crackdown in Turkey Reu./TDEMD/IOM Turkey/TurkeyPurge/TRMinute
    13/02/18 1 Enes Abdulrezzak (boy, 11) Turkey drowned when boat sunk in the Evros River on Turkish-Greek border; son of teacher fleeing crackdown in Turkey Reu./TDEMD/IOM Turkey/TurkeyPurge/TRMinute
    12/02/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown drowned, body found near Port of Cabopino in Málaga (ES) Hoy/LV/Onda/IOM
    12/02/18 1 N.N. (girl) unknown presumed drowned, unspecified location in the Strait of Gibraltar between Morocco and Spain Caminando/IOM
    11/02/18 5 N.N. unknown drowned, bodies found 22 miles off Cape of Three Forks in Nador (MA); 29 survivors Caminando/EPress/IOM
    11/02/18 1 N.N. unknown drowned, body found off Bahara beach, Ouled Boughalem, 90 km east of Mostaganem (DZ) ElW/AlgériePresse/IOM
    10/02/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown drowned, body found at Zeralda beach, near Algiers (DZ) Alg24/IOMAlgeria
    09/02/18 3 N.N. (3 men) unknown died of hypothermia, 27 miles off Alboran Island in Alboran Sea between Morocco and Spain; 32 survivors SalvaM/Caminando/IOM
    09/02/18 7 N.N. unknown presumed drowned, bodies retrieved in Zuwara (LY) IOM Libya
    08/02/18 1 N.N. unknown drowned, body found off Kaf Lasfer beach, between Sidi Lakhdar and Hadjadj, 36 km east of Mostaganem (DZ) ElW/Réf/IOM


  • No food, no water: African migrants recount terrifying Atlantic crossing

    Men rescued off Brazil after 35 days at sea tell of harrowing 3,000km journey on which some drank urine to survive.

    In the days after the food and water had run out, as the catamaran drifted helplessly in the Atlantic with a snapped mast and broken motor, there was nothing left to do but pray, said Muctarr Mansaray, 27.

    “I pray every day. I pray a lot at that particular moment. I don’t sleep at night,” he said.

    Mansaray and 24 other African migrants had set out from the African nation of Cape Verde in April, on what they were told by the two Brazilian crewmen would be a relatively quick and easy voyage to a new country where they hoped to find work.

    This weekend, they were rescued by fishermen 80 miles off the coast of Brazil, after an incredible 3,000km (1,864-mile) journey across the Atlantic.

    The men, from Senegal, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau had been at sea for 35 days – the last few days without food and water.

    Details have now begun to emerge of the men’s terrifying and chaotic voyage in a 12-metre catamaran barely big enough for them to squeeze on. When food and water ran out, some even drank sea water and urine.

    “After 35 days of journey in these conditions it is really lucky that nobody died,” said Luis Almeida, head of the federal police’s immigration department in São Luís, the capital of Maranhão state.

    “There was not a cabin for all of them, so they were exposed to a lot of sun and solar radiation during these 35 days,” he said. The rescued men were disorientated, dehydrated and some had problems seeing after so long exposed to the glare of sun reflected on the waves.

    Almeida said the case was unprecedented: African stowaways have been found on cargo ships in Maranhão ports before, but this was the first time a boatload of migrants had arrived in the state. The two Brazilians also on the boat were arrested for promoting illegal immigrations.

    The journey began in the island nation of Cape Verde, 400 miles west of Senegal.

    Mansaray, a Muslim from Freetown in Sierra Leone, had moved there five years ago to study science and technology with hopes of becoming a teacher. He studied for two years but was struggling to pay his university fees and working as a cellphone repairman.

    “They called me the cellphone doctor,” he told the Guardian by phone from São Luís.

    A friend who is a student in São Paulo told him he could study for free in Brazil’s biggest city and would be able to send money home to his elderly parents and sister in Freetown. “I said, cool, that’s why I got that boat,” he said.

    He said he had been introduced to a Brazilian on the street and then paid $700 (£521) for what he was told would be a 22-day passage.

    He became scared when he saw the size of the vessel he was about to cross the Atlantic on.

    “I am the last to arrive, when I enter on the boat, a lot of guys, oh my God, is this going to be safe all of us?” he said. “How can I do this journey? Because I am already in, I cannot discourage other people, so I find courage and go.”
    ‘The motor broke, and the sail broke’

    Others had paid more on the promise that they would be given food, but within 10 days the food had run out, so the men survived on two biscuits or a few spoonfuls of food each day. One day, one man caught a fish with a rope.

    “We boiled a fish, and everybody eat,” Mansaray said.

    But the mast snapped when one of the boat’s crew was trying to tie it to the other side of the boat, he said, and the motor would not work because the crew had mixed kerosene and diesel. A storm came as a relief because at least there was rainwater to drink.

    Elhadji Mountakha Beye, 36, was hit on the head when the mast broke and has been left with a scar. The mechanic from Dakar in Senegal had previously lived in Cape Verde, and paid €1,000 (£877) for his passage in the hope of finding work in Brazil where he hoped to meet up with a Senegalese friend in São Paulo. “There is better work there than in Senegal,” he said.

    He described a hellish journey.

    “It was tiring, there was no food, the food ran out, the water ran out,” he said. “Just on that sea. The motor broke, and the sail broke. Now just wait for someone to help us.”

    Just as the situation was becoming dire, the men aboard the drifting vessel spotted a fishing boat and signalled that they were in distress. The fishermen, from nearby Ceará state, towed the catamaran to the nearby port of São José de Ribamar.

    “The next day someone would have died,” Moisés dos Santos, one of the fishermen, told reporters when the men landed. “They said they ate two biscuits a day. They even drank urine, that’s what they say, they told us. We felt very honoured to save the lives of a lot of people.”

    The men were met by a medical team from the Maranhão state government’s secretariat of human rights, taken to a health post for checks and then housed in a local gymnasium.

    “All of them said life was precarious in their origin countries and they all have relatives or people they know living in Brazil. They were looking for a better life and to work in Brazil,” said Jonata Galvão, the state’s adjunct secretary for human rights.

    Federal police said they were now evaluating a “migratory solution” for the men to stay in Brazil.

    “We are not criminals. We are hard-working guys. So I believe that the government will help us to do that,” Mantsaray said. “It is my dream, and I believe my dream will come true with the help of God, and I can support my family back home.”

    This story was amended on 23 May 2018 to correct the length of the journey across the Atlantic. It is 3,000km, not 3,000 miles.


    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/22/african-migrant-brazil-boat-rescue-atlantic-crossing

    #parcours_migratoires #océan_atlantique #atlantique #Afrique #Afrique_de_l'Ouest #Brésil
    via @isskein



  • Nouveau manuel d’histoire pour l’#Afrique_de_l’ouest

    Aujourd’hui est lancé à Banjul (Gambie) un nouveau manuel d’histoire pour les élèves anglophones ouest-africains qui passent l’examen du certificat de fin d’études secondaires d’Afrique de l’Ouest (WASSCE). Que ce soit en Gambie, au Ghana, au Liberia, au Nigeria ou en Sierra Leone, tous les élèves ont en commun la moitié du programme scolaire d’histoire, l’autre partie étant réservée à l’histoire nationale de chaque pays.

    http://libeafrica4.blogs.liberation.fr/2018/03/25/nouveau-manuel-dhistoire-pour-lafrique-de-louest

    #manuel_d'histoire #histoire #éducation #historicisation #Afrique

    • History #Textbook. West African Senior School Certificate Examination

      This website hosts a textbook aimed at West African students taking West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) History Paper 1, “West Africa and the Wider World from Earliest Times to 2000”. This free resource covers all the current syllabus, as well as including two chapters (11. Women, Gender and Political Authority; 12. The Environment in West African History) which – it is hoped – might be later added. The authors hope that this content will allow secondary school students to gain a good overview of West African history as their syllabus defines it, and at the same time contribute to new debates.


      https://wasscehistorytextbook.wordpress.com


  • No 24 months in this camp ! Stop deportations ! #Deggendorf transit camp protest 20 Dec 2017

    Demonstration 20 December 2017, Deggendorf transit camp
    Bavaria, Germany

    No 24 months in this camp! Stop deportations! No to racism and torture of migrants!

    On Friday 15th December 2017 around 200 people from Sierra Leone – women, men and children – started a ’strike of closed doors’ in the Deggendorf transit camp against the inhumane conditions and against rejections and deportations. On Wednesday 20th December their protest was joined by other refugees/migrants in the Deggendorf camp, refugees/migrants from other Bavarian camps – of different West African, Arab and Caucasian nationalities – and by activist groups.

    The peaceful protest marched across the town of Deggendorf in six hours, visiting key institutions: The BAMF (Federal Office for Migration and Refugees), via the Landratsamt (Foreigners’ Office), town hall, city center, the Caritas office and police station.

    The protesters objected the ongoing deportations and massive rejections of their asylum applications and the lack of medical care, the miserable hygienic conditions, lack of privacy and the bad quality of the food in the camp as well as the denial of normal schooling and work permits. They refused the new policy to keep people in the transit camp for up to 24 months.

    Since July 2017 a new German law (#Gesetz_zur_besseren_Durchsetzung_der_Ausreisepflicht) has given the Bavarian state the possibility to imprison people in integrated „reception“ and deportation facilities under one roof. In these factual deportation camps Bavaria accomodates asylum seekers from countries with less than 50 % approval rate, that is, from most countries of origin. Basic rights violations in these camps include: Inhabitants are not allowed to leave the town limits without a special permission, not allowed to work nor study, nor are entitled to social support or normal medical care. This system of segregation and quasi-imprisonment has sparked several protests in the Bavarian camps.

    The initial group of Sierra Leoneans in Deggendorf had gone on hunger strike on Saturday 16th December, after starting the ’strike of closed doors’ on Friday 15th December. In protest, the children and young people were refusing to attend the German class in the camp as access to regular educational institutions was denied from them. Adults stayed in the accommodation and refused to work in the 80 cents jobs. The protest began after the violent deportation of a man from Sierra Leone on the morning of 15th December, which had been stopped in the last minute at the airport.

    https://vimeo.com/248613638


    #camp_de_transit #centre_de_transit #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Allemagne #démonstration #manifestation #résistance #Sierra_Leone #camps #détention_administrative #rétention #renvois #expulsions #grève_de_la_faim

    v. aussi :
    http://cultureofdeportation.org/2017/12/24/en-no-24-months


  • For lessons on disaster preparedness, Sierra Leone could look to Cuba
    http://africasacountry.com/2017/09/cuba-disaster-sierra-leone

    On August 14th, Mudslides in Freetown, Sierra Leone killed 1,000 people, mostly inhabitants of the urban slums in the hills above the capital. Despite its portrayal as a natural disaster caused by days of heavy rain, “the tragedy was entirely man-made,” as writer Lansana Gberie states bluntly. The result of environmental degradation, lack of disaster preparedness…


  • Where Cuba leads, Sierra Leone should follow
    http://africasacountry.com/2017/09/where-cuba-leads-sierra-leone-should-follow

    Mudslides in Freetown, Sierra Leone on August 14 killed 1,000 people, mostly inhabitants of the urban slums in the hills above the capital. Despite its portrayal as a natural disaster caused by days of heavy rain, “the tragedy was entirely man-made,” as writer Lansana Gberie states bluntly. The result of environmental degradation, lack of disaster…



  • Spark of Science : Pardis Sabeti - Issue 44 : Luck
    http://nautil.us/issue/44/luck/spark-of-science-pardis-sabeti

    During the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa in 2014, Pardis Sabeti led a team that sequenced virus genomes from infected patients, determining that the disease had most likely diverged from a strain in central Africa a decade earlier, and was transmitted through human contact, this time from a funeral in Guinea to Sierra Leone. Since then, Sabeti, a computational geneticist at Harvard University and the Broad Institute, has continued studying the genomes and evolution of a range of other microbes, looking for factors that play a role in epidemics in order to develop methods of intervention. “What an amazing and fulfilling life the life of a scientist can be,” she says. Sabeti was born in Tehran, Iran. Her family fled the coming 1979 Iranian Revolution when she was 2 years old (...)


  • Sierra Leone’s farmers continue to fight multinational land grabs - Equal Times
    http://www.equaltimes.org/sierra-leone-s-farmers-continue-to?lang=en

    In 2011, Socfin Agricultural Company #Sierra_Leone Ltd. (#Socfin SL, a subsidiary of the Luxembourg-based multinational Socfin, or Société Financière des Caoutchoucs) secured a 50-year lease for 6,500 hectares of prime farmland for rubber and oil palm plantations in the Malen Chiefdom in the Pujehun district of southern Sierra Leone.

    Activists say the deal took place between Malen’s Paramount Chief Victor Brima Kebbie, government officials and Socfin, without the proper consultation of the area’s 30 communities, which are home to almost 50,000 inhabitants.

    “The project promised local populations full compensation for lost land, development investments, and jobs,” according to the Environmental Justice Atlas.



  • British MP Jo Cox shot and killed — FT.com
    https://next.ft.com/content/53ac09fe-33c3-11e6-ad39-3fee5ffe5b5b

    Hithem Ben Abdallah, 56, was in the café next door to the library shortly after 1pm when he heard screaming and went outside. He told the Press Association: “There was a guy who was being very brave and another guy with a white baseball cap who he was trying to control, and the man in the baseball cap suddenly pulled a gun from his bag.”

    After a brief scuffle, he said the man stepped back and the MP became involved.

    He added: “He was fighting with her and wrestling with her and then the gun went off twice and then she fell between two cars and I came and saw her bleeding on the floor.”

    15 minutes, the shop owner said emergency services arrived and tended to her with a drip.

    The Manchester Evening News reported that the attacker had shouted “Britain first” before the attack, according to a witness. The man then walked away slowly. Britain First said it was looking into the reports.

    Ms Cox grew up in the area, before becoming the first person in her family to graduate from university.

    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the country would be “in shock at the horrific murder” of MP Jo Cox, who was a “much loved colleague”.

    Boris Johnson, the former London mayor and leader of the Leave campaign, said: “Just heard the absolutely horrific news about the attack on Jo Cox MP. My thoughts are with Jo and her family.”

    Ms Cox, who was married with two children, also worked as an adviser to Sarah Brown, the wife of former prime minister Gordon Brown. She was one of 36 MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn for the party leadership in mid-2015, but later voted for Liz Kendall. In recent weeks she had campaigned for the Remain camp.

    Her husband, Brendan, was one of a number of Remain campaigners involved in a light-hearted clash with their Leave counterparts on the river Thames on Wednesday.

    About Jo | Jo Cox MP
    http://www.jocox.org.uk/about-jo

    Jo Cox – The Labour Party
    http://www.labour.org.uk/people/detail/jo-cox

    Jo grew up in Batley and Spen, attended Heckmondwike Grammar School and became the first in her family to graduate from university finishing her degree at Cambridge University in 1995.

    Jo’s career has involved working all over the world for charities fighting to tackle poverty, suffering and discrimination. She has worked with Oxfam, Save the Children and the NSPCC both here in the UK and in some of the world’s poorest and most war-torn regions.

    Jo Cox is national chair of Labour Women’s Network and a senior advisor to the anti-slavery charity, the Freedom Fund.

    A dedicated campaigner nationally and locally, Jo focuses heavily on fighting for our public services, particularly against the decision to downgrade Dewsbury and District Hospital. She is also involved with efforts to strengthen our manufacturing base in Yorkshire and in campaigns and initiatives to tackle poverty and the cost of living crisis, such as Batley Food Bank.

    Jo is married to Brendan and they have two young children. She enjoys climbing mountains, boats and running.

    Jo Cox MP - UK Parliament
    http://www.parliament.uk/biographies/commons/jo-cox/4375

    403 - Error: 403
    http://www.daviesandpartners.com/our-people/jo-cox

    Jo Cox - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jo_Cox

    With Regret, I Feel I Have No Other Option But to Abstain on Syria
    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/jo-cox/syria-vote_b_8698242.html

    02/12/2015 15:49
    Jo Cox, Labour MP for Batley & Spen

    The Syria debate has been unhelpfully framed by two extremes.

    The ’something must be done’ brigade who understandably are desperate to respond to the fascism of Isis and the threat to the UK, but who are often less reflective on the type of action that might be needed, the danger of unintended consequences or the specific conflict dynamics in Syria. There’s a danger of them falling into the trap of the man with a hammer who thinks everything is a nail. We need a nuanced approach not a one tactic fits all plan.

    On the other hand there are the ’nothing can be done’ sect who see military action as an anathema in all circumstances, who view the role of Britain with suspicion and who trace back most if not all injustices in the world to UK imperialism. This depressing lack of sophistication airbrushes from history the role we played in cases such as Kosovo or Sierra Leone - where civilian protection was key - and fixates on Iraq as the sole frame. This group deny they are against action per se (we want a ’new diplomatic push’ goes the cry), they assert they are just against military action. Yet almost all of them have remained remarkably silent about Syria while hundreds of thousands have been killed, only now raising their voices to state what they are against rather than what they are for. It is best personified by the ’Stop the War’ coalition, a coalition who don’t seem to know or care that there is already a war in Syria and has been for many years. If they were really the ’Stop the War’ coalition they would have been actively campaigning for resolute international action to protect civilians and end the war in Syria for many years.

    Both extremes are completely unhelpful to the debate.

    Jeremy Corbyn, these election results mean it’s time to show us that you are a leader
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/jeremy-corbyn-election-results-mean-7920830

    Jo Cox: Brexit is no answer to real concerns on immigration - Yorkshire Post
    http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/opinion/jo-cox-brexit-is-no-answer-to-real-concerns-on-immigration-1-795682

    Kirklees MP Jo Cox apologises after aide claims she “knifed” Corbyn - Huddersfield Examiner
    http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/kirklees-mp-jo-cox-apologises-11305865

    #Royaume_Uni #Labour #Brexit #assassinat


  • Une entreprise britannique « a recruté des enfants-soldats de Sierra Leone en tant que mercenaires en Irak » - Guardian

    http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/apr/17/uk-firm-employed-former-child-soldiers-as-mercenaries-in-iraq?CMP=twt_g

    A former senior director at a British firm says that it employed mercenaries from Sierra Leone to work in Iraq because they were cheaper than Europeans and did not check if they were former child soldiers.

    James Ellery, who was a director of Aegis Defence Services between 2005 and 2015, said that contractors had a “duty” to recruit from countries such as Sierra Leone, “where there’s high unemployment and a decent workforce”, in order to reduce costs for the US presence in Iraq.


  • UK firm ’employed former child soldiers’ as mercenaries in Iraq | Global development | The Guardian
    http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/apr/17/uk-firm-employed-former-child-soldiers-as-mercenaries-in-iraq?CMP=twt_g

    A former senior director at a British firm says that it employed mercenaries from Sierra Leone to work in Iraq because they were cheaper than Europeans and did not check if they were former child soldiers.

    James Ellery, who was a director of Aegis Defence Services between 2005 and 2015, said that contractors had a “duty” to recruit from countries such as Sierra Leone, “where there’s high unemployment and a decent workforce”, in order to reduce costs for the US presence in Iraq.

    “You probably would have a better force if you recruited entirely from the Midlands of England,” Ellery, a former brigadier in the British army, told the Guardian. “But it can’t be afforded. So you go from the Midlands of England to Nepalese etc etc, Asians, and then at some point you say I’m afraid all we can afford now is Africans.” He said the company had not asked recruits if they were former child soldiers.

    #mercenaires #Irak #enfants_soldats #c'est_moins_cher déjà que la guerre c’est à gerber...


  • Bringing Affordable, Renewable Lighting to Sierra Leone | Data Science Institute

    http://datascience.columbia.edu/bringing-affordable-renewable-lighting-sierra-leone

    The West Africa nation of Sierra Leone has one of the lowest electrification rates on the planet. When night falls, most of the country turns to battery-powered flashlights or kerosene lamps to cook and read.

    Amid these challenging conditions, social entrepreneurs at Columbia Univesrity see opportunity. A team of students is developing plans to bring low-cost, solar-powered energy to Sierra Leone. Through their startup, Azimuth Solar, they hope to offer solar-powered lamps, payable in installments on a mobile phone, to millions of people with no access to credit or a conventional grid.

    #sierra_leone #énergie



  • Daily chart: Ebola in Africa: the end of a tragedy | The Economist

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2016/01/daily-chart-12?fsrc=scn%2Ftw%2Fte%2Fbl%2Fed%2Febolainafricatheendofatrage

    AS OF January 14th 2016, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the west African country of Liberia free of Ebola. Along with it, Africa as a whole is now clear of the killer virus. The outbreak that ravaged the region over the course of the last two years was the worst the world has ever seen. The first reported case dates back to December 2013, in Guéckédou, a forested area of Guinea near the border with Liberia and Sierra Leone. Travellers took it across the borders: by late March 2014, Liberia had reported eight suspected cases and Sierra Leone six. By the end of June that same year 759 people had been infected and 467 people had died from the disease. To date, 28,637 cases and 11,315 deaths have been reported worldwide, the vast majority of them in these same three countries.

    #ébola #santé


  • How a project with good aims delivered bitter outcomes in Sierra Leone
    https://theconversation.com/how-a-project-with-good-aims-delivered-bitter-outcomes-in-sierra-le

    This project leased 40,000 hectares of land and relocated the farms of thousands of people to grow sugar cane and export ethanol to Europe. The project is primarily owned and managed by a private corporation, but is funded by a consortium of development banks and bilateral development organisations in Europe. The funding exceeds €250 million.

    My findings indicate that the project has had a number of negative effects on local communities. These include restructuring of local power dynamics, the marginalisation of women and increased economic inequality.

    #canne_à_sucre #agrocarburant #terres #évictions_forcées #Sierra_Leone


  • Sierra Leone News: One million hectares of our land in foreign hands-Green Scenery CEO « Awoko Newspaper
    http://awoko.org/2015/12/11/sierra-leone-news-one-million-hectares-of-our-land-in-foreign-hands-green-sce

    About 1 million hectares of lands in Sierra Leone are presently in the hands of multi-lateral companies,’ Green Scenery Chief Executive Officer, Joseph Rahall made this known to journalists at a one day training for journalists at the Hill Valley Hotel in Freetown.
    The training was for journalists to get au fait with the “Voluntary
    Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests” in the context of National Food Security.
    He explained that most times the lands are bought at a minimal 15 United States Dollar per hectare. This, he declared, “is a mockery from both the government and investors and to the land owners” too. The companies, he opined, have “sexy names but most of them are not doing well.” The country lands, he said, should be given to companies for a maximum of 25 years and not more than that. The largest amount of land to be given out to companies, he stressed, should be around 1000 to 2000 hectares. Land, he assured, “is a human right to every people and land is a human security too.”
    The training, he confirmed, is “for journalists to know how to report on land issues.” He said the Guidelines are there to encourage transparency and participatory application of the VGGT.

    #terres #Sierra_leone