organization:libyan coast guard

  • ICC submission calls for prosecution of EU over migrant deaths

    Member states should face punitive action over deaths in Mediterranean, say lawyers.

    The EU and member states should be prosecuted for the deaths of thousands of migrants who drowned in the Mediterranean fleeing Libya, according to a detailed legal submission to the international criminal court (ICC).

    The 245-page document calls for punitive action over the EU’s deterrence-based migration policy after 2014, which allegedly “intended to sacrifice the lives of migrants in distress at sea, with the sole objective of dissuading others in similar situation from seeking safe haven in Europe”.

    The indictment is aimed at the EU and the member states that played a prominent role in the refugee crisis: Italy, Germany and France.

    The stark accusation, that officials and politicians knowingly created the “world’s deadliest migration route” resulting in more than 12,000 people losing their lives, is made by experienced international lawyers.

    The two main authors of the submission are Juan Branco, who formerly worked at the ICC as well as at France’s foreign affairs ministry, and Omer Shatz, an Israeli lawyer who teaches at Sciences Po university in Paris.
    Most refugees in Libyan detention centres at risk – UN
    Read more

    The allegation of “crimes against humanity” draws partially on internal papers from Frontex, the EU organisation charged with protecting the EU’s external borders, which, the lawyers say, warned that moving from the successful Italian rescue policy of Mare Nostrum could result in a “higher number of fatalities”.

    The submission states that: “In order to stem migration flows from Libya at all costs … and in lieu of operating safe rescue and disembarkation as the law commands, the EU is orchestrating a policy of forced transfer to concentration camps-like detention facilities [in Libya] where atrocious crimes are committed.”

    The switch from Mare Nostrum to a new policy from 2014, known as Triton (named after the Greek messenger god of the sea), is identified as a crucial moment “establishing undisputed mens rea [mental intention] for the alleged offences”.

    It is claimed that the evidence in the dossier establishes criminal liability within the jurisdiction of the ICC for “causing the death of thousands of human beings per year, the refoulement [forcible return] of tens of thousands migrants attempting to flee Libya and the subsequent commission of murder, deportation, imprisonment, enslavement, torture, rape, persecution and other inhuman acts against them”.

    The Triton policy introduced the “most lethal and organised attack against civilian population the ICC had jurisdiction over in its entire history,” the legal document asserts. “European Union and Member States’ officials had foreknowledge and full awareness of the lethal consequences of their conduct.”

    The submission does not single out individual politicians or officials for specific responsibility but does quote diplomatic cables and comments from national leaders, including Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron.

    The office of the prosecutor at the ICC is already investigating crimes in Libya but the main focus has been on the Libyan civil war, which erupted in 2011 and led to the removal of Muammar Gaddafi. Fatou Bensouda, the ICC prosecutor, has, however, already mentioned inquiries into “alleged crimes against migrants transiting through Libya”.

    The Mare Nostrum search and rescue policy launched in October 2013, the submission says, was “in many ways hugely successful, rescuing 150,810 migrants over a 364-day period”.

    Criticism of the policy began in mid-2014 on the grounds, it is said, that it was not having a sufficient humanitarian impact and that there was a desire to move from assistance at sea to assistance on land.

    “EU officials sought to end Mare Nostrum to allegedly reduce the number of crossings and deaths,” the lawyers maintain. “However, these reasons should not be considered valid as the crossings were not reduced. And the death toll was 30-fold higher.”

    The subsequent policy, Triton, only covered an “area up to 30 nautical miles from the Italian coastline of Lampedusa, leaving around 40 nautical miles of key distress area off the coast of Libya uncovered,” the submission states. It also deployed fewer vessels.

    It is alleged EU officials “did not shy away from acknowledging that Triton was an inadequate replacement for Mare Nostrum”. An internal Frontex report from 28 August 2014, quoted by the lawyers, acknowledged that “the withdrawal of naval assets from the area, if not properly planned and announced well in advance – would likely result in a higher number of fatalities.”

    The first mass drownings cited came on 22 January and 8 February 2015, which resulted in 365 deaths nearer to the Libyan coast. It is alleged that in one case, 29 of the deaths occurred from hypothermia during the 12-hour-long transport back to the Italian island of Lampedusa. During the “black week” of 12 to 18 April 2015, the submission says, two successive shipwrecks led to the deaths of 1,200 migrants.

    As well as drownings, the forced return of an estimated 40,000 refugees allegedly left them at risk of “executions, torture and other systematic rights abuses” in militia-controlled camps in Libya.

    “European Union officials were fully aware of the treatment of the migrants by the Libyan Coastguard and the fact that migrants would be taken ... to an unsafe port in Libya, where they would face immediate detention in the detention centers, a form of unlawful imprisonment in which murder, sexual assault, torture and other crimes were known by the European Union agents and officials to be common,” the submission states.

    Overall, EU migration policies caused the deaths of “thousands civilians per year in the past five years and produced about 40,000 victims of crimes within the jurisdiction of the court in the past three years”, the report states.

    The submission will be handed in to the ICC on Monday 3 June.

    An EU spokesperson said the union could not comment on “non-existing” legal actions but added: “Our priority has always been and will continue to be protecting lives and ensuring humane and dignified treatment of everyone throughout the migratory routes. It’s a task where no single actor can ensure decisive change alone.

    “All our action is based on international and European law. The European Union dialogue with Libyan authorities focuses on the respect for human rights of migrants and refugees, on promoting the work of UNHCR and IOM on the ground, and on pushing for the development of alternatives to detention, such as the setting up of safe spaces, to end the systematic and arbitrary detention system of migrants and refugees in Libya.

    “Search and Rescue operations in the Mediterranean need to follow international law, and responsibility depends on where they take place. EU operations cannot enter Libya waters, they operate in international waters. SAR operations in Libyan territorial waters are Libyan responsibility.”

    The spokesperson added that the EU has “pushed Libyan authorities to put in place mechanisms improving the treatment of the migrants rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/jun/03/icc-submission-calls-for-prosecution-of-eu-over-migrant-deaths
    #justice #décès #CPI #mourir_en_mer #CPI #cour_pénale_internationale

    ping @reka @isskein @karine4

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur les sauvetages en Méditerranée :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/706177

    • L’Union Européenne devra-t-elle un jour répondre de « crimes contre l’Humanité » devant la Cour Pénale Internationale ?

      #Crimes_contre_l'humanité, et #responsabilité dans la mort de 14 000 migrants en 5 années : voilà ce dont il est question dans cette enquête menée par plusieurs avocats internationaux spécialisés dans les Droits de l’homme, déposée aujourd’hui à la CPI de la Haye, et qui pourrait donc donner lieu à des #poursuites contre des responsables actuels des institutions européennes.

      La démarche fait l’objet d’articles coordonnés ce matin aussi bien dans le Spiegel Allemand (https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/fluechtlinge-in-libyen-rechtsanwaelte-zeigen-eu-in-den-haag-an-a-1270301.htm), The Washington Post aux Etats-Unis (https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/fluechtlinge-in-libyen-rechtsanwaelte-zeigen-eu-in-den-haag-an-a-1270301.htm), El Pais en Espagne (https://elpais.com/internacional/2019/06/02/actualidad/1559497654_560556.html), The Guardian en Grande-Bretagne, et le Monde, cet après-midi en France... bref, ce qui se fait de plus retentissant dans la presse mondiale.

      Les auteurs de ce #plaidoyer, parmi lesquels on retrouve le français #Juan_Branco ou l’israélien #Omer_Shatz, affirment que Bruxelles, Paris, Berlin et Rome ont pris des décisions qui ont mené directement, et en connaissance de cause, à la mort de milliers de personnes. En #Méditerrannée, bien sûr, mais aussi en #Libye, où la politique migratoire concertée des 28 est accusée d’avoir « cautionné l’existence de centres de détention, de lieux de tortures, et d’une politique de la terreur, du viol et de l’esclavagisme généralisé » contre ceux qui traversaient la Libye pour tenter ensuite de rejoindre l’Europe.

      Aucun dirigeant européen n’est directement nommé par ce réquisitoire, mais le rapport des avocats cite des discours entre autres d’#Emmanuel_Macron, d’#Angela_Merkel. Il évoque aussi, selon The Guardian, des alertes qui auraient été clairement formulées, en interne par l’agence #Frontex en particulier, sur le fait que le changement de politique européenne en 2014 en Méditerranée « allait conduire à une augmentation des décès en mer ». C’est ce qui s’est passé : 2014, c’est l’année-bascule, celle où le plan Mare Nostrum qui consistait à organiser les secours en mer autour de l’Italie, a été remplacé par ce partenariat UE-Libye qui, selon les auteurs de l’enquête, a ouvert la voix aux exactions que l’on sait, et qui ont été documentées par Der Spiegel dans son reportage publié début mai, et titré « Libye : l’enfer sur terre ».

      A présent, dit Juan Branco dans The Washington Post (et dans ce style qui lui vaut tant d’ennemis en France), c’est aux procureurs de la CPI de dire « s’ils oseront ou non » remonter aux sommet des responsabilités européennes. J’en terminerai pour ma part sur les doutes de cet expert en droit européen cité par El Pais et qui « ne prédit pas un grand succès devant la Cour » à cette action.

      https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/revue-de-presse-internationale/la-revue-de-presse-internationale-emission-du-lundi-03-juin-2019
      #UE #Europe #EU #droits_humains

    • Submission to ICC condemns EU for ‘crimes against humanity’

      EU Commission migration spokesperson Natasha Bertaud gave an official statement regarding a recently submitted 245-page document to the International Criminal Court by human rights lawyers Juan Branco and Omer Shatz on June 3, 2019. The case claimed the EU and its member states should face punitive action for Libyan migrant deaths in the Mediterranean. The EU says these deaths are not a result of EU camps, rather the dangerous and cruel routes on which smugglers take immigrants. Bertaud said the EU’s track record on saving lives “has been our top priority, and we have been working relentlessly to this end.” Bertaud said an increase in EU operations in the Mediterranean have resulted in a decrease in deaths in the past 4 years. The accusation claims that EU member states created the “world’s deadliest migration route,” which has led to more than 12,000 migrant deaths since its inception. Branco and Shatz wrote that the forcible return of migrants to Libyan camps and the “subsequent commission of murder, deportation, imprisonment, enslavement, torture, rape, persecution and other inhuman acts against them,” are the grounds for this indictment. Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron were named specifically as those knowingly supporting these refugee camps, which the lawyers explicitly condemned in their report. The EU intends to maintain its presence on the Libyan coast and aims to create safer alternatives to detention centers.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=28&v=AMGaKDNxcDg

  • Italie : La capitaine Pia Klemp menacée de 20 ans de prison - Secours Rouge
    https://secoursrouge.org/Italie-La-capitaine-Pia-Klemp-menacee-de-20-ans-de-prison


    Pia Klemp

    Pia Klemp a participé au sauvetage de réfugiés dans la méditerranée avec l’association Sea-Watch. Elle est maintenant accusée par la justice italienne d’aide à l’immigration illégale. Le parquet exige une peine de prison de 20 ans. Pour ses investigations, le parquet a eu recourt à des écoutes téléphoniques et à des agents infiltrés. Dans le cadre de ses six missions en tant que capitaine des bateaux de sauvetage Sea-Watch 3 et Iuventa, Pia Klemp dit avoir pu sauver les vies de 5000 personnes.

    • German boat captain Pia Klemp faces prison in Italy for migrant rescues

      Pia Klemp stands accused of aiding illegal immigration after she saved people from drowning in the Mediterranean. The Bonn native has accused Italian authorities of organizing “a show trial.”

      Nearly 60,000 people had signed a petition by Saturday afternoon demanding that Italy drop criminal proceedings against German boat captain Pia Klemp and other crew members who have rescued thousands of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.

      In an interview with the Basler Zeitung daily on Friday, Klemp said that a trial against her was due to begin soon after she and some of her compatriots were charged in Sicily with assisting in illegal immigration.

      She said that she was told by her Italian lawyer that she could be looking at “up to 20 years in prison and horrendous fines.”

      Klemp added, however, that she intended to fight the case up to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, if she had to.

      The 35-year-old Bonn native has been under investigation in Italy since her ship, the Iuventa, was impounded in the summer of 2017, and the government has moved to ban her from sailing around the Italian coast. According to German public broadcaster WDR, through the work on that ship and the Sea-Watch 3, Klemp has personally assisted in the rescue of more than 1,000 people at risk of drowning in unsafe dinghies as they attempted to cross to Europe in search of a better life.

      Read more: Italy’s Matteo Salvini wants hefty fines for migrant rescue vessels

      Salvini’s crackdown

      An already immigrant-unfriendly government in Rome became even more so in June 2018, when newly appointed Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini of the far-right League party promised a crackdown the likes of which modern Italy had never seen.

      Since assuming office, Salvini has sought to put a stop to migrant rescue ships docking on Italian shores and allowing refugees to disembark. In January, the nationalist leader made headlines with the forced evacuation of hundreds of asylum-seekers from Italy’s second-largest refugee center and his refusal to clarify where the people, many of whom had lived in Castelnuovo di Porto for years and become integrated into town life, were being taken.

      Shortly thereafter, Sicilian prosecutors ruled that Salvini could be charged with kidnapping more than 177 migrants left stranded on a ship he had ordered impounded.

      ’A yearslong show trial’

      What frustrates Klemp the most, she told the Basler Zeitung, is that the costs — amounting to hundreds of thousands of euros — that she has had to prepare to cover from her own savings and some new donations “for what is likely to be a yearslong show trial” require money that could have been spent on rescue missions.

      “But the worst has already come to pass,” she said. “Sea rescue missions have been criminalized.”

      For this, the captain blames not only the Italian government but what she sees as a failure of the European Union “to remember its avowed values: human rights, the right to life, to apply for asylum, and the duty of seafarers to rescue those in danger at sea.”

      Klemp added that “demagogues” such as Salvini, former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer were effectively allowing thousands to perish in the Mediterranean each year.

      She pushed back at criticism that rescue missions encouraged more people to attempt the highly dangerous crossing. “There are scientific studies that disprove the idea that sea rescues are a so-called pull factor,” she said. “The people come because, unfortunately, there are so many reasons to flee.” And if countries close their borders, “they come via the Mediterranean because there is no legal way to get here,” she added.

      To cover her potentially exorbitant legal costs, a bar in Bonn has announced a fundraising campaign to help Klemp. Cafe Bla has announced that for every patron who orders the “Pia beer,” 50 euro cents will be donated to their former waitress.


      https://www.dw.com/en/german-boat-captain-pia-klemp-faces-prison-in-italy-for-migrant-rescues/a-49112348?maca=en-Twitter-sharing

    • Mobilisation pour la capitaine d’un navire humanitaire

      L’ancienne capitaine du « #Iuventa », immobilisé depuis 2017, encourt vingt ans de prison en Italie. Accusée de complicité avec les passeurs, elle affirme n’avoir fait que respecter le droit international, qui impose de porter secours à toute personne en détresse.

      https://www.liberation.fr/planete/2019/06/11/mobilisation-pour-la-capitaine-d-un-navire-humanitaire_1732973

    • I Helped Save Thousands of Migrants from Drowning. Now I’m Facing 20 Years in Jail | Opinion

      In today’s Europe, people can be sentenced to prison for saving a migrant’s life. In the summer of 2017, I was the captain of the rescue ship Iuventa. I steered our ship through international waters along the Libyan coastline, where thousands of migrants drifted in overcrowded, unseaworthy dinghies, having risked their lives in search of safety. The Iuventa crew rescued over 14,000 people. Today, I and nine other members of the crew face up to twenty years in prison for having rescued those people and brought them to Europe. We are not alone. The criminalization of solidarity across Europe, at sea and on land, has demonstrated the lengths to which the European Union will go to make migrants’ lives expendable.

      Two years ago, Europe made renewed efforts to seal the Mediterranean migrant route by draining it of its own rescue assets and outsourcing migration control to the so-called “Libyan Coast Guard”, comprised of former militia members equipped by the EU and instructed to intercept and return all migrants braving the crossing to Europe. NGO ships like the Iuventa provided one of the last remaining lifelines for migrants seeking safety in Europe by sea. For European authorities, we were a critical hurdle to be overcome in their war against migration.

      In August 2017, the Iuventa was seized by the Italian authorities and the crew was investigated for “aiding and abetting illegal immigration.” Thus began an ongoing spate of judicial investigations into the operation of search and rescue vessels. Sailors like myself, who had rallied to the civil fleet when it seemed no European authority cared people were drowning at sea, were branded as criminals. The ensuing media and political campaign against us has gradually succeeded in removing almost all NGOs from the central Mediterranean, leaving migrants braving the sea crossing with little chance of survival.

      We sea-rescuers have been criminalized not only for what we do but for what we have witnessed. We have seen people jump overboard their frail dinghies on sighting the so-called Libyan Coast Guard, preferring death at sea over return to the slavery, torture, rape and starvation that awaits them in EU-funded Libyan detention centers. We have also seen what becomes of those who are found too late. For days, I steered our ship through international waters with a dead two-year-old boy in the freezer. No European country had wanted to save him when they had the chance. His mother lived, and after days of drifting in wait of an open port, our ship brought her to Europe—when it no longer mattered to her. We rescuers know that those who drown at Europe’s doorstep are not unlucky casualties of the elements. The transformation of the Mediterranean into a mass grave for migrants is a European political project.

      Over the past year, Italy’s interior minister Matteo Salvini has provided a useful alibi for centrist European political forces–those avowedly committed to “European values” of human rights. His persistent targeting of rescue NGOs and his decision to seal Italian ports to ships carrying rescued migrants has seen him cast as the “rotten egg” of an otherwise largely liberal European Union. But Matteo Salvini is neither the architect of Fortress Europe, nor its sole gatekeeper.

      Alongside Italy’s ostentatious prosecution of sea rescuers, other European nations have adopted shrewder, subtler tactics, revoking their flags or miring ships’ crews in unnecessary and lengthy bureaucratic procedures. When Salvini sealed Italian ports, other member states expressed righteous indignation—but not one of them offered its own ports as havens for later rescues. One of two remaining rescue ships, Sea-Watch 3, has since spent weeks motoring along the European coast line with hundreds of refugees on board, pleading for an open port, only to find that their “cargo” was not wanted anywhere in Europe.

      In the coming months, as the conflict in Libya intensifies, thousands more will be forced to brave the sea crossing. I know from experience that without rescue, the majority of them will die. Common sense tells me that with humanitarian vessels barred from saving lives and European commercial and military and Coast Guard ships instructed to avoid migrant routes, their chances of rescue are shrinking. I suspect European leaders share my common sense.

      Meanwhile, we sea rescuers are not alone in facing charges for “crimes of solidarity.” On land across Europe, hundreds of men and women stand trial for having offered food, shelter or clothing to migrants. Among us are countless migrants criminalized for having helped other migrants in need, whose faces will likely not appear in esteemed publications.

      None of us has been prosecuted for helping white Europeans. The simple truth is that in intimidating and punishing those of us who have offered their solidarity to migrants, Europe has worked systematically and with precision to segregate, humiliate and isolate its weakest members—if not based on race and ethnicity de jure, then certainly de facto.

      None of us facing charges for solidarity is a villain, but neither are we heroes. If it is alarming that acts of basic human decency are now criminalized, it is no less telling that we have sometimes been lauded by well-intentioned supporters as saints. But those of us who have stood in solidarity with migrants have not acted out of some exceptional reserve of bravery or selfless compassion for others. We acted in the knowledge that the way our rulers treat migrants offers a clue about how they would treat the rest of us if they thought they could get away with it. Politicians who target, scapegoat and exploit migrants, do so to shore up a violent, unequal world—a world in which we, too, have to live and by which we, too, may be disempowered.

      The criminalization of solidarity today is not only about stripping Europe’s most precarious of their means of survival. It is also an effort at foreclosing the forms of political organization that alliances between Europeans and migrants might engender; of barring the realization that in today’s Europe of rising xenophobia, racism, homophobia and austerity, the things that migrants seek—safety, comfort, dignity—are increasingly foreclosed to us Europeans as well.

      And in hounding migrants and those standing in solidarity with them, Europe is not only waging a brutal battle of suppression. It is also belying its fear of what might happen if we Europeans and migrants made common cause against Fortress Europe, and expose it for what it is: a system that would pick us off one by one, European and migrant alike, robbing each of us in turn of our freedoms, security and rights. We should show them that they are right to be afraid.

      Captain Pia Klemp is a vegan nature-lover, animal-rights and human-rights activist. Before joining search and rescue missions, Captain Pia Klemp was an activist for maritime conservation with Sea-Shepherd. Chloe Haralambous, a researcher and fellow rescue crew member, contributed to this op-ed.

      The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.​​​​​

      https://www.newsweek.com/refugees-mediterranean-sea-rescue-criminalization-solidarity-1444618

  • #Minniti: ‘Affidare il salvataggio dei naufraghi ai libici è stato un drammatico errore’

    Marco Minniti (PD): ‘Il problema è chi risponde al telefono. Prima rispondeva la guardia costiera italiana, ma ora nel Mediterraneo centrale non operiamo più… e la guardia costiera libica non è in grado di salvare i naufraghi’

    http://www.la7.it/piazzapulita/video/giannini-%E2%80%98l%E2%80%99italia-in-libia-ha-scommesso-sul-cavallo-sbagliato%E
    #ONG #sauvetage #asile #migrations #Méditerranée #réfugiés #erreur #erreur_dramatique #gardes-côtes_libyens #Libye
    via @isskein

    J’ai ajouté à cette métaliste:
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765324

    • «La guardiacostiera libica non è preparata a svolgere attività di coordinamento e salvataggio in mare. È stato un tragico errore». L’ex ministro Minniti dice la verità. Finalmente. Dopo centinaia di morti.

      https://twitter.com/openarms_it/status/1116448798472134656

      Traduction de @isskein :

      « Les garde-côtes libyens ne sont pas prêts à mener des activités de coordination et de sauvetage en mer. C’était une erreur tragique » L’ancien ministre Minniti (qui a lancé es négociations avec les Libyens) dit la vérité. Enfin. Après des centaines de morts.

      https://twitter.com/isskein/status/1116452323050565641?s=12

    • Warning of ’Libyan death zone’ as Tripoli stops migrant rescues

      The Libyan Coast Guard has not been operating in its maritime rescue zone for three weeks. A German search and rescue NGO, Sea-Eye, has called for Malta to take over and has warned of a ’Libyan death zone.’

      Sea-Eye says the United Nations refugee agency, the UNHCR, has confirmed that there has been no search and rescue activity by the Libyan Coast Guard in the maritime rescue zone since April 10. The claim is supported by a UN official in Tripoli with access to “official information,” according to the Italian newspaper Avvenire.

      Avvenire alleges that Libyan patrol boats normally used for search and rescue, which include some supplied by Italy and France, are being deployed for combat.operations in the civil war. Since the beginning of April, hundreds of people have been killed in fighting between the Haftar Libyan National Army and the internationally-recognized Government of National Accord. “Obviously, the government of Tripoli has its own problems instead of dealing with EU border protection,” says Gorden Isler, a spokesperson for Sea-Eye.

      Blackout

      The Sea-Eye search and rescue vessel, the Alan Kurdi, will spend the next month in a Spanish shipyard for routine maintenance, leaving one other NGO ship, the Mare Jonio, in action in the Central Mediterranean.

      With very few NGOs active in the area and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) unable to work in Tripoli, Isler says there is no information about emergencies or drownings at sea. Sea-Eye has not heard of any rescues since April 10.

      However, this tweet from Alarm Phone, the hotline for people in distress at sea, says a group of 23 people was picked up by a fishing boat and returned to Libya yesterday.

      Leaving rescue to Libyans ’irresponsible’

      With Libya “paralyzed” by civil war, Europe must step in now and take over rescue work in the Mediterranean, says Isler. Sea-Eye wants immediate action from the International Maritime Organization to remove responsibility for the sea area from Libya, or “Libya’s so-called search and rescue zone will become a Libyan death zone.”

      Sea-Eye says Libya had conducted few missions in its search and rescue zone before the escalation of civil conflict, with only 12 operations this year. During the period in which the Sea-Eye’s vessel was in the area, between March 25 and April 3, the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) failed to engage in three separate emergencies, according to Isler. “Rubber boats with people disappear without any LCG activities. It is irresponsible to leave this search and rescue area to the Libyans.”

      Malta urged to take over

      Italy handed over responsibility for rescuing migrants in the search and rescue zone to Libya last June. In February, the German left-wing party, Die Linke, called for administration of the zone to be given back to the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center in Rome. But the prospect of Italy agreeing to take back responsibility, Isler says, is “probably an illusion”.

      The best option now, according to Sea-Eye, is Malta, a small archipelago with a population of about half a million. The NGO argues that the country is capable of taking responsibility for the search and rescue zone “in principle”.

      But Malta has so far given no public sign that it would be willing to take over from Libya. Earlier this month, the Maltese government forced the Alan Kurdi, with 62 rescued migrants on board, to remain at sea for days while European countries argued over who would take them in. “Once again, the European Union’s smallest state has been put under pointless pressure in being tasked with resolving an issue which was not its responsibility,” the government complained.

      Sea-Eye says a resolution involving Malta must include support from other EU member states, particularly Germany. “We hope that our own government will lead by example and play an important role in supporting Malta,” Isler says.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/16615/warning-of-libyan-death-zone-as-tripoli-stops-migrant-rescues

  • EU to end ship patrols in scaled down Operation Sophia

    The European Union will cease the maritime patrols that have rescued thousands of migrants making the perilous Mediterranean Sea crossing from North Africa to Europe, but it will extend air missions, two diplomats said on Tuesday (26 March).

    A new agreement on the EU’s Operation Sophia was hammered out after Italy, where anti-migrant sentiment is rising, said it would no longer receive those rescued at sea.

    Operation Sophia’s mandate was due to expire on Sunday but should now continue for another six months with the same aim of deterring people smugglers in the Mediterranean. But it will no longer deploy ships, instead relying on air patrols and closer coordination with Libya, the diplomats said.

    “It is awkward, but this was the only way forward given Italy’s position, because nobody wanted the Sophia mission completely shut down,” one EU diplomat said.

    A second diplomat confirmed a deal had been reached and said it must be endorsed by all EU governments on Wednesday.

    The tentative deal, however, could weaken Operation Sophia’s role in saving lives in the sea where nearly 2,300 people perished last year, according to United Nations figures.

    From the more than one million refugees and migrants who made it to the bloc during a 2015 crisis, sea arrivals dropped to 141,500 people in 2018, according to the United Nations.

    Still, Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini, has said his country would no longer be the main point of disembarkation for people trying to cross the Mediterranean by boat and rescued by Sophia’s patrol ships.

    Rome called for other countries to open up their ports instead, but no other EU states came forward. Diplomats said countries including Spain, France and Germany signalled they were not willing to host more rescued people – most of whom are fleeing wars and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.

    However, EU governments did want the mission to continue because they felt it had been effective in dissuading smugglers.

    The compromise discussion in Brussels did not discuss military aspects of the role of air patrols. But the new arrangement will involve more training of the coast guard in Libya, where lawlessness has allowed smugglers to openly operate sending people to Europe by sea.

    But it would be in line with the EU’s policy of turning increasingly restrictive on Mediterranean immigration since the surge in 2015 and discouraging people from risking their lives in the sea in trying to cross to Europe where governments do not want them.

    The bloc has already curbed operations of EU aid groups in the part of the Mediterranean in question and moved its own ships further north where fewer rescues take place.

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/eu-to-end-ship-patrols-in-scaled-down-operation-sophia
    #opération_sophia #méditerranée #asile #réfugiés #sauvetage #missions_aériennes #migrations #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #mer_Méditerranée #sauvetages

    • Commissioner calls for more rescue capacity in the Mediterranean

      I take note of the decision taken by the EU’s Political and Security Committee with regards to Operation Sophia. I regret that this will lead to even fewer naval assets in the Mediterranean, which could assist the rescue of persons in distress at sea. Lives are continuing to be lost in the Mediterranean. This should remind states of the urgency to adopt a different approach, one that should ensure a sufficiently resourced and fully operational system for saving human lives at sea and to safeguard rescued migrants’ dignity.

      Whilst coastal states have the responsibility to ensure effective coordination of search and rescue operations, protecting lives in the Mediterranean requires concerted efforts of other states as well, to begin with the provision of naval assets specifically dedicated to search and rescue activities, deployed in those areas where they can make an effective contribution to saving human lives. Furthermore, I reiterate my call to all states to refrain from hindering and criminalising the work of NGOs who are trying to fill the ever-increasing gap in rescue capacity. States should rather support and co-operate with them, including by ensuring that they can use ports for their life-saving activities.

      Finally, the decision to continue only with aerial surveillance and training of the Libyan Coast Guard further increases the risks that EU member states, directly or indirectly, contribute to the return of migrants and asylum seekers to Libya, where it is well-documented, in particular recently by the United Nations, that they face serious human rights violations. So far, calls to ensure more transparency and accountability in this area, including by publishing human rights risk assessments and setting up independent monitoring mechanisms, have not been heeded. The onus is now on EU member states to show urgently that the support to the Libyan Coast Guard is not contributing to human rights violations, and to suspend this support if they cannot do so.

      https://www.coe.int/en/web/commissioner/-/commissioner-calls-for-more-rescue-capacity-in-the-mediterranean
      #droits_humains #gardes-côtes_libyens #Libye

    • EU to end ship patrols in scaled down migrant rescue operation: diplomats

      The European Union will cease the maritime patrols that have rescued thousands of migrants making the perilous Mediterranean Sea crossing from North Africa to Europe, but it will extend air missions, two diplomats said on Tuesday.
      A new agreement on the EU’s Operation Sophia was hammered out after Italy, where anti-migrant sentiment is rising, said it would no longer receive those rescued at sea.

      Operation Sophia’s mandate was due to expire on Sunday but should now continue for another six months with the same aim of detering people smugglers in the Mediterranean. But it will no longer deploy ships, instead relying on air patrols and closer coordination with Libya, the diplomats said.

      “It is awkward, but this was the only way forward given Italy’s position, because nobody wanted the Sophia mission completely shut down,” one EU diplomat said.

      A second diplomat confirmed a deal had been reached and said it must be endorsed by all EU governments on Wednesday.

      The tentative deal, however, could weaken Operation Sophia’s role in saving lives in the sea where nearly 2,300 people perished last year, according to United Nations figures.

      From the more than one million refugees and migrants who made it to the bloc during a 2015 crisis, sea arrivals dropped to 141,500 people in 2018, according to the United Nations.

      Still, Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini, has said his country would no longer be the main point of disembarkation for people trying to cross the Mediterranean by boat and rescued by Sophia’s patrol ships.

      Rome called for other countries to open up their ports instead, but no other EU states came forward. Diplomats said countries including Spain, France and Germany signaled they were not willing to host more rescued people - most of whom are fleeing wars and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.

      However, EU governments did want the mission to continue because they felt it had been effective in dissuading smugglers.

      The compromise discussion in Brussels did not discuss military aspects of the role of air patrols. But the new arrangement will involve more training of the coast guard in Libya, where lawlessness has allowed smugglers to openly operate sending people to Europe by sea.

      But it would be in line with the EU’s policy of turning increasingly restrictive on Mediterranean immigration since the surge in 2015 and discouraging people from risking their lives in the sea in trying to cross to Europe where governments do not want them.

      The bloc has already curbed operations of EU aid groups in the part of the Mediterranean in question and moved its own ships further north where fewer rescues take place.

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-sophia/eu-weighs-up-awkward-migration-compromise-on-mediterranean-mission-idUSKCN1

    • En Méditerranée, l’UE retire ses navires militaires qui ont sauvé 45.000 migrants

      Les États membres de l’Union européenne ont décidé, mercredi 27 mars, de retirer leurs navires militaires engagés en Méditerranée dans le cadre de l’opération militaire dite « Sophia », au moins temporairement. Depuis 2015, ces bateaux ont pourtant permis de sauver 45 000 migrants environ.

      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/280319/en-mediterranee-l-ue-retire-ses-navires-militaires-qui-ont-sauve-45000-mig

    • #EUNAVFOR_MED Operation Sophia : mandate extended until 30 September 2019

      The Council today extended the mandate of EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia until 30 September 2019.

      The Operation Commander has been instructed to suspend temporarily the deployment of the Operation’s naval assets for the duration of this extension for operational reasons. EU member states will continue to work in the appropriate fora on a solution on disembarkation as part of the follow-up to the June 2018 European Council conclusions.

      The Operation will continue to implement its mandate accordingly, strengthening surveillance by air assets as well as reinforcing support to the Libyan Coastguard and Navy in law enforcement tasks at sea through enhanced monitoring, including ashore, and continuation of training.

      The operation’s core mandate is to contribute to the EU’s work to disrupt the business model of migrant smugglers and human traffickers in the Southern Central Mediterranean. The operation has also supporting tasks. It trains the Libyan Coastguard and Navy and monitors the long-term efficiency of the training and it contributes to the implementation of the UN arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya. In addition, the operation also conducts surveillance activities and gathers information on illegal trafficking of oil exports from Libya, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions. As such, the operation contributes to EU efforts for the return of stability and security in Libya and to maritime security in the Central Mediterranean region.

      EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia was launched on 22 June 2015. It is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to migration. The Operation Commander is Rear Admiral Credendino, from Italy. The headquarters of the operation are located in Rome.

      Today’s decision was adopted by the Council by written procedure.

      https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/03/29/eunavfor-med-operation-sophia-mandate-extended-until-30-september-2

  • Action fiche of the #EU_Trust_Fund to be used for the decisions of the Operational Committee

    Discussions have been ongoing for a number of months about possible support to the Libyan coastguards for better patrolling and rescuing at sea. The situation remains critical also at the Libyan southern border, where authorities have very limited capacity.The European Council of 22-23 June has called for action. It specifically mentioned that "training and equipping the Libyan Coast Guard is a key component of the EU approach and should be speeded up"and that “cooperation with countries of origin and transit shall be reinforced in order to stem the migratory pressure on Libya’s and other neighbouring countries’ land borders”.Italy has come forward in May 2017 with a major proposal for integrated border and migrationmanagement in Libya which responds to the above mentioned priorities.

    The dual objective of this action is to improve the Libyan capacity to control their borders and provide for lifesaving rescue at sea, in a manner fully compliant with international human rights obligations and standards. This #Action_Fiche covers the first phase of support. Additional funding should be envisaged in 2018 for its completion (for which the current estimate stands at EUR 38 million).

    https://ec.europa.eu/trustfundforafrica/sites/euetfa/files/t05-eutf-noa-ly-04_fin_11.pdf
    #Trust_Fund #Libye #frontières #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #gardes-côtes #gardes-côtes_libyens #contrôles_frontaliers

    La même chose, mais pour la #Maroc:
    https://seenthis.net/messages/763541

    • Support to Integrated border and migration management in Libya – First phase

      Summary

      The programme aims to strengthen the capacity of relevant Libyan authorities in the areas of border and migration management, including border control and surveillance, addressing smuggling and trafficking of human beings, search and rescue at sea and in the desert.
      Main objectives

      The specific objectives of the project are: 1) to enhance operational capacity of the competent Libyan authorities in maritime surveillance, tackling irregular border crossings, including the strengthening of SAR operations and related coast guard tasks; 2) to set up basic facilities in order to enable the Libyan guards to better organise their SAR, border surveillance and control operations; 3) to assist the concerned Libyan authorities in defining and declaring a Libyan SAR Region with adequate SAR Standard Operation Procedures, including finalising the studies for fully fledged operational rooms; and 4) to develop operational capacity of competent Libyan authorities in land border surveillance and control in the desert, focusing on the sections of southern borders most affected by illegal crossings.

      https://ec.europa.eu/trustfundforafrica/region/north-africa/libya/support-integrated-border-and-migration-management-libya-first-phase_en
      #integrated_border_management

    • Support to Integrated border and migration management in Libya - Second phase

      Summary

      The Overall Objective of the programme is to develop the overall capacity of the relevant Libyan authorities and strengthen institutional reform in the areas of land and sea border control and surveillance; addressing smuggling and trafficking of human beings; Search & Rescue at sea (SAR); and on land contributing to a human response of the migration crises in respect of international and human right laws.
      Main objectives

      The specific objectives of the project are as follows:
      1. Capacity development and institutional strengthening of the relevant authorities (including #LCGPS and #GACS) covering all sea and land borders including the development SOPs of land and sea based SAR operations;
      2. Further development of the capacity and the integration of the LCGPS and GACS fleets by supply of new SAR vessels as well as an accompanying maintenance programme;
      3. Development of the MRCC communication network along the coast through a step by step approach;
      4. Further development of the land border capacity of the relevant authorities and the engagement through community based engagement and cross border programs, particularly in the West and South.

      Additional cross-cutting objectives of the activities will be:
      – The improvement of the operational cooperation between the relevant Libyan agencies and bodies as well as the cooperating with UN agencies and their partners on coordination of activities, information sharing, processing and SOPs;
      – The improvement of the human rights situation for migrants and refugees, particularly for women and children, including through ensuring that the Libyan authorities targeted by this action comply with human rights standards in SOPs in SAR operations;
      – The concern for the environment, in particular for the hygienic and living environment for migrants in the detention centres and for the reutilisation of oil and the maintenance protocols of the ships.

      https://ec.europa.eu/trustfundforafrica/region/north-africa/libya/support-integrated-border-and-migration-management-libya-second-phase_en

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Stopping Migrants, Whatever the Cost

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    A Deadly Policy in Action

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    A Legal Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ping @reka

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • How We Made an Invisible Crisis at Sea Visible

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

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

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

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

  • Detainees Evacuated out of Libya but Resettlement Capacity Remains Inadequate

    According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (#UNHCR) 262 migrants detained in Libya were evacuated to Niger on November 12- the largest evacuation from Libya carried out to date. In addition to a successful airlift of 135 people in October this year, this brings the total number of people evacuated to more than 2000 since December 2017. However Amnesty International describes the resettlement process from Niger as slow and the number of pledges inadequate.

    The evacuations in October and November were the first since June when the Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) centre in Niger reached its full capacity of 1,536 people, which according to Amnesty was a result of a large number of people “still waiting for their permanent resettlement to a third country.”

    57,483 refugees and asylum seekers are registered by UNHCR in Libya; as of October 2018 14,349 had agreed to Voluntary Humanitarian Return. Currently 3,886 resettlement pledges have been made by 12 states, but only 1,140 have been resettled.

    14,595 people have been intercepted by the Libyan coast guard and taken back to Libya, however it has been well documented that their return is being met by detention, abuse, violence and torture. UNHCR recently declared Libya unsafe for returns amid increased violence in the capital, while Amnesty International has said that “thousands of men, women and children are trapped in Libya facing horrific abuses with no way out”.

    In this context, refugees and migrants are currently refusing to disembark in Misrata after being rescued by a cargo ship on November 12, reportedly saying “they would rather die than be returned to land”. Reuters cited one Sudanese teenager on board who stated “We agree to go to any place but not Libya.”

    UNHCR estimates that 5,413 refugees and migrants remain detained in #Directorate_for_Combatting_Illegal_Migration (#DCIM) centres and the UN Refugee Agency have repetedly called for additional resettlement opportunities for vulnerable persons of concern in Libya.

    https://www.ecre.org/detainees-evacuated-out-of-libya-but-resettlement-capacity-remains-inadequate
    #réinstallation #Niger #Libye #évacuation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #HCR #détention #centres_de_détention #Emergency_Transit_Mechanism (#ETM)

    • ET DES INFORMATIONS PLUS ANCIENNES DANS LE FIL CI-DESSOUS

      Libya: evacuations to Niger resumed – returns from Niger begun

      After being temporarily suspended in March as the result of concerns from local authorities on the pace of resettlement out of Niger, UNHCR evacuations of vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers from Libya through the Emergency Transit Mechanism has been resumed and 132 vulnerable migrants flown to the country. At the same time the deportation of 132 Sudanese nationals from Niger to Libya has raised international concern.

      Niger is the main host for refugees and asylum seekers from Libya evacuated by UNHCR. Since the UN Refugee Agency began evacuations in cooperation with EU and Libyan authorities in November 2017, Niger has received 1,152 of the 1,474 people evacuated in total. While UNHCR has submitted 475 persons for resettlement a modest 108 in total have been resettled in Europe. According to UNHCR the government in Niger has now offered to host an additional 1,500 refugees from Libya through the Emergency Transit Mechanism and upon its revival and the first transfer of 132 refugees to Niger, UNHCR’s Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean Situation, Vincent Cochetel stated: “We now urgently need to find resettlement solutions for these refugees in other countries.”

      UNHCR has confirmed the forced return by authorities in Niger of at least 132 of a group of 160 Sudanese nationals arrested in the migrant hub of Agadez, the majority after fleeing harsh conditions in Libya. Agadez is known as a major transit hub for refugees and asylum seekers seeking passage to Libya and Europe but the trend is reversed and 1,700 Sudanese nationals have fled from Libya to Niger since December 2017. In a mail to IRIN News, Human Rights Watch’s associate director for Europe and Central Asia, Judith Sunderland states: “It is inhuman and unlawful to send migrants and refugees back to Libya, where they face shocking levels of torture, sexual violence, and forced labour,” with reference to the principle of non-refoulement.

      According to a statement released by Amnesty International on May 16: “At least 7,000 migrants and refugees are languishing in Libyan detention centres where abuse is rife and food and water in short supply. This is a sharp increase from March when there were 4,400 detained migrants and refugees, according to Libyan officials.”

      https://www.ecre.org/libya-evacuations-to-niger-resumed-returns-from-niger-begun

    • Libya: return operations running but slow resettlement is jeopardizing the evacuation scheme

      According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) 15.000 migrants have been returned from Libya to their country of origin and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has assisted in the evacuation of more than 1,300 refugees from Libya thereby fulfilling the targets announced at the AU-EU-UN Taskforce meeting in December 2017. However, a modest 25 of the more than 1000 migrants evacuated to Niger have been resettled to Europe and the slow pace is jeopardizing further evacuations.

      More than 1000 of the 1300 migrants evacuated from Libya are hosted by Niger and Karmen Sakhr, who oversees the North Africa unit at the UNHCR states to the EU Observer that the organisation: “were advised that until more people leave Niger, we will no longer be able to evacuate additional cases from Libya.”

      During a meeting on Monday 5 March with the Civil Liberties Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs, members of the Delegation for relations with Maghreb countries, Commission and External Action Service representatives on the mistreatment of migrants and refugees in Libya, and arrangements for their resettlement or return, UNHCR confirmed that pledges have been made by France, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Malta as well as unspecified non-EU countries but that security approvals and interviewing process of the cases is lengthy resulting in the modest number of resettlements, while also warning that the EU member states need to put more work into resettlement of refugees, and that resettlement pledges still fall short of the needs. According to UNHCR 430 pledges has been made by European countries.

      An estimated 5000 people are in government detention and an unknown number held by private militias under well documented extreme conditions.

      https://www.ecre.org/libya-return-operations-running-but-slow-resettlement-is-jeopardizing-the-evac

    • Libya: migrants and refugees out by plane and in by boat

      The joint European Union (EU), African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) Task Force visited Tripoli last week welcoming progress made evacuating and returning migrants and refugees out of Libya. EU has announced three new programmes, for protecting migrants and refugees in Libya and along the Central Mediterranean Route, and their return and reintegration. Bundestag Research Services and NGOs raise concerns over EU and Member State support to Libyan Coast Guard.

      Representatives of the Task Force, created in November 2017, met with Libyan authorities last week and visited a detention centres for migrants and a shelter for internally displaced people in Tripoli. Whilst they commended progress on Voluntary Humanitarian Returns, they outlined a number of areas for improvement. These include: comprehensive registration of migrants at disembarkation points and detention centres; improving detention centre conditions- with a view to end the current system of arbitrary detention; decriminalizing irregular migration in Libya.

      The three new programmes announced on Monday, will be part of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. €115 million will go towards evacuating 3,800 refugees from Libya, providing protection and voluntary humanitarian return to 15,000 migrants in Libya and will support the resettlement of 14,000 people in need of international protection from Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Burkina Faso. €20 million will be dedicated to improving access to social and protection services for vulnerable migrants in transit countries in the Sahel region and the Lake Chad basin. €15 million will go to supporting sustainable reintegration for Ethiopian citizens.

      A recent report by the Bundestag Research Services on SAR operations in the Mediterranean notes the support for the Libyan Coast Guard by EU and Member States in bringing refugees and migrants back to Libya may be violating the principle of non-refoulement as outlined in the Geneva Convention: “This cooperation must be the subject of proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights, because the people who are being forcibly returned with the assistance of the EU are being inhumanely treated, tortured or killed.” stated Andrej Hunko, European policy spokesman for the German Left Party (die Linke). A joint statement released by SAR NGO’s operating in the Mediterranean calls on the EU institutions and leaders to stop the financing and support of the Libyan Coast Guard and the readmissions to a third country which violates fundamental human rights and international law.

      According to UNHCR, there are currently 46,730 registered refugees and asylum seekers in Libya. 843 asylum seekers and refugees have been released from detention so far in 2018. According to IOM 9,379 people have been returned to their countries of origin since November 2017 and 1,211 have been evacuated to Niger since December 2017.

      https://www.ecre.org/libya-migrants-and-refugees-out-by-plane-and-in-by-boat

      Complément de Emmanuel Blanchard (via la mailing-list Migreurop):

      Selon le HCR, il y aurait actuellement environ 6000 personnes détenues dans des camps en Libye et qui seraient en attente de retour ou de protection (la distinction n’est pas toujours très claire dans la prose du HCR sur les personnes à « évacuer » vers le HCR...). Ces données statistiques sont très fragiles et a priori très sous-estimées car fondées sur les seuls camps auxquels le HCR a accès.

    • First group of refugees evacuated from new departure facility in Libya

      UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in coordination with Libyan authorities, evacuated 133 refugees from Libya to Niger today after hosting them at a Gathering and Departure Facility (GDF) in Tripoli which opened on Tuesday.

      Most evacuees, including 81 women and children, were previously detained in Libya. After securing their release from five detention centres across Libya, including in Tripoli and areas as far as 180 kilometres from the capital, they were sheltered at the GDF until the arrangements for their evacuation were concluded.

      The GDF is the first centre of its kind in Libya and is intended to bring vulnerable refugees to a safe environment while solutions including refugee resettlement, family reunification, evacuation to emergency facilities in other countries, return to a country of previous asylum, and voluntary repatriation are sought for them.

      “The opening of this centre, in very difficult circumstances, has the potential to save lives. It offers immediate protection and safety for vulnerable refugees in need of urgent evacuation, and is an alternative to detention for hundreds of refugees currently trapped in Libya,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

      The centre is managed by the Libyan Ministry of Interior, UNHCR and UNHCR’s partner LibAid. The initiative is one of a range of measures needed to offer viable alternatives to the dangerous boat journeys undertaken by refugees and migrants along the Central Mediterranean route.

      With an estimated 4,900 refugees and migrants held in detention centres across Libya, including 3,600 in need of international protection, the centre is a critical alternative to the detention of those most vulnerable.

      The centre, which has been supported by the EU and other donors, has a capacity to shelter up to 1,000 vulnerable refugees identified for solutions out of Libya.

      At the facility, UNHCR and partners are providing humanitarian assistance such as accommodation, food, medical care and psychosocial support. Child friendly spaces and dedicated protection staff are also available to ensure that refugees and asylum-seekers are adequately cared for.

      https://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2018/12/5c09033a4/first-group-refugees-evacuated-new-departure-facility-libya.html

    • Migration : à Niamey, des migrants rapatriés de Libye protestent contre leurs conditions de séjour

      Les manifestants protestent contre leur détention de vie qu’ils jugent « déplorables » et pour amplifier leurs mouvements, ils ont brandi des pancartes sur lesquelles ils ont écrit leurs doléances. Les migrants manifestant s’indignent également de leur séjour qui ne cesse de se prolonger, sans véritable alternatives ou visibilité sur leur situation. « Ils nous ont ramené de la Libye pour nous laisser à nous-mêmes ici », « on ne veut pas rester ici, laisser nous partir là où on veut », sont entre autres les slogans que les migrants ont scandés au cours de leur sit-in devant les locaux de l’agence onusienne. Plusieurs des protestataires sont venus à la manifestation avec leurs bagages et d’autres avec leurs différents papiers, qui attestent de leur situation de réfugiés ou demandeurs d’asiles.

      La situation, quoique déplorable, n’a pas manqué de susciter divers commentaires. Il faut dire que depuis le début de l’opération de rapatriement des migrants en détresse de Libye, ils sont des centaines à vivre dans la capitale mais aussi à Agadez où des centres d’accueil sont mis à leurs dispositions par les agences onusiennes (UNHCR, OIM), avec la collaboration des autorités nigériennes. Un certain temps, leur présence de plus en plus massive dans divers quartiers de la capitale où des villas sont mises à leur disposition, a commencé à inquiéter les habitants sur d’éventuels risques sécuritaires.

      Le gouvernement a signé plusieurs accords et adopté des lois pour lutter contre l’immigration clandestine. Il a aussi signé des engagements avec certains pays européens notamment la France et l’Italie, pour l’accueil temporaire des réfugiés en provenance de la Libye et en transit en attendant leur réinstallation dans leur pays ou en Europe pour ceux qui arrivent à obtenir le sésame pour l’entrée. Un geste de solidarité décrié par certaines ONG et que les autorités regrettent presque à demi-mot, du fait du non-respect des contreparties financières promises par les bailleurs et partenaires européens. Le pays fait face lui-même à un afflux de réfugiés nigérians et maliens sur son territoire, ainsi que des déplacés internes dans plusieurs régions, ce qui complique davantage la tâche dans cette affaire de difficile gestion de la problématique migratoire.

      Le Niger accueille plusieurs centres d’accueil pour les réfugiés et demandeurs d’asiles rapatriés de Libye. Le 10 décembre dernier, l’OFPRA français a par exemple annoncé avoir achevé une nouvelle mission au Niger avec l’UNHCR, et qui a concerné 200 personnes parmi lesquelles une centaine évacuée de Libye. En novembre dernier, le HCR a également annoncé avoir repris les évacuations de migrants depuis la Libye, avec un contingent de 132 réfugiés et demandeurs d’asiles vers le Niger.

      Depuis novembre 2017, le HCR a assuré avoir effectué vingt-trois (23) opérations d’évacuation au départ de la Libye et ce, « malgré d’importants problèmes de sécurité et les restrictions aux déplacements qui ont été imposées ». En tout, ce sont 2.476 réfugiés et demandeurs d’asile vulnérables qui ont pu être libérés et acheminés de la Libye vers le Niger (2.069), l’Italie (312) et la Roumanie (95).


      https://www.actuniger.com/societe/14640-migration-a-niamey-des-migrants-rapatries-de-libye-protestent-contr

      Je découvre ici que les évacuations se sont faites aussi vers l’#Italie et... la #Roumanie !

    • Destination Europe: Evacuation. The EU has started resettling refugees from Libya, but only 174 have made it to Europe in seven months

      As the EU sets new policies and makes deals with African nations to deter hundreds of thousands of migrants from seeking new lives on the continent, what does it mean for those following dreams northwards and the countries they transit through? From returnees in Sierra Leone and refugees resettled in France to smugglers in Niger and migrants in detention centres in Libya, IRIN explores their choices and challenges in this multi-part special report, Destination Europe.

      Four years of uncontrolled migration starting in 2014 saw more than 600,000 people cross from Libya to Italy, contributing to a populist backlash that is threatening the foundations of the EU. Stopping clandestine migration has become one of Europe’s main foreign policy goals, and last July the number of refugees and migrants crossing the central Mediterranean dropped dramatically. The EU celebrated the reduced numbers as “good progress”.

      But, as critics pointed out, that was only half the story: the decline, resulting from a series of moves by the EU and Italy, meant that tens of thousands of people were stuck in Libya with no way out. They faced horrific abuse, and NGOs and human rights organisations accused the EU of complicity in the violations taking place.

      Abdu is one who got stuck. A tall, lanky teenager, he spent nearly two years in smugglers’ warehouses and official Libyan detention centres. But he’s also one of the lucky ones. In February, he boarded a flight to Niger run (with EU support) by the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, to help some of those stranded in Libya reach Europe. Nearly 1,600 people have been evacuated on similiar flights, but, seven months on, only 174 have been resettled to Europe.

      The evacuation programme is part of a €500-million ($620-million) effort to resettle 50,000 refugees over the next two years to the EU, which has a population of more than 500 million people. The target is an increase from previous European resettlement goals, but still only represents a tiny fraction of the need – those chosen can be Syrians in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon as well as refugees in Libya, Egypt, Niger, Chad, Sudan, and Ethiopia – countries that combined host more than 6.5 million refugees.

      The EU is now teetering on the edge of a fresh political crisis, with boats carrying people rescued from the sea being denied ports of disembarkation, no consensus on how to share responsibility for asylum seekers and refugees within the continent, and increasing talk of further outsourcing the management of migration to African countries.

      Against this backdrop, the evacuation and resettlement programme from Libya is perhaps the best face of European policy in the Mediterranean. But, unless EU countries offer more spots for refugees, it is a pathway to safety for no more than a small handful who get the luck of the draw. As the first evacuees adjust to their new lives in Europe, the overwhelming majority are left behind.

      Four months after arriving in Niger, Abdu is still waiting to find out if and when he will be resettled to Europe. He’s still in the same state of limbo he was in at the end of March when IRIN met him in Niamey, the capital of Niger. At the time, he’d been out of the detention centre in Libya for less than a month and his arms were skeletally thin.

      “I thought to go to Europe [and] failed. Now, I came to Niger…. What am I doing here? What will happen from here? I don’t know,” he said, sitting in the shade of a canopy in the courtyard of a UNHCR facility. “I don’t know what I will be planning for the future because everything collapsed; everything finished.”
      Abdu’s story

      Born in Eritrea – one of the most repressive countries in the world – Abdu’s mother sent him to live in neighbouring Sudan when he was only seven. She wanted him to grow up away from the political persecution and shadow of indefinite military service that stifled normal life in his homeland.

      But Sudan, where he was raised by his uncle, wasn’t much better. As an Eritrean refugee, he faced discrimination and lived in a precarious legal limbo. Abdu saw no future there. “So I decided to go,” he said.

      Like so many other young Africans fleeing conflict, political repression, and economic hardship in recent years, he wanted to try to make it to Europe. But first he had to pass through Libya.

      After crossing the border from Sudan in July 2016, Abdu, then 16 years old, was taken captive and held for 18 months. The smugglers asked for a ransom of $5,500, tortured him while his relatives were forced to listen on the phone, and rented him out for work like a piece of equipment.

      Abdu tried to escape, but only found himself under the control of another smuggler who did the same thing. He was kept in overflowing warehouses, sequestered from the sunlight with around 250 other people. The food was not enough and often spoiled; disease was rampant; people died from malaria and hunger; one woman died after giving birth; the guards drank, carried guns, and smoked hashish, and, at the smallest provocation, spun into a sadistic fury. Abdu’s skin started crawling with scabies, his cheeks sank in, and his long limbs withered to skin and bones.

      One day, the smuggler told him that, if he didn’t find a way to pay, it looked like he would soon die. As a courtesy – or to try to squeeze some money out of him instead of having to deal with a corpse – the smuggler reduced the ransom to $1,500.

      Finally, Abdu’s relatives were able to purchase his freedom and passage to Europe. It was December 2017. As he finally stood on the seashore before dawn in the freezing cold, Abdu remembered thinking: “We are going to arrive in Europe [and] get protection [and] get rights.”

      But he never made it. After nearly 24 hours at sea, the rubber dinghy he was on with around 150 other people was intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard, which, since October 2016, has been trained and equipped by the EU and Italy.

      Abdu was brought back to the country he had just escaped and put in another detention centre.

      This one was official – run by the Libyan Directorate for Combating Irregular Migration. But it wasn’t much different from the smuggler-controlled warehouses he’d been in before. Again, it was overcrowded and dirty. People were falling sick. There was no torture or extortion, but the guards could be just as brutal. If someone tried to talk to them about the poor conditions “[they are] going to beat you until you are streaming blood,” Abdu said.

      Still, he wasn’t about to try his luck on his own again in Libya. The detention centre wasn’t suitable for human inhabitants, Abdu recalled thinking, but it was safer than anywhere he’d been in over a year. That’s where UNHCR found him and secured his release.

      The lucky few

      The small village of Thal-Marmoutier in France seems like it belongs to a different world than the teeming detention centres of Libya.

      The road to the village runs between gently rolling hills covered in grapevines and winds through small towns of half-timbered houses. About 40 minutes north of Strasbourg, the largest city in the region of Alsace, bordering Germany, it reaches a valley of hamlets that disrupt the green countryside with their red, high-peaked roofs. It’s an unassuming setting, but it’s the type of place Abdu might end up if and when he is finally resettled.

      In mid-March, when IRIN visited, the town of 800 people was hosting the first group of refugees evacuated from Libya.

      It was unseasonably cold, and the 55 people housed in a repurposed section of a Franciscan convent were bundled in winter jackets, scarves, and hats. Thirty of them had arrived from Chad, where they had been long-time residents of refugee camps after fleeing Boko Haram violence or conflict in the Sudanese region of Darfur. The remaining 25 – from Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan – were the first evacuees from Libya. Before reaching France, they, like Abdu, had been flown to Niamey.

      The extra stop is necessary because most countries require refugees to be interviewed in person before offering them a resettlement spot. The process is facilitated by embassies and consulates, but, because of security concerns, only one European country (Italy) has a diplomatic presence in Libya.

      To resettle refugees stuck in detention centres, UNHCR needed to find a third country willing to host people temporarily, one where European resettlement agencies could carry out their procedures. Niger was the first – and so far only – country to volunteer.

      “For us, it is an obligation to participate,” Mohamed Bazoum, Niger’s influential interior minister, said when interviewed by IRIN in Niamey. Niger, the gateway between West Africa and Libya on the migration trail to Europe, is the top recipient of funds from the EU Trust Fund for Africa, an initiative launched in 2015 to “address the root causes of irregular migration”.

      “It costs us nothing to help,” Bazoum added, referring to the evacuation programme. “But we gain a sense of humanity in doing so.”

      ‘Time is just running from my life’

      The first evacuees landed in Niamey on 12 November. A little over a month later, on 19 December, they were on their way to France.

      By March, they had been in Thal-Marmoutier for three months and were preparing to move from the reception centre in the convent to individual apartments in different cities.

      Among them, several families with children had been living in Libya for a long time. But most of the evacuees were young women who had been imprisoned by smugglers and militias, held in official detention centres, or often both.

      “In Libya, it was difficult for me,” said Farida, a 24-year-old aspiring runner from Ethiopia. She fled her home in 2016 because of the conflict between the government and the Oromo people, an ethnic group.

      After a brief stay in Cairo, she and her husband decided to go to Libya because they heard a rumour that UNHCR was providing more support there to refugees. Shortly after crossing the border, Farida and her husband were captured by a militia and placed in a detention centre.

      “People from the other government (Libya has two rival governments) came and killed the militiamen, and some of the people in the prison also died, but we got out and were taken to another prison,” she said. “When they put me in prison, I was pregnant, and they beat me and killed the child in my belly.”

      Teyba, a 20-year-old woman also from Ethiopia, shared a similar story: “A militia put us in prison and tortured us a lot,” she said. “We stayed in prison for a little bit more than a month, and then the fighting started…. Some people died, some people escaped, and some people, I don’t know what happened to them.”

      Three months at the reception centre in Thal-Marmoutier had done little to ease the trauma of those experiences. “I haven’t seen anything that made me laugh or that made me happy,” Farida said. “Up to now, life has not been good, even after coming to France.”

      The French government placed the refugees in the reception centre to expedite their asylum procedures, and so they could begin to learn French.

      Everyone in the group had already received 10-year residency permits – something refugees who are placed directly in individual apartments or houses usually wait at least six months to receive. But many of them said they felt like their lives had been put on pause in Thal-Marmoutier. They were isolated in the small village with little access to transportation and said they had not been well prepared to begin new lives on their own in just a few weeks time.

      “I haven’t benefited from anything yet. Time is just running from my life,” said Intissar, a 35-year-old woman from Sudan.

      A stop-start process

      Despite their frustrations with the integration process in France, and the still present psychological wounds from Libya, the people in Thal-Marmoutier were fortunate to reach Europe.

      By early March, more than 1,000 people had been airlifted from Libya to Niger. But since the first group in December, no one else had left for Europe. Frustrated with the pace of resettlement, the Nigerien government told UNHCR that the programme had to be put on hold.

      “We want the flow to be balanced,” Bazoum, the interior minister, explained. “If people arrive, then we want others to leave. We don’t want people to be here on a permanent basis.”

      Since then, an additional 148 people have been resettled to France, Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands, and other departures are in the works. “The situation is improving,” said Louise Donovan, a UNHCR communications officer in Niger. “We need to speed up our processes as much as possible, and so do the resettlement countries.”

      A further 312 people were evacuated directly to Italy. Still, the total number resettled by the programme remains small. “What is problematic right now is the fact that European governments are not offering enough places for resettlement, despite continued requests from UNHCR,” said Matteo de Bellis, a researcher with Amnesty International.
      Less than 1 percent

      Globally, less than one percent of refugees are resettled each year, and resettlement is on a downward spiral at the moment, dropping by more than 50 percent between 2016 and 2017. The number of refugees needing resettlement is expected to reach 1.4 million next year, 17 percent higher than in 2018, while global resettlement places dropped to just 75,000 in 2017, UNHCR said on Monday.

      The Trump administration’s slashing of the US refugee admissions programme – historically the world’s leader – means this trend will likely continue.

      Due to the limited capacity, resettlement is usually reserved for people who are considered to be the most vulnerable.

      In Libya alone, there are around 19,000 refugees from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan registered with UNHCR – a number increasing each month – as well as 430,000 migrants and potential asylum seekers from throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Many have been subjected to torture, sexual violence, and other abuses. And, because they are in Libya irregularly, resettlement is often the only legal solution to indefinite detention.

      In the unlikely scenario that all the sub-Saharan refugees in Libya were to be resettled, they would account for more than one third of the EU’s quota for the next two years. And that’s not taking into account people in Libya who may have legitimate grounds to claim asylum but are not on the official radar. Other solutions are clearly needed, but given the lack of will in the international community, it is unclear what those might be.

      “The Niger mechanism is a patch, a useful one under the circumstance, but still a patch,” de Bellis, the Amnesty researcher, said. “There are refugees… who cannot get out of the detention centres because there are no resettlement places available to them.”

      It is also uncertain what will happen to any refugees evacuated to Niger that aren’t offered a resettlement spot by European countries.

      UNHCR says it is considering all options, including the possibility of integration in Niger or return to their countries of origin – if they are deemed to be safe and people agree to go. But resettlement is the main focus. In April, the pace of people departing for Europe picked up, and evacuations from Libya resumed at the beginning of May – ironically, the same week the Nigerien government broke new and dangerous ground by deporting 132 Sudanese asylum seekers who had crossed the border on their own back to Libya.

      For the evacuees in Niger awaiting resettlement, there are still many unanswered questions.

      As Abdu was biding his time back in March, something other than the uncertainty about his own future weighed on him: the people still stuck in the detention centres in Libya.

      He had started his travels with his best friend. They had been together when they were first kidnapped and held for ransom. But Abdu’s friend was shot in the leg by a guard who accused him of stealing a cigarette. When Abdu tried to escape, he left his friend behind and hasn’t spoken to him or heard anything about him since.

      “UNHCR is saying they are going to find a solution for me; they are going to help me,” Abdu said. “It’s okay. But what about the others?”

      https://www.irinnews.org/special-report/2018/06/26/destination-europe-evacuation

    • Hot Spots #1 : Niger, les évacués de l’enfer libyen

      Fuir l’enfer libyen, sortir des griffes des trafiquants qui séquestrent pendant des mois leurs victimes dans des conditions inhumaines. C’est de l’autre côté du désert, au Niger, que certains migrants trouvent un premier refuge grâce à un programme d’#évacuation d’urgence géré par les Nations Unies depuis novembre 2017.

      https://guitinews.fr/video/2019/03/12/hot-spots-1-niger-les-evacues-de-lenfer-libyen

      Lien vers la #vidéo :

      « Les gens qu’on évacue de la Libye, ce sont des individus qui ont subi une profonde souffrance. Ce sont tous des victimes de torture, des victimes de violences aussi sexuelles, il y a des femmes qui accouchent d’enfants fruits de cette violences sexuelles. » Alexandra Morelli, Représentante du HCR au Niger.

      https://vimeo.com/323299304

      ping @isskein @karine4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Trend #1: A sharp drop in departures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Conclusion

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

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

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

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

    • Arrivées par la #Méditerranée en #2019 :
      Europe : plus de 21.000 migrants et réfugiés arrivés par la Méditerranée depuis janvier

      Selon l’Agence des Nations Unies pour les migrations (OIM ), les arrivées de migrants en Méditerranée ont dépassé le seuil des 21.000, ce qui constitue une baisse d’environ un tiers par rapport aux 32.070 arrivés au cours de la même période l’an dernier.

      Ce sont exactement 21.301 migrants et réfugiés qui sont entrés en Europe par voie maritime à la date du 29 mai. Les arrivées en Espagne et en Grèce représentent 85% du total des arrivées, le reste des migrants et réfugiés de cette année ont pris la direction de l’Italie, de Malte et de Chypre.

      La Grèce a désormais surpassé l’Espagne au titre de première destination des migrants et des réfugiés rejoignant l’Europe via la Méditerranée. Selon l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM), le nombre total d’arrivées par mer cette année est de 10.200 dont 2.483 arrivées signalées entre le 1er et le 29 mai dernier.

      Le Bureau de l’OIM en Grèce a indiqué mercredi dernier que les garde-côtes helléniques ont confirmé que pendant plus de 48 heures entre le 28 et le 29 mai, il y eu sept incidents nécessitant des opérations de recherche et sauvetage au large des îles de Lesbos, Leros, Samos, Symi Kos et le port d’Alexandroupolis. Ils ont ainsi sauvé 191 migrants qui ont été transférés par la suite dans les ports respectifs grecs.

      De plus, à la date du 30 avril, ce sont 3.497 migrants qui ont réussi à atteindre la Grèce via sa frontière terrestre avec la Turquie.
      519 décès de migrants, dont plus de la moitié sur la route de la Méditerranée centrale

      L’Espagne reste la deuxième porte d’entrée des réfugiés en Méditerranée, avec 7.876 arrivées dont 1.160 hommes, femmes et enfants pour le seul mois de mai. Sur la même période l’an dernier, Madrid a comptabilisé 8.150 migrants et réfugiés ayant réussi à franchir la route de la Méditerranée occidentale. En outre, plus de 2.100 ont atteint l’Espagne via sa frontière terrestre avec le Maroc.

      Par ailleurs, l’OIM rappelle que les arrivées ont considérablement baissé en Italie où seuls 1.561 migrants ont réussi à franchir les côtes siciliennes.

      Mais la route de la Méditerranée centrale (Italie et Malte) reste tout de même la plus meurtrière avec 321 décès, soit plus de la moitié du total de migrants et réfugiés ayant péri en tentant d’atteindre l’Europe. Les décès enregistrés sur les trois principales routes de la mer Méditerranée pendant près de cinq mois en 2019 s’élèvent à 519 personnes, soit un quart de moins que les 662 décès confirmés au cours de la même période en 2018.

      A cet égard, l’OIM rappelle que dans l’ouest de la Méditerranée, l’organisation non gouvernementale Alarme Phone a signalé qu’un jeune Camerounais avait disparu le 21 mai dernier. Selon les témoignages des huit survivants qui l’accompagnaient, il serait tombé en mer avant que leur navire ne soit intercepté par la marine marocaine. Son corps n’a pas été retrouvé.

      En Méditerranée centrale, des migrants interceptés et renvoyés en Libye le 23 mai ont également indiqué aux équipes de l’OIM que cinq hommes s’étaient noyés au cours de leur voyage. « Aucun autre détail concernant l’identité, le pays d’origine ou d’autres informations personnelles concernant les disparus n’est disponible », a souligné l’OIM dans une note à la presse.

      https://news.un.org/fr/story/2019/05/1044671

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Violation du droit international

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Départs de migrants depuis la Libye :

      Libya : outcomes of the sea journey

      Migrants intercepted /rescued by the Libyan coast guard

      Lieux de désembarquement :


      #Italie #Espagne #Malte

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

      #statistiques #chiffres #2016 #2017 #2018

      cc @simplicissimus

    • Libyan Coast Guard Takes 611 Migrants Back to Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      https://euobserver.com/tickers/142821

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

      Scabies

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Libya coast guard detains 113 migrants during lull in fighting

      The Libyan coast guard has stopped 113 migrants trying to reach Italy over the past two days, the United Nations said on Wednesday, as boat departures resume following a lull in fighting between rival forces in Libya.

      The western Libyan coast is a major departure point for mainly African migrants fleeing conflict and poverty and trying to reach Italy across the Mediterranean Sea with the help of human traffickers.

      Smuggling activity had slowed when forces loyal to military commander Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive to take the capital Tripoli, home to Libya’s internationally recognized government.

      But clashes eased on Tuesday after a push by Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) back by artillery failed to make inroads toward the center.

      Shelling audible in central Tripoli was less intense on Wednesday than on previous days. Three weeks of clashes had killed 376 as of Tuesday, the World Health Organization said.

      The Libyan coast guard stopped two boats on Tuesday and one on Wednesday, carrying 113 migrants in all, and returned them to two western towns away from the Tripoli frontline, where they were put into detention centers, U.N. migration agency IOM said.

      A coast guard spokesman said the migrants were from Arab and sub-Saharan African countries as well as Bangladesh.

      Human rights groups have accused armed groups and members of the coast guard of being involved in human trafficking.

      Officials have been accused in the past of mistreating detainees, who are being held in their thousands as part of European-backed efforts to curb smuggling. A U.N. report in December referred to a “terrible litany” of violations including unlawful killings, torture, gang rape and slavery.

      Rights groups have also accused the European Union of complicity in the abuse as Italy and France have provided boats for the coast guard to step up patrols. That move has helped to reduce migrant departures.

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-libya-security/libya-coast-guard-detains-113-migrants-during-lull-in-fighting-idUSKCN1S73R

    • Judgement in Italy recognizes that people rescued by #Vos_Thalassa acted lawfully when opposed disembarkation in #Libya. Two men spent months in prison, as Italian government had wished, till a judge established that they had acted in legitimate defence.
      Also interesting that judge argues that Italy-Libya Bilateral agreement on migration control must be considered illegitimate as in breach of international, EU and domestic law.

      https://dirittopenaleuomo.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/GIP-Trapani.pdf

      Reçu via FB par @isskein :
      https://www.facebook.com/isabelle.saintsaens/posts/10218154173470834?comment_id=10218154180551011&notif_id=1560196520660275&n
      #justice

    • The Commission and Italy tie themselves up in knots over Libya

      http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-344-Commission-and-Italy-tie-themselves-up-in-knots-over-libya.pdf

      –-> analyse de #Yasha_Maccanico sur la polémique entre Salvini et la Commission quand il a déclaré en mars que la Commission était tout a fait d’accord avec son approche (le retour des migrants aux champs logiques), la Commission l’a démenti et puis a sorti la lettre de Mme. Michou (JAI Commission) de laquelle provenaient les justifications utilisées par le ministre, qui disait à Leggeri que la collaboration avec la garde côtière libyenne des avions européennes était legale. Dans la lettre, elle admit que les italiens et la mission de Frontex font des activités qui devrait être capable de faire la Libye, si sa zone SAR fuisse authentique et pas une manière pour l’UE de se débarrasser de ses obligations légales et humanitaires. C’est un acte de auto-inculpation pour l’UE et pour l’Italie.

  • Vu sur Twitter :

    M.Potte-Bonneville @pottebonneville a retweeté Catherine Boitard

    Vous vous souvenez ? Elle avait sauvé ses compagnons en tirant l’embarcation à la nage pendant trois heures : Sarah Mardini, nageuse olympique et réfugiée syrienne, est arrêtée pour aide à l’immigration irrégulière.

    Les olympiades de la honte 2018 promettent de beaux records

    M.Potte-Bonneville @pottebonneville a retweeté Catherine Boitard @catboitard :

    Avec sa soeur Yusra, nageuse olympique et distinguée par l’ONU, elle avait sauvé 18 réfugiés de la noyade à leur arrivée en Grèce. La réfugiée syrienne Sarah Mardini, boursière à Berlin et volontaire de l’ONG ERCI, a été arrêtée à Lesbos pour aide à immigration irrégulière

    #migration #asile #syrie #grèce #solidarité #humanité

    • GRÈCE : LA POLICE ARRÊTE 30 MEMBRES D’UNE ONG D’AIDE AUX RÉFUGIÉS

      La police a arrêté, mardi 28 août, 30 membres de l’ONG grecque #ERCI, dont les soeurs syriennes Yusra et Sarah Mardini, qui avaient sauvé la vie à 18 personnes en 2015. Les militant.e.s sont accusés d’avoir aidé des migrants à entrer illégalement sur le territoire grec via l’île de Lesbos. Ils déclarent avoir agi dans le cadre de l’assistance à personnes en danger.

      Par Marina Rafenberg

      L’ONG grecque Emergency response centre international (ERCY) était présente sur l’île de Lesbos depuis 2015 pour venir en aide aux réfugiés. Depuis mardi 28 août, ses 30 membres sont poursuivis pour avoir « facilité l’entrée illégale d’étrangers sur le territoire grec » en vue de gains financiers, selon le communiqué de la police grecque.

      L’enquête a commencé en février 2018, rapporte le site d’information protagon.gr, lorsqu’une Jeep portant une fausse plaque d’immatriculation de l’armée grecque a été découverte par la police sur une plage, attendant l’arrivée d’une barque pleine de réfugiés en provenance de Turquie. Les membres de l’ONG, six Grecs et 24 ressortissants étrangers, sont accusés d’avoir été informés à l’avance par des personnes présentes du côté turc des heures et des lieux d’arrivée des barques de migrants, d’avoir organisé l’accueil de ces réfugiés sans en informer les autorités locales et d’avoir surveillé illégalement les communications radio entre les autorités grecques et étrangères, dont Frontex, l’agence européenne des gardes-cotes et gardes-frontières. Les crimes pour lesquels ils sont inculpés – participation à une organisation criminelle, violation de secrets d’État et recel – sont passibles de la réclusion à perpétuité.

      Parmi les membres de l’ONG grecque arrêtés se trouve Yusra et Sarah Mardini, deux sœurs nageuses et réfugiées syrienne qui avaient sauvé 18 personnes de la noyade lors de leur traversée de la mer Égée en août 2015. Depuis Yusra a participé aux Jeux Olympiques de Rio, est devenue ambassadrice de l’ONU et a écrit un livre, Butterfly. Sarah avait quant à elle décidé d’aider à son tour les réfugiés qui traversaient dangereusement la mer Égée sur des bateaux de fortune et s’était engagée comme bénévole dans l’ONG ERCI durant l’été 2016.

      Sarah a été arrêtée le 21 août à l’aéroport de Lesbos alors qu’elle devait rejoindre Berlin où elle vit avec sa famille. Le 3 septembre, elle devait commencer son année universitaire au collège Bard en sciences sociales. La jeune Syrienne de 23 ans a été transférée à la prison de Korydallos, à Athènes, dans l’attente de son procès. Son avocat a demandé mercredi sa remise en liberté.

      Ce n’est pas la première fois que des ONG basées à Lesbos ont des soucis avec la justice grecque. Des membres de l’ONG espagnole Proem-Aid avaient aussi été accusés d’avoir participé à l’entrée illégale de réfugiés sur l’île. Ils ont été relaxés en mai dernier. D’après le ministère de la Marine, 114 ONG ont été enregistrées sur l’île, dont les activités souvent difficilement contrôlables inquiètent le gouvernement grec et ses partenaires européens.

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Une-ONG-accusee-d-aide-a-l-entree-irreguliere-de-migrants

      #grèce #asile #migrations #réfugiés #solidarité #délit_de_solidarité

    • Arrest of Syrian ’hero swimmer’ puts Lesbos refugees back in spotlight

      Sara Mardini’s case adds to fears that rescue work is being criminalised and raises questions about NGO.

      Greece’s high-security #Korydallos prison acknowledges that #Sara_Mardini is one of its rarer inmates. For a week, the Syrian refugee, a hero among human rights defenders, has been detained in its women’s wing on charges so serious they have elicited baffled dismay.

      The 23-year-old, who saved 18 refugees in 2015 by swimming their waterlogged dingy to the shores of Lesbos with her Olympian sister, is accused of people smuggling, espionage and membership of a criminal organisation – crimes allegedly committed since returning to work with an NGO on the island. Under Greek law, Mardini can be held in custody pending trial for up to 18 months.

      “She is in a state of disbelief,” said her lawyer, Haris Petsalnikos, who has petitioned for her release. “The accusations are more about criminalising humanitarian action. Sara wasn’t even here when these alleged crimes took place but as charges they are serious, perhaps the most serious any aid worker has ever faced.”

      Mardini’s arrival to Europe might have gone unnoticed had it not been for the extraordinary courage she and younger sister, Yusra, exhibited guiding their boat to safety after the engine failed during the treacherous crossing from Turkey. Both were elite swimmers, with Yusra going on to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

      The sisters, whose story is the basis of a forthcoming film by the British director Stephen Daldry, were credited with saving the lives of their fellow passengers. In Germany, their adopted homeland, the pair has since been accorded star status.

      It was because of her inspiring story that Mardini was approached by Emergency Response Centre International, ERCI, on Lesbos. “After risking her own life to save 18 people … not only has she come back to ground zero, but she is here to ensure that no more lives get lost on this perilous journey,” it said after Mardini agreed to join its ranks in 2016.

      After her first stint with ERCI, she again returned to Lesbos last December to volunteer with the aid group. And until 21 August there was nothing to suggest her second spell had not gone well. But as Mardini waited at Mytilini airport to head back to Germany, and a scholarship at Bard College in Berlin, she was arrested. Soon after that, police also arrested ERCI’s field director, Nassos Karakitsos, a former Greek naval force officer, and Sean Binder, a German volunteer who lives in Ireland. All three have protested their innocence.

      The arrests come as signs of a global clampdown on solidarity networks mount. From Russia to Spain, European human rights workers have been targeted in what campaigners call an increasingly sinister attempt to silence civil society in the name of security.

      “There is the concern that this is another example of civil society being closed down by the state,” said Jonathan Cooper, an international human rights lawyer in London. “What we are really seeing is Greek authorities using Sara to send a very worrying message that if you volunteer for refugee work you do so at your peril.”

      But amid concerns about heavy-handed tactics humanitarians face, Greek police say there are others who see a murky side to the story, one ofpeople trafficking and young volunteers being duped into participating in a criminal network unwittingly. In that scenario,the Mardini sisters would make prime targets.

      Greek authorities spent six months investigating the affair. Agents were flown into Lesbos from Athens and Thessaloniki. In an unusually long and detailed statement, last week, Mytilini police said that while posing as a non-profit organisation, ERCI had acted with the sole purpose of profiteering by bringing people illegally into Greece via the north-eastern Aegean islands.

      Members had intercepted Greek and European coastguard radio transmissions to gain advance notification of the location of smugglers’ boats, police said, and that 30, mostly foreign nationals, were lined up to be questioned in connection with the alleged activities. Other “similar organisations” had also collaborated in what was described as “an informal plan to confront emergency situations”, they added.

      Suspicions were first raised, police said, when Mardini and Binder were stopped in February driving a former military 4X4 with false number plates. ERCI remained unnamed until the release of the charge sheets for the pair and that of Karakitsos.

      Lesbos has long been on the frontline of the refugee crisis, attracting idealists and charity workers. Until a dramatic decline in migration numbers via the eastern Mediterranean in March 2016, when a landmark deal was signed between the EU and Turkey, the island was the main entry point to Europe.

      An estimated 114 NGOs and 7,356 volunteers are based on Lesbos, according to Greek authorities. Local officials talk of “an industry”, and with more than 10,000 refugees there and the mood at boiling point, accusations of NGOs acting as a “pull factor” are rife.

      “Sara’s motive for going back this year was purely humanitarian,” said Oceanne Fry, a fellow student who in June worked alongside her at a day clinic in the refugee reception centre.

      “At no point was there any indication of illegal activity by the group … but I can attest to the fact that, other than our intake meeting, none of the volunteers ever met, or interacted, with its leadership.”

      The mayor of Lesbos, Spyros Galinos, said he has seen “good and bad” in the humanitarian movement since the start of the refugee crisis.

      “Everything is possible,. There is no doubt that some NGOs have exploited the situation. The police announcement was uncommonly harsh. For a long time I have been saying that we just don’t need all these NGOs. When the crisis erupted, yes, the state was woefully unprepared but now that isn’t the case.”

      Attempts to contact ERCI were unsuccessful. Neither a telephone number nor an office address – in a scruffy downtown building listed by the aid group on social media – appeared to have any relation to it.

      In a statement released more than a week after Mardini’s arrest, ERCI denied the allegations, saying it had fallen victim to “unfounded claims, accusations and charges”. But it failed to make any mention of Mardini.

      “It makes no sense at all,” said Amed Khan, a New York financier turned philanthropist who has donated boats for ERCI’s search and rescue operations. To accuse any of them of human trafficking is crazy.

      “In today’s fortress Europe you have to wonder whether Brussels isn’t behind it, whether this isn’t a concerted effort to put a chill on civil society volunteers who are just trying to help. After all, we’re talking about grassroots organisations with global values that stepped up into the space left by authorities failing to do their bit.”


      https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/06/arrest-of-syrian-hero-swimmer-lesbos-refugees-sara-mardini?CMP=shar

      #Sarah_Mardini

    • The volunteers facing jail for rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean

      The risk of refugees and migrants drowning in the Mediterranean has increased dramatically over the past few years.

      As the European Union pursued a policy of externalisation, voluntary groups stepped in to save the thousands of people making the dangerous crossing. One by one, they are now criminalised.

      The arrest of Sarah Mardini, one of two Syrian sisters who saved a number of refugees in 2015 by pulling their sinking dinghy to Greece, has brought the issue to international attention.

      The Trial

      There aren’t chairs enough for the people gathered in Mytilíni Court. Salam Aldeen sits front row to the right. He has a nervous smile on his face, mouth half open, the tongue playing over his lips.

      Noise emanates from the queue forming in the hallway as spectators struggle for a peak through the door’s windows. The morning heat is already thick and moist – not helped by the two unplugged fans hovering motionless in dead air.

      Police officers with uneasy looks, 15 of them, lean up against the cooling walls of the court. From over the judge, a golden Jesus icon looks down on the assembly. For the sunny holiday town on Lesbos, Greece, this is not a normal court proceeding.

      Outside the court, international media has unpacked their cameras and unloaded their equipment. They’ve come from the New York Times, Deutsche Welle, Danish, Greek and Spanish media along with two separate documentary teams.

      There is no way of knowing when the trial will end. Maybe in a couple of days, some of the journalists say, others point to the unpredictability of the Greek judicial system. If the authorities decide to make a principle out of the case, this could take months.

      Salam Aldeen, in a dark blue jacket, white shirt and tie, knows this. He is charged with human smuggling and faces life in jail.

      More than 16,000 people have drowned in less than five years trying to cross the Mediterranean. That’s an average of ten people dying every day outside Europe’s southern border – more than the Russia-Ukraine conflict over the same period.

      In 2015, when more than one million refugees crossed the Mediterranean, the official death toll was around 3,700. A year later, the number of migrants dropped by two thirds – but the death toll increased to more than 5,000. With still fewer migrants crossing during 2017 and the first half of 2018, one would expect the rate of surviving to pick up.

      The numbers, however, tell a different story. For a refugee setting out to cross the Mediterranean today, the risk of drowning has significantly increased.

      The deaths of thousands of people don’t happen in a vacuum. And it would be impossible to explain the increased risks of crossing without considering recent changes in EU-policies towards migration in the Mediterranean.

      The criminalisation of a Danish NGO-worker on the tiny Greek island of Lesbos might help us understand the deeper layers of EU immigration policy.

      The deterrence effect

      On 27 March 2011, 72 migrants flee Tripoli and squeeze into a 12m long rubber dinghy with a max capacity of 25 people. They start the outboard engine and set out in the Mediterranean night, bound for the Italian island of Lampedusa. In the morning, they are registered by a French aircraft flying over. The migrants stay on course. But 18 hours into their voyage, they send out a distress-call from a satellite phone. The signal is picked up by the rescue centre in Rome who alerts other vessels in the area.

      Two hours later, a military helicopter flies over the boat. At this point, the migrants accidentally drop their satellite phone in the sea. In the hours to follow, the migrants encounter several fishing boats – but their call of distress is ignored. As day turns into night, a second helicopter appears and drops rations of water and biscuits before leaving.

      And then, the following morning on 28 March – the migrants run out of fuel. Left at the mercy of wind and oceanic currents, the migrants embark on a hopeless journey. They drift south; exactly where they came from.

      They don’t see any ships the following day. Nor the next; a whole week goes by without contact to the outside world. But then, somewhere between 3 and 5 April, a military vessel appears on the horizon. It moves in on the migrants and circle their boat.

      The migrants, exhausted and on the brink of despair, wave and signal distress. But as suddenly as it arrived, the military vessel turns around and disappears. And all hope with it.

      On April 10, almost a week later, the migrant vessel lands on a beach south of Tripoli. Of the 72 passengers who left 2 weeks ago, only 11 make it back alive. Two die shortly hereafter.

      Lorenzo Pezzani, lecturer at Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths University of London, was stunned when he read about the case. In 2011, he was still a PhD student developing new spatial and aesthetic visual tools to document human rights violations. Concerned with the rising number of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean, Lorenzo Pezzani and his colleague Charles Heller founded Forensic Oceanography, an affiliated group to Forensic Architecture. Their first project was to uncover the events and policies leading to a vessel left adrift in full knowledge by international rescue operations.

      It was the public outrage fuelled by the 2013 Lampedusa shipwreck which eventually led to the deployment of Operation Mare Nostrum. At this point, the largest migration of people since the Second World War, the Syrian exodus, could no longer be contained within Syria’s neighbouring countries. At the same time, a relative stability in Libya after the fall of Gaddafi in 2011 descended into civil war; waves of migrants started to cross the Mediterranean.

      From October 2013, Mare Nostrum broke with the reigning EU-policy of non-interference and deployed Italian naval vessels, planes and helicopters at a monthly cost of €9.5 million. The scale was unprecedented; saving lives became the political priority over policing and border control. In terms of lives saved, the operation was an undisputed success. Its own life, however, would be short.

      A critical narrative formed on the political right and was amplified by sections of the media: Mare Nostrum was accused of emboldening Libyan smugglers who – knowing rescue ships were waiting – would send out more migrants. In this understanding, Mare Nostrum constituted a so-called “pull factor” on migrants from North African countries. A year after its inception, Mare Nostrum was terminated.

      In late 2014, Mare Nostrum was replaced by Operation Triton led by Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, with an initial budget of €2.4 million per month. Triton refocused on border control instead of sea rescues in an area much closer to Italian shores. This was a return to the pre-Mare Nostrum policy of non-assistance to deter migrants from crossing. But not only did the change of policy fail to act as a deterrence against the thousands of migrants still crossing the Mediterranean, it also left a huge gap between the amount of boats in distress and operational rescue vessels. A gap increasingly filled by merchant vessels.

      Merchant vessels, however, do not have the equipment or training to handle rescues of this volume. On 31 March 2015, the shipping community made a call to EU-politicians warning of a “terrible risk of further catastrophic loss of life as ever-more desperate people attempt this deadly sea crossing”. Between 1 January and 20 May 2015, merchant ships rescued 12.000 people – 30 per cent of the total number rescued in the Mediterranean.

      As the shipping community had already foreseen, the new policy of non-assistance as deterrence led to several horrific incidents. These culminated in two catastrophic shipwrecks on 12 and 18 April 2015 and the death of 1,200 people. In both cases, merchant vessels were right next to the overcrowded migrant boats when chaotic rescue attempts caused the migrant boats to take in water and eventually sink. The crew of the merchant vessels could only watch as hundreds of people disappeared in the ocean.

      Back in 1990, the Dublin Convention declared that the first EU-country an asylum seeker enters is responsible for accepting or rejecting the claim. No one in 1990 had expected the Syrian exodus of 2015 – nor the gigantic pressure it would put on just a handful of member states. No other EU-member felt the ineptitudes and total unpreparedness of the immigration system than a country already knee-deep in a harrowing economic crisis. That country was Greece.

      In September 2015, when the world saw the picture of a three-year old Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, washed up on a beach in Turkey, Europe was already months into what was readily called a “refugee crisis”. Greece was overwhelmed by the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the Syrian war. During the following month alone, a staggering 200.000 migrants crossed the Aegean Sea from Turkey to reach Europe. With a minimum of institutional support, it was volunteers like Salam Aldeen who helped reduce the overall number of casualties.

      The peak of migrants entered Greece that autumn but huge numbers kept arriving throughout the winter – in worsening sea conditions. Salam Aldeen recalls one December morning on Lesbos.

      The EU-Turkey deal

      And then, from one day to the next, the EU-Turkey deal changed everything. There was a virtual stop of people crossing from Turkey to Greece. From a perspective of deterrence, the agreement was an instant success. In all its simplicity, Turkey had agreed to contain and prevent refugees from reaching the EU – by land or by sea. For this, Turkey would be given a monetary compensation.

      But opponents of the deal included major human rights organisations. Simply paying Turkey a formidable sum of money (€6 billion to this date) to prevent migrants from reaching EU-borders was feared to be a symptom of an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude pervasive among EU decision makers. Moreover, just like Libya in 2015 threatened to flood Europe with migrants, the Turkish President Erdogan would suddenly have a powerful geopolitical card on his hands. A concern that would later be confirmed by EU’s vague response to Erdogan’s crackdown on Turkish opposition.

      As immigration dwindled in Greece, the flow of migrants and refugees continued and increased in the Central Mediterranean during the summer of 2016. At the same time, disorganised Libyan militias were now running the smuggling business and exploited people more ruthlessly than ever before. Migrant boats without satellite phones or enough provision or fuel became increasingly common. Due to safety concerns, merchant vessels were more reluctant to assist in rescue operations. The death toll increased.
      A Conspiracy?

      Frustrated with the perceived apathy of EU states, Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) responded to the situation. At its peak, 12 search and rescue NGO vessels were operating in the Mediterranean and while the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) paused many of its operations during the fall and winter of 2016, the remaining NGO vessels did the bulk of the work. Under increasingly dangerous weather conditions, 47 per cent of all November rescues were carried out by NGOs.

      Around this time, the first accusations were launched against rescue NGOs from ‘alt-right’ groups. Accusations, it should be noted, conspicuously like the ones sounded against Mare Nostrum. Just like in 2014, Frontex and EU-politicians followed up and accused NGOs of posing a “pull factor”. The now Italian vice-prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, went even further and denounced NGOs as “taxis for migrants”. Just like in 2014, no consideration was given to the conditions in Libya.

      Moreover, NGOs were falsely accused of collusion with Libyan smugglers. Meanwhile Italian agents had infiltrated the crew of a Save the Children rescue vessel to uncover alleged secret evidence of collusion. The German Jugendrettet NGO-vessel, Iuventa, was impounded and – echoing Salam Aldeen’s case in Greece – the captain accused of collusion with smugglers by Italian authorities.

      The attacks to delegitimise NGOs’ rescue efforts have had a clear effect: many of the NGOs have now effectively stopped their operations in the Mediterranean. Lorenzo Pezzani and Charles Heller, in their report, Mare Clausum, argued that the wave of delegitimisation of humanitarian work was just one part of a two-legged strategy – designed by the EU – to regain control over the Mediterranean.
      Migrants’ rights aren’t human rights

      Libya long ago descended into a precarious state of lawlessness. In the maelstrom of poverty, war and despair, migrants and refugees have become an exploitable resource for rivalling militias in a country where two separate governments compete for power.

      In November 2017, a CNN investigation exposed an entire industry involving slave auctions, rape and people being worked to death.

      Chief spokesman of the UN Migration Agency, Leonard Doyle, describes Libya as a “torture archipelago” where migrants transiting have no idea that they are turned into commodities to be bought, sold and discarded when they have no more value.

      Migrants intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) are routinely brought back to the hellish detention centres for indefinite captivity. Despite EU-leaders’ moral outcry following the exposure of the conditions in Libya, the EU continues to be instrumental in the capacity building of the LCG.

      Libya hadn’t had a functioning coast guard since the fall of Gaddafi in 2011. But starting in late 2016, the LCG received increasing funding from Italy and the EU in the form of patrol boats, training and financial support.

      Seeing the effect of the EU-Turkey deal in deterring refugees crossing the Aegean Sea, Italy and the EU have done all in their power to create a similar approach in Libya.
      The EU Summit

      Forty-two thousand undocumented migrants have so far arrived at Europe’s shores this year. That’s a fraction of the more than one million who arrived in 2015. But when EU leaders met at an “emergency summit” in Brussels in late June, the issue of migration was described by Chancellor Merkel as a “make or break” for the Union. How does this align with the dwindling numbers of refugees and migrants?

      Data released in June 2018 showed that Europeans are more concerned about immigration than any other social challenge. More than half want a ban on migration from Muslim countries. Europe, it seems, lives in two different, incompatible realities as summit after summit tries to untie the Gordian knot of the migration issue.

      Inside the courthouse in Mytilini, Salam Aldeen is questioned by the district prosecutor. The tropical temperature induces an echoing silence from the crowded spectators. The district prosecutor looks at him, open mouth, chin resting on her fist.

      She seems impatient with the translator and the process of going from Greek to English and back. Her eyes search the room. She questions him in detail about the night of arrest. He answers patiently. She wants Salam Aldeen and the four crew members to be found guilty of human smuggling.

      Salam Aldeen’s lawyer, Mr Fragkiskos Ragkousis, an elderly white-haired man, rises before the court for his final statement. An ancient statuette with his glasses in one hand. Salam’s parents sit with scared faces, they haven’t slept for two days; the father’s comforting arm covers the mother’s shoulder. Then, like a once dormant volcano, the lawyer erupts in a torrent of pathos and logos.

      “Political interests changed the truth and created this wicked situation, playing with the defendant’s freedom and honour.”

      He talks to the judge as well as the public. A tragedy, a drama unfolds. The prosecutor looks remorseful, like a small child in her large chair, almost apologetic. Defeated. He’s singing now, Ragkousis. Index finger hits the air much like thunder breaks the night sounding the roar of something eternal. He then sits and the room quiets.

      It was “without a doubt” that the judge acquitted Salam Aldeen and his four colleagues on all charges. The prosecutor both had to determine the defendants’ intention to commit the crime – and that the criminal action had been initialised. She failed at both. The case, as the Italian case against the Iuventa, was baseless.

      But EU’s policy of externalisation continues. On 17 March 2018, the ProActiva rescue vessel, Open Arms, was seized by Italian authorities after it had brought back 217 people to safety.

      Then again in June, the decline by Malta and Italy’s new right-wing government to let the Aquarious rescue-vessel dock with 629 rescued people on board sparked a fierce debate in international media.

      In July, Sea Watch’s Moonbird, a small aircraft used to search for migrant boats, was prevented from flying any more operations by Maltese authorities; the vessel Sea Watch III was blocked from leaving harbour and the captain of a vessel from the NGO Mission Lifeline was taken to court over “registration irregularities“.

      Regardless of Europe’s future political currents, geopolitical developments are only likely to continue to produce refugees worldwide. Will the EU alter its course as the crisis mutates and persists? Or are the deaths of thousands the only possible outcome?

      https://theferret.scot/volunteers-facing-jail-rescuing-migrants-mediterranean

  • Attivarsi ovunque contro le frontiere assassine

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Crimes of solidarity. Migration and containment through rescue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      signalé par @isskein sur FB

  • MARE CLAUSUM
    The Sea Watch vs Libyan Coast Guard Case
    6 November 2017.
    https://www.forensic-architecture.org/case/sea-watch

    On 6 November 2017, the rescue NGO Sea Watch (SW) and a patrol vessel of the Libyan Coast Guard (LYCG) simultaneously directed themselves towards a migrants’ boat in distress in international waters. The boat, which had departed from Tripoli a few hours earlier, carried between 130 and 150 passengers. A confrontational rescue operation ensued, and while SW was eventually able to rescue and bring to safety in Italy 59 passengers, at least 20 people died before or during these events, while 47 passengers were ultimately pulled back to Libya, where several faced grave human rights violations – including being detained, beaten, and sold to an other captor who tortured them to extract ransom from their families. The unfolding of this incident has been reconstructed in a video by Forensic Oceanography in collaboration with Forensic Architecture.

    To reconstruct the circumstances of this particular incident, however, Forensic Oceanography has produced a detailed written report which argues it is also necessary to understand the policies that shaped the behaviour of the actors involved, and the patterns of practices of which this event was only a particular instantiation. Before arriving on the scene, the LYCG liaised with the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre of the Italian Coast Guard, which informed them of the presence of the boat in distress. The Ras Jadir, the very patrol vessel of the LYCG that engaged in reckless behaviour and thus contributed to the death of several passengers, was one of the four patrol boats that had been donated by Italy to the LYCG on the 15 May 2017, in presence of the Italian Minister of Interior. On board that vessel on the day of the events, 8 out of the 13 crew members had received training from the EU’s anti-smuggling operation, EUNAVFOR MED.

    Based on these elements, the Mare Clausum report argues that this particular incident is paradigmatic of the new, drastic measures that have been implemented by Italy and the EU to stem migration across the central Mediterranean. This multilevel policy of containment operates according to a two-pronged strategy which aims, on the one hand, to delegitimise, criminalise and ultimately oust rescue NGOs from the central Mediterranean; on the other, to provide material, technical and political support to the LYCG so as to enable them to intercept and pull back migrants to Libya more effectively. This undeclared operation to seal off the central Mediterranean is what we refer to as Mare Clausum.

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

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

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

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

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

  • Migrants in Libya : Pushed away, pulled back

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • #Frontex condemned by its own fundamental rights body for failing to live up to obligations

      Frontex, the EU’s border agency, has been heavily criticised for failing to provide adequate staff and resources to its own Fundamental Rights Office, a problem that “seriously hinders the Agency’s ability to deliver on its fundamental rights obligations.”

      The criticisms come in a report from the Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights, an independent advisory body made up of experts from other EU agencies, international organisations and NGOs.

      As well as noting an ongoing “reluctance” to provide the Fundamental Rights Office with “sufficiently qualified staff,” the Consultative Forum report raises concerns over Frontex’s role at the Serbian-Hungarian border, a failure to update and effectively implement codes of conduct and a complaints mechanism, and the lack of independent monitoring of forced return operations coordinated by the agency.

      See: Frontex Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights - Fifth Annual Report (pdf): http://statewatch.org/news/2018/may/eu-frontex-consultative-forum-on-fundamental-rights-report-2017.pdf

      Fundamental rights sidelined

      While the Consultative Forum exists to provide “independent advice” to Frontex’s executive director and management board and is staffed voluntarily, the Fundamental Rights Officer is a Frontex official tasked with “contributing to the Agency’s fundamental rights strategy… monitoring its compliance with fundamental rights and… promoting its respect of fundamental rights.”

      The Officer has to oversee a large organisation - Frontex foresaw (pdf: https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/Programming_Document/2018/Programming_Document_2018-2020.pdf) having 352 staff at the end of 2017, and 418 by the end of this year - yet “lacks the minimum capacity to carry outs its role,” according to the Consultative Forum, with just four staff working alongside the officer and one member of secretarial staff.

      The report states that “the lack of adequate staffing seriously hinders the Agency’s ability to deliver on its fundamental rights obligations including on key areas such as Frontex operational activities, the newly established complaints mechanism or the protection of children.”

      The Consultative Forum has come up against its own problems in attempting to carry out its tasks. According to Article 70(5) of the Frontex Regulation adopted in 2016, “the consultative forum shall have effective access to all information concerning the respect for fundamental rights.”

      Yet the report complains that the Forum “continues to face serious and further limitations” on access to information, “particularly in relation to relevant operational reference and guiding documents.” Despite “repeatedly raising this concern with Frontex management,” it is yet to receive a “final response or constructive proposal.”

      Given that Frontex operational documents have included (http://www.statewatch.org/news/2017/feb/eu-frontex-op-hera-debriefing-pr.htm) instructions for border guards to target “migrants from minority ethnic groups, and individuals who may have been isolated or mistreated during their journey,” the need for access to such information by fundamental rights monitoring bodies is clear.

      In this regard, the Consultative Forum highlights that “external oversight” - for example by the European and national parliaments and civil society groups - “remains of particular importance”.

      The Hungarian-Serbian border

      In November 2016 the Consultative Forum recommended that Frontex teams be withdrawn from the Hungarian-Serbian border due to fundamental rights concerns, but the Executive Director rebuffed the proposal, arguing that Frontex’s presence can “minimise potential risks related to the use of force” and can assist in documenting “circumstances on the ground.”

      Indeed, the positive effect of Frontex presence on national border guards has been noted elsewhere - following a trip to the Bulgarian-Turkish border, French MEP Marie-Christine Vergiat reported NGOs as saying that “whenever a Frontex officer was involved in a [Bulgarian border guard] patrolling group, there were no abuses.” (http://bulgarianpresidency.eu/marie-christine-vergiat-teaming-bulgarian-turkish-border-guards-)

      However, given the European Commission’s decision to launch an infringement procedure against Hungary for new asylum legislation that includes automatic detention, limitations on legal assistance and measures for automatic expulsion, the Forum reasserted its recommendation.

      The agency has apparently “significantly reduced the number of deployed officers and assets in Hungary,” according to the report, but a number remain in place and the Consultative Forum warns that the developments in Hungarian law and practice “have further exacerbated the risks of Frontex being involved in serious fundamental rights violations.”

      Complaints mechanism and codes of conduct

      The need for Frontex to establish a complaints mechanism so that individuals can seek redress for potential fundamental rights violations that they may have suffered during operations coordinated by the agency is a long-standing issue (https://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/activities/speech.faces/en/73745/html.bookmark), and the 2016 Regulation (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32016R1624) introduced such a mechanism (in Article 72), to be overseen by the agency in cooperation with the Fundamental Rights Officer.

      There is now, however, a need to implement this mechanism and the Consultative Forum’s report notes that:

      “The rules should, among other points, provide further details on the respective roles of the different actors involved in the procedure, specify the timeframe for the processing of complaints, and provide for the possibility of anonymous complaints. In this context the Consultative Forum reiterates its calls for the allocation of more technical staff and means to the Fundamental Rights Officer.”

      The Forum also highlights the agency’s decision to discard its recommendations on the ’Code of Conduct for all persons participating in Frontex activities’, which would have seen the inclusion of “specific references to omissions or failures to act or to the prohibition to obey or obligation not to comply with and report instructions that are illicit or against international, EU or national legislation, the Code of Conduct or the legal framework of the activity.”

      The agency is also redrafting its ’Code of Conduct for Return Operations and Return Interventions’, which is expected to be adopted this year. The Forum notes that it is “essential to strengthen the wording relating to the legal framework and, in particular, fundamental rights obligations such as the right to an effective remedy,” and makes a number of specific proposals.

      Monitoring of forced return operations

      In 2017 the agency coordinated and/or co-financed 341 forced return operations - 150 national return operations (involving just one Member State), 153 joint return operations (involving one or more Member State) and 38 collecting return operations, in which the authorities of non-EU states are involved in the “collection” of their own nationals.

      Of these 341 operations, a human rights monitor accompanied 188 of them, just 41% of the total, but nevertheless an increase on the previous year. However, the report indicates that a particularly low number of national return operations - 20 of 150 - were monitored.

      The report also notes 50 “readmission” operations from Greece to Turkey conducted by Frontex, in the framework of the EU-Turkey deal. Only 22 of these were monitored. The Forum recommends treating readmission operations in the same way as return operations, “in order to make use of the already existing standards for return operations (code, monitoring, escorts training, etc.).”

      The list goes on

      Other problems for the Consultative Forum in 2017 include a failure to prioritise the revision of Frontex’s fundamental rights strategy (now foreseen for adoption sometime this year), the need to “mainstream” gender perspectives and issues into Frontex activities, and some issues with the terminology deployed in the Africa-Frontex Intelligence Community reports, such as references to “illegal” migrants and referring to operations by the Libyan Coast Guard as “rescues”.

      Elsewhere, the Consultative Forum notes good progress made on updating measures to try to ensure the protection of children and migration and the identification of minors at risk of abuse. Nevertheless, for an agency whose “mission” is “to promote, coordinate and develop European border management in line with the EU fundamental rights charter,” it seems that the former is being given priority over the latter.

      http://statewatch.org/news/2018/may/eu-frontex-fr-rep.htm

      #droits_fondamentaux #droits_humains #condamnation #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Clarification on the incident of November 6th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Commentaire sur twitter de MSF Italie:

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

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

  • There are no camps" in #Libya, only detention centres. Need to protect refugees, migrants before they get there
    Déclaration de #Cochetel, publiée sur twitter le 18.07.2017
    https://twitter.com/UNGeneva/status/887339785081237506

    #terminologie #mots #vocabulaire #camps #centres_de_détention #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Libye #détention #centres

    No detention centres in Libya, just ’prisons’ - UNHCR

    “We can hope that one day there will be decent and open centres, but now they don’t exist,” Cochetel said.

    http://www.ansa.it/english/news/2017/08/04/no-detention-centres-in-libya-just-prisons-unhcr-2_7aba4a80-8178-42b8-9095-f074

    @sinehebdo : la question de la #terminologie est évoquée deux fois :
    – dans le tweet : « Need to protect refugees , migrants before they get there »
    – et puis sur les #camps/#centres_de_détention en Libye

    #cpa_camps

    • Noury (Amnesty Italia): «I centri d’accoglienza in Libia sono in realtà prigioni»

      «Esatto, senza considerare poi che i centri d’accoglienza libici dove verrebbero condotti i respinti sono in realtà delle prigioni, alcune delle quali informali, magari vecchi capannoni industriali, o alberghi, o addirittura case private. Chiamarli “centri d’accoglienza” è del tutto sbagliato, sono luoghi di detenzione nei quali non c’è alcuna garanzia per l’incolumità fisica delle persone. Sappiamo che avvengono stupri e torture quotidianamente, ci sono prigionieri detenuti in ostaggio fino a quando i familiari non pagano, prigionieri venduti da una banda criminale all’altra. E, se noi contribuiamo a rafforzare questo sistema illegale, ne siamo pienamente complici.

      https://left.it/2017/08/12/noury-amnesty-italia-i-centri-daccoglienza-in-libia-sono-in-realta-prigioni

    • Rescue ship says Libyan coast guard shot at and boarded it, seeking migrants

      A Libyan coast guard vessel fired shots and boarded a humanitarian ship in the Mediterranean on Tuesday, demanding that the migrants on board be handed over to them, a spokesman for the Mission Lifeline charity said.

      “The Libyan man said: ‘This is our territory,’” said Axel Steier, a spokesman for the German-based charity that performed its first rescues on Tuesday.

      “After a while, they fired shots,” he said, probably into the air or sea. No one was wounded.

      Afterward two Libyans boarded the Lifeline ship to try to persuade them to hand over some 70 migrants they had just taken off a wooden boat in international waters.

      “We told them we don’t return migrants to Libya. After a while, they gave up,” Steier said. The two men spent about 15 minutes on board, he said.

      A Libyan coast guard spokesman in Tripoli declined to comment, saying he was seeking information. Italy’s coast guard, which coordinates rescues, did not respond to repeated telephone calls.

      It was the latest incident reported between the Libyan coast guard and humanitarian rescue ships operating off North Africa. Financed, trained and equipped by Italy, the Tripoli-based coastguard is intercepting a growing number of migrant boats.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-libya-ngo/rescue-ship-says-libyan-coast-guard-shot-at-and-boarded-it-seeking-migrants
      #Méditerranée #gardes-côtes

    • Quei campi libici sono irriformabili

      Hai voglia di annunciare bandi, di investire qualche milione di euro per rendere vivibile ciò che vivibile non è. Perché i lager libici sono come il socialismo reale: irriformabili. In discussione non sono le buone intenzioni che animano il vice ministro degli Esteri con delega per la Cooperazione internazionale, Mario Giro: per lui parla il lungo impegno in favore della pace e della giustizia sociale per l’Africa e il fatto, politicamente significativo, che nell’estate dominata dalla «caccia» alle Ong e da una ondata securista, Giro è stata una delle poche voci alzatesi tra le fila del governo per ricordare a tutti che i migranti intercettati sulla rotta del Mediterraneo venivano ricacciati nell’"inferno libico".

      http://www.huffingtonpost.it/umberto-de-giovannangeli/quei-campi-libici-sono-irriformabili_a_23225947

    • L’Onu vuole aprire un centro di transito per i profughi in Libia

      Un contingente di 250 guardie di sicurezza nepalesi arriverà in Libia in questi giorni per garantire sicurezza alla base militare dell’Onu di Tripoli. Se tutto andrà come previsto, spiega Roberto Mignone, capomissione dell’Alto commissariato delle Nazioni Unite per i rifugiati (Unhcr), all’inizio di novembre anche il personale internazionale dell’organizzazione, che dal 2014 si è spostato a Tunisi per ragioni di sicurezza, potrebbe tornare in Libia in pianta stabile.

      https://www.internazionale.it/bloc-notes/annalisa-camilli/2017/09/29/onu-libia-centro-profughi
      #centre_de_transit

    • UN human rights chief: Suffering of migrants in Libya outrage to conscience of humanity

      “The international community cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the unimaginable horrors endured by migrants in Libya, and pretend that the situation can be remedied only by improving conditions in detention,” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said, calling for the creation of domestic legal measures and the decriminalisation of irregular migration to ensure the protection of migrants’ human rights.

      http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22393&LangID=E

    • Cet extrait tiré d’un article du Sole 24 Ore (journal italien plutôt tourné économie et finance) est quand même assez incroyable, surtout le début, ce « certo »( « certes »)...

      Certes... il y a toujours le problème des centres de détention dans un pays qui n’a pas signé la convention de Genève, mais certaines ONG italiennes sont en train d’entrer dans les centres pour vérifier le respect des principes humanitaires basiques...
      dit l’article... « certes »...

      Certo, resta sempre il problema dei centri di detenzione in un Paese che non ha firmato la convenzione di Ginevra, ma alcune Ong italiane stanno entrando nei centri per verificare il rispetto dei più elementari principi umanitari. Sarebbero oltre 700mila i migranti identificati in Libia tra gennaio e febbraio dall’Oim, l’Organizzazione internazionale per le migrazioni. Ma non ci sono numeri precisi (si parla di altri 300 o 400mila migranti) sparsi in Libia in condizioni anche peggiori dei centri. Per il 63% si tratta di giovani provenienti dall’Africa sub-sahariana, per il 29% da quella settentrionale e per l’8% da Medio Oriente e Asia.


      http://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/mondo/2018-02-24/libia-e-niger-bilancio-dell-italia-e-l-eredita-il-prossimo-governo--212

      A mettre en lien, comme le suggère @isskein sur FB, avec cet autre article publié l’été passé :

      Italy minister sees light at the end of the tunnel on migrant flows

      Italy’s interior minister said on Tuesday (15 August) he saw light at the end of the tunnel for curbing migrant flows from Libya after a slowdown in arrivals across the Mediterranean in recent months.

      https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/italy-minister-sees-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-on-migrant-flows

    • Campi libici, l’inferno nel deserto. La sentenza della Corte di assise di Milano

      La qualità delle indagini e della loro resa dibattimentale, insieme alla ritenuta credibilità delle dichiarazioni delle persone offese, ha confermato, secondo i giudici dell’assise, un contesto di privazione della libertà dei migranti e di violenze di ogni tipo che scolpisce una realtà che per la sorte dei diritti umani è fondamentale non ignorare.

      http://questionegiustizia.it/articolo/campi-libici-l-inferno-nel-deserto-la-sentenza-della-corte-di-ass

    • « Je voudrais faire comprendre qu’une fois entrée dans ce système de traite humaine et de rançonnage, une personne ne peut en sortir qu’en se jetant à la mer. Elle y est poussée. On ne passe plus par ce pays [la Libye], on en réchappe : Yacouba ne cherchait plus à se rendre en Europe, il voulait juste ne pas mourir en Libye. Les migrants qui embarquent sur les zodiacs ont été ballottés de ghetto en ghetto, placés en détention durant plusieurs mois. Maltraités, dépouillés, leurs corps épuisés sont alors portés par le seul espoir de retrouver un semblant de dignité sur le ’continent des droits de l’homme’. »

      Source : Samuel GRATACAP, in Manon PAULIC, « Ce que l’Europe refuse de voir », Le 1, n°188, 7 février 2018, p.3.

    • Libya: Shameful EU policies fuel surge in detention of migrants and refugees

      A surge in migrants and refugees intercepted at sea by the Libyan authorities has seen at least 2,600 people transferred, in the past two months alone, to squalid detention centres where they face torture and extortion, Amnesty International said today.

      The global human rights organisation accuses European governments of complicity in these abuses by actively supporting the Libyan authorities in stopping sea crossings and sending people back to detention centres in Libya.

      “The EU is turning a blind eye to the suffering caused by its callous immigration policies that outsource border control to Libya,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director.

      https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/05/libya-shameful-eu-policies-fuel-surge-in-detention-of-migrants-and-refugees

    • Ne dites pas que ce sont des #camps !

      Bien sûr, tous ces #centres_fermés de rassemblement de migrants ne peuvent pas être appelés camps. Cela évoquerait des images effrayantes : les camps de concentration nazis, le système des goulags soviétiques, les camps de réfugiés palestiniens de plusieurs générations, le camp de détention de Guantánamo.

      Non, en Allemagne, ces « #non-prisons » devraient être appelées « #centres_de_transit ». Un terme amical, efficace, pratique, comme la zone de transit d’un aéroport où les voyageurs changent d’avion. Un terme inventé par les mêmes personnes qui désignent le fait d’échapper à la guerre et à la pauvreté comme du « #tourisme_d’asile ». Les responsables politiques de l’UE sont encore indécis quant à la terminologie de leurs camps. On a pu lire le terme de « #centres_de_protection » mais aussi celui de « #plateformes_d’atterrissage_et_de_débarquement », ce qui fait penser à une aventure et à un voyage en mer.

      Tout cela est du #vernis_linguistique. La réalité est que l’Europe en est maintenant à créer des camps fermés et surveillés pour des personnes qui n’ont pas commis de crime. Les camps vont devenir quelque chose qui s’inscrit dans le quotidien, quelque chose de normal. Si possible dans des endroits lointains et horribles, si nécessaire sur place. Enfermer, compter, enregistrer.

      https://www.tdg.ch/monde/europe/dites-camps/story/31177430

    • Cruel European migration policies leave refugees trapped in Libya with no way out

      A year after shocking images purporting to show human beings being bought and sold in Libya caused a global outcry, the situation for migrants and refugees in the country remains bleak and in some respects has worsened, said Amnesty International.

      Findings published by the organization today highlight how EU member states’ policies to curb migration, as well as their failure to provide sufficient resettlement places for refugees, continue to fuel a cycle of abuse by trapping thousands of migrants and refugees in appalling conditions in Libyan detention centres.

      “One year after video footage showing human beings being bought and sold like merchandise shocked the world, the situation for refugees and migrants in Libya remains bleak,” said Heba Morayef, Middle East and North Africa Director for Amnesty International.

      “Cruel policies by EU states to stop people arriving on European shores, coupled with their woefully insufficient support to help refugees reach safety through regular routes, means that thousands of men, women and children are trapped in Libya facing horrific abuses with no way out.”

      Migrants and refugees in Libyan detention centres are routinely exposed to torture, extortion and rape.

      One year after video footage showing human beings being bought and sold like merchandise shocked the world, the situation for refugees and migrants in Libya remains bleak
      Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa

      The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has registered 56,442 refugees and asylum seekers in Libya and has repeatedly called on European and other governments to offer resettlement to refugees stranded in Libya, including through evacuation to Niger. However, only 3,886 resettlement places have been pledged by 12 countries and in total just 1,140 refugees have been resettled from Libya and Niger so far. Italy separately evacuated 312 asylum seekers from Libya directly to Italy between December 2017 and February 2018, but no further evacuations took place until the resettlement of 44 refugees on 7 November.

      Over the past two years EU member states have put in place a series of measures to block migration across the central Mediterranean, boosting the capacity of the Libyan Coast Guard to intercept sea crossings, striking deals with militias in Libya and hampering the work of NGOs carrying out search and rescue operations.

      These policies have contributed to a nearly 80% drop in the numbers crossing the central Mediterranean and arriving in Italy, from 114,415 between January and November 2017 to just 22,232 so far in 2018. There are currently around 6,000 refugees and migrants being held in detention centres in Libya.

      With the central Mediterranean sea route almost completely shut off, and the Libyan authorities keeping refugees in unlawful detention and refusing to release them to UNHCR’s care, the only way out of Libyan detention centres is through evacuation to another country via programmes run by the UN. For refugees, who cannot return to their home country, the lack of international resettlement places on offer has left thousands stranded in Libyan detention centres.

      The opening of a long promised UNHCR processing centre in Libya that would offer safety for up to 1,000 refugees by allowing them to relocate from the abusive detention centres has been repeatedly delayed. Its opening would undoubtedly be a positive step, but it would only assist a small proportion of refugees in detention and does not offer a sustainable solution.

      “At the same time as doing their utmost to stop sea crossings and helping the Libyan Coast Guard to intercept people at sea and send them back to notorious detention centres, European governments have catastrophically failed to offer other routes out of the country for those most in need,” said Heba Morayef.

      “While Europe fails to extend the desperately needed lifeline to save those stuck in Libya and at risk of abuse, it is time that the Libyan authorities take responsibility for their atrocious policies of unlawful detention and protect the human rights of all people in their territory.”

      Armed clashes in Tripoli between August and September this year have also made the situation for refugees and migrants more dangerous. Some of those held in detention centres have been wounded by stray bullets. There have also been instances where detention centre guards have fled to escape rocket attacks leaving thousands of inmates locked up without food or water.

      The publication of Amnesty’s findings is timed to coincide with a meeting of Libyan and other world leaders in the Italian city of Palermo on 12 and 13 November. This international conference is intended to find solutions to break the political stalemate in Libya. Amnesty International is calling on all those taking part in the conference to ensure that human rights of all people in the country, including refugees and migrants, are placed at the centre of their negotiations.

      https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/11/cruel-european-migration-policies-leave-refugees-trapped-in-libya-with-no-w

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

      An estimated 5,400 refugees and migrants are presently held in detention centres in Libya, of whom 3,900 are of concern to UNHCR. Over the past month, UNHCR has registered 2,629 persons of concern in detention centres in and around Tripoli. So far in 2018, UNHCR conducted 1,139 visits to detention centres and distributed CRIs to 19,348 individuals. Through its partner International Medical Corps (IMC), UNHCR continues to provide medical assistance in detention centres in Libya. So far in 2018, IMC provided 20,070 primary health care consultations in detention centres and 237 medical referrals to public hospitals. In detention centres in the East, UNHCR’s partners have so far provided 1,058 primary health care consultations and distributed CRIs to 725 individuals.

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

      #statistiques #chiffres #2018

    • Libia, i minori abusati e torturati nei centri di detenzione per migranti finanziati dall’Ue

      I minori bloccati nei centri di detenzione in Libia, finanziati anche dall’Unione europea tramite il Fondo per l’Africa, subiscono abusi e soffrono di malnutrizione, secondo quanto riportato dal Guardian.

      I bambini hanno raccontato di essere stati picchiati e maltrattati dalla polizia libica e dalle guardie del campo, descrivendo la loro vita come “un inferno in terra”.

      Secondo i dati analizzati dal Guardian, in Libia esistono 26 centri dei detenzione dei migranti, ma il numero dei minori detenuti non è chiaro in quanto non esistono registi affidabili.
      Nonostante ciò, si pensa che siano più di mille i bambini presenti nei campi di detenzione in Libia.Secondo l’Unhcr, almeno 5.400 rifugiati sono detenuti in territorio libico.

      Le rivelazioni dei bambini, che rischiano di essere puniti dalle guardie per aver parlato con i media, forniscono il resoconto più dettagliato della vita nei campi di detenzione.
      Le denunce delle Ong – A inizio di novembre Amnesty International aveva già denunciato le condizioni insostenibili in cui i migranti erano costretti a vivere, raccontando come la tortura e i maltrattamenti fossero all’ordine del giorno.

      “C’è un vero e proprio disprezzo da parte dell’Europa e di altri Stati per la sofferenza di coloro che si trovano nei centri di detenzione”, si legge nel rapporto di Amnesty.

      Un ragazzo di 16 anni ha raccontato al Guardian cosa vuol dire viver nei centri di detenzione in Libia: “Sono qui da quattro mesi. Ho cercato di scappare tre volte per attraversare il mare diretto in Italia ma ogni volta sono stato catturato e riportato al centro di detenzione”.

      “Stiamo morendo, ma nessuno se ne sta assumendo la responsabilità. Dobbiamo essere portati in un posto sicuro, invece siamo rinchiusi qui 24 ore al giorno. Non vediamo l’alba e non vediamo il tramonto “.

      I centri sono progettati per mantenere i richiedenti asilo in Libia ed evitare che attraversino il Mediterraneo diretti verso l’Europa.

      L’Ue ha investito decine di milioni di euro per cercare di impedire ai richiedenti asilo provenienti da zone di conflitto, come l’Eritrea e il Sudan, di entrare in Europa.

      Le testimonianze – Un rifugiato eritreo di 13 anni rinchiuso in un campo di Tripoli ha raccontato che i detenuti ricevono solo una o due piccole porzioni di pasta in bianco al giorno.

      Malattie come la tubercolosi sono diffuse e in molti possiedono solo una maglietta e un paio di pantaloncini, inadatte alle temperature nei centri.

      “Non abbiamo niente qui, niente cibo, niente vestiti, niente telefoni. Mi mancano così tanto mia madre e mio padre”, ha detto il ragazzo.

      Nei giorni precedenti un rifugiato di 24 anni ha cercato di impiccarsi nella toilette di uno dei campi e un altro si è dato fuoco nel campo di Triq al Sikka di Tripoli.

      Un ragazzo eritreo di 17 anni che è fuggito da un centro di detenzione e ha raggiunto il Regno Unito aveva 50 cicatrici sul suo corpo, a dimostrazione delle torture subite in Libia.

      “Quello che giovani, donne, bambini e neonati stanno soffrendo nei centri di detenzione in Libia è uno dei più grandi fallimenti della nostra civiltà”, ha affermato Giulia Tranchina, del Wilsons solicitors, che rappresenta il diciassettenne eritreo.

      “I governi europei, a nostro nome, con il nostro denaro stanno pagando le autorità libiche, le milizie e i generali dell’esercito per continuare a detenere e torturare i profughi per assicurarsi che non arrivino in Europa”.

      Una portavoce dell’UNHCR ha dichiarato: “Siamo incredibilmente preoccupati per la situazione dei profughi e dei migranti detenuti in Libia. Le condizioni di detenzione sono terribili”.

      https://mediterraneomigrante.it/2018/11/26/libia-i-minori-abusati-e-torturati-nei-centri-di-detenzione-per
      #enfants #enfance #torture #abus_sexuels #viols

    • Un #rapport de l’ONU met en lumière les «horreurs inimaginables» des migrants et réfugiés en Libye et au-delà

      Les migrants et les réfugiés sont soumis à des « horreurs inimaginables » dès leur arrivée en Libye, tout au long de leur séjour dans le pays et - s’ils parviennent à ce résultat - lors de leurs tentatives de traverser la Méditerranée, selon un rapport publié jeudi, par la mission politique des Nations Unies en Libye (#MANUL) et le Bureau des droits de l’homme des Nations Unies (HCDH).

      « Il y a un échec local et international à gérer cette calamité humaine cachée qui continue de se produire en Libye », a déclaré Ghassan Salamé, qui dirige la MINUS.

      Assassinats illégaux, détention arbitraire et tortures, viols collectifs, esclavage et traite des êtres humains, le rapport couvre une période de 20 mois jusqu’en août 2018 et détaille une terrible litanie de violations et d’exactions commises par divers agents de l’État, armés contrebandiers et trafiquants contre les migrants et les réfugiés.

      Les conclusions reposent sur 1 300 témoignages de première main recueillis par le personnel des droits de l’homme des Nations Unies en Libye, ainsi que sur des migrants qui sont rentrés au Nigéria ou ont réussi à atteindre l’Italie, retraçant tout le parcours des migrants et des réfugiés de la frontière sud de la Libye, à travers le désert jusqu’à la côte nord.

      Le climat d’anarchie en Libye fournit un terrain fertile pour les activités illicites, laissant les migrants et les réfugiés « à la merci d’innombrables prédateurs qui les considèrent comme des marchandises à exploiter et à extorquer », indique le rapport, notant que « l’écrasante majorité des femmes et des adolescentes »ont déclaré avoir été« violées par des passeurs ou des trafiquants ».
      Trafic d’êtres humains

      De nombreuses personnes sont vendues par un groupe criminel à un autre et détenues dans des centres non officiels et illégaux gérés directement par des groupes armés ou des gangs criminels.

      « D’innombrables migrants et réfugiés ont perdu la vie en captivité tués par des passeurs, après avoir été abattus, torturés à mort ou tout simplement avoir été laissés mourir de faim ou de négligence médicale », indique le rapport.

      « Dans toute la Libye, des corps non identifiés de migrants et de réfugiés portant des blessures par balle, des marques de torture et des brûlures sont fréquemment découverts dans des poubelles, des lits de rivière asséchés, des fermes et le désert. »

      Ceux qui réussissent à survivre aux abus et à l’exploitation, et à tenter la traversée périlleuse de la Méditerranée, sont de plus en plus interceptés - ou « sauvés » comme certains le prétendent - par les garde-côtes libyens. Depuis le début de 2017, les quelque 29 000 migrants renvoyés en Libye par les garde-côtes ont été placés dans des centres de détention où des milliers de personnes restent indéfiniment et arbitrairement, sans procédure régulière ni accès à un avocat ou à des services consulaires.

      Des membres du personnel de l’ONU se sont rendus dans 11 centres de détention où sont détenus des milliers de migrants et de réfugiés. Ils ont constaté des cas de torture, de mauvais traitements, de travaux forcés et de viols commis par les gardes. Les migrants retenus dans les centres sont systématiquement soumis à la famine et à des passages à tabac sévères, brûlés avec des objets chauds en métal, électrocutés et soumis à d’autres formes de mauvais traitements dans le but d’extorquer de l’argent à leurs familles par le biais d’un système complexe de transferts d’argent.
      Surpeuplement des centres de détention

      Les centres de détention se caractérisent par un surpeuplement important, un manque de ventilation et d’éclairage, et des installations de lavage et des latrines insuffisantes. Outre les exactions et les actes de violence perpétrés contre les personnes détenues, beaucoup d’entre elles souffrent de malnutrition, d’infections cutanées, de diarrhée aiguë, d’infections du tractus respiratoire et d’autres affections, ainsi que de traitements médicaux inadéquats. Les enfants sont détenus avec des adultes dans les mêmes conditions sordides.

      Le rapport signale l’apparente « complicité de certains acteurs étatiques, notamment de responsables locaux, de membres de groupes armés officiellement intégrés aux institutions de l’État et de représentants des ministères de l’Intérieur et de la Défense, dans le trafic illicite ou le trafic de migrants et de réfugiés ».

      Nils Melzer, expert indépendant des droits de l’homme des Nations Unies sur la torture, estime que, compte tenu des risques de violations des droits de l’homme dans le pays, les transferts et les retours en Libye peuvent être considérés comme une violation du principe juridique international du « non-refoulement », qui protège les demandeurs d’asile et les migrants contre le retour dans des pays où ils ont des raisons de craindre la violence ou la persécution.

      « La situation est abominablement terrible », a déclaré jeudi Michelle Bachelet, Haut-Commissaire des Nations Unies aux droits de l’homme. « Combattre l’impunité généralisée non seulement mettrait fin aux souffrances de dizaines de milliers de femmes, d’hommes et d’enfants migrants et réfugiés, à la recherche d’une vie meilleure, mais saperait également l’économie parallèle et illégale fondée sur les atteintes à ces personnes et contribuerait à l’instauration de l’état de droit et des institutions nationales ».

      Le rapport appelle les États européens à reconsidérer les coûts humains de leurs politiques et à veiller à ce que leur coopération et leur assistance aux autorités libyennes soient respectueuses des droits de l’homme et conformes au droit international des droits de l’homme et du droit des réfugiés, de manière à ne pas, directement ou indirectement, aboutir à ce que des hommes, des femmes et des enfants soient enfermés dans des situations de violence avec peu d’espoir de protection et de recours.

      https://news.un.org/fr/story/2018/12/1032271

    • Libya: Nightmarish Detention for Migrants, Asylum Seekers

      EU and Italy Bear Responsibility, Should Condition Cooperation

      (Brussels) – European Union policies contribute to a cycle of extreme abuse against migrants in Libya, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The EU and Italy’s support for the Libyan Coast Guard contributes significantly to the interception of migrants and asylum seekers and their subsequent detention in arbitrary, abusive detention in Libya.

      The 70-page report, “‘No Escape from Hell’: EU Policies Contribute to Abuse of Migrants in Libya,” documents severe overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, malnutrition, and lack of adequate health care. Human Rights Watch found violent abuse by guards in four official detention centers in western Libya, including beatings and whippings. Human Rights Watch witnessed large numbers of children, including newborns, detained in grossly unsuitable conditions in three out of the four detention centers. Almost 20 percent of those who reached Europe by sea from Libya in 2018 were children.

      “Migrants and asylum seekers detained in Libya, including children, are trapped in a nightmare, and what EU governments are doing perpetuates detention instead of getting people out of these abusive conditions,” said Judith Sunderland, associate Europe director at Human Rights Watch. “Fig-leaf efforts to improve conditions and get some people out of detention do not absolve the EU of responsibility for enabling the barbaric detention system in the first place.”

      In a letter to Human Rights Watch as the report went to print, the European Commission indicated that its dialogue with Libyan authorities has focused on respect for the human rights of migrants and refugees, that the EU’s engagement in Libya is of a humanitarian nature, and that concrete improvements have been achieved though challenges remain.

      Human Rights Watch visited the #Ain_Zara and #Tajoura detention centers in Tripoli, the al-Karareem detention center in Misrata, and the Zuwara detention center in the city of the same name in July 2018. All are under the nominal control of the Directorate to Counter Illegal Migration (DCIM) of the Government of National Accord (GNA), one of two competing authorities in Libya. Human Rights Watch spoke with over 100 detained migrants and asylum seekers, including 8 unaccompanied children, and each center’s director and senior staff. Researchers also met with the head of DCIM; senior officials of Libya’s Coast Guard, which is aligned with the GNA; and representatives of international organizations and diplomats.

      Abdul, an 18-year-old from Darfur, was intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard in May 2018, when he attempted to reach Europe to apply for asylum. He was subsequently detained in abysmal, overcrowded, and unsanitary conditions in the al-Karareem center. He said that guards beat him on the bottom of his feet with a hose to make him confess to helping three men escape. Abdul’s experience encapsulates the struggle, dashed hopes, and suffering of so many migrants and asylum seekers in Libya today, Human Rights Watch said.

      Senior officials in EU institutions and member countries are aware of the situation. In November 2017, EU migration commissioner, Dimitri Avramopoulos, said: “We are all conscious of the appalling and degrading conditions in which some migrants are held in Libya.” Yet since 2016, the EU and particular member states have poured millions of euros into programs to beef up the Libyan Coast Guard’s capacity to intercept boats leaving Libya, fully aware that everyone is then automatically detained in indefinite, arbitrary detention without judicial review.

      Italy – the EU country where the majority of migrants departing Libya have arrived – has taken the lead in providing material and technical assistance to the Libyan Coast Guard forces and abdicated virtually all responsibility for coordinating rescue operations at sea, to limit the number of people arriving on its shores. The increase in interceptions in international waters by the Libyan Coast Guard, combined with obstruction by Italy and Malta of rescue vessels operated by nongovernmental organizations, has contributed to overcrowding and deteriorating conditions in Libyan detention centers.

      Enabling the Libyan Coast Guard to intercept people in international waters and return them to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment in Libya can constitute aiding or assisting in the commission of serious human rights violations, Human Rights Watch said. EU and member state support for programs for humanitarian assistance to detained migrants and asylum seekers and for evacuation and repatriation schemes have done little to address the systemic problems with immigration detention in Libya, and serve to cover up the injustice of the EU containment policy.

      Libyan authorities should end arbitrary immigration detention and institute alternatives to detention, improve conditions in detention centers, and ensure accountability for state and non-state actors who violate the rights of migrants and asylum seekers. The authorities should also sign a memorandum of understanding with UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, to allow it to register anyone in need of international protection, regardless of nationality, in full respect of its mandate.

      EU institutions and member states should impose clear benchmarks for improvements in the treatment of migrants and conditions in detention centers in Libya and be prepared to suspend cooperation if benchmarks are not met. The EU should also ensure and enable robust search-and-rescue operations in the central Mediterranean, including by nongovernmental groups, and significantly increase resettlement of asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants out of Libya.

      “EU leaders know how bad things are in Libya, but continue to provide political and material support to prop up a rotten system,” Sunderland said. “To avoid complicity in gross human rights abuses, Italy and its EU partners should rethink their strategy to truly press for fundamental reforms and ending automatic detention.”

      https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/01/21/libya-nightmarish-detention-migrants-asylum-seekers

    • L’odissea degli ultimi. Libia, nuove cronache dall’orrore

      Ancora foto choc dai campi di detenzione di #Bani_Walid, dove i trafficanti torturano e ricattano le vittime Prigionieri di criminali efferati, 150 profughi subiscono violenza da mesi.

      Le immagini provengono direttamente dall’inferno di Bani Walid, distretto di #Misurata, circa 150 chilometri a sud-est di Tripoli. Sono state mandate ai familiari dai trafficanti di esseri umani per indurli al pagamento del riscatto per rilasciarli. Da sei mesi ogni giorno i detenuti subiscono minacce, percosse, torture e le donne spesso vengono stuprate dai guardiani. Tutti hanno cicatrici e bruciature per la plastica fusa gettata su arti e schiena. Ma la cifra chiesta dai libici – 4 o 5mila dollari – è troppo alta perché i parenti hanno già dovuto pagare le diverse tappe del viaggio e ora stanno chiedendo aiuto ai conoscenti. Come ha scritto di recente anche il Corriere della Sera, nel caos libico lo scontro tra il governo centrale di Serraj e quello di Haftar, l’uomo forte della Cirenaica, ha lasciato senza paghe i dipendenti pubblici, tra cui i guardiani delle galere.


      https://dossierlibia.lasciatecientrare.it/lodissea-degli-ultimi-libia-nuove-cronache-dallorrore

    • Torture and shocking conditions: the human cost of keeping migrants out of Europe

      It’s been heralded as the start of a new dialogue. The first summit between the League of Arab States and EU member states ended with a lofty statement of shared values.

      European leaders shook hands with their Arab counterparts and discussed issues such as Syria, Yemen and nuclear proliferation. They agreed to tackle the “common challenge” of migration.

      Tonight, we’ve new evidence of how Libyan authorities are tackling that challenge.

      Footage from inside camps in Libya shows migrants living in shocking conditions. And there are disturbing signs that some migrants are being tortured by people traffickers. This report contains images that some viewers will find distressing.


      https://www.channel4.com/news/torture-and-shocking-conditions-the-human-cost-of-keeping-migrants-out-of-

    • Des migrants détenus en Libye, torturés pour s’être rebellés

      L’affaire est révélée par la télévision al-Jazeera. Le sort des migrants et des réfugiés bloqués en Libye ne cesse de se dégrader. Le 26 février 2019, plus d’une centaine se sont révoltés dans le centre de Triq al-Sikka à Tripoli, pour dénoncer leurs conditions de détention. La répression a été terrible. Une trentaine de ces détenus auraient été torturés.


      https://www.francetvinfo.fr/monde/europe/naufrage-a-lampedusa/des-migrants-detenus-en-libye-tortures-pour-setre-rebelles_3217669.html

    • L’incapacité européenne face à la #maltraitance des réfugiés en Libye

      #Matteo_de_Bellis, chercheur d’Amnesty International sur les migrations, revient sur les tortures et les violences contre les réfugiés et les migrants en Libye et l’incapacité honteuse de l’Europe à y mettre fin.

      Farah, un jeune homme somalien, sa femme et leur fille qui venait de naître avaient passé 12 heures en mer quand les gardes-côtes libyens ont intercepté leur canot. Le couple avait fui la Libye après plusieurs mois de torture dans un hangar dans lequel Farah était battu et sa femme était violée par des bandes criminelles libyennes essayant d’obtenir une rançon de leurs proches.

      Lorsqu’il a réalisé qu’il allait être renvoyé en Libye, le jeune homme de 24 ans a été pris de nausées. « Je savais qu’il valait mieux mourir que retourner en Libye, mais ils nous ont menacés avec des armes. »

      Farah, sa femme et son bébé ont passé les sept mois suivants dans deux centres de détention de Tripoli. « Il n’y avait pas de nourriture ou de soins pour mon bébé. Elle est morte à huit mois. Elle s’appelait Sagal. »

      Leur histoire n’est que l’une des nombreuses histoires déchirantes de violence et de cruauté inimaginable que j’ai pu entendre le mois dernier à Médenine, une petite ville du sud de la Tunisie, qui a accueilli un nombre limité mais constant de réfugiés et de migrants franchissant la frontière pour échapper à l’enfer de la Libye.

      Ce weekend, de nouveaux témoignages faisant état de torture dans le centre de détention de Triq al Sikka ont été recueillis. D’après ces informations, plus de 20 réfugiés et migrants, dont des enfants, ont été conduits dans une cellule en sous-sol et torturés individuellement, à tour de rôle, à titre de punition pour avoir protesté contre leur détention arbitraire dans des conditions déplorables et l’absence de solution. En réponse à cette contestation, plus d’une centaine d’autres personnes détenues ont été transférées vers d’autres centres de détention, notamment celui d’#Ain_Zara, dans lequel Sagal est morte.

      Ces témoignages de violences correspondent à ce que j’ai pu entendre en Tunisie. Un autre homme somalien, Abdi, a décrit l’extorsion et les violences qu’il a subies aux mains des gardiens des centres de détention. Comme Farah, Abdi a été arrêté en mer par les gardes-côtes libyens et renvoyé en Libye où il est passé d’un centre de détention à un autre.

      Parfois, les gardes boivent et fument, puis frappent des gens. Ils demandent aussi aux gens de leur donner de l’argent en échange de leur libération, et ceux qui ne paient pas sont frappés. On voyait les gardes, tant des membres des milices que de la police, venir et frapper des gens qui n’avaient pas payé.

      La plupart des personnes actuellement détenues dans les centres de détention de Libye ont été interceptées en mer par les gardes-côtes libyens, qui ont bénéficié de tout un éventail de mesures de soutien de la part des gouvernements européens en échange de leur coopération en vue d’empêcher les réfugiés et les migrants d’atteindre les côtes européennes.

      L’argent des contribuables européens a été utilisé pour fournir des bateaux, créer une zone de recherche et sauvetage libyenne et construire des centres de coordination, entre autres mesures, en vue de renforcer les capacités de la Libye à empêcher ces personnes de fuir le pays et à les maintenir en détention illégale. Et ces aides ont été accordées sans la moindre condition associée, même si une telle coopération entraîne de graves violations des droits humains, comme des actes de torture.

      Si les États membres de l’Union européenne veulent cesser d’être complices des violences, des viols et de l’exploitation que subissent des femmes, des hommes et des enfants, ils doivent exiger la fermeture de tous les centres de détention pour migrants en Libye et la libération des quelque 5 000 personnes qui y sont actuellement détenues.

      Les gouvernements européens qui, depuis des années, prennent des mesures frénétiques, faisant adopter des politiques destinées à empêcher les arrivées en Europe quel qu’en soit le coût humain, doivent revenir à la raison, surtout maintenant que le nombre de traversées est très faible. Au-delà de mesures en vue de remédier à la crise des droits humains en Libye qui touche tant des Libyens que des ressortissants d’autres pays, la réponse doit prévoir un mécanisme rapide et fiable de débarquement en Europe des personnes en quête d’asile et des migrants secourus en Méditerranée, ainsi qu’un système équitable de partage des responsabilités en matière d’assistance entre les États membres de l’Union européenne.

      Ces mesures permettraient de contribuer à éviter les événements désastreux qui se sont enchaînés l’année dernière : des bateaux de sauvetage bloqués en mer pendant des semaines face au refus des pays de l’Union européenne d’ouvrir leurs ports et de les accueillir. Non seulement ces événements aggravent les souffrances des personnes qui viennent de fuir des traitements épouvantables, mais ils découragent également les navires marchands de porter secours à des personnes en détresse et de veiller à ce que ces personnes puissent débarquer dans un lieu sûr, où elles ne pourront pas être renvoyées en Libye.

      Emmanuel, un réfugié de 28 ans qui a fui le conflit au Cameroun, a décrit sa dérive en mer à bord d’un canot non loin d’une autre embarcation qui prenait l’eau, et sa stupéfaction lorsqu’un bateau a refusé de leur porter secours.

      Depuis le gros bateau, ils ont passé des appels, mais nous ont dit : “Désolé, nous ne pouvons pas vous accueillir, ce n’est pas de ma faute, nous avons ordre de laisser les Libyens venir vous chercher.” Pendant ce temps, je voyais les gens mourir sur l’autre bateau. Des bouts de bateau et des corps flottaient. [Quand] un petit bateau libyen est venu nous chercher... toutes les personnes à bord de l’autre canot étaient mortes. »

      Alors que des informations selon lesquelles des réfugiés de pays comme l’Érythrée retournent dans leur pays en dépit des risques bien connus pesant sur leur vie émergent, l’Europe ne peut pas se permettre d’ignorer les conséquences catastrophiques de ses politiques irresponsables destinées à freiner l’immigration en Méditerranée.

      Les départs depuis la Libye sont en déclin, c’est donc le moment d’exiger des changements, notamment la fermeture des centres de détention pour migrants en Libye, la mise en place d’un système de débarquement et de relocalisation équitable en Europe et des voies sûres et légales qui n’obligent pas les personnes qui cherchent la sécurité à passer par des traversées en mer.

      Cela permettrait à de nombreux enfants et adultes de sortir de ce calvaire et de quitter les centres de détention atroces dans lesquels ils sont actuellement détenus arbitrairement en Libye. Les gouvernements européens, qui ont fermé la route de la Méditerranée centrale et donc abandonné des milliers de personnes prises au piège en Libye, ne doivent pas perdre de temps.

      Nous pourrions aider à sauver des dizaines d’autres Sagal, de pères et de mères.

      https://www.amnesty.fr/refugies-et-migrants/actualites/lincapacite-europeenne-face-a-la-maltraitance-des

    • Refugees report brutal and routine sexual violence in Libya

      Abuse often filmed and sent to victims’ relatives, Women’s Refugee Commission finds.
      Refugees and migrants trying to reach Europe from Africa are being subjected to horrific and routine sexual violence in Libyan detention centres, a survey has found.

      People arriving at the centres are “often immediately raped by guards who conduct violent anal cavity searches, which serves the dual purpose of retrieving money, as well as humiliation and subjugation”, the report by the Women’s Refugee Commission says. Many of the victims have been forcibly returned to the country by the Libyan coastguard under policies endorsed by the European Union.

      The level of psychological treatment for victims of sexual violence who reach Italy is woefully inadequate, the report adds.

      Sarah Chynoweth, the lead researcher on the report, said: “Profoundly cruel and brutal sexual violence and torture are perpetrated in official detention centers and clandestine prisons, during random stops and checkpoints, and in the context of forced labor and enslavement. The fact that refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean are intercepted and forced back into this violence is untenable.”

      The report, released at the Swedish mission in Geneva, is based on surveys and focus groups of people who have reached Italy. Much of the sexual violence it describes is too graphic to detail, but the authors make the broad point that “during the course of this research, almost all refugees, migrants, and key informants emphasised that sexual violence against male and female migrants along the entire central Mediterranean route was exceptionally high”.

      A UN officer estimated that 90% of male refugees and migrants being hosted in the Italian reception system had experienced sexual violence during their journey. A local government official said that, among refugee and migrant boys, “although there are no real numbers, we know that a huge number of the minors have experienced sexual violence on the journey [to Italy]”.

      The extent of sexual violence perpetrated against refugees appears in part to be contingent on their financial resources, their connections, and the year that they travelled – those traveling in recent years are seemingly more likely to have experienced sexual violence.

      In many cases, sexual violence and torture are filmed on Skype and used to try to extract ransom money from the victims’ relatives, the report by the Swedish-funded, US-based commission says.

      Refugees, migrants and informants told researchers that sexual violence was commonplace throughout the journey to Italy. “All along the journey they experienced sexual violence,” a health provider reported. “The whole journey is traumatic. Libya is just [the] icing on the cake.”

      It had been thought that the dominance of young males in the Libyan refugee trail would reduce the risk of sexual violence. It is estimated 72% of sea arrivals in Italy were men and 18% were children, mainly unaccompanied boys.

      In response to questions about sexual violence in Libya, refugees and migrants variously told the researchers that it “happened to everyone”, “is normal in Libya”, “happened to all people inside Libya” and “happened to many, many of my friends”.

      Only two refugees among those surveyed explicitly reported that they had not been exposed to sexual violence, due to their ability to pay large sums in exchange for relatively safe passage.

      A mental health provider in Italy working with refugees and migrants said that most of the men he spoke to had been raped in centres in Libya. A protection officer commented: “It is so widespread. Everyone knows when a man says”: ‘I’ve gone through Libya’ it is a euphemism for rape.”

      Among the forms of sexual violence described to researchers was anal and oral rape, forced rape of others including corpses, castration and forced incest.

      Much of the sexual violence described by research participants contained elements of profound psychological torture and cruelty.

      Violence against detainees is frequently perpetrated in front of others or recorded on mobile phones, compounding the humiliation and reinforcing the experience of subjugation, the researchers found. “Perpetrators send (or threaten to send) the video footage to detainees’ family members for extortion purposes,” the report says.

      A commonly reported torture technique involved forcing men to stand in a circle to watch the rape and sometimes murder of women; men who moved or spoke out were beaten or killed.

      Health and mental health providers who had treated male survivors frequently reported electroshock burns to the genitals. Other genital violence included beating, burning, tying and “pulling of the penis and scrotum”.


      In February 2017, Italy made a deal, backed by the EU, to spend tens of millions of euros funding the Libyan coastguard, which intercepts boats heading for Italy and returns those onboard to Libya.

      From January 2017 to September 2018, the Libyan coastguard intercepted and forcibly returned more than 29,000 people. Many ended up in detention centres or disappeared altogether.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/25/refugees-face-routine-sexual-violence-in-libyan-detention-centres-repor
      #viols

      Et ce chiffre...

      A UN officer estimated that 90% of male refugees and migrants being hosted in the Italian reception system had experienced sexual violence during their journey.

      v. aussi :

      Il 90% dei migranti visitati nelle cliniche del Medu ha parlato di violenza estrema e torture

      https://seenthis.net/messages/598508#message599359

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

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

  • UN report urges end to inhuman detention of migrants in Libya

    The breakdown in the Libyan justice system has led to a state of impunity in which migrants are subjected to serious human rights violations and abuses, according to a joint UN human rights report published today.
    “People smuggled or trafficked into Libya face torture, forced labour and sexual exploitation along the route, and many also while held in arbitrary detention,” said Martin Kobler, the Secretary General’s Special Representative for Libya and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

    “The list of violations and abuses faced by migrants in Libya is as long as it is horrific. This is, quite simply, a human rights crisis affecting tens of thousands of people,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said.

    The report, published jointly by UNSMIL and the UN Human Rights Office, is based on information gathered in Libya and from interviews with migrants who had arrived in Italy from Libya, among other sources*.

    Migrants are held in detention centres mostly run by the Department for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM), where there is “no formal registration, no legal process, and no access to lawyers or judicial authorities,” the report states.
    Places of detention are severely overcrowded, with insufficient food and clean water. With no access to toilets, detainees are often forced to defecate and urinate in their cells. Malnutrition, acute diarrhoea, respiratory problems and infectious diseases, including scabies and chickenpox, are common.

    Smugglers and traffickers also hold migrants in “connection houses”, on farms and in warehouses and apartments, where they are forced to work to earn money for their onward transport.

    “We are called animals and are treated as animals,” a 16-year-old boy from Eritrea told UNSMIL. “They beat us with what falls into their hands…it can be a rock, a stick, a brick,” a child migrant interviewed in Italy said.
    The report also notes that DCIM and the Libyan Coast Guard** are subject to pressure from the armed groups that have proliferated since 2011. UNSMIL has received reports that some State employees and local officials have participated in the smuggling and trafficking process.

    The report also details accounts of armed men, allegedly from the Libyan Coast Guard, intercepting migrant boats and abusing migrants. Migrants brought back to shore describe being beaten, robbed and taken to detention centres.
    “Libya must acknowledge that migrants are being abused,” said Mr. Kobler. “But addressing migration is not only Libya’s responsibility. Countries of origin and destination beyond Libya also need to play their part.” He added: “I welcome the life-saving efforts currently being made by many in the Mediterranean.”

    Among the report’s recommendations to Libya are: immediately release the most vulnerable migrants, with a view to urgently ending all arbitrary detentions; reduce the number of detention centres; ensure women are held separately from men; improve conditions of detention and protect detainees from torture and all other forms of abuse; and, in the medium-term, decriminalize irregular migration and adopt an asylum law.

    The report also recommends that countries of destination beyond Libya continue search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Training and support for Libyan institutions that engage with migrants, including the Libyan Coast Guard, should be accompanied by comprehensive efforts to stop arbitrary detention of migrants and improve their treatment in detention.

    “These are people who, for a range of reasons, feel compelled to leave their own countries and embark on these desperate and precarious journeys. The report lays bare the suffering endured by these migrants who have experienced unimaginable abuse and, in some cases, fallen victim to the despicable trade in human lives,” said High Commissioner Zeid. “The report serves to deepen our compassion and strengthen our resolve that the rights of migrants should be fully protected and respected, whatever their status.”

    https://unsmil.unmissions.org/Default.aspx?tabid=5662&ctl=Details&mid=6187&ItemID=2099826&langu
    #détention_administrative #rétention #droits_humains #rapport #Libye #torture

    Le #rapport:
    http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/LY/DetainedAndDehumanised_en.pdf

  • À bord du « Phoenix » pour une expédition de sauvetage réussie en Méditerranée

    Alors que plus de 150 000 migrants sont arrivés en Europe via la Méditerranée depuis le début de l’année, le journaliste italien Stefano Liberti a pu participer début juillet à une opération de secours privée au large de la Libye, au cours de laquelle 217 personnes originaires d’Afrique subsaharienne ont été sauvées. Il a navigué à bord du #Phoenix, affrété par une ONG – #MOAS – financée par deux riches courtiers en assurances.


    http://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/010815/bord-du-phoenix-pour-une-expedition-de-sauvetage-reussie-en-mediterranee
    #secours #sauvetage #Méditerranée #privatisation #asile #migration #réfugiés #mourir_en_mer