position:secretary general

  • Report of the fact-finding mission by Ambassador #Tomáš_Boček, Special Representative of the Secretary General on migration and refugees, to Bosnia and Herzegovina and to Croatia 24-27 July and 26-30 November 2018

    https://rm.coe.int/report-of-the-fact-finding-mission-by-ambassador-tomas-bocek-special-r/1680940259
    #Bosnie #Croatie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #asile #migrations #réfugiés #route_des_Balkans #Balkans #rapport #2018

    Commentaire reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodosli:

    Report by the Special Representative of the Secretary General on migration and refugees, Tomáš Boček, was published following his visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia in 2018. In all areas covered by the Report; access to territory, access to asylum, reception, detention and returns, unaccompanied minors – numerous problems have been detected, followed by testimonies from refugees who have experienced violent pushbacks. Although the Report contains different data, contextual descriptions, perspectives of different actors and recommendations, the language of the Report is rather tepid and does not leave any impression of the urgency of resolving serious violations of human rights. The Report addressed, among others, violations concerning policy and practice of detaining children, specifically unaccompanied minors, the failure and unavailability of integration measures, seizing money for the purpose of covering expenses related to stay in detention center, the lack of access to legal aid and the lack of information about the grounds for detention.


  • Opinion | Two Women, Heroes for Our Age - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/13/opinion/hathloul-sotoudeh-iran-saudi-arabia.html

    They are women who bravely challenged misogyny and dictatorship, one in Iran, the other in Saudi Arabia. Those two nations may be enemies, but they find common cause in their barbaric treatment of women — and since they are trying to squelch and smother these two women, we should shout their names from the mountaintops.

    Nasrin Sotoudeh, 55, is a writer and human rights lawyer who for decades has been fighting for women and children in Iran. Her family reports that this week she was sentenced to another 33 years in prison, on top of a five-year sentence she is now serving, plus 148 lashes.

    Loujain al-Hathloul, 29, a leader of the Saudi women’s rights movement, went on trial Wednesday after months of imprisonment and torture, including floggings, sexual harassment, waterboarding and electric shocks.

    Her sister Alia al-Hathloul told me that Loujain was finally presented with the charges against her, which included communicating with human rights organizations and criticizing the Saudi “guardianship” system for women.

    I previously suggested that Hathloul should get the Nobel Peace Prize, and she has now been nominated for it. So let me revise my proposal: Hathloul and Sotoudeh should win the Nobel together for their courageous advocacy of women’s rights before rival dictators who share one thing: a cruel misogyny.

    I know I’ll get notes from people who harrumph that the problem is simply Islam. That’s too glib, but it is fair to say that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei together tarnish the global image of Islam more than any army of blasphemers could.

    “This sentence is beyond barbaric,” the U.S. State Department said of Sotoudeh’s reported sentence. Quite true. But the State Department refuses to be equally blunt in denouncing Hathloul’s torture and imprisonment; that’s because it sees the Saudis as allies and the Iranians as enemies.

    What the Trump administration doesn’t seem to understand is this: If you care about human rights only in countries that you despise, you don’t actually care about human rights.

    Alia al-Hathloul said that her sister was ordered to sign a letter requesting a royal pardon, and did so, and that the torture appears to have ended. I’m hoping that the crown prince is looking for a way to climb down from his brutal mistreatment of the women’s rights activists and will eventually grant the pardon that she “requested.”

    Meanwhile, Iran seems to be cracking down harder. Amnesty International reports that Iran arrested more than 7,000 dissidents last year and that the 38-year combined sentence for Sotoudeh, if true, is the harshest imposed against a human rights defender in Iran in recent years. Iran state media suggested that she had been given a shorter sentence, but Sotoudeh and her family have much more credibility than Iran’s government.

    “The shockingly harsh sentence against her is a signal of just how unnerved the Iranian authorities have become,” Kumi Naidoo, the secretary general of Amnesty International, told me. He noted that women’s rights activists in Iran have become bolder, sometimes waving their head scarves on a stick and posting videos on social media.

    “With this cruel sentence, the Iranian authorities appear to be seeking to make an example of Nasrin Sotoudeh and to intimidate other women’s rights defenders,” he said.

    Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khandan, was separately sentenced in January to six years in prison, for posting updates about his wife’s case on Facebook. The couple has two children, a 12-year-old son named Nima and a 19-year-old daughter named Mehraveh. Hadi Ghaemi of the Center for Human Rights in Iran said that relatives may now have to raise Nima and Mehraveh.

    “My dearest Mehraveh,” Sotoudeh once wrote her daughter from prison, “you were my main motivation for pursuing children’s rights. … Every time I came home from court, after having defended an abused child, I would hold you and your brother in my arms, finding it hard to let go of your embrace.”

    #femmes #héros #arabie_saoudite #iran


  • The Knesset candidate who says Zionism encourages anti-Semitism and calls Netanyahu ’arch-murderer’ - Israel Election 2019 - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/.premium.MAGAZINE-knesset-candidate-netanyahu-is-an-arch-murderer-zionism-e

    Few Israelis have heard of Dr. Ofer Cassif, the Jewish representative on the far-leftist Hadash party’s Knesset slate. On April 9, that will change
    By Ravit Hecht Feb 16, 2019

    Ofer Cassif is fire and brimstone. Not even the flu he’s suffering from today can contain his bursting energy. His words are blazing, and he bounds through his modest apartment, searching frenetically for books by Karl Marx and Primo Levi in order to find quotations to back up his ideas. Only occasional sips from a cup of maté bring his impassioned delivery to a momentary halt. The South American drink is meant to help fight his illness, he explains.

    Cassif is third on the slate of Knesset candidates in Hadash (the Hebrew acronym for the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality), the successor to Israel’s Communist Party. He holds the party’s “Jewish slot,” replacing MK Dov Khenin. Cassif is likely to draw fire from opponents and be a conspicuous figure in the next Knesset, following the April 9 election.

    Indeed, the assault on him began as soon as he was selected by the party’s convention. The media pursued him; a columnist in the mass-circulation Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, Ben-Dror Yemini, called for him to be disqualified from running for the Knesset. It would be naive to say that this was unexpected. Cassif, who was one of the first Israeli soldiers to refuse to serve in the territories, in 1987, gained fame thanks to a number of provocative statements. The best known is his branding of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked as “neo-Nazi scum.” On another occasion, he characterized Jews who visit the Temple Mount as “cancer with metastases that have to be eradicated.”

    On his alternate Facebook page, launched after repeated blockages of his original account by a blitz of posts from right-wing activists, he asserted that Culture Minister Miri Regev is “repulsive gutter contamination,” that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an “arch-murderer” and that the new Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, is a “war criminal.”

    Do you regret making those remarks?

    Cassif: “‘Regret’ is a word of emotion. Those statements were made against a background of particular events: the fence in Gaza, horrible legislation, and the wild antics of Im Tirtzu [an ultranationalist organization] on campus. That’s what I had to say at the time. I didn’t count on being in the Knesset. That wasn’t part of my plan. But it’s clear to me that as a public personality, I would not have made those comments.”

    Is Netanyahu an arch-murderer?

    “Yes. I wrote it in the specific context of a particular day in the Gaza Strip. A massacre of innocent people was perpetrated there, and no one’s going to persuade me that those people were endangering anyone. It’s a concentration camp. Not a ‘concentration camp’ in the sense of Bergen-Belsen; I am absolutely not comparing the Holocaust to what’s happening.”

    You term what Israel is doing to the Palestinians “genocide.”

    “I call it ‘creeping genocide.’ Genocide is not only a matter of taking people to gas chambers. When Yeshayahu Leibowitz used the term ‘Judeo-Nazis,’ people asked him, ‘How can you say that? Are we about to build gas chambers?’ To that, he had two things to say. First, if the whole difference between us and the Nazis boils down to the fact that we’re not building gas chambers, we’re already in trouble. And second, maybe we won’t use gas chambers, but the mentality that exists today in Israel – and he said this 40 years ago – would allow it. I’m afraid that today, after four years of such an extreme government, it possesses even greater legitimacy.

    “But you know what, put aside ‘genocide’ – ethnic cleansing is taking place there. And that ethnic cleansing is also being carried out by means of killing, although mainly by way of humiliation and of making life intolerable. The trampling of human dignity. It reminds me of Primo Levi’s ‘If This Is a Man.’”

    You say you’re not comparing, but you repeatedly come back to Holocaust references. On Facebook, you also uploaded the scene from “Schindler’s List” in which the SS commander Amon Goeth picks off Jews with his rifle from the balcony of his quarters in the camp. You compared that to what was taking place along the border fence in the Gaza Strip.

    “Today, I would find different comparisons. In the past I wrote an article titled, ‘On Holocaust and on Other Crimes.’ It’s online [in Hebrew]. I wrote there that anyone who compares Israel to the Holocaust is cheapening the Holocaust. My comparison between here and what happened in the early 1930s [in Germany] is a very different matter.”

    Clarity vs. crudity

    Given Cassif’s style, not everyone in Hadash was happy with his election, particularly when it comes to the Jewish members of the predominantly Arab party. Dov Khenin, for example, declined to be interviewed and say what he thinks of his parliamentary successor. According to a veteran party figure, “From the conversations I had, it turns out that almost none of the Jewish delegates – who make up about 100 of the party’s 940 delegates – supported his candidacy.

    “He is perceived, and rightly so,” the party veteran continues, “as someone who closes doors to Hadash activity within Israeli society. Each of the other Jewish candidates presented a record of action and of struggles they spearheaded. What does he do? Curses right-wing politicians on Facebook. Why did the party leadership throw the full force of its weight behind him? In a continuation of the [trend exemplified by] its becoming part of the Joint List, Ofer’s election reflects insularity and an ongoing retreat from the historical goal of implementing change in Israeli society.”

    At the same time, as his selection by a 60 percent majority shows, many in the party believe that it’s time to change course. “Israeli society is moving rightward, and what’s perceived as Dov’s [Khenin] more gentle style didn’t generate any great breakthrough on the Jewish street,” a senior source in Hadash notes.

    “It’s not a question of the tension between extremism and moderation, but of how to signpost an alternative that will develop over time. Clarity, which is sometimes called crudity, never interfered with cooperation between Arabs and Jews. On the contrary. Ofer says things that we all agreed with but didn’t so much say, and of course that’s going to rile the right wing. And a good thing, too.”

    Hadash chairman MK Ayman Odeh also says he’s pleased with the choice, though sources in the party claim that Odeh is apprehensive about Cassif’s style and that he actually supported a different candidate. “Dov went for the widest possible alliances in order to wield influence,” says Odeh. “Ofer will go for very sharp positions at the expense of the breadth of the alliance. But his sharp statements could have a large impact.”

    Khenin was deeply esteemed by everyone. When he ran for mayor of Tel Aviv in 2008, some 35 percent of the electorate voted for him, because he was able to touch people who weren’t only from his political milieu.

    Odeh: “No one has a higher regard for Dov than I do. But just to remind you, we are not a regular opposition, we are beyond the pale. And there are all kinds of styles. Influence can be wielded through comments that are vexatious the first time but which people get used to the second time. When an Arab speaks about the Nakba and about the massacre in Kafr Kassem [an Israeli Arab village, in 1956], it will be taken in a particular way, but when uttered by a Jew it takes on special importance.”

    He will be the cause of many attacks on the party.

    “Ahlan wa sahlan – welcome.”

    Cassif will be the first to tell you that, with all due respect for the approach pursued by Khenin and by his predecessor in the Jewish slot, Tamar Gozansky, he will be something completely different. “I totally admire what Tamar and Dov did – nothing less than that,” he says, while adding, “But my agenda will be different. The three immediate dangers to Israeli society are the occupation, racism and the diminishment of the democratic space to the point of liquidation. That’s the agenda that has to be the hub of the struggle, as long as Israel rules over millions of people who have no rights, enters [people’s houses] in the middle of the night, arrests minors on a daily basis and shoots people in the back.

    "Israel commits murder on a daily basis. When you murder one Palestinian, you’re called Elor Azaria [the IDF soldier convicted and jailed for killing an incapacitated Palestinian assailant]; when you murder and oppress thousands of Palestinians, you’re called the State of Israel.”

    So you plan to be the provocateur in the next Knesset?

    “It’s not my intention to be a provocateur, to stand there and scream and revile people. Even on Facebook I was compelled to stop that. But I definitely intend to challenge the dialogue in terms of the content, and mainly with a type of sarcasm.”

    ’Bags of blood’

    Cassif, 54, who holds a doctorate in political philosophy from the London School of Economics, teaches political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Sapir Academic College in Sderot and at the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo. He lives in Rehovot, is married and is the father of a 19-year-old son. He’s been active in Hadash for three decades and has held a number of posts in the party.

    As a lecturer, he stands out for his boldness and fierce rhetoric, which draws students of all stripes. He even hangs out with some of his Haredi students, one of whom wrote a post on the eve of the Hadash primary urging the delegates to choose him. After his election, a student from a settlement in the territories wrote to him, “You are a determined and industrious person, and for that I hold you in high regard. Hoping we will meet on the field of action and growth for the success of Israel as a Jewish, democratic state (I felt obliged to add a small touch of irony in conclusion).”

    Cassif grew up in a home that supported Mapai, forerunner of Labor, in Rishon Letzion. He was an only child; his father was an accountant, his mother held a variety of jobs. He was a news hound from an early age, and at 12 ran for the student council in school. He veered sharply to the left in his teens, becoming a keen follower of Marx and socialism.

    Following military service in the IDF’s Nahal brigade and a period in the airborne Nahal, Cassif entered the Hebrew University. There his political career moved one step forward, and there he also forsook the Zionist left permanently. His first position was as a parliamentary aide to the secretary general of the Communist Party, Meir Wilner.

    “At first I was closer to Mapam [the United Workers Party, which was Zionist], and then I refused to serve in the territories. I was the first refusenik in the first intifada to be jailed. I didn’t get support from Mapam, I got support from the people of Hadash, and I drew close to them. I was later jailed three more times for refusing to serve in the territories.”

    His rivals in the student organizations at the Hebrew University remember him as the epitome of the extreme left.

    “Even in the Arab-Jewish student association, Cassif was considered off-the-wall,” says Motti Ohana, who was chairman of Likud’s student association and active in the Student Union at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s. “One time I got into a brawl with him. It was during the first intifada, when he brought two bags of blood, emptied them out in the university’s corridors and declared, ‘There is no difference between Jewish and Arab blood,’ likening Israeli soldiers to terrorists. The custom on campus was that we would quarrel, left-right, Arabs-Jews, and after that we would sit together, have a coffee and talk. But not Cassif.”

    According to Ohana, today a member of the Likud central committee, the right-wing activists knew that, “You could count on Ofer to fall into every trap. There was one event at the Hebrew University that was a kind of political Hyde Park. The right wanted to boot the left out of there, so we hung up the flag. It was obvious that Ofer would react, and in fact he tore the flag, and in the wake of the ruckus that developed, political activity was stopped for good.”

    Replacing the anthem

    Cassif voices clearly and cogently positions that challenge the public discourse in Israel, and does so with ardor and charisma. Four candidates vied for Hadash’s Jewish slot, and they all delivered speeches at the convention. The three candidates who lost to him – Efraim Davidi, Yaela Raanan and the head of the party’s Tel Aviv branch, Noa Levy – described their activity and their guiding principles. When they spoke, there was the regular buzz of an audience that’s waiting for lunch. But when Cassif took the stage, the effect was magnetic.

    “Peace will not be established without a correction of the crimes of the Nakba and [recognition of] the right of return,” he shouted, and the crowd cheered him. As one senior party figure put it, “Efraim talked about workers’ rights, Yaela about the Negev, Noa about activity in Tel Aviv – and Ofer was Ofer.”

    What do you mean by “right of return”?

    Cassif: “The first thing is the actual recognition of the Nakba and of the wrong done by Israel. Compare it to the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions in South Africa, if you like, or with the commissions in Chile after Pinochet. Israel must recognize the wrong it committed. Now, recognition of the wrong also includes recognition of the right of return. The question is how it’s implemented. It has to be done by agreement. I can’t say that tomorrow Tel Aviv University has to be dismantled and that Sheikh Munis [the Arab village on whose ruins the university stands] has to be rebuilt there. The possibility can be examined of giving compensation in place of return, for example.”

    But what is the just solution, in your opinion?

    “For the Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.”

    That means there will be Jews who will have to leave their home.

    “In some places, unequivocally, yes. People will have to be told: ‘You must evacuate your places.’ The classic example is Ikrit and Biram [Christian-Arab villages in Galilee whose residents were promised – untruly – by the Israeli authorities in 1948 that they would be able to return, and whose lands were turned over to Jewish communities]. But there are places where there is certainly greater difficulty. You don’t right one wrong with another.”

    What about the public space in Israel? What should it look like?

    “The public space has to change, to belong to all the state’s residents. I dispute the conception of ‘Jewish publicness.’”

    How should that be realized?

    “For example, by changing the national symbols, changing the national anthem. [Former Hadash MK] Mohammed Barakeh once suggested ‘I Believe’ [‘Sahki, Sahki’] by [Shaul] Tchernichovsky – a poem that is not exactly an expression of Palestinian nationalism. He chose it because of the line, ‘For in mankind I’ll believe.’ What does it mean to believe in mankind? It’s not a Jew, or a Palestinian, or a Frenchman, or I don’t know what.”

    What’s the difference between you and the [Arab] Balad party? Both parties overall want two states – a state “of all its citizens” and a Palestinian state.

    “In the big picture, yes. But Balad puts identity first on the agenda. We are not nationalists. We do not espouse nationalism as a supreme value. For us, self-determination is a means. We are engaged in class politics. By the way, Balad [the National Democratic Assembly] and Ta’al [MK Ahmad Tibi’s Arab Movement for Renewal] took the idea of a state of all its citizens from us, from Hadash. We’ve been talking about it for ages.”

    If you were a Palestinian, what would you do today?

    “In Israel, what my Palestinian friends are doing, and I with them – [wage] a parliamentary and extra-parliamentary struggle.”

    And what about the Palestinians in the territories?

    “We have always been against harming innocent civilians. Always. In all our demonstrations, one of our leading slogans was: ‘In Gaza and in Sderot, children want to live.’ With all my criticism of the settlers, to enter a house and slaughter children, as in the case of the Fogel family [who were murdered in their beds in the settlement of Itamar in 2011], is intolerable. You have to be a human being and reject that.”

    And attacks on soldiers?

    “An attack on soldiers is not terrorism. Even Netanyahu, in his book about terrorism, explicitly categorizes attacks on soldiers or on the security forces as guerrilla warfare. It’s perfectly legitimate, according to every moral criterion – and, by the way, in international law. At the same time, I am not saying it’s something wonderful, joyful or desirable. The party’s Haifa office is on Ben-Gurion Street, and suddenly, after years, I noticed a memorial plaque there for a fighter in Lehi [pre-state underground militia, also known as the Stern Gang] who assassinated a British officer. Wherever there has been a struggle for liberation from oppression, there are national heroes, who in 90 percent of the cases carried out some operations that were unlawful. Nelson Mandela is today considered a hero, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but according to the conventional definition, he was a terrorist. Most of the victims of the ANC [African National Congress] were civilians.”

    In other words, today’s Hamas commanders who are carrying out attacks on soldiers will be heroes of the future Palestinian state?

    “Of course.”

    Anti-Zionist identity

    Cassif terms himself an explicit anti-Zionist. “There are three reasons for that,” he says. “To begin with, Zionism is a colonialist movement, and as a socialist, I am against colonialism. Second, as far as I am concerned, Zionism is racist in ideology and in practice. I am not referring to the definition of race theory – even though there are also some who impute that to the Zionist movement – but to what I call Jewish supremacy. No socialist can accept that. My supreme value is equality, and I can’t abide any supremacy – Jewish or Arab. The third thing is that Zionism, like other ethno-nationalistic movements, splits the working class and all weakened groups. Instead of uniting them in a struggle for social justice, for equality, for democracy, it divides the exploited classes and the enfeebled groups, and by that means strengthens the rule of capital.”

    He continues, “Zionism also sustains anti-Semitism. I don’t say it does so deliberately – even though I have no doubt that there are some who do it deliberately, like Netanyahu, who is connected to people like the prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, and the leader of the far right in Austria, Hans Christian Strache.”

    Did Mapai-style Zionism also encourage anti-Semitism?

    “The phenomenon was very striking in Mapai. Think about it for a minute, not only historically, but logically. If the goal of political and practical Zionism is really the establishment of a Jewish state containing a Jewish majority, and for Diaspora Jewry to settle there, nothing serves them better than anti-Semitism.”

    What in their actions encouraged anti-Semitism?

    “The very appeal to Jews throughout the world – the very fact of treating them as belonging to the same nation, when they were living among other nations. The whole old ‘dual loyalty’ story – Zionism actually encouraged that. Therefore, I maintain that anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are not the same thing, but are precisely opposites. That doesn’t mean, of course, that there are no anti-Zionists who are also anti-Semites. Most of the BDS people are of course anti-Zionists, but they are in no way anti-Semites. But there are anti-Semites there, too.”

    Do you support BDS?

    “It’s too complex a subject for a yes or no answer; there are aspects I don’t support.”

    Do you think that the Jews deserve a national home in the Land of Israel?

    “I don’t know what you mean by ‘national home.’ It’s very amorphous. We in Hadash say explicitly that Israel has a right to exist as a sovereign state. Our struggle is not against the state’s existence, but over its character.”

    But that state is the product of the actions of the Zionist movement, which you say has been colonialist and criminal from day one.

    “That’s true, but the circumstances have changed. That’s the reason that the majority of the members of the Communist Party accepted the [1947] partition agreement at the time. They recognized that the circumstances had changed. I think that one of the traits that sets communist thought apart, and makes it more apt, is the understanding and the attempt to strike the proper balance between what should be, and reality. So it’s true that Zionism started as colonialism, but what do you do with the people who were already born here? What do you tell them? Because your grandparents committed a crime, you have to leave? The question is how you transform the situation that’s been created into one that’s just, democratic and equal.”

    So, a person who survived a death camp and came here is a criminal?

    “The individual person, of course not. I’m in favor of taking in refugees in distress, no matter who or what they are. I am against Zionism’s cynical use of Jews in distress, including the refugees from the Holocaust. I have a problem with the fact that the natives whose homeland this is cannot return, while people for whom it’s not their homeland, can, because they supposedly have some sort of blood tie and an ‘imaginary friend’ promised them the land.”

    I understand that you are in favor of the annulment of the Law of Return?

    “Yes. Definitely.”

    But you are in favor of the Palestinian right of return.

    “There’s no comparison. There’s no symmetry here at all. Jerry Seinfeld was by chance born to a Jewish family. What’s his connection to this place? Why should he have preference over a refugee from Sabra or Chatila, or Edward Said, who did well in the United States? They are the true refugees. This is their homeland. Not Seinfeld’s.”

    Are you critical of the Arabs, too?

    “Certainly. One criticism is of their cooperation with imperialism – take the case of today’s Saudi Arabia, Qatar and so on. Another, from the past, relates to the reactionary forces that did not accept that the Jews have a right to live here.”

    Hadash refrained from criticizing the Assad regime even as it was massacring civilians in Syria. The party even torpedoed a condemnation of Assad after the chemical attack. Do you identify with that approach?

    “Hadash was critical of the Assad regime – father and son – for years, so we can’t be accused in any way of supporting Assad or Hezbollah. We are not Ba’ath, we are not Islamists. We are communists. But as I said earlier, the struggle, unfortunately, is generally not between the ideal and what exists in practice, but many times between two evils. And then you have to ask yourself which is the lesser evil. The Syrian constellation is extremely complicated. On the one hand, there is the United States, which is intervening, and despite all the pretense of being against ISIS, supported ISIS and made it possible for ISIS to sprout.

    "I remind you that ISIS started from the occupation of Iraq. And ideologically and practically, ISIS is definitely a thousand times worse than the Assad regime, which is at base also a secular regime. Our position was and is against the countries that pose the greatest danger to regional peace, which above all are Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and the United States, which supports them. That doesn’t mean that we support Assad.”

    Wrong language

    Cassif’s economic views are almost as far from the consensus as his political ideas. He lives modestly in an apartment that’s furnished like a young couple’s first home. You won’t find an espresso maker or unnecessary products of convenience in his place. To his credit, it can be said that he extracts the maximum from Elite instant coffee.

    What is your utopian vision – to nationalize Israel’s conglomerates, such as Cellcom, the telecommunications company, or Osem, the food manufacturer and distributor?

    “The bottom line is yes. How exactly will it be done? That’s an excellent question, which I can’t answer. Perhaps by transferring ownership to the state or to the workers, with democratic tools. And there are other alternatives. But certainly, I would like it if a large part of the resources were not in private hands, as was the case before the big privatizations. It’s true that it won’t be socialism, because, again, there can be no such thing as Zionist socialism, but there won’t be privatization like we have today. What is the result of capitalism in Israel? The collapse of the health system, the absence of a social-welfare system, a high cost of living and of housing, the elderly and the disabled in a terrible situation.”

    Does any private sector have the right to exist?

    “Look, the question is what you mean by ‘private sector.’ If we’re talking about huge concerns that the owners of capital control completely through their wealth, then no.”

    What growth was there in the communist countries? How can anyone support communism, in light of the grim experience wherever it was tried?

    “It’s true, we know that in the absolute majority of societies where an attempt was made to implement socialism, there was no growth or prosperity, and we need to ask ourselves why, and how to avoid that. When I talk about communism, I’m not talking about Stalin and all the crimes that were committed in the name of the communist idea. Communism is not North Korea and it is not Pol Pot in Cambodia. Heaven forbid.”

    And what about Venezuela?

    “Venezuela is not communism. In fact, they didn’t go far enough in the direction of socialism.”

    Chavez was not enough of a socialist?

    “Chavez, but in particular Maduro. The Communist Party is critical of the regime. They support it because the main enemy is truly American imperialism and its handmaidens. Let’s look at what the U.S. did over the years. At how many times it invaded and employed bullying, fascist forces. Not only in Latin America, its backyard, but everywhere.”

    Venezuela is falling apart, people there don’t have anything to eat, there’s no medicine, everyone who can flees – and it’s the fault of the United States?

    “You can’t deny that the regime has made mistakes. It’s not ideal. But basically, it is the result of American imperialism and its lackeys. After all, the masses voted for Chavez and for Maduro not because things were good for them. But because American corporations stole the country’s resources and filled their own pockets. I wouldn’t make Chavez into an icon, but he did some excellent things.”

    Then how do you generate individual wealth within the method you’re proposing? I understand that I am now talking to you capitalistically, but the reality is that people see the accumulation of assets as an expression of progress in life.

    “Your question is indeed framed in capitalist language, which simply departs from what I believe in. Because you are actually asking me how the distribution of resources is supposed to occur within the capitalist framework. And I say no, I am not talking about resource distribution within a capitalist framework.”

    Gantz vs. Netanyahu

    Cassif was chosen as the polls showed Meretz and Labor, the representatives of the Zionist left, barely scraping through into the next Knesset and in fact facing a serious possibility of electoral extinction. The critique of both parties from the radical left is sometimes more acerbic than from the right.

    Would you like to see the Labor Party disappear?

    “No. I think that what’s happening at the moment with Labor and with Meretz is extremely dangerous. I speak about them as collectives, because they contain individuals with whom I see no possibility of engaging in a dialogue. But I think that they absolutely must be in the Knesset.”

    Is a left-winger who defines himself as a Zionist your partner in any way?

    “Yes. We need partners. We can’t be picky. Certainly we will cooperate with liberals and Zionists on such issues as combating violence against women or the battle to rescue the health system. Maybe even in putting an end to the occupation.”

    I’ll put a scenario to you: Benny Gantz does really well in the election and somehow overcomes Netanyahu. Do you support the person who led Operation Protective Edge in Gaza when he was chief of staff?

    “Heaven forbid. But we don’t reject people, we reject policy. I remind you that it was [then-defense minister] Yitzhak Rabin who led the most violent tendency in the first intifada, with his ‘Break their bones.’ But when he came to the Oslo Accords, it was Hadash and the Arab parties that gave him, from outside the coalition, an insurmountable bloc. I can’t speak for the party, but if there is ever a government whose policy is one that we agree with – eliminating the occupation, combating racism, abolishing the nation-state law – I believe we will give our support in one way or another.”

    And if Gantz doesn’t declare his intention to eliminate the occupation, he isn’t preferable to Netanyahu in any case?

    “If so, why should we recommend him [to the president to form the next government]? After the clips he posted boasting about how many people he killed and how he hurled Gaza back into the Stone Age, I’m far from certain that he’s better.”

    #Hadash

    • traduction d’un extrait [ d’actualité ]

      Le candidat à la Knesset dit que le sionisme encourage l’antisémitisme et qualifie Netanyahu de « meurtrier »
      Peu d’Israéliens ont entendu parler de M. Ofer Cassif, représentant juif de la liste de la Knesset du parti d’extrême gauche Hadash. Le 9 avril, cela changera.
      Par Ravit Hecht 16 février 2019 – Haaretz

      (…) Identité antisioniste
      Cassif se dit un antisioniste explicite. « Il y a trois raisons à cela », dit-il. « Pour commencer, le sionisme est un mouvement colonialiste et, en tant que socialiste, je suis contre le colonialisme. Deuxièmement, en ce qui me concerne, le sionisme est raciste d’idéologie et de pratique. Je ne fais pas référence à la définition de la théorie de la race - même si certains l’imputent également au mouvement sioniste - mais à ce que j’appelle la suprématie juive. Aucun socialiste ne peut accepter cela. Ma valeur suprême est l’égalité et je ne peux supporter aucune suprématie - juive ou arabe. La troisième chose est que le sionisme, comme d’autres mouvements ethno-nationalistes, divise la classe ouvrière et tous les groupes sont affaiblis. Au lieu de les unir dans une lutte pour la justice sociale, l’égalité, la démocratie, il divise les classes exploitées et affaiblit les groupes, renforçant ainsi le pouvoir du capital. "
      Il poursuit : « Le sionisme soutient également l’antisémitisme. Je ne dis pas qu’il le fait délibérément - même si je ne doute pas qu’il y en a qui le font délibérément, comme Netanyahu, qui est connecté à des gens comme le Premier ministre de la Hongrie, Viktor Orban, et le chef de l’extrême droite. en Autriche, Hans Christian Strache. ”

      Le sionisme type-Mapaï a-t-il également encouragé l’antisémitisme ?
      « Le phénomène était très frappant au Mapai. Pensez-y une minute, non seulement historiquement, mais logiquement. Si l’objectif du sionisme politique et pratique est en réalité de créer un État juif contenant une majorité juive et de permettre à la communauté juive de la diaspora de s’y installer, rien ne leur sert mieux que l’antisémitisme. "

      Qu’est-ce qui, dans leurs actions, a encouragé l’antisémitisme ?
      « L’appel même aux Juifs du monde entier - le fait même de les traiter comme appartenant à la même nation, alors qu’ils vivaient parmi d’autres nations. Toute la vieille histoire de « double loyauté » - le sionisme a en fait encouragé cela. Par conséquent, j’affirme que l’antisémitisme et l’antisionisme ne sont pas la même chose, mais sont précisément des contraires. Bien entendu, cela ne signifie pas qu’il n’y ait pas d’antisionistes qui soient aussi antisémites. La plupart des membres du BDS sont bien sûr antisionistes, mais ils ne sont en aucun cas antisémites. Mais il y a aussi des antisémites.


  • Amnesty India staff complain of harassment and discrimination | Global development | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/feb/15/amnesty-india-staff-complain-of-harassment-and-discrimination

    Prominent Indian rights activists have withdrawn their support for Amnesty India amid allegations of caste discrimination and harassment within the organisation, the Guardian has learned.

    The allegations include claims that staff were humiliated, ill-treated and discriminated against because of their caste, a system of social hierarchy among Hindus.

    A further 32 Indian lawyers and civil rights campaigners have written to Amnesty International’s secretary general in London to demand an independent investigation into the claims from staff members. Parts of the letter were seen by the Guardian.

    It comes after the human rights group released a report last week identifying a “toxic” work culture at Amnesty International with widespread bullying, discrimination, public humiliation and other abuses of power. The review of workplace culture was prompted by staff concerns after researcher Gaëtan Mootoo killed himself in his Paris office.

    #amnesty_international #Inde #caste #discriminations #harcèlement


  • Jagal - The Act of Killing
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tILiqotj7Y


    v.o. sans sous-titres

    avec sous-titres
    https://amara.org/en/videos/lCHCQE8uqUJb/en/749348
    à 00:16:00 un gangster parle de sa passion pour le cinémà et comment c’était pratique d’avoir les locaux pour tuer et torturer en face de la salle de projection.

    C’est le film le moins apprécié par l’office de tourisme indonésien car il montre que le pays est gouverné aujourd’hui par les assassins de 1965/66 qui se font un plaisir de se vanter de leurs crimes devant la caméra.

    BACKGROUND | The Act of Killing
    http://theactofkilling.com/background

    CONTEXT, BACKGROUND AND METHOD
    First Encounter with the 1965-66 Massacres – The Globalization Tapes
    In 2001-2002, Christine Cynn and I went to Indonesia for the first time to produce The Globalization Tapes (2003), a participatory documentary project made in collaboration with the Independent Plantation Workers Union of Sumatra. Using their own forbidden history as a case study, these Indonesian filmmakers worked with us to trace the development of contemporary globalization from its roots in colonialism to the present.

    The Globalization Tapes exposes the devastating role of militarism and repression in building the global economy, and explores the relationships between trade, third-world debt, and international institutions like the IMF and the World Trade Organization. Made by some of the poorest workers in the world, the film is a lyrical and incisive account of how our global financial institutions shape and enforce the corporate world order. The film uses chilling first-hand accounts, hilarious improvised interventions, collective debate and archival collage.

    Several scenes in The Globalization Tapes reveal the earliest traces of the methods we refined in the shooting of The Act of Killing: plantation workers stage a satirical commercial for the pesticide that poisons them; worker-filmmakers pose as World Bank agents who offer microfinance to ‘develop’ local businesses – offers that are both brutal and absurd, yet tempting nonetheless.

    While shooting and editing The Globalization Tapes, we discovered that the 1965-66 Indonesian massacres were the dark secret haunting Indonesia’s much-celebrated entrance into the global economy. One of the military’s main objectives in the killings was to destroy the anti-colonial labour movement that had existed until 1965, and to lure foreign investors with the promise of cheap, docile workers and abundant natural resources. The military succeeded (The Globalization Tapes is a testament to the extraordinary courage of the plantation worker-filmmakers as they challenge this decades-long legacy of terror and try to build a new union).

    The killings would come up in discussions, planning sessions, and film shoots nearly every day, but always in whispers. Indeed, many of the plantation workers were themselves survivors of the killings. They would discretely point out the houses of neighbors who had killed their parents, grandparents, aunts, or uncles. The perpetrators were still living in the same village and made up, along with their children and protégés, the local power structure. As outsiders, we could interview these perpetrators – something the plantation workers could not do without fear of violence.

    In conducting these first interviews, we encountered the pride with which perpetrators would boast about the most grisly details of the killings. The Act of Killing was born out of our curiosity about the nature of this pride – its clichéd grammar, its threatening performativity, its frightening banality.

    The Globalization Tapes was a film made collectively by the plantation workers themselves, with us as facilitators and collaborating directors. The Act of Killing was also made by working very closely with its subjects, while in solidarity and collaboration with the survivors’ families. However, unlike The Globalization Tapes, The Act of Killing is an authored work, an expression of my own vision and concerns regarding these issues.

    THE BEGINNING OF THE ACT OF KILLING

    By the time I first met the characters in The Act of Killing (in 2005), I had been making films in Indonesia for three years, and I spoke Indonesian with some degree of fluency. Since making The Globalization Tapes (2003), Christine Cynn, fellow film-maker and longtime collaborator Andrea Zimmerman and I had continued filming with perpetrators and survivors of the massacres in the plantation areas around the city of Medan. In 2003 and 2004, we filmed more interviews and simple re-enactments with Sharman Sinaga, the death squad leader who had appeared in The Globalization Tapes. We also filmed as he introduced us to other killers in the area. And we secretly interviewed survivors of the massacres they committed.

    Moving from perpetrator to perpetrator, and, unbeknownst to them, from one community of survivors to another, we began to map the relationships between different death squads throughout the region, and began to understand the process by which the massacres were perpetrated. In 2004, we began filming Amir Hasan, the death squad leader who had commanded the massacres at the plantation where we made The Globalization Tapes.

    In late 2004, Amir Hasan began to introduce me to killers up the chain of command in Medan. Independently in 2004, we began contacting ‘veterans’ organizations of death squad members and anti-leftist activists in Medan. These two approaches allowed us to piece together a chain of command, and to locate the surviving commanders of the North Sumatran death squads. In early interviews with the veterans of the killings (2004), I learned that the most notorious death squad in North Sumatra was Anwar Congo and Adi Zulkadry’s Frog Squad (Pasukan Kodok).

    During these first meetings with Medan perpetrators (2004 and 2005), I encountered the same disturbing boastfulness about the killings that we had been documenting on the plantations. The difference was that these men were the celebrated and powerful leaders not of a small rural village, but of the third largest city in Indonesia (Greater Medan has a population of over four million people).

    Our starting point for The Act of Killing was thus the question: how had this society developed to the point that its leaders could – and would – speak of their own crimes against humanity with a cheer that was at once celebratory but also intended as a threat?

    OVERVIEW AND CHRONOLOGY OF THE METHODS USED IN THE ACT OF KILLING

    Building on The Globalization Tapes and our film work outside Indonesia, we had developed a method in which we open a space for people to play with their image of themselves, re-creating and re-imagining it on camera, while we document this transformation as it unfolds. In particular, we had refined this method to explore the intersection between imagination and extreme violence.

    In the early days of research (2005), I discovered that the army recruited its killers in Medan from the ranks of movie theatre gangsters (or preman bioskop) who already hated the leftists for their boycott of American movies – the most profitable in the cinema. I was intrigued by this relationship between cinema and killings, although I had no idea it would be so deep. Not only did Anwar and his friends know and love the cinema, but they dreamed of being on the screen themselves, and styled themselves after their favorite characters. They even borrowed their methods of murder from the screen.

    Of course, I began by trying to understand in as much detail as possible Anwar and his friends’ roles in the killings and, afterwards, in the regime they helped to build. Among the first things I did was to bring them to the former newspaper office directly across the road from Anwar’s old cinema, the place where Anwar and his friends killed most of their victims. There, they demonstrated in detail what they had done. Although they were filming documentary re-enactment and interviews, during breaks I noticed that they would muse about how they looked like various movie stars – for instance, Anwar compared his protégé and sidekick, Herman to Fernando Sancho.

    To understand how they felt about the killings, and their unrepentant way of representing them on film, I screened back the unedited footage of these early re-enactments, and filmed their responses. At first, I thought that they would feel the re-enactments made them look bad, and that they might possibly come to a more complex place morally and emotionally.

    I was startled by what actually happened. On the surface at least, Anwar was mostly anxious that he should look young and fashionable. Instead of any explicit moral reflection, the screening led him and Herman spontaneously to suggest a better, and more elaborate, dramatization.

    To explore their love of movies, I screened for them scenes from their favorite films at the time of the killings – Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah and, ironically, The Ten Commandments topped the list – recording their commentary and the memories these films elicited. Through this process, I came to realize why Anwar was continually bringing up these old Hollywood films whenever I filmed re-enactments with them: he and his fellow movie theatre thugs were inspired by them at the time of the killings, and had even borrowed their methods of murder from the movies. This was such an outlandish and disturbing idea that I in fact had to hear it several times before I realized quite what Anwar and his friends were saying.

    He described how he got the idea of strangling people with wire from watching gangster movies. In a late-night interview in front of his former cinema, Anwar explained how different film genres would lead him to approach killing in different ways. The most disturbing example was how, after watching a “happy film like an Elvis Presley musical”, Anwar would “kill in a happy way”.

    In 2005, I also discovered that the other paramilitary leaders (not just the former movie theater gangsters) had other personal and deep-seated relationship to movies. Ibrahim Sinik, the newspaper boss who was secretary general of all the anti-communist organizations that participated in the killings, and who directly gave the orders to Anwar’s death squad, turned out to be a feature film producer, screenwriter, and former head of the Indonesian Film Festival.

    In addition to all this, Anwar and his friends’ impulse towards being in a film about the killings was essentially to act in dramatizations of their pasts – both as they remember them, and as they would like to be remembered (the most powerful insights in The Act of Killing probably come in those places where these two agendas radically diverge). As described, the idea of dramatizations came up quite spontaneously, in response to viewing the rushes from Anwar’s first re-enactments of the killings.

    But it would be disingenuous to claim that we facilitated the dramatizations only because that’s what Anwar and his friends wanted to do. Ever since we produced The Globalization Tapes, the thing that most fascinated us about the killings was the way the perpetrators we filmed would recount their stories of those atrocities. One had the feeling that we weren’t simply hearing memories, but something else besides – something intended for a spectator. More precisely, we felt we were receiving performances. And we instinctively understood, I think, that the purpose of these performances was somehow to assert a kind of impunity, to maintain a threatening image, to perpetuate the autocratic regime that had begun with the massacres themselves.

    We sensed that the methods we had developed for incorporating performance into documentary might, in this context, yield powerful insights into the mystery of the killers’ boastfulness, the nature of the regime of which they are a part, and, most importantly, the nature of human ‘evil’ itself.

    So, having learned that even their methods of murder were directly influenced by cinema, we challenged Anwar and his friends to make the sort of scenes they had in mind. We created a space in which they could devise and star in dramatisations based on the killings, using their favorite genres from the medium.

    We hoped to catalyze a process of collective remembrance and imagination. Fiction provided one or two degrees of separation from reality, a canvas on which they could paint their own portrait and stand back and look at it.

    We started to suspect that performance played a similar role during the killings themselves, making it possible for Anwar and his friends to absent themselves from the scene of their crimes, while they were committing them. Thus, performing dramatizations of the killings for our cameras was also a re-living of a mode of performance they had experienced in 1965, when they were killing. This obviously gave the experience of performing for our cameras a deeper resonance for Anwar and his friends than we had anticipated.

    And so, in The Act of Killing, we worked with Anwar and his friends to create such scenes for the insights they would offer, but also for the tensions and debates that arose during the process – including Anwar’s own devastating emotional unravelling.

    This created a safe space, in which all sorts of things could happen that would probably elude a more conventional documentary method. The protagonists could safely explore their deepest memories and feelings (as well as their blackest humor). I could safely challenge them about what they did, without fear of being arrested or beaten up. And they could challenge each other in ways that were otherwise unthinkable, given Sumatra’s political landscape.

    Anwar and his friends could direct their fellow gangsters to play victims, and even play the victims themselves, because the wounds are only make-up, the blood only red paint, applied only for a movie. Feelings far deeper than those that would come up in an interview would surface unexpectedly. One reason the emotional impact was so profound came from the fact that this production method required a lot of time – the filmmaking process came to define a significant period in the participants’ lives. This meant that they went on a deeper journey into their memories and feelings than they would in a film consisting largely of testimony and simple demonstration.

    Different scenes used different methods, but in all of them it was crucial that Anwar and his friends felt a sense of fundamental ownership over the fiction material. The crux of the method is to give performers the maximum amount of freedom to determine as many variables as possible in the production (storyline, casting, costumes, mise-en-scene, improvisation on set). Whenever possible, I let them direct each other, and used my cameras to document their process of creation. My role was primarily that of provocateur, challenging them to remember the events they were performing more deeply, encouraging them to intervene and direct each other when they felt a performance was superficial, and asking questions between takes – both about what actually happened, but also about how they felt at the time, and how they felt as they re-enacted it.

    We shot in long takes, so that situations could evolve organically, and with minimal intervention from ourselves. I felt the most significant event unfolding in front of the cameras was the act of transformation itself, particularly because this transformation was usually plagued by conflict, misgivings, and other imperfections that seemed to reveal more about the nature of power, violence, and fantasy than more conventional documentary or investigative methods. For this same reason, we also filmed the pre-production of fiction scenes, including castings, script meetings, and costume fittings. Make-up sessions too were important spaces of reflection and transformation, moments where the characters slip down the rabbit hole of self-invention.

    In addition, because we never knew when the characters would refuse to take the process further, or when we might get in trouble with the military, we filmed each scene as though it might be the last, and also everything leading up to them (not only for the reasons above), because often we didn’t know if the dramatization itself would actually happen. We also felt that the stories we were hearing – stories of crimes against humanity never before recorded – were of world historical importance. More than anything else, these are two reasons why this method generated so many hours of footage (indeed, we have created a vast audio-visual archive about the Indonesian massacres. This archive has been the basis of a four-year United Kingdom Arts and Humanities Research Council project called Genocide and Genre).

    After almost every dramatization, we would screen the rushes back to them, and record their responses. We wanted to make sure they knew how they appeared on film, and to use the screening to trigger further reflection. Sometimes, screenings provoked feelings of remorse (as when Anwar watches himself play the victim during a film noir scene) but, at other times, as when we screened the re-enactment of the Kampung Kolam massacre to the entire cast, the images were met with terrifying peals of laughter.

    Most interestingly, Anwar and his friends discussed, often insightfully, how other people will view the film, both in Indonesia and internationally. For example, Anwar sometimes commented on how survivors might curse him, but that “luckily” the victims haven’t the power to do anything in today’s Indonesia.

    The gangster scenes were wholly improvised. The scenarios came from the stories Anwar and his friends had told each other during earlier interviews, and during visits to the office where they killed people. The set was modeled on this interior. For maximum flexibility, our cinematographer lit the space so that Anwar and his friends could move about freely, and we filmed them with two cameras so that they could fluidly move from directing each other to improvised re-enactments to quiet, often riveting reflection after the improvisation was finished.

    For instance, Anwar re-enacted how he killed people by placing them on a table and then pulling tight a wire, from underneath the table, to garrote them. The scene exhausted him, physically and emotionally, leaving him full of doubt about the morality of what he did. Immediately after this re-enactment, he launched into a cynical and resigned rant against the growing consensus around human rights violations. Here, reality and its refraction through fiction, Anwar’s memories and his anticipation of their impact internationally, are all overlaid.

    The noir scenes were shot over a week, and culminated in an extraordinary improvisation where Anwar played the victim. Anwar’s performance was effective and, transported by the performance, the viewer empathizes with the victim, only to do a double take as they remember that Anwar is not a victim, but the killer.

    The large-scale re-enactment of the Kampung Kolam massacre was made using a similar improvisational process, with Anwar and his friends undertaking the direction. What we didn’t expect was a scene of such violence and realism; so much so that it proved genuinely frightening to the participants, all of whom were Anwar’s friends from Pancasila Youth, or their wives and children. After the scene, we filmed participants talking amongst themselves about how the location of our re-enactment was just a few hundred meters from one of North Sumatra’s countless mass graves. The woman we see fainting after the scene felt she had been possessed by a victim’s ghost. The paramilitary members (including Anwar) thought so, too. The violence of the re-enactment conjured the spectres of a deeper violence, the terrifying history of which everybody in Indonesia is somehow aware, and upon which the perpetrators have built their rarefied bubble of air conditioned shopping malls, gated communities, and “very, very limited” crystal figurines.

    The process by which we made the musical scenes (the waterfall, the giant concrete goldfish) was slightly different again. But here too Anwar was very much in the driver’s seat: he chose the songs and, along with his friends, devised both scenes. Anwar and his cast were also free to make changes as we went.

    In the end, we worked very carefully with the giant goldfish, presenting motifs from a half-forgotten dream. Anwar’s beautiful nightmare? An allegory for his storytelling confection? For his blindness? For the willful blindness by which almost all history is written, and by which, consequently, we inevitably come to know (and fail to know) ourselves? The fish changes throughout the film, but it is always a world of “eye candy”, emptiness and ghosts. If it could be explained adequately in words, we would not need it in the film.

    For the scenes written by the newspaper boss Ibrahim Sinik and his staff, Sinik enlisted the help of his friends at state television, TVRI. He borrows the TVRI regional drama studios, and recruits a soap opera crew. In these scenes, our role was largely to document Anwar and his friends as they work with the TV crew, and to catalyze and document debates between fiction set-ups. In our edited scenes, we cut from the documentary cameras to TVRI’s fiction cameras, highlighting the gap between fiction and reality – often to comic effect. But above all, we focused our cameras on moments between takes where they debated the meaning of the scene.

    The Televisi Republik Indonesia “Special Dialogue” came into being when the show’s producers realised that feared and respected paramilitary leaders making a film about the genocide was a big story (they came to know about our work because we were using the TVRI studios.) After their grotesque chat show was broadcast, there was no critical response in North Sumatra whatsoever. This is not to say that the show will not be shocking to Indonesians. For reasons discussed in my director’s statement, North Sumatrans are more accustomed than Jakartans, for example, to the boasting of perpetrators (who in Sumatra were recruited from the ranks of gangsters – and the basis of gangsters’ power, after all, lies in being feared).

    Moreover, virtually nobody in Medan dares to criticise Pancasila Youth and men like Anwar Congo and Ibrahim Sinik. Ironically, the only significant reaction to the talk show’s broadcast came from the Indonesian Actors’ Union. According to Anwar, a representative of the union visiting family in Medan came to Anwar’s house to ask him if he would consider being president of the North Sumatra branch of the union. According to Anwar, the union was angry that such a large-scale production had occurred in North Sumatra without their knowing about it. Luckily, Anwar had the humility to tell them that he is not an actor, that he was playing himself in scenes made for a documentary, and therefore would decline the offer.

    Anwar and his friends knew that their fiction scenes were only being made for our documentary, and this will be clear to the audience, too. But at the same time, if these scenes were to offer genuine insights, it was vital that the filmmaking project was one in which they were deeply invested, and one over which they felt ownership.

    The Act of Killing : don’t give an Oscar to this snuff movie | Nick Fraser | Film | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/23/act-of-killing-dont-give-oscar-snuff-movie-indonesia

    It has won over critics but this tasteless film teaches us nothing and merely indulges the unrepentant butchers of Indonesia

    The Act of Killing won the documentary prize at the Baftas last week and is the favourite to win the much-coveted Oscar. I watch many documentaries on behalf of the BBC each year and I go to festivals. I’m a doc obsessive. By my own, not quite reliable reckoning, I’ve been asked by fans to show The Act of Killing on the BBC at least five times. I’ve never encountered a film greeted by such extreme responses – both those who say it is among the best films and those who tell me how much they hate it. Much about the film puzzles me. I am still surprised by the fact that so many critics listed it among their favourite films of last year.

    For those who haven’t seen the film, it investigates the circumstances in which half-a-million Indonesian leftists were murdered in the 1960s, at the instigation of a government that is still in power. You might think this is a recondite subject, worthy of a late-night screening for insomniacs or atrocity buffs on BBC4, but, no, the film-maker Joshua Oppenheimer has made the subject viewable by enlisting the participation of some of the murderers. He spent some years hanging out with them, to his credit luring them into confessions. But he also, more dubiously, enlisted their help in restaging their killings. Although one of them, the grandfatherly Anwar, shows mild symptoms of distress towards the end of the film, they live in a state of impunity and it is thus, coddled and celebrated in their old age, that we revisit them.

    So let me be as upfront as I can. I dislike the aesthetic or moral premise of The Act of Killing. I find myself deeply opposed to the film. Getting killers to script and restage their murders for the benefit of a cinema or television audience seems a bad idea for a number of reasons. I find the scenes where the killers are encouraged to retell their exploits, often with lip-smacking expressions of satisfaction, upsetting not because they reveal so much, as many allege, but because they tell us so little of importance. Of course murderers, flattered in their impunity, will behave vilely. Of course they will reliably supply enlightened folk with a degraded vision of humanity. But, sorry, I don’t feel we want to be doing this. It feels wrong and it certainly looks wrong to me. Something has gone missing here. How badly do we want to hear from these people, after all? Wouldn’t it be better if we were told something about the individuals whose lives they took?

    I’d feel the same if film-makers had gone to rural Argentina in the 1950s, rounding up a bunch of ageing Nazis and getting them to make a film entitled “We Love Killing Jews”. Think of other half-covered-up atrocities – in Bosnia, Rwanda, South Africa, Israel, any place you like with secrets – and imagine similar films had been made. Consider your response – and now consider whether such goings-on in Indonesia are not acceptable merely because the place is so far away, and so little known or talked about that the cruelty of such an act can pass uncriticised.

    The film does not in any recognisable sense enhance our knowledge of the 1960s Indonesian killings, and its real merits – the curiosity when it comes to uncovering the Indonesian cult of anticommunism capable of masking atrocity, and the good and shocking scenes with characters from the Indonesian elite, still whitewashing the past – are obscured by tasteless devices. At the risk of being labelled a contemporary prude or dismissed as a stuffy upholder of middle-class taste, I feel that no one should be asked to sit through repeated demonstrations of the art of garrotting. Instead of an investigation, or indeed a genuine recreation, we’ve ended somewhere else – in a high-minded snuff movie.

    What I like most about documentary film is that anything can be made to work, given a chance. You can mix up fact and fiction, past and present. You can add to cold objectivity a degree of empathy. You will, of course, lie to reluctant or recalcitrant participants, in particular when they wish not to divulge important pieces of information. And trickery has its place, too. But documentary films have emerged from the not inconsiderable belief that it’s good to be literal as well as truthful. In a makeshift, fallible way, they tell us what the world is really like. Documentaries are the art of the journeyman. They can be undone by too much ambition. Too much ingenious construction and they cease to represent the world, becoming reflected images of their own excessively stated pretensions.

    In his bizarrely eulogistic piece defending The Act of Killing (of which he is an executive producer), Errol Morris, the documentary maker, compares the film to Hamlet’s inspired use of theatre to reveal dirty deeds at the court of Denmark. But Hamlet doesn’t really believe that theatrical gestures can stand in for reality. Nor, we must assume, did his creator. A more apt analogy than Morris’s might come from Shakespeare’s darkest play, Macbeth. What would we think if Macbeth and his scheming wife were written out of the action, replaced by those low-level thugs paid to do bad business on their behalf? We might conclude that putting them centre stage, in the style of The Act of Killing, was indeed perverse and we’d be right.

    There are still half-forgotten, heavily whitewashed atrocities from the last century, such as the Bengali famine allowed to occur during the second world war through the culpably racist inattention of British officials; the never wholly cleared-up question of Franco’s mass killings; or the death of so many millions in the 1950s as a consequence of Mao’s catastrophic utopianism. Those wondering how to record such events will no doubt watch The Act of Killing, but I hope they will also look at less hyped, more modestly conceived depictions of mass murder. In Enemies of the People (2010), the Cambodian journalist Thet Sambath goes after the murderers of the Khmer Rouge. He finds Pol Pot’s sidekick, but it is the earnest, touching quest of Sambath himself that lingers in the mind, rather than the empty encounters with evil-doers. Atrocity is both banal and ultimately impossible to comprehend.

    Writing in 1944, Arthur Koestler was among the first to gain knowledge of the slaughter of eastern European Jews and he estimated that the effect of such revelations was strictly limited, lasting only minutes or days and swiftly overcome by indifference. Koestler suggested that there was only one way we could respond to the double atrocity of mass murder and contemporary indifference and that was by screaming.

    I’m grateful to The Act of Killing not because it’s a good film, or because it deserves to win its Oscar (I don’t think it does), but because it reminds me of the truth of Koestler’s observation. What’s not to scream about?

    Nick Fraser is editor of the BBC’s Storyville documentary series

    #film #documentaire #Indonésie #hécatombe


  • “Israel needs him.” Netanyahu presses Trump to save Mohammed bin Salman - International News
    http://www.tellerreport.com/news/--%22israel-needs-him-%22-netanyahu-presses-trump-to-save-mohammed-bin
    http://www.aljazeera.net/file/GetImageCustom/8fdd25a0-2599-494b-b477-f18a4ce4e5f8/1200/630

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked US President Donald Trump in a telephone conversation not to touch Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Israeli expert on Arab affairs, Jackie Khoji, said.

    “The Israeli request from Washington means that Riyadh for Tel Aviv is a strategic treasure, and that Netanyahu volunteered to save Mohammed bin Salman means that Israel needs him,” Khuji said in an article published on Saturday in Maariv newspaper. “To the Secretary General of the UAE, As well as to the Bahrainis and other leaders.”

    http://www.aljazeera.net/news/politics/2018/12/9/%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%8A%D9%81-%D9%86%D8%AA%D9%86%D9%8A%D8%A7%D9%87

    #israël #mbs


  • Not just Ireland: Chilean congress calls for boycott of Israeli settlements
    Resolution passes as Ireland advances bill banning settlement produce ■ Legislation promoted to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

    Noa Landau SendSend me email alerts
    Nov 29, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-chilean-congress-follows-ireland-and-calls-for-boycott-of-israeli-

    The Chilean congress approved this week a resolution calling for its government to boycott Israeli settlements in any future agreement with Israel and to reexaime past agreements.
    The resolution passed with 99 congressmen voting in its favor, seven voting against it and 30 abstaining.
    To really understand Israel and the Palestinians - subscribe to Haaretz
    The resolution approved in Chile on Tuesday includes a demand from the government to examine all agreements signed with Israel, in order to ensure they only cover territories within the Green Line. The second clause requests that the Chilean Foreign Service ensure that future agreements relate to territories within Israel proper. 
    It was also decided to give guidelines to Chilean citizens visiting or doing business in Israel, so that they understand the historical context of the place and “not support colonization or cooperate with human rights violations in the occupied territories.”
    Finally, the resolution calls for the creation of a so-called mechanism to forbid imports of products made in settlements.
    >> Meet the Chilestinians, the largest Palestinian community outside the Middle East
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    The resolution recognizes a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. Chile has in the past recognized a Palestinian state. 
    The foreign ministry in Chile will study the resolution and it may be legislated into law in the future.  
    On Wednesday, the Irish senate passed another stage of a bill calling to boycott produce originating in Israeli settlements.
    Both of these legal moves were pushed by the Palestinians ahead of International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which takes place Thursday.
    The current stage of the Irish law corresponds with a first reading in the Israeli Knesset.
    In July, the Senate approved the bill in a preliminary reading with support from the opposition. Twenty-five Parliament members voted in favor, 20 opposed and 14 abstained.
    The bill prohibits the export and selling of products and services which come from “illegal settlements in occupied territories.” The vote was postponed earlier this year in an attempt to reach a compromise with the government, which sought to soften it after Israel broached the subject.

    However, mutual understandings were not achieved on the matter.
    Saeb Erekat, the Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), lauded the legislative moves on Thursday by saying: “On the occasion of International Solidarity Day with Palestine, it is important to extend the Palestinian peoples’ gratitude to the courageous efforts of both the Chilean and Irish Parliaments. The efforts of both distinguished parliaments have triumphed for the justice and rights of the Palestinian people.”


  • Oltre 500 ore consecutive di culto per non far espellere una famiglia migrante

    In Olanda la legge vieta di interrompere una funziona religiosa: per questo centinaia di pastori da oltre tre settimane si alternano per evitare il rimpatrio di una famiglia ospitata in chiesa.

    In Olanda una chiesa protestante de l’Aja sta tenendo un culto da oltre tre settimane consecutive per proteggere una famiglia di migranti dall’espulsione dal Paese.

    La storia è tanto semplice quanto geniale: secondo la legge statale le forze dell’ordine non possono interrompere una funzione religiosa in corso. Centinaia di pastori si stanno dunque alternando per non far cessare mai il culto cui sta partecipando la famiglia in questione, una coppia armena con tre figli di 15, 19 e 21 anni. L’idea è venuta al presidente del consiglio generale della Chiesa protestante olandese, il pastore Theo Hettema, una volta saputo che la famiglia, da ben 8 anni nei Paesi Bassi, con un figlio iscritto all’università e gli altri alle scuole dell’obbligo, rischiava il rimpatrio perché non può più godere delle tutele internazionali in quanto l’Armenia, terra d’origine dei cinque, non è considerata nazione a rischio.

    I cinque, cristiani, frequentano la chiesa protestante della cittadina in cui risiedono, Katwijk, nei pressi proprio de L’Aja, e una delle figlie svolge volontariato in una associazione legata alla chiesa. L’ appello del pastore Hettema ha raccolto l’adesione di centinaia di colleghi e di moltissimi membri di chiesa, provenienti anche dai Comuni vicini. Tutti consapevoli che la splendida iniziativa non potrà durare in eterno, ma con la speranza di far nel mentre cambiare idea al governo, che ha però più volte affermato che la famiglia non ha i requisiti per rimanere nel Paese. Otto anni per ottenere una risposta sulla possibilità di asilo o meno in una nazione rischiano di essere un tragico record, e ignorare che la famiglia si sia oramai integrata nel nuovo contesto pare un’inutile cattiveria.

    Quando i 5 non partecipano alla funzione, si riposano nei locali sopra la cappella. Un tempo in Italia le chiese erano luoghi di asilo e rifugio in cui le forze dell’ordine non potevano entrare, ma da oltre un secolo le cose sono cambiate (secondo quanto normato prima dalle leggi Siccardi del 1850 e quindi dai Patti Lateranensi del 1929 il cui l’articolo 5 recita comunque con formula ambigua “Salvo i casi di urgente necessità, la forza pubblica non potrà entrare, per l’esercizio delle sue funzioni, negli edifici aperti al culto, senza averne dato previo avviso all’autorità ecclesiastica”). Le norme in materia cambiano molto da Stato a Stato e non sono mancate in questi anni polemiche a seguito di arresti di migranti in chiesa (in Germania, in Islanda).

    La Chiesa protestante in Olanda, nata dalla fusione di tre precedenti chiese, la riformata olandese, la riformata in Olanda e la evangelica luterana, rappresenta circa un terzo dei 6 milioni di abitanti dei Paesi Bassi.

    https://riforma.it/it/articolo/2018/11/19/oltre-500-ore-consecutive-di-culto-non-far-espellere-una-famiglia-migrante
    #messe #résistance #expulsions #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Pays-Bas #culte #religion #refuge #Eglise #église

    • To Protect Migrants From Police, a Dutch Church Service Never Ends

      Jessa van der Vaart and Rosaliene Israel, two Dutch pastors, usually get to church by cycling through the streets of Amsterdam to a Protestant parish in the city center. But last Wednesday night, they packed their robes into the trunk of a car and drove down the highway to The Hague for what was the equivalent of a priestly shift change.

      They would take over at 8 p.m. from a local minister at the modest Bethel Church. Then, at 11 p.m., they would be replaced by a group from the city of Voorburg, who were scheduled to pull an all-nighter, singing hymns and preaching until daylight, when another cleric would arrive to take the baton.

      The two pastors from Amsterdam were running slightly late. “Well,” said Ms. van der Vaart, as Ms. Israel started the engine. “They’ll have to keep going till we get there.”

      For the marathon church service, which started more than six weeks ago, and hasn’t stopped since, can never take a break.

      Under an obscure Dutch law, the police may not disrupt a church service to make an arrest. And so for the past six weeks, immigration officials have been unable to enter Bethel Church to seize the five members of the Tamrazyan family, Armenian refugees who fled to the sanctuary to escape a deportation order.

      The service, which began in late October as a little-noticed, last-gasp measure by a small group of local ministers, is now a national movement, attracting clergy members and congregants from villages and cities across the Netherlands. More than 550 pastors from about 20 denominations have rotated through Bethel Church, a nonstop service all in the name of protecting one vulnerable family.

      “It’s about practicing what we preach,” said Ms. van der Vaart, as she and Ms. Israel sped down the Netherlands’ A4 highway toward the church.

      At a moment when Christianity’s relevance in Europe is waning — and when xenophobia and nationalism are rising — the Bethel service has also been a reminder of the influence that religious institutions can still exert in a largely secular Western Europe. The pastors have given protection to the Tamrazyan family; the family has given them a cause to show the power of their faith.

      “We’re kind of struggling here as churches in the West, we’re more and more in the margins, and as church leaders we can kind of feel this,” said Ms. Israel, who is the secretary general of Protestant Church Amsterdam.

      “But with this,” she added, “we feel that what we’re doing is quite relevant.”

      In recent years, nationalists have used xenophobic messaging to win office in Italy, Hungary and Austria, and achieve prominence in Sweden, Germany, Britain, France and the Netherlands, underscoring the impression of a European continent that is turning inward. But as the two pastors reached the outskirts of The Hague, Ms. van der Vaart said the marathon at Bethel shows that another Europe still exists.

      “I often think we’re entering times with less and less solidarity,” said Ms. van der Vaart, the vicar at the Oude Kerk, the oldest church and building in Amsterdam. “But then this initiative is all about solidarity, and that gives me hope.”
      An Unassuming Hideaway

      If you weren’t looking for it, you might walk straight past Bethel Church, a red-brick building tucked away on a quiet side-street in The Hague. Inside is a wider complex, which includes accommodation for the Tamrazyan family, as well as various offices and meeting rooms. At first it seems sort of mundane.

      When Ms. van der Vaart and Ms. Israel arrived, with a few minutes to spare, there were no police officers waiting to pounce. The sheer fact of the ongoing service is enough to keep them away. The two pastors quickly donned their robes and hurried into the chapel. On the tiled wall behind the altar hung a migration-themed interpretation of the Madonna and child — a portrait of an African refugee and her baby, dressed as Mary and Jesus.

      In the pews sat roughly a dozen worshipers, some of whom had come before, some there for the first time. Most were believers, but one or two were not.

      “I’m not religious but when I heard about this, I said to my husband, ‘Don’t be shocked, but I want to go to church,’” said Florine Kuethe, a public relations consultant who later agreed to help the church deal with the heightening news media interest. “This type of thing makes the church relevant again.”

      Inside the chapel, the pastors began with a greeting, then a rousing Dutch hymn, then Psalm 82.

      “Rescue the weak and the needy,” read the translation of one line. “Deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

      The three Tamrazyan children — Haryarpi, 21, Warduhi, 19, and Seyran, 15 — came in and out, frequently playing an active part in the service. Journalists, however, were only allowed in for brief sequences, a rule the pastors said was to ensure that the service retained its spiritual value, instead of becoming a media spectacle.

      “Sometimes I look back and ask why it has been as big as it has,” said Pastor Derk Stegeman, a spokesman for the family, and the service’s main organizer. “It’s because we protected our service and did not make it into an action for other things.”

      Where It All Began

      The story of the service started not in The Hague but in Katwijk, a large seaside town southwest of Amsterdam. The Tamrazyan family ended up there after the father was forced to flee Armenia for political reasons in 2010, Mr. Stegeman said. At the family’s request, their full predicament has been kept a secret, along with the names of the parents, to prevent repercussions for relatives still in Armenia.

      In a six-year legal process, Dutch officials twice tried to deny the family asylum, and were twice defeated in court. But the government finally got its way on its third attempt, even though the three children had all been in the country for more than five years and were theoretically eligible for an amnesty under legislation enacted in 2013.

      Lennart Wegewijs, a spokesman for the Dutch ministry of justice and security, said that the government could not comment on individual cases. But speaking generally, he said that under Dutch law, families can only qualify for amnesty if they, somewhat paradoxically, are willing to cooperate with official efforts to deport them from the country.

      To avoid what they believed to be certain danger back in Armenia, the Tamrazyans did not cooperate. Instead, they took refuge in a church in Katwijk. It was when that first church ran out of resources to help them that the leadership at Bethel agreed, after some deliberation, to welcome the family instead.

      As well as maintaining round-the-clock prayers, the church has provided psychological help for the family and teaching for the children, who can no longer go to school or university classes.

      To avoid compounding their stress, the family rarely gives interviews, and they made no exception for The New York Times.

      But on a blog that Haryarpi, the eldest child, started soon after entering the church, she has written about the relief of being granted shelter.

      “I often think the only place where I am safe is the church,” she wrote in Dutch on Nov. 4. “It really feels like a refuge.”

      The pastors have promised to continue the service indefinitely — even after a Dutch minister, Mark Harbers, said on Friday that the service hadn’t changed the government’s mind.

      Initially, the nonstop services were run by a core group of around a dozen pastors. Some of them pulled all-nighters on their own, including Mr. Stegeman and his wife. But a few days into the process, the Protestant Church in the Netherlands endorsed the service and used its newsletter to encourage other congregations to participate.

      Soon it became hard to fit all the volunteers into the schedule.

      “It’s amazing,” said Mr. Stegeman. “From all over our country people are coming, from the north to the very south, west and east.”

      Some preachers simply reuse services and sermons they gave at other churches. But others have used the opportunity to try something new, turning the church into a kind of greenhouse for liturgical experiments.

      Ms. Israel read from a modern reinterpretation of the biblical story of King David and his wife Bathsheba, told from Bathsheba’s perspective. One minister incorporated meditative song into her service, and another interspersed prayers and hymns with sermons from Martin Luther King Jr. During one all-nighter, Mr. Stegeman even brought along a harpist.

      “You see preachers from every background across the country, bringing their own way of celebrating and worshiping that is different hour by hour,” said Pauline Kuipers, who chairs the fund that owns the church. “It goes on continuously but it changes all the time.”

      By 11 p.m., the two pastors from Amsterdam were relieved by the group that had just arrived from Voorburg.

      After three hours of singing, preaching and praying, Ms. van der Vaart’s voice was now slightly hoarse, and Ms. Israel admitted to being “a little bit tired.”

      But she was also moved. As Ms. Israel left the chapel, Haryarpi told her that she had been inspired to write a poem about one of the psalms they had sung.

      “For me, that’s what it’s all about,” Ms. Israel said a few minutes later, packing her robes back into her cycling bag.

      “You could read that psalm a hundred times and not get touched by it,” she said. “But here, in this night, in Bethel Church, it’s very real.”

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/10/world/europe/migrants-dutch-church-service.html

    • Dutch church clocks up 1,400 hours to prevent family being deported

      A non-stop church service in the Netherlands — aimed at stopping an Armenian family from being deported — has become so popular it has issued tickets for the Christmas period to control numbers.


      The service has been going around the clock since October 26 — more than 1,400 hours.
      Under Dutch law, police officers are not permitted to enter a church while a religious service is taking place. So, church leaders hatched the idea of meeting non-stop to prevent the Tamrazyan’s from being removed from the country.
      https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/24/europe/non-stop-church-service-netherlands-armenia-intl/index.html


  • Time for EU to stop being bystander in Western Sahara

    The Western Sahara conflict is at a turning point.

    UN peace talks towards a negotiated settlement are expected as early as November.

    With the recent appointment of a new UN secretary general’s special envoy, former German president Horst Koehler, and the upcoming renewal of the UN peacekeeping operation (MINURSO) in a conflict that has been frozen for nearly 40 years, there is a rare window of opportunity to change the status quo.

    It is in the interest of the EU, and the future of the Maghreb region as a whole, for decision makers in Brussels to stop being a bystander in the political process and use their effective policy options to create the conditions for meaningful negotiations.

    This is not about the EU doing the UN’s job. But instead about the EU being an active player in the security and stability of its Southern neighbourhood.

    Unfortunately, the EU’s current approach is defined by a narrow and misguided focus on trade with Morocco at the expense of the Saharawi people. This has clear negative implications for the UN political process.

    In successive judgements, the European Court of Justice ruled that EU-Morocco trade agreements could not be applied to Western Sahara – which in line with international law is deemed “separate and distinct” from Morocco.

    But the EU has continued on a course of undermining its own legal rulings and somehow finding a process that would support the illegal trading of Western Saharan resources through Morocco.

    As the prospects of renewed UN peace talks approach, the EU cannot continue to ignore the grave consequences of its actions. As the recognised representative of the Saharawi people, the Polisario is duty bound to protect the interests of our people and of our natural resources.

    We are left with no choice but to go back to the courts, which will only tie up our and the EU’s bandwidth, all at the same time when the UN and UN Security Council members are asking us to focus all our resources on the political process.

    The negative impact of the EU’s actions goes further.

    While the Polisario has stated clearly and publicly our position to negotiate with no pre-conditions, when the talks likely resume in November we will be sat opposite an empty chair.
    Happy with status quo

    Put simply, Morocco will not come to the negotiating table to agree to peacefully give up its illegal occupation of Western Sahara while the EU continues to sign trade deals which implicitly help to strengthen the status quo.

    The uncomfortable reality for the EU is that Morocco neither wants negotiations nor a genuine political process; yet it is being rewarded for the illegal occupation and exploitation of our natural resources.
    What about Saharawi?

    A key missing element in the EU’s approach has been the will of the Saharawi people.

    The EU has sadly afforded preferential treatment to Morocco’s illegal occupation of Western Sahara including by knowingly excluding from the trade talks the thousands of Saharawis forced to live in exile in refugee camps as a result of the occupation.

    To highlight this, 89 Saharawi civil society organisations wrote to EU leaders earlier this year to highlight their deep concerns over EU’s trade negotiations, the absence of consent, and to remind EU leaders of the dire human rights situation under Morocco’s brutal and illegal occupation.

    This leaves the Polisario with no other choice but to pursue all available legal avenues to ensure such agreements do not continue to violate our rights under international and European law.

    Against this backdrop, an urgent change of approach is needed, which would see the EU finally play a genuine, impartial, and constructive role in supporting peace – including by suspending all ongoing trade negotiations and agreements which concern the territory or territorial waters of Western Sahara, appointing an EU envoy to support the UN political process on Western Sahara, and using preferential trade agreements as a peace dividend to incentivise the successful conclusion of a peace agreement.

    During his recent visit to the region Koehler was clear: the ultimate goal of the political process is the self-determination of the Saharawi people.

    International law is unequivocal on this.

    It is high time for the EU to get behind this international objective for the sake of a sustainable future for the Maghreb built on democratic stability, prosperity, and the rule of law.

    https://euobserver.com/opinion/142566
    #Sahara_occidental #conflit #Sahraoui
    cc @reka


  • 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

      https://img.lemde.fr/2019/06/17/0/0/4960/3292/688/0/60/0/059fdd9_gvvs7HAlCrkfvNExepdSiZMq.jpg

      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-


  • #Agromafie e #caporalato: 430 mila lavoratori a rischio sfruttamento

    L’Osservatorio Placido Rizzotto della Flai Cgil fotografa la situazione nel suo quarto rapporto «Agromafie e caporalato». Un fenomeno che si estende dal Sud al Nord Italia. Tra giornate lavorative di 12 ore e pagate una manciata di euro

    https://www.flai.it/osservatoriopr
    #mafia #agriculture #exploitation #travail #Italie #agromafia

    Pour télécharger le #rapport (c’est la troisième édition):


    https://www.flai.it/osservatoriopr/ilrapporto
    –-> La principale attività dell’Osservatorio è la redazione del rapporto Agromafie e Caporalato, un rapporto biennale sull’infiltrazione delle mafie nella filiera agroalimentare e sulle condizioni di lavoro nel settore. Dopo la prima (2012) e la seconda (2014) edizione, a Maggio del 2016 è stato presentato il terzo rapporto Agromafie e Caporalato, ormai un lavoro di inchiesta e ricerca diventati in pochi anni un riferimento per chiunque voglia approfondire il tema delle Agromafie e delle condizioni di lavoro in agricoltura.

    • ‘Agromafia’ Exploits Hundreds of Thousands of Agricultural Workers in Italy

      In Italy, over 400,000 agricultural labourers risk being illegally employed by mafia-like organisations, and more than 132,000 work in extremely vulnerable conditions, enduring high occupational suffering, warns the fourth report on Agromafie and Caporalato.

      The report, released this July by the Italian trade union for farmers, Flai Cgil, and the research institute Osservatorio Placido Rizzotto, sheds light on a bitter reality that is defined by the report itself as “modern day slavery”. The criminal industry is estimated to generate almost five billion euros.

      “The phenomenon of ‘Caporalato’ is a cancer for the entire community,” Roberto Iovino from Osservatorio Placido Rizzotto, told IPS. “Legal and illegal activities often intertwine in the agro-food sector and it ultimately becomes very difficult to know who is operating in the law and who is not.”

      The criminal structure is called Caporalato or Agromafia when it touches a number of aspects of the agri-food chain. It is administered by ‘Caporali’, who decide on working hours and salaries of workers. The phenomenon is widespread across Italy. From Sicilian tomatoes, to the green salads from the province of Brescia, to the grape harvest used for producing the ‘Franciacorta’ sparkling wine in Lombardia, to the strawberries harvested in the region of Basilicata—many of these crops would have been harvested by illegally-employed workers, according to the report.

      Miserable salaries and excessive working hours

      The average wages of the exploited, warns the report, range between 20 and 30 euros per day, at an hourly rate of between three to four euros. Many reportedly work between eight to 14 hours per day, seven days a week. The majority of the collected testimonies show that many workers are paid less than their actual time worked and their salaries are 50 percent lower than the one outlined by the national contract for farmers.

      In some areas like Puglia or Campania in southern Italy, most salaries are paid on a piecework basis or per task.

      Some workers reported to Flai-Cgil that they were paid only one euro per hour and that they had to pay 1.5 euros for a small bottle of water, five euros for the transportation to reach the field and three euros for a sandwich at lunchtime each day. Day labourers are also required to pay between 100 to 200 euros for rent, often in abandoned, crumbling facilities or in remote and less-frequented hotels.

      The money was paid to the ‘Caporale’ or supervisor.

      According to the report, a ‘Caporale’ earns between 10 to 15 euros a day per labourer under their management, with each managing between 3,000 to 4,000 agricultural workers. It is estimated that their average monthly profit fluctuates between tens to hundreds of thousands of euros per month, depending on their position in the pyramid structure of the illegal business. It is alleged in the report that no tax is paid on the profits and this costs the state in lost income and also impacts on companies operating within the law.

      “Those people [‘Caporali’] are not naive at all,” one of the workers told the trade union’s researchers. “They know the laws, they find ways of counterfeiting work contracts and mechanisms to [circumvent] the National Social Security Institute.” The institute is the largest social security and welfare institute in Italy.

      “They have a certain criminal profile,” the worker explained.

      Migrant victims

      The ‘Caporali’ are not just Italians but Romanians, Bulgarians, Moroccans and Pakistanis, who manage their own criminal and recruiting organisations. The report warns that recruitment not only takes place in Italy but also in the home countries of migrants like Morocco or Pakistan.

      In 2017, out of one million labourers, 286,940 were migrants. It is also estimated that there are an additional 220,000 foreigners who are not registered.

      African migrants also reportedly receive a lower remuneration than that paid to workers of other nationalities.

      These victims of Agromafia live in a continuous state of vulnerability, unable to claim their rights. The report points out that some workers have had their documents confiscated by ‘Caporali’ for the ultimate purpose of trapping the labourers. It also highlights the testimonies of abuse, ranging from physical violence, rape and intimidation. One Afghan migrant who asked to be paid after months without receiving any pay, said that he had been beaten up because of his protests.

      The report also estimates that 5,000 Romanian women live in segregation in the Sicilian countryside, often with only their children. Because of their isolation many suffer sexual violence from farmers.

      Luana told Flai-Cgil of her abuse. “He offered to accompany my children to school, which was very far to reach on foot,” she said. “If I did not consent to this requests, he threatened not to accompany them any more and even to deny us drinking water.”

      “We have to put humanity first, and then profit”

      Many of the victims hesitate to report their exploiters because they are fearful of losing their jobs. A Ghanaian boy working in Tuscany told Flai-Cgil that Italians have explained to him how to lay a complaint, but he holds back because he still has to send money to his family.

      During the report release Susanna Camusso, secretary general of the country’s largest trade union, CGIL, said: “We must rebuild the culture of respect for people, including migrants. These are people who bend their backs to collect the food we eat and who move our economy.

      “We must help these people to overcome fear, explaining to them that there is not only the monetary aspect to work. A person could be exploited even if he holds a decent salary. We have to put humanity first, and then profit .”

      http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/07/agromafia-exploits-hundreds-thousands-agricultural-workers-italy

    • Is Italian Agriculture a “Pull Factor” for Irregular Migration—and, If So, Why?

      In discussions on irregular migration in Europe, undeclared work is generally viewed as a “pull factor”—positive aspects of a destination-country that attract an individual or group to leave their home—for both employers as well as prospective migrants, and especially in sectors such as agriculture. A closer examination of the agricultural model, however, reveals that structural forces are driving demand for work and incentivizing exploitation. This is particularly evident in Southern Italy, a region famous for its produce, where both civil society organizations and the media have documented exploitation of migrant workers. A closer examination of EU and member states efforts to avoid exploitation is needed.

      In Is Italian Agriculture a ‘Pull Factor’ for Irregular Migration—and, If So, Why?, a new study, authors from the Open Society Foundations’ European Policy Institute and the European University Institute look at how Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy, the practices of supermarket chains, organized crime, and gang-master recruitment practices contribute to migrant exploitation. The study further recommends a closer examination of EU member state efforts to counter exploitation and offers an overview of private sector practice’s intended to combat exploitation—such as the provision of information on workers’ rights, adequate housing and transport, and EU-wide labeling schemes, among others.

      https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/reports/italian-agriculture-pull-factor-irregular-migration-and-if-s
      #rapport #pull-factor #facteur_pull

    • #Reggio_Calabria, pagavano i braccianti meno di un euro a ora per lavorare dall’alba al tramonto: cinque arresti

      Con l’accusa di intermediazione illecita e sfruttamento del lavoro, estorsione e istigazione alla corruzione, i carabinieri hanno arrestato cinque persone a Sant’Eufemia d’Aspromonte, in provincia di Reggio Calabria.


      https://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2019/03/05/reggio-calabria-pagavano-i-braccianti-meno-di-euro-allora-per-lavorare-dallalba-al-tramonto-5-arresti/5015030


  • Driven from home, Philippine indigenous people long for their land | PLACE
    http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=09b0b6cd-b48a-4024-bb44-d28d9f91ca66

    This time feels different; we have been forced to leave our homes, and we are being told we need to give up our lands for our own good. But we cannot live like this - we belong in our ancestral lands, and we want to go back," he said.

    The Lumad in Mindanao in southern Philippines are part of nearly 17 million indigenous people in the country. They are among the poorest of minority groups, with little access to social services including education and healthcare, experts say.

    They have been caught in the middle of a five-decade old insurgency, as well as a push by logging and mining companies to tap Mindanao’s rich resources including gold, copper and nickel, after President Rodrigo Duterte said he would welcome investors.

    Their vulnerability has been exacerbated by the extension of martial law imposed in Mindanao last May by Duterte, who has called the island a “flashpoint for trouble” and atrocities by Islamist and communist rebels.

    “Duterte is waging war against defenceless indigenous people in Mindanao,” said Duphing Ogan, secretary general of indigenous peoples’ alliance Kalumaran.

    #Philippines #terres #peuples_autochtones #discriminations #évictions_forcées


  • Commonwealth leaders could choose next head after Queen this week | World news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/17/commonwealth-leaders-choose-next-head-after-queen-this-week

    Commonwealth leaders could decide this week on who takes over from the Queen as head of the organisation, Downing Street has said.

    The news came as Theresa May prepared to address her fellow national leaders on Tuesday. The prime minister is expected to urge the Commonwealth to engage and inspire the next generation, and to pledge £212m to help a million girls get a better education.

    She also made clear the UK backed Prince Charles to be the new head of the Commonwealth. The position was passed from his grandfather to his mother but is not hereditary.

    May’s spokesman said Charles had proven a “proud supporter of the Commonwealth for four decades and has spoken passionately about the organisation’s unique diversity”.

    No 10 said: “Succession is a matter for the Commonwealth as a whole to determine. If any discussion did take place it would happen at the leaders’ retreat at Windsor on Friday. Decisions in the Commonwealth are made by consensus.

    Commonwealth leaders are gathering in London for an executive session on Thursday, before a retreat at the castle.

    The organisation’s secretary general, Patricia Scotland, said the retreat was a chance for the leaders to talk one to one without outside interference.

    On the retreat, the 53 leaders get to go away together with no agenda and just talk about all the things that they desire to talk about. That enables them to deal with some quite tricky, sensitive issues, but collectively, collegiately and as part of the family,” she said.

    Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, had suggested on BBC television on Sunday that the figurehead role could go to a rotating president. “The Queen clearly is personally very committed to the Commonwealth but after her I think maybe it’s a time to say, well, actually the Commonwealth should decide who its own president is on a rotational basis.

    Queen Elizabeth, who is 91, has been the symbolic head of the Commonwealth since 1952. Charles is heir to the throne in 16 of the 53 Commonwealth member states, which are chiefly territories that used to be part of the former British empire.

    In her speech on Tuesday, May is expected to warn that a failure to engage and inspire the next generation will see the Commonwealth dismissed as “an irrelevance”. She will say she is “confident about our chances of success” in building a “bright future” for the organisation.

    In front of an audience expected to include the Microsoft founder, philanthropist and anti-malaria campaigner Bill Gates, May is expected to pledge the money towards making sure children living in developing Commonwealth countries receive 12 years of quality education. She will also call on leaders to commit to halving levels of malaria by 2023.

    • Le prince Charles prendra la succession d’Élisabeth II à la tête du Commonwealth | ICI.Radio-Canada.ca
      https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1096330/prince-charles-succession-reine-elisabeth-elizabeth-tete-commonweal


      La reine Élisabeth II et le prince Charles ont assisté à l’ouverture officielle du sommet des dirigeants du Commonwealth, jeudi, au palais de Buckingham.
      Getty Images/WPA Pool

      Aujourd’hui âgée de 92 ans, la reine Élisabeth II avait déjà exprimé le vœu de voir un jour le prince Charles lui succéder dans ce rôle, symbolique et non héréditaire. Elle avait pris la tête de l’organisation regroupant les anciennes colonies britanniques à la mort de son père, le roi George VI, en 1952.

      Les dirigeants du Commonwealth ont discuté de la question lors d’une rencontre qui s’est tenue derrière des portes closes, vendredi, au Château de Windsor.

      Cette fonction ne serait pas revenue automatiquement au prince de Galles ; certains proposaient qu’elle soit attribuée en alternance parmi les 53 leaders du Commonwealth.

      Toutefois, ces derniers se sont entendus sur la nomination du prince Charles, selon le correspondant diplomatique de la BBC, James Landale. L’annonce officielle devrait survenir à la fin de la rencontre, selon la BBC.


  • Russia says Syrian ’chemical attack’ was staged - BBC News
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43747922

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said a reported chemical attack in Syria was staged by foreign agents.

    The US and France say they have proof it took place and, alongside the UK, are considering military retaliation.

    Russia, which has military forces deployed in Syria in support of the government, has warned that US air strikes risk starting a war.

    The UN’s secretary general has said the Middle East is “in chaos” and the Cold War is “back with a vengeance”. Antonio Guterres was speaking to a special meeting of the UN Security Council, called by Russia.

    Independent chemical weapons inspectors are expected to arrive in the area of the alleged attack on Saturday.

    During a press briefing on Friday, Mr Lavrov said he had “irrefutable evidence” that the attack was staged as part of a “Russophobic campaign” led by one country, which he did not name.

    The White House says it is continuing to assess intelligence and talk to its allies about how to respond.

    A delegation from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will start its investigations in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta region on Saturday but few details are expected to be released about its movements for safety reasons.

    The suspected attack, denied by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, was carried out in the Eastern Ghouta town of Douma on Saturday, reportedly killing dozens of people.
    Control over the town has since passed from rebels to the Syrian and Russian military authorities.

    The Violations Documentation Center (VDC), a Syrian opposition network which records alleged violations of international law in Syria, said bodies were found foaming at the mouth, and with discoloured skin and burns to the eyes.

    On Thursday, unnamed US officials told NBC News they had obtained blood and urine samples from victims which had tested positive for chlorine and a nerve agent.

    The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Hayley, told the network: “We definitely have enough proof but now we just have to be thoughtful in our action.”

    French President Emmanuel Macron also said he had “proof” that the Syrian government had attacked Douma with chemical weapons but did not give further details.


  • What is Uber up to in Africa?
    https://africasacountry.com/2018/04/what-is-uber-up-to-in-africa

    Uber’s usual tricks — to provoke price wars in an attempt to increase their share of markets, evade taxes, and undermine workers’ rights — are alive and well in Africa.

    Technophiles and liberals across the African continent are embracing the ride sharing application Uber. Their services are especially popular with the young urban middle classes. In most African cities, public transport is limited, unpredictable and often dangerous, especially after dark. Uber is also cheaper than meter-taxis. Uber’s mobile application makes taxi rides efficient and easy, and women feel safer since rides are registered and passengers rate their drivers.

    Since 2013, Uber has registered drivers in 15 cities in nine African countries: from Cape to Cairo; from Nairobi to Accra. In October last year, Uber said they had nearly two million active users on the continent. The plans are to expand. While media continues to talk about how Uber creates jobs in African cities suffering from enormous unemployment, the company prefers to couch what they do as partnership: They have registered 29,000 “driver-partners.” However, through my research and work with trade unions in Ghana and Nigeria, and a review of Uber’s practices in the rest of Africa, I found that there are many, including Uber’s own “driver partners,” who have mixed feelings about the company.

    Established taxi drivers rage and mobilize resistance to the company across the continent. While Uber claims to create jobs and opportunities, taxi drivers accuse the company of undermining their already-precarious jobs and their abilities to earn a living wage while having to cope with Uber’s price wars, tax evasion and undermining of labor rights.

    Take Ghana, for example. Uber defines its own prices, but regular taxis in Accra are bound by prices negotiated every six months between the Ghanaian Federation for Private Road Transport (GPRTU) and the government. The negotiated prices are supposed to take into account inflation, but currently negotiations are delayed as fuel prices continues rising. The week before I met Issah Khaleepha, Secretary General of the GRPRTU in February, the union held strikes against fuel price increases. Uber’s ability to set its own price gives it a distinct advantage in this environment.

    Like in most African countries the taxi industry in Ghana is part of the informal economy. Informality, however, is not straightforward. Accra’s taxis are licensed, registered commercial cars, marked by yellow license plates and painted in the same colors. Drivers pay taxes. Uber cars are registered as private vehicles, marked by white license plates, which gives them access to areas that are closed to commercial vehicles, such as certain hotels.

    Uber is informalizing through the backdoor and pushing a race to the bottom, says Yaaw Baah, the Secretary General of the Ghana Trade Union Congress (Ghana TUC). The Ghana TUC, the Ghanaian Employers Association (GEA) and the government all support the International Labor Organization’s formalization agenda, which says that the formalization of informal economy will ensure workers’ rights and taxes owed to governments.

    The fault lines in Uber’s business model have been exposed in other parts of the continent as well. In Lagos, Uber cut prices by 40% in 2017, prompting drivers to go on strike. Drivers have to give up 25 percent of their income to Uber, and most drivers have to pay rent to the car owners. Many drivers left Uber for the Estonian competitor, Taxify, which takes 15 percent of revenues. In February 2017, an informal union of Nairobi drivers forced Uber to raise their fares from 200 Kenyan Shillings to 300 (from 33 to 39 cents) per kilometer; yet still a far cry from a foundation for a living wage.

    In Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria, the fragmented and self-regulated taxi industry is associated with violence, conflicts and criminal networks. There are reports of frequent violence and threats to Uber drivers. So-called taxi wars in South Africa, which began in the 1980s, have turned into “Uber wars.” In South African, xenophobia adds fuel to the fire sine many Uber drivers are immigrants from Zimbabwe or other African countries. In Johannesburg two Uber cars were burned. Uber drivers have been attacked and killed in Johannesburg and Nairobi.

    The fragmentation and informality of the transport industry makes workers vulnerable and difficult to organize. However, examples of successes in transportation labor organizing in the past in some African countries, show that it is necessary in order to confront the challenges of the transportation sectors on the continent.

    A decade ago, CESTRAR, the Rwandan trade union confederation, organized Kigali motorcycle taxis (motos) in cooperatives that are platforms from where to organize during price negotiations, and to enable tax payment systems.

    For Uganda’s informal transport workers, unionization has had a dramatic impact. In 2006, the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers Union in Uganda, ATGWU, counted only 2000 members. By incorporating informal taxi and motorcycle taxes’ (boda-boda) associations, ATGWU now has over 80,000 members. For the informal drivers, union membership has ensured freedom of assembly and given them negotiating power. The airport taxis bargained for a collective agreement that standardized branding for the taxis, gave them an office and sales counter in the arrivals hall, a properly organized parking and rest area, uniforms and identity cards. A coordinated strike brought Kampala to a standstill and forced political support from President Yoweri Museveni against police harassment and political interference.

    South Africa is currently the only country in Africa with a lawsuit against Uber. There, 4,000 Uber drivers joined the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, SATAWU, who supported them in a court case to claim status as employees with rights and protection against unfair termination. They won the first round, but lost the appeal in January 2018. The judge stressed that the case was lost on a technicality. The drivers have since jumped from SATAWU to National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw), and they will probably go to court again.

    Taxi operators don’t need to join Uber or to abandon labor rights in order get the efficiency and safety advantages of the technology. In some countries, local companies have developed technology adapted to local conditions. In Kigali in 2015, SafeMotos launched an application described as a mix of Uber and a traffic safety application. In Kenya, Maramoja believes their application provides better security than Uber. Through linking to social media like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, you can see who of your contacts have used and recommend drivers. In Ethiopia, which doesn’t allow Uber, companies have developed technology for slow or no internet, and for people without smartphones.

    Still, even though the transport sector in Ethiopia has been “walled off” from foreign competition, and Uber has been kept out of the local market, it is done so in the name of national economic sovereignty rather than protection of workers’ rights. By contrast, the South African Scoop-A-Cab is developed to ensure “that traditional metered taxi owners are not left out in the cold and basically get with the times.” Essentially, customers get the technological benefits, taxis companies continues to be registered, drivers pay taxes and can be protected by labor rights. It is such a mix of benefits that may point in the direction of a more positive transportation future on the continent.

    #Uber #Disruption #Afrika


  • Millions of indigenous people may lose voting rights: Alliance - National - The Jakarta Post
    http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/03/16/millions-of-indigenous-people-may-lose-voting-rights-alliance.html

    round three million indigenous people in areas across Indonesia may not be able to participate in the 2018 regional elections and 2019 legislative and presidential elections because they do not have e-ID cards, an alliance said on Thursday.

    Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (#AMAN) secretary general Rukka Sombolinggi said around one million out of the three million indigenous people lived in conservation areas, which did not belong to any village or other administrative area.

    ...

    Therefore, everyone in the country must have an e-ID card. “This is not only about voting. This is giving them right to be registered as an Indonesia citizen so their children can go to school, have a birth certificate and have the chance of a better life,” Rukka said.

    #indonésie #peuples_autochtones #non_citoyen·ne


  • Key change in Hezbollah’s trajectory: To strongly involve itself in domestic policy problems going forward | The Mideastwire Blog
    https://mideastwire.wordpress.com/2018/03/23/key-change-in-hezbollahs-trajectory-to-strongly-involve-itsel

    This is indeed a major shift, one predicated by the 2005 turn, under pressure, which saw the first minister of government by Hezbollah. Despite Safiedinne’s recent talk which called the Lebanese system fatally corrupt and broken, the Party seems to be turning directly into the policy problems of Lebanon. Translated in part by our Mideastwire.com via Al-Akhbar:

    “..Based on the last speech, and because it was delivered by the Party’s secretary general, leaping beyond these statements is no longer possible and the Party is now bracing to strongly step in as an essential side at the level of the vital economic files that had so far remained un-tackled. The Party can no longer afford to just sit and watch the economic governmental plans that it had overlooked ever since it stepped into the parliament in the early 1990s and up until this day… It seems that the “financial and economic” grace period is over…”

    https://www.al-akhbar.com/Politics/246856/%D8%AD%D8%B2%D8%A8-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D9%87-%D9%8A%D8%BA%D9%8A-%D8%B1-%D9%

    #liban #corrompu


  • Egypt Parliament in haste to approve cybercrime bill: Ambiguous provisions, loose definitions, legalized web censorship |

    MadaMasr
    https://www.madamasr.com/en/2018/03/14/feature/politics/parliament-in-haste-to-approve-cybercrime-bill-ambiguous-provisions-loose-

    In a whirlwind Tuesday meeting attended by a bevy of state officials, 14 articles of the cybercrime prevention bill were approved by Parliament’s Communications and Information Technology Committee (CITC) in a span of two hours.

    The government-drafted bill, which is composed of 45 articles and includes 29 penalties sentencing offenders to up to five years in prison or fines of between LE,10,000 and LE20 million, was referred by the legislature’s speaker to the committee early this month and has largely been approved in principle.

    The bill’s significance stems from the fact that, in the event that it is passed, it would be the first piece of legislation to regulate what is published on social media and establish principles to confront cybercrimes such as piracy and the hacking of private and government websites. Most importantly, the bill would set a precedent in regulating web censorship.

    The gap in opinion between detractors and proponents of the bill does not center so much on whether cybercrime legislation is necessary, however, but on protection of data and the broad leeway the legislation would grant to authorities to place limitations on liberty.

    For Ghada Moussa, the Planning, Monitoring and Administrative Reform Ministry’s transparency committee secretary general, there certainly is a need for a cybercrime law. But such a law, in her estimation, can only be part of a legislative package whose primary concern would be to make information available, with the identification of confidential information and regulation and protection thereof as a second priority, appended by a law to set exceptions and outline crimes.


  • Egypt Parliament in haste to approve cybercrime bill: Ambiguous provisions, loose definitions, legalized web censorship |

    MadaMasr
    https://www.madamasr.com/en/2018/03/14/feature/politics/parliament-in-haste-to-approve-cybercrime-bill-ambiguous-provisions-loose-

    In a whirlwind Tuesday meeting attended by a bevy of state officials, 14 articles of the cybercrime prevention bill were approved by Parliament’s Communications and Information Technology Committee (CITC) in a span of two hours.

    The government-drafted bill, which is composed of 45 articles and includes 29 penalties sentencing offenders to up to five years in prison or fines of between LE,10,000 and LE20 million, was referred by the legislature’s speaker to the committee early this month and has largely been approved in principle.

    The bill’s significance stems from the fact that, in the event that it is passed, it would be the first piece of legislation to regulate what is published on social media and establish principles to confront cybercrimes such as piracy and the hacking of private and government websites. Most importantly, the bill would set a precedent in regulating web censorship.

    The gap in opinion between detractors and proponents of the bill does not center so much on whether cybercrime legislation is necessary, however, but on protection of data and the broad leeway the legislation would grant to authorities to place limitations on liberty.

    For Ghada Moussa, the Planning, Monitoring and Administrative Reform Ministry’s transparency committee secretary general, there certainly is a need for a cybercrime law. But such a law, in her estimation, can only be part of a legislative package whose primary concern would be to make information available, with the identification of confidential information and regulation and protection thereof as a second priority, appended by a law to set exceptions and outline crimes.


  • France: more bucks for your bang
    https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/france-more-bucks-your-bang

    When presenting the budget plan, Parly noted that “the world is more uncertain and the threats are more and diffuse”, and added that France needs to maintain its global influence, intervening where its interests are threatened and where it’s needed for global stability.

    The Macron government’s announcement will mean a serious boost to France’s defence capacity. But it is much more than that.

    For a start, the Trump administration will welcome the announcement very warmly; it positions France more directly as a reliable and relevant partner for the US in Europe and globally. The increased spending sends a strong signal about the seriousness of France’s commitment and leadership.

    As it happens, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was in Brussels on 14–15 February for a meeting of NATO Defence Ministers. One item on their agenda was to review progress towards NATO’s 2% of GDP target. Mattis continued to argue that other NATO members should shoulder more of the defence burden, something that US President Donald Trump has been pushing aggressively since taking office.

    Mattis reportedly told NATO members (behind closed doors) that they needed to show the same commitment to spending more on defence that the US had shown through its own very significant defence budget lift. NATO members, he apparently reiterated, needed to do more, or risk a reduction of US military support.

    In fact, the US point is well made. Very few NATO members have reached, or are anywhere near reaching, the 2% of GDP target. On 13 February NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said only eight NATO members are expected to reach the target this year, and very few (15, leaving aside the US, of NATO’s 28 members) are likely to reach it by 2024. France is now on track to join that club.

    Stoltenberg put a brave face on these statistics, noting that NATO members as a whole had increased defence spending. But it doesn’t alter the fact that several members are unlikely to meet the target.

    One of the worst offenders is Germany, Europe’s largest economy and the fourth-largest economy globally. Although Germany has indicated it will lift the defence budget by around €250 million a year, the fact is German defence expenditure is only around 1.24% of GDP, and considerably more funding will be required to achieve NATO’s target. Even that modest ambition is up for discussion.


  • La Russie a une nouvelle identité visuelle inspirée de la peinture de #Malevitch et reprenant les bases de sa géographie, il faut absolument que je le montre à mes élèves


    https://twitter.com/MargueriteScc/status/964074433957842944
    –-> je n’ai pas plus d’infos, sur l’auteur·e notamment

    Vu sur twitter, spéciale dédicace à @reka et @simplicissimus
    #cartoexperiment #Russie #cartographie #visualisation #art


  • Home | Taxiapp UK
    https://www.taxiapp.uk.com

    FEATURES

    As well as being safe, reliable and accessible, London taxis are great value for money too. All licensed taxis have a fully regulated taximeter, updated and controlled by Transport for London.
    ACCESSIBILITY

    Vehicle specifications require all licensed taxis to be wheelchair accessible, with integrated ramps and colour-coded handgrips to provide support required for ease of access as well as a hearing loop. All assistance dogs are welcome.
    FARES AND PRICES

    The metered fare, as set and regulated by Transport for London, combined with your driver’s Knowledge ensures that you are driven the most direct route to your destination.
    THE KNOWLEDGE

    For your safety and peace of mind, all Licensed Taxi Drivers have undergone extensive training and passed the world famous Knowledge of London examination. All Licensed Taxi Drivers are DBS checked.

    TAXIAPP UK Forum @taxiapp_london
    https://twitter.com/taxiapp_london?lang=en

    A work focussed app owned and run by Black Cab drivers on a non profit making basis. Drivers: http://onelink.to/thmr62 Passengers: http://onelink.to/thmr62

    Taxiapp UK on the App Store
    https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/taxiapp-uk/id1147254955?mt=8

    Amazing taxi booking app
    Taxiapp ltd

    Taxiapp: London’s black cab co-op alternative to Uber - Co-operative News
    https://www.thenews.coop/122467/sector/community/taxiapp-londons-black-cab-co-op-alternative-uber

    ’TFL’s decision not to renew Uber London’s operating license suggests the current trajectory of app-based taxi services needs to change’

    TFL announced today (22 September) it will not be renewing Uber’s licence with the ride-hailing app ‘not fit and proper’ to operate in London. The decision has raised questions over the future of the city’s transport options, however Taxiapp London offers a new, sustainable model run solely by a group of taxi drivers.

    Sean Paul Day, Taxiapp London founding member, said: “Today’s decision proves that our laws have to be respected and that London’s private hire industry should not dominated by multinational companies. This a crucial time for tech starts-up like Taxiapp, who continue to prove more self-sufficient, having been able to survey the horizon and grow in a more sustainable way that puts both drivers and passengers at the forefront.”
    The Taxiapp London team

    Taxiapp is completely owned by London black cab drivers. It allows passengers to book and pay like they would through Uber, but rather than a fixed price that can be subject to huge surges, the fare is always decided by the meter. Unlike Uber, it is built on transparency and promotes fair economic growth and will be relaunched in October with a new feature to protect the ritual of hailing a cab.

    Ed Mayo, Secretary general of Co-operatives UK, said: “TFL’s decision not to renew Uber London’s operating license suggests the current trajectory of app-based taxi services needs to change. Platform businesses are not going anywhere but they are going to evolve. We need a new wave of successful platforms with the same great user experience, but built on trust, transparency and economic fairness. It looks like TFL agrees. Ethical alternatives like driver-led Taxiapp are springing up – through the co-operation of the drivers themselves. A better platform economy is already on its way.”

    Taxiapp London utilises a fully licenced and officially metered service endorsed by Transport for London, which means no surge pricing for passengers. Every one of the licenced drivers has passed the world famous ‘Knowledge of London’ test, which has proven to result in shorter journey times and a more efficient service.

    The app is non-for-profit owned directly by the drivers themselves developed with the aim of offering an honest, trustworthy service that puts customer and driver welfare at the forefront. By utilising tried and tested technology this small group from one of London’s oldest surviving professions are leading the way in bringing transparency to the London transport. Taxiapp is currently in the process of applying for support through the Hive, the business support programme powered by The Co-operative Bank and delivered by Co-operatives UK.

    #Taxi #London #Uber #platform_cooperativism


  • Scoop: Macron sent aide to lobby Palestinians over Trump peace plan - Axios

    https://www.axios.com/macron-sent-1516306027-f098dbc8-5227-411b-b8c7-0110c0b9d0b5.html?source=sideb

    French President Emanuel Macron sent his deputy national security adviser Aurélien Lechevallier for a secret visit in Ramallah earlier this week to convey reassuring messages to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, French and Palestinian officials told me.

    Their main message was that the Palestinians must give a chance to the Trump peace plan, which could be unveiled in the coming months.

    Lechevallier met in Ramallah with the head of the Palestinian general intelligence service Majed Faraj, PLO secretary general Saeb Erekat and several other senior officials. According to French and Palestinian officials, Lechevallier emphasized that President Macron expects the Palestinian leadership to stay committed to non-violence and to the two state solution. But the main message, they said, had to do with the Trump peace plan.

    According to the officials, Lechevallier told his Palestinian counterparts, “You might be right and the plan might turn out to be bad but don’t blow it up right now. The plan might have things you don’t like but maybe it will also contain interesting and positive things for you. It will be a shame if you throw the plan to the trash even before you received it. Read it first and then decide if you want to say no”.
    The bigger picture

    Lechevallier’s visit to Ramallah was part of a broader move by the French which started on December 22nd when Abbas visited the Elysee palace to see Macron — two weeks after Trump’s Jerusalem announcement. French officials said Macron found Abbas frustrated and angry over Trump’s announcement and over his upcoming peace plan.

    According to French officials, Abbas told Macron in the December 22nd meeting that the leaders of the Arab world are totally consumed in their own domestic crisis and are not interested anymore in the Palestinian issue or in Jerusalem. Abbas added that for this reason Israel can do whatever it wants and create facts on the ground.

    “I don’t want violence but it is hard for me to control the situation inside Fatah (Abbas’s party) and the PLO”, Abbas told Macron.
    The French President tried to calm Abbas down, promised him to give him international support but demanded he avoid radical moves.

    On January 5th, in another attempt to calm down the Palestinians, Macron invited a senior delegation of the Fatah party to the Elysee. French officials said that during one of the meetings Macron popped-in and told the members of the Palestinian delegation that he requests two things — commitments to prevent violent escalation in the West Bank and to keep the two state solution as the Fatah policy.

    French diplomats told me Macron and his advisers coordinated their moves with Trump and the White House. They said that during the last few weeks Macron and Trump had frequent phone calls which among other foreign policy issue also dealt with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The White House declined comment.


  • Israel sets up secret firm with top ex-generals, envoys for online ’mass awareness’ campaign ’to fight delegitimization’

    Among the shareholders are former UN ambassador Dore Gold and ex-generals Amos Yadlin and Yaakov Amidror. The new initiative will not be subject to the Freedom of Information Law

    Noa Landau Jan 09, 2018 3:26 PM
    read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.833817

    The Strategic Affairs Ministry has set up a public-benefit corporation to engage in what it calls “mass awareness activities” as part of “the struggle against the delegitimization campaign” against Israel internationally.
    Haaretz has obtained a list of the shareholders and directors of the company, Kella Shlomo, who include former Israeli ambassadors to the United Nations.
    The government recently allocated 128 million shekels ($37 million) to the initiative, in addition to the 128 million shekels it will raise from private donors around the world.
    The new initiative will not be subject to the Freedom of Information Law, in accordance with the secrecy policy of the ministry, which refuses to release detailed information about its activities.
    The shareholders and directors include former ministry director general Yossi Kuperwasser; former UN ambassador Dore Gold, who is also a former adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; and former UN ambassador Ron Prosor.

    Reuven Rivlin with Amos Yadlin. Mark Neiman

    FILE PHOTO: Protestors march behind a banner of the BDS organization in Marseille, southern France, on June 13, 2015George Robert / AP
    They also include businessman Micah Avni, whose father, Richard Lakin, was killed in a 2015 terror attack in Jerusalem; Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, who heads the Institute for National Security Studies; and Col. (res.) Miri Eisin, who served as the prime minister’s adviser on the foreign press during the Second Lebanon War.
    skip - Israel Publishes BDS Blacklist

    Also on the list are a former National Security Council chief, Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, and Sagi Balasha, a former CEO of the Israeli-American Council, which has casino magnate Sheldon Adelson as a major supporter.

    Most refused to discuss the initiative and referred questions to the office of Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan.
    The most recent data from the Companies Authority shows that the last report the company submitted to the authority came this past October. On December 28, the cabinet approved an allocation of 128 million shekels to the company over three years. The decision to provide the funding was made by the special procedure under which a government resolution is distributed to the ministers and goes into effect automatically if no one objects or demands a discussion.
    According to the government resolution, the funding was granted “to implement part of the ministry’s activities related to the struggle against the phenomena of delegitimization and boycotts against the State of Israel.” It says the agency will work to raise its portion of the financing for the initiative (around half) from “philanthropic sources” or “pro-Israel organizations.” A steering committee will be appointed for the initiative to comprise government representatives and representatives of the other funding partners.

    Ron Prosor at the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon oath ceremony forr his appointment as the Secretary-General of the United Nations for second termShachar Ezran
    Itamar Baz of the media watchdog website The Seventh Eye has been covering the Strategic Affairs Ministry, most of whose activities are concealed from the public. He reported Monday that while ministry officials have for months been advancing legislation that would exclude the company from being subject to the Freedom of Information Law, the law in any case does not apply to this new agency so its activities will be easy to hide.
    He also revealed that Liat Glazer, the ministry’s legal adviser, wrote in a legal opinion that the activities conducted through the company would be “those that require ‘non-governmental’ discussions with various target audiences.”
    According to a ministry document, Kella Shlomo people would work via social networks because “the enemy directs most of its awareness and motivating efforts to this area.” Similarly, the document, published by The Seventh Eye, says the organization was expected to carry out “mass awareness activities” and work to “exploit the wisdom of crowds,” an activity defined as “making new ideas accessible to decision-makers and donors in the Jewish world, and developing new tools to combat the delegitimization of Israel.”
    A report in the daily Yedioth Ahronoth the day after the cabinet approved the funding described the initiative positively, saying it would “raise the level of efforts in the struggle against BDS” — the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. Yedioth said the new company would “provide a speedy and coordinated response to efforts to stain Israel’s image around the world,” for example, in the event of a military operation, terror attacks or UN votes against government policies.
    This would be done by launching online campaigns, lobbying, engaging organizations abroad and bringing delegations to Israel.
    The Strategic Affairs Ministry declined to clarify whether the company would act in accordance with the principles of the Freedom of Information Law.
    “This is a joint initiative that meets all the requirements of the law for this type of engagement and is similar to other government initiatives like Taglit [Birthright] and Masa,” the ministry said.
    “In the agreement with [the company] there are distinct control procedures, as defined by the Finance Ministry and the Justice Ministry during the joint work with them on setting up the project. It will be subject to auditing by the state comptroller,” it added.
    “In addition, as the ministry leading the initiative, one that attributes great importance to it as part of the campaign against the delegitimization of Israel, the ministry has allocated additional control tools and functions to what is required. Both the ministry’s legal adviser and its controller will sit on the steering committee managing the project.”
    skip - WTF is BDS?


  • After PLO halts ties with US, Arab League steps in to salvage peace process
    Nov. 20, 2017 10:29 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 20, 2017 10:30 A.M.)
    http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?ID=779498

    BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Arab League has reportedly approached the United States government regarding its recent decision to punitively shut down the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington D.C, over the Palestinian leadership’s efforts to bring Israel before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

    Official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency reported on Sunday, shortly after the US State Department announced its decision, that the Arab League — a regional organization of 22 Arab countries — announced that its Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit approached the US President Donald Trump’s administration over the closure.

    The league is reportedly attempting to do damage control and resume US-led peace negotiations following the PLO’s reaction to the closure, in which the group’s secretary general, Saeb Erekat, threatened to “put on hold all our communications with this American administration" if the US did in fact close the PLO Washington office.

    According to Wafa, Aboul Gheit met with the league’s foreign minister, Riyad al-Maliki, where the two discussed the the official position of the PLO and the PA, “saying it will harm the peace process and the role of the US as peace broker.”

    The PLO announced in September its decision to submit a request to the ICC to investigate illegal Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

    Separately, four Palestinian human rights organizations submitted a 700-page communication to the ICC alleging that Israeli officials have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

    International media reported that the PLO’s plans would breach conditions previously imposed by US Congress on the PLO, preventing it from taking any cases to the ICC.

    The PLO office could allegedly be reopened 90 days after closure if Trump believes the PLO has entered into “direct, meaningful negotiations with Israel.”

    The events came amid weeks of speculation in Israeli and Palestinian media over the Trump administrations “ultimate peace plan” for the region, which is set to be presented soon.