organization:e.u

  • Why Spain is a Window into the E.U. Migration Control Industry

    Spain’s migration control policies in North Africa dating back over a decade are now replicated across the E.U. Gonzalo Fanjul outlines PorCausa’s investigation into Spain’s migration control industry and its warning signs for the rest of Europe.

    There was a problem and we fixed it.” For laconic President José María Aznar, these words were quite the political statement. The then Spanish president was speaking in July 1996, after 103 Sub-Saharan migrants who had reached Melilla, a Spanish enclave in North Africa, were drugged, handcuffed and taken to four African countries by military aircraft.

    President Aznar lay the moral and political foundations of a system based on the securitization, externalization and, increasingly, the privatization of border management. This system was consolidated by subsequent Spanish governments and later extended to the rest of the European Union, setting the grounds for a thriving business: the industry of migration control.

    Between 2001 and 2010, long before Europe faced the so-called “refugee crisis,” Spain built two walls in its North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, signed combined development and repatriation agreements with nine African countries, passed two major pieces of legislation on migration, and fostered inter-regional migration initiatives such as the Rabat Process. Spain also designed and established the Integral System of External Surveillance, to this day one of the most sophisticated border surveillance mechanisms in the world.

    The ultimate purpose of these efforts was clear: to deter irregular migration, humanely if possible, but at any cost if necessary.

    Spain was the first European country to utilize a full array of control and cooperation instruments in countries along the migration route to Europe. The system proved effective during the “cayuco crisis” in 2005 and 2006. Following a seven-fold increase in the number of arrivals from West Africa to the Canary Islands by boat, Spain made agreements with several West African countries to block the route, forcing migrants to take the even riskier Sahel passage.

    Although the E.U. questioned the humanitarian consequences of these deals at the time, less than a decade later officials across the continent have replicated large parts of the Spanish system, including the E.U. Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and agreements between the Italian and the Libyan governments.

    Today, 2005 seems like different world. That year, the E.U. adopted its Global Approach on Migration and Mobility, which balanced the “prevention of irregular migration and trafficking” with promising language on the “fostering of well-managed migration” and the “maximization” of its development impact.

    Since then, the combined effect of the Great Recession – an institutional crisis – and the increased arrival of refugees has diluted reformist efforts in Europe. Migration policies are being defined by ideological nationalism and economic protectionism. Many politicians in Europe are electorally profiting from these trends. The case of Spain also illustrates that the system is ripe for financial profit.

    For over a year, Spanish investigative journalism organization porCausa mapped the industry of migration control in Spain. We detailed the ecosystem of actors and interests facilitating the industry, whose operations rely almost exclusively on public funding. A myriad private contractors and civil society organizations operate in four sectors: border protection and surveillance; detention and expulsion of irregular migrants; reception and integration of migrants; and externalization of migration control through agreements with private organisations and public institutions in third countries.

    We began by focusing on securitization and border management. We found that between 2002 and 2017 Spain allocated at least 610 million euros ($720 million) of public funding through 943 contracts related to the deterrence, detention and expulsion of migrants. Our analysis reached two striking conclusions and one question for future research.

    Firstly, we discovered the major role that the E.U. plays in Spain’s migration control industry. Just over 70 percent of the 610 million euros came from different European funds, such as those related to External Borders, Return and Internal Security, as well as the E.U. border agency Frontex. Thus, Spanish public spending is determined by the policy priorities established by E.U. institutions and member states. Those E.U. institutions have since diligently replicated the Spanish approach. With the E.U. now driving these policies forward, the approach is likely to be replicated in other European countries.

    Secondly, our data highlights how resources are concentrated in the hands of a few businesses. Ten out of the 350 companies included in our database received over half of the 610 million euros. These companies have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the Spanish government in other sectors such as defence, construction and communications, and are now gaining a privileged role in the highly sensitive areas of border surveillance and migration control.

    Our research also surfaced a troubling question that has shaped the second phase of our inquiry: to what extent are these companies influencing Spanish migration policy? The capture of rules and institutions by elites in an economic system has been documented in sectors such as defence, taxation or pharmaceuticals. That this could also be happening to borders and migration policy should alarm public opinion and regulators. For example, the key role played by private technology companies in the design and implementation of Spain’s Integral System of External Surveillance demonstrates the need for further investigation.

    Spain’s industry of migration control may be the prototype of a growing global phenomenon. Migration policies have been taken over by border deterrence goals and narratives. Meanwhile, border control is increasingly dependent on the technology and management of private companies. As E.U.-level priorities intersect with those of the highly-concentrated – and possibly politically influential – migration control industry, Europe risks being trapped in a political and budgetary vicious circle based on the premise of migration-as-a-problem, complicating any future reform efforts towards a more open migration system.

    https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/community/2018/05/21/why-spain-is-a-window-into-the-e-u-migration-control-industry
    #Afrique_du_Nord #externalisation #modèle_espagnol #migrations #contrôles_migratoires #asile #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #asile #réfugiés #histoire


  • Gambian migrants’ choice: bury the straggler alive or be killed

    Water was running low as the convoy drove through the desert into Libya, so Khadim was given a terrible choice: bury a sickly fellow migrant alive, or be killed by their smugglers.

    “They told us to bury him in the sand,” said Khadim, 29. “They started waving their guns. ‘If you refuse, you’re dead.’ We started digging and digging. As we buried him he said, ‘I’m not dead yet, why are you doing this to me?’ ”

    Khadim is one of about 2,600 migrants repatriated to the Gambia from Libya on flights paid for by European countries trying to stem crossings of the Mediterranean. The vast majority of those coming home are young men, who arrive at Banjul airport with at most a few belongings in a plastic bag, sometimes after spending years in Libyan detention centres.

    They are the among the first to be sent back since footage emerged in November of migrants being sold at slave markets in Libya. African and EU leaders agreed an emergency plan shortly afterwards to repatriate thousands.

    Many tell stories of frequent beatings, or of fellow migrants dying from hunger or violence. Others described watching companions drown on sinking boats in the Mediterranean.

    Like many others, Khadim was betrayed by smugglers and drivers before he saw the sea. He was kidnapped for ransom, arrested and put in a detention centre before he could reach Tripoli.

    He is relieved to have landed back in Banjul, the Gambian capital. Not only is he alive but there are promises of money to help him make a fresh start.

    The UN’s migration agency, as part of an EU-funded plan, can support people to go to college, start a business or buy livestock. Other EU help offers grants to those aged 15 to 35, returning or potential migrants, to start businesses.

    It likely to be just the beginning. The International Organisation for Migration estimates that up to a million migrants remain in Libya. Since late 2015, the EU has spent more than €2 billion in African countries trying to create jobs in the hope that people will stay.

    Those returning to the Gambia, where almost half of the two million population live below the poverty line, are provided with just enough cash to go home and live for a few weeks, after which they can apply for more help.

    Last week, a group of former Gambian migrants, with some funding from the German government, began touring the country to warn young people of the dangers of taking the “back way”, as the journey through the desert and across the Mediterranean is called.

    “Before we go we knew the risks involved, but we didn’t believe,” said Mustapha Sallah. “Most of the people that talked to us were government officials, activists who are living good. I was thinking they were just trying to discourage us.”

    With fellow Gambians who were incarcerated in Libyan detention centres, he has now started Youths Against Irregular Migration. As well as sharing their harrowing experiences, they try to persuade people to stop dreaming of Europe and make a living at home, through education, setting up in business, or agriculture.

    The Gambia’s nascent democracy, restored after the former dictator Yahya Jammeh was deposed last year, has prompted many to return from exile, as the fear of arbitrary arrest, detention and torture dissolved.

    The economy is growing at about 5 per cent but youth unemployment is about 44 per cent. Rising food prices mean many struggle. “The opportunities are not many and they’re not easy to get right now,” said Mr Sallah.

    Paul Jatta, 23, came home on a repatriation flight a few months ago and is trying to put the trauma behind him. Three times he tried and failed to cross to Italy in flimsy boats. On the last attempt he watched five people die as the vessel started to sink. “I seriously cried that day. Because I saw them drown but I couldn’t do anything to help,” he said.

    He said he had not received any support and was back doing what he used to, working in a computer repair shop and cleaning swimming pools in his spare time. He works up to 12 hours a day most days but earns less than £100 a month, and most of that goes to support his extended family.

    After spending his savings of more than £1,000 trying to reach Europe, he is now in a worse financial situation than he was two years ago, and has even less to lose. “I still want to go to Europe. I’m waiting for a miracle,” he said. “There are no opportunities here.”

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/gambian-migrants-choice-bury-the-straggler-alive-or-be-killed-62qf0qjbl
    #retour_volontaire #Libye #asile #migrations #réfugiés #retour_au_pays #renvois #Gambie

    Possible/probable future #migrerrance:

    After spending his savings of more than £1,000 trying to reach Europe, he is now in a worse financial situation than he was two years ago, and has even less to lose. “I still want to go to Europe. I’m waiting for a miracle,” he said. “There are no opportunities here.”