organization:united nations international children's emergency fund

  • Burying the Nakba: How Israel systematically hides evidence of 1948 expulsion of Arabs
    By Hagar Shezaf Jul 05, 2019 - Israel News - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-how-israel-systematically-hides-evidence-of-1948-expulsio

    International forces overseeing the evacuation of Iraq al-Manshiyya, near today’s Kiryat Gat, in March, 1949. Collection of Benno Rothenberg/Israel State Archives

    Four years ago, historian Tamar Novick was jolted by a document she found in the file of Yosef Vashitz, from the Arab Department of the left-wing Mapam Party, in the Yad Yaari archive at Givat Haviva. The document, which seemed to describe events that took place during the 1948 war, began:

    “Safsaf [former Palestinian village near Safed] – 52 men were caught, tied them to one another, dug a pit and shot them. 10 were still twitching. Women came, begged for mercy. Found bodies of 6 elderly men. There were 61 bodies. 3 cases of rape, one east of from Safed, girl of 14, 4 men shot and killed. From one they cut off his fingers with a knife to take the ring.”

    The writer goes on to describe additional massacres, looting and abuse perpetrated by Israeli forces in Israel’s War of Independence. “There’s no name on the document and it’s not clear who’s behind it,” Dr. Novick tells Haaretz. “It also breaks off in the middle. I found it very disturbing. I knew that finding a document like this made me responsible for clarifying what happened.”

    The Upper Galilee village of Safsaf was captured by the Israel Defense Forces in Operation Hiram toward the end of 1948. Moshav Safsufa was established on its ruins. Allegations were made over the years that the Seventh Brigade committed war crimes in the village. Those charges are supported by the document Novick found, which was not previously known to scholars. It could also constitute additional evidence that the Israeli top brass knew about what was going on in real time.

    Novick decided to consult with other historians about the document. Benny Morris, whose books are basic texts in the study of the Nakba – the “calamity,” as the Palestinians refer to the mass emigration of Arabs from the country during the 1948 war – told her that he, too, had come across similar documentation in the past. He was referring to notes made by Mapam Central Committee member Aharon Cohen on the basis of a briefing given in November 1948 by Israel Galili, the former chief of staff of the Haganah militia, which became the IDF. Cohen’s notes in this instance, which Morris published, stated: “Safsaf 52 men tied with a rope. Dropped into a pit and shot. 10 were killed. Women pleaded for mercy. [There were] 3 cases of rape. Caught and released. A girl of 14 was raped. Another 4 were killed. Rings of knives.”

    Morris’ footnote (in his seminal “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949”) states that this document was also found in the Yad Yaari Archive. But when Novick returned to examine the document, she was surprised to discover that it was no longer there.

    Palestine refugees initially displaced to Gaza board boats to Lebanon or Egypt, in 1949. Hrant Nakashian/1949 UN Archives

    “At first I thought that maybe Morris hadn’t been accurate in his footnote, that perhaps he had made a mistake,” Novick recalls. “It took me time to consider the possibility that the document had simply disappeared.” When she asked those in charge where the document was, she was told that it had been placed behind lock and key at Yad Yaari – by order of the Ministry of Defense.

    Since the start of the last decade, Defense Ministry teams have been scouring Israel’s archives and removing historic documents. But it’s not just papers relating to Israel’s nuclear project or to the country’s foreign relations that are being transferred to vaults: Hundreds of documents have been concealed as part of a systematic effort to hide evidence of the Nakba.

    The phenomenon was first detected by the Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research. According to a report drawn up by the institute, the operation is being spearheaded by Malmab, the Defense Ministry’s secretive security department (the name is a Hebrew acronym for “director of security of the defense establishment”), whose activities and budget are classified. The report asserts that Malmab removed historical documentation illegally and with no authority, and at least in some cases has sealed documents that had previously been cleared for publication by the military censor. Some of the documents that were placed in vaults had already been published.
    An investigative report by Haaretz found that Malmab has concealed testimony from IDF generals about the killing of civilians and the demolition of villages, as well as documentation of the expulsion of Bedouin during the first decade of statehood. Conversations conducted by Haaretz with directors of public and private archives alike revealed that staff of the security department had treated the archives as their property, in some cases threatening the directors themselves.

    Yehiel Horev, who headed Malmab for two decades, until 2007, acknowledged to Haaretz that he launched the project, which is still ongoing. He maintains that it makes sense to conceal the events of 1948, because uncovering them could generate unrest among the country’s Arab population. Asked what the point is of removing documents that have already been published, he explained that the objective is to undermine the credibility of studies about the history of the refugee problem. In Horev’s view, an allegation made by a researcher that’s backed up by an original document is not the same as an allegation that cannot be proved or refuted.

    The document Novick was looking for might have reinforced Morris’ work. During the investigation, Haaretz was in fact able to find the Aharon Cohen memo, which sums up a meeting of Mapam’s Political Committee on the subject of massacres and expulsions in 1948. Participants in the meeting called for cooperation with a commission of inquiry that would investigate the events. One case the committee discussed concerned “grave actions” carried out in the village of Al-Dawayima, east of Kiryat Gat. One participant mentioned the then-disbanded Lehi underground militia in this connection. Acts of looting were also reported: “Lod and Ramle, Be’er Sheva, there isn’t [an Arab] store that hasn’t been broken into. 9th Brigade says 7, 7th Brigade says 8.”
    “The party,” the document states near the end, “is against expulsion if there is no military necessity for it. There are different approaches concerning the evaluation of necessity. And further clarification is best. What happened in Galilee – those are Nazi acts! Every one of our members must report what he knows.”

    The Israeli version
    One of the most fascinating documents about the origin of the Palestinian refugee problem was written by an officer in Shai, the precursor to the Shin Bet security service. It discusses why the country was emptied of so many of its Arab inhabitants, dwelling on the circumstances of each village. Compiled in late June 1948, it was titled “The Emigration of the Arabs of Palestine.”

    Read a translation of the document here (1)

    This document was the basis for an article that Benny Morris published in 1986. After the article appeared, the document was removed from the archive and rendered inaccessible to researchers. Years later, the Malmab team reexamined the document, and ordered that it remain classified. They could not have known that a few years later researchers from Akevot would find a copy of the text and run it past the military censors – who authorized its publication unconditionally. Now, after years of concealment, the gist of the document is being revealed here.

    The 25-page document begins with an introduction that unabashedly approves of the evacuation of the Arab villages. According to the author, the month of April “excelled in an increase of emigration,” while May “was blessed with the evacuation of maximum places.” The report then addresses “the causes of the Arab emigration.” According to the Israeli narrative that was disseminated over the years, responsibility for the exodus from Israel rests with Arab politicians who encouraged the population to leave. However, according to the document, 70 percent of the Arabs left as a result of Jewish military operations.

    Palestinian children awaiting distribution of milk by UNICEF at the Nazareth Franciscan Sisters’ convent, on January 1, 1950. AW / UN Photo

    The unnamed author of the text ranks the reasons for the Arabs’ departure in order of importance. The first reason: “Direct Jewish acts of hostility against Arab places of settlement.” The second reason was the impact of those actions on neighboring villages. Third in importance came “operations by the breakaways,” namely the Irgun and Lehi undergrounds. The fourth reason for the Arab exodus was orders issued by Arab institutions and “gangs” (as the document refers to all Arab fighting groups); fifth was “Jewish ’whispering operations’ to induce the Arab inhabitants to flee”; and the sixth factor was “evacuation ultimatums.”

    The author asserts that, “without a doubt, the hostile operations were the main cause of the movement of the population.” In addition, “Loudspeakers in the Arabic language proved their effectiveness on the occasions when they were utilized properly.” As for Irgun and Lehi operations, the report observes that “many in the villages of central Galilee started to flee following the abduction of the notables of Sheikh Muwannis [a village north of Tel Aviv]. The Arab learned that it is not enough to forge an agreement with the Haganah and that there are other Jews [i.e., the breakaway militias] to beware of.”

    The author notes that ultimatums to leave were especially employed in central Galilee, less so in the Mount Gilboa region. “Naturally, the act of this ultimatum, like the effect of the ’friendly advice,’ came after a certain preparing of the ground by means of hostile actions in the area.”
    An appendix to the document describes the specific causes of the exodus from each of scores of Arab locales: Ein Zeitun – “our destruction of the village”; Qeitiya – “harassment, threat of action”; Almaniya – “our action, many killed”; Tira – “friendly Jewish advice”; Al’Amarir – “after robbery and murder carried out by the breakaways”; Sumsum – “our ultimatum”; Bir Salim – “attack on the orphanage”; and Zarnuga – “conquest and expulsion.”

    Short fuse
    In the early 2000s, the Yitzhak Rabin Center conducted a series of interviews with former public and military figures as part of a project to document their activity in the service of the state. The long arm of Malmab seized on these interviews, too. Haaretz, which obtained the original texts of several of the interviews, compared them to the versions that are now available to the public, after large swaths of them were declared classified.

    These included, for example, sections of the testimony of Brig. Gen. (res.) Aryeh Shalev about the expulsion across the border of the residents of a village he called “Sabra.” Later in the interview, the following sentences were deleted: “There was a very serious problem in the valley. There were refugees who wanted to return to the valley, to the Triangle [a concentration of Arab towns and villages in eastern Israel]. We expelled them. I met with them to persuade them not to want that. I have papers about it.”

    In another case, Malmab decided to conceal the following segment from an interview that historian Boaz Lev Tov conducted with Maj. Gen. (res.) Elad Peled:
    Lev Tov: “We’re talking about a population – women and children?”
    Peled: “All, all. Yes.”
    Lev Tov: “Don’t you distinguish between them?”
    Peled: “The problem is very simple. The war is between two populations. They come out of their home.”
    Lev Tov: “If the home exists, they have somewhere to return to?”
    Peled: “It’s not armies yet, it’s gangs. We’re also actually gangs. We come out of the house and return to the house. They come out of the house and return to the house. It’s either their house or our house.”
    Lev Tov: “Qualms belong to the more recent generation?”
    Peled: “Yes, today. When I sit in an armchair here and think about what happened, all kinds of thoughts come to mind.”
    Lev Tov: “Wasn’t that the case then?”
    Peled: “Look, let me tell you something even less nice and cruel, about the big raid in Sasa [Palestinian village in Upper Galilee]. The goal was actually to deter them, to tell them, ‘Dear friends, the Palmach [the Haganah “shock troops”] can reach every place, you are not immune.’ That was the heart of the Arab settlement. But what did we do? My platoon blew up 20 homes with everything that was there.”
    Lev Tov: “While people were sleeping there?”
    Peled: “I suppose so. What happened there, we came, we entered the village, planted a bomb next to every house, and afterward Homesh blew on a trumpet, because we didn’t have radios, and that was the signal [for our forces] to leave. We’re running in reverse, the sappers stay, they pull, it’s all primitive. They light the fuse or pull the detonator and all those houses are gone.”

    IDF soldiers guarding Palestinians in Ramle, in 1948. Collection of Benno Rothenberg/The IDF and Defense Establishment Archives

    Another passage that the Defense Ministry wanted to keep from the public came from Dr. Lev Tov’s conversation with Maj. Gen. Avraham Tamir:
    Tamir: “I was under Chera [Maj. Gen. Tzvi Tzur, later IDF chief of staff], and I had excellent working relations with him. He gave me freedom of action – don’t ask – and I happened to be in charge of staff and operations work during two developments deriving from [Prime Minister David] Ben-Gurion’s policy. One development was when reports arrived about marches of refugees from Jordan toward the abandoned villages [in Israel]. And then Ben-Gurion lays down as policy that we have to demolish [the villages] so they won’t have anywhere to return to. That is, all the Arab villages, most of which were in [the area covered by] Central Command, most of them.”
    Lev Tov: “The ones that were still standing?”
    Tamir: “The ones that weren’t yet inhabited by Israelis. There were places where we had already settled Israelis, like Zakariyya and others. But most of them were still abandoned villages.”
    Lev Tov: “That were standing?”
    Tamir: “Standing. It was necessary for there to be no place for them to return to, so I mobilized all the engineering battalions of Central Command, and within 48 hours I knocked all those villages to the ground. Period. There’s no place to return to.”
    Lev Tov: “Without hesitation, I imagine.”
    Tamir: “Without hesitation. That was the policy. I mobilized, I carried it out and I did it.”

    Crates in vaults
    The vault of the Yad Yaari Research and Documentation Center is one floor below ground level. In the vault, which is actually a small, well-secured room, are stacks of crates containing classified documents. The archive houses the materials of the Hashomer Hatzair movement, the Kibbutz Ha’artzi kibbutz movement, Mapam, Meretz and other bodies, such as Peace Now.
    The archive’s director is Dudu Amitai, who is also chairman of the Association of Israel Archivists. According to Amitai, Malmab personnel visited the archive regularly between 2009 and 2011. Staff of the archive relate that security department teams – two Defense Ministry retirees with no archival training – would show up two or three times a week. They searched for documents according to such keywords as “nuclear,” “security” and “censorship,” and also devoted considerable time to the War of Independence and the fate of the pre-1948 Arab villages.
    “In the end, they submitted a summary to us, saying that they had located a few dozen sensitive documents,” Amitai says. “We don’t usually take apart files, so dozens of files, in their entirety, found their way into our vault and were removed from the public catalog.” A file might contain more than 100 documents.
    One of the files that was sealed deals with the military government that controlled the lives of Israel’s Arab citizens from 1948 until 1966. For years, the documents were stored in the same vault, inaccessible to scholars. Recently, in the wake of a request by Prof. Gadi Algazi, a historian from Tel Aviv University, Amitai examined the file himself and ruled that there was no reason not to unseal it, Malmab’s opinion notwithstanding.

    According to Algazi, there could be several reasons for Malmab’s decision to keep the file classified. One of them has to do with a secret annex it contains to a report by a committee that examined the operation of the military government. The report deals almost entirely with land-ownership battles between the state and Arab citizens, and barely touches on security matters.

    Another possibility is a 1958 report by the ministerial committee that oversaw the military government. In one of the report’s secret appendixes, Col. Mishael Shaham, a senior officer in the military government, explains that one reason for not dismantling the martial law apparatus is the need to restrict Arab citizens’ access to the labor market and to prevent the reestablishment of destroyed villages.
    A third possible explanation for hiding the file concerns previously unpublished historical testimony about the expulsion of Bedouin. On the eve of Israel’s establishment, nearly 100,000 Bedouin lived in the Negev. Three years later, their number was down to 13,000. In the years during and after the independence war, a number of expulsion operations were carried out in the country’s south. In one case, United Nations observers reported that Israel had expelled 400 Bedouin from the Azazma tribe and cited testimonies of tents being burned. The letter that appears in the classified file describes a similar expulsion carried out as late as 1956, as related by geologist Avraham Parnes:

    The evacuation of Iraq al-Manshiyya, near today’s Kiryat Gat, in March, 1949. Collection of Benno Rothenberg/The IDF and Defense Establishment Archives

    “A month ago we toured Ramon [crater]. The Bedouin in the Mohila area came to us with their flocks and their families and asked us to break bread with them. I replied that we had a great deal of work to do and didn’t have time. In our visit this week, we headed toward Mohila again. Instead of the Bedouin and their flocks, there was deathly silence. Scores of camel carcasses were scattered in the area. We learned that three days earlier the IDF had ‘screwed’ the Bedouin, and their flocks were destroyed – the camels by shooting, the sheep with grenades. One of the Bedouin, who started to complain, was killed, the rest fled.”

    The testimony continued, “Two weeks earlier, they’d been ordered to stay where they were for the time being, afterward they were ordered to leave, and to speed things up 500 head were slaughtered.... The expulsion was executed ‘efficiently.’” The letter goes on to quote what one of the soldiers said to Parnes, according to his testimony: “They won’t go unless we’ve screwed their flocks. A young girl of about 16 approached us. She had a beaded necklace of brass snakes. We tore the necklace and each of us took a bead for a souvenir.”

    The letter was originally sent to MK Yaakov Uri, from Mapai (forerunner of Labor), who passed it on to Development Minister Mordechai Bentov (Mapam). “His letter shocked me,” Uri wrote Bentov. The latter circulated the letter among all the cabinet ministers, writing, “It is my opinion that the government cannot simply ignore the facts related in the letter.” Bentov added that, in light of the appalling contents of the letter, he asked security experts to check its credibility. They had confirmed that the contents “do in fact generally conform to the truth.”

    Nuclear excuse
    It was during the tenure of historian Tuvia Friling as Israel’s chief archivist, from 2001 to 2004, that Malmab carried out its first archival incursions. What began as an operation to prevent the leakage of nuclear secrets, he says, became, in time, a large-scale censorship project.
    “I resigned after three years, and that was one of the reasons,” Prof. Friling says. “The classification placed on the document about the Arabs’ emigration in 1948 is precisely an example of what I was apprehensive about. The storage and archival system is not an arm of the state’s public relations. If there’s something you don’t like – well, that’s life. A healthy society also learns from its mistakes.”

    Why did Friling allow the Defense Ministry to have access the archives? The reason, he says, was the intention to give the public access to archival material via the internet. In discussions about the implications of digitizing the material, concern was expressed that references in the documents to a “certain topic” would be made public by mistake. The topic, of course, is Israel’s nuclear project. Friling insists that the only authorization Malmab received was to search for documents on that subject.

    But Malmab’s activity is only one example of a broader problem, Friling notes: “In 1998, the confidentiality of the [oldest documents in the] Shin Bet and Mossad archives expired. For years those two institutions disdained the chief archivist. When I took over, they requested that the confidentiality of all the material be extended [from 50] to 70 years, which is ridiculous – most of the material can be opened.”

    In 2010, the confidentiality period was extended to 70 years; last February it was extended again, to 90 years, despite the opposition of the Supreme Council of Archives. “The state may impose confidentiality on some of its documentation,” Friling says. “The question is whether the issue of security doesn’t act as a kind of cover. In many cases, it’s already become a joke.”
    In the view of Yad Yaari’s Dudu Amitai, the confidentiality imposed by the Defense Ministry must be challenged. In his period at the helm, he says, one of the documents placed in the vault was an order issued by an IDF general, during a truce in the War of Independence, for his troops to refrain from rape and looting. Amitai now intends to go over the documents that were deposited in the vault, especially 1948 documents, and open whatever is possible. “We’ll do it cautiously and responsibly, but recognizing that the State of Israel has to learn how to cope with the less pleasant aspects of its history.”
    In contrast to Yad Yaari, where ministry personnel no longer visit, they are continuing to peruse documents at Yad Tabenkin, the research and documentation center of the United Kibbutz Movement. The director, Aharon Azati, reached an agreement with the Malmab teams under which documents will be transferred to the vault only if he is convinced that this is justified. But in Yad Tabenkin, too, Malmab has broadened its searches beyond the realm of nuclear project to encompass interviews conducted by archival staff with former members of the Palmach, and has even perused material about the history of the settlements in the occupied territories.

    Malmab has, for example, shown interest in the Hebrew-language book “A Decade of Discretion: Settlement Policy in the Territories 1967-1977,” published by Yad Tabenkin in 1992, and written by Yehiel Admoni, director of the Jewish Agency’s Settlement Department during the decade he writes about. The book mentions a plan to settle Palestinian refugees in the Jordan Valley and to the uprooting of 1,540 Bedouin families from the Rafah area of the Gaza Strip in 1972, including an operation that included the sealing of wells by the IDF. Ironically, in the case of the Bedouin, Admoni quotes former Justice Minister Yaakov Shimshon Shapira as saying, “It is not necessary to stretch the security rationale too far. The whole Bedouin episode is not a glorious chapter of the State of Israel.”

    Palestinian refugees leaving their village, unknown location, 1948. UNRWA

    According to Azati, “We are moving increasingly to a tightening of the ranks. Although this is an era of openness and transparency, there are apparently forces that are pulling in the opposite direction.”
    Unauthorized secrecy
    About a year ago, the legal adviser to the State Archives, attorney Naomi Aldouby, wrote an opinion titled “Files Closed Without Authorization in Public Archives.” According to her, the accessibility policy of public archives is the exclusive purview of the director of each institution.
    Despite Aldouby’s opinion, however, in the vast majority of cases, archivists who encountered unreasonable decisions by Malmab did not raise objections – that is, until 2014, when Defense Ministry personnel arrived at the archive of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. To the visitors’ surprise, their request to examine the archive – which contains collections of former minister and diplomat Abba Eban and Maj. Gen. (res.) Shlomo Gazit – was turned down by its then director, Menahem Blondheim.

    According to Blondheim, “I told them that the documents in question were decades old, and that I could not imagine that there was any security problem that would warrant restricting their access to researchers. In response, they said, ‘And let’s say there is testimony here that wells were poisoned in the War of Independence?’ I replied, ‘Fine, those people should be brought to trial.’”
    Blondheim’s refusal led to a meeting with a more senior ministry official, only this time the attitude he encountered was different and explicit threats were made. Finally the two sides reached an accommodation.
    Benny Morris is not surprised at Malmab’s activity. “I knew about it,” he says “Not officially, no one informed me, but I encountered it when I discovered that documents I had seen in the past are now sealed. There were documents from the IDF Archive that I used for an article about Deir Yassin, and which are now sealed. When I came to the archive, I was no longer allowed to see the original, so I pointed out in a footnote [in the article] that the State Archive had denied access to documents that I had published 15 years earlier.”
    The Malmab case is only one example of the battle being waged for access to archives in Israel. According to the executive director of the Akevot Institute, Lior Yavne, “The IDF Archive, which is the largest archive in Israel, is sealed almost hermetically. About 1 percent of the material is open. The Shin Bet archive, which contains materials of immense importance [to scholars], is totally closed apart from a handful of documents.”

    A report written by Yaacov Lozowick, the previous chief archivist at the State Archives, upon his retirement, refers to the defense establishment’s grip on the country’s archival materials. In it, he writes, “A democracy must not conceal information because it is liable to embarrass the state. In practice, the security establishment in Israel, and to a certain extent that of foreign relations as well, are interfering with the [public] discussion.”

    Advocates of concealment put forward several arguments, Lozowick notes: “The uncovering of the facts could provide our enemies with a battering ram against us and weaken the determination of our friends; it’s liable to stir up the Arab population; it could enfeeble the state’s arguments in courts of law; and what is revealed could be interpreted as Israeli war crimes.” However, he says, “All these arguments must be rejected. This is an attempt to hide part of the historical truth in order to construct a more convenient version.”

    What Malmab says
    Yehiel Horev was the keeper of the security establishment’s secrets for more than two decades. He headed the Defense Ministry’s security department from 1986 until 2007 and naturally kept out of the limelight. To his credit, he now agreed to talk forthrightly to Haaretz about the archives project.
    “I don’t remember when it began,” Horev says, “but I do know that I started it. If I’m not mistaken, it started when people wanted to publish documents from the archives. We had to set up teams to examine all outgoing material.”
    From conversations with archive directors, it’s clear that a good deal of the documents on which confidentiality was imposed relate to the War of Independence. Is concealing the events of 1948 part of the purpose of Malmab?

    Palestinian refugees in the Ramle area, 1948. Boris Carmi / The IDF and Defense Establishment Archives

    “What does ‘part of the purpose’ mean? The subject is examined based on an approach of whether it could harm Israel’s foreign relations and the defense establishment. Those are the criteria. I think it’s still relevant. There has not been peace since 1948. I may be wrong, but to the best of my knowledge the Arab-Israeli conflict has not been resolved. So yes, it could be that problematic subjects remain.”

    Asked in what way such documents might be problematic, Horev speaks of the possibility of agitation among the country’s Arab citizens. From his point of view, every document must be perused and every case decided on its merits.

    If the events of 1948 weren’t known, we could argue about whether this approach is the right one. That is not the case. Many testimonies and studies have appeared about the history of the refugee problem. What’s the point of hiding things?
    “The question is whether it can do harm or not. It’s a very sensitive matter. Not everything has been published about the refugee issue, and there are all kinds of narratives. Some say there was no flight at all, only expulsion. Others say there was flight. It’s not black-and-white. There’s a difference between flight and those who say they were forcibly expelled. It’s a different picture. I can’t say now if it merits total confidentiality, but it’s a subject that definitely has to be discussed before a decision is made about what to publish.”

    For years, the Defense Ministry has imposed confidentiality on a detailed document that describes the reasons for the departure of those who became refugees. Benny Morris has already written about the document, so what’s the logic of keeping it hidden?
    “I don’t remember the document you’re referring to, but if he quoted from it and the document itself is not there [i.e., where Morris says it is], then his facts aren’t strong. If he says, ‘Yes, I have the document,’ I can’t argue with that. But if he says that it’s written there, that could be right and it could be wrong. If the document were already outside and were sealed in the archive, I would say that that’s folly. But if someone quoted from it – there’s a difference of day and night in terms of the validity of the evidence he cited.”

    In this case, we’re talking about the most quoted scholar when it comes to the Palestinian refugees.
    “The fact that you say ‘scholar’ makes no impression on me. I know people in academia who spout nonsense about subjects that I know from A to Z. When the state imposes confidentiality, the published work is weakened, because he doesn’t have the document.”

    But isn’t concealing documents based on footnotes in books an attempt to lock the barn door after the horses have bolted?
    “I gave you an example that this needn’t be the case. If someone writes that the horse is black, if the horse isn’t outside the barn, you can’t prove that it’s really black.”

    There are legal opinions stating that Malmab’s activity in the archives is illegal and unauthorized.
    “If I know that an archive contains classified material, I am empowered to tell the police to go there and confiscate the material. I can also utilize the courts. I don’t need the archivist’s authorization. If there is classified material, I have the authority to act. Look, there’s policy. Documents aren’t sealed for no reason. And despite it all, I won’t say to you that everything that’s sealed is 100 percent justified [in being sealed].”

    The Defense Ministry refused to respond to specific questions regarding the findings of this investigative report and made do with the following response: “The director of security of the defense establishment operates by virtue of his responsibility to protect the state’s secrets and its security assets. The Malmab does not provide details about its mode of activity or its missions.”

    Lee Rotbart assisted in providing visual research for this article.

    (1) https://www.haaretz.co.il/st/inter/Heng/1948.pdf

  • Carne da cannone. In Libia i profughi dei campi sono arruolati a forza e mandati a combattere

    Arruolati di forza, vestiti con vecchie divise, armati con fucili di scarto e spediti a combattere le milizie del generale #Haftar che stanno assediando Tripoli. I profughi di Libia, dopo essere stati trasformati in “merce” preziosa dai trafficanti, con la complicità e il supporto del’Italia e dall’Europa, sono diventati anche carne da cannone.

    Secondo fonti ufficiali dell’Unhcr e di Al Jazeera, il centro di detenzione di Qaser Ben Gashir, è stato trasformato in una caserma di arruolamento. “Ci viene riferito – ha affermato l’inviato dell’agenzia Onu per i rifugiati, Vincent Cochetel – che ad alcuni migranti sono state fornite divise militari e gli è stati promesso la libertà in cambio dell’arruolamento”. Nel solo centro di Qaser Ben Gashir, secondo una stima dell’Unhcr, sono detenuti, per o più arbitrariamente, perlomeno 6 mila profughi tra uomini e donne, tra i quali almeno 600 bambini.

    Sempre secondo l’Unhcr, tale pratica di arruolamento pressoché forzato – è facile intuire che non si può dire facilmente no al proprio carceriere! – sarebbe stata messa in pratica perlomeno in altri tre centri di detenzione del Paese. L’avanzata delle truppe del generale Haftar ha fatto perdere la testa alle milizie fedeli al Governo di accordo nazionale guidato da Fayez al Serraj, che hanno deciso di giocarsi la carta della disperazione, mandando i migranti – che non possono certo definirsi militari sufficientemente addestrati – incontro ad una morte certa in battaglia. Carne da cannone, appunto.

    I messaggi WhatsUp che arrivano dai centri di detenzione sono terrificanti e testimoniano una situazione di panico totale che ha investito tanto i carcerieri quanto gli stessi profughi. “Ci danno armi di cui non conosciamo neppure come si chiamano e come si usano – si legge su un messaggio riportato dall’Irish Time – e ci ordinano di andare a combattere”. “Ci volevano caricare in una camionetta piena di armi. Gli abbiamo detto di no, che preferivamo essere riportato in cella ma non loro non hanno voluto”.

    La situazione sta precipitando verso una strage annunciata. Nella maggioranza dei centri l’elettricità è già stata tolta da giorni. Acque e cibo non ne arrivano più. Cure mediche non ne avevano neppure prima. I richiedenti asilo sono alla disperazione. Al Jazeera porta la notizia che ad Qaser Ben Gashir, qualche giorno fa, un bambino è morto per semplice denutrizione. Quello che succede nei campi più lontani dalla capitale, lo possiamo solo immaginare. E con l’avanzare del conflitto, si riduce anche la possibilità di intervento e di denuncia dell’Unhcr o delle associazioni umanitarie che ancora resistono nel Paese come Medici Senza Frontiere.

    Proprio Craig Kenzie, il coordinatore per la Libia di Medici Senza Frontiere, lancia un appello perché i detenuti vengano immediatamente evacuati dalle zone di guerra e che le persone che fuggono e che vengono intercettate in mare non vengano riportate in quell’Inferno. Ma per il nostro Governo, quelle sponde continuano ad essere considerate “sicure”.

    https://dossierlibia.lasciatecientrare.it/carne-da-cannone-in-libia-i-profughi-dei-campi-sono-a
    #Libye #asile #migrations #réfugiés #armées #enrôlement_militaire #enrôlement #conflit #soldats #milices #Tripoli

    • ’We are in a fire’: Libya’s detained refugees trapped by conflict

      Detainees at detention centre on the outskirts of Tripoli live in fear amid intense clashes for control of the capital.

      Refugees and migrants trapped on the front line of fierce fighting in Libya’s capital, Tripoli, are pleading to be rescued from the war-torn country while being “surrounded by heavy weapons and militants”.

      Hit by food and water shortages, detainees at the #Qasr_bin_Ghashir detention centre on the southern outskirts of Tripoli, told Al Jazeera they were “abandoned” on Saturday by fleeing guards, who allegedly told the estimated 728 people being held at the facility to fend for themselves.

      The refugees and migrants used hidden phones to communicate and requested that their names not be published.

      “[There are] no words to describe the fear of the women and children,” an Eritrean male detainee said on Saturday.

      “We are afraid of [the] noise... fired from the air and the weapons. I feel that we are abandoned to our fate.”
      Fighting rages on Tripoli outskirts

      Tripoli’s southern outskirts have been engulfed by fighting since renegade General Khalifa Haftar’s eastern forces launched an assault on the capital earlier this month in a bid to wrestle control of the city from Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).

      The showdown threatens to further destabilise war-wracked Libya, which splintered into a patchwork of rival power bases following the overthrow of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

      At least 121 people have been killed and 561 wounded since Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) started its offensive on April 4, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

      Both sides have repeatedly carried out air raids and accuse each other of targeting civilians.

      The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), for its part, estimates more than 15,000 people have been displaced so far, with a “significant number” of others stuck in live conflict zones.

      Amid the fighting, refugees and migrants locked up in detention centres throughout the capital, many of whom fled war and persecution in countries including Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan, are warning that their lives are at risk.

      “We find ourselves in a fire,” a 15-year-old detainee at Qasr bin Ghashir told Al Jazeera.
      Electricity outage, water shortages

      Others held at the centre described the abject conditions they were subject to, including a week-long stint without electricity and working water pumps.

      One detainee in her 30s, who alleged the centre’s manager assaulted her, also said they had gone more than a week until Saturday with “no food, [and] no water”, adding the situation “was not good” and saying women are particularly vulnerable now.

      This is the third time since August that detainees in Qasr bin Ghashir have been in the middle of clashes, she said.

      Elsewhere in the capital, refugees and migrants held at the #Abu_Salim detention centre also said they could “hear the noise of weapons” and needed protection.

      “At this time, we want quick evacuation,” said one detainee at Abu Salim, which sits about 20km north of Qasr bin Ghashir.

      “We’ve stayed years with much torture and suffering, we don’t have any resistance for anything. We are (under) deep pressure and stressed … People are very angry and afraid.”
      ’Take us from Libya, please’

      Tripoli’s detention centres are formally under the control of the GNA’s Department for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM), though many are actually run by militias.

      The majority of the approximately 6,000 people held in the facilities were intercepted on the Mediterranean Sea and brought back to the North African country after trying to reach Europe as part of a two-year agreement under which which the European Union supports the Libyan coastguard with funds, ships and training, in return for carrying out interceptions and rescues.

      In a statement to Al Jazeera, an EU spokesperson said the bloc’s authorities were “closely monitoring the situation in Libya” from a “political, security and humanitarian point of view” though they could not comment on Qasr bin Ghashir specifically.

      DCIM, for its part, did not respond to a request for comment.

      The UN, however, continues to reiterate that Libya is not a safe country for refugees and migrants to return.

      Amid the ongoing conflict, the organisation’s human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, warned last week of the need to “ensure protection of extremely vulnerable civilians”, including refugees and migrants who may be living “under significant peril”.

      Bachelet also called for authorities to ensure that prisons and detention centres are not abandoned, and for all parties to guarantee that the treatment of detainees is in line with international law.

      In an apparent move to safeguard the refugees and migrants being held near the capital, Libyan authorities attempted last week to move detainees at Qasr bin Ghashir to another detention centre in #Zintan, nearly 170km southwest of Tripoli.

      But those being held in Qasr bin Ghashir refused to leave, arguing the solution is not a move elsewhere in Libya but rather a rescue from the country altogether.

      “All Libya [is a] war zone,” an Eritrean detainee told Al Jazeera.

      “Take us from Libya, please. Where is humanity and where is human rights,” the detainee asked.

      https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/04/fire-libya-detained-refugees-trapped-conflict-190414150247858.html

      700+ refugees & migrants - including more than 150 women & children - are trapped in a detention centre on the front lines, amid renewed clashes in Tripoli. The below photos, taken today, show where a jet was downed right beside them.


      https://twitter.com/sallyhayd/status/1117501460290392064

    • ESCLUSIVO TPI: “Senza cibo né acqua, pestati a sangue dai soldati”: la guerra in Libia vista dai migranti rinchiusi nei centri di detenzione

      “I rifugiati detenuti in Libia stanno subendo le più drammatiche conseguenze della guerra civile esplosa nel paese”.

      È la denuncia a TPI di Giulia Tranchina, avvocato che, a Londra, si occupa di rifugiati per lo studio legale Wilson Solicitor.

      Tranchina è in contatto con i migranti rinchiusi nei centri di detenzione libici e, da tempo, denuncia abusi e torture perpetrate ai loro danni.

      L’esplosione della guerra ha reso le condizioni di vita delle migliaia di rifugiati presenti nei centri governativi ancora più disumane.

      La gestione dei centri è stata bocciata anche dagli organismi internazionali in diversi rapporti, ignorati dai governi europei e anche da quello italiano, rapporti dove si evidenzia la violazione sistematica delle convenzioni internazionali, le condizioni sanitarie agghiaccianti e continue torture.

      https://www.tpi.it/2019/04/13/guerra-libia-migranti-centri-di-detenzione
      #guerre_civile

    • The humanitarian fallout from Libya’s newest war

      The Libyan capital of Tripoli is shuddering under an offensive by forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar, with the city’s already precarious basic services in danger of breaking down completely and aid agencies struggling to cope with a growing emergency.

      In the worst and most sustained fighting the country has seen since the 2011 uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi, the Haftar-led Libyan National Army, or LNA, surged into the city – controlled by the UN-backed Government of National Accord, or GNA – on 4 April.

      Fighting continues across a string of southern suburbs, with airstrikes and rocket and artillery fire from both sides hammering front lines and civilians alike.

      “It is terrible; they use big guns at night, the children can’t sleep,” said one resident of the capital, who declined to give her name for publication. “The shots land everywhere.”

      The violence has displaced thousands of people and trapped hundreds of migrants and refugees in detention centres. Some analysts also think it has wrecked years of diplomacy, including attempts by the UN to try to build political consensus in Libya, where various militias support the two major rivals for power: the Tripoli-based GNA and the Haftar-backed House of Representatives, based in the eastern city of Tobruk.

      “Detained migrants and refugees, including women and children, are particularly vulnerable.”

      “Pandora’s box has been opened,” said Jalel Harchaoui, a research fellow at Clingendael Institute think tank in The Hague. “The military operation [to capture Tripoli] has inflicted irreversible damage upon a modus vivendi and a large set of political dialogues that has required four years of diplomatic work.”
      Civilians in the line of fire

      Media reports and eyewitnesses in the city said residents face agonising decisions about when to go out, and risk the indiscriminate fire, in search of food and other essentials from the few shops that are open.

      One resident said those in Tripoli face the dilemma of whether to stay in their homes or leave, with no clear idea of what part of the city will be targeted next.

      The fighting is reportedly most intense in the southern suburbs, which until two weeks ago included some of the most tranquil and luxurious homes in the city. Now these districts are a rubble-strewn battleground, made worse by the ever-changing positions of LNA forces and militias that support the GNA.

      This battle comes to a city already struggling with chaos and militia violence, with residents having known little peace since the NATO-backed revolt eight years ago.

      “Since 2011, Libyans have faced one issue after another: shortages of cooking gas, electricity, water, lack of medicines, infrastructure in ruin and neglect,” said one woman who lives in an eastern suburb of Tripoli. “Little is seen at community level, where money disappears into pockets [of officials]. Hospitals are unsanitary and barely function. Education is a shambles of poor schools and stressed teachers.”
      Aid agencies scrambling

      Only a handful of aid agencies have a presence in Tripoli, where local services are now badly stretched.

      The World Health Organisation reported on 14 April that the death toll was 147 and 614 people had been wounded, cautioning that the latter figure may be higher as some overworked hospitals have stopped counting the numbers treated.

      “We are still working on keeping the medical supplies going,” a WHO spokesperson said. “We are sending out additional surgical staff to support hospitals coping with large caseloads of wounded, for example anaesthetists.”

      The UN’s emergency coordination body, OCHA, said that 16,000 people had been forced to flee by the fighting, 2,000 on 13 April alone when fighting intensified across the front line with a series of eight airstrikes. OCHA says the past few years of conflict have left at least 823,000 people, including 248,000 children, “in dire need of humanitarian assistance”.

      UNICEF appealed for $4.7 million to provide emergency assistance to the half a million children and their families it estimates live in and around Tripoli.
      Migrants and refugees

      Some of the worst off are more than 1,500 migrants trapped in a string of detention centres in the capital and nearby. The UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, said over the weekend it was trying to organise the evacuation of refugees from a migrant camp close to the front lines. “We are in contact with refugees in Qaser Ben Gashir and so far they remain safe from information received,” the agency said in a tweet.

      At least one media report said migrants and refugees at the centre felt they had been abandoned and feared for their lives.

      UNHCR estimates there are some 670,000 migrants and refugees in Libya, including more than 6,000 in detention centres.

      In its appeal, UNICEF said it was alarmed by reports that some migrant detention centres have been all but abandoned, with the migrants unable to get food and water. “The breakdown in the food supply line has resulted in a deterioration of the food security in detention centres,” the agency said. “Detained migrants and refugees, including women and children, are particularly vulnerable, especially those in detention centres located in the vicinity of the fighting.”

      Many migrants continue to hope to find a boat to Europe, but that task has been made harder by the EU’s March decision to scale down the rescue part of Operation Sophia, its Mediterranean anti-smuggling mission.

      “The breakdown in the food supply line has resulted in a deterioration of the food security in detention centres.”

      Search-and-rescue missions run by nongovernmental organisations have had to slow down and sometimes shutter their operations as European governments refuse them permission to dock. On Monday, Malta said it would not allow the crew of a ship that had been carrying 64 people rescued off the coast of Libya to disembark on its shores. The ship was stranded for two weeks as European governments argued over what to do with the migrants, who will now be split between four countries.

      Eugenio Cusumano, an international security expert specialising in migration research at Lieden University in the Netherlands, said a new surge of migrants and refugees may now be heading across the sea in a desperate attempt to escape the fighting. He said they will find few rescue craft, adding: “If the situation in Libya deteriorates there will be a need for offshore patrol assets.”
      Failed diplomacy

      Haftar’s LNA says its objective is to liberate the city from militia control, while the GNA has accused its rival of war crimes and called for prosecutions.

      International diplomatic efforts to end the fighting appear to have floundered. Haftar launched his offensive on the day that UN Secretary-General António Guterres was visiting Tripoli – a visit designed to bolster long-delayed, UN-chaired talks with the various parties in the country, which were due to be held this week.

      The UN had hoped the discussions, known as the National Conference, might pave the way for elections later this year, but they ended up being cancelled due to the upsurge in fighting.

      Guterres tried to de-escalate the situation by holding emergency talks with the GNA in Tripoli and flying east to see Haftar in Benghazi. But as foreign powers reportedly line up behind different sides, his calls for a ceasefire – along with condemnation from the UN Security Council and the EU – have so far been rebuffed.


      https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news/2019/04/15/humanitarian-fallout-libya-s-newest-war

    • Detained refugees in Libya moved to safety in second UNHCR relocation

      UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today relocated another 150 refugees who were detained in the #Abu_Selim detention centre in south Tripoli to UNHCR’s #Gathering_and_Departure_Facility (#GDF) in the centre of Libya’s capital, safe from hostilities.

      The Abu Selim detention centre is one of several in Libya that has been impacted by hostilities since clashes erupted in the capital almost a fortnight ago.

      Refugees at the centre told UNHCR that they were petrified and traumatised by the fighting, fearing for their lives.

      UNHCR staff who were present and organizing the relocation today reported that clashes were around 10 kilometres away from the centre and were clearly audible.

      While UNHCR intended to relocate more refugees, due to a rapid escalation of fighting in the area this was not possible. UNHCR hopes to resume this life-saving effort as soon as conditions on the ground allow.

      “It is a race against time to move people out of harm’s way. Conflict and deteriorating security conditions hamper how much we can do,” said UNHCR’s Assistant Chief of Mission in Libya, Lucie Gagne.

      “We urgently need solutions for people trapped in Libya, including humanitarian evacuations to transfer those most vulnerable out of the country.”

      Refugees who were relocated today were among those most vulnerable and in need and included women and children. The relocation was conducted with the support of UNHCR’s partner, International Medical Corps and the Libyan Ministry of Interior.

      This relocation is the second UNHCR-organized transfer since the recent escalation of the conflict in Libya.

      Last week UNHCR relocated more than 150 refugees from the Ain Zara detention centre also in south Tripoli to the GDF, bringing the total number of refugees currently hosted at the GDF to more than 400.

      After today’s relocation, there remain more than 2,700 refugees and migrants detained and trapped in areas where clashes are ongoing. In addition to those remaining at Abu Selim, other detention centres impacted and in proximity to hostilities include the Qasr Bin Ghasheer, Al Sabaa and Tajoura centres.

      Current conditions in the country continue to underscore the fact that Libya is a dangerous place for refugees and migrants, and that those rescued and intercepted at sea should not be returned there. UNHCR has repeatedly called for an end to detention for refugees and migrants.

      https://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2019/4/5cb60a984/detained-refugees-libya-moved-safety-second-unhcr-relocation.html

    • Libye : l’ONU a évacué 150 réfugiés supplémentaires d’un camp de détention

      L’ONU a annoncé mardi avoir évacué 150 réfugiés supplémentaires d’une centre de détention à Tripoli touché par des combats, ajoutant ne pas avoir été en mesure d’en déplacer d’autres en raison de l’intensification des affrontements.

      La Haut-commissariat aux réfugiés (HCR) a précisé avoir évacué ces réfugiés, parmi lesquels des femmes et des enfants, du centre de détention Abou Sélim, dans le sud de la capitale libyenne, vers son Centre de rassemblement et de départ dans le centre-ville.

      Cette opération a été effectuée au milieu de violents combats entre les forces du maréchal Khalifa Haftar et celles du Gouvernement d’union nationale (GNA) libyen.

      « C’est une course contre la montre pour mettre les gens à l’abri », a déclaré la cheffe adjointe de la mission du HCR en Libye, Lucie Gagne, dans un communiqué. « Le conflit et la détérioration des conditions de sécurité entravent nos capacités », a-t-elle regretté.

      Au moins 174 personnes ont été tuées et 758 autres blessés dans la bataille pour le contrôle de Tripoli, a annoncé mardi l’Organisation mondiale de la Santé (OMS).

      Abu Sélim est l’un des centres de détention qui ont été touchés par les combats. Le HCR, qui avait déjà évacué la semaine dernière plus de 150 migrants de centre de détention d’Ain Zara, a indiqué qu’il voulait en évacuer d’autres mardi mais qu’il ne n’avait pu le faire en raison d’une aggravation rapide des combats dans cette zone.

      Les réfugiés évacués mardi étaient « traumatisés » par les combats, a rapporté le HCR, ajoutant que des combats avaient lieu à seulement une dizaine de km.

      « Il nous faut d’urgence des solutions pour les gens piégés en Libye, y compris des évacuations humanitaires pour transférer les plus vulnérables hors du pays », a déclaré Mme Gagne.

      Selon le HCR, plus de 400 personnes se trouvent désormais dans son centre de rassemblement et de départ, mais plus de 2.700 réfugiés sont encore détenus et bloqués dans des zones de combats.

      La Libye « est un endroit dangereux pour les réfugiés et les migrants », a souligné le HCR. « Ceux qui sont secourus et interceptés en mer ne devraient pas être renvoyés là-bas ».

      https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1166761/libye-lonu-a-evacue-150-refugies-supplementaires-dun-camp-de-detentio

    • Footage shows refugees hiding as Libyan militia attack detention centre

      At least two people reportedly killed in shooting at Qasr bin Ghashir facility near Tripoli.

      Young refugees held in a detention centre in Libya have described being shot at indiscriminately by militias advancing on Tripoli, in an attack that reportedly left at least two people dead and up to 20 injured.

      Phone footage smuggled out of the camp and passed to the Guardian highlights the deepening humanitarian crisis in the centres set up to prevent refugees and migrants from making the sea crossing from the north African coast to Europe.

      The footage shows people cowering in terror in the corners of a hangar while gunshots can be heard and others who appear to have been wounded lying on makeshift stretchers.

      The shooting on Tuesday at the Qasr bin Ghashir detention centre, 12 miles (20km) south of Tripoli, is thought to be the first time a militia has raided such a building and opened fire.

      Witnesses said men, women and children were praying together when soldiers they believe to be part of the forces of the military strongman Khalifa Haftar, which are advancing on the Libyan capital to try to bring down the UN-backed government, stormed into the detention centre and demanded people hand over their phones.

      When the occupants refused, the soldiers began shooting, according to the accounts. Phones are the only link to the outside world for many in the detention centres.

      Amnesty International has called for a war crimes investigation into the incident. “This incident demonstrates the urgent need for all refugees and migrants to be immediately released from these horrific detention centres,” said the organisation’s spokeswoman, Magdalena Mughrabi.

      Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said a review of the video evidence by its medical doctors had concluded the injuries were consistent with gunshot wounds. “These observations are further supported by numerous accounts from refugees and migrants who witnessed the event and reported being brutally and indiscriminately attacked with the use of firearms,” a statement said.

      The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said it evacuated 325 people from the detention centre after the incident. A statement suggested guns were fired into air and 12 people “endured physical attacks” that required hospital treatment, but none sustained bullet wounds.

      “The dangers for refugees and migrants in Tripoli have never been greater than they are at present,” said Matthew Brook, the refugee agency’s deputy mission chief in Libya. “It is vital that refugees in danger can be released and evacuated to safety.”

      The Guardian has previously revealed there is a network of 26 Libyan detention centres where an estimated 6,000 refugees are held. Children have described being starved, beaten and abused by Libyan police and camp guards. The UK contributes funding to humanitarian assistance provided in the centres by NGOs and the International Organization for Migration.

      Qasr bin Ghashir is on the frontline of the escalating battle in Libya between rival military forces. Child refugees in the camp started sending SOS messages earlier this month, saying: “The war is started. We are in a bad situation.”

      In WhatsApp messages sent to the Guardian on Tuesday, some of the child refugees said: “Until now, no anyone came here to help us. Not any organisations. Please, please, please, a lot of blood going out from people. Please, we are in dangerous conditions, please world, please, we are in danger.”

      Many of the children and young people in the detention centres have fled persecution in Eritrea and cannot return. Many have also tried to cross the Mediterranean to reach Italy, but have been pushed back by the Libyan coastguard, which receives EU funding.

      Giulia Tranchina, an immigration solicitor in London, has been raising the alarm for months about the plight of refugees in the centres. “I have been in touch with seven refugees in Qasr Bin Gashir since last September,. Many are sick and starving,” she said.

      “All of them tried to escape across the Mediterranean to Italy, but were pushed back to the detention centre by the Libyan coastguard. Some were previously imprisoned by traffickers in Libya for one to two years. Many have been recognised by UNHCR as genuine refugees.”

      Tranchina took a statement from a man who escaped from the centre after the militia started shooting. “We were praying in the hangar. The women joined us for prayer. The guards came in and told us to hand over our phones,” he said.

      “When we refused, they started shooting. I saw gunshot wounds to the head and neck, I think that without immediate medical treatment, those people would die.

      “I’m now in a corrugated iron shack in Tripoli with a few others who escaped, including three women with young children. Many were left behind and we have heard that they have been locked in.”

      A UK government spokesperson said: “We are deeply concerned by reports of violence at the Qasr Ben Ghashir detention centre, and call on all parties to allow civilians, including refugees and migrants, to be evacuated to safety.”

      • Amnesty International, Médecins Sans Frontières and other NGOs are suing the French government to stop the donation of six boats to Libya’s navy, saying they will be used to send migrants back to detention centres. EU support to the Libyan coastguard, which is part of the navy, has enabled it to intercept migrants and asylum seekers bound for Europe. The legal action seeks a suspension on the boat donation, saying it violates an EU embargo on the supply of military equipment to Libya.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/25/libya-detention-centre-attack-footage-refugees-hiding-shooting

    • From Bad to Worse for Migrants Trapped in Detention in Libya

      Footage (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/25/libya-detention-centre-attack-footage-refugees-hiding-shooting) revealed to the Guardian shows the panic of migrants and refugees trapped in the detention facility Qasr bin Ghashir close to Tripoli under indiscriminate fire from advancing militia. According to the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR more than 3,300 people trapped in detention centres close to the escalating fighting are at risk and the agency is working to evacuate migrants from the “immediate danger”.

      Fighting is intensifying between Libyan National Army (LNA) loyal to Khalifa Haftar and the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) around the capital Tripoli. There have been reports on deaths and forced enlistment among migrants and refugees trapped in detention centres, which are overseen by the Libyan Department for Combating Illegal Migration but often run by militias.

      Amid the intense fighting the EU-backed Libyan coastguard continues to intercept and return people trying to cross the Mediteranean. According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) 113 people were returned to the Western part of the country this week. In a Tweet the UN Agency states: “we reiterate that Libya is not a safe port and that arbitrary detention must end.”

      Former UNHCR official, Jeff Crisp, calls it: “…extraordinary that the UN has not made a direct appeal to the EU to suspend the support it is giving to the Libyan coastguard”, and further states that: “Europe has the option of doing nothing and that is what it will most likely do.”

      UNHCR has evacuated 500 people to the Agencies Gathering and Departure Facility in Tripoli and an additional 163 to the Emergency Transit Mechanism in Niger. However, with both mechanisms “approaching full capacity” the Agency urges direct evacuations out of Libya. On April 29, 146 refugees were evacuated from Libya to Italy in a joint operation between UNHCR and Italian and Libyan authorities.

      https://www.ecre.org/from-bad-to-worse-for-migrants-trapped-in-detention-in-libya

    • Libia, la denuncia di Msf: «Tremila migranti bloccati vicino ai combattimenti, devono essere evacuati»

      A due mesi dall’inizio dei combattimenti tra i militari del generale Khalifa Haftar e le milizie fedeli al governo di Tripoli di Fayez al-Sarraj, i capimissione di Medici Senza Frontiere per la Libia hanno incontrato la stampa a Roma per fare il punto della situazione. «I combattimenti hanno interessato centomila persone, di queste tremila sono migranti e rifugiati bloccati nei centri di detenzione che sorgono nelle aree del conflitto - ha spiegato Sam Turner -. Per questo chiediamo la loro immediata evacuazione. Solo portandoli via da quelle aree si possono salvare delle vite».

      https://video.repubblica.it/dossier/migranti-2019/libia-la-denuncia-di-msf-tremila-migranti-bloccati-vicino-ai-combattimenti-devono-essere-evacuati/336337/336934?ref=twhv

    • Libia, attacco aereo al centro migranti. 60 morti. Salvini: «E’ un crimine di Haftar, il mondo deve reagire»

      Il bombardamento è stato effettuato dalle forze del generale Khalifa Haftar, sostenute dalla Francia e dagli Emirati. Per l’inviato Onu si tratta di crimine di guerra. Il Consiglio di sicurezza dell’Onu si riunisce domani per una sessione d’urgenza.

      Decine di migranti sono stati uccisi nel bombardamento che ieri notte un aereo dell’aviazione del generale Khalifa Haftar ha compiuto contro un centro per migranti adiacente alla base militare di #Dhaman, nell’area di #Tajoura. La base di Dhaman è uno dei depositi in cui le milizie di Misurata e quelle fedeli al governo del presidente Fayez al-Serraj hanno concentrato le loro riserve di munizioni e di veicoli utilizzati per la difesa di Tripoli, sotto attacco dal 4 aprile dalle milizie del generale della Cirenaica.

      https://www.repubblica.it/esteri/2019/07/03/news/libia_bombardato_centro_detenzione_migranti_decine_di_morti-230198952/?ref=RHPPTP-BH-I230202229-C12-P1-S1.12-T1

    • Le HCR et l’OIM condamnent l’attaque contre Tajoura et demandent une enquête immédiate sur les responsables

      Le nombre effroyable de blessés et de victimes, suite à l’attaque aérienne de mardi soir à l’est de Tripoli contre le centre de détention de Tajoura, fait écho aux vives préoccupations exprimées par le HCR, l’Agence des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés, et l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM), concernant la sécurité des personnes dans les centres de détention. Ce tout dernier épisode de violence rend également compte du danger évoqué par l’OIM et le HCR concernant les retours de migrants et de réfugiés en Libye après leur interception ou leur sauvetage en mer Méditerranée.

      Nos deux organisations condamnent fermement cette attaque ainsi que toute attaque contre la vie des civils. Nous demandons également que la détention des migrants et des réfugiés cesse immédiatement. Nous appelons à ce que leur protection soit garantie en Libye.

      Cette attaque mérite davantage qu’une simple condamnation. Selon le HCR et l’OIM, une enquête complète et indépendante est nécessaire pour déterminer comment cela s’est produit et qui en est responsable, ainsi que pour traduire les responsables en justice. La localisation de ces centres de détention à Tripoli est bien connue des combattants, qui savent également que les personnes détenues à Tajoura sont des civils.

      Au moins 600 réfugiés et migrants, dont des femmes et des enfants, se trouvaient au centre de détention de Tajoura. La frappe aérienne a causé des dizaines de morts et de blessés. Nous nous attendons de ce fait que le nombre final de victimes soit beaucoup plus élevé.

      Si l’on inclut les victimes de Tajoura, environ 3300 migrants et réfugiés sont toujours détenus arbitrairement à Tripoli et en périphérie de la ville dans des conditions abjectes et inhumaines. De plus, les migrants et les réfugiés sont confrontés à des risques croissants à mesure que les affrontements s’intensifient à proximité. Ces centres doivent être fermés.

      Nous faisons tout notre possible pour leur venir en aide. L’OIM et le HCR ont déployé des équipes médicales. Par ailleurs, une équipe interinstitutions plus large des Nations Unies attend l’autorisation de se rendre sur place. Nous rappelons à toutes les parties à ce conflit que les civils ne doivent pas être pris pour cible et qu’ils doivent être protégés en vertu à la fois du droit international relatif aux réfugiés et du droit international relatif aux droits de l’homme.

      Le conflit en cours dans la capitale libyenne a déjà forcé près de 100 000 Libyens à fuir leur foyer. Le HCR et ses partenaires, dont l’OIM, ont transféré plus de 1500 réfugiés depuis des centres de détention proches des zones de combat vers des zones plus sûres. Par ailleurs, des opérations de l’OIM pour le retour volontaire à titre humanitaire ont facilité le départ de plus de 5000 personnes vulnérables vers 30 pays d’origine en Afrique et en Asie.

      L’OIM et le HCR exhortent l’ensemble du système des Nations Unies à condamner cette attaque et à faire cesser le recours à la détention en Libye. De plus, nous appelons instamment la communauté internationale à mettre en place des couloirs humanitaires pour les migrants et les réfugiés qui doivent être évacués depuis la Libye. Dans l’intérêt de tous en Libye, nous espérons que les États influents redoubleront d’efforts pour coopérer afin de mettre d’urgence un terme à cet effroyable conflit.

      https://www.unhcr.org/fr/news/press/2019/7/5d1ca1f06/hcr-loim-condamnent-lattaque-contre-tajoura-demandent-enquete-immediate.html

    • Affamés, torturés, disparus : l’impitoyable piège refermé sur les migrants bloqués en Libye

      Malnutrition, enlèvements, travail forcé, torture : des ONG présentes en Libye dénoncent les conditions de détention des migrants piégés dans ce pays, conséquence selon elles de la politique migratoire des pays européens conclue avec les Libyens.

      Le point, minuscule dans l’immensité de la mer, est ballotté avec violence : mi-mai, un migrant qui tentait de quitter la Libye dans une embarcation de fortune a préféré risquer sa vie en plongeant en haute mer en voyant arriver les garde-côtes libyens, pour nager vers un navire commercial, selon une vidéo mise en ligne par l’ONG allemande Sea-Watch et tournée par son avion de recherche. L’image illustre le désespoir criant de migrants, en grande majorité originaires d’Afrique et de pays troublés comme le Soudan, l’Érythrée, la Somalie, prêts à tout pour ne pas être à nouveau enfermés arbitrairement dans un centre de détention dans ce pays livré au conflit et aux milices.

      Des vidéos insoutenables filmées notamment dans des prisons clandestines aux mains de trafiquants d’êtres humains, compilées par une journaliste irlandaise et diffusées en février par Channel 4, donnent une idée des sévices de certains tortionnaires perpétrés pour rançonner les familles des migrants. Allongé nu par terre, une arme pointée sur lui, un migrant râle de douleur alors qu’un homme lui brûle les pieds avec un chalumeau. Un autre, le tee-shirt ensanglanté, est suspendu au plafond, un pistolet braqué sur la tête. Un troisième, attaché avec des cordes, une brique de béton lui écrasant dos et bras, est fouetté sur la plante des pieds, selon ces vidéos.

      Le mauvais traitement des migrants a atteint un paroxysme dans la nuit de mardi à mercredi quand plus de 40 ont été tués et 70 blessés dans un raid aérien contre un centre pour migrants de Tajoura (près de Tripoli), attribué aux forces de Khalifa Haftar engagées dans une offensive sur la capitale libyenne. Un drame « prévisible » depuis des semaines, déplorent des acteurs humanitaires. Depuis janvier, plus de 2.300 personnes ont été ramenées et placées dans des centres de détention, selon l’ONU.

      « Plus d’un millier de personnes ont été ramenées par les gardes-côtes libyens soutenus par l’Union européenne depuis le début du conflit en avril 2019. A terre, ces personnes sont ensuite transférées dans des centres de détention comme celui de Tajoura… », a ce réagi mercredi auprès de l’AFP Julien Raickman, chef de mission de l’ONG Médecins sans frontières (MSF) en Libye. Selon les derniers chiffres de l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM), au moins 5.200 personnes sont actuellement dans des centres de détention en Libye. Aucun chiffre n’est disponible pour celles détenues dans des centres illégaux aux mains de trafiquants.

      L’UE apporte un soutien aux gardes-côtes libyens pour qu’ils freinent les arrivées sur les côtes italiennes. En 2017, elle a validé un accord conclu entre l’Italie et Tripoli pour former et équiper les garde-côtes libyens. Depuis le nombre d’arrivées en Europe via la mer Méditerranée a chuté de manière spectaculaire.
      « Les morts s’empilent »

      Fin mai, dans une prise de parole publique inédite, dix ONG internationales intervenant en Libye dans des conditions compliquées – dont Danish Refugee Council, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Première Urgence Internationale (PUI) – ont brisé le silence. Elles ont exhorté l’UE et ses Etats membres à « revoir en urgence » leurs politiques migratoires qui nourrissent selon elles un « système de criminalisation », soulignant que les migrants, « y compris les femmes et les enfants, sont sujets à des détentions arbitraires et illimitées » en Libye dans des conditions « abominables ».

      « Arrêtez de renvoyer les migrants en Libye  ! La situation est instable, elle n’est pas sous contrôle ; ils n’y sont en aucun cas protégés ni par un cadre législatif ni pour les raisons sécuritaires que l’on connaît », a réagi ce mercredi à l’AFP Benjamin Gaudin, chef de mission de l’ONG PUI en Libye. Cette ONG intervient dans six centres de détention dans lesquels elle est une des seules organisations à prodiguer des soins de santé.

      La « catastrophe ne se situe pas seulement en Méditerranée mais également sur le sol libyen ; quand ces migrants parviennent jusqu’aux côtes libyennes, ils ont déjà vécu l’enfer », a-t-il témoigné récemment auprès de l’AFP, dans une rare interview à un média. Dans certains de ces centres officiels, « les conditions sont terribles », estime M. Gaudin. « Les migrants vivent parfois entassés les uns sur les autres, dans des conditions sanitaires terribles avec de gros problèmes d’accès à l’eau – parfois il n’y a pas d’eau potable du tout. Ils ne reçoivent pas de nourriture en quantité suffisante ; dans certains centres, il n’y a absolument rien pour les protéger du froid ou de la chaleur. Certains n’ont pas de cours extérieures, les migrants n’y voient jamais la lumière du jour », décrit-il.
      Human Rights Watch, qui a eu accès à plusieurs centres de détention en 2018 et à une centaine de migrants, va plus loin dans un rapport de 2019 – qui accumule les témoignages de « traitements cruels et dégradants » : l’organisation accuse la « coopération de l’UE avec la Libye sur les migrations de contribuer à un cycle d’abus extrêmes ».

      « Les morts s’empilent dans les centres de détention libyens – emportés par une épidémie de tuberculose à Zintan, victimes d’un bombardement à Tajoura. La présence d’une poignée d’acteurs humanitaires sur place ne saurait assurer des conditions acceptables dans ces centres », a déploré M. Raickman de MSF. « Les personnes qui y sont détenues, majoritairement des réfugiés, continuent de mourir de maladies, de faim, sont victimes de violences en tout genre, de viols, soumises à l’arbitraire des milices. Elles se retrouvent prises au piège des combats en cours », a-t-il dénoncé.

      Signe d’une situation considérée comme de plus en plus critique, la Commissaire aux droits de l’Homme du Conseil de l’Europe a exhorté le 18 juin les pays européens à suspendre leur coopération avec les gardes-côtes libyens, estimant que les personnes récupérées « sont systématiquement placées en détention et en conséquence soumises à la torture, à des violences sexuelles, à des extorsions ». L’ONU elle même a dénoncé le 7 juin des conditions « épouvantables » dans ces centres. « Environ 22 personnes sont décédées des suites de la tuberculose et d’autres maladies dans le centre de détention de Zintan depuis septembre », a dénoncé Rupert Colville, un porte-parole du Haut-Commissariat de l’ONU aux droits de l’Homme.

      MSF, qui a démarré récemment des activités médicales dans les centres de Zintan et Gharyan, a décrit une « catastrophe sanitaire », soulignant que les personnes enfermées dans ces deux centres « viennent principalement d’Érythrée et de Somalie et ont survécu à des expériences terrifiantes » durant leur exil. Or, selon les ONG et le HCR, la très grande majorité des milliers de personnes détenues dans les centres sont des réfugiés, qui pourraient avoir droit à ce statut et à un accueil dans un pays développé, mais ne peuvent le faire auprès de l’Etat libyen. Ils le font auprès du HCR en Libye, dans des conditions très difficiles.
      « Enfermés depuis un an »

      « Les évacuations hors de Libye vers des pays tiers ou pays de transit sont aujourd’hui extrêmement limitées, notamment parce qu’il manque des places d’accueil dans des pays sûrs qui pourraient accorder l’asile », relève M. Raickman. « Il y a un fort sentiment de désespoir face à cette impasse ; dans des centres où nous intervenons dans la région de Misrata et Khoms, des gens sont enfermés depuis un an. » Interrogée par l’AFP, la Commission européenne défend son bilan et son « engagement » financier sur cette question, soulignant avoir « mobilisé » depuis 2014 pas moins de 338 millions d’euros dans des programmes liés à la migration en Libye.

      « Nous sommes extrêmement préoccupés par la détérioration de la situation sur le terrain », a récemment déclaré à l’AFP une porte-parole de la Commission européenne, Natasha Bertaud. « Des critiques ont été formulées sur notre engagement avec la Libye, nous en sommes conscients et nous échangeons régulièrement avec les ONG sur ce sujet », a-t-elle ajouté. « Mais si nous ne nous étions pas engagés avec l’OIM, le HCR et l’Union africaine, nous n’aurions jamais eu cet impact : ces 16 derniers mois, nous avons pu sortir 38.000 personnes hors de ces terribles centres de détention et hors de Libye, et les raccompagner chez eux avec des programmes de retour volontaire, tout cela financé par l’Union européenne », a-t-elle affirmé. « Parmi les personnes qui ont besoin de protection – originaires d’Érythrée ou du Soudan par exemple – nous avons récemment évacué environ 2.700 personnes de Libye vers le Niger (…) et organisé la réinstallation réussie dans l’UE de 1.400 personnes ayant eu besoin de protection internationale », plaide-t-elle.

      La porte-parole rappelle que la Commission a « à maintes reprises ces derniers mois exhorté ses États membres à trouver une solution sur des zones de désembarquement, ce qui mettrait fin à ce qui passe actuellement : à chaque fois qu’un bateau d’ONG secoure des gens et qu’il y a une opposition sur le sujet entre Malte et l’Italie, c’est la Commission qui doit appeler près de 28 capitales européennes pour trouver des lieux pour ces personnes puissent débarquer : ce n’est pas viable ! ».

      Pour le porte-parole de la marine libyenne, le général Ayoub Kacem, interrogé par l’AFP, ce sont « les pays européens (qui) sabotent toute solution durable à l’immigration en Méditerranée, parce qu’ils n’acceptent pas d’accueillir une partie des migrants et se sentent non concernés ». Il appelle les Européens à « plus de sérieux » et à unifier leurs positions. « Les États européens ont une scandaleuse responsabilité dans toutes ces morts et ces souffrances », dénonce M. Raickman. « Ce qu’il faut, ce sont des actes : des évacuations d’urgence des réfugiés et migrants coincés dans des conditions extrêmement dangereuses en Libye ».

      https://www.charentelibre.fr/2019/07/03/affames-tortures-disparus-l-impitoyable-piege-referme-sur-les-migrants

    • « Mourir en mer ou sous les bombes : seule alternative pour les milliers de personnes migrantes prises au piège de l’enfer libyen ? »

      Le soir du 2 juillet, une attaque aérienne a été signalée sur le camp de détention pour migrant·e·s de #Tadjourah dans la banlieue est de la capitale libyenne. Deux jours après, le bilan s’est alourdi et fait état d’au moins 66 personnes tuées et plus de 80 blessées [1]. A une trentaine de kilomètres plus au sud de Tripoli, plusieurs migrant·e·s avaient déjà trouvé la mort fin avril dans l’attaque du camp de Qasr Bin Gashir par des groupes armés.

      Alors que les conflits font rage autour de Tripoli entre le Gouvernement d’union nationale (GNA) reconnu par l’ONU et les forces du maréchal Haftar, des milliers de personnes migrantes enfermées dans les geôles libyennes se retrouvent en première ligne : lorsqu’elles ne sont pas abandonnées à leur sort par leurs gardien·ne·s à l’approche des forces ennemies ou forcées de combattre auprès d’un camp ou de l’autre, elles sont régulièrement prises pour cibles par les combattant·e·s.

      Dans un pays où les migrant·e·s sont depuis longtemps vu·e·s comme une monnaie d’échange entre milices, et, depuis l’époque de Kadhafi, comme un levier diplomatique notamment dans le cadre de divers marchandages migratoires avec les Etats de l’Union européenne [2], les personnes migrantes constituent de fait l’un des nerfs de la guerre pour les forces en présence, bien au-delà des frontières libyennes.

      Au lendemain des bombardements du camp de Tadjourah, pendant que le GNA accusait Haftar et que les forces d’Haftar criaient au complot, les dirigeant·e·s des pays européens ont pris le parti de faire mine d’assister impuissant·e·s à ce spectacle tragique depuis l’autre bord de la Méditerranée, les un·e·s déplorant les victimes et condamnant les attaques, les autres appelant à une enquête internationale pour déterminer les coupables.

      Contre ces discours teintés d’hypocrisie, il convient de rappeler l’immense responsabilité de l’Union européenne et de ses États membres dans la situation désastreuse dans laquelle les personnes migrantes se trouvent sur le sol libyen. Lorsqu’à l’occasion de ces attaques, l’Union européenne se félicite de son rôle dans la protection des personnes migrantes en Libye et affirme la nécessité de poursuivre ses efforts [3], ne faut-il pas tout d’abord se demander si celle-ci fait autre chose qu’entériner un système de détention cruel en finançant deux organisations internationales, le HCR et l’OIM, qui accèdent pour partie à ces camps où les pires violations de droits sont commises ?

      Au-delà de son soutien implicite à ce système d’enfermement à grande échelle, l’UE n’a cessé de multiplier les stratégies pour que les personnes migrantes, tentant de fuir la Libye et ses centres de détention aux conditions inhumaines, y soient immédiatement et systématiquement renvoyées, entre le renforcement constant des capacités des garde-côtes libyens et l’organisation d’un vide humanitaire en Méditerranée par la criminalisation des ONG de secours en mer [4].

      A la date du 20 juin 2019, le HCR comptait plus de 3 000 personnes interceptées par les garde-côtes libyens depuis le début de l’année 2019, pour à peine plus de 2000 personnes arrivées en Italie [5]. Pour ces personnes interceptées et reconduites en Libye, les perspectives sont bien sombres : remises aux mains des milices, seules échapperont à la détention les heureuses élues qui sont évacuées au Niger dans l’attente d’une réinstallation hypothétique par le HCR, ou celles qui, après de fortes pressions et souvent en désespoir de cause, acceptent l’assistance au retour « volontaire » proposée par l’OIM.

      L’Union européenne a beau jeu de crier au scandale. La détention massive de migrant·e·s et la violation de leurs droits dans un pays en pleine guerre civile ne relèvent ni de la tragédie ni de la fatalité : ce sont les conséquences directes des politiques d’externalisation et de marchandages migratoires cyniques orchestrées par l’Union et ses États membres depuis de nombreuses années. Il est temps que cesse la guerre aux personnes migrantes et que la liberté de circulation soit assurée pour toutes et tous.

      http://www.migreurop.org/article2931.html
      aussi signalé par @vanderling
      https://seenthis.net/messages/791482

    • Migrants say militias in Tripoli conscripted them to clean arms

      Migrants who survived the deadly airstrike on a detention center in western Libya say they had been conscripted by a local militia to work in an adjacent weapons workshop. The detention centers are under armed groups affiliated with the Fayez al-Sarraj government in Tripoli.

      Two migrants told The Associated Press on Thursday that for months they were sent day and night to a workshop inside the Tajoura detention center, which housed hundreds of African migrants.

      A young migrant who has been held for nearly two years at Tajoura says “we clean the anti-aircraft guns. I saw a large amount of rockets and missiles too.”

      The migrants spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.

      http://www.addresslibya.com/en/archives/47932

  • #Yémen : de l’école au cimetière, les petits boulots des #enfants de la #guerre - La République des Pyrénées.fr
    http://www.larepubliquedespyrenees.fr/2019/03/24/yemen-de-l-ecole-au-cimetiere-les-petits-boulots-des-enfants

    D’après l’Organisation internationale du travail, le Yémen est le pays où le travail des enfants est le plus répandu dans le monde arabe.

    Et, avec le chaos de la guerre, les enfants sont les plus exposés, des filles étant mariées avant 15 ans et des garçons recrutés comme #enfants_soldats.

    En novembre 2018, le Fonds des Nations unies pour l’enfance (Unicef) a qualifié le Yémen d’"#enfer sur terre" pour les enfants, 80% des mineurs ayant besoin d’aide.

  • ’Endless trip to hell’: Israel jails hundreds of Palestinian boys a year. These are their testimonies - Israel News - Haaretz.com

    (C’est sous paywall)

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE--1.7021978

    They’re seized in the dead of night, blindfolded and cuffed, abused and manipulated to confess to crimes they didn’t commit. Every year Israel arrests almost 1,000 Palestinian youngsters, some of them not yet 13

    #palestine #israel #enfants #violence

    • ’Endless trip to hell’: Israel jails hundreds of Palestinian boys a year. These are their testimonies
      They’re seized in the dead of night, blindfolded and cuffed, abused and manipulated to confess to crimes they didn’t commit. Every year Israel arrests almost 1,000 Palestinian youngsters, some of them not yet 13
      Netta Ahituv | Mar. 14, 2019 | 9:14 PM | 2

      It was a gloomy, typically chilly late-February afternoon in the West Bank village of Beit Ummar, between Bethlehem and Hebron. The weather didn’t deter the children of the Abu-Ayyash family from playing and frolicking outside. One of them, in a Spiderman costume, acted the part by jumping lithely from place to place. Suddenly they noticed a group of Israeli soldiers trudging along the dirt trail across the way. Instantly their expressions turned from joy to dread, and they rushed into the house. It’s not the first time they reacted like that, says their father. In fact, it’s become a pattern ever since 10-year-old Omar was arrested by troops this past December.

      The 10-year-old is one of many hundreds of Palestinian children whom Israel arrests every year: The estimates range between 800 and 1,000. Some are under the age of 15; some are even preteens. A mapping of the locales where these detentions take place reveals a certain pattern: The closer a Palestinian village is to a settlement, the more likely it is that the minors residing there will find themselves in Israeli custody. For example, in the town of Azzun, west of the Karnei Shomron settlement, there’s hardly a household that hasn’t experienced an arrest. Residents say that in the past five years, more than 150 pupils from the town’s only high school have been arrested.

      At any given moment, there are about 270 Palestinian teens in Israeli prisons. The most widespread reason for their arrest – throwing stones – does not tell the full story. Conversations with many of the youths, as well as with lawyers and human rights activists, including those from the B’Tselem human-rights organization, reveal a certain pattern, even as they leave many questions open: For example, why does the occupation require that arrests be violent and why is it necessary to threaten young people.

      A number of Israelis, whose sensibilities are offended by the arrests of Palestinian children, have decided to mobilize and fight the phenomenon. Within the framework of an organization called Parents Against Child Detention, its approximately 100 members are active in the social networks and hold public events “in order to heighten awareness about the scale of the phenomenon and the violation of the rights of Palestinian minors, and in order to create a pressure group that will work for its cessation,” as they explain. Their target audience is other parents, whom they hope will respond with empathy to the stories of these children.

      In general, there seems to be no lack of criticism of the phenomenon. In addition to B’Tselem, which monitors the subject on a regular basis, there’s been a protest from overseas, too. In 2013, UNICEF, the United Nations agency for children, assailed “the ill treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system, [which] appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized.” A report a year earlier from British legal experts concluded that the conditions the Palestinian children are subjected to amount to torture, and just five months ago the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe deplored Israel’s policy of arresting underage children, declaring, “An end must be put to all forms of physical or psychological abuse of children during arrest, transit and waiting periods, and during interrogations.”

      Arrest

      About half of the arrests of Palestinian adolescents are made in their homes. According to the testimonies, Israel Defense Forces soldiers typically burst into the house in the middle of the night, seize the wanted youth and whisk him away (very few girls are detained), leaving the family with a document stating where he’s being taken and on what charge. The printed document is in Arabic and Hebrew, but the commander of the force typically fills out the details in Hebrew only, then hands it to parents who may not be able to read it and don’t know why their son was taken.

      Attorney Farah Bayadsi asks why it’s necessary to arrest children in this manner, instead of summoning them for questioning in an orderly way. (The data show that only 12 percent of the youths receive a summons to be interrogated.)

      “I know from experience that whenever someone is asked to come in for questioning, he goes,” Bayadsi notes. She’s active in the Israeli branch of Defense for Children International, a global NGO that deals with the detention of minors and promotion of their rights.

      “The answer we generally get,” she says, “is that, ‘It’s done this way for security reasons.’ That means it’s a deliberate method, which isn’t intended to meet the underage youth halfway, but to cause him a lifelong trauma.”

      Indeed, as the IDF Spokesman’s Unit stated to Haaretz, in response, “The majority of the arrests, of both adults and minors, are carried out at night for operational reasons and due to the desire to preserve an orderly fabric of life and execute point-specific actions wherever possible.”

      About 40 percent of the minors are detained in the public sphere – usually in the area of incidents involving throwing stones at soldiers. That was the case with Adham Ahsoun, from Azzun. At the time, he was 15 and on his way home from a local grocery store. Not far away, a group of children had started throwing stones at soldiers, before running off. Ahsoun, who didn’t flee, was detained and taken to a military vehicle; once inside, he was hit by a soldier. A few children who saw what happened ran to his house to tell his mother. Grabbing her son’s birth certificate, she rushed to the entrance to the town to prove to the soldiers that he was only a child. But it was too late; the vehicle had already departed, headed to an army base nearby, where he would wait to be interrogated.

      By law, soldiers are supposed to handcuff children with their hands in front, but in many cases it’s done with their hands behind them. Additionally, sometimes the minor’s hands are too small for handcuffing, as a soldier from the Nahal infantry brigade told the NGO Breaking the Silence. On one occasion, he related, his unit arrested a boy “of about 11,” but the handcuffs were too big to bind his small hands.

      The next stage is the journey: The youths are taken to an army base or a police station in a nearby settlement, their eyes covered with flannelette. “When your eyes are covered, your imagination takes you to the most frightening places,” says a lawyer who represents young Palestinians. Many of those arrested don’t understand Hebrew, so that once pushed into the army vehicle they are completely cut off from what’s going on around them.

      In most cases, the handcuffed, blindfolded youth will be moved from place to place before actually being interrogated. Sometimes he’s left outside, in the open, for a time. In addition to the discomfort and the bewilderment, the frequent moving around presents another problem: In the meantime many acts of violence, in which soldiers beat the detainees, take place and go undocumented.

      Once at the army base or police station, the minor is placed, still handcuffed and blindfolded, on a chair or on the floor for a few hours, generally without being given anything to eat. The “endless trip to hell” is how Bayadsi describes this process. Memory of the incident, she adds, “is still there even years after the boy’s release. It implants in him an ongoing feeling of a lack of security, which will stay with him for his whole life.”

      Testimony provided to Breaking the Silence by an IDF staff sergeant about one incident in the West Bank illustrates the situation from the other side: “It was the first night of Hanukkah in 2017. Two children were throwing stones on Highway 60, on the road. So we grabbed them and took them to the base. Their eyes were covered with flannelette, and they were handcuffed in front with plastic cuffs. They looked young, between 12 and 16 years old.”

      When the soldiers gathered to light the first candle of the Hanukkah holiday, the detainees remained outside. “We’re shouting and making noise and using drums, which is a kind of company thing,” the soldier recalled, noting that he assumed the kids didn’t know Hebrew, although maybe they did understand the curses they heard. “Let’s say sharmuta [slut] and other words they might know from Arabic. How could they know we aren’t talking about them? They’ll probably thought that in another minute we were going to cook them.”

      Interrogation

      The nightmare can be of differing duration, the former detainees relate. Three to eight hours after the arrest, by which time the youth is tired and hungry – and sometimes in pain after being hit, frightened by threats and not even knowing why he’s there – he’s taken in for interrogation. This may be the first time the blindfold is removed and his hands freed. The process usually starts with a general question, such as, “Why do you throw stones at soldiers?” The rest is more intense – a barrage of questions and threats, aimed at getting the teen to sign a confession. In some cases, he’s promised that if he signs he’ll be given something to eat.

      According to the testimonies, the interrogators’ threats are directed squarely at the boy (“You’ll spend your whole life in jail”), or at his family (“I’ll bring your mother here and kill her before your eyes”), or at the family’s livelihood (“If you don’t confess, we’ll take away your father’s permit to work in Israel – because of you, he’ll be out of work and the whole family will go hungry”).

      “The system shows that the intention here is more to demonstrate control than to engage in enforcement,” suggests Bayadsi. “If the boy confesses, there’s a file; if he doesn’t confess, he enters the criminal circle anyway and is seriously intimidated.”

      Imprisonment

      Whether the young detainee has signed a confession or not, the next stop is prison. Either Megiddo, in Lower Galilee, or Ofer, north of Jerusalem. Khaled Mahmoud Selvi was 15 when he was brought to prison in October 2017 and was told to disrobe for a body search (as in 55 percent of the cases). For 10 minutes he was made to stand naked, along with another boy, and in winter.

      The months in detention, waiting for trial, and later, if they are sentenced, are spent in the youth wing of the facilities for security prisoners. “They don’t speak with their families for months and are allowed one visit a month, through glass,” Bayadsi relates.

      Far fewer Palestinian girls are arrested than boys. But there is no facility specially for them, so they are held in the Sharon prison for women, together with the adults.

      The trial

      The courtroom is usually the place where parents have their first sight of their child, sometimes several weeks after the arrest. Tears are the most common reaction to the sight of the young detainee, who will be wearing a prison uniform and handcuffs, and with a cloud of uncertainty hovering over everything. Israel Prisons Service guards don’t allow the parents to approach the youth, and direct them to sit on the visitors’ bench. Defense counsel is paid for either by the family or by the Palestinian Authority.

      At a recent remand hearing for several detainees, one boy didn’t stop smiling at the sight of his mother, while another lowered his eyes, perhaps to conceal tears. Another detainee whispered to his grandmother, who had come to visit him, “Don’t worry, tell everyone I’m fine.” The next boy remained silent and watched as his mother mouthed to him, “Omari, I love you.”

      While the children and their family try to exchange a few words and looks, the proceedings move along. As though in a parallel universe.

      The deal

      The vast majority of trials for juveniles ends in a plea bargain – safka in Arabic, a word Palestinian children know well. Even if there is no hard evidence to implicate the boy in stone-throwing, a plea is often the preferred option. If the detainee doesn’t agree to it, the trial could last a long time and he will be held in custody until the proceedings end.

      Conviction depends almost entirely on evidence from a confession, says lawyer Gerard Horton, from the British-Palestinian Military Court Watch, whose brief, according to its website, involves “monitoring the treatment of children in Israeli military detention.” According to Horton, who is based in Jerusalem, the minors will be more prone to confess if they don’t know their rights, are frightened and get no support or relief until they confess. Sometimes a detainee who does not confess will be told that he can expect to face a series of court appearances. At some stage, even the toughest youth will despair, the lawyer explains.

      The IDF Spokesman’s Unit stated in response: “The minors are entitled to be represented by an attorney, like any other accused, and they have the right to conduct their defense in any way they choose. Sometimes they choose to admit to guilt within the framework of a plea bargain but if they plead not guilty, a procedure involving hearing evidence is conducted, like the proceedings conducted in [civilian courts in] Israel, at the conclusion of which a legal decision will be handed down on the basis of the evidence presented to the court. The deliberations are set within a short time and are conducted efficiently and with the rights of the accused upheld.”

      Managing the community

      According to data of collected by the British-Palestinian NGO, 97 percent of the youths arrested by the IDF live in relatively small locales that are no more than two kilometers away from a settlement. There are a number of reasons for this. One involves the constant friction – physical and geographical – between Palestinians, on the one hand, and soldiers and settlers. However, according to Horton, there is another, no less interesting way to interpret this figure: namely, from the perspective of an IDF commander, whose mission is to protect the settlers.

      In the case of reported stone-throwing incidents, he says, the commander’s assumption is that the Palestinians involved are young, between the ages of 12 and 30, and that they come from the nearest village. Often the officer will turn to the resident collaborator in the village, who provides him with the names of a few boys.

      The next move is “to enter the village at night and arrest them,” Horton continues. “And whether these youths are the ones who threw the stones or not, you have already put a scare into the whole village” – which he says is an “effective tool” for managing a community.

      “When so many minors are being arrested like this, it’s clear that some of them will be innocent,” he observes. “The point is that this has to be happening all the time, because the boys grow up and new children appear on the scene. Each generation must feel the strong arm of the IDF.”

      According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit: “In recent years, many minors, some of them very young, have been involved in violent incidents, incitement and even terrorism. In these cases, there is no alternative but to institute measures, including interrogation, detention and trial, within the limits of and according to what is stipulated by law. As part of these procedures, the IDF operates to uphold and preserve the rights of the minors. In enforcing the law against them, their age is taken into account.

      “Thus, since 2014, among other measures, in certain instances, the minors are invited to the police station and are not arrested at home. In addition, proceedings relating to minors take place in the military court for juveniles, which examines the seriousness of the offense that’s attributed to the minor and the danger it poses, while taking into consideration his young age and his particular circumstances. Every allegation of violence on the part of IDF soldiers is examined, and cases in which the soldiers’ actions are found to be flawed are treated sternly.”

      The Shin Bet security service stated in response: “The Shin Bet, together with the IDF and the Israel Police, operates against every element that threatens to harm Israel’s security and the country’s citizenry. The terrorist organizations make extensive use of minors and recruit them to carry out terrorist activity, and there is a general tendency to involve minors in terrorist activity as part of local initiatives.

      “Interrogations of suspected terrorists are conducted by the Shin Bet under the law, and are subject to supervision and to internal and external review, including by all levels of the court system. The interrogations of minors are carried out with extra sensitivity and with consideration of their young age.”

      Khaled Mahmoud Selvi, arrested at 14 (October 2017)

      “I was arrested when I was 14, all the boys in the family were arrested that night. A year later, I was arrested again, with my cousin. They said I burned tires. It happened when I was sleeping. My mother woke me up. I thought it was time for school, but when I opened my eyes I saw soldiers above me. They told me to get dressed, handcuffed me and took me outside. I was wearing a short-sleeved shirt and it was cold that night. My mother begged them to let me put on a jacket, but they didn’t agree. Finally, she threw the jacket on me, but they didn’t let me put my arms in the sleeves.

      “They took me to the Karmei Tzur settlement with my eyes covered, and I had the feeling that they were just driving in circles. When I walked, there was a pit in the road and they pushed me into it, and I fell. From there they took me to Etzion [police station]. There they put me in a room, and soldiers kept coming in all the time and kicking me. Someone passed by and said that if I didn’t confess, they would leave me in jail for the rest of my life.

      “At 7 A.M., they told me the interrogation was starting. I asked to go to the toilet before. My eyes were covered and a soldier put a chair in front of me. I tripped. The interrogation went on for an hour. They told me that they saw me burning tires and that it interfered with air traffic. I told them it wasn’t me. I didn’t see a lawyer until the afternoon, and he asked the soldiers to bring us food. It was the first time I had eaten since being arrested the night before.

      “At 7 P.M., I was sent to Ofer Prison, and I remained there for six months. In that period, I was in court more than 10 times. And there was also another interrogation, because a friend of mine was told while being questioned that if he didn’t confess and inform on me, they would bring his mother and shoot her before his eyes. So he confessed and informed. I’m not angry at him. It was his first arrest, he was scared.”

      Khaled Shtaiwi, arrested at 13 (November 2018)

      Khaled’s story is told by his father, Murad Shatawi: “On the night he was arrested, a phone call from my nephew woke me up. He said the house was surrounded by soldiers. I got up and got dressed, because I expected them to arrest me, on account of the nonviolent demonstrations I organize on Fridays. I never imagined they’d take Khaled. They asked me for the names of my sons. I told them Mumen and Khaled. When I said Khaled, they said, ‘Yes, him. We’re here to take him.’ I was in shock, so many soldiers showed up to arrest a boy of 13.

      “They handcuffed and blindfolded him and led him east on foot, toward the settlement of Kedumim, all the while cursing and hitting him a little. I saw it all from the window. They gave me a document showing that it was a legal arrest and I could come to the police station. When I got there, I saw him through a small hole in the door. He was handcuffed and blindfolded.

      “He stayed like that from the moment they arrested him until 3 P.M. the next day. That’s a picture that doesn’t leave me; I don’t know how I’ll go on living with that picture in my head. He was accused of throwing stones, but after four days they released him, because he didn’t confess and there was no other evidence against him. During the trial, when the judge wanted to speak to Khaled, he had to lean forward in order to see him, because Khaled was so small.

      “What was it like to see him like that? I am the father. That says it all. He hasn’t talked about it since getting out, three months ago. That’s a problem. I’m now organizing a ‘psychology day’ in the village, to help all the children here who have been arrested. Out of 4,500 people in the village, 11 children under the age of 18 have been arrested; five were under the age of 15.”

      Omar Rabua Abu Ayyash, arrested at age 10 (December 2018)

      Omar looks small for his age. He’s shy and quiet, and it’s hard to talk to him about the arrest, so members of his family recount the events in his place.

      Omar’s mother: “It happened at 10 A.M. on Friday, when there is no school. Omar was playing in the area in front of the house, he threw pebbles at birds that were chirping in the tree. The soldiers, who were in the watchtower across the way here, picked up on what he was doing and ran toward him. He ran, but they caught him and knocked him down. He started to cry, and he wet his pants. They kicked him a few times.

      “His grandmother, who lives here below, immediately went out and tried to take him from the soldiers, which caused a struggle and shouts. In the end, they left him alone and he went home and changed into dry pants. A quarter of an hour later, the soldiers came back, this time with their commander, who said he had to arrest the boy for throwing stones. When the other children in the family saw the soldiers in the house, they also wet their pants.”

      Omar’s father takes up the story: “I told the commander that he was under 12 and that I had to accompany him, so I rode with him in the jeep to the Karmei Tzur settlement. There the soldiers told him not to throw stones anymore, and that if he saw other children doing it, he should tell them. From there they took him the offices of the Palestinian Authority in Hebron. The whole story took about 12 hours. They gave him a few bananas to eat during those hours. Now, whenever the children see a military jeep or soldiers, they go inside. They’ve stopped playing outside since then. Before the incident, soldiers used to come here to play soccer with the children. Now they’ve stopped coming, too.”

      Tareq Shtaiwi, arrested at 14 (January 2019)

      “It was around 2 P.M. I had a fever that day, so Dad sent me to my cousin next door, because that’s almost the only place in the village with a heating unit. Suddenly soldiers showed up. They saw me watching them from the window, so they fired shots at the door of the building, knocked it down and started to come upstairs. I got scared, so I ran from the second floor to the third, but they stopped me on the way and took me outside. The soldiers wouldn’t let me take my coat, even though it was cold and I was sick. They took me on foot to Kedumim, handcuffed and blindfolded. They sat me on a chair. I heard doors and windows being slammed hard, I think they were trying to scare me.

      “After a while, they took me from Kedumim to Ariel, and I was there for five-six hours. They accused me of throwing stones a few days earlier with my friend. I told them I hadn’t thrown any stones. In the evening they moved me to the Hawara detention building; one of the soldiers told me I would never leave there. In the morning I was moved to Megiddo Prison. They didn’t have prisoners uniforms in my size, so they gave me clothes of Palestinian children who had been there before and left them for the next in line. I was the youngest person in the prison.

      “I had three court hearings, and after 12 days, at the last hearing, they told me that it was enough, that my father would pay a fine of 2,000 shekels [$525] and I was getting a three-year suspended sentence. The judge asked me what I intended to do after getting out, I told him I would go back to school and I wouldn’t go up to the third floor again. Since my arrest, my younger brother, who’s 7, has been afraid to sleep in the kids’ room and goes to sleep with our parents.”

      Adham Ahsoun, arrested in October 2018, on his 15th birthday

      “On my 15th birthday, I went to the store in the village center to buy a few things. Around 7:30 in the evening, soldiers entered the village and children started to throw stones at them. On the way home with my bag, they caught me. They took me to the entrance of the village and put me in a jeep. One of the soldiers started to hit me. Then they put plastic handcuffs on me and covered my eyes and took me like that to the military base in Karnei Shomron. I was there for about an hour. I couldn’t see a thing, but I had the feeling that a dog was sniffing me. I was afraid. From there they took me to another military base and left me there for the night. They didn’t give me anything to eat or drink.

      “In the morning, they moved me to the interrogation facility in Ariel. The interrogator told me that the soldiers caught me throwing stones. I told him that I hadn’t thrown stones, that I was on my way home from the store. So he called the soldiers into the interrogation room. They said, ‘He’s lying, we saw him, he was throwing stones.’ I told him that I really hadn’t thrown stones, but he threatened to arrest my mother and father. I panicked. I asked him, ‘What do you want from me?’ He said he wanted me to sign that I threw stones at soldiers, so I signed. The whole time I didn’t see or talk to a lawyer.

      “My plea bargain was that I would confess and get a five-month jail sentence. Afterward, they gave me one-third off for good behavior. I got out after three months and a fine of 2,000 shekels. In jail I tried to catch up with the material I missed in school. The teachers told me they would only take into account the grades of the second semester, so it wouldn’t hurt my chances of being accepted for engineering studies in university.”

      Muhmen Teet, arrested at 13 (November 2017)

      “At 3 A.M., I heard knocking on the door. Dad came into the room and said there were soldiers in the living room and wanted us to show ID cards. The commanding officer told my father that they were taking me to Etzion for questioning. Outside, they handcuffed and blindfolded me and put me in a military vehicle. We went to my cousin’s house; they also arrested him. From there we went to Karmei Tzur and waited, handcuffed and blindfolded, until the morning.

      “In the morning, they only took my cousin for interrogation, not me. After his interrogation, they took us to Ofer Prison. After a day there, they took us back to Etzion and said they were going to interrogate me. Before the interrogation, they took me into a room, where there was a soldier who slapped me. After he hit me in one room, he took me to the interrogation room. The interrogator said I was responsible for burning tires, and because of that the grove near the house caught fire. I said it wasn’t me, and I signed a document that the interrogator gave me. The document was also printed in Arabic, but the interrogator filled it out in Hebrew. I was taken back to Ofer Prison.

      “I had seven hearings in court, because at the first hearing I said I hadn’t intended to confess, I just didn’t understand what I signed and it wasn’t true. So they sent me back for another interrogation. Again I didn’t confess. Then they sent me to interrogation another time and again I didn’t confess. That’s what it was like in three interrogations. In the end, my lawyer did a deal with the prosecutor that if I confessed in court – which I did – and my family would pay 4,000 shekels, they would release me.

      “I’m a good student, I like soccer, both playing and watching it. Since the arrest I hardly wander around outside.”

      Khalil Zaakiq, arrested at age 13 (January 2019)

      “Around 2 A.M. someone knocked on the door. I woke up and saw a lot of soldiers in the house. They said we should all sit in the living room sofa and not move. The commander called Uday, my big brother, told him to get dressed and informed him that he was under arrest. It was the third time they arrested him. My father was also once under arrest. Suddenly they told me to put my shoes on too and go with them.

      “They took us out of the house and tied our hands and covered our eyes. We went like that on foot to the base in Karmei Tzur. There they sat me on the floor with hands tied and eyes covered for around three hours. At about 5 A.M., they moved us to Etzion. On the way there in the jeep they hit us, they slapped me. In Etzion, I was sent to be checked by a doctor. He asked if I had been beaten and I said yes. He didn’t do anything, only checked my blood pressure and said I could stand up to an interrogation.

      “My interrogation started at 8 A.M.. They asked me to tell them which children throw stones. I said I didn’t know, so the interrogator gave me a slap. The interrogation went on for four hours. Afterward, they put me into a dark room for 10 minutes and then took me back to the interrogation room, but now they only fingerprinted me and put me into a detention cell for an hour. After an hour, Uday and I were moved to Ofer Prison. I didn’t sign a confession, neither about myself nor about others.

      “I got out after nine days, because I wasn’t guilty of anything. My parents had to pay 1,000 shekels for bail. My little brother, who is 10, has been really afraid ever since. Whenever someone knocks at the door, he wets his pants.”

  • Enfants de djihadistes : « Nos dirigeants et nos concitoyens doivent comprendre que leur retour est inéluctable », Marie Dosé, Henri Leclerc
    https://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2019/03/08/enfants-de-djihadistes-nos-dirigeants-et-nos-concitoyens-doivent-comprendre-

    Quelque 70 enfants localisés au Kurdistan attendent d’être rapatriés en France. Ils sont des victimes de la guerre et des choix de leurs parents, rappellent les avocats Marie Dosé et Henri Leclerc.

    Tribune. A l’heure où nous écrivons, une centaine d’enfants français, majoritairement âgés de moins de 6 ans, sont détenus dans les camps de Roj et de Al-Hol, au Kurdistan syrien. Certains, qui y sont nés, n’ont que quelques mois, d’autres y ont déjà passé les deux tiers ou la moitié de leur vie après avoir été arrachés à leurs familles en France.
    Ces dernières semaines, le nombre de femmes et d’enfants détenus dans le camp de Al-Hol est passé de 10 000 à 33 000, et vingt-neuf enfants, dont des nourrissons, sont morts sous la pluie, dans la boue et le froid glacial, après que leurs familles ont fui le dernier réduit de l’organisation Etat islamique (EI).

    L’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS), qui a constaté à la toute fin du mois de janvier que les enfants étaient tous atteints d’hypothermie au moment de leur décès, a fait part de sa plus extrême préoccupation quant à la situation sanitaire et humanitaire dans ce camp où tout manque : l’eau, les vivres et les soins les plus élémentaires.

    Des victimes
    Sa déléguée en Syrie, Elizabeth Hoff, parle de conditions « déchirantes », quand les Nations unies ont admis une situation « critique » et que les rapports successifs de l’Unicef, alarmants, anticipent une aggravation de la situation, au regard de l’afflux prévisible de familles fuyant le califat en ruine. Enfin, quand ils ne meurent pas, ces enfants présentent sur le visage et le corps de graves signes de mutilations consécutifs à des éclats d’obus ou de roquettes.

    Aussi est-il de la dernière urgence de considérer ces enfants pour ce qu’ils sont : des victimes. Ils n’ont en effet demandé ni à naître en Syrie ni à être conduits dans cet enfer. Mais peut-on encore parler d’urgence quand il est à craindre que tout soit déjà trop tard ?
    Les autorités françaises s’obstinent en effet à refuser de les rapatrier, probablement par crainte de la réaction d’une opinion publique mal ou sous-informée. Il faut savoir en effet que, depuis le début de la guerre, par l’entremise d’ONG ou de passeurs, 84 enfants ont pu rentrer chez eux, en France. Leurs mères, qui ont fui l’EI et ont pu rejoindre la Turquie, ont toutes été livrées à la France, en application d’un protocole négocié entre les deux pays, où elles ont aussitôt fait l’objet d’une prise en charge judiciaire.

    Quant aux enfants, tous ont été immédiatement pris en charge par l’Aide sociale à l’enfance et placés dans des familles d’accueil spécialement formées à ce genre de circonstances. Suivis avec beaucoup d’attention et d’humanité par des éducateurs spécialisés, des psychologues et des psychiatres, ils apprennent peu à peu à se reconstruire. De retour chez nous – chez eux –, ils retrouvent leurs familles et font connaissance avec leurs grands-parents, leurs oncles et tantes : ils sont sauvés du pire.

    Violation de la Convention des droits de l’enfant

    Début février, 70 enfants identifiés et localisés au Kurdistan syrien devaient être rapatriés par le gouvernement français. Pourtant celui-ci, sans fournir la moindre explication ou justification, a décidé de faire marche arrière.
    Le président de la République lui-même ne s’est exprimé qu’à une seule reprise sur le sort de ces enfants, il y a déjà dix-huit mois de cela, assurant alors que leur situation serait examinée au « cas par cas ». Depuis, cette déclaration n’a été suivie d’aucun effet : aucun rapatriement n’a été effectué. Moyennant quoi, en les abandonnant à leur sort dans une zone où aucune ONG n’est présente, ni Médecins sans frontières, ni Médecins du monde, et en les exposant directement à un risque de mort presque certaine, l’inertie et le silence de la France la rendent coupable de violation de la Convention internationale des droits de l’enfant, dont elle fut signataire dès 1989.

    Même le président de la République tchétchène, Ramzan Kadyrov, dont le moins que l’on puisse dire est qu’il n’a rien d’un parangon de démocratie, a déclaré que les enfants, de fait, étaient innocents, et que « personne ne leur [avait] demandé où ils voulaient naître ».
    La Russie a récemment rapatrié deux cents femmes et enfants, de même que le Maroc et les Etats-Unis ont fait revenir leurs propres ressortissants. Au demeurant, voilà un an que les Kurdes n’ont de cesse d’exhorter la France à rapatrier ses enfants et leurs mères. Nous posons donc cette question : la République française ne peut-elle pas faire, sinon mieux du moins aussi bien que Ramzan Kadyrov, Vladimir Poutine, Mohammed VI et Donald Trump ?

    L’Etat doit faire preuve d’humanité et de responsabilité
    Il est temps que nos dirigeants, mais aussi nos concitoyens, comprennent que le retour de ces enfants est inéluctable. Dans les semaines et peut-être les jours qui viennent, les Kurdes n’auront plus les moyens ni même la possibilité de continuer à porter le fardeau de ce désastre, a fortiori depuis que les forces américaines ont décidé de se retirer du secteur, ouvrant la voie à une offensive turque dont les Kurdes ont tout à craindre.
    Ils ne deviendront des « bombes à retardement », suivant cette expression machinale ressassée un peu partout, que si la France les abandonne à leur sort en Syrie, là où ils ne tarderont plus à faire figure de proie idéale pour les innombrables groupuscules terroristes. Alors seulement, nous pourrons parler de « bombes à retardement ».
    Comment la France peut-elle rester sourde à ce drame ? Comment peut-elle rendre de si jeunes enfants comptables des mauvais choix de leurs parents ? La France est-elle devenue si peu forte, si peu rayonnante, si peu soucieuse de ses valeurs qu’elle refuse de sauver ses propres enfants ?

    Il est temps que des voix s’élèvent, que ce gouvernement cesse de tergiverser, que le président de la République fasse preuve, certes d’humanité, mais plus encore de sens des responsabilités, et qu’un terme soit mis à un silence qui ne fait que nourrir les ressentiments les plus rétrogrades et les plus contraires à son histoire.

  • Patrick Brown won the 2019 FotoEvidence Book Award with World Press Photo for his work No Place on Earth
    FotoEvidence | Documenting Social Injustice
    http://fotoevidence.com


    Photo: Patrick Brown © 2019 Panos/UNICEF

    Photographer Patrick Brown won the FotoEvidence Book Award with World Press Photo for his project “No Place on Earth,” documenting the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis and one of the most rapid human exodus in recent history. Risking death at sea or on foot, more than 700,000 #Rohingya fled the destruction of their homes and persecution in the northern Rakhine State of #Myanmar. Arriving in Bangladesh at the makeshift camps, most refugees reported harrowingly consistent stories of murder and rape, all of which testify to a deliberate campaign of eradication. “No Place on Earth” provides an intimate portrait of the Rohingya survivors and their bleak conditions in overcrowded refugee camps.

    • No Place on Earth by Patrick BrownFotoEvidence | Documenting Social Injustice
      http://fotoevidence.com/award-detail/no-place-on-earth/2019_winner_Patrick+Brown


      Patrick Brown ©2019 Panos/UNICEF

      Winner of the 2019 FotoEvidence Book Award with World Press Photo
       
      The Rohingya are a predominantly Muslim minority group in Rakhine State, western Myanmar. They number around one million people, laws passed in the 1980s effectively deprived them of Myanmar citizenship. Violence erupted in Myanmar on 25 August after a faction of Rohingya militants attacked police posts, killing 12 members of the Myanmar security forces. Myanmar authorities, in places supported by groups of Buddhists, launched a crackdown, attacking Rohingya villages and burning houses. In late August 2017, I starting hearing reports from friends and colleagues in Bangladesh that Rohingya Muslims were flooding across the border with horrific stories perpetrated by the Myanmar military and vigilantes.

      The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called the crackdown in Rakhine State, Burma, “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”. There is nothing clean about Ethnic cleansing – up close and on the ground, it’s murder, it’s rape, it’s people being slaughtered in the most systematic and barbaric way. It’s people. While euphemisms and diplomatic language can obscure the true horror inflicted by oppressive regimes, photography cuts through all the cold clinical terminology. Through photographs we’re forced to confront the cruel reality of what ethnic cleansing really looks like.

      Although I’ve worked in tough environments before, nothing could have prepared me for the raw misery I saw and heard over the following months: orphan children carrying their younger siblings through flooded paddy fields; wounded men and women who had walked for 10 days with nothing more than their shirts on their backs. Soon the hundreds of desperate people became thousands, and then tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands. Amid the crush of humanity and gathering monsoon rains, they tried to make shelters with anything that could give them some cover.

      Today, the refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar is the world’s largest - a city of nearly a million people, more densely populated than Manhattan and the size of Copenhagen. Trapped on the edge of a foreign country and rejected by their ancestral homeland, the Rohingya have nothing there but their will to survive and whatever support we provide for them. Their needs are total: for clean drinking water, schools, health care, jobs. But most of all, a safe and dignified place to call home.

  • https://www.francetvinfo.fr/france/hauts-de-france/migrants-a-calais/jungle-de-calais-la-cour-europeenne-des-droits-de-l-homme-condamne-la-f

    La Cour européenne des droits de l’homme a condamné, jeudi 28 février, la France pour traitements dégradants à l’égard d’un jeune Afghan de 12 ans qui avait passé six mois dans la « jungle » de Calais sans être pris en charge par les services sociaux. La France est condamnée à verser 15 000 euros à l’enfant, devenu adolescent, au titre du dommage moral.

    [L]a Cour de Strasbourg [...] dit n’être « pas convaincue que les autorités (…) ont fait tout ce que l’on pouvait raisonnablement attendre d’elles pour répondre à l’obligation de prise en charge et de protection qui pesait sur l’État défendeur s’agissant d’un mineur isolé étranger en situation irrégulière âgé de douze ans, c’est-à-dire d’un individu relevant de la catégorie des personnes les plus vulnérables de la société. » L’arrêt a été rendu à l’unanimité des juges.

    #noborder #justice #hypocrite #hollande #valls #calais #jungle #ghetto

    • Migrants : comment un mineur afghan a fait condamner la France par la justice européenne ?

      La France a été reconnue jeudi coupable de traitements dégradants à l’égard d’un jeune Afghan qui a vécu six mois dans la jungle de Calais alors qu’il n’avait que douze ans. La Cour européenne des droits de l’Homme a estimé que Paris n’avait respecté ni le droit français, ni le droit international relatif à la protection de l’enfance.

      Jamil Khan avait déposé une requête contre le gouvernement français devant la Cour européenne des droits de l’Homme (CEDH) en mars 2016. Arrivé seul en France alors qu’il n’avait que 11 ans, il avait vécu pendant six mois dans la jungle de la Lande de Calais. Dans sa requête, il dénonçait le manque de protection et de prise en charge de la France envers « les mineurs isolés étrangers qui, comme lui, se trouvaient sur le site de la Lande de Calais », rappelle la CEDH dans son arrêt rendu public jeudi 28 février.

      Le jeune Afghan, aujourd’hui âgé de 15 ans et installé dans un foyer à Birmingham (Royaume-Uni), a obtenu gain de cause. La cour a condamné la France à lui verser 15 000 euros. Les juges ont estimé que la France n’a respecté ni son droit interne, ni le droit international relatif à la protection de l’enfance, en laissant ce mineur vivre « durant plusieurs mois (...) dans un environnement totalement inadapté à sa condition d’enfant, que ce soit en termes de sécurité, de logement, d’hygiène ou d’accès à la nourriture et aux soins ».

      Six mois dans la jungle

      Né en 2004 en Afghanistan, Jamil Khan a indiqué avoir quitté son pays à la mort de son père. Il souhaitait se rendre au Royaume-Uni pour y demander l’asile et s’était retrouvé à Calais « en suivant des exilés rencontrés sur la route, dans l’espoir d’y trouver un moyen de passer au Royaume-Uni ».

      Installé avec les autres migrants dans la jungle de la Lande à Calais, Jamil Khan a vécu pendant plusieurs mois au milieu d’adultes, dans une cabane de fortune, sans scolarisation.

      La CEDH note qu’il a fallu attendre le 22 février 2016 pour qu’un juge, saisi par une ONG, ordonne la prise en charge de l’adolescent alors âgé de 12 ans, alors que sa cabane venait d’être détruite dans le démantèlement de la zone sud du campement sauvage de migrants à Calais.

      Le gouvernement s’est défendu en affirmant que ni le jeune homme, ni son représentant ad hoc, ni son avocate ne s’était présenté aux services sociaux. Par ailleurs, l’adolescent a définitivement quitté la France environ un mois plus tard, en mars 2016, pour entrer clandestinement au Royaume-Uni où il a été recueilli par les services britanniques de l’aide à l’enfance, détaille la cour dans son arrêt.

      Mais la cour a fait savoir qu’elle n’était pas convaincue que les autorités françaises aient fait tout ce qui était en leur pouvoir pour offrir protection et prise en charge à l’adolescent.

      « La France viole le droit tous les jours en matière d’accueil des étrangers »

      « Avec cet arrêt, on pourra forcer un peu plus les autorités françaises à faire davantage pour les personnes vulnérables en situation d’exil », a estimé Me Lionel Crusoé, coreprésentant de Je Jamil Khan auprès de la CEDH.

      Car au-delà de ce cas précis, c’est l’obligation de prise en charge des mineurs isolés étrangers, « individu(s) relevant de la catégorie des personnes les plus vulnérables de la société », qui est rappelée par la CEDH à la France et plus généralement à l’Europe.

      « La France viole le droit tous les jours en matière d’accueil des étrangers », a réagi auprès de l’AFP François Guennoc, de l’Auberge des Migrants à Calais, qui s’attend à ce que le pays « s’assoie sur cette condamnation, comme d’habitude ».

      Didier Degrémont, président départemental du Secours catholique dans le Pas-de-Calais, met de son côté en garde : « Le problème existe encore aujourd’hui, avec un nombre important de mineurs non accompagnés qui dorment dehors ».

      Par ailleurs, une vingtaine d’associations emmenées par l’Unicef ont saisi jeudi le Conseil d’État contre le très controversé fichier des mineurs isolés étrangers, qu’elles accusent de servir la lutte contre l’immigration irrégulière au détriment de la protection de l’enfance.

      Les 19 requérants ont déposé un référé et une requête en annulation contre le décret du 31 janvier créant ce fichier biométrique. L’objectif est d’"obtenir rapidement la suspension de ce texte et à terme, son annulation", expliquent dans un communiqué ces associations, parmi lesquels l’Armée du salut, Médecins du monde, la Cimade et la Fédération des acteurs de la solidarité (FAS, qui revendique 850 associations).

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/15456/migrants-comment-un-mineur-afghan-a-fait-condamner-la-france-par-la-ju

    • Le jeune Afghan, aujourd’hui âgé de 15 ans et installé dans un foyer à Birmingham (Royaume-Uni), a obtenu gain de cause. La cour a condamné la France à lui verser 15 000 euros. Les juges ont estimé que la France n’a respecté ni son droit interne, ni le droit international relatif à la protection de l’enfance, en laissant ce mineur vivre « durant plusieurs mois (...) dans un environnement totalement inadapté à sa condition d’enfant, que ce soit en termes de sécurité, de logement, d’hygiène ou d’accès à la nourriture et aux soins ».

      Je parlerais plutôt d’un « un environnement totalement inadapté à sa condition d’humain »

    • Aujourd’hui en France, il faut donc aller jusqu’à saisir une juridiction internationale pour faire sanctionner des violations aussi graves et flagrantes du droit, commises régulièrement par l’administration. Et si un enfant maltraité a obtenu, cette fois, une réparation pécuniaire, qu’en est-il de toutes celles et ceux, expulsé·e·s de la même manière depuis 2016 et aujourd’hui quotidiennement à Calais, Grande-Synthe et sur le littoral, qui continuent de subir des traitements inhumains et dégradants ?

      https://www.gisti.org/spip.php?article6099
      #Gisti

  • Mineurs isolés étrangers en France : l’Unicef attaque un décret gouvernemental
    https://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2019/02/28/mineurs-non-accompagnes-etrangers-l-unicef-attaque-un-decret-de-la-loi-asile

    L’agence de l’ONU et dix-huit organisations dénoncent, devant le Conseil d’Etat, « un recul historique pour les droits des enfants ».

    Un collectif de près de dix-neuf organisations, syndicats et associations parmi lesquelles l’Unicef, Médecins du monde, le Gisti ou la Cimade, a contesté devant le Conseil d’Etat, jeudi 28 février, un décret qui durcit les conditions de prise en charge des mineurs isolés étrangers au titre de l’aide sociale à l’enfance (ASE). Cette démarche contentieuse est une première pour l’agence onusienne.
    « Une ligne rouge a été franchie avec ce texte, qui nous semble constituer un recul historique pour les droits des enfants et la protection de l’enfance à des fins de lutte contre l’immigration », justifie Sébastien Lyon, directeur général d’Unicef France.

  • Zaatari’s children: poverty, conflict and displacement in refugee camp

    According to UNHCR around 80,000 people live in Zaatari and more than half of them are children.

    Aysar Waseem Ryabi spent most of his nearly 6 years on this side of the border.

    “I wake up in the morning, have breakfast, go to the playground then go back home. I sit for a bit then go out again and play football. And then I take my brother and play more football," he said.

    Syria’s children are either growing up amid conflict, or living in poverty and displacement.

    Inside Zaatari, UNICEF partnered with NGOs and Syrians to create “safe spaces” for children to be children.

    Volunteers focus on extracurricular activities – like painting or playing – to help children with the tools they need to build up resilience.

    “This is so they can reach a level where they can get their needs and adapt to any condition,” Hussein Al-Qassem, UNICEF Volunteer told Euronews’ Anelise Borges.

    “No matter what might happen in the long run, they will have the solutions. It can be difficult, but I hope that the things they are witnessing will help them become more lenient.”

    https://www.euronews.com/2019/01/28/zaatari-s-children-poverty-conflict-and-displacement-in-refugee-camp
    #camps_de_réfugiés #Zaatari #Jordanie #pauvreté #réfugiés #asile #migrations

  • Malnourished children are taking food from school bins to stifle hunger, headteacher says Eleanor Busby - 11 Janvier 2019 - The Indépendant

    Parents have come to school in tears saying they have no way of feeding their children
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/school-hunger-child-poverty-bins-headteacher-morecambe-foodbanks-univ

    Royaume-Uni : « Des enfants mal nourris fouillent dans les poubelles de l’école pour apaiser leur faim », déclare une directrice d’école
    Des parents arrivent à l’école en larmes disant qu’ils n’ont aucun moyen de nourrir leurs enfants. Les enfants arrivent à l’école tellement affamés qu’ils vont chercher de la nourriture dans les poubelles, explique la directrice d’école.

    Siobhan Collingwood, directrice de l’école primaire de Morecambe Bay, dans le comté de Lancashire, a déclaré qu’un élève sur dix venait de familles qui ont recours aux banques alimentaires.

    « Lorsque les enfants sont affamés, cela altère leur comportement et les rend complètement obsédés par la nourriture, ainsi nous avons des enfants qui vont voler des noyaux de fruits dans les poubelles », a déclaré la directrice.

    S’exprimant à l’émission BBC-Breakfast, Siobhan Collingwood a déclaré : « Nous avons des enfants qui n’ont rien dans leur gamelle du déjeuner et qui font une fixation sur la nourriture ».

    La directrice a ajouté qu’il y avait actuellement 35 enfants dans son école dont les familles sont aidées par des banques alimentaires, en ajoutant : « Le nombre est probablement plus élevé, mais nous ne connaissons que ceux-là. »

    En début de semaine, le Comité d’audit environnemental a présenté les chiffres de 2017 de l’UNICEF selon lesquels 19% des enfants britanniques de moins de 15 ans vivent avec des adultes qui ont du mal à se procurer de la nourriture.

    Siobhan Collingwood a déclaré que la faim à laquelle sont confrontés les élèves « brisait le cœur » et ajouté qu’elle avait vu des parents arriver à l’école et fondre en larmes, affirmant qu’ils n’avaient pas les moyens de nourrir leurs enfants.

    « Des familles me disent qu’elles se prêtent régulièrement de la nourriture, et mon expérience quotidienne me dit que c’est un problème qui s’aggrave de plus en plus », a-t-elle déclaré.

    Siobhan Collingwood a affirmé qu’elle avait constaté davantage de problèmes depuis l’introduction du Crédit universel, [un système d’indemnisation unique qui regroupe et remplace une série d’indemnités sociales qui existaient auparavant – NdT].

    Ses commentaires ont eu lieu après qu’un groupe de députés représentant plusieurs partis a appelé le gouvernement à nommer un « ministre de la faim » pour lutter contre « l’insécurité alimentaire » – en particulier parmi les jeunes enfants.

    – - - - - - - - -

    Malnourished children are arriving at school so hungry they are taking food out of the bins, a headteacher says.
    Siobhan Collingwood, headteacher of Morecambe Bay Primary School, in Lancashire, said one in 10 of its pupils came from families using food banks.

    “When children are food deprived it alters their behaviour and they do become quite food obsessed, so we have some children who will be stealing fruit cores from the bins,” the headteacher said.

    Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Ms Collingwood said : “We have children who have nothing in their lunch boxes and children who are just fixated upon food.”

    The headteacher said there were currently 35 children at her school whose families are supported by food banks : “It’s probably higher because they are the ones we know about.”

    Earlier this week the Environmental Audit Committee highlighted 2017 Unicef figures showing 19 per cent of children under 15 in the UK live with adults who struggle to buy food.

    Ms Collingwood said the hunger facing pupils was “heartbreaking” and she had seen parents arrive at school and burst into tears, saying they have no means of feeding their children.

    “Families are coming in telling me they are routinely loaning food to each other, my day-to-day experience is telling me this is a growing problem,” she said.

    Ms Collingwood said she had noticed more problems since the introduction of universal credit.

    Her comments came after a cross-party group of MPs called on the government to appoint a “minister for hunger” to tackle “food insecurity” – especially among young children.

    #angleterre #école #enfants #faim #Crédit_universel #ministre_de_la_faim #poubelles

  • René Guénon sur notre société festive
    http://www.dedefensa.org/article/rene-guenon-sur-notre-societe-festive

    René Guénon sur notre société festive

    Comme prévu la société festive est de plus en plus sinistre, et comme prévu elle est de plus en plus autoritaire et orwellienne, avec un arrière-fond imbibé de satanisme. Voyez Vigilantcitizen.com qui recense le bal illuminé de l’UNICEF. Ici, on passe de la fête de la musique à l’arrestation de Drouet et à l’épuration du web parce qu’on est cool, ludique État-de-droit dans ses bottes....

    Philippe Muray a brillamment « tonné contre » la société festive. On l’a rappelé ici-même. Mais on va remonter plus haut et examiner le corps du délit avec notre René Guénon. Qu’était une fête dans le monde traditionnel ? Une subversion momentanée de l’ordre. Guénon, dans ses admirables Symboles de la science sacrée :

    « Il n’est pas inutile de citer ici quelques exemples précis, et nous (...)

  • 430,000 flee Cameroon’s restive Anglophone areas, says group

    An international refugee agency says that more than 430,000 people have fled violence in Cameroon’s restive English-speaking regions and are hiding in rural areas with few resources.

    The Norwegian Refugee Council, one of several humanitarian organizations offering support, said Wednesday it is assisting the displaced by providing shelter and supplies to needy families. David Manan, the Norwegian group’s country director for Cameroon, called for more international aid.

    He said there are too few agencies on the ground to provide the amount of aid needed. He said many people are hiding in the bush.

    Cameroon’s English-speaking separatists have been protesting since 2016 against what they claim is discrimination by the French-speaking majority. Their protests were initially peaceful, but in response to a government crackdown some separatists are waging a violent campaign.

    https://www.thestate.com/news/nation-world/world/article223306000.html
    #Cameroun #Cameroun_anglophone #asile #migrations #réfugiés #COI #IDPs #déplacés_internes

    • Conflict in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions forces 430,000 people to flee

      The number of people displaced as a result of the crisis in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions has spiked to more than 430,000 during the last months. Many people are hiding in the bush with no support, warns the Norwegian Refugee Council.

      “We are deeply worried by the ongoing conflict and the increasing displacement figures. Parties to the conflict must ensure that civilians in the area are protected and are able to safely access life-saving assistance,” said David Manan, Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Cameroon.

      The number of people displaced from their homes in Cameroon’s Anglophone Southwest and Northwest regions and in neighbouring Littoral and West regions has reached 437.000, according to the latest UN estimates.

      NRC is assisting people displaced by this crisis. However, many people are left without any support, as insecurity is hindering organisations from accessing many areas. People are without proper shelter and sanitation facilities, clean water, food and access to medical care.

      “The needs we are witnessing in the Southwest and Northwest regions are alarming and there are too few agencies on the ground to provide the necessary aid due to limited funding. We call for more donors to prioritise this crisis to allow more agencies to respond so that we can stem the rising tide of suffering and displacement,” said Manan.

      “Displaced families who receive our assistance have told us that they share it or give it to their relatives who did not yet receive any assistance and desperately need help. Many people are hiding in the bush with no support, fearing for their lives,” added Manan.

      “This is the first time I am being helped since I fled,” said Annoh, who received essential household items, including materials to build a shelter. “I will share what I have received with my husband who is hiding in the bush. He has nothing but the clothes he was wearing when he fled,” she added.

      NRC is distributing household items, shelter and hygiene kits in Northwest and Southwest regions with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA) and European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).


      https://www.nrc.no/news/2018/december/conflict-in-cameroons-anglophone-regions-forces-430000-people-to-flee

    • A generation of unschooled Cameroonians, another generation of conflict?

      “As we trekked, they kept on telling us that they don’t want us to go to school again,” says 15-year-old Martha Lum, four weeks after being released by the armed gunmen who kidnapped her along with 78 other children and staff members in Cameroon.

      Lum’s story is becoming common across the country’s Northwest and Southwest regions, where the conflict between anglophone separatists and francophone armed forces that’s claimed hundreds of lives has made schools a battlefield.

      Since the anglophone conflict escalated in late 2017, more than 430,000 people have been forced to flee their homes. In May, the UN’s emergency aid coordination body, OCHA, said approximately 42,500 children were out of school. However, local rights groups estimate that number has now increased fourfold following frequent abductions.

      Some 20,000 school-age children now live in the bush. With no learning materials or trained teachers, they have no access to a formal education. Parents and local officials worry that the children could be driven to take up arms, becoming a lost generation that perpetuates the conflict and the humanitarian crisis.

      “Imagine that these children miss school for five or 10 years because of the fighting, hearing the sound of guns every day, and seeing people being killed; what will become of them?” says 45-year-old mother of four *Elizabeth Tamufor.

      “We have been hiding in the bush for more than a year,” she tells IRIN. “I am sure the children have forgotten what they were taught in school. You think in five years they will still be hiding here? They will probably pick up guns and start fighting.”

      The fear of schoolchildren and young students joining the armed separatists is already a reality for some. *Michael, 20, used to be a student before the conflict started. He joined the separatists when his friend was killed by government forces.

      “I replaced books with the gun since then. But I will return to school immediately we achieve our independence,” he says.
      Right from the start

      The roots of Cameroon’s anglophone conflict can be traced back to education. The separatists fighting for independence from French-majority Cameroon say the current school system symbolises the marginalisation of the English language and culture.

      After years of discontent, in November 2016, anglophone teachers began an indefinite strike to protest what they said amounted to systematic discrimination against English-speaking teachers and students. In response, government security forces clamped down on protests, arresting hundreds of demonstrators, including children, killing at least four people and wounding many more.

      This caused widespread anger across the Southwest and Northwest regions, which a year later led to the rise of the armed separatist groups now fighting for independence and a new English-speaking nation called “#Ambazonia”.

      Although the majority of teacher trade unions called off their strike in February 2017, separatists continue to impose curfews and abduct people as a means to push the local population to refrain from sending children back to school.

      As a result, tens of thousands of children haven’t attended school since 2016. Local media is awash with stories of kidnappings of children and teachers who do not comply with the boycott, while rights groups say the disruption of education puts children at risk of exploitation, child labour, recruitment by armed groups, and early marriage.

      “Schools have become targets,” a July 2018 Human Rights Watch report notes. “Either because of these threats, or as a show of solidarity by parents and teachers with the separatist cause, or both, school enrollment levels have dropped precipitously during the crisis.”

      In June, Amnesty International said at least 42 schools had been attacked since February last year. While latest statistics are not available, it is believed that at least 100 separate incidents of school kidnapping have taken place since the separatist movement turned violent in 2017. More than 100 schools have also been torched and at least a dozen teachers killed or wounded, according to Issa Tchiroma, Cameroon’s minister of communication.
      The separatist view

      Speaking to IRIN last month in Bali, a town neighbouring Bamenda – the capital of Northwest region – armed separatist leader *Justin says his group is enforcing the school boycott started by the teacher trade unions.

      “They (teachers) started a strike action to resist the ‘francophonisation’ of the anglophone system of education, and the evil francophone regime arrested and detained their colleagues, shot dead schoolchildren, and you expect us to sit down and watch them killing our people?”

      “We don’t want the schoolchildren of Ambazonia to be part of the corrupt francophone system of education,” he said. “We have designed a new school programme for them which will start as soon as we achieve our independence.“

      *Laba, who controls another group of armed separatists, is more categorical. “When we say no school, we mean no school,” he says emphatically. “We have never and will never kill a student or teacher. We just want them to stay home until we get our independence and begin implementing our own system of education.”

      There are about 20 armed separatist groups across the two English-speaking regions. They operate independently, and separatists have publicly disagreed on the various methods of imposing the school boycott.

      Both Justin and Laba accuse the government of staging “some” of the school abductions in order “to discredit the image of the separatists internationally”. But they also admit that some armed separatist groups are guilty of kidnapping and killing children and teachers.

      “We don’t kidnap schoolchildren,” Justin says. “We just impose curfews to force them to stay home.”

      But for many parents and schoolchildren, staying at home for this long is already having devastating consequences.
      School children in uniforms walk on the street toward camera.

      ‘Everything is different’

      Parents who can afford it have enrolled their children in schools in the French-speaking part of the country – mostly Douala and Yaoundé. But the influx has caused fees to rise in the francophone zones. Tuition fees that normally cost $150 annually have now more than doubled to $350.

      Beyond the costs, parents also need to transport their children from the troubled regions, along a very insecure highway, to apply for enrollment.

      When they get there, success is far from guaranteed. A lot of the francophone schools are now at full capacity and have stopped accepting students from anglophone regions, meaning many children will likely have to stay home for yet another year.

      Those studying in a new environment can also take quite a while to adapt.

      George Muluh, 16, had been at a school in the Southwest region before the conflict but is now attending Government Bilingual High School Deido in Douala.

      “Everything is just different,” he says. “I don’t understand French. The classrooms are overcrowded. The teaching method is different. I am getting more and more confused every day. I just want the conflict to end so I can go back to the Southwest to continue my studies.”

      It might be a long while before George has that opportunity. To the Cameroonian government, the teachers’ grievances have already been solved.

      “The government has employed 1,000 bilingual teachers, allocated two billion CFA ($4 million) to support private education, transferred teachers who could not speak French and redeployed them to French zones. These were the demands of the teachers. What do they want again?” asks Tchiroma, the minister of communication.

      But Sylvester Ngan, from the Teachers Association of Cameroon (TAC), which defends the rights of English-speaking teachers in the country, says most of these measures are cosmetic and don’t solve key issues related to French-only exams and francophone teachers in English schools.
      Leave the children alone

      While the government and teachers’ unions argue about who is right and what education system to implement, the war is ongoing, people are dying, and tens of thousands of children are not in school.

      “No reason can be advanced to justify the unwarranted attacks on children in general and pupils who are seeking to acquire knowledge and skills,” says Jacques Boyer, UNICEF representative in Cameroon. “All children in the regions must be able to go to school in peace.”

      President Paul Biya, 85, who just won another seven-year term after 36 years in power, has ignored calls for an inclusive dialogue to end the conflict. The first related measure he undertook after the October election was the creation of a commission to disarm and reintegrate former armed separatists.

      Cameroonian political analyst Michael Mbah describes the move as “a joke”, saying that a ceasefire and dialogue must precede any serious attempt at disarmament and reintegration.

      Meanwhile, the next year looks bleak for children like Lum whose futures are being decided by a war beyond their control. “I have always wanted to become a medical doctor,” Lum tells IRIN, but she now fears her dream will be shattered by the persistent conflict.

      “Leave the children alone,” says *Raymond, a father of four whose offspring haven’t been able to study for close to two years now.

      “We, parents, cannot afford to raise a generation of illiterates,” he says. “The future of the children is being sacrificed, just like that.”

      *Names changed at the request of the interviewees for security reasons.

      https://www.irinnews.org/news-feature/2018/12/19/cameroon-generation-unschooled-children-could-fuel-long-term-conflict
      #éducation #droit_à_l'éducation #école #scolarisation #enfants #enfance #conflit

    • République d’#Ambazonie

      « Le nom Ambazonia a été préféré à Southern British Cameroons afin de ne pas confondre cette zone avec la région territoriale du sud (Southern Cameroon). Les « autonomistes ambazoniens » avaient à cœur de trouver un nom local afin de bannir « Cameroun » qu’ils considéraient comme le symbole du lourd fardeau de l’héritage colonial. Pour cela, ils ont fouillé dans les livres d’histoire et inventé le nom Ambazonia. Celui-ci dérive d’Ambas, nom donné à la région de l’embouchure du fleuve Wouri. Ce site, en forme de baie, avait alors reçu le nom anglais Baie d’Ambas1. »

      https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%A9publique_d%27Ambazonie

  • Deux millions d’enfants sont déscolarisés au Yémen, selon l’UNICEF, dont 500000 depuis l’entrée en guerre de la coalition saoudienne.
    Plusieurs dizaines de milliers de morts, 14 millions de personnes en situation de « pré-famine », un Etat en déréliction totale, une inflation insoutenable (41,8 %), unecroissance inexistante (-10 %)… Et une éducation nationale qui ne cesse de s’étioler. Depuis que le conflit yéménite s’est internationalisé, en mars 2015, 500000 enfants ont été contraints de quitter les bancs de l’école, vient d’alerter Meritxell Relaño, la représentante de l’UNICEF au Yémen. Ce qui porte le
    nombre d’enfants déscolarisés à plus de 2 millions sur l’ensemble du pays. Des chiffres qui indiquent, certes, que les Yéménites n’ont pas eu besoin qu’une guerre éclate pour voir leur système scolaire se casser la figure. Mais qui doivent tout de même inquiéter au plus haut point. Si les combats entre la coalition saoudienne – qui épaule l’armée du président yéménite, Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi – et les rebelles Houthis devaient durer encore des mois, combien de dizaines, voire de centaines de milliers d’enfants innocents supplémentaires seraient éloignés des écoles ?
    C’est notamment à Hodeïda, dans l’ouest du pays, que la situation est la plus alarmante. La ville portuaire, aux mains des combattants chiite mais assiégée depuis plusieurs mois par la coalition, a connu la semaine dernière un nouveau regain de violence, alors que Martin Griffiths, l’envoyé spécial des Nations unies (ONU) au Yémen, avait réussi à imposer une trêve de quelques jours. Le week-end dernier, les Saoudiens ont conduit quelque 35 raids aériens sur la zone, selon un porte-parole des Houthis, causant la mort d’une trentaine de personnes, combattants progouvernementaux comme rebelles. Dans ces conditions, impossible d’assurer l’acheminement des enfants à l’école – les convois de toute sorte étant régulièrement pris pour cible. Résultat : « Plus de 60 000 garçons et filles ne sont pas scolarisés à cause des combats dans et autour de la ville portuaire de Hodeïda, s’inquiète Meritxell Relaño. Seul un élève sur trois est en mesure de poursuivre ses études et moins d’un quart des enseignants est présents à l’école. »

    Pourparlers de paix.
    Tandis que la violence soutenue, dans la région, a contraint plus du tiers des écoles à fermer, dont 15 situées en première ligne et d’autres gravement endommagées ou utilisées comme abris pour des familles déplacées, la plupart du personnel éducatif
    n’a pas touché de salaire depuis plus de deux ans, selon l’UNICEF. Et si « beaucoup d’enseignants ont été obligés de fuir les violences ou de trouver d’autres moyens de joindre les deux bouts », ajoute Mme Relaño, d’autres continuent coûte que coûte d’aller à l’école pour éduquer les jeunes Yéménites. « Leur engagement en faveur de l’apprentissage des enfants à apprendre n’est rien d’autre qu’héroïque », a d’ailleurs souligné la représentante de l’UNICEF au Yémen. Afin de les aider – matériellement mais également moralement -, l’agence onusienne élabore en ce moment un programme visant à leur payer de petites sommes en espèces tous les mois. Le temps que la crise salariale passe. Ce qui n’est toutefois pas près d’arriver. Tous les fonctionnaires étant ainsi délaissés par l’Etat.
    D’où l’importance, selon Meritxell Relaño, que « les autorités yéménites travaillent de concert pour trouver une solution au paiement des salaires. » Et, surtout, pour que « la guerre sur les enfants au Yémen »cesse. Fin octobre dernier, Geert Cappelaere, le directeur de l’UNICEF pour le Moyen-Orient, avait déclaré que le
    pays de la péninsule Arabique, où 30 000 enfants meurent chaque année de malnutrition, selon lui, « est un enfer sur terre pour 50 % à 60 % des enfants. Un enfer pour chaque garçon et chaque fille. » Un enfer que seuls l’arrêt définitif des combats et l’érection d’une solution politique peuvent faire disparaître. La semaine dernière, alors que plusieurs tentatives de pourparlers entre coalition saoudienne et Houthis ont déjà échoué, l’ONU a annoncé que les deux parties semblaient d’accord pour s’assoir autour d’une même table et discuter de la paix. Ce qu’a confirmé l’ambassadeur britannique au Yémen, Michael Aron, après qu’il s’est entretenu avec les Saoudiens et les Houthis. Qui devraient donc, sauf revirement de
    dernière minute – du déjà vu… -, se retrouver cette semaine à Stockholm, en Suède.

    Le Monde Arabe (éditorial 2018-12-03)

  • Funding gaps threaten to leave nearly 1 million children out in the cold in the Middle East and North Africa
    https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/funding-gaps-threaten-leave-nearly-1-million-children-out-cold-middle-east-a

    With cold and rainy weather sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa, nearly 1 million children affected by crises in the region risk being left out in the cold. UNICEF is facing a US$33 million funding gap – two-thirds of the total appeal - for lifesaving winter assistance for children including warm clothes, blankets and winter health, water, sanitation and hygiene supplies.

    “Years of conflict, displacement and unemployment have reduced families’ financial resources to almost nothing. Staying warm has simply become unaffordable,” said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “With little nutritious food and healthcare, children have grown weak, becoming prone to hypothermia and dangerous respiratory diseases. Without help to protect them from the freezing weather, these children are likely to face dire consequences.”

    Falling temperatures will bring even further hardship to thousands of families who are living in extremely basic conditions especially in camps or crowded shelters with little protection from the freezing cold. Last winter, two children died from the cold as they were attempting to flee the war in Syria to Lebanon in search of safety.

    Overall this winter, UNICEF aims to reach 1.3 million children in Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the State of Palestine, Turkey and Egypt with warm clothes; thermal blankets; water, sanitation, health and hygiene support; and cash assistance for families. UNICEF’s winter response complements existing programmes in health, nutrition, water and sanitation, protection and education and aims to keep vulnerable children across the region warm, healthy and in school this winter.

    #réfugiés

  • Le Monde Arabe-26-11-2018 ; Stanislas TAIN*

    Selon l’UNICEF, la majorité des enfants défavorisés ne reçoivent ainsi « aucune forme d’aide gouvernementale ».

    En Irak, « le conflit et l’inégalité demeurent des caractéristiques fondamentales de l’enfance ». Voici ce qui ressort de la dernière étude approfondie de l’UNICEF sur le bien-être des enfants, rendue publique le 19 novembre dernier à Bagdad. Le Fonds des Nations unies pour l’enfance, en coopération avec les autorités irakiennes, profitait du lancement de sa sixième « enquête à indicateurs multiples » (MICS) – mécanisme créé dans les années 1990 afin d’aider les Etats à rassembler puis analyser des quantités de données – pour remettre son rapport, « le plus complet sur les enfants depuis 7 ans ». Et c’est peu dire que le pays, sous l’emprise de l’organisation Etat islamique (EI) ces trois dernières années, qui cherche à présent à se reconstruire – dans tous les sens du terme -, a fort à faire pour procurer un cadre de vie décent à l’ensemble de sa jeunesse.

    « Le fossé grandissant »
    Selon l’UNICEF, la majorité des enfants défavorisés ne reçoivent ainsi « aucune forme d’aide gouvernementale », ce qui a tendance, inévitablement, à creuser les écarts et les inégalités. En matière d’éducation notamment, où les besoins restent « immenses ». La moitié des écoles publiques d’Irak nécessitent par exemple une sérieuse réhabilitation, après des années de conflit, tandis qu’ « une école sur trois fonctionne par quarts multiples, ce qui réduit le temps d’apprentissage des enfants », déplore l’agence onusienne. Si 92 % d’entre eux sont inscrits à l’école primaire, seule un peu plus de la moitié des enfants défavorisés finiront le cycle primaire. L’écart se creusant même dans l’enseignement secondaire et supérieur, « où moins d’un quart [d’entre eux] obtiennent leur diplôme (23 %), contre les trois quarts des enfants issus de milieux plus aisés (73 %) ».
    « Les données indiquent clairement que les enfants les plus vulnérables en Irak sont ceux qui risquent le plus de prendre du retard, a ainsi déclaré Peter Hawkins, le représentant de l’UNICEF en Irak, qui regrette que les autorités irakiennes n’investissent pas plus dans l’éducation. Les gains durement gagnés pour mettre fin au conflit et assurer la transition vers un avenir stable pourraient être perdus sans investissements supplémentaires pour que tous les enfants puissent réaliser leur plein potentiel », ajoute-t-il. Selon l’UNICEF, Bagdad a besoin de 7 500 écoles supplémentaires, alors que pas moins de 1 000 établissement ont été entièrement ou partiellement détruits par les combats contre l’EI. Les heures de classes, de facto saturées, ne permettant pas aux élèves de progresser à la même vitesses que ceux dont la famille a davantage de moyens.
    « Le fossé grandissant entre ceux qui possèdent [des richesses, ndlr] et ceux qui n’en ont pas sème la discorde et sape les intérêts des enfants et de l’Irak. » Peter Hawkins, représentant de l’UNICEF en Irak.

    « L’avenir de ce pays »
    Résultat : « Quand la qualité s’effrite, les enfants quittent d’eux-mêmes l’école », accuse Peter Hawkins. Alors que, selon l’UNICEF, « la fréquentation régulière de l’école est un élément essentiel de la guérison de plus d’un million d’enfants qui auraient besoin d’un soutien psychosocial pour faire face aux blessures invisibles de la guerre ». D’autres, bien visibles, outre les carences de l’éducation nationale, concernant les problèmes liés à la santé, toujours selon le rapport de l’agence onusienne. Si l’Irak a accompli des progrès notables dans le domaine de la santé des nouveau-nés et des enfants (14 décès au cours des premiers mois pour 1 000 naissances), « les défi surgissent peu après la naissance », pointe-t-elle du doigt. Seuls 4 enfants sur 10 sont entièrement vaccinés, par exemple, quand moins de 40 % de la population a accès à l’eau potable à domicile. Ce qui expose les enfants à un risque grave de maladies d’origine hydrique.
    Pourtant, il fut un temps où l’Irak était l’un des meilleures endroits de la région Moyen-Orient/Afrique du Nord (MENA) pour être un enfant, indiquait l’UNICEF en présentation de la quatrième enquête MICS, menée en 2011. Sauf que, « depuis les années 1970, le pays a perdu de l’élan et a pris beaucoup de retard. Si l’Irak avait progressé au même rythme que de nombreux autres pays, il aurait atteint en 2011 un certain nombre de ses objectifs. » Notamment en ce qui concerne la scolarisation, la mortalité infantile et l’accès à l’eau potable, trois programmes qui n’ont pas beaucoup évolué depuis. « Alors que l’Irak dépasse la violence des dernières années et se forge une nouvelle vie, il doit donner la priorité au bien-être de tous les enfants […] qui sont l’avenir de ce pays », a martelé Peter Hawkins.

    « Beaucoup de beaux discours »
    Le représentant de l’UNICEF en Irak de critiquer, à demi-mots, les gouvernement successifs, qui n’ont pas su (ou pu) faire évoluer les choses. Pourtant, « avec le bon engagement et les bonnes politiques en place, le gouvernement irakien peut faire une différence », explique-t-il. L’agence onusienne a d’ailleurs demandé aux autorités irakiennes d’investir dans des services qui profitent à des enfants touchés par le conflit et la pauvreté. Ainsi que « d’œuvrer pour mettre fin à toutes les formes de violence contre les enfants ». Quelques jours après la publication du rapport de l’UNICEF, au sud de Mossoul, 4 adolescents ont péri dans l’attaque du camion qui les menait à l’école. Un événement qui « pourrait compromettre les efforts considérables déployés pour ramener les enfants à l’école dans les zones où la violence était la plus forte », a notamment affirmé M. Hawkins dans un communiqué.

    En matière de scolarisation comme de santé et de sécurité, il y a donc urgence à agir, selon l’ensemble des observateurs. Problème : le tout nouveau Premier ministre, Adel Abdel Mahdi, dont l’arrivée au pouvoir tient davantage du compromis politique, ne dispose pas de base très solide pour engager des réformes. Et la première d’entre elles concernera vraisemblablement la corruption, qui gangrène le pouvoir et contre laquelle les Irakiens ont d’ailleurs manifesté ces dernières semaines. « De manière générale, nous avons eu depuis 2003 des politiciens qui pensaient à leurs intérêts personnels avant l’intérêt à long terme du pays », explique le journaliste franco-irakien Feurat Alani, interrogé sur la probabilité de voir le gouvernement engager des réformes pour la jeunesse. « Il y a beaucoup de beaux discours sur la réconciliation nationale, l’éducation, les besoins du quotidien. Mais les Irakiens, dans leur majorité, n’en ont pas vu la couleur. »

  • #Angola : Les migrants africains en danger de mort

    Les autorités angolaises lancent « la chasse aux ressortissants sub-sahariens en situation irrégulière ». Une #opération dénommée « #expatriado » est en cours en ce moment. Elle vise à « expulser tous les immigrés en situation irrégulière en Angola ». Des ressortissants maliens témoignent des « cas d’#emprisonnement suivis de pires formes de #maltraitance et d’#humiliation ». Pour l’instant, difficile d’avoir des chiffres officiels sur le nombre de Maliens victimes. Mais ceux joints sur place appellent à l’aide des autorités maliennes.

    Selon certains Maliens, ces opérations d’expulsion ont débuté dans les zones minières. Elles se déroulent maintenant dans toutes les villes du pays, et concernent toutes les nationalités y compris les Maliens, qui sont parmi les plus nombreux. « Cela fait des jours que nous ne pouvons plus sortir pour aller au boulot par peur de nous faire arrêter », explique un ressortissant malien sur place. Selon lui, cette opération qui ne devrait concerner que les #sans-papiers, est aussi menée par les forces de l’ordre angolaises contre ceux qui sont en situation régulière. L’objectif, selon notre interlocuteur, est de soutirer de l’argent aux migrants.

    « Une fois entre les mains des autorités angolaises, il faut payer de l’argent ou partir en prison », témoignent certains migrants maliens, avant de confirmer que plusieurs d’entre eux sont actuellement en prison. En Angola certains Maliens ont l’impression d’être « laissés pour compte par les autorités maliennes ». Pour l’Association Malienne des Expulsés, « il est inacceptable qu’un pays membre de l’Union Africaine expulse d’autres africains de la sorte ». L’AME qui juge la situation « grave » en Angola, appelle les autorités maliennes à réagir.

    https://www.expulsesmaliens.info/Angola-Les-migrants-africains-en-danger-de-mort.html
    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #rafles #expulsions #renvois #chasse_aux_migrants #migrants_maliens

    • Briefing: Problems multiply in Congo’s Kasaï

      The Kasaï region in the Democratic Republic of Congo is struggling to recover from two years of intense conflict. The influx last month of more than 300,000 people from Angola, most of them long-standing migrant workers, has made a fragile humanitarian situation worse.

      Here’s our briefing on the risks for the region and the new challenges for the humanitarian response.
      What happened?

      In attempts to clamp down on what it called illegal diamond mining operations, Angola’s government ordered the expulsion of more than 360,000 Congolese nationals, forcing them to flee in October into the Kasaï region of neighbouring DRC.

      "This new shock is compounding an already dire situation in the same area that was the epicentre of the Kasaï crisis over the last couple of years,” explained Dan Schreiber, head of coordination in Congo for the UN’s emergency aid body, OCHA.

      Congolese migrants and officials said the crackdown was violent, telling Reuters that dozens of people were killed, with the worst attacks occurring in Lucapa in Angola’s diamond-rich Lunda Norte province. Angolan security forces denied the allegations.
      Where did they go?

      Most of those expelled crossed into Kamako in Kasaï province, where aid organisations are responding to the tail-end of the Kamuina Nsapu insurgency that first erupted in 2016. Some of the returnees include refugees who fled violence in Kasaï over the last two years, the Norwegian Refugee Council said.

      The NRC said conditions returnees face in Congo are “shocking”, including the risk of waterborne disease due to ineffective water and sanitation; thousands sleeping outdoors because of insufficient shelter; food prices tripling; and extortion of goods on both sides of the border.

      “Hundreds of thousands of people have been robbed of their right to a dignified existence,” said Ulrika Blom, NRC’s country director in DRC. “This is not a crisis that is about to begin, it is a full-blown emergency.”
      What has the reaction been?

      While local communities have generally been welcoming to the returnees, OCHA’s Schreiber said skirmishes erupted in certain villages, mainly over the strain on limited food resources.

      “Experience in the DRC does show that when you have a large influx of people arriving in an area it can generate tensions between host communities and the people who arrive,” he said.

      Schreiber said OCHA has seen most returnees wanting to move away from the border areas and toward other destinations inland, which could help ease the humanitarian strain in Kasaï, but he also warned that more returnees could arrive from Angola.

      “We don’t expect the first wave to be the last wave,” he said. “Expulsions from Angola are a cyclical phenomena that go all the way back to 2002-2003. It’s not a new phenomenon, but in this case we are seeing a major influx, and clearly the absorption capacity is not there.”
      Why is their arrival in Kasaï in particular such a problem?

      Kasaï was a relatively stable region in an unstable country – one currently dealing with multiple conflicts, an Ebola outbreak in North Kivu province, and one of the world’s most neglected displacement crises.

      The situation in Kasaï changed dramatically in 2016 when conflict erupted between the Kamuina Nsapu anti-government movement and Congolese security forces. The inter-communal clashes spread far and wide, soon engulfing the entire region.

      The conflict escalated in 2017, with massacres and mass graves, as well as general insecurity marked by banditry, and poor harvests that led to food insecurity and malnutrition.

      An estimated 5,000 people have since been killed and more than 1.4 million displaced.

      Toward the end of 2017 and into 2018, the crisis eased slightly, as national authorities regained control over large parts of the region. Despite isolated bouts of violence, aid groups say most militias have been formally disbanded and displaced communities are tentatively returning home.

      “But those returns are accompanied by many needs, because people are returning to burned villages, destroyed homes, and a lot of destruction,” said OCHA’s Schreiber.

      Two years of violence and displacement also mean locals have been unable to grow crops for three seasons, which has led to concerns over malnutrition. “We have really seen food insecurity skyrocket. So even in areas where returns have occurred, humanitarian needs have not come to an end,” Schreiber added.
      What are the risks?

      Although the current influx of people from Angola isn’t directly linked to the Kamuina Nsapu rebellion, aid groups are concerned about the implications of piling one problem on top of another in the same geographic area.

      For the most vulnerable groups, specifically women and children, the challenges that affect those displaced by the insurgency also pose risks for the new returnees from Angola.

      In May for instance, UNICEF reported that 400,000 children were “at risk of death” in the Kasaïs, because of food shortages.

      Yves Willemot, a spokesman for UNICEF in Congo, said the rate of severe acute malnutrition among children living in the region has improved slightly since earlier this year but “remains challenging”.

      “The security situation has clearly improved, but the impact on children is not ending in the short term,” he said.

      Among those newly returned from Angola are 80,000 children. They now are also at risk, forced to walk long distances while exposed to inclement weather, hunger, and the threat of violence. Willemot said basic services are lacking for them, including access to drinking water, schooling, and treatment for diseases like malaria and measles.

      Médecins Sans Frontières is among the NGOs initiating primary healthcare services for the recent arrivals, while also continuing interventions to assist the local population.

      In a recent report, MSF documented alarming levels of rape in the Kasaï region, saying it treated 2,600 victims of sexual violence between May 2017 and September 2018; 80 percent of those interviewed said armed men raped them.

      “The sexual violence committed in Kasaï was perpetrated largely by armed groups against non-armed people,” Philippe Kadima, MSF’s humanitarian advisor for the Great Lakes region, told IRIN. “Although the main conflict is over, we still see some violence happening in Kasaï.”

      For the more than 300,000 returnees, he said there are clear humanitarian concerns, but also the risk of insecurity. “The question is, how do you keep people secure?”

      “Displaced people become vulnerable, so it’s not that different to what the existing IDPs in Kasaï are going through… Security concerns, humanitarian needs, and risks of sexual violence are all factors when people become vulnerable,” he said.
      What about the longer-term challenges?

      Humanitarian needs remain critically underfunded in the Kasai region, said OCHA’s Shreiber, emphasising that beyond the immediate concerns are much broader needs in the region and the DRC as a whole.

      He added that the humanitarian response must help minimise the long-term impact of the crisis on those affected.

      “The longer we remain in this critical phase, the more we can expect to see humanitarian needs spiral out of control,” he said. “The current trigger of new humanitarian needs (the returnees from Angola) may be time-bound, but I think the impact will be lasting.”

      Schreiber said the Kasaï region remains vulnerable because it faces particular challenges, including decades of underdevelopment and inaccessibility as a result of poor road infrastructure, and he urged more development actors to get involved.

      “People in the Kasaïs are eager to rebound, to be back on their feet, and move on. There is no expectation that humanitarian assistance should continue forever in the Kasaï region,” he said. “People want to be autonomous, but what they need is support to build up their resilience and be able to move towards a situation where their most basic needs are met and they are able to think about their futures again.”


      http://www.irinnews.org/news-feature/2018/11/08/briefing-congo-kasai-angola-aid-conflict

    • Les violations des droits humains des migrants africains en Angola

      Les violations des droits humains des migrants africains en Angola

      Depuis un certain moment, la communauté africaine vivant sur le territoire angolais est l’objet de toute sorte de violation de ses droits les plus fondamentaux par les autorités de ce pays. La Charte Africaines des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples protège les droits des migrants dans tous ses aspects contre les violations des droits et l’Angola est justement membre de l’Union Africaine. Ainsi, ces violations se matérialisent par des arrestations musclées et arbitraires, des emprisonnements dans des conditions inhumaines et dégradantes (art.5 de la Déclaration Universelle des Droits de l’Homme et de la Charte Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples) de même que les expulsions collectives pourtant interdites par la Charte Africaine dans son article 12.5.

      L’AME est vivement préoccupée par les récentes arrestations, détentions et expulsions des centaines de milliers de migrants africains dont des maliens. Selon des informations recueillies auprès de nos sources sur place, une centaine de maliens sont concernés par cette situation qui évolue et change de jour en jour.

      Nous attirons l’attention de l’Union Africaine et de ses pays membres sur la situation inacceptable que vivent les étrangers sur la terre africaine d’Angola et rappeler que les droits de l’homme sont des droits inaliénables de tous les êtres humains, quels que soient leur nationalité, leur lieu de résidence, leur sexe, leur origine ethnique ou nationale, leur couleur, leur religion…

      L’Angola comme la plupart des pays africains s’est engagé à protéger, respecter et réaliser les droits de l’homme, non seulement de ses nationaux, mais de toute personne sous sa juridiction. Dans ce contexte, tous les étrangers se trouvant sur le sol angolais auraient dû bénéficier de la protection des autorités angolaises quelque soient les raisons qu’elles mettent en avant pour justifier ces expulsions.

      L’Organisation des Nations Unies (ONU) n’est pas resté silencieuse comme la plupart des pays africains, le Haut-Commissaire des Nations Unies aux droits de l’homme a mis en garde sur les conséquences des expulsions massives de réfugiés depuis l’Angola, au cours des trois dernières semaines de ce mois d’octobre.

      Par ailleurs, le Secrétaire Général des Nations Unies a rappelé le 19 septembre 2017 que : « tout pays a le droit de contrôler ses frontières. Mais cela doit se faire de telle sorte que les droits des personnes ‘en mouvement’ soient protégés ».

      Au regard de tout ce qui vient d’être évoqué :
      1. L’Association Malienne des Expulsés (AME) pour sa part, exhorte le gouvernement Malien à tout mettre en œuvre pour la sécurisation de nos compatriotes et de leurs biens dans les pays d’accueil ;
      2. Appelle le gouvernement à communiquer davantage sur cette situation en donnant beaucoup plus d’informations aux familles des maliens vivants en Angola ;
      3. Encourage le gouvernement de continuer à œuvrer pour le respect des droits des migrants maliens et aussi pour le développement d’une relation franche entre les Etats africains en vue de la réalisation de l’unité africaine comme le prévoit l’article 117 de la Constitution ;
      4. Invite l’Union Africaine à dénoncer et prendre des mesures contre les violations des droits humains dans les pays membres ;
      5. Invite également les Etats membres de l’Union Africaine à renoncer aux expulsions massives des ressortissants d’autres pays africains et à mettre fin sans délais aux opérations actuelles en cour ;
      6. Exhorte l’U.A et les Etats à une plus grande implication des organisations de la société civile aux différents processus pour la gestion de la migration.

      http://www.expulsesmaliens.info/Les-violations-des-droits-humains-des-migrants-africains-en-Angola

  • Reporter’s Diary: Heal Somalia’s former child soldiers, heal a nation

    Even by Mogadishu standards, late September was particularly violent.

    Amino Hussein Hassan, a female law student, was shot dead on her university campus. Yahye Amir, a prominent economics professor and political analyst, escaped an assassination attempt when a bomb strapped to his car exploded, killing his brother. And Ahmed Mukhtar Salah, from the long-marginalised minority Bantu community, was beaten and burnt to death by a mob after his nephew married an ethnic Somali woman.

    Violence has been a way of life in Somalia since the outbreak of the civil war in 1991, seeping deep into the nation’s marrow as clan conflict gradually morphed into an all-out war against the al-Qaeda affiliated Islamist group #al-Shabab. “The layers of violence that people have had to digest is one of the key problems for building a peaceful and healthier society,” Laetitia Bader, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch (HRW), told me recently.

    Most often, those who bear the life-long consequences are the poor, the politically marginalised, and young people. In particular, the thousands of children who must deal with the trauma of years on the front lines.

    In May, I travelled to the capital, Mogadishu – as I have done regularly since 2012 – to report on a crisis that, save for some international NGOs and human rights organisations, few seem to talk about: child soldiers.

    There, I met Abdi, 16, a former child soldier. Intelligent and eloquent, he had been a star pupil at the Koranic school in his home town, about 55 miles from the capital. In 2009, at the age of seven, his teacher took him and seven other boys to join al-Shabab.

    For two years, Abdi lived in a camp with about three dozen other young recruits. By the time he was eight, he had learned how to drive a car and shoot a gun. By nine, he took part in his first raid in the village of Darussalam Mubarak, where he witnessed an assassination: a man killed by three bullets to the back.

    As horrific as that experience was, the image that has most haunted Abdi for years is that of the severed head of a young man his al-Shabab camp commander brandished before the recruits as a warning: this is what happens to informants.

    “Even now after all these years, I have nightmares,” Abdi told me. “Sometimes I wake up screaming in the middle of the night.”
    A disposable front line

    While al-Shabab’s use of children as soldiers is nothing new, in the last several years the number of child soldiers has increased markedly.

    In al-Shabab’s heyday around 2010, when it controlled vast swaths of the country, including a sizable chunk of the capital, persuasion and indoctrination were enough to ensure a steady supply of young fighters. Since 2016, increased attacks by the Somali national army and US and African Union troops have resulted in a loss of territory for the group. Most recently, on October 16, the US military announced that it had carried out one of the deadliest airstrikes against al-Shabab, killing 60 militants in the Mudug region.

    So, desperate for more foot soldiers, al-Shabab has turned to the abduction and forced recruitment of minors. Accurate numbers are difficult to come by. Child Soldiers International calculates that there has been a 269 percent increase in the number of children within the ranks of armed groups in Somalia between 2015, when there were 903 documented cases, to 2017, with 3,335 cases. Meanwhile, according to a May report on children and armed conflict presented by the UN secretary-general to the General Assembly, 1,770 children were recruited as soldiers in 2017 alone, with al-Shabab doing the vast majority of the recruitment. The overall number is likely even higher: UNICEF Somalia estimates that as many as 6,000 children and youths are part of armed groups in the country.

    In a single military operation carried out by the Somali National Army and US troops in January on a base near the town of Baledogle, 70 miles northwest of Mogadishu, for instance, 36 child soldiers between the ages of eight and 13 were rescued.

    Often untrained and ill-equipped, these child soldiers make for a disposable front line on the battlefield, protecting older, more experienced fighters. This makes them more likely to suffer physical wounds and psychological trauma.
    Young defectors

    I first met Abdi and other boys through a man I’ll call Hussein. I am not using his real name, or identifying his location, since in addition to running an orphanage he manages a centre that works with young al-Shabab defectors. About 120 boys now live there, two hours’ drive from the capital, but at one point it housed as many 520.


    https://www.irinnews.org/opinion/2018/10/22/heal-somalia-former-child-soldiers-heal-nation-al-shabab
    #enfants-soldat #Somalie #guerre

  • Inquiétude pour des réfugiés syriens à la frontière jordanienne

    Des milliers de #réfugiés_syriens du camp de #Roukbane, à la frontière entre la Syrie et la #Jordanie, ne reçoivent plus de #ravitaillement depuis plus d’une semaine, s’inquiètent jeudi les organisations humanitaires. Côté syrien, l’armée de Bachar el-Assad qui a chassé les insurgés de la région a coupé les voies d’accès au camp pour mettre fin à la #contrebande. Côté jordanien, les autorités bloquent depuis le début de l’année les livraisons de l’aide internationale à Roukbane, qui abrite environ 50.000 réfugiés, en majorité des femmes et des enfants.

    « Il y a plus d’une semaine, le régime syrien a bloqué les routes vers le camp, où n’arrivent plus que de très petites quantités de vivres de contrebande », a expliqué à Reuters l’un des responsables du camp, Abou Abdallah. « La situation est explosive en raison de la #faim et des #maladies (...) La #famine menace », a-t-il ajouté. Les Jordaniens, pour leur part, estiment qu’ils n’ont plus à se charger de l’aide aux réfugiés puisque les forces gouvernementales syriennes ont repris le contrôle des environs du camp.

    Les agences des Nations unies exhortent Amman à autoriser de nouveau le passage de l’aide internationale. Le directeur régional de l’Unicef, Geert Cappelaere, a dit craindre pour la vie de milliers d’enfants à l’approche de l’hiver. Ces dernières quarante-huit heures, deux enfants sont morts à Roukbane, a-t-il ajouté. Une femme est également morte dans le camp cette semaine.

    https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1138416/inquietude-pour-des-refugies-syriens-a-la-frontiere-jordanienne.html
    #Camp_de_réfugiés #frontières

  • SOFI | FAO | Organisation des Nations Unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture
    http://www.fao.org/publications/sofi/fr

    À propos de la collection
    Publication phare, L’État de la sécurité alimentaire et de la nutrition dans le monde est publiée annuellement par la FAO, le FIDA, l’OMS, le PAM et l’UNICEF. Elle présente les progrès accomplis dans la lutte contre la faim, la réalisation de la sécurité alimentaire et l’amélioration de la nutrition. Elle fait une profonde analyse des défis clés pour atteindre cet objectif dans le contexte du Programme de développement durable à l’horizon 2030. Le rapport est destiné à un large public, comprenant les décideurs politiques, les organisations internationales, les institutions académiques et le grand public.

    Dernier numéro : L’état de la sécurité alimentaire et de la nutrition dans le monde 2018
    Renforcer la résilience face aux changements climatiques pour la sécurité alimentaire et la nutrition

    De nouveaux éléments publiés dans le SOFI 2018 confirment une augmentation de la faim dans le monde : le nombre de personnes souffrant de la faim a augmenté au cours des trois dernières années, revenant aux niveaux d’il y a près de dix ans. De nombreuses formes de malnutrition sont évidentes dans de nombreux pays : l’obésité chez les adultes augmente alors même que des formes de dénutrition persistent.

    Les rapports soulignent que la variabilité du climat et les conditions climatiques extrêmes sont les principaux facteurs de cette hausse, de même que les conflits et les ralentissements économiques. Ceux-ci menacent d’éroder et d’inverser les progrès réalisés dans la lutte contre la faim et la malnutrition. Le SOFI 2018 dresse la liste des nouveaux défis à relever sur la route de la Faim Zéro, tout en définissant des actions urgentes et nécessaires à mener pour atteindre l’objectif d’ici à 2030.

    lien vers le rapport
    http://www.fao.org/3/I9553FR/i9553fr.pdf
    (on trouve aussi un résumé et un dépliant)

  • Portugal: Persisting detention of children at the airport*

    The Portuguese Aliens and Borders Service (SEF) continues to detain groups with special needs, in particular families with children and unaccompanied children, in the Temporary Installation Centre (CIT) of Lisbon Airport.

    An order by the Ministry of Internal Administration in July 2018 determines that children below the age of 16 cannot be detained for periods exceeding one week. Yet, the policy of automatic detention even for short periods remains contrary to Portugal’s international and constitutional obligations such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, according to UNICEF and IOM. The Portuguese Ombudsman had also addressed this question in a 2017 report.

    Although the SEF refers to individuals as being “retained” at the airport, their situation amounts to deprivation of liberty since they cannot exit the CIT and their phones and belongings are confiscated.

    The order of the Ministry of Internal Administration further provides for: an internal review of the CIT to be conducted by the Ministry’s General Inspection; an emergency report from the SEF regarding the state of implementation of recommendations issued by the Ombudsman in 2017; and maximum priority to be awarded to the construction of the new Temporary Reception Centre of Almoçageme (CATA), located in the municipality of Sintra, which will include an adapted and functional area for families and a specific area for children.

    According to figures provided by the Portuguese Refugee Council, three children had been detained at the border for periods ranging from 10 to 18 days in the first half of 2018. Last year, 17 unaccompanied children and 40 families were detained at the border, for an average period of 2 and 4 weeks respectively.

    https://www.ecre.org/portugal-persisting-detention-of-children-at-the-airport
    #détention_administrative #rétention #enfants #mineurs #enfance #asile #migrations #réfugiés #aéroport

  • ’Lost generation’: Unicef warns on fate of Rohingya children | World news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/23/lost-generation-unicef-warns-on-fate-of-rohingya-children

    Rohingya refugee children who lack proper education in camps in Bangladesh could become a “lost generation”, the United Nations said on Thursday, a year after Myanmar’s army began a crackdown that has forced more than 700,000 people to flee the country.

    –-------

    The Rohingya refugee crisis speaks to the worst acts of humanity | Global development | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/aug/22/rohingya-refugee-crisis-speaks-worst-acts-humanity-myanmar-bangladesh

    More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar in the past year. It is vital we don’t forget them

    #birmani #rohingyas

  • Heat: the next big inequality issue | Cities | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/aug/13/heat-next-big-inequality-issue-heatwaves-world

    But air conditioning will remain out of reach for many, even as it increasingly becomes a necessity. In 2014, Public Health England raised concerns that “the distribution of cooling systems may reflect socioeconomic inequalities unless they are heavily subsidised,” adding that rising fuel costs could further exacerbate this. And when we need to use less energy and cool the planet, not just our homes and offices, relying upon air conditioning is not a viable long-term plan – and certainly not for everyone.

    ‘In Cairo everything is suffocating’


    Most of the research into heatwaves and public health has focused on western countries; Benmarhnia says more studies have been done on the city of Phoenix, Arizona, than the entire continent of Africa. But the problem is global, and especially pronounced across urban slums such as the ashwiyyat in Cairo, where temperatures during the city’s five-month-long summers have peaked at 46C (115F).

    Traditionally Egyptians built low buildings close together, forming dense networks of shaded alleyways where people could keep cool during summer. But the rapid construction of high-rises and decreasing green spaces have made one of the fastest-growing cities in the world increasingly stifling. Subsidy cuts have brought about a rise of 18-42% in electricity costs, affecting many poor residents’ options for cooling down.

    Um Hamad, 41, works as a cleaner and lives with his family in a small flat in Musturad in the city’s north. Though he considers them lucky to live on the relatively cool first floor, “in Cairo everything is suffocating”, he says. Hamad use fans and water to keep cool inside, but the water bill is becoming expensive . “There’s always that trick of sleeping on the floor, and we wear cotton clothes ,” he says. “The temperatures are harder to deal with for women who wear the hijab, so I always tell my daughters to wear only two layers and to wear bright colours.”

    In a tight-knit cluster of urban dwellings in Giza, to Cairo’s south, Yassin Al-Ouqba, 42, a train maintenance worker, lives in a house built from a mixture of bricks and mud-bricks. In August, he says, it becomes “like an oven”. “I have a fan and I place it in front of a plate of ice so that it spreads cold air throughout the room. I spread cold water all over the sheets.”

    Compounding the threat posed by the changing climate is the refugee crisis. The two are intimately linked, with extreme weather events often a factor in social, political and economic instability. A paper published in the journal Science in December found that if greenhouse gas emissions were not meaningfully reduced global asylum applications would increase by almost 200% by the end of the century.

    On a plain north of Amman, some 80,000 Syrians live in the Za’atari refugee camp, a semi-permanent urban settlement set up six years ago and now considered Jordan’s fourth-largest city. Hamda Al-Marzouq, 27, arrived three years ago, fleeing airstrikes on her neighbourhood in the outskirts of Damascus.

    Her husband had gone missing during the war, and she was desperate to save her young son and extended family. Eight of them now live in a prefabricated shelter, essentially a large metal box, which Al-Marzouq says turns into an oven during the summer.

    It’s suffocating. We soak the towels and try to breathe through them

    Hamda Al-Marzouq, Za’atari camp resident
    “It’s a desert area, and we’re suffering,” she says by phone from the camp. “We have different ways of coping. We wake in the early morning and soak the floor with water. Then we sprinkle water on ourselves.” There is no daytime electricity, so fans are useless. When power does arrive at night, the desert has already cooled.

    Many days, her family will wait until the evening to walk outside, wrapping wet towels around their heads. But the biggest problem are sandstorms, which can arrive violently during the summer months and engulf the camp for days. “We have to close the caravan windows,” she says, adding the room then gets hotter. “It’s suffocating. We soak the towels and try to breathe through them.”

    Al-Marzouq’s five-year-old son suffers respiratory problems and keeps getting infections, while asthma is rife across the camp.

    Water has also been an issue, with demand in northern Jordan – one of the most water-scarce countries in the world – surging following the refugee arrivals. A Unicef-led operation will see all households connected to a water network by October, which Al-Marzouq says has been a significant help.

    “We used to collect water with jerry cans and had to carry it for long distances. Now, with the water network being operational, things are much easier. We don’t have to fight in a long queue to get our share of water. Now there is equity.”

    #climat #Amman #Le_Caire #réfugiés

  • Enfants des mines d’or, esclaves et invisibles

    Dans son n°1, le journal des donateurs de l’UNICEF « Agir pour les enfants défavorisés du monde » aborde le problème du travail des enfants. 700 000 enfants de 5 à 18 ans travailleraient dans 700 mines d’or au Burkina Faso... Victimes des pires formes de travail, exposés aux maladies et à des abus sexuels, travaillant 10h par jour, ces enfants sont en danger. Explications en images avec la Représentante adjointe de l’UNICEF au Burkina Faso.

    https://www.unicef.fr/article/enfants-des-mines-d-or-esclaves-et-invisibles

    #mines #or #esclavage_moderne #enfants #enfance #Burkina_Faso
    cc @albertocampiphoto @daphne

  • Les écoliers pris entre deux feux dans le conflit qui perdure à l’est de l’#Ukraine (#UNICEF) | ONU Info
    https://news.un.org/fr/story/2018/05/1013072

    Plus de quatre années de conflit dans l’est de l’Ukraine ont dévasté le #système_éducatif, ont détruit et endommagé des centaines d’#écoles, forçant 200 000 filles et garçons à apprendre dans des environnements militarisés, au milieu des combats et des dangers des armes de guerre non explosées, déplore l’UNICEF.