• Participations à l’#ordre
    Dossier coordonné par Guillaume Gourgues et Julie Le Mazier

    Ce numéro, dont vous trouverez ci-dessous la table des matières, regroupe des articles portant sur la #mobilisation de #volontaires, non professionnel·les, pour des #missions_de_sécurité ou de défense, qu’elle soit ou non tolérée, approuvée voire initiée par l’État. En explorant des contextes et des dispositifs différenciés, aussi bien au nord qu’au sud, et selon des méthodes et des approches théoriques plurielles, les articles montrent que loin de remettre en cause les prérogatives de l’État, la « participation à l’ordre » (et ses déclinaisons) constitue une #technique_de_gouvernement. Conçue pour retisser des liens sociaux, moraux ou politiques supposément défaits, en façonnant l’engagement, la « #civilité » ou le « #civisme », ou encore les #sociabilités_locales, elle vise à produire de « #bons_citoyens » ou de « #bonnes_citoyennes ». Entre logique gouvernementale et réappropriation des dispositifs par des participant·e·s à la recherche de rétributions matérielles et symboliques, cette #participation_à_l'ordre se présente comme un point nodal d’une forme de « #gouvernementalité_participative » en pleine expansion.

    « Introduction. Participations à l’ordre et participations conservatrices »
    Guillaume Gourgues, Julie Le Mazier

    « La #sécurité est-elle vraiment "l’affaire de tous" ? Les limites de la #participation_citoyenne en France dans un domaine typiquement régalien »
    Virginie Malochet

    « Quand la #gendarmerie devient participative : l’engagement des voisin·es dans les réseaux officiels de #vigilance en #France »
    Eleonora Elguezabal

    « La #surveillance a-t-elle une couleur politique ? Cercles de vigilance, capital social et compétition municipale dans des espaces périurbains en France »
    Matthijs Gardenier

    « Démocratiser le fusil. L’imagination composite d’une #citoyenneté_coercitive en #Ouganda »
    Florence Brisset-Foucault

    « #Policiers_vigilants et #vigilants_policiers. #Community_policing et division du travail policier en milieu urbain au #Malawi »
    Paul Grassin

    « Hiérarchies sociales, réforme morale et précarité économique au sein de l’#Oodua_People’s_Congress : de l’expérience vigilante radicale au travail de sécurité à #Lagos (#Nigeria) »
    Lucie Revilla

    « La certification d’un #citoyen_secoureur en #Chine contemporaine. Établir et représenter a posteriori la vertu d’un acteur au sein d’une arène de droit »
    Chayma Boda

    « Lecture critique. Participer à la modération sur les #réseaux_sociaux : définir, appliquer et contester les règles »
    Romain Badouard

    https://www.cairn.info/revue-participations-2021-1.htm
    #revue #ordre_public

    ping @davduf

  • Ces #murs de #sable qui surgissent au #Sahara

    Construire des murs ou des clôtures pour protéger un territoire ou garder des frontières est une pratique courante à travers le monde. Elle s’étend désormais au continent africain pour entraver les flux migratoires. En toute discrétion, du #Maroc au #Niger en passant par l’#Algérie, les autorités érigent des #parois_de_sable, lourdement gardées par des policiers et des militaires, et surveillées par des caméras.


    https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2021/10/journal#!/p_14
    https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2021/10/CARAYOL/63629
    #barrières #barrières_frontalières #murs_de_sable #surveillance_des_frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #militarisation_des_frontières #anti-migrants #anti-terrorisme

    via @rhoumour
    ping @_kg_ @karine4

  • #Algérie - #Niger : la réouverture de la frontière fait craindre davantage d’expulsions

    Après un an de fermeture, le passage entre les deux pays est de nouveau autorisé. Ce qui pourrait augmenter, encore un peu plus, le nombre d’expulsions illégales de migrants d’Algérie vers le Niger.

    Après plus d’un an de fermeture pour cause de coronavirus, la frontière entre l’Algérie et le Niger est de nouveau ouverte. L’annonce a été faite par le président algérien Abdelmadjid Tebboune lors d’un point de presse conjoint avec son homologue nigérien Mohamed Bazoum, en visite à Alger. Selon le chef d’état algérien, cette réouverture autorise "l’exportation des produits algériens vers le Niger et l’importation des produits nigériens".

    Mais force est de constater qu’elle remet aussi en lumière la question des migrants. Car l’endroit voit aussi passer, quotidiennement, de nombreux exilés expulsés illégalement d’Algérie. Selon les Nations unies, le pays - qui ne dispose pas de législation en matière d’asile malgré son attachement à la Convention de Genève sur le statut de réfugié - a depuis 2014, renvoyé des dizaines de milliers de migrants en situation irrégulière de l’autre côté de sa frontière.
    "Toujours autant de camions" pendant la pandémie

    Sa fermeture, actée le 17 mars 2020, n’y a rien fait : "le #refoulement systématique des migrants depuis l’Algérie vers le Niger n’a pas cessé", déplore Médecins sans frontières (MSF) dans un communiqué. Entre janvier et avril 2021, près de 4 370 personnes ont été emmenées par les forces de l’ordre algériennes jusqu’au "Point Zéro", en plein désert, à proximité de la région nigérienne d’Agadez.

    "Pendant la crise sanitaire, les ONG présentes sur place ont vu toujours autant de camions traverser la frontière en direction du Niger, chargés de migrants expulsés. Des hommes, des femmes, mais aussi des mineurs, de toute origine, ", confirme Lauren Seibert, chercheuse spécialiste des migrants et des réfugiés au sein de Human Rights Watch (HRW).

    Sans aucun moyen de localisation ni personne pour les guider, les migrants sont abandonnés là par les autorités algériennes et doivent parcourir, à pied et souvent la nuit, les 15 kilomètres qui les séparent de la petite ville nigérienne d’#Assamaka. Avec pour certains, une issue fatale.

    Abdul, originaire de Sirerra Leone, a eu, lui, la chance d’arriver sain et sauf. "Ils nous ont emmenés dans le désert et nous ont laissés là en nous disant ‘la route vers le Niger, c’est cette direction’ », raconte-t-il à HRW. "Je n’avais pas de chaussures. J’ai marché pieds nus. Ça nous a pris cinq à six heures [pour arriver au Niger]."

    Selon un recensement effectué par MSF, en 2020, plus de 23 175 migrants sont arrivés à Assamaka, qui compte un millier d’habitants permanents.

    Avec la réouverture officielle de la frontière, le nombre d’expulsions pourrait "augmenter drastiquement dans les mois à venir", s’inquiète Lauren Seibert. Malgré un an de pandémie, et les nombreuses critiques dont elle est la cible, "l’Algérie n’a jusqu’à maintenant fait aucun effort pour remédier à cette situation". Et ce, "malgré la pression internationale et celle de la société civile, déplore-t-elle. On s’attend donc à ce que la situation soit encore pire maintenant".

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msZtXPeCIP0&feature=emb_logo

    Des pratiques illégales

    Pourtant, en agissant ainsi, l’Algérie trahit ses engagements légaux. Car le pays est "signataire des conventions des Nations unies et de l’Afrique sur les réfugiés et de la convention contre la torture", rappelle un rapport de HRW. Les autorités sont donc tenues "de respecter le principe de non-refoulement, qui interdit le retour forcé de toute personne vers des pays où elle pourrait être soumise à la torture ou à des menaces contre sa vie ou sa liberté".

    L’article 12 de la Charte africaine des droits de l’homme et des peuples, que l’Algérie a ratifié, lui interdit également toute expulsion visant des groupes nationaux, raciaux, ethniques ou religieux.

    Des dispositions renforcées par la loi nationale N 08-11, validée en 2008. Si la mesure admet que l’expulsion peut être prononcée contre les étrangers irréguliers, elle les autorise, aussi, à contester la décision devant un juge. "Au regard des faits, force est de constater le non-respect de ces dispositions", admet Boubakar A. Mahamadou dans un article publié par Alarm Phone Sahara : https://alarmephonesahara.info/fr/blog/posts/expulsions-massives-de-migrants-par-l-algerie-vers-le-niger-que-

    Pour le juriste nigérien, "les états ont le droit de restreindre la liberté de circulation des personnes. Mais il n’en demeure pas moins que cela doit s’effectuer dans le respect des règles établies". L’Algérie ne semble pas, jusqu’ici, en avoir pris conscience.

    https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/33753/algerie-niger-la-reouverture-de-la-frontiere-fait-craindre-davantage-d

    #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #expulsions #renvois #ouverture_des_frontières

    ping @isskein @karine4 @_kg_ @rhoumour

  • Deux décisions qui donnent pouvoir à #Frontex pour négocier des #accords_de_travail avec le #Niger (parmi d’autres pays hors UE) et avec #Eucap_Sahel au Niger (ainsi qu’en Libye) :

    1. Management Board Decision 36/2021 authorising the Executive Director to negotiate working arrangements with selected third countries (2021) :
    https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/MB_Decision/2021/MB_Decision_36_2021_authorising_the_ED_to_negotiate_working_arrangeme

    2. Management Board Decision 37/2021 authorising the Executive Director to negotiate working arrangements with selected EU entities (2021) :
    https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/MB_Decision/2021/MB_Decision_37_2021_authorising_the_ED_to_negotiate_working_arrangeme

    #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières

    –-

    ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749
    et plus précisément ici :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765325

    ping @isskein @karine4 @rhoumour @_kg_

  • Benin City (Nigeria) : #manifestation contre des démolitions de bâtiments par l’armée nigériane
    https://fr.squat.net/2021/08/25/benin-city-nigeria-manifestation-contre-des-demolitions-de-batiments-par-l

    Le 16 août 2021, des centaines d’habitant·e·s de la communauté Oghede, à Benin City, dans l’Etat d’Edo, ont manifesté contre la démolition de bâtiments et de structures construites par les habitant·e·s eux-mêmes, notamment des tombes. Les manifestant·e·s revendiquaient leurs terres, menacées d’expropriation par l’armée nigériane. Des pancartes et banderoles avec des inscriptions contre l’armée ont […]

    #Afrique #expulsion #militaires #Nigeria

  • Les politiques migratoires et sécuritaires européennes au Niger

    Carrefour de nombreux espaces sous tensions politiques et sécuritaires, le Niger est depuis plus d’une décennie une voie privilégiée vers l’Europe pour les migrants originaires d’Afrique centrale et de l’Ouest. Ces mouvements, conséquence de la dégradation des conditions de vie des populations, entraînée par le déclin de l’attractivité économique de pays surendettés et engagés dans des programmes d’ajustement structurel imposés par les institutions financières internationales, ont fait du Niger, pays très pauvre, mais stratégique, un espace de choix pour l’externalisation des politiques européennes en matière de gestion des flux migratoires.

    https://entreleslignesentrelesmots.blog/2021/08/23/les-politiques-migratoires-et-securitaires-europeennes-

    #migration #niger

  • « Cameroon Garage Funk », voyage au cœur de la scène musicale de Yaoundé des 70s
    https://www.fip.fr/musiques-du-monde/cameroon-garage-funk-voyage-au-coeur-de-la-scene-musicale-de-yaounde-des-70s-192


    https://analogafrica.bandcamp.com/track/les-souffrances

    But who exactly are these artists that recorded one or two songs before disappearing, never to be heard from again? Some of the names were so obscure that even the most seasoned veterans of the Cameroonian music scene had never heard of them. A few trips to the land of #Makossa and many more hours of interviews were necessary to get enough insight to assemble the puzzle-pieces of Yaoundé’s buzzing 1970s music scene. We learned that despite the myriad difficulties involved in the simple process of making and releasing a record, the musicians of Yaoundé’s underground music scene left behind an extraordinary legacy of raw grooves and magnificent tunes.

    The songs may have been recorded in a church, with a single microphone in the span of only an hour or two, but the fact that we still pay attention to these great creations some 50 years later, only illustrates the timelessness of their music.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/706744
    #Analog_Africa #Cameroun #musique

  • Plus de 1 200 migrants expulsés par l’Algérie vers le Niger
    https://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2021/07/28/plus-de-1-200-migrants-expulses-par-l-algerie-vers-le-niger_6089768_3212.htm

    Plus de 1 200 migrants expulsés par l’Algérie vers le Niger. Selon l’Organisation internationale des migrations, Alger a expulsé depuis 2014 des dizaines de milliers de personnes originaires d’Afrique de l’Ouest et centrale. Plus de 1 200 migrants ouest-africains, parmi lesquels des Nigériens, ont été expulsés par l’Algérie vers le Niger depuis l’annonce de la réouverture de la frontière terrestre entre les deux pays le 14 juillet, a indiqué l’Organisation internationale des migrations (OIM).« Le 18 juillet, un convoi officiel de 515 rapatriés nigériens est arrivé d’Algérie. Le 16 juillet déjà, 752 migrants originaires d’Afrique de l’Ouest sont arrivés à pied à Assamaka, ville [nigérienne] la plus proche de la frontière algérienne », a précisé lundi 26 juillet sur sa page Facebook le bureau de l’OIM au Niger.
    « Après leur dangereux et éprouvant périple », les migrants « ont tous reçu des biens non alimentaires [kits d’hygiène, couvertures, nattes] grâce au financement du ministère de l’intérieur italien », selon le texte. L’Algérie a expulsé depuis 2014 des dizaines de milliers de migrants irréguliers originaires d’Afrique de l’Ouest et centrale, selon les Nations unies. Certains de ces migrants tentent de subsister en Algérie, mais un grand nombre cherche surtout à gagner l’Europe. Des ONG algériennes et internationales ont souvent accusé les autorités algériennes d’arrêter arbitrairement et d’expulser collectivement des ressortissants de pays d’Afrique subsaharienne, parfois en les abandonnant sans eau ni nourriture en plein désert. L’Algérie, qui ne dispose pas de législation en matière d’asile, dément régulièrement ces accusations, dénonçant une « campagne malveillante ». La réouverture de la frontière terrestre entre l’Algérie et le Niger, fermée pendant seize mois en raison de la pandémie de Covid-19, pour faciliter les échanges bilatéraux a été annoncée le 14 juillet par le président algérien Abdelamadjid Tebboune lors d’une visite de son homologue nigérien Mohamed Bazoum.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#algerie#niger#afriquesubsaharienne#asile#politiquemigratoire#sante#frontiere#droit#expulsion

  • Covid-19 : réouverture de la frontière terrestre entre l’Algérie et le Niger
    https://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2021/07/14/covid-19-reouverture-de-la-frontiere-terrestre-entre-l-algerie-et-le-niger_6

    Covid-19 : réouverture de la frontière terrestre entre l’Algérie et le Niger
    Alger avait décrété la fermeture du pays le 17 mars 2020, trois semaines après la détection du premier cas de coronavirus.

    L’Algérie et le Niger ont décidé de rouvrir leur frontière terrestre, fermée depuis seize mois en raison de la pandémie de coronavirus, pour faciliter les échanges entre les deux pays, selon l’agence de presse officielle APS.
    Cette décision a été annoncée par le président algérien Abdelmadjid Tebboune lors d’un point de presse conjoint avec son homologue nigérien Mohamed Bazoum, qui effectue une visite de travail en Algérie.
    L’Algérie avait décrété la fermeture des frontières le 17 mars 2020, trois semaines après la détection du premier cas de Covid-19 dans ce pays de quelque 44 millions d’habitants.Alger et Niamey sont convenus de « l’ouverture de la frontière pour l’exportation des produits algériens vers le Niger et l’importation des produits nigériens », a déclaré M. Tebboune. Les deux pays se sont également mis d’accord sur la nécessité d’une « politique claire » concernant les Nigériens travaillant en Algérie, a ajouté le chef de l’Etat. De son côté, M. Bazoum a déclaré avoir fait part de son vœu de voir la frontière avec l’Algérie « définitivement » rouverte pour, a-t-il dit, que le flux des échanges « tout à fait naturel entre nos deux pays se développe ».
    L’Algérie a expulsé depuis 2014 des dizaines de milliers de migrants irréguliers, nigériens et originaires d’autres pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest, selon les Nations unies. Les autorités algériennes sont régulièrement critiquées pour la façon dont elles traitent des migrants subsahariens, dont certains cherchent à gagner l’Europe.Le pays, qui ne dispose pas de législation en matière d’asile, fait face ces dernières années à un afflux de migrants originaires de pays de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, estimés à quelque 100 000 en Algérie par les ONG.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#algerie#niger#afriquesubsaharienne#sante#frontiere#circulation#travailleurmigrant#asile#economie

  • Bill to amend law on protests passes first reading

    A bill proposing a five-year jail term for unlawful protesters in the country has passed first reading at the House of Representatives.

    Sponsored by #Emeka_Chinedu_Martins (PDP-Imo), the bill was presented before the House on Thursday.

    Martins said the bill is an act to amend the Criminal Code ACT, CAP 38, Laws Of The Federation Of Nigeria, 2004 to further preserve the sanctity of human life and property, and to provide specifically for mob action, prescribe punishment and other matters.

    “(1) The provisions of the Criminal Code Act, (in this Bill referred to as the “Principal Act”) is amended as set out in this Bill (2) Substitute for section 69 of the Principal Act, a new section 69,” the bill read.

    “Definitions: Unlawful assembly, Riot, Mob action (a) When three or more persons, with intent to carry out some common purpose, assemble in such a manner or, being assembled, conduct themselves in such a manner as to cause persons in the neighbourhood to fear on reasonable grounds that the persons so assembled will tumultuously disturb the peace, or will by such assembly needlessly and without any reasonable occasion provoke other persons tumultuously to disturb the peace, they are an unlawful assembly. It is immaterial that the original assembling was lawful if, being assembled; they conduct themselves with a common purpose in such a manner as aforesaid.”

    It also describe an assembly of three or more persons who assemble for the purpose of protecting any house against persons threatening to break and enter the house in order to commit a felony or misdemeanor therein as not an unlawful assembly.

    “(c) When an unlawful assembly has begun to act in so tumultuous a manner as to disturb the peace, the assembly is called a riot, and the persons assembled are said to be riotously assembled,”

    “(d) When an unlawful assembly becomes violent as to commit unlawful acts against any person or property, the assembly is called a mob and their violent act is referred to as mob action.”

    It adds that any person who takes part in a riot is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for three years.

    “(b) Any person who takes part in a mob action is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for five years.

    (4) Substitute for Section 76 of the Principal Act, a new section 76:
    (a) Section 76. Mob action against any person or property,” the bill read.

    “Any persons who assembled together as a mob to commit violent act against any person or property are guilty of a felony and each of them is liable to imprisonment for life”.

    https://guardian.ng/news/bill-to-amend-law-on-protests-passes-first-reading

    Intéressant l’utilisation du mot #paix :

    “Definitions: #Unlawful_assembly, #Riot, #Mob_action (a) When three or more persons, with intent to carry out some common purpose, assemble in such a manner or, being assembled, conduct themselves in such a manner as to cause persons in the neighbourhood to fear on reasonable grounds that the persons so assembled will tumultuously disturb the peace, or will by such assembly needlessly and without any reasonable occasion provoke other persons tumultuously to disturb the peace, they are an unlawful assembly. It is immaterial that the original assembling was lawful if, being assembled; they conduct themselves with a common purpose in such a manner as aforesaid.”

    #répression #Nigeria #manifestations #loi #prison #emprisonnement

  • Plus de 90 Maliens rentrent chez eux en toute sécurité à bord d’un vol en provenance du Tchad | Organisation internationale pour les migrations
    https://www.iom.int/fr/news/plus-de-90-maliens-rentrent-chez-eux-en-toute-securite-bord-dun-vol-en-provenan

    Plus de 90 Maliens rentrent chez eux en toute sécurité à bord d’un vol en provenance du Tchad. N’Djamena - L’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM) a aidé 95 Maliens, dont 72 femmes et enfants, à rentrer chez eux depuis le Tchad, en coordination avec les gouvernements du Tchad et du Mali. Les migrants ont embarqué le 1er juin à bord d’un vol spécialement affrété dans le cadre du programme d’aide au retour volontaire de l’OIM. Parmi les personnes qui ont bénéficié de l’aide au retour volontaire se trouvaient des personnes qui ont quitté le Mali dans l’espoir de rejoindre l’Europe mais qui se sont retrouvées bloquées au Tchad, ainsi que d’autres qui ont été plongées dans la précarité socioéconomique en raison de la COVID-19.Le Tchad est une importante plaque tournante de la migration africaine qui attire des centaines de milliers de personnes de tout le continent. Plus particulièrement dans le nord, des milliers de migrants se déplacent pour travailler dans les mines d’or artisanales ou traversent les frontières soit vers la Libye dans l’espoir de rejoindre l’Europe, soit depuis la Libye pour échapper à des expériences traumatisantes.
    Un récent rapport de l’OIM montre qu’entre août 2019 et septembre 2020, plus de 9 700 migrants se rendant en Libye depuis le Tchad ont été observés aux points de contrôle des flux dans le nord. Au cours de la même période, quelque 11 700 autres ont été observés se rendant vers le Tchad depuis la Libye.« Ces périples migratoires peuvent être très risqués car les itinéraires ne sont pas toujours sûrs et les migrants sont vulnérables aux mauvais traitements, notamment à l’exploitation du travail et à l’exploitation sexuelle », explique Jean-Claude Bashirahishize, responsable du programme de protection et d’aide aux migrants de l’OIM au Tchad.
    Confronté à un revenu de plus en plus faible et à des perspectives limitées, Sekou a décidé de vendre son équipement et de quitter le Mali dans l’espoir de rejoindre l’Europe.« J’ai des amis qui avaient fait le voyage et qui m’ont dit comment procéder. Je suis parti du Mali pour rejoindre le Niger, puis l’Algérie et enfin la Libye », raconte-t-il. « En Libye, j’ai payé 300 euros à un « coxeur » [passeur] qui m’a fait monter sur un bateau pneumatique. Mais le bateau s’est crevé en mer et les garde-côtes nous ont ramenés. Je me suis enfui à Benghazi où j’ai travaillé pendant quelques mois pour gagner un peu d’argent. Ensuite, je me suis rendu à Kufra, puis à Faya [nord du Tchad] et enfin à N’Djamena par la route. Quand je suis arrivé à N’Djamena, je n’avais plus rien ». Sekou a été orienté vers l’OIM par l’Ambassade du Mali au Tchad. L’OIM travaille en étroite collaboration avec le gouvernement tchadien depuis 2019 et les missions diplomatiques au Tchad pour élaborer un mécanisme d’orientation par lequel les migrants vulnérables peuvent être rapidement orientés vers des mécanismes de protection appropriés.
    « Les activités de protection et d’aide aux migrants de l’OIM, y compris l’aide au retour volontaire, garantissent que les migrants bloqués et vulnérables ont accès à des moyens sûrs et dignes pour rentrer chez eux s’ils le souhaitent, et pour retrouver leur famille », poursuit M. Bashirahishize. Le vol charter a été rendu possible grâce au Programme régional de développement et de protection en Afrique du Nord (RDPP-NA), un programme phare mis en œuvre en Afrique du Nord pour renforcer la protection des migrants vulnérables, et fournir une aide immédiate et directe telle que le retour volontaire et la réintégration.
    Le programme a aidé plus de 300 migrants bloqués au Tchad à rentrer chez eux en toute sécurité dans plus de 9 pays, dont le Bénin, le Burkina Faso, le Cameroun, la République démocratique du Congo, le Mali, le Niger, le Nigeria, le Sénégal et la Sierra Leone, depuis son lancement en 2019.
    À leur retour, les migrants éligibles peuvent bénéficier d’une aide à la réintégration qui peut comprendre un soutien psychosocial, des formations qualifiantes, une orientation ou une aide en nature pour monter des projets socioéconomiques individuels, collectifs ou communautaires.

    #covid-19#migrant#migration#tchad#benin#RDC#mali#niger#nigeria#senegal#sierraleone#OIM#retour#reintegration#protection#sante#psychosocial

  • Déclaration OSC Niger 20 mai

    Au cours de la semaine dernière, une délégation de responsables des organisations de la société civile nigérienne a entrepris une visite de terrain pour s’enquérir des conditions d’accueil et d’installation à Tillabery des personnes fuyant le climat insoutenable de violence qui s’est installé dans cette région. La délégation a constaté que ce sont des centaines de personnes, en grande majorité des femmes et des enfants, qui ont afflué, au cours de ces derniers jours, vers la commune de Tillabery. Ces personnes sont pour la plupart des ressortissants du canton de l’Anzourou qui disent avoir quitté leurs villages de crainte d’être prises pour cibles par les groupes armés qui écument toute la zone, exerçant d’énormes pressions, attaquant et tuant des civils sans défense.

    https://entreleslignesentrelesmots.blog/2021/06/09/declaration-osc-niger-20-mai

    #international #niger

  • #Frontières de sable, frontières de papier. Histoire de territoires et de frontières, du jihad de Sokoto à la #colonisation_française du Niger, xixe-xxe siècles

    Les frontières africaines sont souvent décrites comme des cicatrices de la #violence des #impérialismes étrangers en Afrique. Ce #lieu_commun fait encore aujourd’hui partie des catégories qui fondent nos regards sur le continent. Mais ce discours, en cherchant à dénoncer l’#arbitraire_colonial, réduit les configurations territoriales africaines à de simples conséquences de la #domination_européenne et fait des populations africaines les spectateurs passifs de leur propre histoire. Aux antipodes de ce cliché, cet ouvrage propose une histoire longue de la constitution des frontières d’un État — le Niger — englobant dans un même regard un siècle d’histoire régionale et soixante ans de domination coloniale. Cette approche permet de mettre au jour la place des enjeux locaux et régionaux dans cette histoire de frontières et de territoires, et de révéler qu’au sein de ceux-ci la colonisation n’est qu’un moment parmi d’autres.

    Cet ouvrage raconte une histoire paradoxale, celle d’une poignée de militaires coloniaux qui, au début du xxe siècle, instituent dans les plus grandes difficultés un gouvernement précaire qui s’appuie très largement sur les organisations politiques et territoriales locales, contribuant ainsi à les vider de leur sens et à amoindrir leur importance. Cette #appropriation_coloniale des frontières a été si forte qu’elle a fini par faire oublier aux colonisateurs, tout comme aux sociétés concernées elles-mêmes, que leur origine était le plus souvent locale et avait été négociée avec les populations et les autorités politiques. Ces frontières furent marquées par les dynamiques historiques internes du #Soudan_central au xixe siècle, et notamment les répercussions du #jihad d’#Ousman_dan_Fodio. Pourtant, l’histoire de leur #tracé a contribué à construire le grand #récit d’Européens maîtres du jeu imposant sans considération le #partage_du_monde.

    https://books.openedition.org/psorbonne/36501?lang=fr

    #livre #Camille_Lefebvre #Afrique #Niger #colonisation #colonialisme #histoire #frontières_africaines #négociation #historicisation

    ping @karine4 @reka

    –-

    ajouté à la métaliste sur l’#artificialité des #frontières_africaines :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/868132

  • Le Nigeria sur le podium du mannequinat africain
    https://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2021/05/11/le-nigeria-sur-le-podium-du-mannequinat-africain_6079797_3212.html

    Le Nigeria sur le podium du mannequinat africain. Si la demande explose pour les modèles noirs à l’international, les défis sont nombreux pour les mannequins du continent, particulièrement en période de pandémie.
    Ce matin d’avril, une quinzaine de jeunes filles perchées sur des talons aiguilles et deux garçons longilignes s’avancent sur la dalle de béton qui fait office de podium en plein air. Ces jeunes au pas encore hésitant sont les « nouveaux visages » de l’agence de mannequins Beth Model Management, installée à Lagos, la capitale économique du Nigeria.Après avoir signé leur contrat, les nouvelles recrues bénéficient d’une formation de trois jours afin d’apprivoiser leur nouveau métier.
    Persuadée qu’il y a un créneau à saisir, Elizabeth Elohor lance, en 2004, son entreprise. Mais les premières années sont difficiles et la jeune femme ne parvient pas à percer sur le marché mondial (...)Les choses changent avec l’émergence de jeunes créateurs africains, comme les Sud-Africains Thula Sindi ou Marianne Fassler, bien décidés à faire grandir l’univers de la mode sur le continent. Le secteur privé investit aussi et, en 2010, la Arise Fashion Week voit le jour à Lagos, l’une des plus grosses mégalopoles africaines, puis, en 2014, la Lagos Fashion Week. Les défilés de Johannesburg, Kinshasa ou Dar es-Salaam gagnent en visibilité sur la scène internationale. Tout comme les mannequins africains, qui sont de plus en plus sollicités
    L’agence de Lagos organise aussi des castings dans tout le sud du Nigeria, avec plusieurs success stories à la clé. La très demandée Mayowa Nicholas a d’abord été découverte par Beth Models Management en 2014, avant de participer au concours de l’agence Elite Model Look et d’exploser à l’international. La Nigériane de 22 ans, qui apparaissait en couverture de Vogue Japan en avril, a aussi défilé pour la marque de lingerie Victoria’s Secret et posé pour Calvin Klein ou Michael Kors.En août 2020, le New York Times citait son nom dans un article soulignant la présence de plus en plus importante des mannequins noires dans les campagnes publicitaires et dans les pages des magazines, dans le sillage du mouvement Black Lives Matter. Le quotidien new-yorkais assurait qu’ « une crise sanitaire combinée à un été de troubles civils et de manifestations contre le racisme a poussé au changement d’état d’esprit ».
    Il n’en reste pas moins que la pandémie mondiale a aussi mis un frein à la carrière de certains modèles africains. Après des débuts prometteurs, Olaniyan Olamijuwon a dû se résoudre à voir plusieurs campagnes internationales lui échapper, faute de pouvoir voyager. Le jeune homme de 21 ans, troisième d’une fratrie de quatre enfants, affirme que « le mannequinat a complètement changé [sa] vie ». Egérie d’une campagne pour Berluti, il a défilé pour Balmain, Lanvin, Off White et d’autres grands noms de la mode lors de la saison automne-hiver 2020, à Paris. A raison de « 500 euros ou 600 euros de cachet par défilé » et grâce « au taux de change au Nigeria », Ola a pu passer l’année sans encombre et même « investir dans un business de livraison à domicile » tout en aidant sa mère. Une détermination féroce brille dans les yeux en amande du modèle, originaire du quartier populaire de Lagos Island. (...) D’autres vivent beaucoup moins bien que lui les restrictions de déplacement. Bloquée chez ses parents à Lagos depuis une année, la mannequin Nora Uche s’est finalement décidée à prendre un avocat pour tenter d’obtenir un visa pour l’Europe, où elle a raté plusieurs opportunités ces derniers mois. La jeune femme sait néanmoins qu’elle a eu de la chance d’avoir déjà pu y défiler, puisque certains mannequins africains ont parfois du mal à obtenir un premier visa pour le Vieux Continent. « On leur demande notamment de produire des extraits de compte bancaire, alors que beaucoup viennent de milieux plutôt défavorisés » et n’en possèdent donc pas, explique Marius Isikalu.L’intérêt de l’Europe pour les mannequins du continent africain est « une bénédiction », assure le collaborateur d’Elizabeth Elohor, puisqu’il a permis « à de nombreuses personnes de sortir leurs familles de la misère ». Désormais, « le plus grand défi est de s’assurer que les agences ne se séparent pas de leurs mannequins africains », jusqu’à ce que ceux-ci puissent recommencer à voyager comme avant.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#sante#pandemie#afrique#nigeria#travailleurmigrant#circulation#frontiere#restrictionsanitaire

  • En #Afrique, le retour des présidents à vie, par Tierno Monénembo (Le Monde diplomatique, décembre 2015)
    http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2015/12/MONENEMBO/54360

    Le Bénin carbure à la contrebande, par Sabine Cessou (Le Monde diplomatique, janvier 2016)
    http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2016/01/CESSOU/54506
    #Bénin #Togo #Nigéria #Pétrole #Energies
    #Afrique #Relations_Internationales

    Croissance sans réconciliation en Côte d’Ivoire, par Vladimir Cagnolari (Le Monde diplomatique, octobre 2015)
    http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2015/10/CAGNOLARI/53965

    Le Tchad, puissance de circonstance, par Delphine Lecoutre (Le Monde diplomatique, juin 2016)
    http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2016/06/LECOUTRE/55774

    Au Burundi, les racines de la colère, par Pierre Benetti (Le Monde diplomatique, juin 2015)
    http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2015/06/BENETTI/53067

    L’Afrique du Sud lassée de ses libérateurs, par Sabine Cessou (Le Monde diplomatique, juin 2017)
    http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2017/06/CESSOU/57568

    Métamorphoses de la dette africaine, par Sanou Mbaye (Le Monde diplomatique, mai 2015)
    https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2015/05/MBAYE/52950
    #Dette #Dette_publique

    L’Afrique francophone piégée par sa monnaie unique, par Sanou Mbaye (Le Monde diplomatique, novembre 2014)
    http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2014/11/MBAYE/50931

    #DataGueule S5E7 - Le Franc CFA : une monnaie de plomb IRL
    http://irl.nouvelles-ecritures.francetv.fr/datagueule-S5E7-1.html

    Une croissance économique inégale en Afrique de l’Ouest, par Cécile Marin (Le Monde diplomatique, novembre 2014)
    http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/cartes/afrique-francophone


    #Monnaie

    Choc pétrolier : les finances des producteurs africains dans le rouge. Par Martin Mateso
    http://geopolis.francetvinfo.fr/choc-petrolier-les-finances-des-producteurs-africains-dans-le-

    L’Angola au secours du Portugal, par Augusta Conchiglia (Le Monde diplomatique, mai 2012)
    http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2012/05/CONCHIGLIA/47660
    #Cemac #Tchad #Angola #Portugal

    Cocktail meurtrier en Afrique centrale, par Gérard Prunier (Le Monde diplomatique, février 2016)
    https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2016/02/PRUNIER/54746

    La Corne de l’Afrique dans l’orbite de la guerre au Yémen, par Gérard Prunier (Le Monde diplomatique, septembre 2016)
    http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2016/09/PRUNIER/56229
    http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2016/09/PRUNIER/56230

    Transition à haut risque en République démocratique du Congo, par Sabine Cessou (Le Monde diplomatique, décembre 2016)
    http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2016/12/CESSOU/56889

    "pour de nombreux observateurs congolais, la « communauté internationale » pratique une diplomatie à géométrie variable. « Du point de vue de Joseph Kabila, ces pressions relèvent d’une profonde injustice, dans la mesure où la plupart de ses voisins s’éternisent au pouvoir dans une relative impunité », relève une source diplomatique africaine (5).

    Le secrétaire d’État américain John Kerry a maintes fois mis en garde Kinshasa. Pour Washington, il s’agit de préserver des intérêts stratégiques et de ne pas se couper des jeunes Africains, à la fois nombreux (327 millions de 15-24 ans, 32 % de la population totale) et impatients. En août 2014, en marge du premier sommet États-Unis - Afrique à Washington, le chef de la diplomatie américaine a reçu M. Kabila et trois autres présidents en tête-à-tête pour évoquer la nécessité de respecter la limitation du nombre de mandats. Trois mois plus tard, le Burkinabé Blaise Compaoré était chassé du pouvoir par la rue après vingt-sept ans de présidence. En revanche, le Burundais Pierre Nkurunziza s’est fait réélire en juillet 2015 pour un troisième mandat, sans même changer la Constitution, en recourant à une répression massive. De son côté, M. Denis Sassou-Nguesso, au Congo-Brazzaville, a organisé en octobre 2015 un référendum constitutionnel, suivi en mars dernier de sa réélection, avec un score officiel de 60 % des voix. Contesté par l’opposition, le scrutin a été suivi d’une vague de répression."

    Omniprésence des intérêts étrangers en RDC, par Sabine Cessou (Le Monde diplomatique, décembre 2016)
    http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2016/12/CESSOU/56890

    « Depuis 2003, plusieurs rapports du groupe d’experts des Nations unies sur les causes économiques du conflit dans l’est de la RDC (2) ont mis en lumière le lien entre les milices armées et l’exploitation, pour le compte de sociétés étrangères, de minerais stratégiques indispensables à la fabrication de certains appareils électroniques comme les téléphones portables. »

    Trafics d’influence en Afrique, par Anne-Cécile Robert (Le Monde diplomatique, janvier 2017)
    http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2017/01/ROBERT/56968
    #Asie #Golfe #Mondialisation #Organisations_internationales #Multinationales

    "Le changement majeur pour l’Afrique contemporaine réside dans une diversification inédite de ses partenaires"

    "Multinationales et puissances étrangères, traditionnellement attirées par les matières premières, sont désormais séduites par la multiplication d’alléchants programmes d’investissement"

    "Grâce aux cours élevé des minerais et des produits de base au début du millénaire, l’Afrique a en effet bénéficié d’une manne suffisante pour entamer son désendettement et lancer de spectaculaires projets financés sur les marchés mondiaux"

    " les pays arabes souhaitent diversifier leurs économies, trop dépendantes du pétrole et du gaz [...]. Dans les années 2000, les États du Golfe, notamment l’Arabie saoudite, ont pris part au mouvement d’accaparement des terres dans le but d’assurer leur sécurité alimentaire ou de s’inscrire dans la production d’agrocarburants "

    "si cette nouvelle géoéconomie confère des marges de manœuvre aux capitales africaines, leur fournissant des partenaires et des financements, elle demeure le fruit d’une insertion passive dans le concert mondial."

    "Pékin se voit désormais contraint de déroger à sa règle de non-ingérence dans les affaires intérieures des pays hôtes. Cette réserve, qui contrastait avec le paternalisme des anciens colonisateurs, était plutôt bien perçue. Mais, comme toutes les puissances, la Chine doit protéger ses intérêts et ses expatriés."

    "En 2013, l’opération « Serval », au Mali, a conforté Paris dans son rôle de gendarme du continent. L’ancienne puissance coloniale n’oublie pas les intérêts de groupes tels que celui de M. Vincent Bolloré, souvent sollicité pour assurer la logistique de ses opérations."

    "Les organisations régionales [...] créent des zones de libre-échange sur les bons conseils des institutions financières internationales, mais se révèlent incapables de définir des politiques concertées de développement et une vision des intérêts continentaux. "

    "l’acheminement d’un conteneur du Kenya au Burundi coûte toujours plus cher que de la Belgique ou du Royaume-Uni vers Nairobi "

    Le #Maghreb entre autoritarisme et espérance démocratique, par Hicham Alaoui (Le Monde diplomatique, novembre 2016)
    http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2016/11/ALAOUI/56776

    Les entreprises françaises défiées dans leur pré carré, par Olivier Piot (Le Monde diplomatique, avril 2017)
    https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2017/04/PIOT/57344
    #Economie_Statistiques #Statistiques #Traités_commerciaux_APE #Multinationales

    "Dans son dernier livre (13), Alain Deneault dissèque les mécanismes de « perversion du droit » utilisés par un fleuron français. Ses armes, selon ce professeur de sciences politiques à l’université de Montréal ? « La fixation des cours du pétrole et le partage des marchés ; la collaboration avec des régimes politiques officiellement racistes ; la corruption de dictateurs et de représentants politiques ; la conquête de territoires à la faveur d’interventions militaires ; la délocalisation d’actifs dans des paradis fiscaux ; la pollution de vastes territoires au point de menacer la santé publique... »"

  • Au Niger, les migrants et réfugiés sont prioritaires pour la vaccination anti-Covid - InfoMigrants
    https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/31180/au-niger-les-migrants-et-refugies-sont-prioritaires-pour-la-vaccinatio

    Au Niger, les migrants et réfugiés sont prioritaires pour la vaccination anti-Covid. Le ministère nigérien de la Santé a lancé lundi à Niamey la première campagne de vaccination contre le coronavirus, grâce à des vaccins offerts par le Chine. Les nombreux migrants et réfugiés vivant dans le pays figurent parmi les publics prioritaires."J’appelle tous les citoyens (...) à tout faire pour se faire vacciner, c’est extrêmement important pour la santé des populations". C’est en recevant sa première dose de vaccin lundi 29 mars que le Premier ministre nigérien Brigi Rafini a inauguré la campagne de vaccination anti-Covid dans son pays. Fait rare, les migrants et ressortissants étrangers vivant au Niger figurent, avec les agents de santé, les personnes âgées de plus de 60 ans ainsi que les Forces de défense et de sécurité (FDS, armée, police gendarmerie), parmi « les cibles prioritaires » de cette première phase de vaccination, a indiqué le ministre de la Santé, Ahmed Boto. Celui-ci a également précisé que les personnes vaccinées recevront une seconde dose « quatre semaines plus tard ». Il a aussi assuré que « les effets secondaires » du vaccin « sont largement mineurs », et qu’un numéro vert est toutefois ouvert pour signaler des « manifestations adverses post-vaccination ».Le Niger, un des États les plus pauvres au monde, a pu compter sur la Chine pour mettre en place cette campagne. Quelque 400 000 doses du vaccin Sinopharm ont été offerts par Pékin la semaine dernière, ainsi que des consommables tels que des tests antigéniques, des masques, des vêtements ou encore des gants afin de lutter contre la propagation du virus. Bien que le Niger soit relativement peu touché par l’épidémie de coronavirus, avec 4 998 cas dont 185 décès selon un bilan officiel publié dimanche, les autorités avaient pris dès l’apparition des premiers cas en mars 2020 des mesures drastiques pour stopper sa propagation : fermeture des frontières, état d’urgence, couvre-feu, fermeture des lieux de culte et des écoles, isolement de Niamey du reste du pays.Véritable plaque tournante de l’immigration, le Niger voit passer des milliers de migrants africains chaque année sur son territoire. Certains, rêvant d’Europe, se lancent dans la traversée du désert depuis le nord du pays pour rejoindre l’Algérie ou la Libye puis traverser la Méditerranée. D’autres, déjà sur place, sont justement évacués de cette même Libye en proie au chaos et placés temporairement dans l’un de deux centres d’accueil onusiens du continent qui leur est réservé. En 2020, le Haut-commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés (HCR) a ainsi évacué plus de 800 migrants hors de Libye via le Niger ou le Rwanda. Et depuis fin 2017, plus de 30 000 migrants, principalement d’origine ouest-africaine, sont également arrivés à Assamaka en provenance, quant à eux, d’Algérie.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#niger#sante#vaccination#inclusion#immigration#UNHCR

  • Près de 5,000 migrants expulsés du régime frontalier algérien en un mois

    Ces derniers jours, nous avons reçu de nouveau l’information des dénonciateurs de l’Alarme Phone Sahara concernant deux autres déportations massives de l’Algérie vers le Niger : Une expulsion massive officielle et une non-officielle ont eu lieu. Le dimanche 21 mars, 601 migrant.e.s originaires de plusieurs pays d’Afrique sub-saharienne ont été déporté.e.s et abandonné.e.s dans la zone frontalière entre l’Algérie et le Niger, en plein désert, et forcés de marcher 15 à 20 kilomètres jusqu’au poste frontière d’Assamaka, comme cela arrive habituellement aux personnes déportées dans des convois non officiels.
    Deux jours plus tard, le mardi 23 mars, un autre convoi est arrivé d’Algérie avec des personnes déportées de force. Cette fois, la plupart des migrant.e.s étaient des Nigérien.ne.s, dont 917 hommes, 66 femmes et 87 mineurs, ainsi que d’autres migrant.e.s d’Afrique subsaharienne. Une fois de plus, un total de 1,211 personnes a été expulsées violemment et contre leur gré par les autorités sécuritaires algériennes.
    Tous ces événements doivent être replacés dans le contexte des derniers jours et des dernières semaines et doivent être scandalisés ! Les 5 et 11 mars, au moins 1,054 personnes ont été expulsées. De plus, 2,098 autres personnes sont arrivées au poste frontière d’Assamaka les 14 et 16 mars après avoir été déportées d’Algérie, selon les dénonciateurs d’Alarme Phone Sahara. De plus, des sources de Gao au Mali rapportent également l’arrivée de 125 migrants déportés venant de la frontière algéro-malienne et nigéro-malienne entre le 18 et le 20 mars.
    Nous voulons souligner et crier à nouveau certaines de nos demandes pour arrêter ces politiques frontalières antihumaines, racistes et meurtrières :
    o Alarme Phone Sahara demande l’arrêt immédiat des déportations et des refoulements de réfugié.e.s et de migrant.e.s de l’Algérie vers le Niger - pas de guerre aux réfugié.e.s et aux migrant.e.s !
    o Alarme Phone Sahara appelle à la fin des actes de vol et de violence des forces de sécurité algériennes contre les migrant.e.s et les réfugié.e.s !
    o Alarme Phone Sahara appelle à la fin de l’externalisation des frontières européennes sur le sol africain !

    https://www.facebook.com/1643705359272714/posts/2549686525341255

    #Algérie #expulsions #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Niger #désert #Assamaka #déportations #abandon #Mali #Sahara #désert_du_Sahara

    –—

    Ajouté à la métaliste des « #left-to-die in the Sahara desert »
    https://seenthis.net/messages/796051

    ping @rhoumour @_kg_ @isskein @karine4

    • Algérie - Niger : des migrants violentés et expulsés en plein milieu du désert

      Malgré la fermeture des frontières terrestres, due à la pandémie de Covid-19, le refoulement systématique des migrants depuis l’Algérie vers le Niger n’a pas cessé. Ainsi, depuis le début de l’année, près de 4 370 personnes ont été emmenées par les forces de l’ordre algériennes jusqu’au « point zéro », en plein désert, à proximité de la région nigérienne d’Agadez. Nombre de ces personnes en migration ont témoigné, auprès des équipes MSF, des violences qu’elles ont subies.

      Safi Keita, enceinte de quatre mois, résidait en Algérie où elle était vendeuse d’épices. Elle avait laissé ses deux enfants à leur grand-mère au Mali, son pays d’origine. Un jour, les forces de l’ordre ont débarqué à son domicile pour l’arrêter : « Les gendarmes algériens ont défoncé la porte. Ils ont tout emporté, argent et téléphones. Ensuite, ils m’ont conduite au poste », raconte la jeune femme.

      Le lendemain, Safi est emmenée de force dans un centre de détention, « Ils nous ont fait monter dans des camions bondés, nous étions très serrés et nous n’avions pas de masque. » Une fois arrivée au centre, on lui a demandé de sauter du camion : « Comme j’étais enceinte, cela m’a provoqué des douleurs au ventre », raconte Safi.

      Dans le centre de détention, où elle a passé quatre jours, Safi doit faire face à des conditions d’hygiène déplorables et des repas uniquement composés de pain. « J’étais enceinte, mais je n’ai bénéficié d’aucun traitement de faveur. Les gardes n’ont éprouvé aucune compassion envers moi. » Les détenus ont ensuite été transportés à la frontière entre l’Algérie et le Niger, dans le désert.

      Au milieu de nulle part

      Selon le recensement effectué par les équipes de Médecins Sans Frontières, en 2020, plus de 23 175 personnes migrantes sont arrivées dans la petite ville désertique d’Assamaka, près de la frontière entre le Niger et l’Algérie. C’est un peu moins que les 29 888 expulsions recensées par les équipes de MSF en 2019, mais c’est un nombre qui, malgré la fermeture des frontières du Niger depuis mars 2020 en raison de la Covid-19, reste pourtant élevé.

      Les équipes MSF d’Agadez ont recueilli des centaines de témoignages de ces personnes migrantes aidées ou secourues par l’association après avoir été expulsées d’Algérie. Plus de 989 migrants ont été victimes de violences en 2020, et 21 ont témoigné avoir été torturés. Plus de 1 900 personnes migrantes ont aussi été soignées pour des problèmes de santé mentale.

      Les migrants ont témoigné avoir été arrêtés puis placés dans des centres de détention pendant des jours, des semaines, voire des mois et ensuite entassés dans des bus ou des camions par les forces de sécurité algériennes afin d’être déposés à la frontière entre l’Algérie et le Niger, dans un lieu appelé le « Point Zero ». Dans le désert, au milieu de nulle part, souvent en pleine nuit.

      Livrés à eux-mêmes, sans rien, les personnes expulsées d’Algérie doivent effectuer, sans aucune carte ou moyen de localisation, une marche d’environ 15 km pour rejoindre le village d’Assamaka, au Niger. Certains se perdent et ne sont jamais retrouvés.

      En provenance d’Afrique de l’Ouest, du Moyen-Orient ou d’Asie du Sud, ces hommes, femmes, enfants et personnes âgées résidaient, pour certains, en Algérie depuis des années avant d’être expulsés. D’autres traversaient le pays pour atteindre l’Europe.
      Dépouillés et volés

      Traoré Ya Madou, originaire du Mali, a travaillé pendant six ans en tant que peintre en Algérie avant d’être arrêté par les forces de l’ordre. « Nous habitions sur le chantier où nous travaillions. Ce matin-là, la police algérienne a débarqué. Généralement, nous leur donnions de l’argent ou nous résistions, et les agents partaient. Mais cette fois-là, ils étaient nombreux, environ une vingtaine, ils ont cassé la porte et sont entrés. Une fois à l’intérieur, ils nous ont menottés et transportés à la gendarmerie. J’y suis resté 24 heures sans manger. Là-bas, nous avons été minutieusement fouillés. Durant la fouille, ils retirent même vos sous-vêtements… Nous avons subi un traitement inhumain. J’avais 2 500 euros sur moi, ils m’ont tout pris. Ils m’ont aussi sauvagement battu et j’ai dû être transporté à l’hôpital », détaille-t-il. Pour avoir résisté aux policiers algériens, Traoré a été puni. Il a été déposé encore plus loin d’Assamaka que les autres, et a dû marcher près de quatre heures pour rejoindre la petite ville.

      Les histoires de Safi et Traoré ne sont qu’un court aperçu de ce qui se passe à la frontière entre l’Algérie et le Niger.

      En 2015, au Sommet de la Valette sur la migration, les pays européens et africains ont davantage renforcé le système de contrôle aux frontières et facilité le renvoi, volontaire ou non, des migrants qualifiés d’illégaux. C’est ainsi que des personnes en migration ont continué d’être arrêtées arbitrairement, soumises à de mauvais traitements ou renvoyées vers un pays où elles risquent d’être persécutées.

      Ces politiques mises en œuvre pour freiner les flux de migrants n’ont pas empêché ces personnes de rechercher un endroit sûr ou une vie meilleure. Au contraire, cela n’a abouti qu’à davantage de criminalisation et de violences envers les personnes en migration.

      « Les conditions d’arrestation, de détention, et d’expulsion orchestrées par le gouvernement algérien ne respectent pas le principe fondamental de non-refoulement et sont des pratiques contraires aux droits de l’homme et au droit international des réfugiés, explique Jamal Mrrouch, chef de mission de MSF au Niger. Il est primordial de commencer à réajuster ces politiques et de garantir une assistance humanitaire et une protection aux personnes migrantes, en veillant à ce que les structures locales dans les pays de transit, comme le Niger, puissent répondre aux besoins de tous. »

      https://www.msf.fr/actualites/algerie-niger-des-migrants-violentes-et-expulses-en-plein-milieu-du-desert

    • Algérie : le « #point_zéro », cet endroit au milieu de nulle part où sont abandonnés les migrants

      Depuis le début de l’année, plus de 4 000 personnes ont été emmenées par les forces de l’ordre algériennes jusqu’à la frontière du Niger, en plein désert, dans un endroit appelé « point zéro ». Abandonnés là, sans repères, certains se perdent et ne sont jamais retrouvés. Dans un rapport, MSF dénonce une nouvelle fois ces renvois illégaux malgré la fermeture des frontières.

      « Les gendarmes algériens ont défoncé la porte. Ils ont tout emporté, argent et téléphones. Ensuite, ils m’ont conduite au poste […] J’étais enceinte, mais je n’ai bénéficié d’aucun traitement de faveur. Les gardes n’ont éprouvé aucune compassion envers moi. » Safi, une Malienne enceinte de quatre mois, fait partie de ces migrants récemment « raflés » par les autorités algériennes puis emmenés de force dans le désert, à quelques kilomètres seulement du Niger, au « point zéro ». C’est là, au milieu de nulle part, que les migrants sont abandonnés.

      Ils doivent, par leurs propres moyens et souvent sans GPS, trouver un chemin pour rejoindre le Niger. La frontière est pourtant fermée depuis le mois de mars 2020 en raison de la pandémie de coronavirus. Qu’importe : les refoulements n’ont jamais cessé. Depuis le début de l’année, près de 4 370 personnes ont ainsi été conduites à ce « point zéro ».

      Les migrants sont abandonnés « souvent en pleine nuit », écrit Médecins sans frontières (MSF) dans un rapport publié mercredi 21 avril. Le processus d’expulsion est souvent le même : après leur arrestation, les migrants - qui sont parfois installés en Algérie depuis plusieurs années - sont envoyés dans des centres de détention pendant quelques jours ou quelques semaines, puis entassés dans des bus et emmenés dans le désert.
      « Certains se perdent et ne sont jamais retrouvés »

      Sur l’ensemble de l’année 2020, plus de 23 000 migrants ont traversé le désert, selon les chiffres de MSF.

      « Livrés à eux-mêmes, sans rien, les personnes expulsées d’Algérie doivent effectuer, sans aucune carte ou moyen de localisation, une marche d’environ 15 km pour rejoindre le village d’#Assamaka, au Niger. Certains se perdent et ne sont jamais retrouvés », écrit encore MSF.

      https://gw.infomigrants.net/media/resize/my_image_big/7333b85b5a1641254be5a6c59c6ead729389fc41.png

      Ces renvois ne sont pas inédits. Depuis des années, l’Algérie renvoie illégalement des migrants en les relâchant dans le désert. La rédaction d’InfoMigrants a recensé de nombreux témoignages de migrants victimes de ces expulsions illégales. Beaucoup parlent de la peur de se perdre, du manque de repères, du soleil qui assomme ou des nuits froides, de la soif qui les saisit.

      https://gw.infomigrants.net/media/resize/my_image_big/f3991283161afcd7b7a1a6c524f15742168ecfe2.jpeg

      « On nous a déposé à environ 15 kilomètres de la frontière. Le reste, on a dû le faire à pied. Cette nuit-là, entre 2h et 6h, on a marché vers le Niger, on était environ 400 personnes », expliquait en janvier à InfoMigrants Falikou, un Ivoirien de 28 ans.

      Lorsqu’ils parviennent à atteindre la frontière nigérienne, les migrants sont pris en charge par l’Organisation internationale des migrations (OIM) qui dispose de plusieurs centres dans le pays. Certains décident de rentrer chez eux, d’autres en revanche tentent de retourner en Algérie, ou essayent de rejoindre l’Europe via les côtes marocaines ou libyennes.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/31694/algerie-le-point-zero-cet-endroit-au-milieu-de-nulle-part-ou-sont-aban

  • #Evelop / #Barceló_Group : deportation planes from Spain

    The Barceló Group is a leading Spanish travel and hotel company whose airline Evelop is an eager deportation profiteer. Evelop is currently the Spanish government’s main charter deportation partner, running all the country’s mass expulsion flights through a two-year contract, while carrying out deportations from several other European countries as well.

    This profile has been written in response to requests from anti-deportation campaigners. We look at how:

    - The Barceló Group’s airline Evelop has a €9.9m, 18-month deportation contract with the Spanish government. The contract is up for renewal and Barceló is bidding again.
    - Primary beneficiaries of the contract alternate every few years between Evelop and Globalia’s Air Europa.
    – Evelop also carried out deportations from the UK last year to Jamaica, Ghana and Nigeria.
    – The Barceló Group is run and owned by the Barceló family. It is currently co-chaired by the Barceló cousins, Simón Barceló Tous and Simón Pedro Barceló Vadell. Former senator Simón Pedro Barceló Vadell, of the conservative Partido Popular (PP) party, takes the more public-facing role.
    – The company is Spain’s second biggest hotel company, although the coronavirus pandemic appears to have significantly impacted this aspect of its work.

    What’s the business?

    The Barceló Group (‘#Barceló_Corporación_Empresarial, S.A.’) is made up of the #Barceló_Hotel_Group, Spain’s second largest hotel company, and a travel agency and tour operator division known as #Ávoris. Ávoris runs two airlines: the Portuguese brand #Orbest, which anti-deportation campaigners report have also carried out charter deportations, and the Spanish company, #Evelop, founded in 2013.

    The Barceló Group is based in Palma, #Mallorca. It was founded by the Mallorca-based Barceló family in 1931 as #Autocares_Barceló, which specialised in the transportation of people and goods, and has been managed by the family for three generations. The Barceló Group has a stock of over 250 hotels in 22 countries and claims to employ over 33,000 people globally, though we don’t know if this figure has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused massive job losses in the tourism industry.

    The Hotel division has four brands: #Royal_Hideaway_Luxury_Hotels & Resorts; #Barceló_Hotels & Resorts; #Occidental_Hotels & Resorts; and #Allegro_Hotels. The company owns, manages and rents hotels worldwide, mostly in Spain, Mexico and the US. It works in the United States through its subsidiary, Crestline Hotels & Resorts, which manages third-party hotels, including for big brands like Marriott and Hilton.

    Ávoris, the travel division, runs twelve tour brands, all platforms promoting package holidays.

    Their airlines are small, primarily focused on taking people to sun and sand-filled holidays. In total the Barceló Group airlines have a fleet of just nine aircraft, with one on order, according to the Planespotters website. However, three of these have been acquired in the past two years and a fourth is due to be delivered. Half are leased from Irish airplane lessor Avolon. Evelop serves only a few routes, mainly between the Caribbean and the Iberian peninsula, as well as the UK.

    Major changes are afoot as Ávoris is due to merge with #Halcón_Viajes_and_Travelplan, both subsidiaries of fellow Mallorcan travel giant #Globalia. The combined entity will become the largest group of travel agencies in Spain, employing around 6,000 people. The Barceló Group is due to have the majority stake in the new business.

    Barceló has also recently announced the merger of Evelop with its other airline Orbest, leading to a new airline called Iberojet (the name of a travel agency already operated by Ávoris).

    The new airline is starting to sell scheduled flights in addition to charter operations. Evelop had already announced a reduction in its charter service, at a time when its scheduled airline competitors, such as #Air_Europa, have had to be bailed out to avoid pandemic-induced bankruptcy. Its first scheduled flights will be mainly to destinations in Central and South America, notably Cuba and the Domican Republic, though they are also offering flights to Tunisia, the Maldives and Mauritius.

    Deportation dealers

    Evelop currently holds the contract to carry out the Spanish government’s mass deportation flights, through an agreement made with the Spanish Interior Ministry in December 2019. Another company, Air Nostrum, which operates the Iberia Regional franchise, transports detainees within Spain, notably to Madrid, from where they are deported by Evelop. The total value of the contract for the two airlines is €9.9m, and lasts 18 months.

    This is the latest in a long series of such contracts. Over the years, the beneficiaries have alternated between the Evelop- #Air_Nostrum partnership, and another partnership comprising Globalia’s #Air_Europa, and #Swiftair (with the former taking the equivalent role to that of Evelop). So far, the Evelop partnership has been awarded the job twice, while its Air Europa rival has won the bidding three times.

    However, the current deal will end in spring 2021, and a new tender for a contract of the same value has been launched. The two bidders are: Evelop-Air Nostrum; and Air Europa in partnership with #Aeronova, another Globalia subsidiary. A third operator, #Canary_Fly, has been excluded from the bidding for failing to produce all the required documentation. So yet again, the contract will be awarded to companies either owned by the Barceló Group or Globalia.

    On 10 November 2020, Evelop carried out the first charter deportations from Spain since the restrictions on travel brought about by the cCOVID-19 pandemic. On board were 22 migrants, mostly Senegalese, who had travelled by boat to the Canary Islands. Evelop and the Spanish government dumped them in Mauritania, under an agreement with the country to accept any migrants arriving on the shores of the Islands. According to El País newspaper, the number of actual Mauritanians deported to that country is a significant minority of all deportees. Anti-deportation campaigners state that since the easing up of travel restrictions, Evelop has also deported people to Georgia, Albania, Colombia and the Dominican Republic.

    Evelop is not only eager to cash in on deportations in Spain. Here in the UK, Evelop carried out at least two charter deportations last year: one to Ghana and Nigeria from Stansted on 30 January 2020; and one to Jamaica from Doncaster airport on 11 February in the same year. These deportations took place during a period of mobile network outages across Harmondsworth and Colnbrook detention centres, which interfered with detainees’ ability to access legal advice to challenge their expulsion, or speak to loved ones.

    According to campaigners, the company reportedly operates most of Austria and Germany’s deportations to Nigeria and Ghana, including a recent joint flight on 19 January. It also has operated deportations from Germany to Pakistan and Bangladesh.

    Evelop is not the only company profiting from Spain’s deportation machine. The Spanish government also regularly deports people on commercial flights operated by airlines such as Air Maroc, Air Senegal, and Iberia, as well as mass deportations by ferry to Morocco and Algeria through the companies #Transmediterránea, #Baleària and #Algérie_Ferries. #Ferry deportations are currently on hold due to the pandemic, but Air Maroc reportedly still carry out regular deportations on commercial flights to Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara.

    Where’s the money?

    The financial outlook for the Barceló Group as a whole at the end of 2019 seemed strong, having made a net profit of €135 million.

    Before the pandemic, the company president said that he had planned to prioritise its hotels division over its tour operator segment, which includes its airlines. Fast forward a couple of years and its hotels are struggling to attract custom, while one of its airlines has secured a multimillion-euro deportation contract.

    Unsurprisingly, the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the Barceló Group’s operations. The company had to close nearly all of its hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa during the first wave of the pandemic, with revenue down 99%. In the Caribbean, the hotel group saw a 95% drop in revenue in May, April and June. They fared slightly better in the US, which saw far fewer COVID-19 restrictions, yet revenue there still declined 89%. By early October, between 20-60% of their hotels in Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean had reopened across the regions, but with occupancy at only 20-60%.

    The company has been negotiating payments with hotels and aircraft lessors in light of reduced demand. It claims that it has not however had to cut jobs, since the Spanish government’s COVID-19 temporary redundancy plans enable some workers to be furloughed and prevent employers from firing them in that time.

    Despite these difficulties, the company may be saved, like other tourism multinationals, by a big bailout from the state. Barceló’s Ávoris division is set to share a €320 million bailout from the Spanish government as part of the merger with Globalia’s subsidiaries. Is not known if the Barceló Group’s hotel lines will benefit from state funds.

    Key people

    The eight members of the executive board are unsurprisingly, male, pale and frail; as are all ten members of the Ávoris management team.

    The company is co-chaired by cousins with confusingly similar names: #Simón_Barceló_Tous and #Simón_Pedro_Barceló_Vadell. We’ll call them #Barceló_Tous and #Pedro_Barceló from here. The family are from Felanitx, Mallorca.

    Barceló Tous is the much more low-key of the two, and there is little public information about him. Largely based in the Dominican Republic, he takes care of the Central & Latin American segment of the business.

    His cousin, Pedro Barceló, runs the European and North American division. Son of Group co-founder #Gabriel_Barceló_Oliver, Pedro Barceló is a law graduate who has been described as ‘reserved’ and ‘elusive’. He is the company’s executive president. Yet despite his apparent shyness, he was once the youngest senator in Spanish history, entering the upper house at age 23 as a representative for the conservative party with links to the Francoist past, #Partido_Popular. For a period he was also a member of the board of directors of Globalia, Aena and #First_Choice_Holidays.

    The CEO of Evelop is #Antonio_Mota_Sandoval, formerly the company’s technical and maintenance director. He’s very found of #drones and is CEO and founder of a company called #Aerosolutions. The latter describes itself as ‘Engineering, Consulting and Training Services for conventional and unmanned aviation.’ Mota appears to live in Alcalá de Henares, a town just outside Madrid. He is on Twitter and Facebook.

    The Barceló Foundation

    As is so often the case with large businesses engaging in unethical practises, the family set up a charitable arm, the #Barceló_Foundation. It manages a pot of €32 million, of which it spent €2m in 2019 on a broad range of charitable activities in Africa, South America and Mallorca. Headed by Antonio Monjo Tomás, it’s run from a prestigious building in Palma known as #Casa_del_Marqués_de_Reguer-Rullán, owned by the Barceló family. The foundation also runs the #Felanitx_Art & Culture Center, reportedly based at the Barceló’s family home. The foundation partners with many Catholic missions and sponsors the #Capella_Mallorquina, a local choir. The foundation is on Twitter and Facebook.

    The Barceló Group’s vulnerabilities

    Like other tourism businesses, the group is struggling with the industry-wide downturn due to COVID-19 travel measures. In this context, government contracts provide a rare reliable source of steady income — and the Barcelós will be loathe to give up deportation work. In Spain, perhaps even more than elsewhere, the tourism industry and its leading dynasties has very close ties with government and politicians. Airlines are getting heavy bailouts from the Spanish state, and their bosses will want to keep up good relations.

    But the deportation business could become less attractive for the group if campaigners keep up the pressure — particularly outside Spain, where reputational damage may outweigh the profits from occasional flights. Having carried out a charter deportation to Jamaica from the UK earlier in the year, the company became a target of a social media campaign in December 2020 ahead of the Jamaica 50 flight, after which they reportedly said that they were not involved. A lesser-known Spanish airline, Privilege Style, did the job instead.

    https://corporatewatch.org/evelop-barcelo-group-deportation-planes-from-spain
    #Espagne #business #compagnies_aériennes #complexe_militaro-industriel #renvois #expulsions #migrations #réfugiés #asile #tourisme #charter #Maurtianie #îles_Canaries #Canaries #Géorgie #Albanie #Colombie #République_dominicaine #Ghana #Nigeria #Allemagne #Standsted #UK #Angleterre #Pakistan #Bangladesh #Air_Maroc #Air_Senegal #Iberia #Maroc #Algérie #ferrys #Sahara_occidental #covid-19 #pandémie #coronavirus #hôtels #fondation #philanthrocapitalisme

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • The big wall


    https://thebigwall.org/en

    An ActionAid investigation into how Italy tried to stop migration from Africa, using EU funds, and how much money it spent.

    There are satellites, drones, ships, cooperation projects, police posts, repatriation flights, training centers. They are the bricks of an invisible but tangible and often violent wall. Erected starting in 2015 onwards, thanks to over one billion euros of public money. With one goal: to eliminate those movements by sea, from North Africa to Italy, which in 2015 caused an outcry over a “refugee crisis”. Here we tell you about the (fragile) foundations and the (dramatic) impacts of this project. Which must be changed, urgently.

    –---

    Ready, Set, Go

    Imagine a board game, Risk style. The board is a huge geographical map, which descends south from Italy, including the Mediterranean Sea and North Africa and almost reaching the equator, in Cameroon, South Sudan, Rwanda. Places we know little about and read rarely about.

    Each player distributes activity cards and objects between countries and along borders. In Ethiopia there is a camera crew shooting TV series called ‘Miraj’ [mirage], which recounts the misadventures of naive youth who rely on shady characters to reach Europe. There is military equipment, distributed almost everywhere: off-road vehicles for the Tunisian border police, ambulances and tank trucks for the army in Niger, patrol boats for Libya, surveillance drones taking off from Sicily.

    There is technology: satellite systems on ships in the Mediterranean, software for recording fingerprints in Egypt, laptops for the Nigerian police. And still: coming and going of flights between Libya and Nigeria, Guinea, Gambia. Maritime coordination centers, police posts in the middle of the Sahara, job orientation offices in Tunisia or Ethiopia, clinics in Uganda, facilities for minors in Eritrea, and refugee camps in Sudan.

    Hold your breath for a moment longer, because we still haven’t mentioned the training courses. And there are many: to produce yogurt in Ivory Coast, open a farm in Senegal or a beauty salon in Nigeria, to learn about the rights of refugees, or how to use a radar station.

    Crazed pawns, overlapping cards and unclear rules. Except for one: from these African countries, more than 25 of them, not one person should make it to Italy. There is only one exception allowed: leaving with a visa. Embassy officials, however, have precise instructions: anyone who doesn’t have something to return to should not be accepted. Relationships, family, and friends don’t count, but only incomes, properties, businesses, and titles do.

    For a young professional, a worker, a student, an activist, anyone looking for safety, future and adventure beyond the borders of the continent, for people like me writing and perhaps like you reading, the only allies become the facilitators, those who Europe calls traffickers and who, from friends, can turn into worst enemies.

    We called it The Big Wall. It could be one of those strategy games that keeps going throughout the night, for fans of geopolitics, conflicts, finance. But this is real life, and it’s the result of years of investments, experiments, documents and meetings. At first disorderly, sporadic, then systematized and increased since 2015, when United Nations agencies, echoed by the international media, sounded an alarm: there is a migrant crisis happening and Europe must intervene. Immediately.

    Italy was at the forefront, and all those agreements, projects, and programs from previous years suddenly converged and multiplied, becoming bricks of a wall that, from an increasingly militarized Mediterranean, moved south, to the travelers’ countries of origin.

    The basic idea, which bounced around chancelleries and European institutions, was to use multiple tools: development cooperation, support for security forces, on-site protection of refugees, repatriation, information campaigns on the risks of irregular migration. This, in the language of Brussels, was a “comprehensive approach”.

    We talked to some of the protagonists of this story — those who built the wall, who tried to jump it, and who would like to demolish it — and we looked through thousands of pages of reports, minutes, resolutions, decrees, calls for tenders, contracts, newspaper articles, research, to understand how much money Italy has spent, where, and what impacts it has had. Months of work to discover not only that this wall has dramatic consequences, but that the European – and Italian – approach to international migration stems from erroneous premises, from an emergency stance that has disastrous results for everyone, including European citizens.
    Libya: the tip of the iceberg

    It was the start of the 2017/2018 academic year and Omer Shatz, professor of international law, offered his Sciences Po students the opportunity to work alongside him on the preparation of a dossier. For the students of the faculty, this was nothing new. In the classrooms of the austere building on the Rive Gauche of Paris, which European and African heads of state have passed though, not least Emmanuel Macron, it’s normal to work on real life materials: peace agreements in Colombia, trials against dictators and foreign fighters. Those who walk on those marble floors already know that they will be able to speak with confidence in circles that matter, in politics as well as diplomacy.

    Shatz, who as a criminal lawyer in Israel is familiar with abuses and rights violations, launched his students a new challenge: to bring Europe to the International Criminal Court for the first time. “Since it was created, the court has only condemned African citizens – dictators, militia leaders – but showing European responsibility was urgent,” he explains.

    One year after first proposing the plan, Shatz sent an envelope to the Court’s headquarters, in the Dutch town of The Hague. With his colleague Juan Branco and eight of his students he recounted, in 245 pages, cases of “widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population”, linked to “crimes against humanity consciously committed by European actors, in the central Mediterranean and in Libya, in line with Italian and European Union policies”.

    The civilian population to which they refer comprises migrants and refugees, swallowed by the waves or intercepted in the central Mediterranean and brought back to shore by Libyan assets, to be placed in a seemingly endless cycle of detention. Among them are the 13.000 dead recorded since 2015, in the stretch of sea between North Africa and Italy, out of 523.000 people who survived the crossing, but also the many African and Asian citizens, who are rarely counted, who were tortured in Libya and died in any of the dozens of detention centers for foreigners, often run by militias.

    “At first we thought that the EU and Italy were outsourcing dirty work to Libya to block people, which in jargon is called ‘aiding and abetting’ in the commission of a crime, then we realized that the Europeans were actually the conductors of these operations, while the Libyans performed”, says Shatz, who, at the end of 2020, was preparing a second document for the International Criminal Court to include more names, those of the “anonymous officials of the European and Italian bureaucracy who participated in this criminal enterprise”, which was centered around the “reinvention of the Libyan Coast Guard, conceived by Italian actors”.

    Identifying heads of department, office directors, and institution executives in democratic countries as alleged criminals might seem excessive. For Shatz, however, “this is the first time, after the Nuremberg trials, after Eichmann, that Europe has committed crimes of this magnitude, outside of an armed conflict”. The court, which routinely rejects at least 95 percent of the cases presented, did not do so with Shatz and his students’ case. “Encouraging news, but that does not mean that the start of proceedings is around the corner”, explains the lawyer.

    At the basis of the alleged crimes, he continues, are “regulations, memoranda of understanding, maritime cooperation, detention centers, patrols and drones” created and financed by the European Union and Italy. Here Shatz is speaking about the Memorandum of Understanding between Italy and Libya to “reduce the flow of illegal migrants”, as the text of the document states. An objective to be achieved through training and support for the two maritime patrol forces of the very fragile Libyan national unity government, by “adapting” the existing detention centers, and supporting local development initiatives.

    Signed in Rome on February 2, 2017 and in force until 2023, the text is grafted onto the Treaty of Friendship, Partnership and Cooperation signed by Silvio Berlusconi and Muammar Gaddafi in 2008, but is tied to a specific budget: that of the so-called Africa Fund, established in 2016 as the “Fund for extraordinary interventions to relaunch dialogue and cooperation with African countries of priority importance for migration routes” and extended in 2020 — as the Migration Fund — to non-African countries too.

    310 million euros were allocated in total between the end of 2016 and November 2020, and 252 of those were disbursed, according to our reconstruction.

    A multiplication of tools and funds that, explains Mario Giro, “was born after the summit between the European Union and African leaders in Malta, in November 2015”. According to the former undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from 2013, and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs between 2016 and 2018, that summit in Malta “sanctioned the triumph of a European obsession, that of reducing migration from Africa at all costs: in exchange of this containment, there was a willingness to spend, invest”. For Giro, the one in Malta was an “attempt to come together, but not a real partnership”.

    Libya, where more than 90 percent of those attempting to cross the central Mediterranean departed from in those years, was the heart of a project in which Italian funds and interests support and integrate with programs by the European Union and other member states. It was an all-European dialogue, from which powerful Africans — political leaders but also policemen, militiamen, and the traffickers themselves — tried to obtain something: legitimacy, funds, equipment.

    Fragmented and torn apart by a decade-long conflict, Libya was however not alone. In October 2015, just before the handshakes and the usual photographs at the Malta meeting, the European Commission established an Emergency Trust Fund to “address the root causes of migration in Africa”.

    To do so, as Dutch researcher Thomas Spijkerboer will reconstruct years later, the EU executive declared a state of emergency in the 26 African countries that benefit from the Fund, thus justifying the choice to circumvent European competition rules in favor of direct award procedures. However “it’s implausible – Spijkerboeker will go on to argue – that there is a crisis in all 26 African countries where the Trust Fund operates through the duration of the Trust Fund”, now extended until the end of 2021.

    However, the imperative, as an advisor to the Budget Commission of the European Parliament explains, was to act immediately: “not within a few weeks, but days, hours“.

    Faced with a Libya still ineffective at stopping flows to the north, it was in fact necessary to intervene further south, traveling backwards along the routes that converge from dozens of African countries and go towards Tripolitania. And — like dominoes in reverse — raising borders and convincing, or forcing, potential travelers to stop in their countries of origin or in others along the way, before they arrived on the shores of the Mediterranean.

    For the first time since decolonization, human mobility in Africa became the keystone of Italian policies on the continent, so much so that analysts began speaking of migration diplomacy. Factors such as the number of migrants leaving from a given country and the number of border posts or repatriations all became part of the political game, on the same level as profits from oil extraction, promises of investment, arms sales, or trade agreements.

    Comprising projects, funds, and programs, this migration diplomacy comes at a cost. For the period between January 2015 and November 2020, we tracked down 317 funding lines managed by Italy with its own funds and partially co-financed by the European Union. A total of 1.337 billion euros, spent over five years and destined to eight different items of expenditure. Here Libya is in first place, but it is not alone.

    A long story, in short

    For simplicity’s sake, we can say that it all started in the hot summer of 2002, with an almost surrealist lightning war over a barren rock on the edge of the Mediterranean: the Isla de Persejil, the island of parsley. A little island in the Strait of Gibraltar, disputed for decades between Morocco and Spain, which had its ephemeral moment of glory when in July of that year the Moroccan monarchy sent six soldiers, some tents and a flag. Jose-Maria Aznar’s government quickly responded with a reconquista to the sound of fighter-bombers, frigates, and helicopters.

    Peace was signed only a few weeks later and the island went back to being a land of shepherds and military patrols. Which from then on, however, were joint ones.

    “There was talk of combating drug trafficking and illegal fishing, but the reality was different: these were the first anti-immigration operations co-managed by Spanish and Moroccan soldiers”, explains Sebastian Cobarrubias, professor of geography at the University of Zaragoza. The model, he says, was the one of Franco-Spanish counter-terrorism operations in the Basque Country, exported from the Pyrenees to the sea border.

    A process of externalization of Spanish and European migration policy was born following those events in 2002, and culminating years later with the crisis de los cayucos, the pirogue crisis: the arrival of tens of thousands of people – 31,000 in 2006 alone – in the Canary Islands, following extremely dangerous crossings from Senegal, Mauritania and Morocco.

    In close dialogue with the European Commission, which saw the Spanish border as the most porous one of the fragile Schengen area, the government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero reacted quickly. “Within a few months, cooperation and repatriation agreements were signed with nine African countries,” says Cobarrubias, who fought for years, with little success, to obtain the texts of the agreements.

    The events of the late 2000s look terribly similar to what Italy will try to implement a decade later with its Mediterranean neighbors, Libya first of all. So much so that in 2016 it was the Spanish Minister of the Interior himself, Jorge Fernández Díaz, who recalled that “the Spanish one is a European management model, reproducible in other contexts”. A vision confirmed by the European Commission officials with whom we spoke.

    At the heart of the Spanish strategy, which over a few short years led to a drastic decrease of arrivals by sea, was the opening of new diplomatic offices in Africa, the launch of local development projects, and above all the support given to the security forces of partner countries.

    Cobarrubias recounts at least four characteristic elements of the Madrid approach: the construction of new patrol forces “such as the Mauritanian Coast Guard, which did not exist and was created by Spain thanks to European funds, with the support of the newly created Frontex agency”; direct and indirect support for detention centers, such as the infamous ‘Guantanamito’, or little Guantanamo, denounced by civil society organizations in Mauritania; the real-time collection of border data and information, carried out by the SIVE satellite system, a prototype of Eurosur, an incredibly expensive intelligence center on the EU’s external borders launched in 2013, based on drones, satellites, airplanes, and sensors; and finally, the strategy of working backwards along migration routes, to seal borders, from the sea to the Sahara desert, and investing locally with development and governance programs, which Spain did during the two phases of the so-called Plan Africa, between 2006 and 2012.

    Replace “Spain” with “Italy”, and “Mauritania” with “Libya”, and you’ll have an idea of what happened years later, in an attempt to seal another European border.

    The main legacy of the Spanish model, according to the Italian sociologist Lorenzo Gabrielli, however, is the negative conditionality, which is the fact of conditioning the disbursement of these loans – for security forces, ministries, trade agreements – at the level of the African partners’ cooperation in the management of migration, constantly threatening to reduce investments if there are not enough repatriations being carried out, or if controls and pushbacks fail. An idea that is reminiscent both of the enlargement process of the European Union, with all the access restrictions placed on candidate countries, and of the Schengen Treaty, the attempt to break down internal European borders, which, as a consequence, created the need to protect a new common border, the external one.
    La externalización europea del control migratorio: ¿La acción española como modelo? Read more

    At the end of 2015, when almost 150,000 people had reached the Italian coast and over 850,000 had crossed Turkey and the Balkans to enter the European Union, the story of the maritime migration to Spain had almost faded from memory.

    But something remained of it: a management model. Based, once again, on an idea of crisis.

    “We tried to apply it to post-Gaddafi Libya – explains Stefano Manservisi, who over the past decade has chaired two key departments for migration policies in the EU Commission, Home Affairs and Development Cooperation – but in 2013 we soon realized that things had blown up, that that there was no government to talk to: the whole strategy had to be reformulated”.

    Going backwards, through routes and processes

    The six-month presidency of the European Council, in 2014, was the perfect opportunity for Italy.

    In November of that year, Matteo Renzi’s government hosted a conference in Rome to launch the Khartoum Process, the brand new initiative for the migration route between the EU and the Horn of Africa, modeled on the Rabat Process, born in 2006, at the apex of the crisis de los cayucos, after pressure from Spain. It’s a regional cooperation platform between EU countries and nine African countries, based on the exchange of information and coordination between governments, to manage migration.
    Il processo di Khartoum: l’Italia e l’Europa contro le migrazioni Read more

    Warning: if you start to find terms such as ‘process’ and ‘coordination platform’ nebulous, don’t worry. The backbone of European policies is made of these structures: meetings, committees, negotiating tables with unattractive names, whose roles elude most of us. It’s a tendency towards the multiplication of dialogue and decision spaces, that the migration policies of recent years have, if possible, accentuated, in the name of flexibility, of being ready for any eventuality. Of continuous crisis.

    Let’s go back to that inter-ministerial meeting in Rome that gave life to the Khartoum Process and in which Libya, where the civil war had resumed violently a few months earlier, was not present.

    Italy thus began looking beyond Libya, to the so-called countries of origin and transit. Such as Ethiopia, a historic beneficiary of Italian development cooperation, and Sudan. Indeed, both nations host refugees from Eritrea and Somalia, two of the main countries of origin of those who cross the central Mediterranean between 2013 and 2015. Improving their living conditions was urgent, to prevent them from traveling again, from dreaming of Europe. In Niger, on the other hand, which is an access corridor to Libya for those traveling from countries such as Nigeria, Gambia, Senegal, and Mali, Italy co-financed a study for a new law against migrant smuggling, then adopted in 2015, which became the cornerstone of a radical attempt to reduce movement across the Sahara desert, which you will read about later.

    A year later, with the Malta summit and the birth of the EU Trust Fund for Africa, Italy was therefore ready to act. With a 123 million euro contribution, allocated from 2017 through the Africa Fund and the Migration Fund, Italy became the second donor country, and one of the most active in trying to manage those over 4 billion euros allocated for five years. [If you are curious about the financing mechanisms of the Trust Fund, read here: https://thebigwall.org/en/trust-fund/].

    Through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), born in 2014 as an operational branch of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Italy immediately made itself available to manage European Fund projects, and one idea seemed to be the driving one: using classic development programs, but implemented in record time, to offer on-site alternatives to young people eager to leave, while improving access to basic services.

    Local development, therefore, became the intervention to address the so-called root causes of migration. For the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the newborn AICS, it seemed a winning approach. Unsurprisingly, the first project approved through the Trust Fund for Africa was managed by the Italian agency in Ethiopia.

    “Stemming irregular migration in Northern and Central Ethiopia” received 19.8 million euros in funding, a rare sum for local development interventions. The goal was to create job opportunities and open career guidance centers for young people in four Ethiopian regions. Or at least that’s how it seemed. In the first place, among the objectives listed in the project sheet, there is in fact another one: to reduce irregular migration.

    In the logical matrix of the project, which insiders know is the presentation – through data, indicators and figures – of the expected results, there is no indicator that appears next to the “reduction of irregular migration” objective. There is no way, it’s implicitly admitted, to verify that that goal has been achieved. That the young person trained to start a micro-enterprise in the Wollo area, for example, is one less migrant.

    Bizarre, not to mention wrong. But indicative of the problems of an approach of which, an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs explains to us, “Italy had made itself the spokesperson in Europe”.

    “The mantra was that more development would stop migration, and at a certain point that worked for everyone: for AICS, which justified its funds in the face of political landscape that was scared by the issue of landings, and for many NGOs, which immediately understood that migrations were the parsley to be sprinkled on the funding requests that were presented”, explains the official, who, like so many in this story, prefers to remain anonymous.

    This idea of the root causes was reproduced, as in an echo chamber, “without programmatic documents, without guidelines, but on the wave of a vague idea of political consensus around the goal of containing migration”, he adds. This makes it almost impossible to talk about, so much so that a proposal for new guidelines on immigration and development, drawn up during 2020 by AICS, was set aside for months.

    Indeed, if someone were to say, as evidenced by scholars such as Michael Clemens, that development can also increase migration, and that migration itself is a source of development, the whole ‘root causes’ idea would collapse and the already tight cooperation budgets would risk being cut, in the name of the same absolute imperative as always: reducing arrivals to Italy and Europe.

    Maintaining a vague, costly and unverifiable approach is equally damaging.

    Bram Frouws, director of the Mixed Migration Center, a think-tank that studies international mobility, points out, for example, how the ‘root cause’ approach arises from a vision of migration as a problem to be eradicated rather than managed, and that paradoxically, the definition of these deep causes always remains superficial. In fact, there is never talk of how international fishing agreements damage local communities, nor of land grabbing by speculators, major construction work, or corruption and arms sales. There is only talk of generic economic vulnerability, of a country’s lack of stability. An almost abstract phenomenon, in which European actors are exempt from any responsibility.

    There is another problem: in the name of the fight against irregular migration, interventions have shifted from poorer and truly vulnerable countries and populations to regions with ‘high migratory rates’, a term repeated in dozens of project descriptions funded over the past few years, distorting one of the cardinal principles of development aid, codified in regulations and agreements: that of responding to the most urgent needs of a given population, and of not imposing external priorities, even more so if it is countries considered richer are the ones doing it.

    The Nigerien experiment

    While Ethiopia and Sudan absorb the most substantial share of funds destined to tackle the root causes of migration — respectively 47 and 32 million euros out of a total expenditure of 195 million euros — Niger, which for years has been contending for the podium of least developed country on the planet with Central African Republic according to the United Nations Human Development Index — benefits from just over 10 million euros.

    Here in fact it’s more urgent, for Italy and the EU, to intervene on border control rather than root causes, to stop the flow of people that cross the country until they arrive in Agadez, to then disappear in the Sahara and emerge, days later — if all goes well — in southern Libya. In 2016, the International Organization for Migration counted nearly 300,000 people passing through a single checkpoint along the road to Libya. The figure bounced between the offices of the European Commission, and from there to the Farnesina, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: faced with an uncontrollable Libya, intervening in Niger became a priority.

    Italy did it in great style, even before opening an embassy in the country, in February 2017: with a contribution to the state budget of Niger of 50 million euros, part of the Africa Fund, included as part of a maxi-program managed by the EU in the country and paid out in several installments.

    While the project documents list a number of conditions for the continuation of the funding, including increased monitoring along the routes to Libya and the adoption of regulations and strategies for border control, some local and European officials with whom we have spoken think that the assessments were made with one eye closed: the important thing was in fact to provide those funds to be spent in a country that for Italy, until then, had been synonymous only with tourism in the Sahara dunes and development in rural areas.

    Having become a priority in the New Partnership Framework on Migration, yet another EU operational program, launched in 2016, Niger seemed thus exempt from controls on the management of funds to which beneficiaries of European funds are normally subject to.

    “Our control mechanisms, the Court of Auditors, the Parliament and the anti-corruption Authority, do not work, and yet the European partners have injected millions of euros into state coffers, without imposing transparency mechanisms”, reports then Ali Idrissa Nani , president of the Réseau des Organizations pour la Transparence et l’Analyse du Budget (ROTAB), a network of associations that seeks to monitor state spending in Niger.

    “It leaves me embittered, but for some years we we’ve had the impression that civil liberties, human rights, and participation are no longer a European priority“, continues Nani, who —- at the end of 2020 — has just filed a complaint with the Court of Niamey, to ask the Prosecutor to open an investigation into the possible disappearance of at least 120 million euros in funds from the Ministry of Defense, a Pandora’s box uncovered by local and international journalists.

    For Nani, who like other Nigerien activists spent most of 2018 in prison for encouraging demonstrations against high living costs, this explosion of European and Italian cooperation didn’t do the country any good, and in fact favoured authoritarian tendencies, and limited even more the independence of the judiciary.

    For their part, the Nigerien rulers have more than others seized the opportunity offered by European donors to obtain legitimacy and support. Right after the Valletta summit, they were the first to present an action plan to reduce migration to Libya, which they abruptly implemented in mid-2016, applying the anti-trafficking law whose preliminary study was financed by Italy, with the aim of emptying the city of #Agadez of migrants from other countries.

    The transport of people to the Libyan border, an activity that until that point happened in the light of day and was sanctioned at least informally by the local authorities, thus became illegal from one day to the next. Hundreds of drivers, intermediaries, and facilitators were arrested, and an entire economy crashed

    But did the movement of people really decrease? Almost impossible to tell. The only data available are those of the International Organization for Migration, which continues to record the number of transits at certain police posts. But drivers and foreign travelers no longer pass through them, fearing they will be arrested or stopped. Routes and journeys, as always happens, are remodeled, only to reappear elsewhere. Over the border with Chad, or in Algeria, or in a risky zigzagging of small tracks, to avoid patrols.

    For Hamidou Manou Nabara, a Nigerien sociologist and researcher, the problems with this type of cooperation are manifold.

    On the one hand, it restricted the free movement guaranteed within the Economic Community of West African States, a sort of ‘Schengen area’ between 15 countries in the region, making half of Niger, from Agadez to the north, a no-go areas for foreign citizens, even though they still had the right to move throughout the national territory.

    Finally, those traveling north were made even more vulnerable. “The control of borders and migratory movements was justified on humanitarian grounds, to contrast human trafficking, but in reality very few victims of trafficking were ever identified: the center of this cooperation is repression”, explains Nabara.

    Increasing controls, through military and police operations, actually exposes travelers to greater violations of human rights, both by state agents and passeurs, making the Sahara crossings longer and riskier.

    The fight against human trafficking, a slogan repeated by European and African leaders and a central expenditure item of the Italian intervention between Africa and the Mediterranean — 142 million euros in five years —- actually risks having the opposite effect. Because a trafiicker’s bread and butter, in addition to people’s desire to travel, is closed borders and denied visas.

    A reinvented frontier

    Galvanized by the activism of the European Commission after the launch of the Trust Fund but under pressure internally, faced with a discourse on migration that seemed to invade every public space — from the front pages of newspapers to television talk-shows — and unable to agree on how to manage migration within the Schengen area, European rulers thus found an agreement outside the continent: to add more bricks to that wall that must reduce movements through the Mediterranean.

    Between 2015 and 2016, Italian, Dutch, German, French and European Union ministers, presidents and senior officials travel relentlessly between countries considered priorities for migration, and increasingly for security, and invite their colleagues to the European capitals. A coming and going of flights to Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tunisia, Senegal, Chad, Guinea, to make agreements, negotiate.

    “Niamey had become a crossroads for European diplomats”, remembers Ali Idrissa Nani, “but few understood the reasons”.

    However, unlike the border with Turkey, where the agreement signed with the EU at the beginning of 2016 in no time reduced the arrival of Syrian, Afghan, and Iraqi citizens in Greece, the continent’s other ‘hot’ border, promises of speed and effectiveness by the Trust Fund for Africa did not seem to materialize. Departures from Libya, in particular, remained constant. And in the meantime, in the upcoming election in a divided Italy, the issue of migration seemed to be tipping the balance, capable of shifting votes and alliances.

    It is at that point that the Italian Ministry of the Interior, newly led by Marco Minniti, put its foot on the accelerator. The Viminale, the Italian Ministry of the Interior, became the orchestrator of a new intervention plan, refined between Rome and Brussels, with German support, which went back to focusing everything on Libya and on that stretch of sea that separates it from Italy.

    “In those months the phones were hot, everyone was looking for Marco“, says an official of the Interior Ministry, who admits that “the Ministry of the Interior had snatched the Libyan dossier from Foreign Affairs, but only because up until then the Foreign Ministry hadn’t obtained anything” .

    Minniti’s first move was the signing of the new Memorandum with Libya, which gave way to a tripartite plan.

    At the top of the agenda was the creation of a maritime interception device for boats departing from the Libyan coast, through the reconstruction of the Coast Guard and the General Administration for Coastal Security (GACS), the two patrol forces belonging to the Ministry of Defense and that of the Interior, and the establishment of a rescue coordination center, prerequisites for Libya to declare to the International Maritime Organization that it had a Search and Rescue Area, so that the Italian Coast Guard could ask Libyan colleagues to intervene if there were boats in trouble.

    Accompanying this work in Libya is a jungle of Italian and EU missions, surveillance systems and military operations — from the European Frontex, Eunavfor Med and Eubam Libya, to the Italian military mission “Safe Waters” — equipped with drones, planes, patrol boats, whose task is to monitor the Libyan Sea, which is increasingly emptied by the European humanitarian ships that started operating in 2014 (whose maneuvering spaces are in the meantime reduced to the bone due to various strategies) to support Libyan interception operations.

    The second point of the ‘Minniti agenda’ was to progressively empty Libya of migrants and refugees, so that an escape by sea would become increasingly difficult. Between 2017 and 2020, the Libyan assets, which are in large part composed of patrol boats donated by Italy, intercepted and returned to shore about 56,000 people according to data released by UN agencies. The Italian-European plan envisages two solutions: for economic migrants, the return to the country of origin; for refugees, the possibility of obtaining protection.

    There is one part of this plan that worked better, at least in terms of European wishes: repatriation, presented as ‘assisted voluntary return’. This vision was propelled by images, released in October 2017 by CNN as part of a report on the abuse of foreigners in Libya, of what appears to be a slave auction. The images reopened the unhealed wounds of the slave trade through Atlantic and Sahara, and helped the creation of a Joint Initiative between the International Organization for Migration, the European Union, and the African Union, aimed at returning and reintegrating people in the countries of origin.

    Part of the Italian funding for IOM was injected into this complex system of repatriation by air, from Tripoli to more than 20 countries, which has contributed to the repatriation of 87,000 people over three years. 33,000 from Libya, and 37,000 from Niger.

    A similar program for refugees, which envisages transit through other African countries (Niger and Rwanda gave their availability) and from there resettlement to Europe or North America, recorded much lower numbers: 3,300 evacuations between the end of 2017 and the end of 2020. For the 47,000 people registered as refugees in Libya, leaving the country without returning to their home country, to the starting point, is almost impossible.

    Finally, there is a third, lesser-known point of the Italian plan: even in Libya, Italy wants to intervene on the root causes of migration, or rather on the economies linked to the transit and smuggling of migrants. The scheme is simple: support basic services and local authorities in migrant transit areas, in exchange for this transit being controlled and reduced. The transit of people brings with it the circulation of currency, a more valuable asset than usual in a country at war, and this above all in the south of Libya, in the immense Saharan region of Fezzan, the gateway to the country, bordering Algeria, Niger, and Chad and almost inaccessible to international humanitarian agencies.

    A game in which intelligence plays central role (as also revealed by the journalist Lorenzo D’Agostino on Foreign Policy), as indeed it did in another negotiation and exchange of money: those 5 million euros destined — according to various journalistic reconstructions — to a Sabratha militia, the Anas Al-Dabbashi Brigade, to stop departures from the coastal city.

    A year later, its leader, Ahmed Al-Dabbashi, will be sanctioned by the UN Security Council, as leader for criminal activities related to human trafficking.

    The one built in record time by the ministry led by Marco Minniti is therefore a complicated and expensive puzzle. To finance it, there are above all the Trust Fund for Africa of the EU, and the Italian Africa Fund, initially headed only by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and unpacked among several ministries for the occasion, but also the Internal Security Fund of the EU, which funds military equipment for all Italian security forces, as well as funds and activities from the Ministry of Defense.

    A significant part of those 666 million euros dedicated to border control, but also of funds to support governance and fight traffickers, converges and enters this plan: a machine that was built too quickly, among whose wheels human rights and Libya’s peace process are sacrificed.

    “We were looking for an immediate result and we lost sight of the big picture, sacrificing peace on the altar of the fight against migration, when Libya was in pieces, in the hands of militias who were holding us hostage”. This is how former Deputy Minister Mario Giro describes the troubled handling of the Libyan dossier.

    For Marwa Mohamed, a Libyan activist, all these funds and interventions were “provided without any real clause of respect for human rights, and have fragmented the country even more, because they were intercepted by the militias, which are the same ones that manage both the smuggling of migrants that detention centers, such as that of Abd el-Rahman al-Milad, known as ‘al-Bija’ ”.

    Projects aimed at Libyan municipalities, included in the interventions on the root causes of migration — such as the whole detention system, invigorated by the introduction of people intercepted at sea (and ‘improved’ through millions of euros of Italian funds) — offer legitimacy, when they do not finance it directly, to the ramified and violent system of local powers that the German political scientist Wolfram Lacher defines as the ‘Tripoli militia cartel‘. [for more details on the many Italian funds in Libya, read here].
    Fondi italiani in Libia Read more

    “Bringing migrants back to shore, perpetuating a detention system, does not only mean subjecting people to new abuses, but also enriching the militias, fueling the conflict”, continues Mohamed, who is now based in London, where she is a spokesman of the Libyan Lawyers for Justice organization.

    The last few years of Italian cooperation, she argues, have been “a sequence of lost opportunities”. And to those who tell you — Italian and European officials especially — that reforming justice, putting an end to that absolute impunity that strengthens the militias, is too difficult, Mohamed replies without hesitation: “to sign the Memorandum of Understanding, the authorities contacted the militias close to the Tripoli government one by one and in the meantime built a non-existent structure from scratch, the Libyan Coast Guard: and you’re telling me that you can’t put the judicial system back on its feet and protect refugees? ”

    The only thing that mattered, however, in that summer of 2017, were the numbers. Which, for the first time since 2013, were falling again, and quickly. In the month of August there were 80 percent fewer landings than the year before. And so it would be for the following months and years.

    “Since then, we have continued to allocate, renewing programs and projects, without asking for any guarantee in exchange for the treatment of migrants”, explains Matteo De Bellis, researcher at Amnesty International, remembering that the Italian promise to modify the Memorandum of Understanding, introducing clauses of protection, has been on stop since the controversial renewal of the document, in February 2020.

    Repatriations, evacuations, promises

    We are 1500 kilometers of road, and sand, south of Tripoli. Here Salah* spends his days escaping a merciless sun. The last three years of the life of the thirty-year-old Sudanese have not offered much else and now, like many fellow sufferers, he does not hide his fatigue.

    We are in a camp 15 kilometers from Agadez, in Niger, in the middle of the Sahara desert, where Salah lives with a thousand people, mostly Sudanese from the Darfur region, the epicenter of one of the most dramatic and lethal conflicts of recent decades.

    Like almost all the inhabitants of this temporary Saharan settlement, managed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and — at the end of 2020 — undergoing rehabilitation also thanks to Italian funds, he passed through Libya and since 2017, after three years of interceptions at sea and detention, he’s been desperately searching for a way out, for a future.

    Salah fled Darfur in 2016, after receiving threats from pro-government armed militias, and reached Tripoli after a series of vicissitudes and violence. In late spring 2017, he sailed from nearby Zawiya with 115 other people. They were intercepted, brought back to shore and imprisoned in a detention center, formally headed by the government but in fact controlled by the Al-Nasr militia, linked to the trafficker Al-Bija.

    “They beat us everywhere, for days, raped some women in front of us, and asked everyone to call families to get money sent,” Salah recalls. Months later, after paying some money and escaping, he crossed the Sahara again, up to Agadez. UNHCR had just opened a facility and from there, as rumour had it, you could ask to be resettled to Europe.

    Faced with sealed maritime borders, and after experiencing torture and abuse, that faint hope set in motion almost two thousand people, who, hoping to reach Italy, found themselves on the edges of the Sahara, along what many, by virtue of investments and negotiations, had started to call the ‘new European frontier’.

    Three years later, a little over a thousand people remain of that initial group. Only a few dozen of them had access to resettlement, while many returned to Libya, and to all of its abuses.

    Something similar is also happening in Tunisia, where since 2017, the number of migrants and refugees entering the country has increased. They are fleeing by land and sometimes by sea from Libya, going to crowd UN structures. Then, faced with a lack of real prospects, they return to Libya.

    For Romdhane Ben Amor, spokesman for the Tunisian Federation for Economic and Social Rights, “in Tunisia European partners have financed a non-reception: overcrowded centers in unworthy conditions, which have become recruitment areas for traffickers, because in fact there are two options offered there: go home or try to get back to the sea “.

    In short, even the interventions for the protection of migrants and refugees must be read in a broader context, of a contraction of mobility and human rights. “The refugee management itself has submitted to the goal of containment, which is the true original sin of the Italian and European strategy,” admits a UNHCR official.

    This dogma of containment, at any cost, affects everyone — people who travel, humanitarian actors, civil society, local governments — by distorting priorities, diverting funds, and undermining future relationships and prospects. The same ones that European officials call partnerships and which in the case of Africa, as reiterated in 2020 by President Ursula Von Der Leyen, should be “between equals”.

    Let’s take another example: the Egypt of President Abdel Fetah Al-Sisi. Since 2016, it has been increasingly isolated on the international level, also due to violent internal repression, which Italy knows something about. Among the thousands of people who have been disappeared or killed in recent years, is researcher Giulio Regeni, whose body was thrown on the side of a road north of Cairo in February 2016.

    Around the time of the murder, in which the complicity and cover-ups by the Egyptian security forces were immediately evident, the Italian Ministry of the Interior restarted its dialogue with the country. “It’s absurd, but Italy started to support Egypt in negotiations with the European Union,” explains lawyer Muhammed Al-Kashef, a member of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Right and now a refugee in Germany.

    By inserting itself on an already existing cooperation project that saw italy, for example, finance the use of fingerprint-recording software used by the Egyptian police, the Italian Ministry of the Interior was able to create a police academy in Cairo, inaugurated in 2018 with European funds, to train the border guards of over 20 African countries. Italy also backed Egyptian requests within the Khartoum Process and, on a different front, sells weapons and conducts joint naval exercises.

    “Rome could have played a role in Egypt, supporting the democratic process after the 2011 revolution, but it preferred to fall into the migration trap, fearing a wave of migration that would never happen,” says Al-Kashef.

    With one result: “they have helped transform Egypt into a country that kills dreams, and often dreamers too, and from which all young people today want to escape”. Much more so than in 2015 or that hopeful 2011.

    Cracks in the wall, and how to widen them

    If you have read this far, following personal stories and routes of people and funds, you will have understood one thing, above all: that the beating heart of this strategy, set up by Italy with the participation of the European Union and vice versa, is the reduction of migrations across the Mediterranean. The wall, in fact.

    Now try to add other European countries to this picture. Since 2015 many have fully adopted — or returned to — this process of ‘externalization’ of migration policies. Spain, where the Canary Islands route reopened in 2019, demonstrating the fragility of the model you read about above; France, with its strategic network in the former colonies, the so-called Françafrique. And then Germany, Belgium, Holland, United Kingdom, Austria.

    Complicated, isn’t it? This great wall’s bricks and builders keep multiplying. Even more strategies, meetings, committees, funds and documents. And often, the same lack of transparency, which makes reconstructing these loans – understanding which cement, sand, and lime mixture was used, i.e. who really benefited from the expense, what equipment was provided, how the results were monitored – a long process, when it’s not impossible.

    The Pact on Migration and Asylum of the European Union, presented in September 2020, seems to confirm this: cooperation with third countries and relaunching repatriations are at its core.

    Even the European Union budget for the seven-year period 2021-2027, approved in December 2020, continues to focus on this expenditure, for example by earmarking for migration projects 10 percent of the new Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument, equipped with 70 billion euros, but also diverting a large part of the Immigration and Asylum Fund (8.7 billion) towards support for repatriation, and foreseeing 12.1 billion euros for border control.

    While now, with the new US presidency, some have called into question the future of the wall on the border with Mexico, perhaps the most famous of the anti-migrant barriers in the world, the wall built in the Mediterranean and further south, up to the equator, has seemingly never been so strong.

    But economists, sociologists, human rights defenders, analysts and travelers all demonstrate the problems with this model. “It’s a completely flawed approach, and there are no quick fixes to change it,” says David Kipp, a researcher at the German Institute for International Affairs, a government-funded think-tank.

    For Kipp, however, we must begin to deflate this migration bubble, and go back to addressing migration as a human phenomenon, to be understood and managed. “I dream of the moment when this issue will be normalized, and will become something boring,” he admits timidly.

    To do this, cracks must be opened in the wall and in a model that seems solid but really isn’t, that has undesirable effects, violates human rights, and isolates Europe and Italy.

    Anna Knoll, researcher at the European Center for Development Policy Management, explains for example that European policies have tried to limit movements even within Africa, while the future of the continent is the freedom of movement of goods and people, and “for Europe, it is an excellent time to support this, also given the pressure from other international players, China first of all”.

    For Sabelo Mbokazi, who heads the Labor and Migration department of the Social Affairs Commission of the African Union (AU), there is one issue on which the two continental blocs have divergent positions: legal entry channels. “For the EU, they are something residual, we have a much broader vision,” he explains. And this will be one of the themes of the next EU-AU summit, which was postponed several times in 2020.

    It’s a completely flawed approach, and there are no quick fixes to change it
    David Kipp - researcher at the German Institute for International Affairs

    Indeed, the issue of legal access channels to the Italian and European territory is one of the most important, and so far almost imperceptible, cracks in this Big Wall. In the last five years, Italy has spent just 15 million euros on it, 1.1 percent of the total expenditure dedicated to external dimensions of migration.

    The European Union hasn’t done any better. “Legal migration, which was one of the pillars of the strategy born in Valletta in 2015, has remained a dead letter, but if we limit ourselves to closing the borders, we will not go far”, says Stefano Manservisi, who as a senior official of the EU Commission worked on all the migration dossiers during those years.

    Yet we all know that a trafficker’s worst enemy are passport stamps, visas, and airline tickets.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=HmR96ySikkY

    Helen Dempster, who’s an economist at the Center for Global Development, spends her days studying how to do this: how to open legal channels of entry, and how to get states to think about it. And there is an effective example: we must not end up like Japan.

    “For decades, Japan has had very restrictive migration policies, it hasn’t allowed anyone in”, explains Dempster, “but in recent years it has realized that, with its aging population, it soon won’t have enough people to do basic jobs, pay taxes, and finance pensions”. And so, in April 2019, the Asian country began accepting work visa applications, hoping to attract 500,000 foreign workers.

    In Europe, however, “the hysteria surrounding migration in 2015 and 2016 stopped all debate“. Slowly, things are starting to move again. On the other hand, several European states, Italy and Germany especially, have one thing in common with Japan: an increasingly aging population.

    “All European labor ministries know that they must act quickly, but there are two preconceptions: that it is difficult to develop adequate projects, and that public opinion is against it.” For Dempster, who helped design an access program to the Belgian IT sector for Moroccan workers, these are false problems. “If we want to look at it from the point of view of the security of the receiving countries, bringing a person with a passport allows us to have a lot more information about who they are, which we do not have if we force them to arrive by sea”, she explains.

    Let’s look at some figures to make it easier: in 2007, Italy made 340,000 entry visas available, half of them seasonal, for non-EU workers, as part of the Flows Decree, Italy’s main legal entry channel adopted annually by the government. Few people cried “invasion” back then. Ten years later, in 2017, those 119,000 people who reached Italy through the Mediterranean seemed a disproportionate number. In the same year, the quotas of the Flow decree were just 30,000.

    Perhaps these numbers aren’t comparable, and building legal entry programs is certainly long, expensive, and apparently impractical, if we think of the economic and social effects of the coronavirus pandemic in which we are immersed. For Dempster, however, “it is important to be ready, to launch pilot programs, to create infrastructures and relationships”. So that we don’t end up like Japan, “which has urgently launched an access program for workers, without really knowing how to manage them”.

    The Spanish case, as already mentioned, shows how a model born twenty years ago, and then adopted along all the borders between Europe and Africa, does not really work.

    As international mobility declined, aided by the pandemic, at least 41,000 people landed in Spain in 2020, almost all of them in the Canary Islands. Numbers that take us back to 2006 and remind us how, after all, this ‘outsourcing’ offers costly and ineffective solutions.

    It’s reminiscent of so-called planned obsolescence, the production model for which a technological object isn’t built to last, inducing the consumer to replace it after a few years. But continually renewing and re-financing these walls can be convenient for multinational security companies, shipyards, political speculators, authoritarian regimes, and international traffickers. Certainly not for citizens, who — from the Italian and European institutions — would expect better products. May they think of what the world will be like in 10, 30, 50 years, and avoid trampling human rights and canceling democratic processes in the name of a goal that — history seems to teach — is short-lived. The ideas are not lacking. [At this link you’ll find the recommendations developed by ActionAid: https://thebigwall.org/en/recommendations/].

    https://thebigwall.org/en
    #Italie #externalisation #complexe_militaro-industriel #migrations #frontières #business #Afrique #budget #Afrique_du_Nord #Libye #chiffres #Niger #Soudan #Ethiopie #Sénégal #root_causes #causes_profondes #contrôles_frontaliers #EU_Trust_Fund_for_Africa #Trust_Fund #propagande #campagne #dissuasion

    –—

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749
    Et plus précisément :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765328

    ping @isskein @karine4 @rhoumour @_kg_

  • HCR - Une montée de violence au Nigéria pousse des civils à fuir en exil au Niger
    https://www.unhcr.org/fr/news/briefing/2021/3/603e24d2e/montee-violence-nigeria-pousse-civils-fuir-exil-niger.html

    Le HCR, l’Agence des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés, est alarmé par la montée de la violence dans le nord-ouest du Nigéria, qui génère des déplacements vers la zone frontalière de Maradi au Niger voisin, où l’insécurité s’accroit également. Par crainte des groupes armés et des affrontements communautaires, plus de 7660 réfugiés ont déjà fui le Nigéria vers Maradi cette année et 3500 Nigériens sont également déplacés à l’intérieur de leur pays. La plupart sont des femmes et des enfants, qui ont été déplacés à la suite des récentes attaques dans l’État de Sokoto au Nigéria.La région de Maradi, au sud du Niger, accueille désormais près de 100 000 personnes déracinées, dont 77 000 réfugiés nigérians, qui ont fui les attaques incessantes dans les États de Katsina, Sokoto et Zamfara.
    Le HCR remercie le Niger pour sa générosité. Ce pays continue d’accorder l’accès aux réfugiés, et ce malgré les restrictions frontalières dues à la pandémie de Covid-19.
    Les équipes du HCR au Niger ont enregistré un pic de violence meurtrière également dans la ville de Maradi, avec davantage de victimes et d’incidents graves signalés en janvier et février 2021 par rapport au second semestre 2020. Les réfugiés décrivent des meurtres effroyables, des enlèvements contre rançon et des villages pillés. Beaucoup ont également été pris au piège dans des affrontements entre agriculteurs et éleveurs ainsi que dans des actes d’autodéfense, alors que des groupes d’autodéfense ont été créés dans la plupart des villages.Les personnes qui fuient ont d’urgence besoin d’eau, de nourriture, d’abris et de services de santé. La plupart sont partis en hâte les mains vides pour sauver leur vie. Le HCR fournit une assistance et une protection vitales et a intensifié ses activités de suivi de la situation aux frontières. Les équipes du HCR enregistrent également les nouveaux arrivants afin d’identifier les personnes vulnérables et ayant d’autres besoins spécifiques

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#niger#nigeria#sante#refugie#vulnerabilite#pandemie#frontiere#violence

  • L’OIM lance un appel pour fournir une aide vitale à plus d’un demi-million de migrants déplacés et vulnérables au Niger | Organisation internationale pour les migrations
    https://www.iom.int/fr/news/loim-lance-un-appel-pour-fournir-une-aide-vitale-plus-dun-demi-million-de-migra

    Niamey - Le Niger, l’un des pays de transit des migrants les plus fréquentés de la région du Sahel, est confronté à de multiples situations d’urgence. La COVID-19, les menaces permanentes à la sécurité et des générations de pauvreté profondément enracinée ont contribué à une crise humanitaire croissante, avec plus d’un demi-million de déplacés internes et leurs communautés d’accueil ayant besoin de services essentiels. En 2021, 135 000 autres migrants vulnérables auront également besoin d’une aide au Niger. Afin de pouvoir fournir l’aide indispensable, l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM) lance aujourd’hui un appel de 121 millions de dollars pour apporter une aide essentielle aux migrants, aux déplacés internes et aux communautés d’accueil en 2021.
    Les retours continus de migrants d’Algérie - ainsi que les mouvements migratoires à travers le Niger, à la fois vers et depuis l’Algérie et la Libye - laissent les migrants sans abri, sans nourriture, sans eau et sans aide sanitaire. En plus de ces interventions humanitaires essentielles, l’OIM s’engage également à promouvoir la stabilité et la cohésion sociale entre les communautés d’accueil, les déplacés internes et les migrants. Malgré la fermeture officielle des frontières terrestres depuis le 19 mars, les migrants continuent de se rendre au Niger, de le traverser et de le quitter en empruntant des itinéraires migratoires de longue date, principalement vers la Libye et l’Algérie. L’OIM aide les migrants bloqués dans le cadre de ses opérations humanitaires (à la frontière avec l’Algérie) et de ses opérations de recherche et de sauvetage dans la région d’Agadez, au nord du Niger, après quoi de nombreux migrants reçoivent une aide dans l’un des six centres de transit de l’OIM au Niger.L’année dernière, une évaluation de l’OIM a conclu qu’au moins 2,7 millions de migrants étaient bloqués, dans l’impossibilité de retourner dans leur pays de résidence en raison des restrictions de mobilité imposées par la COVID-19.« En 2020, l’OIM a aidé plus de 9 000 migrants bloqués au Niger, dont la majorité provenait de pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest et d’Afrique centrale », a déclaré Barbara Rijks, chef de mission de l’OIM au Niger. « Beaucoup de ces migrants ont été aidés à retourner volontairement dans leurs pays d’origine respectifs, malgré la fermeture officielle des frontières, par le biais d’un couloir humanitaire établi avec le gouvernement du Niger ».Plus de 2 100 Nigériens de retour ont également été aidés pour leur isolement face à la COVID-19 et ont bénéficié d’une aide ultérieure dans leur région d’origine une fois arrivés au Niger. Des convois officiels pour les nigériens bloqués ont été organisés à partir de divers pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest par d’autres bureaux de l’OIM en collaboration avec le gouvernement du Niger, y compris ses missions consulaires. Quelque 3,8 millions de Nigériens auront besoin d’aide en 2021, selon l’aperçu des besoins humanitaires publié par l’équipe de pays chargée de l’action humanitaire au Niger. L’OIM au Niger prévoit d’accroître son niveau d’assistance dans les zones qui ont été touchées par différentes crises, notamment les catastrophes naturelles et l’insécurité résultant de l’activité croissante des organisations extrémistes violentes au Niger.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#niger#sante#personnedeplacee#refugie#afrique#insecurite#frontiere#humanitaire

  • #Shell condamné à indemniser des fermiers nigérians
    https://reporterre.net/Shell-condamne-a-indemniser-des-fermiers-nigerians

    La bataille judiciaire avait commencé en 2008, et entre temps deux des plaignants sont morts. « Depuis des décennies, des millions de personnes vivant dans le delta du #Niger souffrent des conséquences de la #pollution pétrolière à grande échelle. Chaque année, 16.000 bébés meurent des suites de la pollution, et l’espérance de vie dans le delta est inférieure de 10 ans à celle du reste du Nigeria », soulignent les Amis de la Terre.

    #pétrole #honte

    #detection_des_fuites ... le juge a ordonné à Shell de mettre en place un système de détection des fuites, c’est juste... grotesque vu le comportement d’empoisonneur de Shell dans cettte région, depuis les années 1980 je crois bien... On en parle ici (https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogoni_(peuple)) et là (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shell_Nigeria) ou encore ailleurs (https://journals.openedition.org/conflits/983#tocto1n2). Perso je me souviens d’une campagne de boycott de la marque, vers 1985, vu son comportement « industriel » dans le delta du Niger...

  • Ken Saro-Wiwa v Shell oil unfurls: how the Guardian covered it | #Nigeria | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/blog/2009/jun/10/guardian-coverage-of-saro-wiwa-story

    Shell, one of the world’s biggest oil firms, is accused of complicity with the then Nigerian government in the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, a well-known environmental activist and author, and several other campaigners against the oil industry. Here is how the Guardian has covered the story since the early 1990s

    #post-colonialisme

  • The two sides of TUI : crisis-hit holiday giant turned deportation specialist

    2020 was a rough year for the tourism industry, with businesses worldwide cancelling holidays and laying off staff. Yet one company has been weathering the storm with particular ruthlessness: the Anglo-German giant TUI.

    TUI (Touristik Union International) has been called the world’s biggest holiday company. While its core business is selling full-package holidays to British and German families, 2020 saw it taking on a new sideline: running deportation charter flights for the UK Home Office. In this report we look at how:

    - TUI has become the main airline carrying out charter deportation flights for the UK Home Office. In November 2020 alone it conducted nine mass deportations to 19 destinations as part of Operation Sillath, and its deportation flights continue in 2021.
    - TUI lost over €3 billion last year. But the money was made up in bailouts from the German government, totalling over €4 billion.
    – TUI’s top owner is oligarch Alexey Mordashov, Russia’s fourth richest billionaire who made his fortune in the “Katastroika” of post-Soviet asset sell-offs. His family holding company made over €100 million in dividends from TUI in 2019.
    – In 2020, TUI cut 23,000 jobs, or 32% of its global workforce. But it carried on paying out fat salaries to its bosses – the executive board waived just 5% of their basic pay, with CEO Fritz Joussen pocketing €1.7 million.
    – Other cost-cutting measures included delaying payments of over €50m owed to hotels in Greece and Spain.
    - TUI is accused of using its tourist industry muscle to pressure the Greek government into dropping COVID quarantine requirements last Summer, just before the tourist influx contributed to a “second wave” of infections.
    – It is also accused of pressuring hotels in the Canary Islands to stop hosting migrants arriving on wooden boats, fearing it would damage the islands’ image in the eyes of TUI customers.

    TUI: from heavy industry to holiday giant

    Calling itself the ‘world’s leading tourism group’, TUI has 277 direct and indirect subsidiaries. The parent company is TUI AG, listed on the London Stock Exchange and based in Hannover and Berlin.

    TUI describes itself as a ‘vertically-integrated’ tourism business. That means it covers all aspects of a holiday: it can take care of bookings, provide the planes to get there, accommodate guests in hotels and cruises, and connect them with ‘experiences’ such as museum vists, performances and excursions. Recent company strategy buzz highlights the use of digitalisation – ‘driving customers’ into buying more services via its apps and online platforms. Where it can’t do everything in-house, TUI also uses other airlines and works extensively with independent hotels.

    TUI’s major assets are:

    - Hotels. By September 2020 the company ran over 400 hotels, the most profitable of which is the RIU chain, a company jointly owned by the Mallorca-based RIU family.
    - Cruises. TUI owns three cruise companies – TUI Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Marella Cruises – which between them operate 17 vessels.
    - Airlines. TUI has five airlines with a total fleet of 137 aircraft. 56 of these are operated by its biggest airline, the British company TUI Airways. Collectively, the airlines under the group are the seventh largest in Europe.

    TUI also runs the TUI Care Foundation, its vehicle for green PR, based in the Hague.

    The company has a long history dating back to 1923 – though it is barely recognisable from its earlier embodiment as the energy, mining and metalworking group Preussag, originally set up by the German state of Prussia. Described by some as the “heavy industrial arm” of the Nazi economy, Preussag was just one of many German industrial firms which benefited from forced labour under the Third Reich. It transformed itself into a tourism business only in 1997, and completed a long string of acquisitions to become the behemoth it is today – including acquiring leading British travel agents Thomson in 2000 and First Choice Holidays in 2007.

    TUI holidaymakers are mostly families from the UK and Germany, with an average ticket for a family of four costing €3,500 . The top five destinations as of Easter 2019 were, in order: Spain, Greece, Egypt, Turkey, and Cape Verde.

    The UK branch – including TUI Airways, which is responsible for the deportations – is run out of Wigmore House, next to Luton Airport in Bedfordshire. The UK managing director is Andrew “Andy” Flintham. Flintham has been with TUI for over 15 years, and previously worked for British Airways and Ford.

    Dawn Wilson is the managing director of TUI Airways. and head of airline operations on the TUI aviation board, overseeing all five of TUI’s airlines. Wilson is also a director of TUI UK. Originally from Cleethorpes, Wilson’s career in the industry began as cabin crew in the 80s, before rising up the ranks of Britannia Airways. Britannia’s parent company Thomson was acquired by TUI in 2000.
    TUI’s crisis measures: mass job losses, deportations, and more

    Before the pandemic TUI was a success story, drawing 23 million people a year to sun, sea, snow or sights. In 2019, TUI was riding high following the collapse of its key UK competitor, Thomas Cook. It branched out by adding 21 more aircraft to its fleet and picking up a number of its rival’s former contracts, notably in Turkey. TUI’s extensive work in Turkey has recently made it a target of the Boycott Turkey campaign in solidarity with the Kurdish people. The one bum note had been the grounding of its Boeing 737 MAX airliners, after two crashes involving the aircraft forced the worldwide withdrawal of these planes. Despite that, the company made close to €19 billion in revenues in 2019, and a profit of over €500 million. Most of that profit was handed straight to shareholders, with over €400 million in dividends. (See: Annual Report 2019). And the future looked good, with record bookings for 2020.

    Then came COVID-19. By the end of the 2020 financial year, travel closures had resulted in losses of €3 billion for TUI, and a net debt of €4.2bn. To stay afloat, the company has managed to pull in handouts from the German state, as well as backing from its largest shareholder, the Russian oligarch Alexei Mordashov. It has also turned to a number of controversial business practices: from mass job losses to becoming Brexit Britain’s main deportation profiteer.

    Here we look at some of what TUI got up to in the last year.
    Government bailouts

    Had it been left to the free market, TUI might well have gone bust. Fortunately for TUI’s investors, the German government rode to the rescue. In total, the state – working together with some banks and private investors – has provided TUI with €4.8bn in bailout funds to see it through COVID-19.

    The vast bulk of this money, €4.3 billion to date, has come from German taxpayers. TUI received a €1.8 rescue loan from state development bank KsF in April 2020, followed by another €1.2 billion package in August. The third bailout, agreed in December 2020, totalled €1.8 billion. €1.3 billion of this was more government money – from the German Economic Support Fund (WSF) as well as KsF.

    While some was a straight loan, portions came as a “silent participation” convertible into shares in the company – that is, the state has the option to become a major TUI shareholder. The deal also involved the government having two seats on TUI’s supervisory board. The German state is now intimately involved in TUI’s business.

    The other €500m was raised by issuing new shares to private investors. TUI’s largest owner, Alexey Mordashov, agreed to take any of these not bought by others – potentially increasing his stake in the company from 25% to as much as 36% (see below).
    Slashing jobs

    Alongside bail-outs, another key part of TUI’s response to the COVID crisis has been to hit the staff. Back in May 2020 there was widespread media coverage when TUI announced it would make 8,000 job cuts globally. Then in July 2020, the company announced it would close 166 of its 516 travel agencies in the UK and Ireland at a cost of 900 jobs.

    But these announcements turned out to be just the beginning. In the 2020 Annual Report, published in December 2020, TUI quietly announced that it had in fact cut 23,143 jobs – that is 32% of its total staff.

    Particularly hard hit were hotel staff, whose numbers fell by over 13,000, 46% of the total. The workforce of TUI’s excursions and activities division, TUI Musement, was cut in half with almost 5,000 job losses (Annual Report, p88). And these figures do not include staff for TUI Cruises (JV), a joint venture company whose employees are mainly hired through agencies on temporary contracts.

    Home Office deportation airline of choice

    TUI is not known to have been previously involved in deportations from the UK, Germany or any other country. But since August 2020, its UK subsidiary TUI Airways has suddenly become the UK’s top deportation airline. It carried out the vast majority of mass deportation charter flights from the UK between August and December 2020, and continues to do so in January 2021.

    This included many of the rush of pre-Brexit “Operation Sillath” deportations to European countries before the New Year – where the Home Office pushed to expel as many refugees as possible under the Dublin Regulation before it crashed out of this EU agreement. But it also works further afield: TUI carried out all charter deportations from the UK in November, including one to Ghana and Nigeria.

    Because of this, TUI looked a likely candidate to be operating the so-called ‘Jamaica 50’ flight on 2 December, and was one of a number of possible airlines targeted by a social media campaign. However, the company eventually clarified it would not be doing the flight – Privilege Style, whom Corporate Watch recently reported on, turned out to be the operator. It is unclear whether or not TUI had originally been booked and pulled out after succumbing to public pressure.
    No hospitality in the Canary Islands

    The company’s disregard for the lives of refugees is not limited to deportation deals. In the Canary Islands, a local mayor revealed that TUI (along with British airline Jet2) had warned hotels not to provide emergency shelter to migrants, threatening it would not ‘send tourists’ if they did.

    Record numbers of African migrants arrived on wooden boats to the islands in 2020, and some have been accomodated in the hotels at the state’s expense. Nearly 2,170 migrants died trying to reach Spain that year, the majority en-route to the Canaries. The islands had seen a dramatic fall in holidaymakers due to the pandemic, and many hotel rooms would have sat empty, making TUI’s threats all the more callous.
    Pushing back against Greek COVID-19 measures

    TUI has been pressing destination countries to reopen to tourists following the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic. This has become a particular issue in Greece, now the company‘s number one destination where TUI has been accused of exerting pressure on the government to relax anti-COVID measures last Summer.

    According to a report in German newspaper BILD (see also report in English here), TUI threatened to cancel all its trips to the country unless the government dropped quarantine regulations for tourists. The threat was reportedly made in negotiations with the Greek tourism minister, who then rushed to call the Prime Minister, who backed down and rewrote the Government’s COVID-19 plans.

    Greece had been viewed as a rare success story of the pandemic, with the virus having largely been contained for months – until early August, a few weeks after it welcomed back tourists. Some have blamed the country’s “second wave” of COVID-19 infections on the government’s “gamble of opening up to tourists”.

    Leaving hotels in the lurch

    Despite having pushed destination countries to increase their COVID-19 exposure risks by encouraging tourism, the company then refused to pay hoteliers in Greece and Spain millions of euros owed to them for the summer season. Contractual changes introduced by TUI forced hotels to wait until March 2021 for three-quarters of the money owed. In Greece, where the company works with over 2,000 hotels, the sum owed is said to be around €50m, with individual hotels reportedly owed hundreds of thousands of euros. This money is essential to many businesses’ survival through the low season.

    TUI’s actions are perhaps all the more galling in light of the enormous government bailouts the company received. In the company’s 2020 Annual Report, amid sweeping redundancies and failure to pay hoteliers, CEO Fritz Joussen had the arrogance to claim that “TUI plays a stabilising role in Southern Europe, and in Northern Africa too, with investment, infrastructure and jobs.”
    Rolling in it: who gains

    The supposed rationale for government COVID bail-outs, in Germany as elsewhere, is to keep the economy turning and secure jobs. But that can’t mean much to the third of its work force TUI has sacked. If not the workers, who does benefit from Germany funneling cash into the holiday giant?

    TUI’s bailout deals with the German government forbade it from paying a dividend to shareholders in 2020. Although in previous years the company operated a very high dividend policy indeed: in 2018 it handed over €381 million, or 47% of its total profit, to its shareholders. They did even better in 2019, pocketing €423 million – or no less than 80% of company profits. They will no doubt be hoping that the money will roll in again once COVID-19 travel restrictions are lifted.

    Meanwhile, it appears that the crisis barely touched TUI’s executives and directors. According to the 2020 Annual Report (page 130), the company’s executives agreed to a “voluntary waiver of 30% of their fixed remuneration for the months of April and May 2020”. That is: just a portion of their salary, for just two months. This added up to a drop of just 5% in executive salaries over the year compared with 2019.

    Again: this was during a year where 32% of TUI staff were laid off, and the company lost over €3 billion.

    In a further great show of sacrifice, the Annual Report explains that “none of the members of the Executive Board has made use of their right to reimbursement of holiday trips which they are entitled to according to their service agreements.” TUI is infamous for granting its executives paid holidays “without any limitation as to type of holiday, category or price” as an executive perk (page 126).

    After his 5% pay cut, CEO Fritz Joussen still made €1,709,600 last year: a basic salary of €1.08 million, plus another €628,000 in “pension contributions and service costs” including a chauffeur driven car allowance.

    The next highest paid was none other than “labour director” Dr Elke Eller with €1.04 million. The other four members of the executive board all received over €800,000.

    The top dogs

    Who are these handsomely paid titans of the holiday industry? TUI’s CEO is Friedrich “Fritz” Joussen, based in Germany. Originally hired by TUI as a consultant, Joussen has a background in the German mobile phone industry and was head of Vodafone Germany. The slick CEO can regularly be found giving presentations about the TUI ‘ecosystem’ and the importance of digitisation. Besides his salary, Joussen also benefits from a considerable shareholding accrued through annual bonuses.

    Overseeing Joussen’s executive team is the Supervisory Board, chaired by the Walrus-moustachioed Dr. Dieter Zetsche, or ‘Dr. Z’, who made his fortune in the management of Daimler AG (the car giant that also owns Mercedes–Benz, and formerly, Chrysler ). Since leaving that company in 2019, Zetsche has reportedly been enjoying a Daimler pension package of at least €4,250 a day. TUI topped him up with a small fee of €389,500 for his board duties in 2020 (Annual Report p140).

    With his notable moustache, Dr. Z is a stand-out character in the mostly drab world of German corporate executives, known for fronting one of Daimler’s US ad campaigns in a “buffoon tycoon” character. At the height of the Refugee Summer of 2015, Dr. Dieter Zetsche abruptly interrupted his Frankfurt Motor Show speech on the future of the car industry to discuss the desperate situation facing Syrian refugees.

    He said at the time: “Anybody who knows the past isn’t allowed to turn refugees away. Anybody who sees the present can’t turn them away. Anybody who thinks about the future will not turn them away.” Five years later, with TUI the UK’s top deportation profiteer, this sentiment seems to have been forgotten.

    Another key figure on the Supervisory Board is Deputy Chair Peter Long. Long is a veteran of the travel industry, having been CEO of First Choice, which subsequently merged with TUI. He is credited with pioneering Turkey as an industry destination.

    Long is a controversial figure who has previously been accused of ‘overboarding’, i.e. sitting on the directors’ boards of too many companies. Described as a “serial part timer”, he was executive chairman of Countrywide PLC, the UK’s largest estate agency group, but stepped down in late November 2020 after apparently ruffling shareholders’ feathers over a move that would have given control of the company to a private equity firm. In 2018, Countrywide was forced to abandon attempts to give bosses – including himself – shares worth more than £20m. Long also previously stepped down as chairman of Royal Mail after similarly losing shareholder support over enormous executive pay packages. In his former role as as head of TUI Travel, he was among the UK’s top five highest earning CEOs, with a salary of £13.3 million for the year 2014 -15.

    The man with the money: Alexey Mordashov

    But all the above are paupers compared to TUI’s most powerful board member and top shareholder: Alexey Mordashov, a Russian oligarch who is reportedly the country’s fourth richest billionaire, with a fortune of over $23 billion. His family holding company is TUI’s main owner with up to 36% of company shares.

    Mordashov’s stake in TUI is held through a Cyprus-registered holding company called Unifirm.

    In 2019, Mordashov transferred 65% of his shares in Unifirm to KN-Holding, a Russian company owned jointly by his two sons, Kirill and Nikita, then aged 18 and 19. However, Russian media report that after the younger son Nikita was kicked out of university in 2020, he was sent to the army, and his shares transferred to Kirill.

    It may not be massive money to Mordashov, but his family company have certainly done well out of TUI. In 2019 TUI paid out €423 million in dividends to its shareholders, no less than 80% of total profits. At the time Unifirm owned one quarter (24.95%) of TUI. That means the Mordashovs will have received over €100 million on their investment in TUI just in that one year.

    “Steel king” Alexey Mordashov’s rise to the height of the global mega-rich began with a typical post-Soviet privatisation story. Born in 1965, the son of steel workers, he studied economics and accountancy and by 1992 was finance director of a steel plant in his hometown of Cherepovets. In the early and mid-1990s, the great Russian “Katastroika” sell-off of state assets saw steel mill and other workers handed shares in the former collective enterprises. In the midst of an economic collapse, workers sold on their shares to pay food and heating bills, while the likes of Mordashov built up massive asset portfolios quick and cheap. In the next privatisation phase, the budding oligarchs were handed whole industries through rigged auctions.

    Mordashov turned his steel plant holdings into a company called Severstal, now among the world’s largest steel firms. He then expanded Severstal into Severgroup, a conglomerate with holdings in everything from airports to goldmines (Nordgold) to supermarkets (Lenta), to mobile phone networks (Tele2 Russia), as well as the local hockey team Severstal Cherepovets. Vladimir Lukin, Mordashov’s legal adviser at Severgroup, is also a member of the TUI Supervisory Board.

    Business media paint Mordashov as less flamboyant than your average oligarch. His new megayacht Nord, built in Germany and registered in the Cayman Islands, is only 142 metres long – 20 metres shorter than Roman Abramovitch’s Eclipse.

    In December 2020, TUI declared that Unifirm owned 25% of its shares. But the number will have increased in TUI’s third bail-out deal in January: as well as more money from the German government and its banks, Unifirm agreed to inject more cash into the company in return for boosting its ownership, buying up new shares to a maximum of 36%. The exact current holding has not yet been announced.

    TUI’s increasing control by Mordashov was approved by the German financial regulator Bafin, which stepped in to exempt him from a rule that would have required Unifirm to bid for a full majority of the shares once it held more than 30%.
    Other shareholders

    Unifirm is the only shareholder with over 10% of TUI shares. Some way behind, Egyptian hotel-owning businessman called Hamed El Chiaty has a stake of just over 5%, via the Cyprus-based DH Deutsche Holdings. But most of TUI’s shares are owned in smaller chunks by the usual suspects: the global investment funds and banks that own the majority of the world’s assets.

    In December 2020 these funds each had over 1%: UK investor Standard Life Aberdeen; giant US-based fund Vanguard; Canada’s state pension system; and Norges Bank, which manages the oil-rich national wealth fund of Norway. Two other major investment funds, Pioneer and BlackRock, had around 0.5% each. (NB: these numbers may have changed after the new January share sale.)

    TUI can’t take its reputation for granted

    A company of TUI’s size backed by the German government and a Russian billionaire may seem impervious to criticism. On the other hand, unlike more specialist charter airlines, it is very much a public facing business, relying above all on the custom of North European families. The endless stream of negative reviews left by disgruntled customers following cancelled TUI holidays in 2020 have already tarnished its image.

    In a sign of just how worried the company may be about its reputation, it put out a tender in the autumn for a new PR agency to take care of “relaunching the brand into the post-Covid world”. This was ultimately awarded to the US firm Leo Burnett. If outrage at the UK’s deportation push keeps up, TUI might well need to pay attention to online campaigns or demonstrations at its travel agents.

    Another vulnerability the company has itself identified is political instability in destination countries, as evidenced by TUI’s nervousness over migrant arrivals in the Canary Islands. Here too, its image is being harmed by actions such as exerting pressure on the Greek government to relax COVID measures, and its treatment of independent hotels. TUI cannot take public support for granted in top destinations such as Greece and Spain, where campaigning at its resorts could play a role in shifting company policy.

    https://corporatewatch.org/the-two-sides-of-tui-crisis-hit-holiday-giant-turned-deportation-spe

    #renvois #expulsions #tourisme #TUI #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Allemagne #privatisation #complexe_militaro-industriel #business #UK #Angleterre #Touristik_Union_International #compagnie_aérienne #avions #Operation_Sillath #Alexey_Mordashov #Fritz_Joussen #Canaries #îles_Canaries #Preussag #Wigmore_House #Flintham #Andrew_Flintham #Andy_Flintham #Dawn_Wilson #pandémie #coronavirus #covid-19 #KsF #German_Economic_Support_Fund (#WSF) #chômage #licenciements #TUI_Musement #charter #Dublin #renvois_Dublin #Ghana #Nigeria #Jamaica_50 #Jet2 #hôtels #Elke_Eller #Dieter_Zetsche #Peter_Long #Severstal #Severgroup #Nordgold #Lenta #Tele2_Russia #Unifirm #Hamed_El_Chiaty #DH_Deutsche_Holdings #multinationales #Standard_Life_Aberdeen #Vanguard #Norges_Bank #Pioneer #BlackRock #Leo_Burnett

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