position:interior minister

  • From Palermo and Barcelona to Naples: For the Right to Mobility and the Right to Rescue!
    Naples, Italy, 22 June 2019

    Humanitarian rescue NGOs, civil society organisations, and activist groups, including Sea-Watch, Alarm Phone, Mediterranea, Seebrücke, Aita Mari, Jugend Rettet, Borderline Europe, Inura, Open Arms, and Welcome to Europe, as well as representatives of several European cities and municipalities, including Naples and Barcelona, have come together to work toward a collective European and Mediterranean initiative. Our movement was born in Palermo in 2018 and in the spirit of the Charter of Palermo, with its central demand for the right of mobility. Our slogan is: “From the Sea to the Cities!”

    After our meetings in Palermo and Barcelona, we were hosted by the Municipality of Naples on 20-21 June 2019. Naples is a city that has declared its port a safe harbour in light of the restrictive and anti-migrant measures of the current Italian government, especially its interior minister. Over the past two days we have strengthened the collaboration between humanitarian rescue NGOs, civil society organisations, activist groups and city administrators. Our main aim is to join together in the struggle against the mass dying in the Mediterranean Sea. Those rescued at sea must be brought to safe harbours and be allowed to live freely and in dignity in European cities.

    We declare our solidarity with the 43 survivors, including unaccompanied minors, who were rescued by Sea-Watch 3 but who are still today, 10 days after their rescue, stuck on the rescue boat. We condemn the refusal to allow Sea-Watch 3 and its guests to land at a safe harbour. Together with the survivors we demand from the Italian government as well as the European institutions and community to immediate guarantee their disembarkation.

    https://alarmphone.org/en/2019/06/22/from-palermo-and-barcelona-to-naples-for-the-right-to-mobility-and-the-right-to-rescue/?post_type_release_type=post

    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #droit_à_la_mobilité #droit_au_sauvetage #Palerme #Barcelone #Naples

    ajouté à la métaliste:
    https://seenthis.net/messages/759145

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


    Pia Klemp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Salvini’s crackdown

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

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

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

      ’A yearslong show trial’

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    • Mobilisation pour la capitaine d’un navire humanitaire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • European Border and Coast Guard: Launch of first ever joint operation outside the EU

      Today, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, in cooperation with the Albanian authorities, is launching the first ever joint operation on the territory of a neighbouring non-EU country. As of 22 May, teams from the Agency will be deployed together with Albanian border guards at the Greek-Albanian border to strengthen border management and enhance security at the EU’s external borders, in full agreement with all concerned countries. This operation marks a new phase for border cooperation between the EU and its Western Balkan partners, and is yet another step towards the full operationalisation of the Agency.

      The launch event is taking place in Tirana, Albania, in the presence of Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Fabrice Leggeri, Executive Director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Edi Rama, Albanian Prime Minister and Sandër Lleshaj, Albanian Interior Minister.

      Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, said: "With the first ever deployment of European Border and Coast Guard teams outside of the EU, we are opening an entirely new chapter in our cooperation on migration and border management with Albania and with the whole Western Balkan region. This is a real game changer and a truly historical step, bringing this region closer to the EU by working together in a coordinated and mutually supportive way on shared challenges such as better managing migration and protecting our common borders.”

      Fabrice Leggeri, Executive Director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, said: “Today we mark a milestone for our agency and the wider cooperation between the European Union and Albania. We are launching the first fully fledged joint operation outside the European Union to support Albania in border control and tackling cross-border crime.”

      While Albania remains ultimately responsible for the protection of its borders, the European Border and Coast Guard is able to lend both technical and operational support and assistance. The European Border and Coast Guard teams will be able to support the Albanian border guards in performing border checks at crossing points, for example, and preventing unauthorised entries. All operations and deployments at the Albanian border with Greece will be conducted in full agreement with both the Albanian and Greek authorities.

      At the start of the operation, the Agency will be deploying 50 officers, 16 patrol cars and 1 thermo-vision van from 12 EU Member States (Austria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Romania, Poland and Slovenia) to support Albania in border control and tackling cross-border crime.

      Strengthened cooperation between priority third countries and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency will contribute to the better management of irregular migration, further enhance security at the EU’s external borders and strengthen the Agency’s ability to act in the EU’s immediate neighbourhood, while bringing that neighbourhood closer to the EU.

      http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-2591_en.htm
      #externalisation

    • Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos in Albania at the official launch of first ever joint operation outside the EU

      Ladies and Gentlemen,

      We are here today to celebrate an important achievement and a milestone, both for Albania and for the EU.

      Only six months ago, here in Tirana, the EU signed the status agreement with Albania on cooperation on border management between Albania and the European Border and Coast Guard. This agreement, that entered into force three weeks ago, was the first agreement ever of its kind with a neighbouring country.

      Today, we will send off the joint European Border and Coast Guard Teams to be deployed as of tomorrow for the first time in a non-EU Member State. This does not only mark a new phase for border cooperation between the EU and Western Balkan partners, it is also yet another step towards the full operationalisation of the Agency.

      The only way to effectively address migration and security challenges we are facing today and those we may be confronted with in the years to come is by working closer together, as neighbours and as partners. What happens in Albania and the Western Balkans affects the European Union, and the other way around.

      Joint approach to border management is a key part of our overall approach to managing migration. It allows us to show to our citizens that their security is at the top of our concerns. But effective partnership in ensuring orderly migration also enables us, as Europe, to remain a place where those in need of protection can find shelter.

      Albania is the first country in the Western Balkans with whom the EU is moving forward with this new important chapter in our joint co-operation on border management.

      This can be a source of pride for both Albania and the EU and an important step that brings us closer together.

      While the overall situation along the Western Balkans route remains stable with continuously low levels of arrivals - it is in fact like night and day when compared to three years ago - we need to remain vigilant.

      The Status Agreement will help us in this effort. It expands the scale of practical, operational cooperation between the EU and Albania and hopefully soon with the rest of the Western Balkan region.

      These are important elements of our co-operation, also in view of the continued implementation of the requirements under the visa liberalisation agreement. Visa-free travel is a great achievement, which brings benefits to all sides and should be safeguarded.

      Together with Albanian border guards, European Border and Coast Guard teams will be able to perform border checks at crossing points and perform border surveillance to prevent unauthorized border crossings and counter cross-border criminality.

      But, let me be clear, Albania remains ultimately responsible for the protection of its borders. European Border and Coast Guard Teams may only perform tasks and exercise powers in the Albanian territory under instructions from and, as a general rule, in the presence of border guards of the Republic of Albania.

      Dear Friends,

      When it comes to protecting our borders, ensuring our security and managing migration, the challenges we face are common, and so must be our response.

      The European Border and Coast Guard Status Agreement and its implementation will allow us to better work together in all these areas. I hope that these agreements can be finalised also with other Western Balkans partners as soon as possible.

      I wish to thank Prime Minister Edi Rama, the Albanian authorities, and the Executive Director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Fabrice Leggeri and his team for their close cooperation in bringing this milestone achievement to life. I also want to thank all Member States who have contributed with staff and the personnel who will be part of this first deployment of European Border and Coast Guard teams in a neighbouring country.

      With just a few days to go before the European Elections, the need for a more united and stronger European family is more important than ever. We firmly believe that a key priority is to have strong relations with close neighbours, based on a clear balance of rights and obligations – but above all, on genuine partnership. This includes you, fellow Albanians.

      Albania is part of the European family.Our challenges are common. They know no borders. The progress we are witnessing today is another concrete action and proof of our commitment to bring us closer together. To make us stronger.

      http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-19-2668_en.htm

    • Externalisation: Frontex launches first formal operation outside of the EU and deploys to Albania

      The EU has taken a significant, if geographically small, step in the externalisation of its borders. The European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, has launched its first Joint Operation on the territory of a non-EU-Member State, as it begins cooperation with Albania on the border with Greece.

      After the launch of the operation in Tirana on 21 May a deployment of 50 officers, 16 patrol cars and a thermo-vision van started yesterday, 22 May (European Commission, link). Twelve Member States (Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Romania, Poland and Slovenia) have contributed to the operation.

      New agreements

      The move follows the entry into force on 1 May this year of a Status Agreement between the EU and Albania on actions carried out by Frontex in that country (pdf). Those actions are made possible by the conclusion of operational plans, which must be agreed between Frontex and the Albanian authorities.

      The Status Agreement with Albania was the first among several similar agreements to be signed between the Agency and Balkan States, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and North Macedonia.

      The nascent operation in Albania will give Frontex team members certain powers, privileges and immunities on Albanian territory, including the use of force in circumstances authorised by Albanian border police and outlined in the operational plan.

      Frontex does not publish operational plans whilst operations (which can be renewed indefinitely) are ongoing, and documents published after the conclusion of operations (usually in response to requests for access to documents) are often heavily-redacted (Ask the EU, link).

      Relevant articles

      Article 4 of the Status Agreement outlines the tasks and powers of members of Frontex teams operating in Albanian territory. This includes the use of force, if it is authorised by both the Frontex team member’s home Member State and the State of Albania, and takes place in the presence of Albanian border guards. However, Albania can authorise team members to use force in their absence.

      Article 6 of the Status Agreement grants Frontex team members immunity from Albanian criminal, civil and administrative jurisdiction “in respect of the acts performed in the exercise of their official functions in the course of the actions carried out in accordance with the operational plan”.

      Although a representative of Albania would be informed in the event of an allegation of criminal activity, it would be up to Frontex’s executive director to certify to the court whether the actions in question were performed as part of an official Agency function and in accordance with the Operational Plan. This certification will be binding on the jurisdiction of Albania. Proceedings may only continue against an individual team member if the executive director confirms that their actions were outside the scope of the exercise of official functions.

      Given the closed nature of the operational plans, this grants the executive director wide discretion and ensures little oversight of the accountability of Agency team members. Notably, Article 6 also states that members of teams shall not be obliged to give evidence as witnesses. This immunity does not, however, extend to the jurisdiction of team members’ home Member States, and they may also waive the immunity of the individual under Albanian jurisdiction.

      Right to redress

      These measures of immunity alongside the lack of transparency surrounding documents outlining team members’ official functions and activities (the operational plan) raise concerns regarding access to redress for victims of human rights violations that may occur during operations.

      Human rights organisations have denounced the use of force by Frontex team members, only to have those incidents classified by the Agency as par for the course in their operations. Cases include incidents of firearm use that resulted in serious injury (The Intercept, link), but that was considered to have taken place according to the standard rules of engagement. This opacity has implications for individuals’ right to good administration and to the proper functioning of accountability mechanisms.

      If any damage results from actions that were carried out according to the operational plan, Albania will be held liable. This is the most binding liability outlined by the Status Agreement. Albania may only “request” that compensation be paid by the Member State of the team member responsible, or by the Agency, if acts were committed through gross negligence, wilful misconduct or outside the scope of the official functions of the Agency team or staff member.

      Across the board

      The provisions regarding tasks, powers and immunity in the Status Agreements with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of North Macedonia and Serbia are all broadly similar, with the exception of Article 6 of the agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina. This states:

      “Members of the team who are witnesses may be obliged by the competent authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina… to provide evidence in accordance with the procedural law of Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

      The Status Agreement with Serbia, an early draft of which did not grant immunity to team members, is now consistent with the Agreement with Albania and includes provisions stating that members of teams shall not be obliged to give evidence as witnesses.

      It includes a further provision that:

      “...members of the team may use weapons only when it is absolutely necessary in self-defence to repel an immediate life-threatening attack against themselves or another person, in accordance with the national legislation of the Republic of Serbia”.

      http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/may/fx-albania-launch.htm

    • La police des frontières extérieures de l’UE s’introduit en Albanie

      Frontex, l’agence chargée des frontières extérieures de l’Union européenne, a lancé mardi en Albanie sa première opération hors du territoire d’un de ses États membres.

      Cette annonce de la Commission européenne intervient quelques jours avant les élections européennes et au moment où la politique migratoire de l’UE est critiquée par les candidats souverainistes, comme le ministre italien de l’Intérieur Matteo Salvini ou le chef de file de la liste française d’extrême droite, Jordan Bardella, qui a récemment qualifié Frontex d’« hôtesse d’accueil pour migrants ».

      Cette opération conjointe en Albanie est « une véritable étape historique rapprochant » les Balkans de l’UE, et témoigne d’une « meilleure gestion de la migration et de la protection de nos frontières communes », a commenté à Tirana le commissaire chargé des migrations, Dimitris Avramopoulos.

      L’Albanie espère convaincre les États membres d’ouvrir des négociations d’adhésion ce printemps, ce qui lui avait été refusé l’an passé. Son premier ministre Edi Rama a salué « un pas très important dans les relations entre l’Albanie et l’Union européenne » et a estimé qu’il « renforçait également la coopération dans le domaine de la sécurité ».

      À partir de 22 mai, Frontex déploiera des équipes conjointes à la frontière grecque avec des agents albanais.

      La Commission européenne a passé des accords semblables avec la Macédoine du Nord, la Serbie, le Monténégro et la Bosnie-Herzégovine, qui devraient également entrer en vigueur.

      Tous ces pays sont sur une des « routes des Balkans », qui sont toujours empruntées clandestinement par des milliers de personnes en route vers l’Union européenne, même si le flux n’est en rien comparable avec les centaines de milliers de migrants qui ont transité par la région en quelques mois jusqu’à la fermeture des frontières par les pays de l’UE début 2016.

      Ce type d’accord « contribuera à l’amélioration de la gestion de la migration clandestine, renforcera la sécurité aux frontières extérieures de l’UE et consolidera la capacité de l’agence à agir dans le voisinage immédiat de l’UE, tout en rapprochant de l’UE les pays voisins concernés », selon un communiqué de la Commission.

      Pour éviter de revivre le chaos de 2015, l’Union a acté un renforcement considérable de Frontex. Elle disposera notamment d’ici 2027 d’un contingent de 10 000 garde-frontières et garde-côtes pour aider des pays débordés.


      https://www.lapresse.ca/international/europe/201905/21/01-5226931-la-police-des-frontieres-exterieures-de-lue-sintroduit-en-albani

    • European Border and Coast Guard Agency began to patrol alongside the Albanian-Greek border in late May (https://www.bilten.org/?p=28118). Similar agreements have recently been concluded with Serbia, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina but Albania is the first country to start implementing programs aimed at blocking refugees entering the EU. Bilten states that Frontex employees can carry arms and fight “against any kind of crime, from” illegal migration “to theft of a car or drug trafficking”. Frontex’s mission is not time-bound, i.e. it depends on the EU’s need. The Albanian authorities see it as a step forward to their membership in the Union.

      Reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa dobrodosli, le 10.06.2019

      L’article original:
      Što Frontex radi u Albaniji?

      Nakon što je Europska unija službeno zatvorila “balkansku migrantsku rutu”, očajni ljudi počeli su tražiti nove puteve. Jedan od njih prolazi kroz Albaniju, a tamošnja se vlada odrekla kontrole nad vlastitom granicom u nadi da će time udobrovoljiti unijske dužnosnike.

      Agencija za europsku graničnu i obalnu stražu, Frontex, počela je krajem prošlog mjeseca patrolirati uz albansko-grčku granicu. Već prvog dana, raspoređeno je pedesetak policajaca iz različitih zemalja članica EU koji bi se u suradnji s albanskim graničarima trebali boriti protiv “ilegalne migracije”. Iako je slične dogovore Unija nedavno sklopila sa zemljama poput Srbije, Sjeverne Makedonije, Crne Gore te Bosne i Hercegovine – a sve s ciljem blokiranja mogućnosti izbjeglica da uđu na područje EU – Albanija je prva zemlja u kojoj je počela provedba tog programa. Zaposlenici Frontexa ne samo da smiju nositi oružje, već imaju i dozvolu da se bore protiv bilo koje vrste kriminala, od “ilegalnih migracija” do krađe automobila ili trgovine drogom. Također, njihova misija nije vremenski ograničena, što znači da će Frontexovi zaposlenici patrolirati s albanske strane granice dok god to Unija smatra potrebnim.

      Unatoč nekim marginalnim glasovima koji su se žalili zbog kršenja nacionalne suverenosti prepuštanjem kontrole nad granicom stranim trupama, javnost je reagirala bilo potpunom nezainteresiranošću ili čak blagom potporom sporazumu koji bi tobože trebao pomoći Albaniji da uđe u Europsku uniju. S puno entuzijazma, lokalni su se mediji hvalili kako su u prva četiri dana Frontexovi zaposlenici već ulovili 92 “ilegalna migranta”. No to nije prvo, a ni najozbiljnije predavanje kontrole nad granicom koje je poduzela albanska vlada. Još od kasnih 1990-ih i ranih 2000-ih jadranskim i jonskim teritorijalnim vodama Republike Albanije patrolira talijanska Guardia di Finanza. Tih se godina albanska obala često koristila kao most prema Italiji preko kojeg je prelazila većina migranata azijskog porijekla, ne samo zbog blizine južne Italije, već i zbog slabosti državnih aparata tijekom goleme krize 1997. i 1998. godine.

      Helikopteri Guardije di Finanza također kontroliraju albansko nebo u potrazi za poljima kanabisa i to sve u suradnji s lokalnom državnom birokracijom koja je sama dijelom suradnica dilera, a dijelom nesposobna da im se suprotstavi. No posljednjih godina, zbog toga što su druge rute zatvorene, sve veći broj ljudi počeo se kretati iz Grčke preko Albanije, Crne Gore i BiH prema zemljama EU. Prema Međunarodnoj organizaciji za migracije, granicu je prešlo oko 18 tisuća ljudi, uglavnom iz Sirije, Pakistana i Iraka. To predstavlja povećanje od sedam puta u odnosu na godinu ranije. Tek manji dio tih ljudi je ulovljen zbog nedostatka kapaciteta granične kontrole ili pak potpune indiferencije prema ljudima kojima siromašna zemlja poput Albanije nikada neće biti destinacija.
      Tranzitna zemlja

      Oni koje ulove smješteni su u prihvatnom centru blizu Tirane, ali odatle im je relativno jednostavno pobjeći i nastaviti put dalje. Dio njih službeno je zatražio azil u Albaniji, ali to ne znači da će se dulje zadržati u zemlji. Ipak, očekuje se da će ubuduće albanske institucije biti znatno agresivnije u politici repatrijacije migranata. U tome će se susretati s brojnim pravnim i administrativnim problemima: kako objašnjavaju lokalni stručnjaci za migracije, Albanija sa zemljama iz kojih dolazi većina migranata – poput Sirije, Pakistana, Iraka i Afganistana – uopće nema diplomatske odnose niti pravne predstavnike u tim zemljama. Zbog toga je koordiniranje procesa repatrijacije gotovo nemoguće. Također, iako sporazum o repatrijaciji postoji s Grčkoj, njime je predviđeno da se u tu zemlju vraćaju samo oni za koje se može dokazati da su iz nje došli, a većina migranata koji dođu iz Grčke nastoji sakriti svaki trag svog boravka u toj zemlji.

      U takvoj situaciji, čini se izvjesnim da će Albanija biti zemlja u kojoj će sve veći broj ljudi zapeti na neodređeno vrijeme. Prije nekih godinu i pol dana, izbila je javna panika s dosta rasističkih tonova. Nakon jednog nespretnog intervjua vladinog dužnosnika njemačkom mediju proširile su se glasine da će se u Albaniju naseliti šesto tisuća Sirijaca. Brojka je već na prvi pogled astronomska s obzirom na to da je stanovništvo zemlje oko tri milijuna ljudi, ali teorije zavjere se obično šire kao požar. Neki od drugorazrednih političara čak su pozvali na oružanu borbu ako dođu Sirijci. No ta je panika zapravo brzo prošla, ali tek nakon što je vlada obećala da neće primiti više izbjeglica od onog broja koji bude određen raspodjelom prema dogovoru u Uniji. Otad zapravo nema nekog osobitog antimigrantskog raspoloženja u javnosti, unatoč tome što tisuće ljudi prolazi kroz zemlju.
      Europski san

      Odnos je uglavnom onaj indiferencije. Tome pridonosi nekoliko stvari: činjenica da je gotovo trećina stanovništva Albanije također odselila u zemlje Unije,1 zatim to što ne postoje neke vjerske i ultranacionalističke stranke, ali najviše to što nitko od migranata nema nikakvu namjeru ostati u zemlji. No zašto je albanska vlada tako nestrpljiva da preda kontrolu granice i suverenitet, odnosno zašto je premijer Edi Rama izgledao tako entuzijastično prilikom ceremonije s Dimitrisom Avramopulosom, europskim povjerenikom za migracije, unutrašnje poslove i državljanstvo? Vlada se nada da će to ubrzati njezin put prema članstvu u Europskoj uniji. Posljednjih pet godina provela je čekajući otvaranje pristupnih pregovora, a predavanje kontrole nad granicom vidi kao još jednu ilustraciju svoje pripadnosti Uniji.

      S druge strane, stalna politička kriza koju su izazvali studentski protesti u prosincu 2018., te kasnije bojkot parlamenta i lokalnih izbora od strane opozicijskih stranaka, stavlja neprestani pritisak na vladu. Očajnički treba pozitivan znak iz EU jer vodi političku i ideološku borbu protiv opozicije oko toga tko je autentičniji kulturni i politički predstavnik europejstva. Vlada naziva opoziciju i njezine nasilne prosvjede antieuropskima, dok opozicija optužuje vladu da svojom korupcijom i povezanošću s organiziranim kriminalom radi protiv europskih želja stanovništva. Prije nekoliko dana, Komisija je predložila početak pristupnih pregovora s Albanijom, no Europsko vijeće je to koje ima zadnju riječ. Očekuje se kako će sve ovisiti o toj odluci. Ideja Europe jedno je od čvorišta vladajuće ideologije koja se desetljećima gradi kao antipod komunizmu i Orijentu te historijska destinacija kojoj Albanci stoljećima teže.

      Neoliberalna rekonstrukcija ekonomije i društva gotovo je uvijek legitimirana tvrdnjama kako su to nužni – iako bolni – koraci prema integraciji u Europsku uniju. Uspješnost ove ideologije ilustrira činjenica da otprilike 90% ispitanih u različitim studijama podržava Albansku integraciju u EU. U toj situaciji ne čudi ni odnos prema Frontexu.

      https://www.bilten.org/?p=28118

    • Frontex expands operations in EU neighbouring countries

      After Albania and Montenegro, the EU Commission has concluded a Frontex status agreement with Serbia, to be followed by Northern Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. A first deployment of the EU border troops has meanwhile been increased.

      The European Commission has now also signed an arrangement with Serbia on „cooperation on border management“. The so-called status agreement regulates the implementation of „Joint Operations“ with the EU border agency Frontex at the common borders with the European Union. It was already published by the Commission in January and has now been ratified by the Serbian Parliament. Kosovo’s territory is excluded.

      The objectives of the agreement include the fight against irregular migration and cross-border crime in accordance with the Frontex Regulation. The EU also promises „increased technical and operational assistance“ to the Serbian border police.

      Model status agreement for „priority third countries“

      The negotiations with Serbia followed a model status agreement approved by the Commission under the „European Migration Agenda“ for operational cooperation with „priority third countries“. The Commission first concluded a status agreement with Albania a year ago, followed by a similar agreement with Montenegro on 7 October this year. Further status agreements with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Northern Macedonia have been negotiated but still need to be ratified by the national parliaments. The European Parliament must also give its assent.

      Once all five status agreements have been signed, Frontex could be deployed throughout the whole Western Balkans with the exception of Kosovo. The EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, describes the agreements as „yet one more step towards bringing the Western Balkan region closer to the EU“. All countries concerned are considered candidates for EU membership and the agreement to the Frontex operations is intended to facilitate the negotiations.

      However, this rapprochement is likely to be damaged by the decision of the French government to refuse negotiations on EU membership to Northern Macedonia and Albania despite fulfilling the necessary conditions. The North Macedonian parliament could therefore delay the planned Frontex agreement. The same applies to Bosnia-Herzegovina, which France’s President Macron described as a „ticking time bomb“ for returning jihadists.

      Police powers and immunity

      The border police officers sent by Frontex from the EU Member States receive a special identity card from the country of deployment and wear their own uniforms with a blue Frontex armband. They will also carry weapons, ammunition and equipment from their sending state and may use force.

      The troops enjoy immunity during Frontex operations. If a criminal offence is found, it will be prosecuted by the jurisdiction of the Member State of origin. Frontex team members also enjoy full protection against civil and administrative prosecution in the State of operation. The latter will also be liable for any damage caused by a member of the team during „all acts performed in the exercise of the official functions“.

      Deployment plan agreed with Greece

      Following the conclusion of the status agreement with Albania, it took six months for Frontex to launch its by now „first-ever joint operation“ on the territory of a neighbouring third country. According to Frontex, the governments in Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Romania, Poland and Slovenia have sent personnel to a total of 16 patrol vehicles and one thermovision car.

      According to the operational plan, which Frontex says is agreed with the Greek government, the operation will take place along the entire „green“ border and, in addition to border surveillance in the sections Sopik, Çarçovë, Leskovik, Shtikë, Kapshticë and Livadhja, will include border control at the Albanian-Greek crossing points Kakavija, Tre Urat (Çarçovë), Kapshticë, Rips and Qafe Bote. Frontex has set up support offices in Gjirokaster, Kakavija and Kapshticë to coordinate operations.

      In the meantime, the operation, which started with 50 EU officials, has grown to 66. One sixth comes from the German Federal Police, which also brought along six of the twelve patrol vehicles currently in use. In addition to operational border control, training measures are also planned in Albania. The operation will also facilitate the exchange of operational information and „best practices“.

      No Albanian human rights groups involved

      The new Frontex Regulation will apply from 4 December. The border agency will be then granted more powers and will set up a border troop of 10,000 border guards. The measures taken by Frontex should be observed by a Fundamental Rights Officer, among others. Frontex has also set up a Consultative Forum with non-governmental organisations to advise the Agency on how to prevent infringements.

      For „Joint Operations“ in third countries, the Consultative Forum recommends involving human rights groups active there in the operational plan. However, the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, which sends eleven officers to Albania, has „no knowledge“ of the involvement of Albanian non-governmental organisations. The German Government also does not know which Albanian organisations might be asked to participate.

      https://digit.site36.net/2019/11/25/frontex-expands-operations-in-eu-neighbouring-countries

  • Woman arrested in Poland over posters of Virgin Mary with rainbow halo
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/06/woman-arrested-poland-posters-virgin-mary-rainbow-halo-plock

    A woman has been arrested on suspicion of offending religious sentiment, after posters bearing an image of the Virgin Mary with her halo painted in the colours of the rainbow flag appeared in the city of Płock in central Poland.
    The Polish interior minister, Joachim Brudziński, announced on Twitter on Monday that a person had been arrested for “carrying out a profanation of the Virgin Mary of Częstochowa”.

    A Płock police spokeswoman confirmed a 51-year-old woman had been arrested over the alleged offence. The woman had been abroad, but upon her return, the police entered and searched her home, where they found several dozen images of the Virgin Mary with the rainbow-coloured halo.

    The “Black Madonna of Częstochowa” is a revered Byzantine icon that resides in the monastery of Jasna Góra, a UN world heritage site and Poland’s holiest Catholic shrine.

    Offending religious feeling is a crime under the Polish penal code. If convicted, the woman could face a prison sentence of up to two years

  • Israel wants to deport 300 refugees to one of the world’s most dangerous countries

    It was nine years ago that Julie Wabiwa Juliette narrowly fled her home in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for Israel, where she has since built a life. Juliette, 33, married another Congolese refugee, Christian Mutunwa, and together they raise two children.

    The Congolese are legal residents of Israel, with some in the community having lived in the country for 20 years. The majority arrived between 1999 and 2009, during and following the Second Congo war, considered the world’s deadliest crisis since World War II. Until now, the Congolese, 3o0 in total, were protected under a policy referred to by the Interior Ministry as “general temporary protection.” They have B1 visas, which entitles them to live and work in Israel as any other foreign nationals do. Moreover, each of them also has a pending asylum request.

    This is in contrast with the much larger population of Sudanese and Eritreans, who are regarded by the government as “illegal infiltrators” and have no legal status.

    Now, Israel seeks to deport the Congolese. In October 2018, the Interior Ministry announced that Congolese group protection would terminate on January 5, at which point they would be forced to leave. The decision was made by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri based on an assessment by the Foreign Ministry that there is “no impediment to the expatriation” of Israel’s Congolese population.

    Not a single Congolese asylum seeker abided by the state’s deadline. It passed without much fanfare, after which the Interior Ministry issued 10 deportation notices, while rejecting a number of visa renewal applications. The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, an Israeli NGO that protects the rights of asylum seekers, migrant workers, and victims of human trafficking, successfully appealed to the Jerusalem District Court, which suspended the deportations and forced the state to continue renewing the visas. The Interior Ministry has until February 20 to appeal the court’s decision.

    “The court was on our side and made the state continue to renew visas,” says Shira Abbo, spokesperson for the Hotline. “For now, the Congolese are safe.”

    Their future, however, remains uncertain. Sabine Hadad, spokesperson for the Israeli Interior Ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority, confirmed that despite the delays, the ministry has decided to “stop the collective protection for Congolese in Israel.” Hadad says the Interior Ministry will then look into those with open asylum requests; the community will continue to receive work permit visas until an official decision is handed down.

    Less than one percent of asylum claimants in Israel receives refugee status, according to Hotline. “Our experience with the Israeli asylum system is not a good one,” says Abbo. “We know that the system is designed to reject everyone.”

    A rejection means deportation or staying in Israel illegally like Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers. For many in the Congolese community, repatriation is a death sentence. Israel is the only country to revoke protection for its Congolese refugee community.

    Julie Wabiwa Juliette tells me about the circumstances in which she left her hometown of Bukavu in the DRC as we sit in her colorful, sparsely decorated apartment in Holon. Her two children, Yonatan, 8, and Joanna, 5, greet me in French, the official language in their parents’ home country, although they also speak Hebrew. They were both born in Israel.

    Bukavu, a small city of just under a million inhabitants, is situated on the southern banks of Lake Kivu on Congo’s eastern most border. Remnants of colonialism are apparent even in its skyline. The bright roofs of the more than 100 Art Deco buildings constructed by the Belgians a century ago dot the hillsides. Just a stone’s throw away is Rwanda, on the opposite side of the Ruzizi River.

    It is in this otherwise picturesque landscape where much of the conflict that has ravaged the DRC for more than two decades has taken place.

    The Congolese eventually bucked the Belgian colonial yolk in 1960 and the Republic of Congo became a sovereign nation. Military dictator Mobutu Sese Seko changed the name to Zaire in 1971. The Central African nation was an American Cold War proxy but floundered following the collapse of the Berlin Wall and subsequent withdrawal of U.S. support.

    The First Congo War began two years after the 1994 Rwanda genocide, which precipitated a refugee crisis in eastern Zaire. The 1996 rebellion, backed by a coalition of Central African countries — though primarily fomented by Rwanda — resulted in a new government and a new name, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    Less than a year later, the Second Congo war erupted. The conflict was so brutal that aid groups deemed sexual violence in DRC to be a “weapon of war.” The war formally concluded in 2003, but in eastern Congo the fighting never stopped. The region is home to the vast majority of the 70 armed groups currently fighting, according the Africa Center for Strategic Studies.

    Juliette left Bukavu in 2009. She was in her third year of university, while working on her final thesis for her bachelor’s degree in sociology, which focused on the reentrance into society by victims of rape.

    Juliette’s research was conducted in rural villages that were a couple of hours drive from the city. She worked with a hospital team to collect testimonies from women who were abducted and assaulted during the fighting; many returned pregnant with their attacker’s child. Though the idea of raising the child of the man who raped them is unimaginable, abortion is taboo in rural Congo and carries a high risk of complication.

    Many assumed the numerous rebel militias operating in eastern Congo were responsible for the atrocities. Juliette uncovered evidence that a high-ranking local commander of the DRC military gave direct orders to commit mass rape.

    “It was too much for me when I come back from the field and I’ve heard all the screams, all the atrocities,” Juliette says. “To stay quiet was not for me.” But in Congo, that is not so simple. “I wanted to tell the truth, but once you talk about something, you must count your days.”

    She shared her research with Bruno Koko Chirambiza, a radio journalist at Star Radio in Bukavu, who named the commander, accusing him of orchestrating the rape.

    The mere mention of Chirambiza’s name brings tears to Juliette’s eyes. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, he was murdered by eight assailants on August 24, 2009 at the age of 24. “Many activists, many journalists don’t have long lives in Congo,” Juliette says. According to CPJ, Koko was the third Congolese journalist to be murdered in two years.

    Soldiers, who Juliette believes were acting at the behest of the commander named in Chirambiza’s report, searched for Juliette’s at her aunt’s house. She happened to be out of the house when they arrived, so they sexually assaulted her cousin and came back the next morning. Juliette was resolute to remain in DRC and might not have left if were it not for her now-husband.

    Juliette and Christian Mutunwa were partners back in DRC. Mutunwa, a human rights activist, fled in 2007, after uniformed police officers who claimed they were from the DRC’s intelligence service, Agence Nationale de Renseignement, came to his home. They wanted to bring him in for “interrogation.”

    “I knew if they took me this so-called interrogation process, I would not come back,” Mutunwa says. So he left, spending a few months in Egypt where refugee protection was “nonexistent.” A fellow asylum seeker there told him that there was a democratic country on the other side of the border.

    He then went to Israel where he received asylum protection. Mutunwa encouraged Juliette to join him.

    Juliette managed to get a visa to go to Israel with a delegation of Christians traveling to the holy land. She didn’t know much about Israel except its importance in Christianity. “We talked about Israel every time in church,” Julie remembers. “We prayed for peace in Israel.” She remained in the country after the delegation returned home, and applied for asylum.

    Juliette and Mutunwa are now married and raise their two children in Holon, which, along with neighboring Bat Yam, is where the majority of the Congolese community lives. They support their children by working in Tel Aviv hotels. Six days a week, Juliette rises before dawn to be at work by 5 a.m., and often won’t return home until late afternoon.

    Neither Julietter nor Mutunwa feel integrated into Israeli society. “I’m not a free woman,” says Juliette. “I can’t do what I know I can do.” They yearn for a change in their home country so they can safely return.

    After 18 years of autocracy under Joseph Kabila, DRC elected a new president, Félix Tshisekedi, in December of last year. The Congolese in Israel can only wait and hope he effects true change, and that Israel will give them the time they need to wait for that to happen.

    “Home is home,” she explains. “We didn’t come here to stay for life.”

    It is unclear why Israeli authorities decided to act now. Human rights organizations speculate that the government wants to flex its muscles following the failed deportation of the Eritreans and Sudanese in the beginning of 2018.

    The timing could not be worse. The presidential election has brought about an increase in violence. The political instability, coupled with the second deadliest Ebola outbreak in recorded history, has left the country struggling once again.

    Annick Bouvier, spokesperson for the Great Lakes region at the International Committee of the Red Cross, says that 2018 saw a deterioration of the humanitarian situation in eastern Congo “as a result of the fragmentation of armed groups and increased crime.” According to Bouvier, ICRC’s response to the Ebola outbreak has been “temporarily paralyzed” by the violence.

    The DRC is also the second worst place to be a woman, according to Amnesty International. “Wherever clashes occur, women find themselves at heightened risk of all forms of violence,” says Joao Martins, Médecins Sans Frontières head of mission for South Kivu in eastern DRC. “This is particularly the case in pockets of conflict across eastern DRC.”

    Emilie Serralta, a researcher for Amnesty International in DRC, condemned the government’s response to war crimes perpetrated by state actors as “inadequate.” Amnesty reports that a single high-ranking officer, General Jérôme Kakwavu, has been found guilty of war crimes. He is the exception; the other military commanders, says Serralta, are “untouchable.”

    Meanwhile, the commander named by Juliette and Chirambiza has never faced justice for his crimes. In fact, says Juliette, the government promoted him.

    “I am afraid for my life, for my family, and for my kids,” says Juliette about the prospect of her deportation. “I don’t see myself going back to a place where I didn’t even have the power to save my own life.”

    https://972mag.com/israel-wants-to-deport-300-refugees-to-one-of-the-worlds-most-dangerous-countries/140169
    #renvois #expulsions #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Israël #RDC #république_démocratique_du_congo #réfugiés_congolais

  • Germany pulls out of Mediterranean migrant mission Sophia

    Germany is suspending participation in Operation Sophia, the EU naval mission targeting human trafficking in the Mediterranean. The decision reportedly relates to Italy’s reluctance to allow rescued people to disembark.
    Germany will not be sending any more ships to take part in the anti-people smuggling operation Sophia in the Mediterranean Sea, according to a senior military officer.

    The decision means frigate Augsburg, currently stationed off the coast of Libya, will not be replaced early next month, Bundeswehr Inspector General Eberhard Zorn told members of the defense and foreign affairs committees in the German parliament.

    The 10 German soldiers currently working at the operation’s headquarters will, however, remain until at least the end of March.

    The European Union launched Operation Sophia in 2015 to capture smugglers and shut down human trafficking operations across the Mediterranean, as well as enforce a weapons embargo on Libya. Sophia currently deploys three ships, three airplanes, and two helicopters, which are permitted to use lethal force if necessary, though its mandate also includes training the North African country’s coast guard. The EU formally extended Operation Sophia by three months at the end of December.

    The Bundeswehr reported that, since its start, the naval operation had led to the arrest of more than 140 suspected human traffickers and destroyed more than 400 smuggling boats.

    But Operation Sophia’s efforts have largely focused on rescuing thousands of refugees from unseaworthy vessels attempting to get to Europe. According to the Bundeswehr, Operation Sophia has rescued some 49,000 people from the sea, while German soldiers had been involved in the rescue of 22,534 people.

    European impasse

    The operation has caused some friction within the EU, particularly with Italy, where the headquarters are located, and whose Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has threatened to close ports to the mission.

    Salvini, chairman of the far-right Lega Nord party, demanded on Wednesday that the mission had to change, arguing that the only reason it existed was that all the rescued refugees were brought to Italy. “If someone wants to withdraw from it, then that’s certainly no problem for us,” he told the Rai1 radio station, but in future he said the mission should only be extended if those rescued were distributed fairly across Europe. This is opposed by other EU member states, particularly Poland and Hungary.

    Italy’s position drew a prickly response from German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who accused Sophia’s Italian commanders of sabotaging the mission by sending the German ship to distant corners of the Mediterranean where there were “no smuggling routes whatsoever” and “no refugee routes.”

    “For us it’s important that it be politically clarified in Brussels what the mission’s task is,” von der Leyen told reporters at the Davos forum in Switzerland.

    Fritz Felgentreu, ombudsman for the Bundestag defense committee, told public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk that Italy’s refusal to let migrants rescued from the sea disembark at its ports meant the operation could no longer fulfill its original mandate.

    The EU played down Germany’s decision. A spokeswoman for the bloc’s diplomatic service, the EEAS, told the DPA news agency that Germany had not ruled out making other ships available for the Sophia Operation in future, a position confirmed by a German Defense Ministry spokesman.

    Decision a ’tragedy’

    The decision sparked instant criticism from various quarters in Germany. Stefan Liebich, foreign affairs spokesman for Germany’s socialist Left party, called the government’s decision to suspend its involvement a “tragedy.”

    “As long as Sophia is not replaced by a civilian operation, even more people will drown,” he told the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

    The Green party, for its part, had a more mixed reaction. “We in the Green party have always spoken out against the military operation in the Mediterranean and have consistently rejected the training of the Libyan coast guard,” said the party’s defense spokeswoman, Agnieszka Brugger. But she added that Wednesday’s announcement had happened “for the wrong reasons.”

    Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, defense policy spokeswoman for the Free Democratic Party (FDP), called the decision a sign of the EU’s failure to find a common refugee policy.

    Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), meanwhile, defended the decision. “The core mission, to fight trafficking crimes, cannot currently be effectively carried out,” the party’s defense policy spokesman, Henning Otte, said in a statement. “If the EU were to agree to common procedure with refugees, this mission could be taken up again.”

    Otte also suggested a “three-stage model” as a “permanent solution for the Mediterranean.” This would include a coast guard from Frontex, the European border patrol agency; military patrols in the Mediterranean; and special facilities on the North African mainland to take in refugees and check asylum applications.

    https://www.dw.com/en/germany-pulls-out-of-mediterranean-migrant-mission-sophia/a-47189097
    #Allemagne #résistance #Operation_Sophia #asile #migrations #réfugiés #retrait #espoir (petit mais quand même)

    • EU: Italy’s choice to end or continue Operation Sophia

      The European Commission says it is up to Italy to decide whether or not to suspend the EU’s naval operation Sophia.

      “If Italy decides, it is the country in command of operation Sophia, to stop it - it is up to Italy to make this decision,” Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU commissioner for migration, told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday (23 January).

      The Italian-led naval operation was launched in 2015 and is tasked with cracking down on migrant smugglers and traffickers off the Libyan coast.

      It has also saved some 50,000 people since 2015 but appears to have massively scaled back sea rescues, according to statements from Germany’s defence minster.

      German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen was cited by Reuters on Wednesday saying that the Italian command had been sending the Germany navy “to the most remote areas of the Mediterranean where there are no smuggling routes and no migrant flows so that the navy has not had any sensible role for months.”

      Germany had also announced it would not replace its naval asset for the operation, whose mandate is set to expire at the end of March.

      But the commission says that Germany will continue to participate in the operation.

      “There is no indication that it will not make another asset available in the future,” said Avramopoulos.

      A German spokesperson was also cited as confirming Germany wants the mission to continue beyond March.

      The commission statements follow threats from Italy’s far-right interior minister Matteo Salvini to scrap the naval mission over an on-going dispute on where to disembark rescued migrants.

      Salvini was cited in Italian media complaining that people rescued are only offloaded in Italy.

      The complaint is part of a long-outstanding dispute by Salvini, who last year insisted that people should be disembarked in other EU states.

      The same issue was part of a broader debate in the lead up to a renewal of Sophia’s mandate in late December.

      https://euobserver.com/migration/143997

    • #Operazione_Sophia

      In riferimento alle odierne dichiarazioni relative all’operazione Sophia dell’UE, il Ministro degli Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale Enzo Moavero Milanesi ricorda che «L’Italia non ha mai chiesto la chiusura di Sophia. Ha chiesto che siano cambiate, in rigorosa e doverosa coerenza con le conclusioni del Consiglio Europeo di giugno 2018, le regole relative agli sbarchi delle persone salvate in mare». Infatti, gli accordi dell’aprile 2015 prevedono che siano sbarcate sempre in Italia, mentre il Consiglio Europeo del giugno scorso ha esortato gli Stati UE alla piena condivisione di tutti gli oneri relativi ai migranti.

      https://www.esteri.it/mae/it/sala_stampa/archivionotizie/comunicati/operazione-sophia.html

  • [Revision] « Tell Me How This Ends » | Harper’s Magazine
    https://harpers.org/archive/2019/02/american-involvement-in-syria

    Dans cet article très USA-centré, le récit des premiers temps de la guerre en #Syrie par l’ancien ambassadeur US à Damas. (J’ai grasseyé certains passages. Le récit US passe égaleemnt sous silence la présence à Hama de l’ambassadeur français et de quelques invités...) L’histoire de ce conflit commence petit à petit à s’écrire...

    The vulnerable regimes in early 2011 were in the American camp, a coincidence that the Syrian president, Bashar al-­Assad, interpreted as proof that the Arab Spring was a repudiation of American tutelage. As Russia’s and Iran’s only Arab ally, he foresaw no challenge to his throne. An omen in the unlikely guise of an incident at an open-­air market in the old city of Damascus, in February 2011, should have changed his mind. One policeman ordered a motorist to stop at an intersection, while another officer told him to drive on. “The poor guy got conflicting instructions, and did what I would have done and stopped,” recalled the US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, who had only just arrived in the country. The second policeman dragged the driver out of his car and thrashed him. “A crowd gathered, and all of a sudden it took off,” Ford said. “No violence, but it was big enough that the interior minister himself went down to the market and told people to go home.” Ford reported to Washington, “This is the first big demonstration that we know of. And it tells us that this tinder is dry.”

    The next month, the security police astride the Jordanian border in the dusty southern town of Daraa ignited the tinder by torturing children who had scrawled anti-­Assad graffiti on walls. Their families, proud Sunni tribespeople, appealed for justice, then called for reform of the regime, and finally demanded its removal. Rallies swelled by the day. Ford cabled Washington that the government was using live ammunition to quell the demonstrations. He noted that the protesters were not entirely peaceful: “There was a little bit of violence from the demonstrators in Daraa. They burned the Syriatel office.” (Syriatel is the cell phone company of Rami Makhlouf, Assad’s cousin, who epitomized for many Syrians the ruling elite’s corruption.) “And they burned a court building, but they didn’t kill anybody.” Funerals of protesters produced more demonstrations and thus more funerals. The Obama Administration, though, was preoccupied with Egypt, where Hosni Mubarak had resigned in February, and with the NATO bombing campaign in Libya to support the Libyan insurgents who would depose and murder Muammar Qaddafi in October.

    Ambassador Ford detected a turn in the Syrian uprising that would define part of its character: “The first really serious violence on the opposition side was up on the coast around Baniyas, where a bus was stopped and soldiers were hauled off the bus. If you were Alawite, you were shot. If you were Sunni, they let you go.” At demonstrations, some activists chanted the slogan, “Alawites to the grave, and Christians to Beirut.” A sectarian element wanted to remove Assad, not because he was a dictator but because he belonged to the Alawite minority sect that Sunni fundamentalists regard as heretical. Washington neglected to factor that into its early calculations.

    Phil Gordon, the assistant secretary of state for European affairs before becoming Obama’s White House coordinator for the Middle East, told me, “I think the initial attitude in Syria was seen through that prism of what was happening in the other countries, which was, in fact, leaders—the public rising up against their leaders and in some cases actually getting rid of them, and in Tunisia, and Yemen, and Libya, with our help.”

    Ambassador Ford said he counseled Syria’s activists to remain non­violent and urged both sides to negotiate. Demonstrations became weekly events, starting after Friday’s noon prayer as men left the mosques, and spreading north to Homs and Hama. Ford and some embassy staffers, including the military attaché, drove to Hama, with government permission, one Thursday evening in July. To his surprise, Ford said, “We were welcomed like heroes by the opposition people. We had a simple message—no violence. There were no burned buildings. There was a general strike going on, and the opposition people had control of the streets. They had all kinds of checkpoints. Largely, the government had pulled out.”

    Bassam Barabandi, a diplomat who defected in Washington to establish a Syrian exile organization, People Demand Change, thought that Ford had made two errors: his appearance in Hama raised hopes for direct intervention that was not forthcoming, and he was accompanied by a military attaché. “So, at that time, the big question for Damascus wasn’t Ford,” Barabandi told me in his spartan Washington office. “It was the military attaché. Why did this guy go with Ford?” The Syrian regime had a long-standing fear of American intelligence interference, dating to the CIA-­assisted overthrow in 1949 of the elected parliamentary government and several attempted coups d’état afterward. The presence in Hama of an ambassador with his military attaché allowed the Assad regime to paint its opponents as pawns of a hostile foreign power.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Stopping Migrants, Whatever the Cost

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    A Deadly Policy in Action

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    A Legal Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ping @reka

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • How We Made an Invisible Crisis at Sea Visible

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

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

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

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

  • Fires in the Void : The Need for Migrant Solidarity

    For most, Barcelona’s immigrant detention center is a difficult place to find. Tucked away in the Zona Franca logistics and industrial area, just beyond the Montjuïc Cemetery, it is shrouded in an alien stillness. It may be the quietest place in the city on a Saturday afternoon, but it is not a contemplative quiet. It is a no-one-can-hear-you-scream quiet.

    The area is often described as a perfect example of what anthropologist Marc Augé calls a non-place: neither relational nor historical, nor concerned with identity. Yet this opaque institution is situated in the economic motor of the city, next to the port, the airport, the public transportation company, the wholesale market that provides most of the city’s produce and the printing plant for Spain’s most widely read newspaper. The detention center is a void in the heart of a sovereign body.

    Alik Manukyan died in this void. On the morning of December 3, 2013, officers found the 32-year-old Armenian dead in his isolation cell, hanged using his own shoelaces. Police claimed that Manukyan was a “violent” and “conflictive” person who caused trouble with his cellmates. This account of his alleged suicide was contradicted, however, by three detainees. They claimed Alik had had a confrontation with some officers, who then entered the cell, assaulted him and forced him into isolation. They heard Alik scream and wail all through the night. Two of these witnesses were deported before the case made it to court. An “undetectable technical error” prevented the judge from viewing any surveillance footage.

    The void extends beyond the detention center. In 2013, nearly a decade after moving to Spain, a young Senegalese man named #Alpha_Pam died of tuberculosis. When he went to a hospital for treatment, Pam was denied medical attention because his papers were not in order. His case was a clear example of the apartheid logic underlying a 2012 decree by Mariano Rajoy’s right-wing government, which excluded undocumented people from Spain’s once-universal public health care system. As a result, the country’s hospitals went from being places of universal care to spaces of systematic neglect. The science of healing, warped by nationalist politics.

    Not that science had not played a role in perpetuating the void before. In 2007, during the Socialist government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, #Osamuyi_Aikpitanyi died during a deportation flight after being gagged and restrained by police escorts. The medical experts who investigated Aikpitanyi’s death concluded that the Nigerian man had died due to a series of factors they called “a vicious spiral”. There was an increase in catecholamine, a neurotransmitter related to stress, fear, panic and flight instincts. This was compounded by a lack of oxygen due to the flight altitude and, possibly, the gag. Ultimately, these experts could not determine what percentage of the death had been directly caused by the gag, and the police were fined 600 euros for the non-criminal offense of “light negligence”.

    The Romans had a term for lives like these, lives that vanish in the void. That term was #homo_sacer, the “sacred man”, who one could kill without being found guilty of murder. An obscure figure from archaic law revived by the philosopher #Giorgio_Agamben, it was used to incorporate human life, stripped of personhood, into the juridical order. Around this figure, a state of exception was produced, in which power could be exercised in its crudest form, opaque and unaccountable. For Agamben, this is the unspoken ground upon which modern sovereignty stands. Perhaps the best example of it is the mass grave that the Mediterranean has become.

    Organized Hypocrisy

    Its name suggests that the Mediterranean was once the world’s center. Today it is its deadliest divide. According to the International Organization for Migration, over 9,000 people died trying to cross the sea between January 1, 2014 and July 5, 2018. A conservative estimate, perhaps. The UN Refugee Agency estimates that the number of people found dead or missing during this period is closer to 17,000.

    Concern for the situation peaks when spectacular images make the horror unavoidable. A crisis mentality takes over, and politicians make sweeping gestures with a solemn sense of urgency. One such gesture was made after nearly 400 people died en route to Lampedusa in October 2013. The Italian government responded by launching Operation #Mare_Nostrum, a search-and-rescue program led by the country’s navy and coast guard. It cost €11 million per month, deploying 34 warships and about 900 sailors per working day. Over 150,000 people were rescued by the operation in one year.

    Despite its cost, Mare Nostrum was initially supported by much of the Italian public. It was less popular, however, with other European member states, who accused the mission of encouraging “illegal” migration by making it less deadly. Within a year, Europe’s refusal to share the responsibility had produced a substantial degree of discontent in Italy. In October 2014, Mare Nostrum was scrapped and replaced by #Triton, an operation led by the European border agency #Frontex.

    With a third of Mare Nostrum’s budget, Triton was oriented not towards protecting lives but towards surveillance and border control. As a result, the deadliest incidents in the region’s history occurred less than half a year into the operation. Between April 13 and April 19, 2015, over one thousand people drowned in the waters abandoned by European search and rescue efforts. Once again, the images produced a public outcry. Once again, European leaders shed crocodile tears for the dead.

    Instead of strengthening search and rescue efforts, the EU increased Frontex’s budget and complemented Triton with #Operation_Sophia, a military effort to disrupt the networks of so-called “smugglers”. #Eugenio_Cusumano, an assistant professor of international relations at the University of Leiden, has written extensively on the consequences of this approach, which he describes as “organized hypocrisy”. In an article for the Cambridge Review of International Affairs (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0010836718780175), Cusumano shows how the shortage of search and rescue assets caused by the termination of Mare Nostrum led non-governmental organizations to become the main source of these activities off the Libyan shore. Between 2014 and 2017, NGOs aided over 100,000 people.

    Their efforts have been admirable. Yet the precariousness of their resources and their dependence on private donors mean that NGOs have neither the power nor the capacity to provide aid on the scale required to prevent thousands of deaths at the border. To make matters worse, for the last several months governments have been targeting NGOs and individual activists as smugglers or human traffickers, criminalizing their solidarity. It is hardly surprising, then, that the border has become even deadlier in recent years. According to the UN Refugee Agency, although the number of attempted crossings has fallen over 80 percent from its peak in 2015, the percentage of people who have died or vanished has quadrupled.

    It is not my intention, with the litany of deaths described here, to simply name some of the people killed by Europe’s border regime. What I hope to have done instead is show the scale of the void at its heart and give a sense of its ruthlessness and verticality. There is a tendency to refer to this void as a gap, as a space beyond the reach of European institutions, the European gaze or European epistemologies. If this were true, the void could be filled by simply extending Europe’s reach, by producing new concepts, mapping new terrains, building new institutions.

    But, in fact, Europe has been treating the void as a site of production all along. As political theorist #Sandro_Mezzadra writes, the border is the method through which the sovereign machine of governmentality was built. Its construction must be sabotaged, subverted and disrupted at every level.

    A Crisis of Solidarity

    When the ultranationalist Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini refused to allow the MV #Aquarius to dock in June 2018, he was applauded by an alarmingly large number of Italians. Many blamed his racism and that of the Italians for putting over 600 lives at risk, including those of 123 unaccompanied minors, eleven young children and seven pregnant women.

    Certainly, the willingness to make a political point by sacrificing hundreds of migrant lives confirms that racism. But another part of what made Salvini’s gesture so horrifying was that, presumably, many of those who had once celebrated increasing search and rescue efforts now supported the opposite. Meanwhile, many of the same European politicians who had refused to share Italy’s responsibilities five years earlier were now expressing moral outrage over Salvini’s lack of solidarity.

    Once again, the crisis mode of European border politics was activated. Once again, European politicians and media talked about a “migrant crisis”, about “flows” of people causing unprecedented “pressure” on the southern border. But attempted crossings were at their lowest level in years, a fact that led many migration scholars to claim this was not a “migrant crisis”, but a crisis of solidarity. In this sense, Italy’s shift reflects the nature of the problem. By leaving it up to individual member states, the EU has made responding to the deaths at the border a matter of national conviction. When international solidarity is absent, national self-interest takes over.

    Fortunately, Spain’s freshly sworn-in Socialist Party government granted the Aquarius permission to dock in the Port of #Valencia. This happened only after Mayor Ada Colau of Barcelona, a self-declared “City of Refuge”, pressured Spanish President Pedro Sánchez by publicly offering to receive the ship at the Port of Barcelona. Party politics being as they are, Sánchez authorized a port where his party’s relationship with the governing left-wing platform was less conflictive than in Barcelona.

    The media celebrated Sánchez’s authorization as an example of moral virtue. Yet it would not have happened if solidarity with refugees had not been considered politically profitable by institutional actors. In Spain’s highly fractured political arena, younger left-wing parties and the Catalan independence movement are constantly pressuring a weakened Socialist Party to prove their progressive credentials. Meanwhile, tireless mobilization by social movements has made welcoming refugees a matter of common sense and basic human decency.

    The best known example of this mobilization was the massive protest that took place in February 2017, when 150,000 people took to the streets of Barcelona to demand that Mariano Rajoy’s government take in more refugees and migrants. It is likely because of actions like these that, according to the June 2018 Eurobarometer, over 80 percent of people in Spain believe the country should help those fleeing disaster.

    Yet even where the situation might be more favorable to bottom-up pressure, those in power will not only limit the degree to which demands are met, but actively distort those demands. The February 2017 protest is a good example. Though it also called for the abolition of detention centers, racial profiling and Spain’s racist immigration law, the march is best remembered for the single demand of welcoming refugees.

    The adoption of this demand by the Socialist Party was predictably cynical. After authorizing the Aquarius, President Sánchez used his momentarily boosted credibility to present, alongside Emmanuel Macron, a “progressive” European alternative to Salvini’s closed border. It involved creating detention centers all over the continent, with the excuse of determining people’s documentation status. Gears turn in the sovereign machine of governmentality. The void expands.

    Today the border is a sprawling, parasitic entity linking governments, private companies and supranational institutions. It is not enough for NGOs to rescue refugees, when their efforts can be turned into spot-mopping for the state. It is not enough for social movements to pressure national governments to change their policies, when individual demands can be distorted to mean anything. It is not enough for cities to declare themselves places of refuge, when they can be compelled to enforce racist laws. It is not enough for political parties to take power, when they can be conditioned by private interests, the media and public opinion polls.

    To overcome these limitations, we must understand borders as highly vertical transnational constructions. Dismantling those constructions will require organization, confrontation, direct action, sabotage and, above all, that borderless praxis of mutual aid and solidarity known as internationalism. If we truly hope to abolish the border, we must start fires in the void.

    https://roarmag.org/magazine/migrant-solidarity-fires-in-the-void
    #solidarité #frontières #migrations #réfugiés #asile #détention_administrative #rétention #Barcelone #non-lieu #Espagne #mourir_en_détention_administrative #mort #décès #mourir_en_rétention #Alik_Manukyan #renvois #expulsions #vie_nue #Méditerranée #hypocrisie #hypocrisie_organisée #ONG #sauvetage #sabotage #nationalisme #crise #villes-refuge #Valence #internationalisme #ouverture_des_frontières #action_directe

    signalé par @isskein

  • ’Cyprus is saturated’ - burgeoning migrant crisis grips island

    Smugglers increasingly take advantage of island’s partition and proximity to Middle East.

    When Rubar and Bestoon Abass embarked on their journey to Europe they had no idea that Cyprus was the continent’s easternmost state. Like most Iraqi Kurds heading west, their destination was Germany, not an EU nation barely 100 miles from war-torn Syria.

    “I had never heard of Cyprus,” said Rubar, reaching for his pregnant wife’s hand as they sat gloomily in a migrant centre run by the Catholic charity Caritas in the heart of Nicosia. “The smugglers told us it was much cheaper to get to and was still in Europe. We paid $2,000 [£1,590] for the four of us to come.”

    Cyprus is in the midst of a burgeoning migrant crisis as smuggler networks take advantage of the Mediterranean island’s partition and proximity to the Middle East. As in Greece, when Europe’s refugee crisis erupted with Syria’s descent into civil war, support groups have rushed to deal with the social ailments that have arisen with the influx.

    “Cyprus is saturated,” its interior minister, Constantinos Petrides, said in an interview with the Guardian. “It’s no longer easy to absorb such flows, or handle the situation, no matter how much money we get.”

    The island has exceeded every other EU member state in asylum claims in 2018, recording the highest number per capita with almost 6,000 applications for a population of about 1 million.

    By August requests were 55% higher than for the same eight-month period in 2017, a figure itself 56% higher than that for 2016, according to the interior ministry. With the country’s asylum and reception systems vastly overstretched, alarmed officials have appealed to Brussels for help.

    “This is a European problem,” said Petrides, adding that closed borders elsewhere in the bloc were placing a disproportionate burden on small frontline states such as Cyprus. “It’s absolutely necessary to find a holistic solution … which means distributing asylum seekers through an automatic relocation mechanism to countries throughout the EU.”

    Rubar and Bestoon arrived with their two children in August. Like the ever-growing number of Syrians also heading here from overcrowded camps in Turkey and Lebanon, the couple landed in Northern Cyprus, the self-styled state acknowledged only by Ankara in the 44 years since Turkish troops invaded and seized over a third of the island’s territory.

    They then took the increasingly well-trodden route of sneaking across the dividing buffer zone into the internationally recognised Greek-controlled south. Stretching 112 miles across Cyprus, the UN-patrolled ceasefire line offers innumerable blind spots for those determined to evade detection.

    Geography’s stark reality hit, Rubar admits, when he was shown Cyprus on the world map adorning the migrant centre’s airy reception room. “If I had known I’d never have come,” said the farmer. “After all, being here we’re much nearer Baghdad than we are Berlin.”

    Elizabeth Kassinis, Caritas’ executive manager, said the Abbasses’ experience is not uncommon. “Many are surprised to find out where they actually are. When we tell them, they are shocked, stunned, completely speechless. Nearly all arrive expecting they’ll be within walking distance of a job in Germany.”

    Illicit crossings from the north have made Cyprus’ woes much worse. Reports have increased in recent months of irregular migrants flying into Ercan airport in the Turkish-controlled breakaway state.

    Hamstrung by politics, not least Turkey’s refusal to recognise the government in the southern part of Cyprus since its 1974 invasion of the island, authorities are unable to send them back.

    “Because of the illegal occupation in the north we’ve seen phenomena that wouldn’t happen in conditions of legality,” said Petrides. “It’s an open wound, not just for Cyprus but the entire EU.”

    With international agencies focusing almost entirely on sea arrivals, the real number of migrants on the island has been hugely underestimated, charities say. “We are a humanitarian organisation that addresses poverty, hunger and homelessness and we are seeing across-the-board increases in them all,” Kassinis said.

    A backlog of 8,000 asylum claims has amassed as authorities struggle to cope with the flows, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. “We’re talking about a process that can take up to five years and an extremely high number of people waiting for final decisions to their claims,” said Katja Saha, the agency’s representative in Nicosia.

    “It’s highly likely that the vast majority are not refugees and should not be in the asylum processing system but, that said, the lack of infrastructure and social services makes it very difficult to identify those who are vulnerable, particularly victims of trafficking and torture.”

    As numbers grow, pressure on the island’s two state-run camps has become immense and asylum seekers are expected to find private accommodation after 72 hours. For most that is nearly impossible when rent allowances are little more than €100 (£90) per person a month and employment is limited to manual work such as car washing and farm labour, Saha said.

    In Nicosia, which houses one of the camps, asylum seekers have resorted to sleeping in parks and buses and the vestibules of buildings. “For the last month I’ve been in a tent in the park with my wife and four children,” said Basin Hussain, who also fled Iraq. “The first three days were spent in the reception centre but then we were told to leave.”

    There are fears the drama being played out in the eastern Mediterranean will get a lot worse if the situation in Syria deteriorates further and war extends to Idlib, the country’s last rebel stronghold. A Turkish-Russian ceasefire deal is currently sustaining a fragile peace in the province.

    Cyprus had been spared the refugee crisis until this year as most Europe-bound asylum seekers headed for Greece and Italy instead.

    “It’s surprising, given its geographic location, that Cyprus has not been more impacted by the seven-year conflict,” said Saha. “Since the spring we’ve seen this increase in Syrians because word has spread that Lebanon and Turkey, as first asylum countries, are saturated.”

    As elsewhere in Europe the island is not immune to hostility toward the new arrivals. Far-right groups coalescing around the ultranationalist ELAM party have gained increasing popularity as the issue provides fodder for their approval ratings ahead of European parliamentary elections next year.

    “What we don’t want to do is open more and more reception centres,” said Petrides, emphasising that solidarity was now needed on Europe’s eastern edge. “It’s not the solution, either for the country or asylum seekers.”


    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/11/cyprus-the-new-entry-point-to-europe-for-refugees-and-migrants?CMP=shar
    #parcours_migratoires #routes_migratoires #Chypre #asile #migrations #réfugiés
    ping @isskein

  • Netanyahu will do all he can to destroy Jewish-Arab alliances

    The alliance between Palestinian citizens of Israel and the Jewish left has historically been viewed as a threat to the rule of the right. That’s why Netanyahu is doing everything he can to undermine it.

    By Eli Bitan

    https://972mag.com/netanyahu-will-do-all-he-can-to-destroy-jewish-arab-alliances/139103

    The Israeli right knows exactly how to harm the left: by making its alliance with Palestinian citizens not only impossible but illegitimate, thus drawing away its power. The Jewish left, for its part, has historically done enough to undermine this alliance. But recent events have created new possibilities — and that’s why the right is coming out with guns blazing.

    Related stories
    This is how to fight Israel’s Jewish Nation-State Law By Said Zeedani | November 29, 2018
    The right keeps winning in Israel because Israelis are right wing By Dahlia Scheindlin | November 19, 2018
    In the age of Trump and Netanyahu, progressive values are winning By Bar Gissin and Maya Haber | November 16, 2018
    The case for a unified Palestinian protest movement By Rabeea Eid | September 24, 2018
    This dynamic is currently playing out in Haifa, where in the recent municipal elections, newly-elected Mayor Einat Kalisch-Rotem appointed Raja Zaatry, a veteran activist from the Jewish-Arab Hadash party, to be her deputy. Kalisch-Rotem, who defeated incumbent Yona Yahav from the Labor Party, was elected with the support of the left and the ultra-Orthodox community. In early December, she announced her coalition, which excluded the right-wing Likud, and included the Haredi party, Hadash, and Meretz.

    Then, on Dec. 4, Makor Rishon, the newspaper of Israel’s religious-nationalist community, published an article on Zaatry, which painted him as a supporter of BDS and a Hezbollah sympathizer who previously compared Israel to ISIS.

    The furor came almost immediately. Interior Minister Aryeh Deri demanded Kalisch-Rotem walk back from her decision, while Prime Minister Netanyahu opened his weekly cabinet meeting by discussing Zaatry. Yair Lapid, who in the eyes of many Israelis has come to represent an opposition to the Netanyahu government, decried Zaatry’s appointment on Facebook.

    On Wednesday afternoon, Netanyahu even phoned the mayor in an attempt to persuade her to change her mind. Kalisch-Rotem, however, made clear to him that her coalition agreement would remain unchanged. The controversy might appear like a tempest in a teapot, but it is evidently enough to concern both Netanyahu and Lapid. Kalisch-Rotem’s coalition, it turns out, is a threat to the right’s rule in Israel.

  • Avakov: Ukraine’s wall along Russian border nearly half complete

    Ukraine has built almost half of its 2,300-kilometer wall on the border with Russia, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on Nov. 24 during his visit to the border checkpoint in Kharkiv Oblast.

    “The project has been extended until 2021,” Avakov said. “The budget plan for the 2019 allocates Hr 400 million ($14.4 million) for it. But the head of the Border Guard Service hopes to receive additional funds.”

    The Kharkiv section of the Ukrainian-Russian wall has been almost completed with only 20 kilometers left, according to Avakov. The works will continue on the border sections in Sumy and Luhansk oblasts. It includes fortifications with a barbed wire fence, two-meter deep anti-tank trenches, 17-meter-high watchtowers, 40 border checkpoints as well as equipment with motion sensors, border security closed-circuit television (CCTV) and alarm systems.

    Overall, 47 percent of the 2,300-kilometer wall has been built, the minister said.

    In addition, starting from January, Ukraine has launched the biometric control system for Russian passport holders at all border-crossing checkpoints.

    Former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who is running for president in the upcoming March presidential elections, joined Avakov on the trip to the border in Kharkiv Oblast on Nov. 24.

    The ambitious project known as the European Wall was announced by then-Prime Minister Yatsenyuk in 2014 in the wake of the Russian military intervention in the Donbas. Ukraine lost control over parts of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts and 400 kilometers that border with Russia. The wall was designed to protect Ukraine from further attacks on its territory as well as to stop illegal flow of weapons from Russia.

    In the aftermath of the EuroMaidan Revolution that drove pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych from power on Feb. 22, 2014, Kremlin incited mass anti-government demonstrations in eastern Ukraine and occupied Crimean peninsula. In Donetsk and Luhansk, protesters “declared independence” from Ukraine which escalated into an armed conflict between Ukrainian forces and Kremlin-backed forces. In April 2014, pro-Russian protesters took over the Kharkiv administration and “declared independence from Ukraine” but the Ukrainian government managed to retain control over the region.

    The construction of the wall, however, halted due to lack of funding and a corruption scandal.

    In 2015-2017, the Border Guard Serviced received Hr 800 mln ($28.8 million) — less than a quarter of the total cost of the project estimated at over Hr 4 billion ($147.6 million).

    In November 2017, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau arrested eight people on embezzlement charges. NABU detectives found that the officials of the Border Guard Service in cahoots with local contractors had siphoned off Hr 16.68 million ($600,800) from the Project Wall funds.


    https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/interior-minister-ukraines-wall-along-russian-border-nearly-half-complete.

    #Ukraine #Russie #murs #frontières #barrières_frontalières

  • 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

  • Europe Should Let Italy Win – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/11/14/europe-should-let-italy-win


    Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini attends a press conference at the Italian Embassy in Bucharest, Romania, on Oct. 23.
    Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images

    #barbichette

    The current standoff between the Italian government and the European Commission in Brussels—in which Italy is pushing for greater spending resulting in a larger deficit, which the commission claims violates its rules—seems at first glance like a replay of the game of chicken that drove the Greek debt crisis in 2015. Then, like now, debt and politics were intimately intertwined, with an indebted nation trying by any means necessary to gain leverage on the eurozone institutions that have a say over its economy. On the one hand, Italy has been emphasizing its geopolitical importance, arguing that it has a critical role to play in maintaining Libya’s stability. On the other, it is sending a subtle message that, if placed under pressure, it has the power to blow up the eurozone.

    Who will flinch first? The answer will likely turn on two differences that distinguish the current case from that of Greece. […]
    […]
    It is not difficult to see how a compromise might be found in which Italy and Europe could agree on infrastructure investment financed through deficit spending, but the escalation of the political conflict means that as time passes any productive outcome becomes less and less likely. The European Union must find a solution before the politics become completely poisonous.

    On the face of it, the budget dispute, which turns on Italy’s proposal for a 2.4 percent deficit, looks puzzling. Isn’t 2.4 percent less than 3 percent, the (admittedly overly simple) deficit to GDP ratio rule stipulated in the EU’s Maastricht Treaty and its Stability and Growth Pact? In truth, the dispute is fundamentally about the link between fiscal positions and growth.
    […]
    The problem is that everyone knows that Italy’s bootstraps narrative doesn’t fully describe its motives. The importance of the budget for the Italian government goes far beyond its numbers: Its basic purpose is political. The fiscal package represents not only an overall stimulus for the Italian economy but also an attempt to tie together the two quite disparate parties in the government coalition. […]
    There is also a very obvious national, not to say nationalist, element. This is a budget designed to defy Europe and to make the point that in a democracy people should, in voting for their government, have a say over their tax rates and their fiscal regime. The budget also includes some savings, in part from reduced spending on the housing and management of migrants.

  • Croatia, criminalisation of solidarity

    With 700 cases of reports of violence and theft against migrants at the border, Croatia holds the negative record among the countries of the area. Meanwhile, intimidation against solidarity increases and the first convictions pour down.

    “At the end of August 2015, when the first wave of refugees came to our territory, with a group of friends we went every day to help in Bapska, in Tovarnik, later in Opatovac. It was solidarity that moved me. Here in Croatia many were refugees not so long ago and still remembered what it means to be driven out of your home. At that time, the borders were open and refugees were still seen as human beings. We worked together, volunteers from all over the world, the police, the locals who collected food and basic necessities. It was nice to see how people managed to organise, and very quickly”, recalls Dragan Umičević.

    Dragan, a retired veteran from Osijek, has continued to volunteer for refugees both in Croatia and in Serbia and Greece. When the Balkan route was already closed, in collaboration with the NGO Are you syrious? (AYS), he assisted some refugees by going personally to the border with Serbia, to be sure they were allowed to apply for asylum in Croatia. In fact, for some time now, many NGO testimonies on the field agree that the Croatian police carries out illegal rejections of refugees, accompanied by violence, denying them the right to asylum.
    “Unwitting negligence”

    On the night of March 21st, 2018, being the closest volunteer, Dragan went to Strošinci on the recommendation of AYS, that was in contact with a group of refugees who had just entered Croatian territory. Among them were the family members of Madina Hussiny, the little Afghan girl who was hit by a train after her group, in a previous attempt to cross the border, had been illegally returned to Serbia by the Croatian police.

    “In a group of 14 people there were 11 minors, including some very young children. There was a storm, they were frozen, wet, worn out. At the border I contacted the police, explaining the situation, and acted in cooperation with them. It would not have been possible to do otherwise”, continues Umičević, who then indicated the way to the refugees by flashing the headlights of his car. “When the refugees arrived, the police told me I could go home, but I preferred to take them to the police station to make sure that their asylum application was presented. After an informal interview, during which no accusation against me was advanced, I left”.

    Two weeks later, however, Umičević learned that he had earned the ungrateful role of the first activist targeted by a judicial proceeding for a crime of solidarity in Croatia. Charges questioned both the fact that the police had authorised him to flash to the group of refugees and his awareness, at the time, of the exact position of the refugees in relation to the Croatian border.

    In first instance, he was found guilty of “unwitting negligence” – as, despite being notified of the geolocation of the group of refugees, already in Croatia, he acted without being able to verify it – and sentenced to pay a fine of 60,000 kunas (over 8,000 Euros). The prosecution, however, had requested a fine of 320,000 kunas, two months in prison for the volunteer, and the ban on the activity of AYS.

    “The purpose of the sentence is to discourage volunteers, who will think twice before engaging, especially if the sentence is confirmed, and then the police will have their hands free. This can be transferred to other segments of everyday life”, concludes Umičević, who is now awaiting the appeal. In the meantime, he has received the solidarity of the people around him, civil society, and some media. “That I know of, no politician has expressed solidarity. They have nothing to gain from that”. Indeed, the Croatian political scene has been silent not only in front of his case, but in the face of the systematic violations of refugee rights in general.
    Violations of human rights

    On October 23rd, Platforma 112 , which brings together many Croatian human rights organisations, once again invited Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Interior Minister Davor Božinović to suspend attacks on associations supporting refugees, demanding independent investigations and punishment not of those who defend human rights, but those who violate them.

    This was only the last of the appeals, which followed the letter from Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović to Prime Minister Plenković, in which the Croatian government was asked to stop police violence on refugees trying to enter the country.

    The reticence of the Croatian police in providing access to information was also highlighted in the 2017 report by ombuswoman Lora Vidović, whose office, as reported on the official site itself , receives daily inquiries by foreign and local media on cases of violence and violation of rights – impossibility of applying for asylum in the country – to the detriment of refugees.

    The appeal by Platforma 112 has fallen on deaf ears, with no reaction from either Croatian politics or European governments. For a European Union that seeks to outsource the management of refugee flows as much as possible and no matter what, violence on its doorsteps is not news. According to UNHCR report Desperate Journeys , with 700 reported cases of violence and theft at the border, Croatia holds the negative record among the countries of the area, compared to 150 and 140 cases, respectively, in Hungary and Romania.

    Intimidations against solidarity in Croatia have intensified since Madina’s family entered the country. The family was detained in the Tovarnik closed camp for over two months after applying for asylum in Croatia, and transferred to an open structure only after repeated interventions by the European Court of Human Rights. The NGOs (AYS and Center for Peace Studies) and lawyers (Ivo Jelavić and Sanja Bezbradica) who supported the family in their search for the truth received pressures. Umičević’s conviction is part of this framework.
    The media debate

    The Croatian events cannot be separated from the European context of criminalisation of solidarity, with a series of judicial proceedings in Italy, France, Hungary, and elsewhere. Moreover, the collaboration of border police in implementing chain rejections from Italy to Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina was exposed by a recent report by La Stampa .

    However, what currently stands out in Croatia is the aggressive media campaign against refugees, also stimulated in recent weeks by the news from Velika Kladuša, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where thousands of individuals are pressing at the borders of the European Union.

    In particular, a piece by a well-known right-wing opinionist can be seen as a sort of manifesto of the new right wing – sovereignist, anti-migrant, and contrary to secularisation.

    On Večernji List, Nino Raspudić compared those who selflessly help refugees to the bizarre case of a Dutch tourist hospitalised for the bite of a viper she had tried to pet. Both cases would show a deformed view of reality typical of Western civilisation, unable to recognise true evil and danger, but “happy to kill unborn children and send parents to euthanasia”. The article continues by attacking NGOs, defined as “traffickers”, “criminals, mobsters, mercenaries”, attached “to Soros’ breast”. These are the same accusations periodically circulated by obscure media and Serbian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Hungarian, and now also Italian politicians, conflating otherwise conflicting extreme right discourses in the hate speech against refugees.

    In the column Reakcija, also hosted by Večernji List, opinionist Mate Miljić stated that the European Union is to blame for the pressure of migrants at Croatian borders because, “in its will to create a multicultural melting pot, it has allowed mass illegal immigration”. Moreover, in his opinion, the left would be ready to cut pensions for war veterans to “give them to illegal migrants”.

    Trvtko Barun, director of Jesuit Refugee Service, replied to Raspudić on the same newspaper. Pointing to the dangers of calling to hatred and using distorted images, Barun cited Pope Bergoglio’s positions on refugees, that struggle to be received in the Croatian Catholic Church.
    Narratives of fear

    In addition to direct crusades, however, the Croatian press is spreading narratives that stimulate the construction of barriers, fuelling suspicion, fear, and lack of empathy toward refugees.

    In the days of pressure on the borders of Velika Kladuša, following a declaration by a local police inspector, the news circulated for days that a migrant suspected of murdering five people in Macedonia had been arrested, even after this was categorically denied by the sources of the Macedonian Interior Ministry.

    The very hierarchy of the news shows the construction – intentional or not – of a narrative of suspicion and fear, with refugees (now called “illegal migrants”) without faces, names, and stories, seen exclusively as a threat to public order.

    The story of some refugees who, in days of bad weather, allegedly entered some vacant holiday homes in the mountain region of Gorski Kotar, to seek shelter and dry clothes, received great attention nationally, although the damage amounted to a few hundred Euros.

    As elsewhere in Europe, also in Croatia the many fake news and the prejudices circulating on the web – both on registered outlets and on social networks – find in the fear of the other fertile ground to build easy consensus and grab clicks. In a piece on Novi List, however, Ladislav Tomičić recalled that the habit of resorting to lying will leave a mark in society, which will pay the price also when the wave of refugees is exhausted.

    https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/eng/Areas/Croatia/Croatia-criminalisation-of-solidarity-190998
    #Croatie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #solidarité #délit_de_solidarité

    • La Croatie criminalise la solidarité

      6 novembre — 14h15 : Le 23 octobre, la plate-forme 112, qui réunit de nombreuses associations d’aide aux réfugiés, a appelé le Premier ministre Andrej Plenković et le ministre de l’Intérieur Davor Božinović à suspendre les attaques judiciaires en cours contre les associations de solidarité, qui se sont multipliées ces derniers mois. Dans le même temps, la majorité des médias croates, notamment le quotidien Večernji List multiplient les articles et les éditoriaux très hostiles aux réfugiés, réclamant parfois la création d’un mur sur la frontière avec la Bosnie-Herzégovine.

      via Courrier des Balkans : https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Bosnie-police-renforts-frontieres

    • Croatie : sale temps pour les ONG d’aide aux réfugiés

      Les bénévoles et employés d’ONG d’aide aux réfugiés en Croatie sont confrontés quasiment tous les jours à des intimidations, dénonce le réseau de médias européens Euractiv. Des menaces anonymes et actes de vandalisme qui font suite aux tentatives du ministère de l’Intérieur de criminaliser les activités de ces organisations humanitaires.

      Le ministère de l’Intérieur a récemment refusé de prolonger son accord de coopération avec le Centre pour les études de la paix (CMS), une organisation qui s’occupe des réfugiés et demandeurs d’asile depuis quinze ans. Suite à cette décision, le CMS est désormais interdit de se rendre dans les centres d’accueil, tandis que ses bénévoles ne peuvent plus enseigner le croate ni fournir une aide juridique aux réfugiés qui suivent un parcours d’intégration.

      L’ONG Are You Syrious (AYS), qui travaille avec les réfugiés depuis 2015, a quant à elle vu ses bureaux vandalisés à plusieurs reprises au cours des dernières semaines. Les murs et un véhicule de l’organisation ont été tagués. Lors d’attaques précédentes, des briques avaient été jetés sur les fenêtres et les véhicules de l’organisation.

      Des attaques qui se produisent alors que les discours de haine à l’encontre des réfugiés se généralisent en Croatie et dans le reste de l’Europe. Pour Sara Kekuš (CMS), citée par Euractiv, c’est résultat de « la politique européenne actuelle envers les réfugiés [...] que la droite extrême qualifie fréquemment de migrants illégaux et présente comme une menace pour toute l’Europe », déclare-t-elle.

      AYS est également l’objet d’intimidations sur les réseaux sociaux avec des messages les accusant d’être « à la solde de Soros pour islamiser l’Europe », d’aider « les terroristes et les violeurs », et les menaçant de « punitions conséquentes ». Mi-novembre, le Centre pour l’intégration, qui dépend d’AYS, et son entrepôt à Novi Zagreb ont été vandalisés avec un graffiti « Les immigrants ne sont pas les bienvenus » inscrit sur un mur et « Fuck Isis » tagué sur leur véhicule. « Tout cela a lieu, alors que le ministre de l’Intérieur Davor Božinović a déclaré au Parlement que notre organisation était impliquée dans d’obscures activités de trafic », rappelle Asja Korbar d’AYS.

      Le ministère de l’Intérieur a exercé des pressions sur le CMS et AYS après que ces deux ONG ont publié des témoignages de récurrentes violences policières à l’encontre des réfugiés. La situation s’est détériorée après la mort de Madini Husini, une fillette qui a perdu la vie le 21 novembre 2017 le long de la voie ferrée Tovarnik-Šid, près de la frontière serbe. « Quand on s’est saisi de l’affaire, le ministère de l’Intérieur a commencé à nous criminaliser », explique Sara Kekuš. « Il s’est mis à associer notre organisation à des trafiquants et à criminaliser notre travail plutôt que d’enquêter sur cette mort et de résoudre l’affaire. »

      Les déclarations du ministère de l’Intérieur ont été fermement condamnées par la médiatrice de la Réublique, Lora Vidović. « Les trafiquants sont les ennemis des droits humains et constituent une menace pour les migrants, ils ne doivent donc pas être associés aux ONG qui agissent conformément aux lois croates », a-t-elle affirmé, avant de conclure : « Je suis sûre qu’il ne s’agit que d’une poignée d’individus et que la majorité des citoyens condamne ces violences, mais il est très important que les institutions fassent passer le même message et poursuivent les responsables ».

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Croatie-ONG-refugies

    • MUP Hrvatske odbio produžiti saradnju sa volonterima

      Hrvatsko Ministarstvo unutrašnjih poslova odbilo je da produži ugovor o saradnji udruženju “Are You Syrious” koje je u prihvatilištu za tražioce međunarodne pomoći pomagalo djeci migranata i izbjeglica u učenju jezika, kulture...

      Isto se desilo krajem prošle godine Centru za mirovne studije.

      Zajedničko za ova dva udruženja je što su oštro kritizirala MUP zbog odnosa prema migrantima na granici.

      Iz MUP-a poručuju - nisu to jedina udruženja, ima i drugih koja se bave istim poslom.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdrNiIPeY1w

      http://balkans.aljazeera.net/video/mup-hrvatske-odbio-produziti-saradnju-sa-volonterima

  • It Takes a Village: Despite Challenges, Migrant Groups Lead Development in Senegal

    For generations, migrants have emigrated from Senegal, particularly from in and around the Senegal River Valley along the country’s borders with Mauritania and Mali. Young people from the Peul (particularly its Toucouleur subgroup) and Soninké ethnic groups first left to pursue economic opportunities around West Africa and Central Africa. Later, migration to France became a popular method for supporting families and improving social status in origin communities, and migrants today contribute a substantial amount in social and financial capital to development in Senegal. Remittances are essential to livelihoods, making up almost 14 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017—the fifth-highest share in Africa.

    Widespread Senegalese migration to France first began with temporary workers. As their stays became more permanent, they brought their families to live with them, typically in communities on the outskirts of Paris and other major cities. Once settled in their new communities, they established hometown associations (HTAs), largely to support development back in Senegal.

    Increasing barriers to free movement for current and former French colonial subjects that began in the 1970s—and further restrictions on migration more recently—have made life for West African migrants and would-be migrants more difficult. As a result, migrants and their HTAs have been forced to adapt. Meanwhile, in the face of shrinking income flows, some HTAs have begun to professionalize their operations and work more strategically, moving beyond construction projects to ones that seek to foster economic development.

    This article, based on the author’s Fulbright-funded research in Senegal in 2016-17, explores the impact of policy changes in France on Senegalese migrants and the activities of HTAs, and how these shifts influence development and quality of life in migrants’ origin communities in the Senegal River Valley. As the European Union incorporates support for development into migration partnerships with African countries, in hopes of reducing spontaneous migration to Europe, the work of HTAs holds important lessons for actors on both sides.

    From Colonial Ties to Migrant Arrivals

    France, which colonized large swaths of West Africa starting in the late 1800s, first became a destination for economic migrants from modern-day Senegal during and after the colonial period. For example, West Africans fought for France in both world wars and many remained in France afterwards. After World War II, France recruited migrants from its colonial empire to reconstruct the country and work in its factories. These pull factors, coupled with droughts in the Sahel region during the 1970s and 1980s, accelerated the number of young, low-skilled West Africans migrating to France during the mid- and late 20th century. As of mid-2017, about 120,000 Senegalese lived in France, according to United Nations estimates. France is the top destination for Senegalese migrants after The Gambia, and it is also the top origin for formal remittances arriving in Senegal.

    Economically motivated migration became an important source of income in rural eastern Senegal, with France frequently seen as the ideal destination. Even though migrants in Europe often worked in factories, construction, security, or sanitation, their salaries were substantial compared to those of family members back in Senegal, who generally worked as subsistence farmers or animal herders. As result of remittances, families were able to construct larger, more durable homes, afford healthier diets, and increase their consumption of other goods, particularly electronics such as cellphones, refrigerators, fans, and televisions.

    In addition, from the 1960s onward, Senegalese migrants in France began to form HTAs to support their origin communities. HTAs are formal or informal organizations of migrants from the same town, region, or ethnic group living outside their region or country of origin. These organizations sponsor cultural activities in destination communities, foster solidarity among migrants, and/or finance development projects in hometowns. HTA leadership or traditional authorities in the origin community then manage these funds and related projects on the ground. While migrants from many countries form HTAs, West Africans maintain particularly close social, political, and financial ties with their hometowns through these organizations.

    For West African migrants, social pressures compel HTA participation and members are also traditionally required to pay dues toward a communal fund. Once enough money has been amassed, the organization funds a public goods project in the hometown, such as the construction of a school, mosque, cemetery, health center, post office, or water system. These migrant-led development projects have been crucial to communities across the Senegal River Valley, which are often far from urban centers, markets, or infrastructure such as paved roads, and rarely receive contact from the central government or assistance from local government actors. As a result, migrant projects often fill the void by providing most of the public goods enjoyed by these communities.

    Senegalese HTAs thus contribute immensely to human development and quality of life in communities in this region. The impact of this work, as well as of household-level support provided by remittances, continued motivating young people to leave eastern Senegal for France, as well as regional destinations, during the mid-20th century.

    Policy Changes Drive Migration Shifts

    Beginning in the early 1980s, France began to enact a series of restrictive policies limiting low-skilled economic immigration and creating barriers to naturalization and family reunification. These changes have continued in recent decades, raising questions about the future of the migration and development cycle now cemented in the Senegal River Valley.

    Prior to the mid-1970s, Senegalese migrants freely circulated into and out of France as current, and eventually former, colonial subjects, following independence in 1960. France first introduced limits to Senegalese immigration in 1974 with a law requiring residence permits for all migrant workers.

    Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, a series of laws including the Bonnet and Pasqua Laws restricted entry, family reunification, and naturalization for many immigrants. Although some of these provisions were later abolished, they led to several high-profile deportation operations targeting West Africans and laid the groundwork for future restrictive French immigration legislation.

    Several bilateral accords between France and Senegal over the years also focused on limiting economic migration and facilitating return for irregular migrants already in France. The evolution of these policies reflects a shift from promoting low-skilled economic immigration to satisfy labor shortages, to emphasizing high-skilled and temporary immigrants such as students.

    During the author’s fieldwork, interviewees cited many of these policies as having substantial effects on migration and development in their communities. The 1990s, the turn of the 21st century, and the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy were the most common turning points identified when migration and development in eastern Senegal first began to shift (see Table 1). Participants emphasized the introduction of French visas and residence permits for Senegalese immigrants as the first major barriers to migration. Subsequent important political moments for participants included deportation operations in the 1980s and then-Interior Minister Sarkozy’s famous 2005 speech on immigration choisie, the government’s policy of carefully selecting immigrants who would best integrate and contribute to the French economy and society.

    At the same time, external political changes were not the only factors influencing these phenomena in the Senegal River Valley. Many participants also cited social and economic events in France as having negative consequences for Senegalese migrants and their development activities. The global economic crisis beginning in 2008 led to the disappearance of employment opportunities, including across Europe. This downturn thus decreased incomes and the ability of migrants to send money back to families and contribute to HTA projects.

    Participants reported that the mechanization of automobile production and other manufacturing, a source of employment for many West Africans for decades, compounded these effects. In cities such as Paris, with tight and expensive housing markets, these economic conditions created additional challenges to saving money. Individuals in eastern Senegal had traditionally seen France as a promised land offering easy income and employment opportunities to anyone who made the journey, regardless of French skills or education level. However, this view changed for many as challenges became more frequent.

    Beyond economic changes, shifts in attitudes within French society also affected the Senegalese diaspora. Participants noted an increase in Islamophobia and a growing climate of mistrust and intolerance toward migrants in recent years, which have only exacerbated difficulties for West Africans in France.

    Further, political and economic changes in Senegal also affected diaspora-led projects and migration patterns in the region. The administration of President Macky Sall, who took office in 2012, has decentralized development and other administrative responsibilities, delegating them to regional and local authorities. In addition, Sall’s national development scheme, Plan Sénégal Émergent (PSE), aims to provide alternatives to irregular migration from a country with high youth unemployment and a legacy of emigration. Participants cited these domestic shifts as significant, although many agreed it was too early to judge their influence on the quality of life in their communities.

    Migration and Development: Perceptions and Reality

    Study participants said they view these international and domestic political, economic, and social shifts as affecting migration flows and development efforts in their communities. Though views on whether emigration is rising or falling varied, many participants agreed that irregular migration was on the rise. Further, most participants predicted continued interest in migration among young people absent alternative employment options in the Senegal River Valley.

    Whether because of limits on authorized entry into France, difficulties upon arrival, or other motivations, migrants from eastern Senegal have diversified their destinations in recent years. Some migrants have eschewed traditional receiving countries throughout West and Central Africa or France in favor of destinations such as Italy, Spain, the United States, and even several South American countries including Argentina and Brazil.

    Limits on economic migration to France and elsewhere in Europe also impacted migrant-led development in Senegalese municipalities. Interviewees held diverse opinions on whether HTA activities were as frequent or as effective as they had been several years or even decades ago. Some said they observed consistent support for community-wide projects and noted innovative strategies used to combat potential lack of purchasing power or access to funding. However, many study participants who indicated a decrease in HTA support for their villages said they believed that migrants contributed less frequently to community-level projects, instead prioritizing maintaining household remittance levels.

    When asked about specific migrant-funded development activities, many cited completed and ongoing public goods initiatives led by their village’s HTA. When HTAs in this region began their work in the mid-20th century, mosques and water systems were frequent initial projects, with water access evolving from simple manual wells to electric- or solar-powered deep-drill wells connected to taps throughout the municipality. Today, many basic needs have been fulfilled thanks to years of HTA support, and some migrants have more recently turned to renovating and expanding these structures.

    Some HTAs have stagnated in recent years, while others have moved beyond a public goods focus to new innovative strategies of promoting development in their hometowns. Many interviewees cited a need for income- and job-generating projects to promote local economic growth and incentivize young people to remain in their home communities.

    Several HTAs in the author’s study sites piloted this type of project, including the construction of a bakery in one community and a carpentry training center in another. The bakery, built in early 2017 thanks to funds from migrants in France and their French donors, promised to provide the town with affordable, high-quality bread and employment for several people. Meanwhile, the carpentry center offered young men the opportunity to train with experienced carpenters on machines provided by a French donor. This model not only provided professional skills to young people, but also produced locally built furniture for the surrounding community to purchase.

    Within migrant households, participants noted that remittances continued to support consumption and home construction. Beyond the purchase of food, electronics, and health care, remittances also defrayed children’s educational costs, including school supplies and fees. Household members, particularly migrants’ wives, perceived both positive and negative impacts of migration on household-level development. On the one hand, remittances finance the purchase of tools and animals, the construction of irrigation infrastructure, or the hiring of employees to expand the scale of the household’s work and thus its earnings. However, the loss of the migrant’s labor to tend to animals or fields also hurts households without enough adolescents, adult children, or other family members to maintain these activities.

    Nonmigrant households had their own ideas about changes in migrant-led development. Though they did not receive remittances, individuals in these households largely perceived that community-wide development activities benefited them, as public structures built with HTAs’ support were accessible to everyone. However, despite receiving occasional financial gifts from migrant neighbors or friends, some nonmigrant households expressed feeling dissatisfied with or excluded from development happening around them.

    Effective HTA Adaptations and Development Strategies

    Certain HTAs and individual migrants have been able to overcome challenges due to decreased income or barriers to authorized employment in France and other host countries. Individuals in origin communities perceived strategies modifying HTA structures, funding sources, and project types as most effective in continuing development efforts.

    One particularly effective change was the professionalization of these organizations. HTAs that moved from traditional leadership hierarchies and divisions of labor to more formal, structured ones were better able to form financial and logistical partnerships and expand the scope of their projects. Associations with clearly defined goals, leadership, project plans, and project evaluation were able to attract the cooperation of French government entities such as the Program to Support Solidarity Initiatives for Development (PAISD for its French acronym) or other international donors. Thus, despite a potential decrease in income from individuals, many HTAs began supplementing member dues with larger funding sources. Formalized structures also promoted better project management, evaluation, and long-term sustainability.

    Another key HTA adaptation was the idea of becoming community or village associations, as opposed to migrant associations. The frequent use of the term association de migrants can have a top-down connotation, implying that the diaspora unilaterally provides ideas, support, and manpower for development efforts without important input about living conditions from communities in Senegal. For HTAs that started conceptualizing themselves as a unified development organization with a branch abroad and a branch in Senegal, this strategy seemed to improve communication and promote inclusion, thus responding better to current needs and giving the local community more of a stake in projects.

    A gradual trend toward more investment- and training-focused projects has also seen success. The basic human development needs of many communities have been satisfied after decades of hard work; still, conditions are not sufficient to keep the next generation from leaving. While the bakery and the carpentry center are key examples of productive initiatives, more support and focus on this type of project could bring meaningful change to local economies and markets. Many local organizations and collectives are already doing quality work in agriculture, herding, or transportation, and increased funding from HTAs could greatly expand the scale of their existing activities.

    Meanwhile, women’s associations in rural Senegal do not always receive HTA support, representing a potential area for expansion. West African HTAs are traditionally dominated by men, with male leadership at origin and abroad. In Senegal, economic activity is frequently divided by gender and women run many of their own associations, often focused on agriculture or microsavings. However, these structures do not receive much or any support from female migrants in France, who are less likely to be in the labor force than male Senegalese and thus might not be able to send money back to Senegal. Given these conditions, many well-organized and highly motivated women’s agricultural collectives would greatly benefit from increased migrant support.

    Finally, the federalization of community-level HTAs into larger regional organizations is an increasingly common strategy. This approach allows migrants to pool their resources and knowledge to tackle larger-scale development questions, despite economic or administrative challenges they may individually face in their host communities.

    The Future of Migrant-Led Development in Eastern Senegal

    Understanding the complex relationship among emigration, HTA development activities, and political, economic, and social changes in both France and at home is essential to the future of development in eastern Senegal. This study suggests that while HTA activities may be affected by political shifts domestically and abroad, economic changes on the sending and receiving sides are equally important and may be felt more immediately by the population at origin.

    Senegalese HTAs can no longer depend on traditional fundraising and project management strategies. These organizations must adapt to current and emerging economic and political conditions hindering legal employment and income accumulation among migrants in France and across Europe. Inclusive project planning that considers the needs and perspectives of the local population, as well as openness to productive investments and collaboration with outside partners are key steps to sustaining the work of HTAs.

    Current European efforts such as the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) are incorporating development support into partnerships with countries including Senegal to try to stem migration. While the efficacy of migrant-driven projects and even state-led development activities in preventing emigration remains to be seen—particularly given the social pressures and cycle of dependence at play in this region—harnessing the power, expertise, and motivation of the diaspora is essential for the interests of actors on both continents. EU projects and dialogues that do not include African diasporas and their HTAs may not adequately address the phenomena occurring in regions such as rural Senegal. Building on migrant-led development work is a crucial step in changing conditions that contribute to emigration from this region.

    https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/it-takes-village-despite-challenges-migrant-groups-lead-development
    #Sénégal #développement #migrations #remittances #France #politique_migratoire #associations_locales

  • The Grand Refugee Hotel: The Sequel to My Grandfather’s Germany

    On a visit to one of Germany’s most radical refugee integration experiments, U.S. migration journalist and academic Daniela Gerson went in search of her family history and found an increasingly uneasy relationship between past and present.

    At the #Grand_Hotel_Cosmopolis, an African teenager served cappuccinos to European travelers below clocks telling the time in Kabul, Damascus, Grozny and other global centers of crisis.

    Lamin Saidy – sporting a style he described as “American proper” with tight jeans, lots of earrings and a big smile – was 13 when he fled violence in the Gambia. After he arrived in Germany as a refugee, he was told about this place, where tourists, asylum seekers and artists all share one building. The hotel is run by staff composed of a core group of resident German artists and a diverse team that includes volunteers who may be refugees like Saidy or local college students who want to join the experiment.

    Then, in the fall of 2016, at a meeting in Washington, D.C., on immigration, a public artist gave a presentation on cultural integration initiatives in #Augsburg like none I had seen in more than a decade of reporting on immigration in the United States and Europe.

    The artist flashed images of the migrant job center, cafe and immigrant rights organization called Tuer an Tuer, which helped convince the city to take a stance against large institutional centers. Instead, all asylum seekers in Augsburg have been housed in residences of 100 or fewer people. She also showed photos of the colorful, boundary-bending Grand Hotel. This was Augsburg? It was definitely not the city of my imagination.

    Soon after, my mother forwarded me an invitation. In summer 2017, there was going to be a gathering of Jews from Augsburg and their families to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the synagogue. I set off, eager to explore my family’s past and to see if a city I associated with historic brutality had succeeded in building a more welcoming society as a result.
    A Welcoming Nation

    When I arrived in Munich, the Bavarian capital, I borrowed a friend’s bike and pedaled down to the vast main train station. In 2015, in what was known as the Welcoming Summer, more than 1 million asylum seekers came to Germany and the station was full of arriving migrants. There was such an outpouring of public support for them that they had to close the station to donations.

    Two years later, the backlash was mounting. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government had taken steps to slow the tide of arrivals, limiting countries from which people are eligible for asylum and speeding up deportations of people whose applications had been rejected.

    Munich’s size has helped mask the impact of the refugee influx. Augsburg, founded more than 2,000 years ago, is a different story. With a population approaching 300,000, and a popular destination for refugees and foreign laborers, it was a contender to become the first majority minority city in Germany. Now almost 50 percent residents have a “migration background.”

    After a quick train trip an hour east of Munich, I biked across Augsburg’s picture-perfect main square of churches and beer gardens, passing by women strolling in hijabs and Chechnyan kids racing in circles on scooters. And near one of the largest cathedrals, down a cobblestone street, I found the Grand Hotel Cosmopolis. On first impression, it hardly felt grand, but rather like the 1960s old-age home it once was, converted into a lively Berlin artists’ squatter house.

    In a sun-drenched garden, I joined two of the artist founders and a refugee artist for a vegetarian lunch cooked in the communal basement kitchen. As we ate, they explained that the building had been abandoned for six years when some local artists spotted it and inquired about renting it out as a temporary exhibition space. But the owners, a Protestant social enterprise, said they had already entered into negotiations with the government to house asylum seekers.

    That’s when the idea came up to merge the two concepts, and add a hotel. The artists take care of the hotel, cafe and ateliers. The social enterprise, with government support, provides housing for the migrants.

    Three days after the first asylum seekers moved in, it became clear to the artists this was not just a utopian experiment in aesthetics and communal living when the first deportation letter for one of its residents arrived. “Many of the artists stopped their artistic work,” one of my guides, Susa Gunzner, told me. Instead, they focused all of their energies on learning about immigration laws and how to help the refugees.

    After lunch, I toured the 12 uniquely designed hotel rooms: One was bordello hot pink, another constructed to feel like a container ship, a third had a forest growing through it. My stark room, with a long wooden bench of a bed and simple, low table, struck me as a very elegant prison cell.

    Three days after the first asylum seekers moved in, it became clear to the artists this was not just a utopian experiment in aesthetics and communal living when the first deportation letter for one of its residents arrived.

    Gunzner, who teamed up with an Iranian artist to create the room, told me it symbolized freedom. The room is a homage to a Persian woman who moved with her family to Europe at the beginning of the 20th century and later became a spy against the Nazis. Gunzner pointed out illustrations of trees on the wall from Shiraz. “We are always trying to enrich each other and find out – sometimes through very slow processes – who the other person is,” she told me.

    Left on my own, I walked downstairs to the refugee floor, and passed a half-dozen or so baby carriages crowding the stairwell. I had been warned I was only allowed to intrude if an asylum seeker invited me in. The founders of the hotel like to say they “only have guests – with and without asylum.” I was also struck by the strangeness of putting us all in one building as fellow travelers: people on holiday rubbing elbows with people who have been running for their lives.

    Not far from Augsburg, in the aftermath of World War II, my other grandparents – on my father’s side – landed in a very different type of refugee camp, set up by the United Nations and largely funded by the United States. They were Polish Jews whose families had been slaughtered in the streets and in concentration camps. They survived the war in Siberian labor camps and in Uzbek villages, where my father was born.

    In the desperate limbo of the displaced persons camp, they created a community – my grandfather took part in local governance; my father remembers a pet dog, Blackie, a synagogue and a school. What would my grandmother have said if artists lived upstairs and American tourists stayed for a week or two, temporarily sharing her first home outside Poland, the place where my father formed his first memories? Would she have appreciated the attention, or would she have felt like a monkey in the zoo?
    The Shadow of the Past

    It was not the first time that I had traveled to Germany and discovered echoes of my family’s past in my present, as I grapple with issues of migration, persecution and intolerance today as a journalist and academic.

    https://newsdeeply.imgix.net/20181008083027/fohrenwald_Gerson_family_19482.jpeg

    A decade ago, I spent a little over a year researching contemporary guest worker policies in Berlin and Bonn. Despite my last living relative who survived the Holocaust reprimanding me that Germany was no place for a nice Jewish girl, I fell for the country’s bike and cafe culture, numerous lakes and deliberate approach to its troubled history. I almost always felt welcome as a Jew. Even my neighbor who was a neo-Nazi was dating a Venezuelan and liked to come over and chat with me. Another neighbor, whose grandfather had been active in Hitler Youth, became one of my closest friends.

    Though I was sometimes disturbed by the recent stance that Germany was not a country of immigration, as well as the focus on integration – this notion some leaders interpreted as demanding that newcomers should cede their other cultural identities – I, in many ways, felt that Germany had dealt with its past in ways that could be a lesson to all nations.

    Ten years later, I visited a Germany increasingly conflicted about its moral obligations as it confronted the refugee crisis. And in Augsburg the juxtaposition of this tolerant, generous nation and the pernicious shadow of its intolerant past were in stark relief.

    I left the Grand Hotel on Sunday morning to meet other descendants of Augsburg Jews in the glorious sanctuary of the synagogue built in 1917. The descendants of those who fled the Nazis, or had the foresight or luck to leave before the war, had traveled from South Africa, Norway, Israel and across the United States. Civil leaders turned out in large numbers to pledge “never again.” It was a familiar message. But the synagogue’s attic museum reminded me how quickly a nation can shift toward hate. For the first time, it felt less like a history lesson and more like a warning that struck very close to home.

    In Augsburg, the juxtaposition of this tolerant, generous nation, and the pernicious shadow of its intolerant past were in stark relief.

    Created in 1985, the Augsburg synagogue houses the first independent museum in Germany dedicated to Jewish history. It tells the story of how there were only 1,500 Jews in Augsburg when the Nazis came, but they enjoyed comfortable local prominence. The synagogue is a clear sign of that position. Congregants built the sanctuary – one of the most beautiful I have ever seen, with its 95ft (29m) dome and an architectural style that spans from Byzantine and Oriental elements to Art Noveau – investing in what they imagined would be a vibrant future in Augsburg.

    I was struck by a slide titled “Integration through Achievement.” The museum describes the dreams of these Jews, and it reminded me of the aspirations of many of the asylum seekers I met during my stay in Augsburg. They did not want just to live free from danger, they wanted an opportunity to be productive, successful German citizens. Chillingly, the museum concludes, the local Jewish communities were “extinguished totally.”
    Looking Back, Looking Forward

    In the year since my visit to the synagogue, I have covered U.S. authorities tearing apart asylum-seeking families as part of a larger, often vicious, crackdown. While I wish I could at least point to Germany today as a model of how to do things differently, the picture is unfortunately not so black and white.

    In German elections last fall, the far-right anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party – whose senior member maintains that the country should be more positive about its Nazi past – won 13 percent of the popular vote. According to current polls, the party is on track to win around a similar proportion of votes in upcoming regional parliamentary elections in Bavaria on October 14.

    This year, the leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s sister party in Bavaria, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, pushed her to clamp down on border policy. In the eastern German city of Chemnitz, far-right protests against immigrants in recent weeks were accompanied by xenophobic tirades.

    In August Seehofer instituted the beginning of a new plan in Bavaria that could soon transform how asylum seekers are treated. In what he described as a national model, the goal is to expedite rapid deportations. Most new asylum seekers will be transported to institutions that can house more than 1,000 people, where they will not be in contact with anyone who is not an official or a lawyer or has specific permission.

    “That’s the opposite of what we tried to do in the last years, now we are going two steps back,” said Tuelay Ates-Brunner, the managing director of Tuer an Tuer. “For people who will be rejected, nobody will see them, nobody will know them.”

    “My first impression was that I felt like I was in a new world,” Saidy told me to the beat of Afro Pop on the jukebox. “The hotel is kind of incomparable.”

    The Grand Hotel is located in Augsburg, an ancient German city on Bavaria’s tourist-trod Romantic Road. It is also the place where my mother’s father was born. He was one of the first boys to have a bar mitzvah in the ornate, domed synagogue in Augsburg – just a few years before the Jews were forced to flee or perished at the hands of the Nazis.

    Nearly a century later, I went to stay at the Grand Hotel – one of Germany’s most radical refugee integration experiments.

    Like so many inherited homelands, Augsburg was a mythical place for me, formed from family memories I had never lived – portraits of stern ancestors, the men with elaborate waxy mustaches, the buxom women with beautifully tailored clothes and lace collars. My Augsburg froze when the Nazis took over.


    https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/articles/2018/10/08/the-grand-refugee-hotel-the-sequel-to-my-grandfathers-germany

    #Allemagne #hôtel #réfugiés #travail #migrations #asile

  • Salvini: chiusura entro le 21 dei negozi etnici. Confesercenti: no a discriminazioni

    Nel #decreto_sicurezza ci sarà un emendamento per prevedere «la chiusura entro le 21 dei negozietti etnici che diventano ritrovo di spacciatori e di gente che fa casino». Lo ha detto il ministro dell’Interno Matteo Salvini in diretta Facebook sottolineando che «non è un’iniziativa contro i negozi stranieri ma per limitare abusi».

    Market etnici, Confesercenti: no a norme discriminatorie
    Contro l’iniziativa annunciata da Salvini si schiera Confesercenti. «Non si può fare una norma che discrimina determinati imprenditori rispetto ad altri. Chi ha un’attività commerciale ha diritti e doveri: il dovere di rispettare le regole e il diritto di restare aperti, sia che siano esercizi gestiti da stranieri, sia che siano esercizi gestiti da italiani» dichiara Mauro Bussoni segretario generale della Confesercenti nazionale.

    Codacons: negozi etnici utili per acquisti “last minute”
    Per il Codacons la chiusura dei “negozietti etnici” deve essere prevista solo nei centri storici delle città italiane e in tutti quei casi in cui gli esercizi in questione
    creino degrado. «Crediamo che in materia di commercio e sicurezza non sia corretto generalizzare - spiega il presidente Carlo Rienzi -. Tali negozi etnici sono molto utili ai consumatori, perché rimangono aperti più a lungo degli altri esercizi e commercializzano una moltitudine di prodotti di diverse categorie, consentendo ai cittadini di fare acquisti “last minute”. Certamente la loro apertura va vietata in tutti quei casi in cui gli esercizi in questione creino disordini, e in modo assoluto nei centri storici delle città, perché la loro presenza alimenta il degrado urbano e danneggia le bellezze artistiche come nel caso di Roma, dove alcune vie del centro sono state trasformate in #suk» conclude Rienzi.


    https://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/notizie/2018-10-11/salvini-dl-sicurezza-chiusura-entro-21-negozi-etnici--160739.shtml?uuid

    #magasins_ethniques #ethnicité #negozi_etnici #fermeture #it_has_begun #discriminations #géographie_culturelle #Italie #criminalisation #Italie #sécurité #drogue #magasins #negozi_stranieri #magasins_étrangers #terminologie #mots #vocabulaire

    #lois_raciales?

    • Italy’s Matteo Salvini says ’little ethnic shops’ should close by 9pm

      Minister calls late-night stores mostly run by foreigners ‘meeting place for drug deals’

      Italy’s far-right interior minister has come under fire for a proposal that would force what he calls “little ethnic shops” to close by 9pm.

      Matteo Salvini added the measure to his immigrant-targeting security decree, arguing late-night grocery stores, mostly run by foreigners, are “a meeting place for drug deals and people who raise hell”.

      He claimed the initiative was not specifically aimed at foreigners and was merely a way to “limit the abuses of certain shops”.

      Thousands of grocery stores across Italy are run by immigrants, mainly people from Bangladesh and India, many of whom bought premises for a low price during the financial crisis.

      Mauro Bussoni, the general secretary of Confesercenti, a retail association, said: “You can’t make a law that discriminates some entrepreneurs over others.

      “Those who have a commercial activity have rights and duties: the duty to respect rules and the right to remain open, whether the activity is managed by a foreigner or an Italian.”

      Carlo Rienzi, the president of Codacons, a consumer association, said it was unfair to “generalise”, while noting shops that stayed open late were essential for people seeking “last-minute” purchases. But he agreed there should be a clampdown on outlets that have “created disorder” or “degraded” historical town centres.

      Andrea Marcucci, a politician from the centre-left Democratic party, said imposing curfews was among the premises of “a regime”.

      If the proposal became law, an industry source said, it should also apply to Italian-owned outlets, including bars, while security measures must also extend to foreign business owners.

      “Some say that Italian people go into their shop late at night and try to extort money from them,” said the source. “But they are too afraid to report such incidents to the police.”

      Salvini’s security decree, unveiled in September, includes plans to abolish key protections for immigrants and make it easier for them to be deported.

      On Thursday, he reiterated a plan to hire 10,000 more police officers, an initiative funded by money that previously paid for migrant reception and integration projects. Parliament has until mid-November to debate and modify the decree before it becomes law.

      Salvini’s latest proposal comes after Luigi Di Maio, his coalition partner, said measures would be introduced by the end of the year to limit Sunday trading in an attempt to preserve family traditions.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/12/italy-matteo-salvini-little-ethnic-shops-foreigners?CMP=share_btn_tw
      #désordre #couvre-feu #décret
      ping @isskein

  • C.I.A. Drone Mission, Curtailed by Obama, Is Expanded in Africa Under Trump

    The C.I.A. is poised to conduct secret drone strikes against Qaeda and Islamic State insurgents from a newly expanded air base deep in the Sahara, making aggressive use of powers that were scaled back during the Obama administration and restored by President Trump.

    Late in his presidency, Barack Obama sought to put the military in charge of drone attacks after a backlash arose over a series of highly visible strikes, some of which killed civilians. The move was intended, in part, to bring greater transparency to attacks that the United States often refused to acknowledge its role in.

    But now the C.I.A. is broadening its drone operations, moving aircraft to northeastern Niger to hunt Islamist militants in southern Libya. The expansion adds to the agency’s limited covert missions in eastern Afghanistan for strikes in Pakistan, and in southern Saudi Arabia for attacks in Yemen.

    Nigerien and American officials said the C.I.A. had been flying drones on surveillance missions for several months from a corner of a small commercial airport in Dirkou. Satellite imagery shows that the airport has grown significantly since February to include a new taxiway, walls and security posts.

    One American official said the drones had not yet been used in lethal missions, but would almost certainly be in the near future, given the growing threat in southern Libya. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the secretive operations.

    A C.I.A. spokesman, Timothy Barrett, declined to comment. A Defense Department spokeswoman, Maj. Sheryll Klinkel, said the military had maintained a base at the Dirkou airfield for several months but did not fly drone missions from there.

    The drones take off from Dirkou at night — typically between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. — buzzing in the clear, starlit desert sky. A New York Times reporter saw the gray aircraft — about the size of Predator drones, which are 27 feet long — flying at least three times over six days in early August. Unlike small passenger planes that land occasionally at the airport, the drones have no blinking lights signaling their presence.

    “All I know is they’re American,” Niger’s interior minister, Mohamed Bazoum, said in an interview. He offered few other details about the drones.

    Dirkou’s mayor, Boubakar Jerome, said the drones had helped improve the town’s security. “It’s always good. If people see things like that, they’ll be scared,” Mr. Jerome said.

    Mr. Obama had curtailed the C.I.A.’s lethal role by limiting its drone flights, notably in Yemen. Some strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere that accidentally killed civilians, stirring outrage among foreign diplomats and military officials, were shielded because of the C.I.A.’s secrecy.

    As part of the shift, the Pentagon was given the unambiguous lead for such operations. The move sought, in part, to end an often awkward charade in which the United States would not concede its responsibility for strikes that were abundantly covered by news organizations and tallied by watchdog groups. However, the C.I.A. program was not fully shut down worldwide, as the agency and its supporters in Congress balked.

    The drone policy was changed last year, after Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director at the time, made a forceful case to President Trump that the agency’s broader counterterrorism efforts were being needlessly constrained. The Dirkou base was already up and running by the time Mr. Pompeo stepped down as head of the C.I.A. in April to become Mr. Trump’s secretary of state.

    The Pentagon’s Africa Command has carried out five drone strikes against Qaeda and Islamic State militants in Libya this year, including one two weeks ago. The military launches its MQ-9 Reaper drones from bases in Sicily and in Niamey, Niger’s capital, 800 miles southwest of Dirkou.

    But the C.I.A. base is hundreds of miles closer to southwestern Libya, a notorious haven for Al Qaeda and other extremist groups that also operate in the Sahel region of Niger, Chad, Mali and Algeria. It is also closer to southern Libya than a new $110 million drone base in Agadez, Niger, 350 miles west of Dirkou, where the Pentagon plans to operate armed Reaper drone missions by early next year.

    Another American official said the C.I.A. began setting up the base in January to improve surveillance of the region, partly in response to an ambush last fall in another part of Niger that killed four American troops. The Dirkou airfield was labeled a United States Air Force base as a cover, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential operational matters.

    The C.I.A. operation in Dirkou is burdened by few, if any, of the political sensitivities that the United States military confronts at its locations, said one former American official involved with the project.

    Even so, security analysts said, it is not clear why the United States needs both military and C.I.A. drone operations in the same general vicinity to combat insurgents in Libya. France also flies Reaper drones from Niamey, but only on unarmed reconnaissance missions.

    “I would be surprised that the C.I.A. would open its own base,” said Bill Roggio, editor of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Long War Journal, which tracks military strikes against militant groups.

    Despite American denials, a Nigerien security official said he had concluded that the C.I.A. launched an armed drone from the Dirkou base to strike a target in Ubari, in southern Libya, on July 25. The Nigerien security official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the classified program.

    A spokesman for the Africa Command, Maj. Karl Wiest, said the military did not carry out the Ubari strike.

    #Ubari is in the same region where the American military in March launched its first-ever drone attack against Qaeda militants in southern Libya. It is at the intersection of the powerful criminal and jihadist currents that have washed across Libya in recent years. Roughly equidistant from Libya’s borders with Niger, Chad and Algeria, the area’s seminomadic residents are heavily involved in the smuggling of weapons, drugs and migrants through the lawless deserts of southern Libya.

    Some of the residents have allied with Islamist militias, including Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which operates across Algeria, Mali, Niger and Libya.

    Dirkou, in northeast Niger, is an oasis town of a few thousand people in the open desert, bordered by a small mountain range. For centuries, it has been a key transit point for travelers crossing the Sahara. It helped facilitate the rise of Islam in West Africa in the 9th century, and welcomed salt caravans from the neighboring town of Bilma.

    The town has a handful of narrow, sandy roads. Small trees dot the horizon. Date and neem trees line the streets, providing shelter for people escaping the oppressive midday heat. There is a small market, where goods for sale include spaghetti imported from Libya. Gasoline is also imported from Libya and is cheaper than elsewhere in the country.

    The drones based in Dirkou are loud, and their humming and buzzing drowns out the bleats of goats and crows of roosters.

    “It stops me from sleeping,” said Ajimi Koddo, 45, a former migrant smuggler. “They need to go. They go in our village, and it annoys us too much.”

    Satellite imagery shows that construction started in February on a new compound at the Dirkou airstrip. Since then, the facility has been extended to include a larger paved taxiway and a clamshell tent connected to the airstrip — all features that are consistent with the deployment of small aircraft, possibly drones.

    Five defensive positions were set up around the airport, and there appear to be new security gates and checkpoints both to the compound and the broader airport.

    It’s not the first time that Washington has eyed with interest Dirkou’s tiny base. In the late 1980s, the United States spent $3.2 million renovating the airstrip in an effort to bolster Niger’s government against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, then the leader of Libya.

    Compared with other parts of Africa, the C.I.A.’s presence in the continent’s northwest is relatively light, according to a former State Department official who served in the region. In this part of Niger, the C.I.A. is also providing training and sharing intelligence, according to a Nigerien military intelligence document reviewed by The Times.

    The Nigerien security official said about a dozen American Green Berets were stationed earlier this year in #Dirkou — in a base separate from the C.I.A.’s — to train a special counterterrorism battalion of local forces. Those trainers left about three months ago, the official said.

    It is unlikely that they will return anytime soon. The Pentagon is considering withdrawing nearly all American commandos from Niger in the wake of the deadly October ambush that killed four United States soldiers.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/09/world/africa/cia-drones-africa-military.html
    #CIA #drones #Niger #Sahel #USA #Etats-Unis #EI #ISIS #Etat_islamique #sécurité #terrorisme #base_militaire

    • Le Sahel est-il une zone de #non-droit ?

      La CIA a posé ses valises dans la bande sahélo-saharienne. Le New-York Times l’a annoncé, le 9 septembre dernier. Le quotidien US, a révélé l’existence d’une #base_de_drones secrète non loin de la commune de Dirkou, dans le nord-est du Niger. Cette localité, enclavée, la première grande ville la plus proche est Agadez située à 570 km, est le terrain de tir parfait. Elle est éloignée de tous les regards, y compris des autres forces armées étrangères : France, Allemagne, Italie, présentes sur le sol nigérien. Selon un responsable américain anonyme interrogé par ce journal, les drones déployés à Dirkou n’avaient « pas encore été utilisés dans des missions meurtrières, mais qu’ils le seraient certainement dans un proche avenir, compte tenu de la menace croissante qui pèse sur le sud de la Libye. » Or, d’après les renseignements recueillis par l’IVERIS, ces assertions sont fausses, la CIA a déjà mené des opérations à partir de cette base. Ces informations apportent un nouvel éclairage et expliquent le refus catégorique et systématique de l’administration américaine de placer la force conjointe du G5 Sahel (Tchad, Mauritanie, Burkina-Faso, Niger, Mali) sous le chapitre VII de la charte des Nations Unies.
      L’installation d’une base de drones n’est pas une bonne nouvelle pour les peuples du Sahel, et plus largement de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, qui pourraient connaître les mêmes malheurs que les Afghans et les Pakistanais confrontés à la guerre des drones avec sa cohorte de victimes civiles, appelées pudiquement « dégâts collatéraux ».

      D’après le journaliste du NYT, qui s’est rendu sur place, les drones présents à Dirkou ressembleraient à des Predator, des aéronefs d’ancienne génération qui ont un rayon d’action de 1250 km. Il serait assez étonnant que l’agence de Langley soit équipée de vieux modèles alors que l’US Air Force dispose à Niamey et bientôt à Agadez des derniers modèles MQ-9 Reaper, qui, eux, volent sur une distance de 1850 km. A partir de cette base, la CIA dispose donc d’un terrain de tir étendu qui va de la Libye, au sud de l’Algérie, en passant par le Tchad, jusqu’au centre du Mali, au Nord du Burkina et du Nigéria…

      Selon deux sources militaires de pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest, ces drones ont déjà réalisé des frappes à partir de la base de Dirkou. Ces bombardements ont eu lieu en Libye. Il paraît important de préciser que le chaos existant dans ce pays depuis la guerre de 2011, ne rend pas ces frappes plus légales. Par ailleurs, ces mêmes sources suspectent la CIA d’utiliser Dirkou comme une prison secrète « si des drones peuvent se poser des avions aussi. Rien ne les empêche de transporter des terroristes de Libye exfiltrés. Dirkou un Guantanamo bis ? »

      En outre, il n’est pas impossible que ces drones tueurs aient été en action dans d’autres Etats limitrophes. Qui peut le savoir ? « Cette base est irrégulière, illégale, la CIA peut faire absolument tout ce qu’elle veut là-bas » rapporte un officier. De plus, comment faire la différence entre un MQ-9 Reaper de la CIA ou encore un de l’US Air Force, qui, elle, a obtenu l’autorisation d’armer ses drones (1). Encore que…

      En novembre 2017, le président Mahamadou Issoufou a autorisé les drones de l’US Air Force basés à Niamey, à frapper leurs cibles sur le territoire nigérien (2). Mais pour que cet agrément soit légal, il aurait fallu qu’il soit présenté devant le parlement, ce qui n’a pas été le cas. Même s’il l’avait été, d’une part, il le serait seulement pour l’armée US et pas pour la CIA, d’autre part, il ne serait valable que sur le sol nigérien et pas sur les territoires des pays voisins…

      Pour rappel, cette autorisation a été accordée à peine un mois après les événements de Tongo Tongo, où neuf militaires avaient été tués, cinq soldats nigériens et quatre américains. Cette autorisation est souvent présentée comme la conséquence de cette attaque. Or, les pourparlers ont eu lieu bien avant. En effet, l’AFRICOM a planifié la construction de la base de drone d’Agadez, la seconde la plus importante de l’US Air Force en Afrique après Djibouti, dès 2016, sous le mandat de Barack Obama. Une nouvelle preuve que la politique africaine du Pentagone n’a pas changée avec l’arrivée de Donald Trump (3-4-5).

      Les USA seuls maîtres à bord dans le Sahel

      Dès lors, le véto catégorique des Etats-Unis de placer la force G5 Sahel sous chapitre VII se comprend mieux. Il s’agit de mener une guerre non-officielle sans mandat international des Nations-Unies et sans se soucier du droit international. Ce n’était donc pas utile qu’Emmanuel Macron, fer de lance du G5, force qui aurait permis à l’opération Barkhane de sortir du bourbier dans lequel elle se trouve, plaide à de nombreuses reprises cette cause auprès de Donald Trump. Tous les présidents du G5 Sahel s’y sont essayés également, en vain. Ils ont fini par comprendre, quatre chefs d’Etats ont boudé la dernière Assemblée générale des Nations Unies. Seul, le Président malien, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, est monté à la tribune pour réitérer la demande de mise sous chapitre VII, unique solution pour que cette force obtienne un financement pérenne. Alors qu’en décembre 2017, Emmanuel Macron y croyait encore dur comme fer et exigeait des victoires au premier semestre 2018, faute de budget, le G5 Sahel n’est toujours pas opérationnel ! (6-7) Néanmoins, la Chine a promis de le soutenir financièrement. Magnanime, le secrétaire d’Etat à la défense, Jim Mattis a lui assuré à son homologue, Florence Parly, que les Etats-Unis apporteraient à la force conjointe une aide très significativement augmentée. Mais toujours pas de chapitre VII en vue... Ainsi, l’administration Trump joue coup double. Non seulement elle ne s’embarrasse pas avec le Conseil de Sécurité et le droit international mais sous couvert de lutte antiterroriste, elle incruste ses bottes dans ce qui est, (ce qui fut ?), la zone d’influence française.

      Far West

      Cerise sur le gâteau, en août dernier le patron de l’AFRICOM, le général Thomas D. Waldhauser, a annoncé une réduction drastique de ses troupes en Afrique (9). Les sociétés militaires privées, dont celle d’Erik Prince, anciennement Blackwater, ont bien compris le message et sont dans les starting-blocks prêtes à s’installer au Sahel (10).


      https://www.iveris.eu/list/notes_danalyse/371-le_sahel_estil_une_zone_de_nondroit__

  • Le 5 octobre 2018, l’Union européenne a signé un accord sur la coopération en matière de gestion des frontières entre l’#Albanie et l’Agence européenne de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes (#Frontex).

    On 5 October 2018, the European Union signed an agreement with Albania on cooperation on border management between Albania and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex). The agreement was signed on behalf of the EU by Herbert Kickl, Minister of the Interior of Austria and President of the Council, and Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, and on behalf of Albania Interior Minister Fatmir Xhafaj.

    This agreement allows the European Border and Coast Guard Agency to coordinate operational cooperation between EU member states and Albania on the management of the EU’s external borders. The European Border and Coast Guard will be able to take action at the external border involving one or more neighbouring member states and Albania. This can include intervention on Albanian territory, subject to Albania’s agreement.

    The activities included by the agreement are aimed at tackling illegal migration, in particular sudden changes in migratory flows, and cross-border crime, and can involve the provision of increased technical and operational assistance at the border. For each operation, a plan has to be agreed between the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and Albania.

    http://www.europeanmigrationlaw.eu/fr/articles/actualites/controle-des-frontieres-accord-cooperation-albanie-corps-europe
    #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #réfugiés #contrôles_frontaliers #EU #UE

    ping @daphne @marty @albertocampiphoto

  • Italy’s closure to rescue ships drives up sea deaths: think tank | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-italy/italys-closure-to-rescue-ships-drives-up-sea-deaths-think-tank-idUSKCN1MB35

    Italy’s closing of its ports to rescued migrants is driving up deaths at sea, an Italian think tank said on Monday, using calculations based on numbers collected by U.N. agencies.

    Since taking power in June, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who heads the far-right League party, has refused to allow charity rescue ships to dock in Italy, a policy that has broad popular support after the arrival of almost 650,000 people from North Africa since 2014.

    Though arrivals are down 80 percent from last year, Salvini’s hardline on immigration has helped more than double support for his party since the March national election.

    But International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates of the number of dead or missing at sea suggest there are dire consequences to this policy, according to Matteo Villa, a researcher at Italy’s ISPI think tank.

    In the four months since Salvini took power, the average number of deaths per day has risen to 8, compared with 3.2 in the period between July 16, 2017 and May 31, 2018, when the previous government was in charge, Villa’s calculations show.

    The death rate in September was 19 percent, so about one in five migrants who attempted to reach Italy from North Africa perished. That’s the highest monthly death rate recorded since at least 2012, when reliable data began to be collected, Villa said.

    These data show there’s a problem,” Villa told Reuters, adding that the lack of civilian ships at sea also likely means recent estimates of dead are too low because there are no witnesses.

  • Fascist white feminism is exploiting fears about sexual violence to push racist agendas

    Sexual violence and child sexual abuse is a growing focus in racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric across Europe. Following the arrest of ex-#English_Defence_League (#EDL) leader #Tommy_Robinson after he broadcast live outside a child grooming trial in Leeds, in June 2018 another “#Free_Tommy” march took place, supported by a far-right campaign group called #120_decibels (#120dB). The group are named after the volume of a rape alarm, use sexual violence against women as a political tool to assert their nationalist, racist agenda across Europe and the UK.

    Heavily promoted by the now-crumbling #Generation_Identity, an alt-right group whose “core belief is that ‘white identity’ is under attack”, #120dB claim that sexual violence is “imported violence” perpetrated by “criminal migrants”. This racialisation of sexual violence is dangerous. Instead of tackling all gender-based violence, regardless of the perpetrator’s nationality, immigration status or race, narratives such as those reproduced by #120dB co-opt violence against women for a racist agenda. The impact of this is that already marginalised communities are criminalised, victims and survivors are unsupported, and abuse goes unchallenged, as it is obfuscated by racism.

    In their YouTube videos, #120dB labels migrants as “criminal migrants…from archaic societies” who are responsible for “migrant sex crimes”. This #racialisation feeds into racist tropes – that migrant men are from “backward” cultures and are inherently “sexually dangerous”. This language obscures the prevalence of sexual violence across society, which occurs as a cause and consequence of gender inequality. The blanket stereotyping of all non-white men is dangerous and has contributed to racist attacks perpetrated in order to “avenge” white women.

    For example, in February 2018, the murder of 18-year-old Italian #Pamela_Mastropietro by a Nigerian man became a focal point for anti-immigration hatred, and was used to promote #120dB’s messages. A few days after Mastropietro’s death, a gunman went on a shooting rampage in #Marcerata, Italy, injuring six African migrants – five men and one woman. Far-right extremist #Luca_Traini was arrested in connection with the attack. The timing of these incidents show how anti-immigration rhetoric gives the green light to racist violence. Speaking at the time of the shooting, Macerata’s mayor said that the shooting rampage “could be ascribable to the campaign of racial hatred that began after Mastropietro’s death.

    The Italian far-right Lega Nord (Northern League) party also used Mastropietro’s killing to push their anti-immigration agenda. The continued ramifications of their anti-migrant rhetoric were evident in the killing of #Soumaila_Sacko in June 2018. #Sacko, a 29-year-old Malian man and Unione Sindacale di Base (USB) trade union activist was shot dead in Calabria, Italy by a white man. The USB trade union attributed Sacko’s death to interior minister Matteo Salvini’s vow to “send home” thousands of migrants. As Hsiao-Hung Pai wrote for OpenDemocracy: “No one could ignore the fact that Sacko was murdered just hours after Salvini was sworn in as the country’s deputy prime minister and interior minister, the man who had built a political career on inciting racial hatred”.

    This narrative of #victimisation is not new. At a Generation Identity rally in Telford, UK, where it was revealed in March 2018 that up to 1,000 children may have suffered abuse and exploitation, a male speaker called the Midlands town “the epicentre for one of the worst crimes committed against the English nation”. He told the crowd:

    “We fight for the dignity, self-respect and honour of the women of the West.

    We are talking about our sisters, our mothers, our girlfriends and our wives.”

    Here, women have no agency and are depicted only in their relation to men, as sisters, mothers and wives. This type of rhetoric reinforced by #120dB in their video, where they state: “we are the daughters of Europa…mothers, women, sisters”. Their campaign is not about the experience of victims but instead centres on competing masculinities, whereby the bodies of women become a battleground of “honour”. By arguing that violence against women is caused by immigration, and that therefore “closing our borders is the first solution”, women are used to serve this nationalistic ideology, whereby the body, and in turn the nation, is under siege.

    It is notable that the women presented as in need of protection are uniformly white. Calling itself “the true #MeToo Movement”, 120 db co-opts a campaign that strives to include all women’s experiences into one that focuses on white women alone.

    Despite the fact that a third of victims in the Telford child abuse cases were of black, Asian and minority ethnic background, Generation Identity framed the exploitation as an attack on “the English working classes”, where “the vast majority of [victims] were of English descent.” Using false statistics erases women and girls of colour and leaves them unsupported, suggesting that only violence against white women should be challenged. This is particularly dangerous considering that Europe has seen a sharp increase in Islamophobic attacks: last month a 19-year-old Muslim woman was brutally assaulted by two men in Belgium, who took off her headscarf, tore apart her shirt and used a sharp object to cut a cross into her body.

    This skewing of statistics to suit racist agendas is not new: the same tactic was used after the exposure of the Rotherham child exploitation scandal. The fact that Asian girls were among those who had been abused was lost in reporting, the pinnacle of which was an article written by Sarah Champion in The Sun headlined: “British Pakistani men ARE raping and exploiting white girls…and it’s time we faced up to it.” As Just Yorkshire, a project promoting racial justice and human rights documented in their impact report of Champion’s comments: “The issue was no longer one of vulnerable young girls, white and Asian, being horrendously exploited by men who set out to groom and abuse them, but one of the entire nation being under threat by an alien force.” In these cases, sexual violence is portrayed as a civilisational threat of the violent immigrant man, rather than as gender-based violence which is caused by patriarchy and male dominance worldwide.

    We urgently need an anti-racist, anti-fascist feminism that strikes back at both sexual abuse and racism, in order to resist this toxic nationalistic “feminism”.

    As #MeToo gains prominence, we must be aware of the potential dangers of hashtag activism, which is easily co-opted by the far-right to normalise hatred. By building a feminist movement that is proactively anti-racist, and which centres the voices of women and girls of colour, we can build a feminist movement that is for all.

    http://nu.gal-dem.com/fascist-feminism-exploiting-fears-sexual-violence-racist-agenda
    #intersectionnalité #féminisme #fascisme #racisme #xénophobie #viols #violences_sexuelles #génération_identitaire
    cc @marty @daphne @mathieup

  • Tunisian fishermen await trial after ’saving hundreds of migrants’

    Friends and colleagues have rallied to the defence of six Tunisian men awaiting trial in Italy on people smuggling charges, saying they are fishermen who have saved hundreds of migrants and refugees over the years who risked drowning in the Mediterranean.

    The men were arrested at sea at the weekend after their trawler released a small vessel it had been towing with 14 migrants onboard, 24 miles from the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa.

    Italian authorities said an aeroplane crew from the European border agency Frontex had first located the trawler almost 80 nautical miles from Lampedusa and decided to monitor the situation.They alerted the Italian police after the migrant vessel was released, who then arrested all crew members at sea.

    According to their lawyers, the Tunisians maintain that they saw a migrant vessel in distress and a common decision was made to tow it to safety in Italian waters. They claim they called the Italian coastguard so it could intervene and take them to shore.

    Prosecutors have accused the men of illegally escorting the boat into Italian waters and say they have no evidence of an SOS sent by either the migrant boat or by the fishermen’s vessel.

    Among those arrested were 45-year-old Chamseddine Ben Alì Bourassine, who is known in his native city, Zarzis, which lies close to the Libyan border, for saving migrants and bringing human remains caught in his nets back to shore to give the often anonymous dead a dignified burial.

    Immediately following the arrests, hundreds of Tunisians gathered in Zarzis to protest and the Tunisian Fishermen Association of Zarzis sent a letter to the Italian embassy in Tunis in support of the men.

    “Captain Bourassine and his crew are hardworking fishermen whose human values exceed the risks they face every day,” it said. “When we meet boats in distress at sea, we do not think about their colour or their religion.”

    According to his colleagues in Zarzis, Bourassine is an advocate for dissuading young Tunisians from illegal migration. In 2015 he participated in a sea rescue drill organised by Médecins Sans Frontières (Msf) in Zarzis.

    Giulia Bertoluzzi, an Italian filmmaker and journalist who directed the documentary Strange Fish, about Bourassine, said the men were well known in their home town.

    “In Zarzis, Bourassine and his crew are known as anonymous heroes”, Bertoluzzi told the Guardian. “Some time ago a petition was circulated to nominate him for the Nobel peace prize. He saved thousands of lives since.”

    The six Tunisians who are now being held in prison in the Sicilian town of Agrigento pending their trial. If convicted, they could face up to 15 years in prison.

    The Italian police said in a statement: “We acted according to our protocol. After the fishing boat released the vessel, it returned south of the Pelagie Islands where other fishing boats were active in an attempt to shield itself.”

    It is not the first time that Italian authorities have arrested fishermen and charged them with aiding illegal immigration. On 8 August 2007, police arrested two Tunisian fishermen for having guided into Italian waters 44 migrants. The trial lasted four years and both men were acquitted of all criminal charges.

    Leonardo Marino, a lawyer in Agrigento who had defended dozens of Tunisian fishermen accused of enabling smuggling, told the Guardian: “The truth is that migrants are perceived as enemies and instead of welcoming them we have decided to fight with repressive laws anyone who is trying to help them.”


    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/05/tunisian-fishermen-await-trial-after-saving-hundreds-of-migrants?CMP=sh
    #Tunisie #pêcheurs #solidarité #mourir_en_mer #sauvetage #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Méditerranée #pêcheurs_tunisiens #délit_de_solidarité
    Accusation: #smuggling #passeurs

    cc @_kg_

    • Commentaires de Charles Heller sur FB :

      Last year these Tunisian fishermen prevented the identitarian C-Star - chartered to prevent solidarity at sea - from docking in Zarzis. Now they have been arrested for exercising that solidarity.

      Back to the bad old days of criminalising Tunisian fishermen who rescue migrants at sea. Lets make some noise and express our support and solidarity in all imaginable ways!

    • Des pêcheurs tunisiens poursuivis pour avoir tracté des migrants jusqu’en Italie

      Surpris en train de tirer une embarcation de migrants vers l’Italie, des pêcheurs tunisiens -dont un militant connu localement- ont été écroués en Sicile. Une manifestation de soutien a eu lieu en Tunisie et une ONG essaie actuellement de leur venir en aide.

      Des citoyens tunisiens sont descendus dans la rue lundi 3 septembre à Zarzis, dans le sud du pays, pour protester contre l’arrestation, par les autorités italiennes, de six pêcheurs locaux. Ces derniers sont soupçonnés d’être des passeurs car ils ont été "surpris en train de tirer une barque avec 14 migrants à bord en direction de [l’île italienne de] Lampedusa", indique la police financière et douanière italienne.

      La contestation s’empare également des réseaux sociaux, notamment avec des messages publiés demandant la libération des six membres d’équipage parmi lesquels figurent Chamseddine Bourassine, président de l’association des pêcheurs de Zarzis. “Toute ma solidarité avec un militant et ami, le doyen des pêcheurs Chamseddine Bourassine. Nous appelons les autorités tunisiennes à intervenir immédiatement avec les autorités italiennes afin de le relâcher ainsi que son équipage”, a écrit lundi le jeune militant originaire de Zarzis Anis Belhiba sur Facebook. Une publication reprise et partagée par Chamesddine Marzoug, un pêcheur retraité et autre militant connu en Tunisie pour enterrer lui-même les corps des migrants rejetés par la mer.

      Sans nouvelles depuis quatre jours

      Un appel similaire a été lancé par le Forum tunisien pour les droits économiques et sociaux, par la voix de Romdhane Ben Amor, chargé de communication de cette ONG basée à Tunis. Contacté par InfoMigrants, il affirme n’avoir reçu aucune nouvelle des pêcheurs depuis près de quatre jours. “On ne sait pas comment ils vont. Tout ce que l’on sait c’est qu’ils sont encore incarcérés à Agrigente en Sicile. On essaie d’activer tous nos réseaux et de communiquer avec nos partenaires italiens pour leur fournir une assistance juridique”, explique-t-il.

      Les six pêcheurs ont été arrêtés le 29 août car leur bateau de pêche, qui tractait une embarcation de fortune avec 14 migrants à son bord, a été repéré -vidéo à l’appui- par un avion de Frontex, l’Agence européenne de garde-côtes et garde-frontières.

      Selon une source policière italienne citée par l’AFP, les pêcheurs ont été arrêtés pour “aide à l’immigration clandestine” et écroués. Le bateau a été repéré en train de tirer des migrants, puis de larguer la barque près des eaux italiennes, à moins de 24 milles de Lampedusa, indique la même source.

      Mais pour Romdhane Ben Amor, “la vidéo de Frontex ne prouve rien”. Et de poursuivre : “#Chamseddine_Bourassine, on le connaît bien. Il participe aux opérations de sauvetage en Méditerranée depuis 2008, il a aussi coordonné l’action contre le C-Star [navire anti-migrants affrété par des militant d’un groupe d’extrême droite]”. Selon Romdhane Ben Amor, il est fort probable que le pêcheur ait reçu l’appel de détresse des migrants, qu’il ait ensuite tenté de les convaincre de faire demi-tour et de regagner la Tunisie. N’y parvenant pas, le pêcheur aurait alors remorqué l’embarcation vers l’Italie, la météo se faisant de plus en plus menaçante.

      La Tunisie, pays d’origine le plus représenté en Italie

      Un nombre croissant de Tunisiens en quête d’emploi et de perspectives d’avenir tentent de se rendre illégalement en Italie via la Méditerranée. D’ailleurs, avec 3 300 migrants arrivés entre janvier et juillet 2018, la Tunisie est le pays d’origine le plus représenté en Italie, selon un rapport du Haut commissariat de l’ONU aux réfugiés (HCR) publié lundi.

      La Méditerranée a été "plus mortelle que jamais" début 2018, indique également le HCR, estimant qu’une personne sur 18 tentant la traversée meurt ou disparaît en mer.


      http://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/11752/des-pecheurs-tunisiens-poursuivis-pour-avoir-tracte-des-migrants-jusqu

    • Lampedusa, in cella ad Agrigento il pescatore tunisino che salva i migranti

      Insieme al suo equipaggio #Chameseddine_Bourassine è accusato di favoreggiamento dell’immigrazione illegale. La Tunisia chiede il rilascio dei sei arrestati. L’appello per la liberazione del figlio di uno dei pescatori e del fratello di Bourassine

      Per la Tunisia Chameseddine Bourassine è il pescatore che salva i migranti. Protagonista anche del film documentario «Strange Fish» di Giulia Bertoluzzi. Dal 29 agosto Chameseddine e il suo equipaggio sono nel carcere di Agrigento, perchè filmati mentre trainavano un barchino con 14 migranti fino a 24 miglia da Lampedusa. Il peschereccio è stato sequestrato e rischiano molti anni di carcere per favoreggiamento aggravato dell’immigrazione illegale. Da Palermo alcuni parenti giunti da Parigi lanciano un appello per la loro liberazione.

      Ramzi Lihiba, figlio di uno dei pescatori arrestati: «Mio padre è scioccato perchè è la prima volta che ha guai con la giustizia. Mi ha detto che hanno incontrato una barca in pericolo e hanno fatto solo il loro dovere. Non è la prima volta. Chameseddine ha fatto centinaia di salvataggi, portando la gente verso la costa più vicina. Prima ha chiamato la guardia costiera di Lampedusa e di Malta senza avere risposta».

      Mohamed Bourassine, fratello di Chameseddine: «Chameseddine l’ha detto anche alla guardia costiera italiana, se trovassi altre persone in pericolo in mare, lo rifarei».
      La Tunisia ha chiesto il rilascio dei sei pescatori di Zarzis. Sit in per loro davanti alle ambasciate italiane di Tunisi e Parigi. Da anni i pescatori delle due sponde soccorrono migranti con molti rischi. Ramzi Lihiba: «Anche io ho fatto la traversata nel 2008 e sono stato salvato dai pescatori italiani, altrimenti non sarei qui oggi».

      https://www.rainews.it/tgr/sicilia/video/2018/09/sic-lampedusa-carcere-pescatore-tunisino-salva-migranti-8f4b62a7-b103-48c0-8

    • Posté par Charles Heller sur FB :

      Yesterday, people demonstrated in the streets of Zarzis in solidarity with the Tunisian fishermen arrested by Italian authorities for exercising their solidarity with migrants crossing the sea. Tomorrow, they will be heard in front of a court in Sicily. While rescue NGOs have done an extraordinary job, its important to underline that European citizens do not have the monopoly over solidarity with migrants, and neither are they the only ones being criminalised. The Tunisian fishermen deserve our full support.


      https://www.facebook.com/charles.heller.507/posts/2207659576116549

    • I pescatori, eroi di Zarzis, in galera

      Il 29 agosto 2018 sei pescatori tunisini sono stati arrestati ad Agrigento, accusati di favoreggiamento dell’immigrazione clandestina, reato punibile fino a quindici anni di carcere. Il loro racconto e quello dei migranti soccorsi parla invece di una barca in panne che prendeva acqua, del tentativo di contattare la Guardia Costiera italiana e infine - dopo una lunga attesa – del trasporto del barchino verso Lampedusa, per aiutare le autorità nelle operazioni di soccorso. Mentre le indagini preliminari sono in corso, vi raccontiamo chi sono questi pescatori. Lo facciamo con Giulia Bertoluzzi, che ha girato il film “Strange Fish” – vincitore al premio BNP e menzione speciale della giuria al festival Visioni dal Mondo - di cui Bourassine è il protagonista, e Valentina Zagaria, che ha vissuto oltre due anni a Zarzis per un dottorato in antropologia.

      Capitano, presidente, eroe. Ecco tre appellativi che potrebbero stare a pennello a Chamseddine Bourassine, presidente della Rete Nazionale della Pesca Artigianale nonché dell’associazione di Zarzis “Le Pêcheur” pour le Développement et l’Environnement, nominata al Premio Nobel per la Pace 2018 per il continuo impegno nel salvare vite nel Mediterraneo. I pescatori di Zarzis infatti, lavorando nel mare aperto tra la Libia e la Sicilia, si trovano da più di quindici anni in prima linea nei soccorsi a causa della graduale chiusura ermetica delle vie legali per l’Europa, che ha avuto come conseguenza l’inizio di traversate con mezzi sempre più di fortuna.
      I frutti della rivoluzione

      Sebbene la legge del mare abbia sempre prevalso per Chamseddine e i pescatori di Zarzis, prima della rivoluzione tunisina del 2011 i pescatori venivano continuamente minacciati dalla polizia del regime di Ben Ali, stretto collaboratore sia dell’Italia che dell’Unione europea in materia di controlli alle frontiere. “Ci dicevano di lasciarli in mare e che ci avrebbero messo tutti in prigione”, spiegava Bourassine, “ma un uomo in mare è un uomo morto, e alla polizia abbiamo sempre risposto che piuttosto saremmo andati in prigione”. In prigione finivano anche i cittadini tunisini che tentavano la traversata e che venivano duramente puniti dal loro stesso governo.

      Tutto è cambiato con la rivoluzione. Oltre 25.000 tunisini si erano imbarcati verso l’Italia, di cui tanti proprio dalle coste di Zarzis. “Non c’erano più né stato né polizia, era il caos assoluto” ricorda Anis Souei, segretario generale dell’Associazione. Alcuni pescatori non lasciavano le barche nemmeno di notte perché avevano paura che venissero rubate, i più indebitati invece tentavano di venderle, mentre alcuni abitanti di Zarzis, approfittando del vuoto di potere, si improvvisavano ‘agenti di viaggi’, cercando di fare affari sulle spalle degli harraga – parola nel dialetto arabo nord africano per le persone che ‘bruciano’ passaporti e frontiera attraversando il Mediterraneo. Chamseddine Bourassine e i suoi colleghi, invece, hanno stretto un patto morale, stabilendo di non vendere le proprie barche per la harga. Si sono rimboccati le maniche e hanno fondato un’associazione per migliorare le condizioni di lavoro del settore, per sensibilizzare sulla preservazione dell’ambiente – condizione imprescindibile per la pesca – e dare una possibilità di futuro ai giovani.

      E proprio verso i più giovani, quelli che più continuano a soffrire dell’alto tasso di disoccupazione, l’associazione ha dedicato diverse campagne di sensibilizzazione. “Andiamo nelle scuole per raccontare quello che vediamo e mostriamo ai ragazzi le foto dei corpi che troviamo in mare, perché si rendano conto del reale pericolo della traversata”, racconta Anis. Inoltre hanno organizzato formazioni di meccanica, riparazione delle reti e pesca subacquea, collaborando anche con diversi progetti internazionali, come NEMO, organizzato dal CIHEAM-Bari e finanziato dalla Cooperazione Italiana. Proprio all’interno di questo progetto è nato il museo di Zarzis della pesca artigianale, dove tra nodi e anforette per la pesca del polipo, c’è una mostra fotografica dei salvataggi in mare intitolata “Gli eroi anonimi di Zarzis”.

      La guerra civile libica

      Con l’inasprirsi della guerra civile libica e l’inizio di veri e propri traffici di esseri umani, le frontiere marittime si sono trasformate in zone al di fuori della legge.
      “I pescatori tunisini vengono regolarmente rapiti dalle milizie o dalle autorità libiche” diceva Bourassine. Queste, una volta sequestrata la barca e rubato il materiale tecnico, chiedevano alle autorità tunisine un riscatto per il rilascio, cosa peraltro successa anche a pescatori siciliani. Sebbene le acque di fronte alla Libia siano le più ricche, soprattutto per il gambero rosso, e per anni siano state zone di pesca per siciliani, tunisini, libici e anche egiziani, ad oggi i pescatori di Zarzis si sono visti obbligati a lasciare l’eldorado dei tonni rossi e dei gamberi rossi, per andare più a ovest.

      “Io pesco nelle zone della rotta delle migrazioni, quindi è possibile che veda migranti ogni volta che esco” diceva Bourassine, indicando sul monitor della sala comandi del suo peschereccio l’est di Lampedusa, durante le riprese del film.

      Con scarso sostegno delle guardie costiere tunisine, a cui non era permesso operare oltre le proprie acque territoriali, i pescatori per anni si sono barcamenati tra il lavoro e la responsabilità di soccorrere le persone in difficoltà che, con l’avanzare del conflitto in Libia, partivano su imbarcazioni sempre più pericolose.

      “Ma quando in mare vedi 100 o 120 persone cosa fai?” si chiede Slaheddine Mcharek, anche lui membro dell’Associazione, “pensi solo a salvare loro la vita, ma non è facile”. Chi ha visto un’operazione di soccorso in mare infatti può immaginare i pericoli di organizzare un trasbordo su un piccolo peschereccio che non metta a repentaglio la stabilità della barca, soprattutto quando ci sono persone che non sanno nuotare. Allo stesso tempo non pescare significa non lavorare e perdere soldi sia per il capitano che per l’equipaggio.
      ONG e salvataggio

      Quando nell’estate del 2015 le navi di ricerca e soccorso delle ONG hanno cominciato ad operare nel Mediterraneo, Chamseddine e tutti i pescatori si sono sentiti sollevati, perché le loro barche non erano attrezzate per centinaia di persone e le autorità tunisine post-rivoluzionarie non avevano i mezzi per aiutarli. Quell’estate, l’allora direttore di Medici Senza Frontiere Foued Gammoudi organizzò una formazione di primo soccorso in mare per sostenere i pescatori. Dopo questa formazione MSF fornì all’associazione kit di pronto soccorso, giubbotti e zattere di salvataggio per poter assistere meglio i rifugiati in mare. L’ONG ha anche dato ai pescatori le traduzioni in italiano e inglese dei messaggi di soccorso e di tutti i numeri collegati al Centro di coordinamento per il soccorso marittimo (MRCC) a Roma, che coordina i salvataggi tra le imbarcazioni nei paraggi pronte ad intervenire, fossero mercantili, navi delle ONG, imbarcazioni militari o della guardia costiera, e quelle dei pescatori di entrambe le sponde del mare. Da quel momento i pescatori potevano coordinarsi a livello internazionale e aspettare che le navi più grandi arrivassero, per poi riprendere il loro lavoro. Solo una settimana dopo la formazione, Gammoudi andò a congratularsi con Chamseddine al porto di Zarzis per aver collaborato con la nave Bourbon-Argos di MSF nel salvataggio di 550 persone.

      Oltre al primo soccorso, MSF ha offerto ai membri dell’associazione una formazione sulla gestione dei cadaveri, fornendo sacchi mortuari, disinfettanti e guanti. C’è stato un periodo durato vari mesi, prima dell’arrivo delle ONG, in cui i pescatori avevano quasi la certezza di vedere dei morti in mare. Nell’assenza di altre imbarcazioni in prossimità della Libia, pronte ad aiutare barche in difficoltà, i naufragi non facevano che aumentare. Proprio come sta succedendo in queste settimane, durante le quali il tasso di mortalità in proporzione agli arrivi in Italia è cresciuto del 5,6%. Dal 26 agosto, nessuna ONG ha operato in SAR libica, e questo a causa delle politiche anti-migranti di Salvini e dei suoi omologhi europei.

      Criminalizzazione della solidarietà

      La situazione però è peggiorata di nuovo nell’estate del 2017, quando l’allora ministro dell’Interno Marco Minniti stringeva accordi con le milizie e la guardia costiera libica per bloccare i rifugiati nei centri di detenzione in Libia, mentre approvava leggi che criminalizzano e limitano l’attività delle ONG in Italia.

      Le campagne di diffamazione contro atti di solidarietà e contro le ONG non hanno fatto altro che versare ancora più benzina sui sentimenti anti-immigrazione che infiammano l’Europa. Nel bel mezzo di questo clima, il 6 agosto 2017, i pescatori di Zarzis si erano trovati in un faccia a faccia con la nave noleggiata da Generazione Identitaria, la C-Star, che attraversava il Mediterraneo per ostacolare le operazioni di soccorso e riportare i migranti in Africa.

      Armati di pennarelli rossi, neri e blu, hanno appeso striscioni sulle barche in una mescolanza di arabo, italiano, francese e inglese: “No Racists!”, “Dégage!”, “C-Star: No gasolio? No acqua? No mangiaro?“.

      Chamseddine Bourassine, con pesanti occhiaie da cinque giorni di lavoro in mare, appena appresa la notizia ha organizzato un sit-in con tanto di media internazionali al porto di Zarzis. I loro sforzi erano stati incoraggiati dalle reti antirazziste in Sicilia, che a loro volta avevano impedito alla C-Star di attraccare nel porto di Catania solo un paio di giorni prima.
      La reazione tunisina dopo l’arresto di Bourassine

      Non c’è quindi da sorprendersi se dopo l’arresto di Chamseddine, Salem, Farhat, Lotfi, Ammar e Bachir l’associazione, le famiglie, gli amici e i colleghi hanno riempito tre pullman da Zarzis per protestare davanti all’ambasciata italiana di Tunisi. La Terre Pour Tous, associazione di famiglie di tunisini dispersi, e il Forum economico e sociale (FTDES) si sono uniti alla protesta per chiedere l’immediato rilascio dei pescatori. Una protesta gemella è stata organizzata anche dalla diaspora di Zarzis davanti all’ambasciata italiana a Parigi, mentre reti di pescatori provenienti dal Marocco e dalla Mauritania hanno rilasciato dichiarazioni di sostegno. Il Segretario di Stato tunisino per l’immigrazione, Adel Jarboui, ha esortato le autorità italiane a liberare i pescatori.

      Nel frattempo Bourassine racconta dalla prigione al fratello: “stavo solo aiutando delle persone in difficoltà in mare. Lo rifarei”.


      http://openmigration.org/analisi/i-pescatori-eroi-di-zarzis-in-galera

    • When rescue at sea becomes a crime: who the Tunisian fishermen arrested in Italy really are

      Fishermen networks from Morocco and Mauritania have released statements of support, and the Tunisian State Secretary for Immigration, Adel Jarboui, urged Italian authorities to release the fishermen, considered heroes in Tunisia.

      On the night of Wednesday, August 29, 2018, six Tunisian fishermen were arrested in Italy. Earlier that day, they had set off from their hometown of Zarzis, the last important Tunisian port before Libya, to cast their nets in the open sea between North Africa and Sicily. The fishermen then sighted a small vessel whose engine had broken, and that had started taking in water. After giving the fourteen passengers water, milk and bread – which the fishermen carry in abundance, knowing they might encounter refugee boats in distress – they tried making contact with the Italian coastguard.

      After hours of waiting for a response, though, the men decided to tow the smaller boat in the direction of Lampedusa – Italy’s southernmost island, to help Italian authorities in their rescue operations. At around 24 miles from Lampedusa, the Guardia di Finanza (customs police) took the fourteen people on board, and then proceeded to violently arrest the six fishermen. According to the precautionary custody order issued by the judge in Agrigento (Sicily), the men stand accused of smuggling, a crime that could get them up to fifteen years in jail if the case goes to trial. The fishermen have since been held in Agrigento prison, and their boat has been seized.

      This arrest comes after a summer of Italian politicians closing their ports to NGO rescue boats, and only a week after far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini[1] prevented for ten days the disembarkation of 177 Eritrean and Somali asylum seekers from the Italian coastguard ship Diciotti. It is yet another step towards dissuading anyone – be it Italian or Tunisian citizens, NGO or coastguard ships – from coming to the aid of refugee boats in danger at sea. Criminalising rescue, a process that has been pushed by different Italian governments since 2016, will continue to have tragic consequences for people on the move in the Mediterranean Sea.
      The fishermen of Zarzis

      Among those arrested is Chamseddine Bourassine, the president of the Association “Le Pêcheur” pour le Développement et l’Environnement, which was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this year for the Zarzis fishermen’s continuous engagement in saving lives in the Mediterranean.

      Chamseddine, a fishing boat captain in his mid-40s, was one of the first people I met in Zarzis when, in the summer of 2015, I moved to this southern Tunisian town to start fieldwork for my PhD. On a sleepy late-August afternoon, my interview with Foued Gammoudi, the then Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Head of Mission for Tunisia and Libya, was interrupted by an urgent phone call. “The fishermen have just returned, they saved 550 people, let’s go to the port to thank them.” Just a week earlier, Chamseddine Bourassine had been among the 116 fishermen from Zarzis to have received rescue at sea training with MSF. Gammoudi was proud that the fishermen had already started collaborating with the MSF Bourbon Argos ship to save hundreds of people. We hurried to the port to greet Chamseddine and his crew, as they returned from a three-day fishing expedition which involved, as it so often had done lately, a lives-saving operation.

      The fishermen of Zarzis have been on the frontline of rescue in the Central Mediterranean for over fifteen years. Their fishing grounds lying between Libya – the place from which most people making their way undocumented to Europe leave – and Sicily, they were often the first to come to the aid of refugee boats in distress. “The fishermen have never really had a choice: they work here, they encounter refugee boats regularly, so over the years they learnt to do rescue at sea”, explained Gammoudi. For years, fishermen from both sides of the Mediterranean were virtually alone in this endeavour.
      Rescue before and after the revolution

      Before the Tunisian revolution of 2011, Ben Ali threatened the fishermen with imprisonment for helping migrants in danger at sea – the regime having been a close collaborator of both Italy and the European Union in border control matters. During that time, Tunisian nationals attempting to do the harga – the North African Arabic dialect term for the crossing of the Sicilian Channel by boat – were also heavily sanctioned by their own government.

      Everything changed though with the revolution. “It was chaos here in 2011. You cannot imagine what the word chaos means if you didn’t live it”, recalled Anis Souei, the secretary general of the “Le Pêcheur” association. In the months following the revolution, hundreds of boats left from Zarzis taking Tunisians from all over the country to Lampedusa. Several members of the fishermen’s association remember having to sleep on their fishing boats at night to prevent them from being stolen for the harga. Other fishermen instead, especially those who were indebted, decided to sell their boats, while some inhabitants of Zarzis took advantage of the power vacuum left by the revolution and made considerable profit by organising harga crossings. “At that time there was no police, no state, and even more misery. If you wanted Lampedusa, you could have it”, rationalised another fisherman. But Chamseddine Bourassine and his colleagues saw no future in moving to Europe, and made a moral pact not to sell their boats for migration.

      They instead remained in Zarzis, and in 2013 founded their association to create a network of support to ameliorate the working conditions of small and artisanal fisheries. The priority when they started organising was to try and secure basic social security – something they are still struggling to sustain today. With time, though, the association also got involved in alerting the youth to the dangers of boat migration, as they regularly witnessed the risks involved and felt compelled to do something for younger generations hit hard by staggering unemployment rates. In this optic, they organised training for the local youth in boat mechanics, nets mending, and diving, and collaborated in different international projects, such as NEMO, organised by the CIHEAM-Bari and funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Directorate General for Cooperation Development. This project also helped the fishermen build a museum to explain traditional fishing methods, the first floor of which is dedicated to pictures and citations from the fishermen’s long-term voluntary involvement in coming to the rescue of refugees in danger at sea.

      This role was proving increasingly vital as the Libyan civil war dragged on, since refugees were being forced onto boats in Libya that were not fit for travel, making the journey even more hazardous. With little support from Tunisian coastguards, who were not allowed to operate beyond Tunisian waters, the fishermen juggled their responsibility to bring money home to their families and their commitment to rescuing people in distress at sea. Anis remembers that once in 2013, three fishermen boats were out and received an SOS from a vessel carrying roughly one hundred people. It was their first day out, and going back to Zarzis would have meant losing petrol money and precious days of work, which they simply couldn’t afford. After having ensured that nobody was ill, the three boats took twenty people on board each, and continued working for another two days, sharing food and water with their guests.

      Sometimes, though, the situation on board got tense with so many people, food wasn’t enough for everybody, and fights broke out. Some fishermen recall incidents during which they truly feared for their safety, when occasionally they came across boats with armed men from Libyan militias. It was hard for them to provide medical assistance as well. Once a woman gave birth on Chamseddine’s boat – that same boat that has now been seized in Italy – thankfully there had been no complications.
      NGO ships and the criminalisation of rescue

      During the summer of 2015, therefore, Chamseddine felt relieved that NGO search and rescue boats were starting to operate in the Mediterranean. The fishermen’s boats were not equipped to take hundreds of people on board, and the post-revolutionary Tunisian authorities didn’t have the means to support them. MSF had provided the association with first aid kits, life jackets, and rescue rafts to be able to better assist refugees at sea, and had given them a list of channels and numbers linked to the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Rome for when they encountered boats in distress.

      They also offered training in dead body management, and provided the association with body bags, disinfectant and gloves. “When we see people at sea we rescue them. It’s not only because we follow the laws of the sea or of religion: we do it because it’s human”, said Chamseddine. But sometimes rescue came too late, and bringing the dead back to shore was all the fishermen could do.[2] During 2015 the fishermen at least felt that with more ships in the Mediterranean doing rescue, the duty dear to all seafarers of helping people in need at sea didn’t only fall on their shoulders, and they could go back to their fishing.

      The situation deteriorated again though in the summer of 2017, as Italian Interior Minister Minniti struck deals with Libyan militias and coastguards to bring back and detain refugees in detention centres in Libya, while simultaneously passing laws criminalising and restricting the activity of NGO rescue boats in Italy.

      Media smear campaigns directed against acts of solidarity with migrants and refugees and against the work of rescue vessels in the Mediterranean poured even more fuel on already inflamed anti-immigration sentiments in Europe.

      In the midst of this, on 6 August 2017, the fishermen of Zarzis came face to face with a far-right vessel rented by Generazione Identitaria, the C-Star, cruising the Mediterranean allegedly on a “Defend Europe” mission to hamper rescue operations and bring migrants back to Africa. The C-Star was hovering in front of Zarzis port, and although it had not officially asked port authorities whether it could dock to refuel – which the port authorities assured locals it would refuse – the fishermen of Zarzis took the opportunity to let these alt-right groups know how they felt about their mission.

      Armed with red, black and blue felt tip pens, they wrote in a mixture of Arabic, Italian, French and English slogans such as “No Racists!”, “Dégage!” (Get our of here!), “C-Star: No gasoil? No acqua? No mangiato?” ?” (C-Star: No fuel? No water? Not eaten?), which they proceeded to hang on their boats, ready to take to sea were the C-Star to approach. Chamseddine Bourassine, who had returned just a couple of hours prior to the impending C-Star arrival from five days of work at sea, called other members of the fishermen association to come to the port and join in the peaceful protest.[3] He told the journalists present that the fishermen opposed wholeheartedly the racism propagated by the C-Star members, and that having seen the death of fellow Africans at sea, they couldn’t but condemn these politics. Their efforts were cheered on by anti-racist networks in Sicily, who had in turn prevented the C-Star from docking in Catania port just a couple of days earlier.

      It is members from these same networks in Sicily together with friends of the fishermen in Tunisia and internationally that are now engaged in finding lawyers for Chamseddine and his five colleagues.

      Their counterparts in Tunisia joined the fishermen’s families and friends on Thursday morning to protest in front of the Italian embassy in Tunis. Three busloads arrived from Zarzis after an 8-hour night-time journey for the occasion, and many others had come from other Tunisian towns to show their solidarity. Gathered there too were members of La Terre Pour Tous, an association of families of missing Tunisian migrants, who joined in to demand the immediate release of the fishermen. A sister protest was organised by the Zarzis diaspora in front of the Italian embassy in Paris on Saturday afternoon. Fishermen networks from Morocco and Mauritania also released statements of support, and the Tunisian State Secretary for Immigration Adel Jarboui urged Italian authorities to release the fishermen, who are considered heroes in Tunisia.

      The fishermen’s arrest is the latest in a chain of actions taken by the Italian Lega and Five Star government to further criminalise rescue in the Mediterranean Sea, and to dissuade people from all acts of solidarity and basic compliance with international norms. This has alarmingly resulted in the number of deaths in 2018 increasing exponentially despite a drop in arrivals to Italy’s southern shores. While Chamseddine’s lawyer hasn’t yet been able to visit him in prison, his brother and cousin managed to go see him on Saturday. As for telling them about what happened on August 29, Chamseddine simply says that he was assisting people in distress at sea: he’d do it again.

      https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/valentina-zagaria/when-rescue-at-sea-becomes-crime-who-tunisian-fishermen-arrested-in-i

    • Les pêcheurs de Zarzis, ces héros que l’Italie préfère voir en prison

      Leurs noms ont été proposés pour le prix Nobel de la paix mais ils risquent jusqu’à quinze ans de prison : six pêcheurs tunisiens se retrouvent dans le collimateur des autorités italiennes pour avoir aidé des migrants en Méditerranée.

      https://www.middleeasteye.net/fr/reportages/les-p-cheurs-de-zarzis-ces-h-ros-que-l-italie-pr-f-re-voir-en-prison-

    • Les pêcheurs tunisiens incarcérés depuis fin août en Sicile sont libres

      Arrêtés après avoir tracté une embarcation de quatorze migrants jusqu’au large de Lampedusa, un capitaine tunisien et son équipage sont soupçonnés d’être des passeurs. Alors qu’en Tunisie, ils sont salués comme des sauveurs.

      Les six pêcheurs ont pu reprendre la mer afin de regagner Zarzis, dans le sud tunisien. Les familles n’ont pas caché leur soulagement. Un accueil triomphal, par des dizaines de bateaux au large du port, va être organisé, afin de saluer le courage de ces sauveteurs de migrants à la dérive.

      Et peu importe si l’acte est dénoncé par l’Italie. Leurs amis et collègues ne changeront pas leurs habitudes de secourir toute embarcation en danger.

      A l’image de Rya, la cinquantaine, marin pêcheur à Zarzis qui a déjà sauvé des migrants en perdition et ne s’arrêtera pas : « Il y a des immigrés, tous les jours il y en a. De Libye, de partout. Nous on est des pêcheurs, on essaie de sauver les gens. C’est tout, c’est très simple. Nous on ne va pas s’arrêter, on va sauver d’autres personnes. Ils vont nous mettre en prison, on est là, pas de problème. »

      Au-delà du soulagement de voir rentrer les marins au pays, des voix s’élèvent pour crier leur incompréhension. Pour Halima Aissa, présidente de l’Association de recherche des disparus tunisiens à l’étranger, l’action de ce capitaine de pêche ne souffre d’aucune légitimité : « C’est un pêcheur tunisien, mais en tant qu’humaniste, si on trouve des gens qui vont couler en mer, notre droit c’est de les sauver. C’est inhumain de voir des gens mourir et de ne pas les sauver, ça c’est criminel. »

      Ces arrestations, certes suivies de libérations, illustrent pourtant la politique du nouveau gouvernement italien, à en croire Romdhane Ben Amor, du Forum tunisien des droits économiques et sociaux qui s’inquiète de cette nouvelle orientation politique : « Ça a commencé par les ONG qui font des opérations de sauvetage dans la Méditerranée et maintenant ça va vers les pêcheurs. C’est un message pour tous ceux qui vont participer aux opérations de sauvetage. Donc on aura plus de danger dans la mer, plus de tragédie dans la mer. » Pendant ce temps, l’enquête devrait se poursuivre encore plusieurs semaines en Italie.

      ■ Dénoncés par Frontex

      Détenus dans une prison d’Agrigente depuis le 29 août, les six pêcheurs tunisiens qui étaient soupçonnés d’aide à l’immigration illégale ont retrouvé leur liberté grâce à la décision du tribunal de réexamen de Palerme. L’équivalent italien du juge des libertés dans le système français.

      Le commandant du bateau de pêche, Chamseddine Bourassine, président de l’association des pêcheurs de Zarzis, ville du sud de la Tunisie, avait été arrêté avec les 5 membres d’équipage pour avoir secouru au large de l’île de Lampedusa une embarcation transportant 14 migrants.

      C’est un #avion_de_reconnaissance, opérant pour l’agence européenne #Frontex, qui avait repéré leur bateau tractant une barque et averti les autorités italiennes, précise notre correspondante à Rome, Anne Le Nir.

      http://www.rfi.fr/afrique/20180923-pecheurs-tunisiens-incarceres-depuis-fin-aout-sicile-sont-libres

    • A Zarzis, les pêcheurs sauveurs de migrants menacés par l’Italie

      Après l’arrestation le 29 août de six pêcheurs tunisiens à Lampedusa, accusés d’être des passeurs alors qu’ils avaient secouru des migrants, les marins de la petite ville de Zarzis au sud de la Tunisie ont peur des conséquences du sauvetage en mer.

      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/121118/zarzis-les-pecheurs-sauveurs-de-migrants-menaces-par-l-italie
      #pêcheurs_tunisiens

    • Migrants : quand les pêcheurs tunisiens deviennent sauveteurs

      En Méditerranée, le sauvetage des candidats à l’exil et les politiques européennes de protection des frontières ont un impact direct sur le village de pêcheurs de #Zarzis, dans le sud de la Tunisie. Dans le code de la mer, les pêcheurs tout comme les gardes nationaux ont l’obligation de sauver les personnes en détresse en mer. Aujourd’hui, ce devoir moral pousse les pêcheurs à prendre des risques, et à se confronter aux autorités européennes.

      Chemssedine Bourassine a été arrêté fin août 2018 avec son équipage par les autorités italiennes. Ce pêcheur était accusé d’avoir fait le passeur de migrants car il avait remorqué un canot de 14 personnes en détresse au large de Lampedusa. Lui arguait qu’il ne faisait que son devoir en les aidant, le canot étant à la dérive, en train de couler, lorsqu’il l’avait trouvé.

      Revenu à bon port après trois mois sans son navire, confisqué par les autorités italiennes, cet épisode pèse lourd sur lui et ses compères. Nos reporters Lilia Blaise et Hamdi Tlili sont allés à la rencontre de ces pêcheurs, pour qui la mer est devenue une source d’inquiétudes.

      https://www.france24.com/fr/20190306-focus-tunisie-migrants-mediterranee-mer-sauvetage-pecheurs

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

    • Les pêcheurs tunisiens, sauveurs d’hommes en Méditerranée

      Lorsque Chamseddine Bourassine a vu l’embarcation de 69 migrants à la dérive au large de la Tunisie, il a appelé les secours et continué à pêcher. Mais deux jours plus tard, au moment de quitter la zone, il a bien fallu les embarquer.

      Les pêcheurs tunisiens se retrouvent de plus en plus seuls pour secourir les embarcations clandestines quittant la Libye voisine vers l’Italie, en raison des difficultés des ONG en Méditerranée orientale et du désengagement des navires militaires européens.

      Le 11 mai, les équipages de M. Bourassine et de trois autres pêcheurs ont ramené à terre les 69 migrants partis cinq jours plus tôt de Zouara dans l’ouest libyen.

      « La zone où nous pêchons est un point de passage » entre Zouara et l’île italienne de Lampedusa, souligne Badreddine Mecherek, un patron de pêche de Zarzis (sud), port voisin de la Libye plongée dans le chaos et plaque tournante pour les migrants d’Afrique, mais aussi d’Asie.

      Au fil des ans, la plupart des pêcheurs de Zarzis ont ramené des migrants, sauvant des centaines de vies.

      Avec la multiplication de départs après l’hiver, les pêcheurs croisent les doigts pour ne être confrontés à des tragédies.

      « On prévient d’abord les autorités, mais au final on les sauve nous-mêmes », soupire M. Mecherek, quinquagénaire bougonnant, en bricolant le Asil, son sardinier.

      La marine tunisienne, aux moyens limités, se charge surtout d’intercepter les embarcations clandestines dans ses seules eaux territoriales.

      Contactées par l’AFP pour commenter, les autorités tunisiennes n’ont pas souhaité s’exprimer. Celles-ci interdisent depuis le 31 mai le débarquement de 75 migrants sauvés de la noyade dans les eaux internationales, sans avancer de raisons.

      – « Comme un ange » -

      « Tout le monde s’est désengagé », déplore M. Mecherek.

      « Si nous trouvons des migrants au deuxième jour (de notre sortie en mer), nous avons pu travailler une nuit, mais si nous tombons sur eux dès la première nuit, il faut rentrer », ajoute-t-il. « C’est très compliqué de terminer le travail avec des gens à bord ».

      La situation est particulièrement complexe quand les pêcheurs tombent sur des migrants à proximité de l’Italie.

      M. Bourassine, qui a voulu rapprocher des côtes italiennes une embarcation en détresse mi-2018 au large de Lampedusa, a été emprisonné quatre semaines avec son équipage en Sicile et son bateau confisqué pendant de longs mois.

      Ces dernières années, les navires des ONG et ceux de l’opération antipasseurs européenne Sophia étaient intervenus pour secourir les migrants. Mais les opérations ont pâti en 2019 de la réduction du champ d’action de Sophia et des démarches contre les ONG des Etats européens cherchant à limiter l’arrivée des migrants.

      « Avec leurs moyens, c’était eux qui sauvaient les gens, on arrivait en deuxième ligne. Maintenant le plus souvent on est les premiers, et si on n’est pas là, les migrants meurent », affirme M. Mecherek.

      C’est ce qui est arrivé le 10 mai. Un chalutier a repêché de justesse 16 migrants ayant passé huit heures dans l’eau. Une soixantaine s’étaient noyés avant son arrivée.

      Ahmed Sijur, l’un des miraculés, se souvient de l’arrivée du bateau, comme « un ange ».

      « J’étais en train d’abandonner mais Dieu a envoyé des pêcheurs pour nous sauver. S’ils étaient arrivés dix minutes plus tard, je crois que j’aurais lâché », explique ce Bangladais de 30 ans.

      – « Pas des gens » ! -

      M. Mecherek est fier mais inquiet. « On aimerait ne plus voir tous ces cadavres. On va pêcher du poisson, pas des gens » !.

      « J’ai 20 marins à bord, il disent +qui va faire manger nos familles, les clandestins ?+ Et ils ont peur des maladies, parfois des migrants ont passé 15-20 jours en mer, ils ne se sont pas douchés, il y a des odeurs, c’est compliqué ». « Mais nos pêcheurs ne laisseront jamais des gens mourir ».

      Pour Mongi Slim, responsable du Croissant-Rouge tunisien, « les pêcheurs font pratiquement les gendarmes de la mer et peuvent alerter. Des migrants nous disent que certains gros bateaux passent » sans leur porter secours.

      Même les gros thoniers de Zarzis, sous pression pour pêcher leur quota en une sortie annuelle, reconnaissent éviter parfois d’embarquer les migrants mais assurent qu’ils ne les abandonnent pas sans secours.

      « On signale les migrants, mais on ne peut pas les ramener à terre : on n’a que quelques semaines pour pêcher notre quota », souligne un membre d’équipage.

      Double peine pour les sardiniers : les meilleurs coins de pêche au large de l’ouest libyen leur sont inaccessibles car les gardes-côtes et les groupes armés les tiennent à l’écart.

      « Ils sont armés et ils ne rigolent pas », explique M. Mecherek. « Des pêcheurs se sont fait arrêter », ajoute-t-il, « nous sommes des témoins gênants ».

      Pour M. Bourassine « l’été s’annonce difficile : avec la reprise des combats en Libye, les trafiquants sont de nouveau libres de travailler, il risque d’y avoir beaucoup de naufrages ».


      https://www.courrierinternational.com/depeche/les-pecheurs-tunisiens-sauveurs-dhommes-en-mediterranee.afp.c

    • Les pêcheurs tunisiens, désormais en première ligne pour sauver les migrants en Méditerranée

      Les embarcations en péril sont quasiment vouées à l’abandon avec le recul forcé des opérations de sauvetage des ONG et de la lutte contre les passeurs.

      Lorsque Chamseddine Bourassine a vu l’embarcation de 69 migrants à la dérive au large de la Tunisie, il a appelé les secours et continué à pêcher. Mais, deux jours plus tard, au moment de quitter la zone, il a bien fallu les embarquer puisque personne ne leur était venu en aide.

      Les pêcheurs tunisiens se retrouvent de plus en plus seuls pour secourir les embarcations clandestines quittant la Libye voisine vers l’Italie, en raison des difficultés des ONG en Méditerranée orientale et du désengagement des navires militaires européens.

      Le 11 mai, les équipages de M. Bourassine et de trois autres pêcheurs ont ramené à terre les 69 migrants partis cinq jours plus tôt de Zouara, dans l’Ouest libyen. « La zone où nous pêchons est un point de passage » entre Zouara et l’île italienne de Lampedusa, explique Badreddine Mecherek, un patron de pêche de Zarzis (sud). Le port est voisin de la Libye, plongée dans le chaos et plaque tournante pour les migrants d’Afrique, mais aussi d’Asie.
      « Tout le monde s’est désengagé »

      Au fil des ans, la plupart des pêcheurs de Zarzis ont ramené des migrants, sauvant des centaines de vies. Avec la multiplication de départs après l’hiver, les pêcheurs croisent les doigts pour ne pas être confrontés à des tragédies. « On prévient d’abord les autorités, mais au final on les sauve nous-mêmes », soupire M. Mecherek, quinquagénaire bougonnant, en bricolant le Asil, son sardinier.

      La marine tunisienne, aux moyens limités, se charge surtout d’intercepter les embarcations clandestines dans ses seules eaux territoriales. Contactées par l’AFP pour commenter, les autorités tunisiennes n’ont pas souhaité s’exprimer. Celles-ci interdisent depuis le 31 mai le débarquement de 75 migrants sauvés de la noyade dans les eaux internationales, sans avancer de raisons.

      « Tout le monde s’est désengagé, déplore M. Mecherek. Si nous trouvons des migrants au deuxième jour de notre sortie en mer, cela nous laisse le temps de travailler une nuit. Mais si nous tombons sur eux dès la première nuit, il faut rentrer. C’est très compliqué de terminer le travail avec des gens à bord. »

      La situation est particulièrement complexe quand les pêcheurs tombent sur des migrants à proximité de l’Italie. M. Bourassine, qui avait voulu rapprocher des côtes italiennes une embarcation en détresse mi-2018 au large de Lampedusa, a été emprisonné quatre semaines en Sicile avec son équipage et son bateau, confisqué pendant de longs mois.
      « Un ange »

      Ces dernières années, les navires des ONG et ceux de l’opération européenne antipasseurs Sophia intervenaient pour secourir les migrants. Mais ces manœuvres de sauvetage ont pâti en 2019 de la réduction du champ d’action de Sophia et des démarches engagées contre les ONG par des Etats européens qui cherchent à limiter l’arrivée des migrants.

      « Avec leurs moyens, c’était eux qui sauvaient les gens, on arrivait en deuxième ligne. Maintenant, le plus souvent, on est les premiers, et si on n’est pas là, les migrants meurent », affirme M. Mecherek.

      C’est ce qui est arrivé le 10 mai. Un chalutier a repêché de justesse 16 migrants ayant passé huit heures dans l’eau. Une soixantaine d’entre eux s’étaient noyés avant son arrivée.

      Ahmed Sijur, l’un des miraculés, se souvient de l’arrivée du bateau, comme d’« un ange ». « J’étais en train d’abandonner, mais Dieu a envoyé des pêcheurs pour nous sauver. S’ils étaient arrivés dix minutes plus tard, je crois que j’aurais lâché », explique ce Bangladais de 30 ans.

      M. Mecherek est fier mais inquiet : « On aimerait ne plus voir tous ces cadavres. On va pêcher du poisson, pas des gens ! ». « J’ai vingt marins à bord, explique-t-il encore. Ils disent “Qui va faire manger nos familles, les clandestins ?” Et ils ont peur des maladies, parfois des migrants ont passé quinze à vingt jours en mer, ils ne se sont pas douchés. C’est compliqué, mais nos pêcheurs ne laisseront jamais des gens mourir. » Les petits chalutiers ont donc pris l’habitude d’emporter de nombreux gilets de sauvetage avant leur départ en mer.
      « L’été s’annonce difficile »

      Pour Mongi Slim, responsable du Croissant-Rouge tunisien, « les pêcheurs sont devenus en pratique les gendarmes de la mer et peuvent alerter. Des migrants nous disent que certains gros bateaux passent » sans leur porter secours.

      Les gros thoniers de Zarzis, sous pression pour pêcher leur quota en une seule sortie annuelle, reconnaissent éviter parfois d’embarquer les migrants, mais assurent qu’ils ne les abandonnent pas sans secours. « On signale les migrants, mais on ne peut pas les ramener à terre : on n’a que quelques semaines pour pêcher notre quota », explique un membre d’équipage.

      Double peine pour les sardiniers : les meilleurs coins de pêche au large de l’Ouest libyen leur sont devenus inaccessibles, car les garde-côtes et les groupes armés les tiennent à l’écart. « Ils sont armés et ils ne rigolent pas, témoigne M. Mecherek. Des pêcheurs se sont fait arrêter. Nous sommes des témoins gênants. »

      Pour M. Bourassine, « l’été s’annonce difficile : avec la reprise des combats en Libye, les trafiquants sont de nouveau libres de travailler, il risque d’y avoir beaucoup de naufrages ».

      https://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2019/06/17/les-pecheurs-tunisiens-desormais-en-premiere-ligne-pour-sauver-les-migrants-

  • This European Border Is Still Open. But for How Long?

    The border between Austria and Slovenia runs through Armin Tement’s backyard. Literally.

    Not that you would know it. Neat rows of vines march up and down the valley like military columns with no regard for a frontier laid down by man, why here, no one can quite remember. The Slovene wine workers speak German. The Austrians speak Slovenian, or at least try.

    As for the wine, well, says Mr. Tement, 32, “it tastes exactly the same on both sides.”

    When Mr. Tement’s family started making wine back in the 19th century, there was no border here. The region of Styria, straddling what is now southeastern Austria and northeastern Slovenia, was part of the Hapsburg Empire.

    When the empire was broken up after World War I, Upper Styria became Austrian and Lower Styria became part of Yugoslavia — until the 1990s, when that country, too, was broken up and Slovenia gained its independence.

    The border, a hundred years old this year, was briefly eliminated by advancing Nazi armies, then heavily policed during the Cold War, before vanishing in all but name when Slovenia joined the European Union’s passport-free travel zone in 2007.

    “It was a great moment,” recalled Janez Valdhuber, 53, a winemaker on the Slovenian side. To celebrate, he grabbed his young children, climbed the steep vineyard opposite his house to the top where the border runs, and unfurled a European flag.

    The interrogations at the border stopped, and Mr. Valdhuber’s car trunk was no longer searched when entering Austria.

    But some worry Europe’s open borders might slowly be closing again, one checkpoint at a time.

    This month, Germany announced that at its Bavarian border, it would turn back asylum seekers registered in other European Union countries, a move reintroducing a hard border of sorts with Austria.

    Austria, now run by a conservative government in coalition with the far right, threatened to do the same on its southern border with Italy, Europe’s busiest north-south trade route. And as if to demonstrate its resolve, Austria briefly resurrected checkpoints at the Brenner Pass this month.

    The border at Spielfeld, an Austrian town with barely 1,000 inhabitants, became a stop on the migrant route in 2015, and for a few traumatic weeks that year, tens of thousands of refugees came through.

    Since then, Austrian soldiers have returned.

    They ride in military jeeps along the “Wine Route,” a winding country road that zigzags back and forth across the border. They have built a fence along a small border stretch near Spielfeld and set up makeshift checkpoints in the hills — only sporadically manned, but there — on otherwise deserted lanes.

    No one here reports having seen any refugees in more than two years, and so far the border checks are relatively rare.

    But this month, the Austrian military and police staged a high-profile military exercise, simulating another mass arrival of migrants.

    A platform was set up for the photographers. Two Black Hawk helicopters circled overhead. Two hundred students from the police academy were enlisted as “refugees.” Later, the defense ministry released a video.

    “It feels a bit like we’re backsliding into the old days,” said Marko Oraze, a member of Austria’s Slovene-speaking minority who runs the Council of Carinthian Slovenes.

    Mr. Oraze lives in Austria but gets his car fixed in Slovenia. Many of his friends commute across the border every day.

    “More and more of them are stopped at the border on their way to work,” he said.

    Some in Spielfeld applaud the tougher stance taken by Austria.

    “It’s about time,” said Walpurga Sternad, who runs a restaurant with her husband near the highway connecting Austria and Slovenia. “They should just close all the borders in Europe, go back to what we used to have,” she said, as a group of friends nodded in approval.

    Ms. Sternad remembers the day in October 2015, when some 6,000 migrants poured over the border in Spielfeld, filling the motorway and spilling into her own front yard. “It was scary,” she said. “So many people. They kept coming.”


    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/24/world/europe/austria-slovenia-border-migrants-spielfeld-schengen.html#click=https://t.co/YWlazq9xGU
    #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Autriche #Slovénie #fermeture_des_frontières #Schengen (fin de -) #militarisation_des_frontières #armée #frontière_sud-alpine

    • Anti-immigration mood drives fear of racist profiling on EU borders

      Europe’s passport-free area under pressure as calls grow for tougher migrant controls.

      Police spot checks have become a part of Fahad’s annual summer holiday when driving through the snow-topped mountains of southern Bavaria.

      “This usually happens,” said the Kuwaiti father of three, when his silver people-carrier with his wife and children was stopped by German border officers in the idyllic Alpine town of #Kiefersfelden.

      Fahad and his family had to wait for more than half an hour at the border post, until they were given a pass to drive from Austria into Germany. During the FT’s three-hour stay at the checkpoint, non-white drivers made up about 70 per cent of cars selected for further checks. Fahad was one of a few drivers with beards, while others included women wearing headscarves and motorists who at first sight did not look like white Europeans. All were waved through once their IDs were checked, vehicle boots searched and luggage examined.

      Racial profiling at Europe’s internal borders is forbidden under EU law. But with a fresh wave of anti-immigrant governments calling for tougher controls on migrant movements, there are concerns that non-white people will come under increasing suspicion when travelling in the continent.

      Europe’s passport-free Schengen zone — an area made up of 26 European states that abolished passport control at their mutual borders — has buckled under twin pressures: Europe’s biggest influx of refugees since the second world war, and a growing number of anti-immigrant governments pushing to crack down on irregular migration flows. “There is such a fear that Schengen won’t survive that countries are being given the discretion to do whatever they can to keep it alive,” said Elizabeth Collett, director of the Migration Policy Institute Europe think-tank.

      Although the number of migrants entering the EU has dropped dramatically since the height of the migration crisis in 2015, emergency powers still allow border controls across 20,000km inside the Schengen zone. Kiefersfelden, a popular skiing destination, has become one of Schengen’s pinch points: it is home to one of three emergency police controls along Germany’s 820km border with Austria.

      Every car travelling on the A12 autobahn through Kiefersfelden must pass a police border stop where officers select vehicles for extra spot checks. The cars that are picked are sent to a tented zone, where drivers and passengers must show valid ID documents.

      Border police said they are told to look for signs of undocumented migrants and people smugglers crossing into Germany from Austria. So far this year, an average of 900 illegal migrants per month have been detained on the Austro-German border, down from 1,120 per month in 2017.

      As racial profiling is outlawed, it is the responsibility of European governments to ensure their police forces carry out checks at random. Rainer Schafer, spokesman for the federal police overseeing the Kiefersfelden controls, said race and ethnicity “can be among the indicators” officers look for when deciding to pull over a vehicle for extra checks.

      “But there are no rules that we just pick out the people who look like they are coming from Africa,” he said. Other factors include registration plates (Italian or eastern European plates draw officers’ attention), blacked-out windows, and the number of passengers, he said.

      Police checks in Bavaria are expected to intensify after the region’s conservative local government last month requested tougher migration controls.

      Horst Seehofer, Germany’s interior minister, has also called on the government to break two decades of EU-wide co-operation on migration and unilaterally send people away at Germany’s internal borders. Observers fear that other Schengen countries, like Austria, could in turn erect their own emergency border controls — and that the EU’s principle of free movement of people is at risk of becoming a privilege enjoyed only by white Europeans.

      A report from La Cimade, a French non-governmental organisation, found French border police “systematically check the identity documents of people who do not have the right skin colour” on inbound trains from Italy.

      Inga Schwarz, a researcher at the University of Freiburg, said Europe’s internal border crossings are becoming “increasingly racialised spaces, constructed not only by border guards profiling according to race, but also by European citizens who witness these racialised control practices”.

      In Kiefersfelden, the majority of the non-white drivers selected for checks were tourists in people-carriers and expensive cars — mostly from the Gulf — and were waved through in less than 15 minutes. Uruj, a 27-year-old teacher from Kuwait, her husband and young daughter waited for nearly an hour in their white Mercedes.

      Although they had valid visa documents, police took away their passports and only permitted the family to continue to their holiday destination in Austria once they had obtained a car seat for their three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Wafah. Uruj, who was wearing a pink headscarf, said, “I don’t think they liked the look of us.”


      https://www.ft.com/content/fac891a6-93f9-11e8-b67b-b8205561c3fe?segmentid=acee4131-99c2-09d3-a635-873e61754
      #contrôles_frontaliers #profiling #Allemagne #Autriche #contrôle_au_faciès

    • Réfugiés : la #Slovénie veut toujours plus de #barbelés sur sa frontière avec la #Croatie

      Les autorités slovènes se veulent rassurantes : la sécurité des frontières est assurée et personne n’a d’information sur l’éventuelle réouverture massive de la « #route_des_Balkans ». Pourtant le nouveau gouvernement ne semble pas avoir l’intention d’infléchir la politique migratoire de son prédécesseur et songerait même à étendre les barbelés qui coupent la Slovénie de son voisin croate.

      Par Charles Nonne

      La question des réfugiés semble ces dernières semaines avoir déserté le débat public en Slovénie. Le contrat de coalition signé le 28 août 2018, lapidaire, dédramatise : « Nous élaborerons une stratégie migratoire exhaustive, basée sur la coopération intergouvernementale. Nous protègerons les frontières de l’espace Schengen avec davantage d’efficacité et nous démonterons les obstacles techniques [barrières et panneaux] dès que les circonstances le permettront. »

      Pourtant, les passages de la frontière se poursuivent, notamment dans la région de la Bela Krajina, au sud-est du pays, où la rivière Kolpa sépare Slovénie et Croatie. Selon la police de Novo Mesto, entre le 1er janvier et le 31 septembre 2018, plus de 2400 ressortissants étrangers auraient illégalement franchi la Kolpa, soit douze fois plus qu’en 2017.

      Fin septembre, en marge d’un déplacement dans le centre régional de Črnomelj, le nouveau ministre de l’Intérieur, Boris Poklukar, avait affirmé vouloir maintenir les barrières en l’état, tout en garantissant que la police était préparée à une augmentation des passages frontaliers. Pour la maire de Črnomelj, Mojca Čemas Stjepanovič, « pour le moment, la sécurité est garantie et nous n’avons aucune raison de nous inquiéter. » Dans les communes les plus exposées, le gouvernement a promis l’érection de nouveaux « obstacles techniques » : sur les 670 kilomètres de frontière slovéno-croate, plus de 160 sont parcourus par des barbelés et 56 par de véritables barrières.

      En Slovénie, c’est notamment les tensions à la frontière entre la Bosnie-Herzégovine et la Croatie qui préoccupent. Si le gouvernement se prépare à plusieurs scénarios, il affirme n’avoir « aucune information laissant penser à une augmentation prochaine des flux », indique le ministre Boris Poklukar. Au nord, l’Autriche a d’ores et déjà annoncé qu’elle ne diminuerait pas la surveillance de sa frontière lors des six prochains mois.

      Au-delà du strict contrôle frontalier, d’autres questions divisent : des inquiétudes pèsent notamment sur la possible installation de centres d’accueil, comme à Debeli Rtič, sur la côte slovène, et à Brežice, à 40 kilomètres de Zagreb. La directrice du bureau gouvernemental pour la prise en charge de l’intégration des migrants, Mojca Špec Potočar, a tenu à indiquer qu’« il n’y [aurait] aucune installation permanente de réfugiés. »

      La question secoue également les rangs de la coalition : l’ancienne ministre de l’Intérieur, Vesna Györkös Žnidar, « faucon » régulièrement critiqué par les défenseurs des droits de l’homme, vient de claquer la porte de son parti, le Parti du centre moderne (SMC) de l’ancien Premier ministre Miro Cerar, en raison de désaccords profonds sur les questions migratoires.

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Slovenie-le-gouvernement-poursuit-lentement-le-renforcement-de-sa
      #fermeture_des_frontières #murs #barrières_frontalières

  • For an open migration policy to end the deaths and crises in the Mediterranean

    The current crisis surrounding migration is not one of numbers – migrants’ crossings of the sea are at their lowest since 2013 – but of policies. The drive towards closure and the politicisation of migration are so strong after years of tension that the frail bodies of a few thousand migrants arriving on European shores are triggering a major political crisis throughout the EU.

    One epicentre of this crisis is in Italy, where Matteo Salvini, the country’s new far-right Interior Minister, is preventing NGOs from disembarking rescued migrants. Such was the case with the 629 people on board the Aquarius.

    Another is Germany, where the governing coalition led by Angela Merkel is at risk as the hardline Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has threatened to turn back refugees at the German borders. The European Council summit on 28 June 2018 promises to be rife with tensions. As EU member states will most probably continue to prove unable to offer a common response to migrants once they have arrived on European shores, they will reinforce the policy they have implemented since 2015: preventing migrants from crossing the sea by outsourcing border control to non-European countries.
    The consensus of closure

    This policy of closure has had horrendous consequences for migrants – such as the subjection to torture of those who are intercepted at sea by the Libyan coast guard, which has been equipped, trained and coordinated by Italy and the EU. Despite this, it has gathered growing consensus. Faced with the politicisation of migration which has fuelled the rise of far-right populist parties across Europe and threatens the EU itself with disintegration, even humanists of the centre left and right ask whether these inhumane policies are not a necessary evil.

    Would it not be better for migrants to “stay home” rather then reach a Europe which has turned its back on them and which they threaten in turn? Whispering or shouting, reluctantly or aggressively, European citizens increasingly wish migrants would simply disappear.

    Powerful forces driving migration, failed policies

    This consensus towards closure is delusional. Policies of closure that are completely at odds with the dynamics of migration systematically fail in their aim of ending the arrivals of illegalised migrants, as the record of the last 30 years demonstrates.

    Ever since the European states consolidated freedom of movement for European citizens in the 1990s all the while denying access to most non-European populations, the arrival of “undesirable” migrants has not stopped, but only been pushed underground. This is because as long as there are strong “push factors” – such as wars and economic crisis, and “pull factors” – such as work and welfare opportunities as well as respect for human rights, and that these continue to be connected by migrants’ transnational networks, state policies have little chance of succeeding in durably stemming the migration they aim to restrict.

    Over the last 30 years, for every route states have succeeded in closing, it has only been a matter of time before migrants opened several new ones. Forced to use precarious means of travel – often controlled by criminal networks, migrants’ lives were put at growing risk. More than 30,000 migrants are recorded to have died at sea since the beginning of the 1990s. A sea which has connected civilisations for millennia has become a mass grave.

    Fear breeds more fear: the vicious cycle

    These policies of closure, often implemented by centre governments allegedly in the aim of preventing the further rise of anti-immigrant sentiments, ultimately contributed to them. Despite the spectacular military means deployed by states to police borders, illegalised migration continued, giving European populations a sense that their states had “lost control” – a feeling that has only been heightened in the wake of the Arab uprisings.

    Migrants’ illegalisation has led to unjustifiable status inequality within European societies, allowing employers to pull salaries down in the sectors in which precaritized migrants are employed. This has lent to working classes the impression that migrants constitute an unfair competition.

    Policies of closure and discrimination thus only generate more fear and rejection of migrants. The parties which have mobilised voters on the basis of this fear have left unaddressed – and in fact diverted attention from – the rising unemployment, social insecurity, and inequality amongst Europe’s “losers of globalisation”, whose resentment has served as a fertile ground for anti-immigrant sentiments.

    In this way, we have become trapped in a vicious cycle that has fuelled the rise of the far-right.
    Towards an open migration policy, de-escalate the mobility conflict

    Over the years, the Mediterranean has become the main frontline of a mobility conflict, which has intensified in the wake of the 2011 Arab uprisings and European debt crisis. Since then, both the factors spurring migrants’ movement towards Europe and those leading to the drive to exclude them have been heightened.

    The lack of solidarity within the EU to respond to arrivals in so-called “frontline states” in southern and eastern Europe have further fuelled it. As long as the same policies continue to be applied, there is no end in sight to the political tensions and violence surrounding migration and the worrying political trends they are nurturing.

    A fundamental paradigm shift is necessary to end this vicious cycle. European citizens and policy makers alike must realise that the question is not whether migrants will exercise their freedom to cross borders, but at what human and political cost.

    State policies can only create a legal frame for human movement to unfold and thereby partly organise it, they cannot block it. Only a more open policy would allow migration to unfold in a way that threatens neither migrants themselves nor European citizens.

    With legal access to Europe, migrants would no longer need to resort to smugglers and risk their lives crossing the sea. No longer policed through military means, migration could appear as a normal process that does not generate fear. States could better detect individuals that might pause a threat among migrants as they would not be pushed underground. Migrants’ legal status would no longer allow employers to push working conditions down.

    Such a policy is however far from being on the European agenda. For its implementation to be even faintly imaginable in the medium term, the deep and entangled roots of the mobility conflict must addressed.
    Beyond the EU’s incoherent and one-sided “global approach”

    Today, the EU claims to address one side of the mobility conflict. Using development aid within its so-called “global approach to migration”, it claims to tackle the “root causes” that spur migration towards Europe. Researchers however have shown that development does not automatically lead to less migration. This policy will further have little effect as long as the EU’s unfair trade policies with the global south are perpetuated – for example concerning agriculture and fishing in Africa.

    In effect, the EU’s policy has mostly resulted in the use of development aid to impose policies of migration control on countries of the global south. In the process, the EU is lending support to authoritarian regimes – such as Turkey, Egypt, Sudan – which migrants are fleeing.

    Finally, when it has not worsened conflicts through its own military intervention as in Libya, the EU has proven unable of acting as a stabilizing force in the face of internationalised civil conflicts. These are bound to multiply in a time of intense competition for global hegemony. A true commitment to global justice and conflict resolution is necessary if Europe wishes to limit the factors forcing too many people onto the harsh paths of exile from their countries and regions, a small share of whom reach European shores.
    Tackling the drivers of migrant exclusion

    Beyond its lack of coherence, the EU’s so-called “global approach” suffers from one-sidedness, focused as it is on migration as “the problem”.

    As a result, it fails to see migration as a normal social process. Furthermore, it does not address the conditions that lead to the social and political drive to exclude them. The fact that today the arrival of a few thousand migrants is enough to put the EU into crisis clearly shows the limits of this approach.

    It is urgent for policy makers – at the national and local levels, but also researchers, cultural producers and social movements – to not only morally condemn racism and xenophobia, but to tackle the deep forces that shape them.

    What is needed is a more inclusive and fair economic system to decrease the resentment of European populations. In addition, a positive vision for living in common in diverse societies must be affirmed, so that the tensions that arise from the encounter between different people and cultures can be overcome.

    Crucially, we must emphasise the commonality of fate that binds European citizens to migrants. Greater equality and solidarity between migrants and European citizens is one of the conditions to defend all workers’ conditions.

    All in the same boat

    Addressing the entangled roots of the mobility conflict is a challenging agenda, one which emerges from the realisation that the tensions surrounding migration cannot be resolved through migration policies only – and by policy makers on their own for that matter.

    It charts a path worth following collectively as it points in the direction of a more open migration policy, but also a more just society. These are necessary to bring an end to the unbearable deaths of migrants at sea and end the vicious cycle of closure, violence, and politicisation of migration.

    Policies of closure have failed to end illegalised migration and only fuelled the rise of the far-right and the disintegration of Europe. If Europe is to stop sinking, it must end the policies that lead to migrants’ mass drowning in the Mediterranean. The NGOs being criminalised and prevented from disembarking migrants in Italy are not only saving migrants, but rescuing Europe against itself. Whether we like it or not, we are all in the same boat.

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/charles-heller/for-open-migration-policy-to-end-deaths-and-crises-in-mediterranea

    #tribune #Charles_Heller #solution #alternatives #migrations #asile #frontières #fermeture_des_frontières #fermeture #ouverture_des_frontières #décès #morts #mourir_en_mer

    • Une politique migratoire plus ouverte pour moins de morts en Méditerranée

      La fermeture des frontières a coûté la vie à plus de 30 000 migrants qui tentaient de parvenir en Europe. Cette vision politique a favorisé la montée de l’extrême droite qu’elle prétendait combattre. Il est donc temps de changer de paradigme et d’adopter une nouvelle approche.

      Le sommet du Conseil européen du 28 juin n’aura que confirmé ce que tous savaient déjà. Face à la montée des partis d’extrême droite et à la menace de désintégration d’une Union européenne (UE) incapable d’offrir un accueil solidaire aux migrants arrivés sur le sol européen, la seule solution envisageable semble être de les empêcher à tout prix de pouvoir y mettre pied en externalisant le contrôle des migrations (1). Malgré la documentation de nombreux cas de tortures parmi les migrants interceptés par les gardes-côtes libyens financés, équipés, et coordonnés par l’Italie et l’Union européenne, ce soutien a été réitéré (2). Des ONG, qui ont courageusement déployé leurs bateaux pour combler le vide mortel laissé par le retrait des secours étatiques, sont sommées de laisser les Libyens faire le sale boulot, criminalisées, et interdites d’accès aux ports italiens. Chaque jour, la mer charrie son lot de corps sans vie.

      Il serait illusoire de penser que cette énième crise pourra être résolue par les mêmes politiques de fermetures qui échouent depuis plus de trente ans. Celles-ci n’ont pas mis un terme aux arrivées des migrants désignés comme indésirables, mais les ont seulement illégalisées. Tant qu’existeront des facteurs qui poussent les populations du Sud global sur les chemins de l’exil - guerres, crises économiques - et des facteurs d’attraction vers l’Europe - travail, Etat social, respect des droits humains - et que les réseaux transnationaux de migrants relient les continents, les politiques de fermetures ne parviendront pas à réduire durablement les migrations (3). Pour chaque route que les Etats ferment, plusieurs nouvelles voies seront bientôt ouvertes. La liste répertoriant plus de 30 000 migrants morts en mer depuis le début des années 90 ne cessera de s’allonger (4).

      Ces politiques de fermeture, souvent mises en œuvre par des gouvernements prétendant lutter contre la montée de sentiments anti-immigrants, n’ont fait que les renforcer. En dépit des moyens militaires spectaculaires déployés par les Etats pour contrôler les frontières, la migration illégale s’est poursuivie, confortant chez les populations européennes le sentiment que leurs gouvernements avaient « perdu le contrôle ». L’illégalisation des migrants permet aux employeurs de baisser les salaires dans les secteurs où sont employés des migrants précarisés, et des ouvriers en ont tiré la conclusion que les migrants sont une concurrence déloyale. Les partis, qui ont mobilisé les votants sur la base de sentiments anti-immigrés, n’ont offert aucune réponse à la hausse du chômage, de l’insécurité sociale et des inégalités qui ont généré un profond ressentiment parmi les « perdants de la globalisation » en Europe (5). Ceux-ci ont été d’autant plus réceptifs aux discours haineux. Nous sommes ainsi prisonniers d’un cercle vicieux qui a encouragé la montée de l’extrême droite et qui a perpétué les politiques de fermetures.

      Au fil des ans, la Méditerranée est devenue la principale ligne de front d’un conflit de mobilités qui s’est intensifié à la suite des « printemps arabes » de 2011 et de la crise de la dette européenne. Depuis, tant les facteurs qui amènent les migrants à venir vers l’Europe que ceux qui poussent à leur exclusion se sont intensifiés. Le manque de solidarité entre Etats européens a attisé le rejet des migrants. Tant qu’on appliquera les mêmes politiques de fermeture, il n’y aura pas d’issue aux tensions politiques et à la violence qui entourent les migrations, et aux inquiétantes tendances politiques qu’elles nourrissent. Le seul horizon de sortie de cette crise permanente est une politique migratoire ouverte (5).

      Citoyens et dirigeants européens doivent se rendre compte que la question n’est pas de savoir si les migrants vont exercer leur liberté de mouvement en franchissant les frontières, mais quel en sera le coût humain et politique. Les politiques des Etats ne peuvent que créer le cadre légal pour les mouvements humains, donc les organiser en partie, mais en aucun cas les bloquer. S’il existait des voies d’accès légales à l’Europe, les migrants n’auraient plus besoin de recourir aux passeurs et de risquer leur vie. En l’absence d’une gestion militarisée, la migration apparaîtrait pour ce qu’elle est : un processus normal qui n’engendre aucune peur. Les migrants disposant d’un statut légal, les employeurs n’auraient plus les mains libres pour dégrader les conditions de travail. Une telle politique est bien loin d’être à l’agenda européen, et suscite de nombreuses peurs. Pour qu’à moyen terme sa mise en place soit envisageable, il faut s’attaquer aux racines profondes et enchevêtrées du conflit de mobilité.

      Si l’Europe veut limiter les raisons qui poussent de trop nombreux êtres humains sur les chemins de l’exil, elle doit s’engager fermement en faveur d’une justice globale et de la résolution des conflits. C’est-à-dire réformer complètement la prétendue « approche globale de la migration » (6) de l’Union européenne qui, prétextant s’attaquer aux « causes profondes » des migrations, a surtout imposé aux pays du Sud l’externalisation des contrôles migratoires en leur faisant miroiter l’aide au développement. Bien plus, obsédée par la migration comme « problème », elle n’apporte aucune réponse aux conditions qui mènent à l’exclusion des migrants par l’Europe. Un système économique plus juste et inclusif permettrait de désamorcer le ressentiment des populations européennes. Une vision positive de la vie en commun dans des sociétés marquées par la diversité, de vaincre les tensions nées de la rencontre entre peuples et cultures. Il est vital d’insister sur la communauté de destin qui lie les citoyens européens aux migrants : plus d’égalité et de solidarité entre eux est l’une des conditions pour défendre les droits de tous les travailleurs.

      Une politique migratoire ouverte ne suffira ainsi pas à elle seule à surmonter les tensions entourant les migrations, elle devra être accompagnée d’une transformation profonde de notre monde. Mais pour se sauver du naufrage, l’Europe doit urgemment abandonner les politiques de fermeture qui sont la cause des dizaines de milliers de noyades en Méditerranée et ont attisé la montée de l’extrême droite. Les ONG aujourd’hui criminalisées font bien plus que sauver des migrants, elles sauvent l’Europe d’elle-même. Que nous le voulions ou non, nous sommes tous dans le même bateau.

      http://www.liberation.fr/debats/2018/07/03/une-politique-migratoire-plus-ouverte-pour-moins-de-morts-en-mediterranee
      #économie #illégalisation #extrême_droite #populisme #politique_migratoire #capitalisme #libéralisme #fermeture_des_frontières #ouverture_des_frontières #Charles_Heller