position:guard

  • ’Walls Often Fail; They Have Unintended Consequences’

    Along the Iraq-Syria border, Iraqi patrol forces have swapped their hard tactical helmets for the warmth of beanie caps. The soldiers look out from their observation towers, across a stretch of desert into Syria.

    From this concrete tower on the border, you can almost see the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, where the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has made its final stand. Over there, Syrian Democratic Forces—a Kurdish-led alliance dedicated to rooting out ISIS and backed by the US—have nearly liberated the city and its suburbs, and American troops are beginning a long-awaited drawdown. A plume of gray-white smoke breaches skyward as an artillery strike reaches the villages and towns near Deir ez-Zor. The horizon is a diaphanous blur of dark smoke.

    Between us and Syria is a fence. It is about 43 miles long, and a guard tower is located every few hundred feet, manned by squadrons from the Iraqi border security forces. The roughly 10-foot-tall chain-link barrier bucks and rattles in the wind. Barbed wire unspools along the top, and about 20 feet beyond the fence, on the Syrian side, there’s a ditch to stop explosive-laden ISIS vehicles that might charge the border. Beyond the ditch is a desiccated stretch of desert now mostly cleared of booby traps.

    The fence divides two villages, both called #Baghouz. The residents of Syrian Baghouz and Iraqi Baghouz once traveled freely between the towns, visiting with family and friends in a place where international borders are as hazy as the smoke between them. “It was normal for us to go to Syrian Baghouz,” says Alaa Husain, an Iraqi shepherd who has lived in this hamlet for 28 years.


    https://www.wired.com/story/the-wall-journey-across-divide-iraq-syria
    #murs #barrières_frontalières #frontières #Irak #Syrie #ISIS #EI #Etat_islamique

  • Palestinian youth killed by Israeli forces near Bethlehem
    March 21, 2019 11:15 A.M.
    http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?ID=782937

    BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A 22-year-old Palestinian succumbed to wounds he had sustained after Israeli forces opened heavy fire towards a vehicle that he was riding in, near the al-Nashash checkpoint in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, on late Wednesday.

    The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that Ahmad Jamal Mahmoud Munasra, 22, a resident from Wadi Fukin village, in the Bethlehem district, was shot with Israeli live fire in the chest, shoulder, and hand.

    The ministry said that Munasra was transferred to the Beit Jala Governmental Hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds.

    The ministry mentioned that another Palestinian was shot and injured in the stomach.

    #Palestine_assassinée

    • Gideon Levy // Even for the Wild West Bank, This Is a Shocking Story

      A young Palestinian’s attempt to help a stranger shot by Israeli troops costs him his life
      Gideon Levy and Alex Levac Mar 28, 2019
      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-even-for-the-wild-west-bank-this-is-a-shocking-story-1.7066087

      Jamal, Ahmad Manasra’s father. A mourning poster for Ahmad is in the background. Credit : Alex Levac

      It was appallingly cold, rainy and foggy on Monday of this week at the southern entrance to Bethlehem. A group of young people stood on the side of the road, gazing at something. Gloomy and toughened, they formed a circle around the concrete cube in which are sunken the spikes of a large billboard – an ad for Kia cars that stretches across the road. They were looking for signs of blood, as though they were volunteers in Zaka, the Israeli emergency response organization. They were looking for bloodstains of their friend, who was killed there five days earlier. Behind the concrete cube they found what they were looking for, a large bloodstain, now congealed. The stain held fast despite the heavy rain, as though refusing to be washed away, determined to remain there, a silent monument.

      This is where their friend tried, in his last moments, to find protection from the soldiers who were shooting at him, probably from the armored concrete tower that looms over the intersection a few dozen meters away. It was to here that he fled, already wounded, attempting to take cover behind the concrete cube. But it was too late. His fate was sealed by the soldiers. Six bullets slashed into his body and killed him. He collapsed and died next to the concrete cube by the side of the road.

      Even in a situation in which anything is possible, this is an unbelievable story. It’s 9 P.M. Wednesday March 20. A family is returning from an outing. Their car breaks down. The father of the family, Ala Raida, 38, from the village of Nahalin, who is legally employed paving roads in Israel, steps out of his Volkswagen Golf to see what has happened. His wife, Maisa, 34, and their two daughters, Sirin, 8, and Lin, 5, wait in the car. Suddenly the mother hears a single shot and sees her husband lean back onto the car. Emerging from the car, she discovers to her astonishment that he’s wounded in the stomach. She shouts hysterically for help, the girls in the car are crying and screaming.

      Another car, a Kia Sportage, arrives at the intersection. Its occupants are four young people from the nearby village of Wadi Fukin. They’re on the way home from the wedding of their friend Mahmoud Lahruv, held that evening in the Hall of Dreams in Bethlehem. At the sight of the woman next to the traffic light appealing for help, they stop the car and get out to see what they can do. Three of them quickly carry the wounded man to their car and rush him to the nearest hospital, Al-Yamamah, in the town of Al-Khader. The fourth young man, Ahmad Manasra, 23, stays behind to calm the woman and the frightened girls. Manasra tries to start the stalled car in order to move it away from the dangerous intersection, but the vehicle doesn’t respond. He then gets back out of the car. The soldiers start firing at him. He tries to get to the concrete cube but is struck by the bullets as he runs. Three rounds hit him in the back and chest, the others slam into his lower body. He dies on the spot.

      The army says that stones were thrown. All the eyewitnesses deny that outright. Nor is it clear what the target of the stones might have been. The armored concrete tower? And even if stones were thrown at cars heading for the settlement of Efrat, is that a reason to open fire with live ammunition on a driver whose car broke down, with his wife and young daughters on board? Or on a young man who tried to get the car moving and to calm the mother and her daughters? Shooting with no restraint? With no pity? With no law?

      We visit the skeleton of an unfinished apartment on the second floor of a house in Wadi Fukin. It’s an impoverished West Bank village just over the Green Line, whose residents fled in 1949 and were allowed to return in 1972, and which is now imprisoned between the giant ultra-Orthodox settlement of Betar Ilit and the town of Tzur Hadassah, which is just inside the Green Line. A wood stove tries to rebuff the bitter cold in the broad space between the unplastered walls and the untiled floor. A grim-looking group of men are sitting around the fire, trying to warm themselves. They are the mourners for Manasra; this was going to be his apartment one day, when he got married. That will never happen now.

      Only the memorial posters remain in the unbuilt space. A relative and fellow villager, Adel Atiyah, an ambassador in the Palestinian delegation to the European Union, calls from Brussels to offer his shocked condolences. One of the mourners, Fahmi Manasra, lives in Toronto and is here on a visit to his native land. The atmosphere is dark and pained.

      The bereaved father, Jamal, 50, is resting in his apartment on the ground floor. When he comes upstairs, it’s clear he’s a person deeply immersed in his grief though impressive in his restraint. He’s a tiler who works in Israel with a permit. He last saw his son as he drove along the main street in Bethlehem as his son was going to his friend’s wedding. Jamal was driving his wife, Wafa, home from another wedding. That was about two hours before Ahmad was killed. In the last two days of his life they worked together, Jamal and his son, in the family vineyard, clearing away cuttings and spraying. Now he wistfully remembers those precious moments. Ahmad asked to borrow his father’s car to drive to the wedding, but Jamal needed it to visit the doctor, and Ahmad joined the group in Wahib Manasra’s SUV.

      Wahib Manasra, who witnessed the gunfire. Credit: Alex Levac

      Quiet prevails in the shell of the unfinished apartment. Someone says that Manasra was already planning the layout of his future home – the living room would be here, the kitchen there. Maisa Raida, the wife of the wounded driver, is at her husband’s bedside at Hadassah Medical Center, Ein Karem, Jerusalem, where he’s recovering from his severe stomach wound. He was brought there from Al-Khader because of the seriousness of his condition. Major damage was done to internal organs in his abdomen and he needed complicated surgery, but he seems to be on the mend.

      Maisa told a local field investigator from a human rights group that at first she didn’t realize that her husband was wounded. Only after she stepped out of the car did she see that he was leaning on the vehicle because of the wound. She yelled for help, and after the young men stopped and took her husband to the hospital, she got back into the car with Manasra, whom she didn’t know. While they were in the car with her daughters, and he was trying get it started, she heard another burst of gunfire aimed at their car from the side, but which didn’t hit them.

      She had no idea that Manasra was shot and killed when he got out of the car, moments later. She stayed inside, trying to calm the girls. It wasn’t until she called her father and her brother-in-law and they arrived and took her to Al-Yamamah Hospital that she heard that someone had been killed. Appalled, she thought they meant her husband but was told that the dead person had been taken to Al-Hussein Hospital in Beit Jala.

      Eventually, she realized that the man who was killed was the same young man who tried to help her and her daughters; he was dead on arrival. Before Maisa and her daughters were taken from the scene, an officer and soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces came to the stalled car and tried to calm them.

      Manasra was dead by then, sprawled next to the concrete cube. He was a Real Madrid fan and liked cars. Until recently he worked in the settlement of Hadar Betar, inside Betar Ilit. His little brother, 8-year-old Abdel Rahman, wanders among the mourners in a daze.

      After Jamal Manasra returned home, his phone began ringing nonstop. He decided not to answer. He says he was afraid to answer, he had forebodings from God. He and his wife drove to the hospital in Beit Jala. He has no rational explanation for why they went to the hospital. From God. “I was the last to know,” he says in Hebrew. At the hospital, he was asked whether he was Ahmad’s father. Then he understood. He and his wife have two more sons and a daughter. Ahmad was their firstborn.

      We asked the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit a number of questions. Why did the soldiers shoot Ala Raida and Ahmad Manasra with live ammunition? Why did they go on shooting at Manasra even after he tried to flee? Did the soldiers fire from the armored watchtower? Do the security cameras show that stones were indeed thrown? Were the soldiers in mortal danger?

      This was the IDF’s response to all these questions: “On March 21, a debriefing was held headed by the commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, Brig. Gen. Eran Niv, and the commander of the Etzion territorial brigade, Col. David Shapira, in the area of the event that took place on Thursday [actually, it was a Wednesday] at the Efrat junction and at the entrance to Bethlehem. From the debriefing it emerges that an IDF fighter who was on guard at a military position near the intersection spotted a suspect who was throwing stones at vehicles in the area and carried out the procedure for arresting a suspect, which ended in shooting. As a result of the shooting, the suspect was killed and another Palestinian was wounded.

      T he West Bank settlement of Betar Ilit is seen from the rooftop of Wadi Fukin, a Palestinian village. Credit : \ Alex Levac

      “The possibility is being examined that there was friction between Palestinians, which included stone-throwing.

      “The inquiry into the event continues, parallel to the opening of an investigation by the Military Police.”

      After the group of young people found what they were looking for – bloodstains of their friend, Ahmad – they reconstructed for us the events of that horrific evening. It was important for them to talk to an Israeli journalist. They’re the three who came out alive from the drive home after the wedding. One of them, Ahmad Manasra – he has the same name as the young man who was killed – wouldn’t get out of the car when we were there. He’s still traumatized. Wahib Manasra, the driver of the SUV, showed us where the stalled VW had been, and where they stopped when they saw a woman shouting for help.

      Soldiers and security cameras viewed us even now, from the watchtower, which is no more than 30 meters from the site. Wahib says that if there was stone-throwing, or if they had noticed soldiers, they wouldn’t have stopped and gotten out of the car. Raida, the wounded man, kept mumbling, “My daughters, my daughters,” when they approached him. He leaned on them and they put him in their car. By the time they reached the gas station down the road, he had lost consciousness. Before that, he again mumbled, “My daughters.”

      Wahib and the other Ahmad, the one who was alive, returned quickly from the hospital, which is just a few minutes from the site. But they could no longer get close to the scene, as a great many cars were congregated there. They got out of the car and proceeded on foot. A Palestinian ambulance went by. Looking through the window, Wahib saw to his horror his friend, Ahmad Manasra, whom they had left on the road with the woman and her girls, lying inside. He saw at once that Ahmad was dead.

  • What is #hacking? Common Objectives, Types, and How to Guard Against It
    https://hackernoon.com/what-is-hacking-common-objectives-types-and-how-to-guard-against-it-ab99

    Hacking is the process of gaining unauthorized access into a computer system, or group of computer systems. This is done through cracking of passwords and codes which gives access to the systems. Cracking is the term which specifies the method by which the password or code is obtained. The person who undertakes hacking is known as the hacker. The hacking can be done on single systems, a group of systems, an entire LAN network, a website or a social media site or an email account. The access to a password is obtained by the hacker through password cracking algorithms programs.It goes without saying that most of the individuals, as well as business associations, use computers and laptops for all their daily needs. Especially for organizations (of any form), it is essential to have a (...)

    #types-of-hacker #hacking-techniques #cybersecurity #cybercrime

  • Europe’s deadly migration strategy. Officials knew EU military operation made Mediterranean crossing more dangerous.

    Since its creation in 2015, Europe’s military operation in the Mediterranean — named “#Operation_Sophia” — has saved some 49,000 people from the sea. But that was never really the main objective.

    The goal of the operation — which at its peak involved over a dozen sea and air assets from 27 EU countries, including ships, airplanes, drones and submarines — was to disrupt people-smuggling networks off the coast of Libya and, by extension, stem the tide of people crossing the sea to Europe.

    European leaders have hailed the operation as a successful joint effort to address the migration crisis that rocked the bloc starting in 2015, when a spike in arrivals overwhelmed border countries like Greece and Italy and sparked a political fight over who would be responsible for the new arrivals.

    But a collection of leaked documents from the European External Action Service, the bloc’s foreign policy arm, obtained by POLITICO (https://g8fip1kplyr33r3krz5b97d1-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/OperationSophia.pdf), paint a different picture.

    In internal memos, the operation’s leaders admit Sophia’s success has been limited by its own mandate — it can only operate in international waters, not in Libyan waters or on land, where smuggling networks operate — and it is underfunded, understaffed and underequipped.

    “Sophia is a military operation with a very political agenda" — Barbara Spinelli, Italian MEP

    The confidential reports also show the EU is aware that a number of its policies have made the sea crossing more dangerous for migrants, and that it nonetheless chose to continue to pursue those strategies. Officials acknowledge internally that some members of the Libyan coast guard that the EU funds, equips and trains are collaborating with smuggling networks.

    For the operation’s critics, the EU’s willingness to turn a blind eye to these shortcomings — as well as serious human rights abuses by the Libyan coast guard and in the country’s migrant detention centers — are symptomatic of what critics call the bloc’s incoherent approach to managing migration and its desire to outsource the problem to non-EU countries.

    “Sophia is a military operation with a very political agenda,” said Barbara Spinelli, an Italian MEP and member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in the European Parliament. “It has become an instrument of refoulement, legitimizing militias with criminal records, dressed up as coast guards.”

    Now the operation, which is managed by Italy and has been dogged by political disagreements since it began, is coming under increasing pressure as the deadline for its renewal approaches in March.

    Italy’s deputy prime minister, far-right leader Matteo Salvini, has said the operation should only be extended if there are new provisions to resettle rescued people across the bloc. Last month, Germany announced it would be discontinuing its participation in the program, claiming that Italy’s refusal to allow rescued migrants to disembark is undermining the mission.

    Named after a baby girl born on an EU rescue ship, Sophia is the uneasy compromise to resolve a deep split across the bloc: between those who pushed for proactive search-and-rescue efforts to save more lives and those who favored pulling resources from the sea to make the crossing more dangerous.

    The naval operation sits uncomfortably between the two, rescuing migrants in distress at sea, but insisting its primary focus is to fight smugglers off the coast of Libya. The two activities are frequently in conflict.

    The operation has cycled through a number of strategies since its launch: a campaign to destroy boats used by smugglers; law-enforcement interviews with those rescued at sea; extensive aerial surveillance; and training and funding a newly consolidated Libyan coast guard.

    But the success of these approaches is highly disputed, and in some cases they have put migrants’ lives at greater risk.

    The EU’s policy of destroying the wooden boats used by smugglers to avoid them being reused, for example, has indeed disrupted the Libyan smuggling business, but at a substantial human cost.

    As Libyan smugglers lost their wooden boats, many started to rely more heavily on smaller, cheaper rubber boats. The boats, which smugglers often overfill to maximize profit, are not as safe as the wooden vessels and less likely to reach European shores. Instead, Libyan smugglers started to abandon migrants in international waters, leaving them to be pulled out of peril by European rescue ships.

    Sophia officials tracked the situation and were aware of the increased risk to migrants as a result of the policy. “Smugglers can no longer recover smuggling vessels on the high seas, effectively rendering them a less economic option for the smuggling business and thereby hampering it,” they wrote in a 2016 status report seen by POLITICO.

    The report acknowledged however that the policy has pushed migrants into using rubber boats, putting them in greater danger. “Effectively, with the limited supply and the degree of overloading, the migrant vessels are [distress] cases from the moment they launch,” it said.

    These overfilled rubber boats, which officials described as shipwrecks waiting to happen, also present a problem for the EU operation.

    International maritime law compels vessels to respond to people in distress at sea and bring the rescued to a nearby safe port. And because European courts have held that Libya has no safe port, that means bringing migrants found at sea to Europe — in most cases, Italy.

    This has exacerbated political tensions in the country, where far-right leader Salvini has responded to the influx of new arrivals by closing ports to NGO and humanitarian ships carrying migrants and threatening to bar Sophia vessels from docking.

    Meanwhile, Sophia officials have complained that rescuing people from leaking, unseaworthy boats detracted from the operation’s ability to pursue its primary target: Libyan smugglers.

    In a leaked status report from 2017, Sophia officials made a highly unusual suggestion: that the operation be granted permission to suspend its rescue responsibilities in order to focus on its anti-smuggling operations.

    “Consideration should be given to an option that would allow the operation to be authorized for being temporarily exempt from search and rescue when actively conducting anti-smuggling operations against jackals in international waters,” the report read.

    The EU has also wilfully ignored inconvenient aspects of its policies when it comes to its collaboration with Libya’s municipal coast guard.

    The intention of the strategy — launched one year into the Sophia operation — was to equip Libyan authorities to intercept migrant boats setting off from the Libyan coast and bring people back to shore. This saved Europe from sending its own ships close to coast, and meant that people could be brought back to Libya, rather than to Europe, as required by international maritime law — or more specifically, Italy.

    Here too, the EU was aware it was pursuing a problematic strategy, as the Libyan coast guard has a well-documented relationship with Libyan smugglers.

    A leaked report from Frontex, the EU’s coast guard, noted in 2016: “As mentioned in previous reports, some members of Libya’s local authorities are involved in smuggling activities.” The report cited interviews with recently rescued people who said they were smuggled by Libyans in uniform. It also noted that similar conclusions were reported multiple times by the Italian coast guard and Operation Sophia.

    “Many of [the coast guard officers] were militia people — many of them fought with militias during the civil war" — Rabih Boualleg, Operation Sophia translator

    In Sophia’s leaked status report from 2017, operation leaders noted that “migrant smuggling and human trafficking networks remain well ingrained” throughout the region and that smugglers routinely “pay off authorities” for passage to international waters.

    “Many of [the coast guard officers] were militia people — many of them fought with militias during the civil war,” said Rabih Boualleg, who worked as a translator for Operation Sophia in late 2016 on board a Dutch ship involved in training the coast guard from Tripoli.

    “They were telling me that many of them hadn’t gotten their government salaries in eight months. They told me, jokingly, that they were ‘forced’ to take money from smugglers sometimes.”

    The coast guards talked openly about accepting money from smuggling networks in exchange for escorting rubber boats to international waters instead of turning them back toward the shore, Boualleg said.

    “If the [on-duty] coast guard came,” Boualleg added, “they would just say they were fishermen following the rubber boats, that’s all.”

    Frontex’s 2016 report documents similar cases. Two officials with close knowledge of Sophia’s training of the Libyan coast guard also confirmed that members of the coast guard are involved in smuggling networks. A spokesperson for the Libyan coast guard did not return repeated requests for comment.

    EU governments have, for the most part, simply looked the other way.

    And that’s unlikely to change, said a senior European official with close knowledge of Operation Sophia who spoke on condition of anonymity. For the first time since the start of the operation, Libyan authorities are returning more people to Libya than are arriving in Italy.

    “If Italy decides — since it is the country in command of Operation Sophia — to stop it, it is up to Italy to make this decision" — Dimitris Avramopoulos, immigration commissioner

    “Europe doesn’t want to upset this balance,” the official said. “Any criticism of the coast guards could lead to resentment, to relaxing.”

    Two years into the training program, leaked reports also show the Libyan coast guard was unable to manage search-and-rescue activities on its own. Sophia monitors their operations with GoPro cameras and through surveillance using ships, airplanes, drones and submarines.

    The operation is limited by its mandate, but it has made progress in difficult circumstances, an EEAS spokesperson said. Operation Sophia officials did not respond to multiple interview requests and declined to answer questions via email.

    “The provision of training the Libyan coast guard and navy, as well as continued engagement with them have proven to be the most effecting complementary tool to disrupt the activities of those involved in trafficking,” the EEAS spokesperson said in an email.

    The spokesperson maintained that Libyan coast guards who are trained by Operation Sophia undergo a “thorough vetting procedure." The spokesperson also stated that, while Operation Sophia does advise and monitor the Libyan coast guard, the operation is not involved “in the decision-making in relation to operations.”

    *

    With the March deadline for the operation’s renewal fast approaching, pressure is mounting to find a way to reform Sophia or disband it altogether.

    When Salvini closed Italy’s ports to NGO and humanitarian ships last July, the country’s foreign minister turned to the EU to negotiate a solution that would ensure migrants rescued as part of Operation Sophia would be resettled among other countries. At the time, Italy said it expected results “within weeks.” Six months later, neither side has found a way through the impasse.

    “The fate of this operation is not determined yet,” European Commissioner for Immigration Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters last month, adding that discussions about allowing migrants to disembark in non-Italian ports are still underway among member countries.

    “If Italy decides — since it is the country in command of Operation Sophia — to stop it, it is up to Italy to make this decision.”

    The political fight over the future of the operation has been made more acute by an increase in criticism from human rights organizations. Reports of violence, torture and extortion in Libyan detention centers have put the naval operation and EEAS on the defensive.

    A Human Rights Watch report published in January found that Europe’s support for the Libyan coast guard has contributed to cases of arbitrary detention, and that people intercepted by Libyan authorities “face inhuman and degrading conditions and the risk of torture, sexual violence, extortion, and forced labor.” Amnesty International has also condemned the conditions under which migrants are being held, and in an open letter published earlier this month, 50 major aid organizations warned that “EU leaders have allowed themselves to become complicit in the tragedy unfolding before their eyes.”

    These human rights violations have been well documented. In 2016, the U.N. Human Rights Office said it considered “migrants to be at high risk of suffering serious human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, in Libya and thus urges States not to return, or facilitate the return of, persons to Libya.”

    Last June, the U.N. sanctioned six men for smuggling and human rights violations, including the head of the coast guard in Zawiya, a city west of Tripoli. A number of officials under his command, a leaked EEAS report found, were trained by Operation Sophia.

    An EEAS spokesperson would not comment on the case of the Zawiya coast guards trained by Operation Sophia or how the officers were vetted. The spokesperson said that none of the coast guards “trained by Operation Sophia” are on the U.N. sanctions list.

    The deteriorating human rights situation has prompted a growing chorus of critics to argue the EU’s arrangement with Libya is unsustainable.

    “What does the EU do in Libya? They throw money at projects, but they don’t have a very tangible operation on the ground" — Tarek Megerisi, Libyan expert

    “Returning anyone to Libya is against international law,” said Salah Margani, a former justice minister in Libya’s post-civil war government. “Libya is not a safe place. They will be subject to murder. They will be subjected to torture.”

    “This is documented,” Margani added. “And [Europe] knows it.”

    Sophia is also indicative of a larger, ineffective European policy toward Libya, said Tarek Megerisi, a Libya specialist at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

    “What does the EU do in Libya? They throw money at projects, but they don’t have a very tangible operation on the ground. They really struggle to convert what they spend into political currency — Operation Sophia is all they’ve got,” he said.

    The project, he added, is less a practical attempt to stop smuggling or save migrants than a political effort to paper over differences within the EU when it comes to migration policy.

    With Sophia, he said, Europe is “being as vague as possible so countries like Italy and Hungary can say this is our tool for stopping migration, and countries like Germany and Sweden can say we’re saving lives.”

    “With this operation, there’s something for everyone,” he said.

    https://www.politico.eu/article/europe-deadly-migration-strategy-leaked-documents

    Commentaire ECRE :

    Leaked documents obtained by @POLITICOEurope show that the #EU knew its military operation “Sophia” in the Mediterranean made sea crossing more dangerous.

    https://twitter.com/ecre/status/1101074946057482240

    #responsabilité #Méditerranée #mourir_en_mer #asile #migrations #réfugiés #mer_Méditerranée #Frontex #EU #UE
    #leaks #sauvetage #externalisation #frontières

    –-----------------------------------------

    Mise en exergue de quelques passages de l’article qui me paraissent particulièrement intéressants :

    The confidential reports also show the EU is aware that a number of its policies have made the sea crossing more dangerous for migrants, and that it nonetheless chose to continue to pursue those strategies. Officials acknowledge internally that some members of the Libyan coast guard that the EU funds, equips and trains are collaborating with smuggling networks.

    Named after a baby girl born on an EU rescue ship, Sophia is the uneasy compromise to resolve a deep split across the bloc: between those who pushed for proactive search-and-rescue efforts to save more lives and those who favored pulling resources from the sea to make the crossing more dangerous.
    The naval operation sits uncomfortably between the two, rescuing migrants in distress at sea, but insisting its primary focus is to fight smugglers off the coast of Libya. The two activities are frequently in conflict.

    The report acknowledged however that the policy has pushed migrants into using rubber boats, putting them in greater danger. “Effectively, with the limited supply and the degree of overloading, the migrant vessels are [distress] cases from the moment they launch,” it said.

    In a leaked status report from 2017 (https://g8fip1kplyr33r3krz5b97d1-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/ENFM-2017-2.pdf), Sophia officials made a highly unusual suggestion: that the operation be granted permission to suspend its rescue responsibilities in order to focus on its anti-smuggling operations.

    “Consideration should be given to an option that would allow the operation to be authorized for being temporarily exempt from search and rescue when actively conducting anti-smuggling operations against jackals in international waters,” the report read.

    A leaked report from #Frontex (https://theintercept.com/2017/04/02/new-evidence-undermines-eu-report-tying-refugee-rescue-group-to-smuggl), the EU’s coast guard, noted in 2016: “As mentioned in previous reports, some members of Libya’s local authorities are involved in smuggling activities.” The report cited interviews with recently rescued people who said they were smuggled by Libyans in uniform. It also noted that similar conclusions were reported multiple times by the Italian coast guard and Operation Sophia.

    In Sophia’s leaked status report from 2017, operation leaders noted that “migrant smuggling and human trafficking networks remain well ingrained” throughout the region and that smugglers routinely “pay off authorities” for passage to international waters. “Many of [the coast guard officers] were militia people — many of them fought with militias during the civil war,” said Rabih Boualleg, who worked as a translator for Operation Sophia in late 2016 on board a Dutch ship involved in training the coast guard from Tripoli. The coast guards talked openly about accepting money from smuggling networks in exchange for escorting rubber boats to international waters instead of turning them back toward the shore, Boualleg said.

    Frontex’s 2016 report documents similar cases. Two officials with close knowledge of Sophia’s training of the Libyan coast guard also confirmed that members of the coast guard are involved in smuggling networks. A spokesperson for the Libyan coast guard did not return repeated requests for comment.

    Two years into the training program, leaked reports (https://g8fip1kplyr33r3krz5b97d1-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/ENFM-Monitoring-of-Libyan-Coast-Guard-and-Navy-Report-October-2017-January-2018.pdf) also show the Libyan coast guard was unable to manage search-and-rescue activities on its own. Sophia monitors their operations with GoPro cameras and through surveillance using ships, airplanes, drones and submarines.

    A Human Rights Watch report (https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/01/21/no-escape-hell/eu-policies-contribute-abuse-migrants-libya) published in January found that Europe’s support for the Libyan coast guard has contributed to cases of arbitrary detention, and that people intercepted by Libyan authorities “face inhuman and degrading conditions and the risk of torture, sexual violence, extortion, and forced labor.” Amnesty International has also condemned (https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/LY/DetainedAndDehumanised_en.pdf) the conditions under which migrants are being held, and in an open letter published earlier this month, 50 major aid organizations warned that “EU leaders have allowed themselves to become complicit in the tragedy unfolding before their eyes.”

    “Returning anyone to Libya is against international law,” said Salah Margani, a former justice minister in Libya’s post-civil war government. “Libya is not a safe place. They will be subject to murder. They will be subjected to torture.”

    “This is documented,” Margani added. “And [Europe] knows it.”
    Sophia is also indicative of a larger, ineffective European policy toward Libya, said Tarek Megerisi, a Libya specialist at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
    “What does the EU do in Libya? They throw money at projects, but they don’t have a very tangible operation on the ground. They really struggle to convert what they spend into political currency — Operation Sophia is all they’ve got,” he said.

    With Sophia, he said, Europe is “being as vague as possible so countries like Italy and Hungary can say this is our tool for stopping migration, and countries like Germany and Sweden can say we’re saving lives.”
    “With this operation, there’s something for everyone,” he said.

    #flou

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Summary

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

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

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

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

      Summary

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

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

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

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

  • The 5 Dumbest Data Breaches in History and What You Should Learn from Them
    https://hackernoon.com/the-5-dumbest-data-breaches-in-history-and-what-you-should-learn-from-th

    The 5 Dumbest Data Breaches in History and What You Should Learn from ThemOur idealistic kindergarten teachers duped us into believing that we’re defined by our character. But we’re now old enough to know that our personally identifiable information (PII) is what really defines us. That’s right; no matter how special we think we are, we’re still just atoms and PII.Somehow, over the course of billions of years of evolution, the purpose of IT managers and business owners has turned out to be guarding other people’s PII. This destiny is boring. But the second we let our guard down in a stupor of apathy, we wake up to data breaches, public-relations disasters and frantic job searches in hopes of quitting before getting fired.If that all sounds horrible, it is. But don’t worry. Plenty of other (...)

    #stupidity #dumb-data-breach #biggest-data-breach #data-breach #equifax

  • Report to the EU Parliament on #Frontex cooperation with third countries in 2017

    A recent report by Frontex, the EU’s border agency, highlights the ongoing expansion of its activities with non-EU states.

    The report covers the agency’s cooperation with non-EU states ("third countries") in 2017, although it was only published this month.

    See: Report to the European Parliament on Frontex cooperation with third countries in 2017: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-report-ep-third-countries-coop-2017.pdf (pdf)

    It notes the adoption by Frontex of an #International_Cooperation_Strategy 2018-2020, “an integral part of our multi-annual programme” which:

    “guides the Agency’s interactions with third countries and international organisations… The Strategy identified the following priority regions with which Frontex strives for closer cooperation: the Western Balkans, Turkey, North and West Africa, Sub-Saharan countries and the Horn of Africa.”

    The Strategy can be found in Annex XIII to the 2018-20 Programming Document: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-programming-document-2018-20.pdf (pdf).

    The 2017 report on cooperation with third countries further notes that Frontex is in dialogue with Senegal, #Niger and Guinea with the aim of signing Working Agreements at some point in the future.

    The agency deployed three Frontex #Liaison_Officers in 2017 - to Niger, Serbia and Turkey - while there was also a #European_Return_Liaison_Officer deployed to #Ghana in 2018.

    The report boasts of assisting the Commission in implementing informal agreements on return (as opposed to democratically-approved readmission agreements):

    "For instance, we contributed to the development of the Standard Operating Procedures with #Bangladesh and the “Good Practices for the Implementation of Return-Related Activities with the Republic of Guinea”, all forming important elements of the EU return policy that was being developed and consolidated throughout 2017."

    At the same time:

    “The implementation of 341 Frontex coordinated and co-financed return operations by charter flights and returning 14 189 third-country nationals meant an increase in the number of return operations by 47% and increase of third-country nationals returned by 33% compared to 2016.”

    Those return operations included Frontex’s:

    “first joint return operation to #Afghanistan. The operation was organised by Hungary, with Belgium and Slovenia as participating Member States, and returned a total of 22 third country nationals to Afghanistan. In order to make this operation a success, the participating Member States and Frontex needed a coordinated support of the European Commission as well as the EU Delegation and the European Return Liaison Officers Network in Afghanistan.”

    http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-report-third-countries.htm
    #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers
    #Balkans #Turquie #Afrique_de_l'Ouest #Afrique_du_Nord #Afrique_sub-saharienne #Corne_de_l'Afrique #Guinée #Sénégal #Serbie #officiers_de_liaison #renvois #expulsions #accords_de_réadmission #machine_à_expulsion #Hongrie #Belgique #Slovénie #réfugiés_afghans

    • EP civil liberties committee against proposal to give Frontex powers to assist non-EU states with deportations

      The European Parliament’s civil liberties committee (LIBE) has agreed its position for negotiations with the Council on the new Frontex Regulation, and amongst other things it hopes to deny the border agency the possibility of assisting non-EU states with deportations.

      The position agreed by the LIBE committee removes Article 54(2) of the Commission’s proposal, which says:

      “The Agency may also launch return interventions in third countries, based on the directions set out in the multiannual strategic policy cycle, where such third country requires additional technical and operational assistance with regard to its return activities. Such intervention may consist of the deployment of return teams for the purpose of providing technical and operational assistance to return activities of the third country.”

      The report was adopted by the committee with 35 votes in favour, nine against and eight abstentions.

      When the Council reaches its position on the proposal, the two institutions will enter into secret ’trilogue’ negotiations, along with the Commission.

      Although the proposal to reinforce Frontex was only published last September, the intention is to agree a text before the European Parliament elections in May.

      The explanatory statement in the LIBE committee’s report (see below) says:

      “The Rapporteur proposes a number of amendments that should enable the Agency to better achieve its enhanced objectives. It is crucial that the Agency has the necessary border guards and equipment at its disposal whenever this is needed and especially that it is able to deploy them within a short timeframe when necessary.”

      European Parliament: Stronger European Border and Coast Guard to secure EU’s borders: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20190211IPR25771/stronger-european-border-and-coast-guard-to-secure-eu-s-borders (Press release, link):

      “- A new standing corps of 10 000 operational staff to be gradually rolled out
      - More efficient return procedures of irregular migrants
      - Strengthened cooperation with non-EU countries

      New measures to strengthen the European Border and Coast Guard to better address migratory and security challenges were backed by the Civil Liberties Committee.”

      See: REPORT on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Council Joint Action n°98/700/JHA, Regulation (EU) n° 1052/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EU) n° 2016/1624 of the European Parliament and of the Council: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/ep-libe-report-frontex.pdf (pdf)

      The Commission’s proposal and its annexes can be found here: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2018/sep/eu-soteu-jha-proposals.htm

      http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/ep-new-frontex-libe.htm

  • #Until_when_Europe ?

    CEAR and the Greek Council for Refugees denounce through this video the inaction of European authorities on the situation of thousands of refugees, many of who face a third winter in tents and precarious accommodation in Greece, Until when Europe? This is what the more than 14,000 refugees who continue to be trapped on the islands in inhumane conditions are wondering. “We live in a small tent and the baby is very cold”, “If I was not sick and so tired, I would wait quietly. But I’m sick, very sick, and I can not wait”. These are some of the testimonies of the thousands of refugees who remain trapped in the islands, waiting for a response from Europe.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PG3EfwzRMY


    #vidéo #film #se_questa_è_Europa #hotspots #asile #migrations #campement #camps #réfugiés #Grèce #droits_humains #piège #îles #attente #honte

    • Greece: Council of Europe anti-torture committee calls for the situation of psychiatric patients to be improved, while criticising once again the poor treatment of immigration detainees

      The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has published today the report on its most recent visit to Greece from 10 to 19 April 2018, together with the response of the Greek authorities.

      The report highlights the systemic overcrowding in three of the five psychiatric establishments visited (Evangelismos, Gennimatas and Sotiria), with patients at Evangelismos being accommodated in the corridors. In all five hospitals visited, the CPT is critical of the lack of staff and over-reliance on pharmacotherapy, and the fact that patients were offered few activities. Another concern is the widespread practice of excessive and/or inappropriate use of mechanical restraint. The CPT also received some isolated allegations of ill-treatment (punches, tight restraints, and verbal abuse) by staff at the private “Athina Vrilissa” Psychiatric Clinic. Further, at Korydallos Prison Psychiatric Hospital, it found that the use of the basement protection cells for the seclusion of patients without supervision and for extended periods could easily be considered inhuman and degrading. Moreover, safeguards surrounding involuntary placement procedures were found to be insufficient in law and practice.

      In their response, the Greek authorities accepted most of CPT’s recommendations aimed at improving the situation in psychiatric establishments. In particular, the new draft law governing involuntary placement will increase the safeguards for psychiatric patients. Swift action was taken to close down the basement protection cells at Korydallos Prison Psychiatric Hospital. Moreover, an external supervisory body will be established and a Committee be set up to monitor and evaluate the use of means of restraint and medication in all psychiatric institutions in Greece.

      As regards immigration detention, the CPT stresses once again the need for a coordinated European approach to address the high number of foreign nationals arriving in Greece. At the same time, the report recalls that foreign nationals deprived of their liberty by the Greek authorities must be treated humanely and with dignity.

      In the course of the visit, the CPT received a number of credible allegations of police ill-treatment (slaps, punches, kicks, baton blows and verbal abuse) from foreign nationals held in detention in the Evros region and at Moria Pre-removal Centre on Lesvos. It also received several credible allegations about the occurrence of “push-back” operations, whereby foreign nationals were returned from Greece to Turkey by boat across the Evros River; some of the persons met alleged that they had been ill-treated (including baton blows to the head) by police and border guard officers or (para-) military commandos during such operations.

      Conditions of detention were found to be grossly sub-standard in some of the police and border guard stations visited, such as at Isaakio, where foreign nationals were detained overnight in two filthy cells with less than 1.5 m² of living space each. The Pre-removal Centre in Fylakio was so severely overcrowded, that single men, families, children and pregnant women were crammed together for several weeks or months with little more than 1 m² of living space per person, a situation that can easily be considered as amounting to inhuman and degrading treatment. The provision of health care services also remained inadequate, with a chronic lack of health care staff and an absence of even the most basic medical equipment and medication.

      Regrettably, the CPT had to reiterate its recommendations that the Greek authorities increase significantly the number of dedicated open (or semi-open) shelter facilities for unaccompanied minors and that they fundamentally revise their policy regarding the detention of unaccompanied minors both for reception and identification purposes and under “protective custody”. The CPT recommends that an end should be put to holding unaccompanied minors in reception and identification centres, pre-removal centres, special holding facilities for irregular migrants or police and border guard stations. The CPT also calls for an end to the routine detention of children with their parents in police establishments upon their arrival in the country.

      In their response, the Greek authorities deny that the practice of “push-backs” exists and point out that investigations into alleged unofficial removals and police ill-treatment found no disciplinary liability by the Hellenic Police. Further, the authorities explain that the poor conditions of detention in the Evros region were due to the increased migratory pressure at the time of the CPT’s visit. On a more positive note, the authorities plan to refurbish police detention facilities used for holding irregular migrants in line with CPT standards and to improve the conditions in the eight pre-removal detention facilities in the country.

      The main findings of the CPT are set out in the executive summary of the report.

      The CPT’s report and the Greek authorities’ response have been made public at the request of the Greek Government.

      https://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/-/greece-council-of-europe-anti-torture-committee-calls-for-the-situation-of-psyc

      Pour télécharger le #rapport:
      https://rm.coe.int/1680930c9a

  • Scenes From the Border Crisis: Sketches by the Artist Molly Crabapple – Rolling Stone
    https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/immigration-border-crisis-molly-crabapple-713991

    Award-winning illustrator Molly Crabapple travels to Texas to document families emerging from the trauma and turmoil of crossing the border
    ...
    After my first day sketching at the Port Isabel court, the Executive Office of Immigration suddenly sent a directive to other courthouses that forbade drawing without prior permission. It promised federal penalties for artists who did not comply. When I arrived at the Harlingen immigration court the next day, the new directive was already taped to the wall and highlighted. “Just got it yesterday,” a guard shrugged.

    In the evenings, I went to the bus station, where there were no restrictions on sketching and families were free to tell me their stories. They were the lucky ones. They had been released from the hieleras to family in the U.S. to pursue their asylum cases from a home rather than a cell (some families are instead locked up indefinitely in longer-term detention centers). Most of the migrants at the bus station wore electronic ankle monitors, which ICE uses to keep track of asylum seekers through its “Intensive Supervision Appearance Program,” run by a private-prison company. Many spoke with me but were scared to share their names for fear of the gangs they’d fled back home and that talking to the press would anger immigration authorities.

    #USA #immigration #art #dessin #politique

  • Israel starts construction on 20-foot-high fence surrounding #Gaza

    Covered in barbed wire and sensors, new fence to sit atop tunnel-blocking subterranean wall and connect to sea barrier.
    The Defense Ministry has begun the final phase of construction of a 20-foot high galvanized steel fence that will completely surround the Gaza Strip, Israeli officials said Sunday.

    The barrier will extend 65 kilometers (40 miles) miles around the enclave and sit atop the subterranean concrete wall Israel is constructing around the Gaza Strip to block terrorist groups’ attack tunnels from the coastal enclave.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the barriers were needed to “prevent the infiltration of terrorists into our territory,” at the start of weekly cabinet meeting.

    The fence will connect to the barrier recently built out into the Mediterranean Sea from north of Gaza, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

    The overall Gaza barrier project is due to be completed by the end of 2019, according to the army.

    “On Thursday, we began work on the final component of the Gaza Strip border barrier project. The obstacle is unique and specially designed to protect against the threats from the Strip and to give a superior solution to preventing infiltration into Israeli territory,” said the head of the project, Brig. Gen. (res.) Eran Ofir.

    The barrier project is expected to cost approximately NIS 3 billion ($833 million), with each kilometer of the underground portion of the barrier costing approximately NIS 41.5 million ($11.5 million). The above-ground fence is significantly cheaper, at just NIS 1.5 million ($416,000) per kilometer.

    The new fence surrounding the Gaza Strip will be constructed within Israeli territory, a few dozen meters east of the current shorter, more easily penetrable fencing. The old barrier will not be removed.

    According to the Defense Ministry, the new galvanized steel fence will weigh approximately 20,000 tons and comes equipped with a number of sensors and other “modern security components.”

    The barrier is being constructed jointly by the Israel Defense Forces-Defense Ministry Borders and Security Fence Directorate, run by Ofir, who has overseen the construction of barriers along Israel’s borders with Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

    In 2016, Israel began construction of the new barrier around the Strip, focusing first on the underground portion, following the 2014 Gaza war in which Hamas used subterranean attack tunnels to deadly effect against Israeli troops.

    Over the past two years, work has persisted on the underground sensor-studded concrete wall, despite regular riots and clashes along the border and occasional attacks on the construction sites.

    In addition, the Defense Ministry built a barrier extending out from Israel’s coast aimed at preventing maritime infiltration from Gaza, as occurred in the 2014 war when a team of Hamas naval commandos landed on the beach near the community of Kibbutz Zikim before they were killed by Israeli forces. Construction of the undersea wall and breakwater was completed last month.

    The new above-ground fence will begin at the Egyptian-Israeli-Gaza border, near Kerem Shalom, and will continue out to the sea barrier, according to the Defense Ministry.

    “The above-ground barrier… is another important element in the defense of the [Israeli] communities surrounding Gaza, which already includes: the sea barrier, which provides a response to terrorist infiltration from the sea to the west, and the underground barrier that surrounds the Strip and is meant to prevent the digging of terror tunnels into Israel,” the ministry said.

    The military proposed building the barrier following the 2014 Gaza war, known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge. During the fighting, Hamas made extensive use of its tunnel networks to send fighters into Israel as well as to move its terrorist operatives and munitions within the Gaza Strip.

    Hundreds of people, some Israeli and others from abroad, are involved in the project, wearing flak jackets and under guard by IDF soldiers as protection against attack from terror groups in the Strip.

    Concrete factories were built next to the Gaza Strip to speed up construction.

    To build the underground wall, the workers use a hydromill, a powerful piece of drilling equipment that cuts deep, narrow trenches into the earth, which was brought to Israel from Germany.

    In addition to opening up the ground where the barrier will be constructed, the hydromill also exposes any previously undiscovered or newly dug Hamas tunnels that enter Israeli territory. The space left behind by the hydromill — and any Hamas tunnels that get in the way — is then filled with a substance known as bentonite, a type of absorbent clay that expands when it touches water.

    This is meant to prevent the trenches from collapsing, but also has the additional benefit of indicating the presence of a tunnel, as the bentonite would quickly drain into it. Workers then pour regular concrete into the trench. Metal cages with sensors attached are then lowered into the concrete for additional support.


    https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-starts-construction-on-20-foot-high-fence-surrounding-gaza/amp
    #murs #barrières_frontalières #frontières #Israël
    ping @reka

  • Despite Challenges, USCGC Polar Star Arrives in Antarctica – gCaptain
    https://gcaptain.com/despite-challenges-uscgc-polar-star-arrives-in-antarctica


    The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star breaks ice in McMurdo Sound near Antarctica on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018.
    U.S. Coast Guard Photo

    The 150 crewmembers of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star have arrived in Antarctica along with a resupply vessel as part of Operation Deep Freeze, the annual mission to resupply U.S. interests in Antarctica.

    The icebreaker’s arrival comes after the crew experienced multiple mechanical issues, including ship-wide power outages, and against the backdrop of the partial government shutdown that has left Coast Guard servicemembers without pay.

    Homeported in Seattle, the 42-year-old Coast Guard cutter is the United States’ only operational heavy icebreaker.
    […]
    The ship also experienced a leak from the shaft that drives the ship’s propeller, which halted icebreaking operations so divers could repair the seal around the shaft. A hyperbaric chamber on loan from the U.S. Navy aboard the ship allows Coast Guard divers to make external emergency repairs and inspections of the ship’s hull.


    Colmatage de fuites sur la ligne d’arbre d’hélice…

    Protecting national interests in the Polar regions is essential to ensure the Coast Guard’s national defense strategy and search and rescue capabilities are ready for action, but in order to do so, the icebreaker fleet requires modernization,” the Coast Guard said in a press release.

    If a catastrophic event were to happen, such as getting stuck in the ice, the Coast Guard would left without a self-rescue capability. By contrast, Russia currently operates more than 40 icebreakers, including several of which are nuclear powered, the Coast Guard noted.

    While we focus our efforts on creating a peaceful and collaborative environment in the Arctic, we’re also responding to the impacts of increased competition in this strategically important region,” said Adm. Karl Schultz, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. “Our continued presence will enable us to reinforce positive opportunities and mitigate negative consequences today and tomorrow.

    Présence #arctique de plus en plus symbolique,… s’il y a un pépin en Arctique maintenant, il n’y a plus qu’à attendre que le Polar Star revienne du pôle sud, en espérant que ses moteurs et auxiliaires tiennent le coup, mieux que pour le voyage aller, p. ex. !

  • Cable ship capsizes near Singapore after tanker collision | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-tanker-crash-idUSKCN1P80NS


    The Star Centurion was at anchor when it was t-boned by the tanker Antea which was traveling at around 11.5 knots.

    An undersea cable and pipe-laying ship, the Vanuatu-flagged MV Star Centurion, capsized in the Indonesian waters of the Singapore Straits after a collision with a tanker on Sunday, with no fatalities, authorities said on Monday.

    The Singapore Straits are one of the world’s busiest shipping zones with hundreds of container ships, oil and fuel tankers and dry bulk carriers daily traversing the waters that connect east Asia to Europe, India and Africa.

    The collision happened just north of Bintan, an Indonesian island in the Riau Islands province that sits opposite the city-state of Singapore.

    “°It’s already capsized,°” Samsul Nizar, the head of operations at the Indonesian coast guard base at Tanjung Uban on Bintan, told Reuters by telephone, “°but it hasn’t sunk completely.°”

  • Battle brews between French and ultra-Orthodox over Jerusalem archaeology site

    Ultra-Orthodox demands to pray at the Tomb of the Kings – the grandest burial compound in Jerusalem – have kindled fears among the French of an Israeli land grab under their flag in East Jerusalem

    Nir Hasson SendSend me email alerts
    Dec 21, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-france-orthodox-jews-archaeologists-battle-over-e-j-lem-s-tomb-of-

    In recent weeks, a small group of ultra-Orthodox Jews has been gathering alongside a locked iron gate on Nablus Road in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. They pray and protest alongside the shuttered gate, periodically squabbling with the Palestinian guard, demanding to be allowed inside to pray. The guard refuses, and refers them to the body that owns and administers the site – the French Consulate of Jerusalem.
    These protests are yet another round in a long-standing historic struggle over control of one of the most beautiful archaeological sites in Jerusalem, which has been closed to the public for years. On the one side stands the government of France and on the other, Haredi and right-wing Israeli factions. Israel’s Antiquities Authority is in favor of opening the site to the public, but does share the French concerns that the site might befall the same fate of many other archaeological sites in the city, which were transformed from mere archaeology and tourism sites into holy sites and then appropriated from the public’s domain.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    The Tomb of the Kings, situated between the Jerusalem District Court and the American Colony Hotel, is considered the grandest burial compound in Jerusalem. The site includes a sophisticated burial cave that has a mechanism for sealing the entrance by means of a stone that rotates on a hinge. It includes a mammoth courtyard carved into the bedrock, a staircase carved into the bedrock that is the second largest in Jerusalem – the only one larger is on the Temple Mount – stone-inscribed ornamentation, an ancient mikveh (Jewish ritual bath) and cisterns.
    The site has been dated to the Second Temple period, and there are various traditions and theories regarding who is actually buried there. According to one tradition, it was the place of burial of Kalba Savua, the father-in-law of Rabbi Akiva, or of Nicodemus ben Guryon – two of the wealthier residents of Jerusalem at the start of the 1st millennium CE.
    The historian Josephus Flavius wrote that this was the burial place of Queen Helena of Adiabene, who converted to Judaism around the year 30 C.E., and some of the site’s investigators say it is reasonable to believe that this is indeed her tomb. An ornamented sarcophagus found here was inscribed with the legend, “Tzadan Malkata,” which is believed to refer to Queen (Malka) Helena. This reinforces the notion that buried on this site were other members of her royal family. The site gained fame in the late 19th century, and among its visitors were the German Kaiser Wilhelm II and Theodore Herzl.

    The Tomb of Kings site in Jerusalem, December, 2018. Emil Salman

    The Tomb of Kings site in Jerusalem, December, 2018. Emil Salman

    The Tomb of Kings site in Jerusalem, December, 2018. Emil Salman
    The Tomb of the Kings is interwoven into the history of archaeology in Israel. The excavation conducted by Félicien de Saulcy in 1863 is considered the first modern archaeological dig in the country. It is also the first excavation to receive a digging permit from the Turkish sultan.
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    Pressure worked

    The Tomb of Kings archaeological site in Jerusalem, December, 2018. Emil Salman
    But along with modern archaeology, the protest against it was also born here. “This was the first official archaeological excavation, and also the first time in which the Jews of Jerusalem rose up against the excavation of ancestral graves,” writes a scholar who has studied the site, Dr. Dotan Goren.
    In the wake of the Orthodox Jews’ public protests in the city and pressure from the Jews on the sultan, those excavations were suspended. To the dismay of the city’s Jews, de Saulcy managed to load the queen’s sarcophagus onto a ship anchored in Jaffa port, and it is to this day displayed at the Louvre Museum. Several years ago, it appeared as part of a temporary exhibition in the Israel Museum.
    The basis for the current demand by religious and Haredi circles that the Jews ought to be granted rights over the site has to do with events that occurred following the excavation. In 1878, a woman named Berta Amalia Bertrand, a French Jew who was related to the Pereire brothers, a famous Jewish banking family, purchased the burial compound from its Arab owners. At the time of the purchase, Bertrand dedicated the site in the presence of the chief rabbi of Paris, declaring that it “will become the land in perpetuity of the Jewish community, to be preserved from desecration and abomination, and will never again be damaged by foreigners..”

    The Tomb of Kings site in Jerusalem, December, 2018. Emil Salman
    Eight years later, however, one of Bertrand’s heirs granted the site as a gift to the government of France. At the time of the conferral of the gift, an agreement was signed between the French government and the family, under which France committed to meet several conditions. One was to erect a sign in Hebrew, French and Arabic saying that these are the Tombs of the Kings of Judah. The large sign, made of copper, can still be found set into the wall of the building.
    A few testimonies describe how the site served for prayer and pilgrimage, although it is altogether clear that it was secondary in importance to the neighboring holy site, the cave of Shimon Hatzadik. But in any event, following the battles of 1948, the site was left behind the enemy lines, within the territory of the Jordanian kingdom. “This site was forgotten or made to be forgotten, and there was no one to tell about it,” says Goren.

    An inscription at the Tomb of Kings in Jerusalem, December, 2018. Emil Salman
    Following 1967’s Six-Day War, the site continued to be administered by the French consulate in Jerusalem. Most of the time, it was open to visitors, for a token entry fee. Ten years ago the consulate held a concert there, together with the Palestinian cultural organization Yabous, which advocates a boycott of Israel.
    Apparently that is what has sparked a renewed interest in the site. In 2014, the rabbinical court for “hekdesh” (sacred property) affairs appointed Yitzhak Mamo and Yaakov Saltzman as emissaries of the court in the matter of the Tomb of the Kings sacred property. Mamo is a well-known right-wing activist in East Jerusalem who for years has been engaged in the evacuation of Palestinian families and the resettlement of Jews in Sheikh Jarrah. In 2015, the two men filed a suit in the rabbinical court against the government of France, with a plea to gain possession of the site.
    The lawsuit sparked outrage in Paris and in the French consulate in Jerusalem, as well as in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A letter sent to the court by David Goldfarb of the ministry’s legal department stated that according to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, to which Israel is a signatory, consulate employees are not subject to the rulings of a rabbinical court. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also wishes to inform the honorable court that in response to bringing the lawsuit in this case, our office has received a sharply worded letter from the government of France,” Goldfarb wrote.
    The Israeli attorney general also sided with the French, and in a legal opinion submitted to the court, he argued that it was not at all clear that the site can be considered a hekdesh, since the hekdesh was created by the chief rabbi of Paris and not by the Sharia court in Jerusalem, which had been entrusted with the authority to rule on sacred property issues in the city during the period of Ottoman rule. In the wake of these developments, the religious court in Jerusalem rejected the suit.

    FILE Photo: The Tomb of Kings site in Jerusalem. American Colony

    FILE Photo: The Tomb of Kings site in Jerusalem. American Colony
    The French subsequently announced the closure of the site for renovations. In recent years, there has been practically no opportunity to visit the site. According to parties involved in the matter, the French consulate has invested about 900,000 euros (about $790,000) in a renovation that included construction of a steel apparatus to reinforce the central structure in the event of earthquake, construction of a new stairway, and preservation work.
    In September 2018, the consulate informed the Israeli Foreign Ministry that the work had been completed and that it was now possible to reopen the site. However, the French imposed two conditions: one, that Israel officially recognize French ownership of the site, and two, that they be assured no new lawsuits would be brought against them. Foreign Ministry officials have reported that discussions on the matter are now underway. In the meantime, the place remains closed and the protests have begun again.
    This time around, it was a group of Haredim led by Rabbi Zalman Grossman of Jerusalem that began to arrive on site twice a week and protest its closure by means of prayers and demonstrations. The protest has gained the support of the rabbi of the Western Wall and the holy sites, Shmuel Rabinovich, and of the chief rabbi of Jerusalem, Shlomo Amar, as well as the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
    The demonstrations and the demands to be able to pray on the site have kindled fears among the French that if the site is reopened, it will take on a religious nature and essentially become an Israeli land grab under the French flag in East Jerusalem. As far as France is concerned, this would engender serious political complications with the Palestinians.
    The concerns of the French in this matter are shared by the Antiquities Authority’s Jerusalem district archaeologist, Dr. Yuval Baruch. “There is a trend of archaeological sites taking on a status of holiness, and the problem is if and when that happens, archaeology always loses out,” says Baruch.
    He is concerned about other sites, mainly in the Old City, archaeological-tourism sites that have in the past few years been converted into religious sites, where visitors not coming for ritual purposes do not always feel welcome.
    The phenomenon, incidentally, is not exclusive to Orthodox Jews. This has happened, for instance, in a large section of the Jerusalem Archaeological Park-Davidson Center, south of the Western Wall, which has been turned into the “Ezrat Israel,” a prayer section earmarked for the non-Orthodox streams of Judaism. It is happening on the Hulda steps that ascend to the Temple Mount from the south, which have become a popular prayer site among evangelical Christians. The evangelicals have also adopted the Siloam Pool in Silwan. The plaza just outside Tanner’s Gate, not far from the Western Wall, has become the province of bar mitzvah organizers, and the archaeological site at Nebi Samuel in northern Jerusalem has become a site for prayer and pilgrimage.
    “When all is said and done, there is freedom of religion and the authorities have no ability to control it, but there has to be some regulation,” says Baruch. d”As excavations in Jerusalem continue to proliferate, the more assured it is that there will be continued attempts by religious bodies, and this can be Orthodox, Conservative or Reform rabbis, or evangelicals, it matters not who, to try and take them over. The appeal of sites whose character is becoming more emphatically religious will change. I appeal to the rabbinical establishment and to the leadership of the Christian communities to show more responsibility and greater recognition of the importance of the archaeological values, as well.”
    The official response from the office of the rabbi of the Western Wall in regard to the Tomb of the Kings: “In truth, the site is a holy place for Jews. To that end, the rabbi is acting with all due sensitivity in order that the site also provide free access for Jewish prayer and that its character and its holiness be preserved.”

    Nir Hasson
    Haaretz Correspondent

  • https://theintercept.com/2018/12/04/jeremy-hammond-stratfor-hack-solitary-confinment

    Last month, [Jeremy Hammond] who has been serving a 10-year prison sentence since 2012 was accused by a guard at a federal detention center of “minor assault,” landing the so-called hacktivist in solitary confinement.

    [...]

    In 2013, Hammond pleaded guilty to hacking the private intelligence firm Stratfor Global Intelligence and other targets. The Stratfor hack lead to numerous revelations, including that the firm spied on activists for major corporations on several occasions.

    [...]

    This week will mark the start of Hammond’s third week in a so-called segregated housing unit — more commonly known as solitary confinement. The United Nations has said that confinement of such length could be considered torture.

    [...]

    In a statement during his sentencing hearing, Hammond referred to his hacking as “acts of civil disobedience and direct action,” describing “an obligation to use my skills to expose and confront injustice and to bring the truth to light.”

    [...]

    Hammond is currently scheduled for release in February 2020.

    #prison #jail #justice #arbitraire #hacker #surveillance #activisme #intercept #hammond #courage #anarchiste #anarchisme

  • Detainees Evacuated out of Libya but Resettlement Capacity Remains Inadequate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Libya: evacuations to Niger resumed – returns from Niger begun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      The lucky few

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      ‘Time is just running from my life’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      A stop-start process

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Lien vers la #vidéo :

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

      https://vimeo.com/323299304

      ping @isskein @karine4

  • “You Cry at Night but Don’t Know Why”. Sexual Violence against Women in North Korea

    Oh Jung Hee is a former trader in her forties from Ryanggang province. She sold clothes to market stalls in Hyesan city and was involved in the distribution of textiles in her province. She said that up until she left the country in 2014, guards would regularly pass by the market to demand bribes, sometimes in the form of coerced sexual acts or intercourse. She told Human Rights Watch:

    I was a victim many times … On the days they felt like it, market guards or police officials could ask me to follow them to an empty room outside the market, or some other place they’d pick. What can we do? They consider us [sex] toys … We [women] are at the mercy of men. Now, women cannot survive without having men with power near them.

    She said she had no power to resist or report these abuses. She said it never occurred to her that anything could be done to stop these assaults except trying to avoid such situations by moving away or being quiet in order to not be noticed.

    Park Young Hee, a former farmer in her forties also from Ryanggang province who left North Korea for the second time in 2011, was forced back to North Korea from China in the spring of 2010 after her first attempt to flee. She said, after being released by the secret police (bowiseong) and put under the jurisdiction of the police, the officer in charge of questioning her in the police pre-trial detention facility (kuryujang) near Musan city in North Hamgyong province touched her body underneath her clothes and penetrated her several times with his fingers. She said he asked her repeatedly about the sexual relations she had with the Chinese man to whom she had been sold to while in China. She told Human Rights Watch:

    My life was in his hands, so I did everything he wanted and told him everything he asked. How could I do anything else? … Everything we do in North Korea can be considered illegal, so everything can depend on the perception or attitude of who is looking into your life.

    Park Young Hee said she never told anybody about the abuse because she did not think it was unusual, and because she feared the authorities and did not believe anyone would help.

    The experiences of Oh Jung Hee and Park Young Hee are not isolated ones. While sexual and gender-based violence is of concern everywhere, growing evidence suggests it is endemic in North Korea.

    This report–based largely on interviews with 54 North Koreans who left the country after 2011, when the current leader, Kim Jong Un, rose to power, and 8 former North Korean officials who fled the country–focuses on sexual abuse by men in official positions of power. The perpetrators include high-ranking party officials, prison and detention facility guards and interrogators, police and secret police officials, prosecutors, and soldiers. At the time of the assaults, most of the victims were in the custody of authorities or were market traders who came across guards and other officials as they traveled to earn their livelihood.

    Interviewees told us that when a guard or police officer “picks” a woman, she has no choice but to comply with any demands he makes, whether for sex, money, or other favors. Women in custody have little choice should they attempt to refuse or complain afterward, and risk sexual violence, longer periods in detention, beatings, forced labor, or increased scrutiny while conducting market activities.

    Women not in custody risk losing their main source of income and jeopardizing their family’s survival, confiscation of goods and money, and increased scrutiny or punishment, including being sent to labor training facilities (rodong danryeondae) or ordinary-crimes prison camps (kyohwaso, literally reform through labor centers) for being involved in market activities. Other negative impacts include possibly losing access to prime trading locations, being fired or overlooked for jobs, being deprived of means of transportation or business opportunities, being deemed politically disloyal, being relocated to a remote area, and facing more physical or sexual violence.

    The North Koreans we spoke with told us that unwanted sexual contact and violence is so common that it has come to be accepted as part of ordinary life: sexual abuse by officials, and the impunity they enjoy, is linked to larger patterns of sexual abuse and impunity in the country. The precise number of women and girls who experience sexual violence in North Korea, however, is unknown. Survivors rarely report cases, and the North Korean government rarely publishes data on any aspect of life in the country.

    Our research, of necessity conducted among North Koreans who fled, does not provide a generalized sample from which to draw definitive conclusions about the prevalence of sexual abuse by officials. The diversity in age, geographic location, social class, and personal backgrounds of the survivors, combined with many consistencies in how they described their experiences, however, suggest that the patterns of sexual violence identified here are common across North Korea. Our findings also mirror those of other inquiries that have tried to discern the situation in this sealed-off authoritarian country.

    A 2014 United Nations Commission of Inquiry (UN COI) on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) concluded that systematic, widespread, and gross human rights violations committed by the North Korean government constituted crimes against humanity. These included forced abortion, rape, and other sexual violence, as well as murder, imprisonment, enslavement, and torture on North Koreans in prison or detention. The UN COI stated that witnesses revealed that while “domestic violence is rife within DPRK society … violence against women is not limited to the home, and that it is common to see women being beaten and sexually assaulted in public.”

    The Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU), a South Korean government think tank that specializes in research on North Korea, conducted a survey with 1,125 North Koreans (31.29 percent men and 68.71 percent women) who re-settled in South Korea between 2010 and 2014. The survey found that 37.7 percent of the respondents said sexual harassment and rape of inmates at detention facilities was “common,” including 15.9 percent that considered it “very common.” Thirty-three women said they were raped at detention and prison facilities, 51 said they witnessed rapes in such facilities, and 25 said they heard of such cases. The assailants identified by the respondents were police agents–45.6 percent; guards–17.7 percent; secret police (bowiseong) agents –13.9 percent; and fellow detainees–1.3 percent. The 2014 KINU survey found 48.6 percent of the respondents said that rape and sexual harassment against women in North Korea was “common.”

    The North Koreans we spoke with stressed that women are socialized to feel powerless to demand accountability for sexual abuse and violence, and to feel ashamed when they are victims of abuse. They said the lack of rule of law and corresponding support systems for survivors leads most victims to remain silent–not seek justice and often not even talk about their experiences.

    While most of our interviewees left North Korea between2011 and 2016, and many of the abuses date from a year or more before their departure, all available evidence suggests that the abuses and near-total impunity enjoyed by perpetrators continue to the present.

    In July 2017, the North Korean government told the UN committee that monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) that just nine people in all of North Korea were convicted of rape in 2008, seven in 2011, and five in 2015. The government said that the numbers of male perpetrators convicted for the crime of forcing a woman who is his subordinate to have sexual intercourse was five in 2008, six in 2011, and three in 2015. While North Korean officials seem to think such ridiculously low numbers show the country to be a violence-free paradise, the numbers are a powerful indictment of their utter failure to address sexual violence in the country.

    Sexual Abuse in Prisons and Detention Facilities

    Human Rights Watch interviewed eight former detainees or prisoners who said they experienced a combination of verbal and sexual violence, harsh questioning, and humiliating treatment by investigators, detention facility personnel, or prison guards that belong to the police or the secret police (bowiseong).

    Six interviewees had experienced sexual, verbal, and physical abuse in pre-trial detention and interrogation facilities (kuryujang)–jails designed to hold detainees during their initial interrogations, run by the MSS or the police. They said secret police or police agents in charge of their personal interrogation touched their faces and their bodies, including their breasts and hips, either through their clothes or by putting their hands inside their clothes.

    Human Rights Watch also documented cases of two women who were sexually abused at a temporary holding facility (jipkyulso) while detainees were being transferred from interrogation facilities (kuryujang) to detention facilities in the detainees’ home districts.

    Sexual Abuse of Women Engaged in Trade

    Human Rights Watch interviewed four women traders who experienced sexual violence, including rape, assault, and sexual harassment, as well as verbal abuse and intimidation, by market gate-keeper officials. We also interviewed 17 women who were sexually abused or experienced unwanted sexual advances by police or other officials as they traveled for their work as traders. Although seeking income outside the command economy was illegal, women started working as traders during the mass famine of the 1990s as survival imperatives led many to ignore the strictures of North Korea’s command economy. Since many married women were not obliged to attend a government-established workplace, they became traders and soon the main breadwinners for their families. But pursuing income in public exposed them to violence.

    Traders and former government officials told us that in North Korea traders are often compelled to pay bribes to officials and market regulators, but for women the “bribes” often include sexual abuse and violence, including rape. Perpetrators of abuses against women traders include high-ranking party officials, managers at state-owned enterprises, and gate-keeper officials at the markets and on roads and check-points, such as police, bowiseong agents, prosecutors, soldiers, and railroad inspectors on trains.

    Women who had worked as traders described unwanted physical contact that included indiscriminately touching their bodies, grabbing their breasts and hips, trying to touch them underneath their skirts or pants, poking their cheeks, pulling their hair, or holding their bodies in their arms. The physical harassment was often accompanied by verbal abuse and intimidation. Women also said it was common for women to try to help protect each other by sharing information about such things, such as which house to avoid because it is rumored that the owner is a rapist or a child molester, which roads not to walk on alone at night, or which local high-ranking official most recently sexually preyed upon women.

    Our research confirms a trend already identified in the UN COI report:

    Officials are not only increasingly engaging in corruption in order to support their low or non-existent salaries, they are also exacting penalties and punishment in the form of sexual abuse and violence as there is no fear of punishment. As more women assume the responsibility for feeding their families due to the dire economic and food situation, more women are traversing through and lingering in public spaces, selling and transporting their goods.

    The UN COI further found “the male dominated state, agents who police the marketplace, inspectors on trains, and soldiers are increasingly committing acts of sexual assault on women in public spaces” and “received reports of train guards frisking women and abusing young girls onboard.” This was described as “the male dominated state preying on the increasingly female-dominated market.”

    Almost all of the women interviewed by Human Rights Watch with trading experience said the only way not to fall prey to extortion or sexual harassment while conducting market activities was to give up hopes of expanding one’s business and barely scrape by, be born to a powerful father with money and connections, marry a man with power, or become close to one.

    Lack of Remedies

    Only one of the survivors of sexual violence Human Rights Watch interviewed for this report said she had tried to report the sexual assault. The other women said they did not report it because they did not trust the police and did not believe police would be willing to take action. The women said the police do not consider sexual violence a serious crime and that it is almost inconceivable to even consider going to the police to report sexual abuse because of the possible repercussions. Family members or close friends who knew about their experience also cautioned women against going to the authorities.

    Eight former government officials, including a former police officer, told Human Rights Watch that cases of sexual abuse or assault are reported to police only when there are witnesses and, even then, the reports invariably are made by third parties and not by the women themselves. Only seven of the North Korean women and men interviewed by Human Rights Watch were aware of cases in which police had investigated sexual violence and in all such cases the victims had been severely injured or killed.

    All of the North Koreans who spoke to Human Rights Watch said the North Korean government does not provide any type of psycho-social support services for survivors of sexual violence and their families. To make matters worse, they said, the use of psychological or psychiatric services itself is highly stigmatized.

    Two former North Korean doctors and a nurse who left after 2010 said there are no protocols for medical treatment and examination of victims of sexual violence to provide therapeutic care or secure medical evidence. They said there are no training programs for medical practitioners on sexual assault and said they never saw a rape victim go to the hospital to receive treatment.

    Discrimination Against Women

    Sex discrimination and subordination of women are pervasive in North Korean. Everyone in North Korea is subjected to a socio-political classification system, known as songbun, that grouped people from its creation into “loyal,” “wavering,” or “hostile” classes. But a woman’s classification also depends, in critical respects, on that of her male relatives, specifically her father and her father’s male relations and, upon marriage, that of her husband and his male relations. A woman’s position in society is lower than a man’s, and her reputation depends largely on maintaining an image of “sexual purity” and obeying the men in her family.

    The government is dominated by men. According to statistics provided by the DPRK government to the UN, as of 2016 women made up just 20.2 percent of the deputies selected, 16.1 percent of divisional directors in government bodies, 11.9 percent of judges and lawyers, 4.9 percent of diplomats, and 16.5 per cent of the officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    On paper, the DPRK says that it is committed to gender equality and women and girl’s rights. The Criminal Code criminalizes rape of women, trafficking in persons, having sexual relations with women in a subordinate position, and child sexual abuse. The 2010 Law on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Women bans domestic violence. North Korea has also ratified five international human rights treaties, including ones that address women and girl’s rights and equality, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and CEDAW.

    During a meeting of a North Korean delegation with the CEDAW Committee, which reviewed North Korean compliance between 2002 and 2015, government officials argued all of the elements of CEDAW had been included in DPRK’s domestic laws. However, under questioning by the committee, the officials were unable to provide the definition of “discrimination against women” employed by the DPRK.

    Park Kwang Ho, Councilor of the Central Court in the DPRK, stated that if a woman in a subordinate position was forced to engage in sexual relations for fear of losing her job or in exchange for preferential treatment, it was her choice as to whether or not she complied. Therefore, he argued, in such a situation the punishment for the perpetrator should be lighter. He later amended his statement to say that if she did not consent to having sexual relations, and was forced to do so, the perpetrator was committing rape and would be punished accordingly.

    https://www.hrw.org/report/2018/10/31/you-cry-night-dont-know-why/sexual-violence-against-women-north-korea
    #abus_sexuels #violence_sexuelle #viols #Corée_du_nord #femmes #rapport

  • No man’s land at Paris airport: Where France keeps foreigners who’ve been refused entry

    Every day, foreigners suspected of trying to enter France illegally are taken to a special area of Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport where they are held at a facility dubbed #ZAPI. Located just a stone’s throw away from the airport’s runways, the ultra-secure area is closed to the general public. NGOs say ZAPI is just another name for a prison, where foreigner’s rights are flouted and where expulsions are fast-tracked. InfoMigrants was granted exclusive access to it.

    Audrey is pulling funny faces at the little girl she’s holding in her arms. “She’s not mine,” she says, and points to the girl’s mother who is sitting on another bench just a few metres away. “I’m just playing with her to pass the time,” she says. Twenty-eight-year-old Audrey from Gabon currently lives inside the four walls of the Charles de Gaulle airport’s “waiting zone”, or ZAPI, where people who have been refused entry onto French territory are being held while authorities decide what to do with them.

    Audrey’s laugh is barely audible. Neither is that of the little girl. The loud noise of the aircraft that just touched down some 50 metres away from them have drowned out all the surrounding sounds. “The noise, it’s hard… It prevents us from sleeping, we hear the planes all the time…,” the young woman complains without even looking at the giant aircraft whose wings are now gracing the fence of ZAPI.

    This tiny piece of no man’s land lies just next to one of the airport’s runways. “ZAPI is a bit like a protrusion of the international zone,” Alexis Marty explains, who heads up the immigration department at the French border police (PAF). In legal terms, the zone is not deemed to be a part of French territory. “It’s a zone where people end up when they’ve been refused entry into France and the Schengen area” by not having a visa, or because there are suspicions that their travel documents have been forged… Audrey, who’s been there for nearly a week, recalls how she was intercepted just as she was getting off the plane. She says she was placed at ZAPI because she didn’t have a “hotel” and “not enough money”.

    To visit France for a period lasting up to three months, foreigners need to fulfill certain conditions before being allowed to touch French ground: They need to have a valid passport, a visa (depending on the nationality), a medical insurance covering their stay, proof of lodging (hotel reservation or with family members), enough funds to cover their stay as well as a return ticket.

    Ill-prepared tourists or illegal immigrants?

    Foreigners who are stopped by customs officers because they don’t fulfill the conditions linked to their stay generally end up at ZAPI. “We don’t send everyone there,” Marty explains, however, pointing to certain nuances. “There are confused tourists who’ve just prepared their vacations really poorly, and who’ve forgotten essential documents. But there are also those who have different intentions, and who produce forged documents to try to enter European territory illegally.”

    It’s difficult to tell an ill-prepared tourist and a potential illegal immigrant apart. This is why the verification is done in several steps. “We don’t send people to ZAPI right away, we first carry out an initial check. When a suspicious person steps out of the plane, we bring them into a separate room to verify their documents, to ask them questions, listen to their replies and to verify any additional information they give us. If all goes well, we release them after a few hours,” he explains. “But if the incoherencies and the doubts persist, if the person produces fake documents or no documents at all, if a ‘migration risk’ exists for the person, we place them in ZAPI.”

    On this particular October day, the airport’s “waiting zone” houses a total of 96 people, of which one is an unaccompanied minor. The number of people changes on a daily basis. “Generally, a person spends four and a half days at ZAPI, so the rotation is pretty fast,” police commander Serge Berquier, who is the head of ZAPI, says. The maximum time a person can stay there is 20 days. Men, women and children – even minors traveling on their own – may be sent there. There is no age limit.

    After a three-week stay, a so-called “ZAPIst” is left with three options: Either they are finally granted entry into France (with a safe conduct), they are sent back to the country they traveled from, or a legal case is opened against them (for refusing to board, for forging documents, etc.). In 2016, some 7,000 people were held at the airport at some point, of which 53 percent were immediately refused entry into France.

    While “ZAPIsts” wait for their fates to be decided, they do what they can to kill time. They stroll in the outdoor space, they stay in their rooms, or they hang out in the TV room. The PAF makes a point of clarifying that the “ZAPIsts” are not “detainees” but rather “retainees”. This means that they have rights; family members can visit, they have access to catering services and can get legal and humanitarian assistance from the Red Cross which has a permanent presence at the facility.

    “It’s not a prison,” Marty says. “Here, you can keep your personal belongings, your mobile phone, you can go in and out of the rooms as much as you like. The only restriction is that you’re not allowed to exit the premises.”

    It may not be a prison, but it’s definitely a place of deprivation. Not all mobile phones are allowed, and those equipped with a camera are confiscated automatically.

    It’s 11.45am, but no one seems to be around on the ground floor. The TV is on in the communal room, but there’s no one there to watch it. No one is using the public payphones which are available to the “ZAPIsts” 24/7. On the first floor, where the rooms are located, the hallways are more or less empty. “They’re most likely downstairs, in the canteen, lunch will be served soon,” a police officer says. “Otherwise they might be outside, in the garden, talking or smoking.”

    The police presence is fairly discrete on the floor with the rooms, but every now and then the police officers can be heard calling someone through the loud-speakers that have been installed in the building. “We use it to call people who have a visit or a meeting. It helps us avoid having to run through the hallways to find them,” Berquier, the head of ZAPI, explains while showing us around the premises. “There are 67 rooms. Some are reserved for families, and others for people with reduced mobility […] There’s also an area reserved for unaccompanied minors and an area with games for them and for families.”

    La ZAPI compte au total une soixantaine de chambres Crdit InfoMigrants

    ‘Things can be improved’

    The atmosphere at ZAPI is calm, almost peaceful. Until Youssef, an Algerian who’s been held there for four days, turns up. He seems to be on his guard, and appears quite tense. “I’m still waiting for my suitcase, I don’t have any clothes to change with,” he complains and lights a cigarette. “The Red Cross is helping me out.” It can take several days for a person who’ve been placed in ZAPI to have their personal belongings returned to them. Checked-in luggage first has to be located and then controlled… During this period, the Red Cross does what it can in terms of clothing, offering T-shirts and underwear.

    Marty finds the situation with the luggage deplorable. “It’s evident that not everything is perfect, there are things that can be improved,” he admits. “To have a suitcase speedily returned to someone at ZAPI is among the things where progress can be made.”

    Returning home

    Audrey from Gabon and Youssef from Algeria, who have both found themselves blocked in this no-man’s land, have more or less the same story to tell. Both of them claim they came to France to visit family, insisting they did not intend to enter the country illegally. “But now, my situation isn’t very good,” the young woman says. Did she really come for the “tourist visit” she claims? Or did she try her chance at entering France by sneaking through the controls (customs)? It’s hard to know. The police have the same doubts when it comes to Youssef. “I came here to visit family, but I had a problem with my return ticket which didn’t match my visa,” he explains. Youssef says he wants to try to regularize his documents – “to buy a return ticket that conforms to the conditions” – in order to leave ZAPI and thereafter enter France. Audrey, on the other hand, says she has “given up”. She wants to go home now.

    The PAF sometimes comes across “people who ask to go home because they understand that their entry into France is compromised,” Marty explains. The costs of such returns are normally taken out of the pocket of the airline that flew the foreigner in question to France in the first place, and is undoubtedly a way for authorities to sanction the airlines and force them to be more vigilant when it comes to checking their passengers’ travel documents.

    The risk of failing an attempt to enter a country illegally is often higher for those who try to do so via air travel. “It’s an expensive trip, you have to pay for the ticket as well as the forged passport you need to fool the authorities, and this is before having to take the rigorous controls at the airports into account,” Marty says.

    The nationalities of migrants arriving by plane are often different from those who try to reach Europe by sea or by land. “The people at ZAPI are mainly from South America, Honduras, Brazil, and Nicaragua. Also from China and Russia. Some also come from North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, but they are fewer in numbers.” On this particular day, the people in ZAPI’s courtyard are from Gabon, Chad, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and South America.

    ’The aim is to deport’

    ZAPI also houses people seeking asylum. “There are people who demand protection in France as soon as they step off the plane,” Marty explains. “They tell border police […] Everything has been organized so that they know they have the right to demand asylum and that we’re ready to help them in their attempt to do so.”

    Charlene Cuartero-Saez works for Anafé, an association that helps foreigners who have been blocked between borders, and which has an office at ZAPI. She almost chokes when she hears the “model” description of the facility that Marty has given, saying it is far from the benevolent place he has been talking about.

    Cuartero-Saez has her desk in room 38 of the building, which has been converted into an Anafé office, Cuartero-Saez lists the different dysfunctions of the place: the poor ventilation, the restricted outdoor access, cameras in the communal areas, no laundry room… “It’s true that here, the material conditions are less difficult than elsewhere. Charles de Gaulle’s ZAPI is a bit like the display window for other ‘waiting zones’ in France. But that doesn’t prevent people from having their rights flouted, especially here.”

    ’Some are sent back just a few hours after their arrival in France’

    “[Police] say that people are informed of their rights in their native language, but in my opinion that is not always true. Many [officers] work on the principle that if the migrants speaks a few words of English, he or she doesn’t need an interpreter.”

    Anafé is also alarmed over the fast-speed returns of “ZAPIsts” – despite the existence of a “clear day” which normally gives a person 24 hours of respite at ZAPI. “This ‘clear day’ exists, yes, but you only get it if you ask for it! Many people don’t even know what it is,” Cuartero-Saez says. “There have been cases where people have been sent back to their countries just a few hours after arriving in France.”

    The law stipulates that asylum request can be filed at any moment – and thereby suspending an imminent deportation. In those cases, an Ofpra official comes to ZAPI to carry out a pre-assessment of the person’s request. The interview doesn’t decide on the asylum application itself, but evaluates the pertinence of the demand. A decision should be made within 20 days. If the demand is rejected, a deportation is imminent. A person filing a demand for asylum while at ZAPI can therefore receive a definite response within just a few days, whereas the average waiting time in France is between two and eight months or even more, depending on the case.

    Ces trois jeunes Sri-Lankais ont dpos une demande dasile aux frontires Crdit InfoMigrants

    “The aim of keeping [people in] this waiting area is to be able deport them, Cuartero-Saez states, and gives three asylum-seeking Sri Lankans who are currently staying at ZAPI as an example. The three men – all under the age of 30 – are in the courtyard and explain how they fear for their lives because they’re members of the separatist Tamil Tigers (LTTE) movement. All three have just been notified that their demands for asylum have been rejected.

    They show their rejection letters while seated on a bench in the sunshine. They speak neither French nor English and they don’t seem to know what to do next. They’ve been there for two weeks now. “We told them that they can appeal the decision. They didn’t know they could do that, no one had informed them of that,” Cuartero-Saez says.

    The three Tamils appear to be quite lost. They don’t seem to understand that they could face imminent deportation. In five days’ time, their retention at ZAPI will expire. “We don’t want to go back to Sri Lanka,” they say smiling. “We want to stay in France.”

    Aja, from Chad, and her two small daughters are in the same situation. They have been held at ZAPI for four days. Aja doesn’t want them to be returned to Chad, but she doesn’t want to demand asylum either. “I think I had a problem with money… That’s why they’re keeping me here. I’m here as a tourist,” she says, but adds that she “would very much like” to stay in France if it was possible. Because of this deadlock, she and her daughters also risk deportation.

    For those staying at ZAPI, the place is not synonymous with neither violence nor mistreatment but rather anxiety. At any given moment, PAF officers can try to force someone at ZAPI onboard a plane. “We have examples of people who don’t manage to register their asylum request in time,” Cuartero-Saez at Anafé says. “When the demand hasn’t been registered, the process is never launched… And so, without recourse, a person can be sent back in less than four days without even knowing his or her rights.”

    http://www.infomigrants.net/en/webdoc/146/no-man-s-land-at-paris-airport-where-france-keeps-foreigners-who-ve-be
    #Paris #aéroport #zone_de_transit #limbe #asile #migrations #réfugiés #déboutés #renvois #expulsions #détention #rétention #détention_administrative

  • US to transfer Coast Guard ships to #Ukraine amid Russia tensions - CNNPolitics
    https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/25/politics/us-transfer-coast-guard-ships-ukraine/index.html


    La photo représente le WPB 1326 Monomoy, de même classe que les Drummond et Cushing, ceux-ci portant les numéros de coque 1323 et 1321.

    The US Coast Guard plans to transfer two former 110-foot Coast Guard ships to Ukraine during a ceremony on Thursday in Baltimore.

    Coast Guard Vice Adm. Michael McAllister and Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko are expected to attend the transfer ceremony.

    The transfer of the two armed Coast Guard cutters come as tensions between Ukraine and Russia in the Sea of Azov have increased in recent weeks, with Kiev and the US accusing Moscow of interfering with Ukrainian shipping in the region.

    The United States condemns Russia’s harassment of international shipping in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement late last month.

    Russia has delayed hundreds of commercial vessels since April and in recent weeks has stopped at least 16 commercial ships attempting to reach Ukrainian ports,” she added.

    A US defense official told CNN that the cutters Drummond and Cushing were purchased by Ukraine from the Pentagon’s Excess Defense Articles program.
    PUBLICITÉ
    The Island-class cutters are typically armed with a 25 mm machine gun mount and four .50-caliber machine guns.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Island-class_patrol_boat

    #poussière_navale

    Note : le fait d’armes du Drummond est d’avoir patrouillé dans le Détroit de Floride et d’y avoir intercepté (au moins) 550 immigrants cubains illégaux depuis 2004 (source : WP)…

  • The History of Civilization Is a History of Border Walls

    When I joined my first archaeological dig at a site near Hadrian’s Wall in 2002, walls never appeared in the nightly news. Britain was still many years away from planning a barrier near the opening of the Chunnel in Calais. Saudi Arabia hadn’t yet encircled itself with high-tech barricades. Israel hadn’t started reinforcing its Gaza border fence with concrete. Kenya wasn’t seeking Israel’s help in the construction of a 440-mile barrier against Somalia. And the idea that India might someday send workers high into the Himalayas to construct border walls that look down on clouds still seemed as preposterous as the notion that Ecuador might commence construction on a 950-mile concrete wall along its border with Peru.

    No one chatted about walls while we cut through sod to expose the buried remains of an ancient fortress in northern Britain. I doubt that anyone was chatting about walls anywhere. The old fortress, on the other hand, was generally considered the crown jewel of British archaeology. For more than 30 years, sharp-eyed excavators at the Roman fort of Vindolanda had been finding writing tablets — thin slivers of wood upon which Roman soldiers had written letters, duty rosters, inventories, and other assorted jottings. At first, the tablets had represented something of a technical challenge; their spectral writing faded almost immediately upon exposure to air, almost as if written in invisible ink. But when the writings were recovered through infrared photography, a tremendous satisfaction came from the discovery that Roman soldiers complained about shortages of beer while the wives of their commanders planned birthday parties. The Romans, it turned out, were a lot like us.

    Archaeology, even at such a special place, was tiring business, but after work I enjoyed taking hikes along the wall. It was beautiful countryside — well lit by an evening sun that lingered late during the Northumbrian summer — and as I ambled over the grassy hills, occasionally enjoying the company of sheep, I sometimes imagined I was a lonely Roman soldier, stationed at the end of the world, scanning the horizon for barbarians while I awaited a resupply of beer. I’m ashamed to say that I took no detailed notes on the wall itself. It made for beautiful photographs, the way it stretched languidly over the countryside, but my real interest lay in other things: the Roman soldiers, the barbarians, the letters. If anything I saw in Britain was to hold any significance for my research, it seemed obvious that I would find it in the wet gray clay of Vindolanda. There I hoped only to discern tiny clues about a particular period of Roman history. Such are the modest goals of the academic. For the duration of my stay, my focus was on the clay. All the while, I was standing right next to a piece of a much bigger story, a fragment of the past that was about to rise up from its ancient slumber to dominate contemporary politics on two continents. I was leaning against it, resting my hand on it, posing for pictures by it. I just didn’t see it.

    It was my interest in the barbarians that finally opened my eyes to the historical importance of walls. The barbarians were, in the main, inhabitants of every North African or Eurasian wasteland — the steppes, the deserts, the mountains. Civilized folk had erected barriers to exclude them in an astonishing array of countries: Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Britain, Algeria, Libya, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Peru, China, and Korea, to give only a partial list. Yet somehow this fact had entirely escaped the notice of historians. Not a single textbook observed the nearly universal correlation between civilization and walls. It remained standard even for specialists to remark that walls were somehow unique to Chinese history, if not unique to Chinese culture — a stereotype that couldn’t possibly be any less true.

    By some cruel irony, the mere concept of walls now divides people more thoroughly than any structure of brick or stone.

    The reemergence of border walls in contemporary political debates made for an even more surprising revelation. Like most people my age, I had watched the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 with great excitement. To many of us, it looked like the beginning of a new era, heralded by no less towering an international figure than David Hasselhoff, whose concert united both halves of Berlin in inexplicable rapture. More than a quarter-century has passed since then, and if it had once seemed that walls had become a thing of the past, that belief has proven sorely wrong.

    Border walls have experienced a conspicuous revival in the 21st century. Worldwide, some 70 barriers of various sorts currently stand guard. Some exist to prevent terrorism, others as obstacles to mass migration or the flow of illegal drugs. Nearly all mark national borders. By some cruel irony, the mere concept of walls now divides people more thoroughly than any structure of brick or stone. For every person who sees a wall as an act of oppression, there is always another urging the construction of newer, higher, and longer barriers. The two sides hardly speak to each other.

    As things turned out, it was the not the beer or the birthday parties that connected the past to the present in northern England. It was the wall. We can almost imagine it now as a great stone timeline, inhabited on one end by ancients, on the other by moderns, but with both always residing on the same side facing off against an unseen enemy. If I couldn’t see that in 2002, it was only because we were then still living in an anomalous stage in history and had somehow lost our instinct for something that has nearly always been a part of our world.

    How important have walls been in the history of civilization? Few civilized peoples have ever lived outside them. As early as the 10th millennium BC, the builders of Jericho encircled their city, the world’s first, with a rampart. Over time, urbanism and agriculture spread from Jericho and the Levant into new territories: Anatolia, Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Balkans, and beyond. Walls inevitably followed. Everywhere farmers settled, they fortified their villages. They chose elevated sites and dug ditches to enclose their homes. Entire communities pitched in to make their villages secure. A survey of prehistoric Transylvanian farming villages determined that some 1,400 to 1,500 cubic meters of earth typically had to be moved just to create an encircling ditch — an effort that would have required the labor of 60 men for 40 days. Subsequently, those ditches were lined with stone and bolstered by palisades. If a community survived long enough, it might add flanking towers. These were the first steps toward walls.

    The creators of the first civilizations descended from generations of wall builders. They used their newfound advantages in organization and numbers to build bigger walls. More than a few still survive. We can estimate their heights, their thicknesses, their volumes, and their lengths. But the numbers can only tell us so much. We will always learn more by examining the people who built the walls or the fear that led to their construction.

    And what about these fears? Were civilizations — and walls — created only by unusually fearful peoples? Or did creating civilization cause people to become fearful? Such questions turn out to be far more important than we’ve ever realized.

    Since 2002, I’ve had ample time to reflect on the Roman soldiers who once guarded Hadrian’s Wall. They certainly never struck me as afraid of anything. Then again, they weren’t exactly Roman, either. They came chiefly from foreign lands, principally Belgium and Holland, which were in those days still as uncivilized as the regions north of the wall. Everything they knew of building and writing, they had learned in the service of Rome.

    As for the Romans, they preferred to let others fight their battles. They had become the definitive bearers of civilization and as such were the target of a familiar complaint: that they had lost their edge. Comfortable behind their city walls and their foreign guards, they had grown soft. They were politicians and philosophers, bread makers and blacksmiths, anything but fighters.

    The Roman poet Ovid knew a thing or two about the soft life, but he also had the unusual experience of learning what life was like for Rome’s frontier troops. The latter misfortune came as a consequence of his having offended the emperor Augustus. The offense was some peccadillo — Ovid never divulges the details — compounded by his having penned a rather scandalous book on the art of seduction. “What is the theme of my song?” he asked puckishly, in verse. “Nothing that’s very far wrong.” Augustus disagreed. Reading Ovid’s little love manual, the moralistic emperor saw plenty of wrong. He probably never even made it to the section where Ovid raved about what a great ruler he was. Augustus banished the poet from Rome, exiling him to Tomis, a doomed city on the coast of the Black Sea, 60-odd miles south of the Danube.

    Tomis was a hardscrabble sort of place, a former Greek colony already some 600 years old by the time of Ovid’s exile in the first century AD and no shinier for the wear. Its distinguishing characteristics were exactly two: First, it was about as far from Rome as one could be sent. Second, it lay perilously close to some of Rome’s fiercest enemies, in an area that didn’t yet have a border wall. Like northern Britain, the region of Tomis would one day receive its share of border walls, but in Ovid’s day, the only barriers to invasion were the fortifications around the city itself.

    Ovid suffered in his new home. It was one thing to live in a walled city, but quite another to be completely confined within those walls. In his letters to Rome, Ovid complained that the farmers of Tomis couldn’t even venture out onto their fields. On the rare occasion when a peasant dared to visit his plot, he guided the plow with one hand while carrying weapons in another. Even the shepherds wore helmets.

    Fear permeated everyday life in Tomis. Even in times of peace, wrote Ovid, the dread of war loomed. The city was, for all intents and purposes, under perpetual siege. Ovid likened the townspeople to a timid stag caught by bears or a lamb surrounded by wolves.

    Occasionally, Ovid reminisced on his former life in the capital, where he’d lived free from fear. He wistfully recalled the amenities of Rome — the forums, the temples, and the marble theaters; the porticoes, gardens, pools, and canals; above all, the cornucopia of literature at hand. The contrast with his new circumstances was complete. At Tomis, there was nothing but the clash and clang of weapons. Ovid imagined that he might at least content himself with gardening, if only he weren’t afraid to step outside. The enemy was quite literally at the gates, separated only by the thickness of the city’s wall. Barbarian horsemen circled Tomis. Their deadly arrows, which Ovid unfailingly reminds us had been dipped in snake venom, made pincushions of the roofs in the city.

    The birth of walls set human societies on divergent paths, one leading to self-indulgent poetry, the other to taciturn militarism.

    There remained a final indignity for Ovid: the feeble, middle-aged author was pressed into service in defense of Tomis. As a youth, Ovid had avoided military service. There was no shame for shirkers back in Rome, a city replete with peaceniks and civilians. Now aging, Ovid had finally been forced to carry a sword, shield, and helmet. When the guard from the lookout signaled a raid, the poet donned his armor with shaking hands. Here was a true Roman, afraid to step out from behind his fortifications and hopelessly overwhelmed by the responsibility of defending them.

    From time to time, a Chinese poet would find himself in a situation much like Ovid’s. Stationed at some lonely outpost on the farthest reaches of the empire, the Chinese, too, longed for home while dreading the nearness of the barbarians. “In the frontier towns, you will have sad dreams at night,” wrote one. “Who wants to hear the barbarian pipe played to the moon?” Sometimes they meditated on the story of the Chinese princess who drowned herself in a river rather than cross beyond the wall. Even Chinese generals lamented the frontier life.

    Oddly, none of these sentiments appear in the letters written by the Roman soldiers at Vindolanda. Transplanted to a rainy land far from home, they grumbled at times about the beer supply but had nothing to say about shaky hands or sad dreams. It was as if these barbarian-turned-Roman auxiliaries had come from another world, where homesickness and fear had been banished. Perhaps they had.

    Almost anytime we examine the past and seek out the people most like us — those such as Ovid or the Chinese poets; people who built cities, knew how to read, and generally carried out civilian labor — we find them enclosed behind walls of their own making. Civilization and walls seem to have gone hand in hand. Beyond the walls, we find little with which we can identify — warriors mostly, of the sort we might hire to patrol the walls. The outsiders are mostly anonymous, except when they become notorious.

    The birth of walls set human societies on divergent paths, one leading to self-indulgent poetry, the other to taciturn militarism. But the first path also pointed to much more — science, mathematics, theater, art — while the other brought its followers only to a dead end, where a man was nothing except a warrior and all labor devolved upon the women.

    No invention in human history played a greater role in creating and shaping civilization than walls. Without walls, there could never have been an Ovid, and the same can be said for Chinese scholars, Babylonian mathematicians, or Greek philosophers. Moreover, the impact of walls wasn’t limited to the early phases of civilization. Wall building persisted for most of history, climaxing spectacularly during a 1,000-year period when three large empires — Rome, China, and Sasanid Persia — erected barriers that made the geopolitical divisions of the Old World all but permanent.

    The collapse of those walls influenced world history almost as profoundly as their creation, by leading to the eclipse of one region, the stagnation of another, and the rise of a third. When the great border walls were gone, leaving only faint traces on the landscape, they left indelible lines on our maps — lines that have even today not yet been obscured by modern wars or the jockeying of nations for resources. Today, a newer set of walls, rising up on four continents, has the potential to remake the world yet again.


    https://medium.com/s/greatescape/the-history-of-civilization-is-a-history-of-border-walls-24e837246fb8
    #civilisation #histoire #murs #murs_frontaliers #histoire #frontières #livre #David_Frye

  • VIDEO.

    Inside Family Detention, Trump’s Big Solution.
    https://www.themarshallproject.org/2018/06/22/inside-family-detention-trump-s-big-solution

    https://d63kb4t2ifcex.cloudfront.net/famdetentionhed20180621/assets/icevideo.e7472e56.mp4

    At first glance, it resembles a doctor’s office, or perhaps a rec center. Security footage depicts sterile gray hallways leading to common areas with office couches and rainbow-colored, child-sized chairs. At the door to an outdoor field, there are tricycles and assorted balls, and in a small chapel with wooden benches, a detainee sweeps the floor. Correctional officers, referred to as “residential counselors,” sport khakis and blue polo shirts. But the Berks Family Residential Center, located about 75 miles northwest of Philadelphia, is also a place where immigrant parents and children are held for indefinite periods of time without adequate healthcare, according to multiple complaints and lawsuits. In one 2016 case, a guard there was convicted of “institutional” sexual assault; his victim was a 19-year-old asylum seeker from Honduras who had been detained with her three-year-old son for 7 months. It is facilities like Berks — operating in a gray area between federal prison and childcare provider — that may begin to sprout up across the country following President Trump’s announcement on Wednesday that he will end his administration’s practice of forcibly separating migrant parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border.“We are going to keep the families together,” Trump said, at a signing ceremony in the Oval Office for his executive order.

  • Guantanamo Bay Murders? Sgt Joseph Hickman says CIA killed prisoners
    https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/books-magazines/books/guantanamo-guard-cia-killed-prisoners-and-made-it-look-like-suicide/news-story/f5de6037146516c18c259dab07068f2f
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oirOSO4Zz-M

    A FORMER Guantanamo Bay guard has spoken for the first time about what he claims was a CIA murder of detainees, covered up as a triple suicide.

    Army Staff Sergeant Joseph Hickman was on guard at the Cuban prison camp on the night they died, and calls the official version of events “impossible”.

    “They would have had to all three tie their hands and feet together, shove rags down their throats, put a mask over their face, made a noose, hung it from the ceiling on the side of the cellblock, jumped into the noose and hung themselves simultaneously,” the ex-Marine told Vice News in an explosive video interview.

    New FOIA Documents Show Guantanamo Suicides Unlikely
    https://medium.com/@jeff_kaye/new-foia-documents-show-guantanamo-suicides-unlikely-72ff098fe745

  • Greek gunboat on patrol nudged by Turkish cargo vessel: Navy | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-greece-gunboat/greek-gunboat-on-patrol-nudged-by-turkish-cargo-vessel-navy-idUSKBN1I50FQ

    A Greek gunboat was nudged by a Turkish cargo vessel early on Friday while on patrol for unauthorized migrant crossings in the Aegean Sea, the Greek navy said.

    The gunboat “Armatolos” was on patrol off the island of #Lesbos as part of a NATO operation when the incident occurred at 4 a.m. local time (0100 GMT).

    The Turkish-flagged vessel “approached and touched” the Greek gunboat, the navy said in a statement. It then accelerated toward Turkish shores and did not respond to subsequent radio calls from the Greek gunboat, according to the statement.

    The Greek navy said NATO authorities had been informed, adding that there were no injuries or any serious damage to the ship. Turkey’s transport ministry later confirmed that there were no casualties on either side following the collision.

    • Deux versions très différentes de l’incident :

      • Chine Nouvelle reprend le communiqué de la marine grecque : incident mineur et délit de fuite

      Minor collision between Turkish merchant vessel, Greek navy ship - Xinhua | English.news.cn
      http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-05/04/c_137156430.htm

      The Hellenic Navy General Staff on Friday announced that a Turkish-flagged merchant ship “Karmate” approached and slightly collided with the Hellenic Navy gunboat “Armatolos” in the sea southeast of Lesvos island in the early hours of Friday morning.

      According to the announcement posted on Greek national news agency AMNA, there were no injuries or serious damage and no pollution of the marine environment as a result.

      Noting that the Turkish ship had been in violation of navigation rules for avoiding collisions at sea, it added that the Greek side will take all the necessary steps for the imposition of penal and civil sanctions on the basis of international maritime law.

      After striking the Greek gunboat, the “Karmate” increased speed and sailed toward the nearest Turkish shore, ignoring attempts by the “Armatolos” to hail it on the radio.

      Coast guard authorities and NATO authorities have also been alerted to the incident, which took place during a planned patrol by the “Armatolos” during the NATO operation “Aegean Activity” to combat migration flows in the Aegean.

      • pour ZeroHedge on est au bord de la énième guerre gréco-turque…

      Turkish Cargo Vessel Rams Greek Warship In Aegean Sea | Zero Hedge
      https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-05-04/turkish-cargo-vessel-rams-greek-warship-aegean-sea

      In the last three months, tensions between two NATO member states have escalated dramatically - Turkey has threatened to invade Greek islands, Greece has responded, and Greeks now see Turkey as the greatest threat to their existence., but today it appears the situation may have escalated dramatically as Turkish cargo ship KARMATE has collided with the Greek warship ’Armatolos’ despite warnings that it was on collision course.

      Le reste reprend le texte d’un site d’informations grec de langue anglaise paraphrasant la dépêche Reuters.