provinceorstate:sicily

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


    Pia Klemp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Salvini’s crackdown

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

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

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

      ’A yearslong show trial’

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    • Mobilisation pour la capitaine d’un navire humanitaire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Raped, beaten, exploited: the 21st-century slavery propping up Sicilian farming | Global development | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/mar/12/slavery-sicily-farming-raped-beaten-exploited-romanian-women

    ça date de 2017

    A vulnerable female workforce

    An Italian migrant rights organisation, the Proxyma Association, estimates that more than half of all Romanian women working in the greenhouses are forced into sexual relations with their employers. Almost all of them work in conditions of forced labour and severe exploitation.

    Police say they believe that up to 7,500 women, the majority of whom are Romanian, are living in slavery on farms across the region. Guido Volpe, a commander in the carabinieri military police in Sicily, told the Observer that Ragusa was the centre of exploitation on the island.

    “These women are working as slaves in the fields and we know they are blackmailed to have sex with the owners of the farms or greenhouses because of their psychological subjugation,” he says. “It is not easy to investigate or stop this from happening, as the women are mostly too afraid to speak out.”

    Many of the Romanian women leave children and dependent families at home and feel forced into making the desperate choices that have carved deep lines of grief into Bolos’s face.

    #Sicile #agriculture #femmes #esclavage #viol #roumaines

  • UK sending Syrians back to countries where they were beaten and abused

    Refugees tell of being held in cages and even tortured in European countries including Hungary and Romania

    Britain is using EU rules to send asylum seekers from Syria and other countries back to eastern European states where they were beaten, incarcerated and abused, the Guardian has learned.

    Migrant rights groups and lawyers say the Home Office is using the rules to send people back to “police brutality, detention and beatings” in several European countries.

    The Guardian has spoken to refugees who were subjected to assaults as they travelled through Europe. The men tell of being held in “cages” in Hungary, waterboarded and handcuffed to beds by detention centre guards in Romania and beaten in Bulgaria.
    Britain is one of worst places in western Europe for asylum seekers
    Read more

    They now face being returned to those countries as, under the so-called Dublin law, asylum seekers are supposed to apply in their first EU country of entry.

    In 2015 more than 80,000 requests were made by EU countries for another government to take back an asylum seeker. The UK made 3,500 of these requests to countries around Europe, including Bulgaria, Romania, Italy and Hungary.

    The Home Office claims it should be entitled to assume that any EU country will treat asylum seekers properly.

    The charity Migrant Voice has collected testimony from several refugees who are fighting removal from the UK to other European countries. Nazek Ramadan, the director of the charity, said the men had been left traumatised by their journey and their subsequent treatment in the UK.

    “We know there are hundreds of Syrians in the UK who have fingerprints in other European countries,” said Ramadan. “Many no longer report to the Home Office because they are afraid of being detained and deported away from their family in the UK. Those who have been forcibly removed often end up destitute.

    “These are people who were abused in their home country, sometimes jailed by the regime there. Then they were imprisoned again in Europe. They feel that they are still living in a war zone, moving from one arrest and detention to another.”

    The law firm Duncan Lewis recently won a key case preventing forced removals back to Hungary because of the risk that people might be forced from there back to their country of origin.

    The firm is also challenging removals to Bulgaria because of what the UN refugee agency has described as “substandard” conditions there. A test case on whether Bulgaria is a safe country to send people back to is due to be heard by the court of appeal in November.

    The situation could get even more complex as an EU ban on sending asylum seekers back to Greece is due to be lifted on Wednesday after a six-year moratorium.

    Krisha Prathepan, of Duncan Lewis, said: “We intend to challenge any resumption of returns to Greece, as that country’s asylum system remains dysfunctional and the risk of refugees being returned from Greece to the very countries in which they faced persecution remains as high as ever.”

    The Home Office says it has no immediate plans to send refugees back to Greece, but is following European guidelines.

    “We have no current plans to resume Dublin returns to Greece,” a spokesperson said, citing among other reasons “the reception conditions in the country”.

    She added: “In April 2016, the high court ruled that transfer to Bulgaria under the Dublin regulation would not breach the European Convention on Human Rights. If there is evidence that Bulgaria is responsible for an asylum application, we will seek to transfer the application.”

    Mohammad Nadi Ismail, 32, Syrian

    Mohammad Nadi Ismail, a former Syrian navy captain, entered Europe via Bulgaria and Hungary, hoping to join his uncle and brother in Britain.

    In Bulgaria he was detained, beaten and humiliated. “They stripped us and made us stand in a row all naked. We had to bend over in a long line. Then they hit us on our private parts with truncheons.

    “They would wake us at night after they had been playing cards and drinking. Then they would come and hit us or kick us with their boots or truncheons.”

    One day he was released and took his chance to leave, walking for days to reach Hungary.

    But in Hungary he was locked up again. “They took us to a courtyard of a big building where there were five or six cages, about 8ft [2.4 metres] square. Most of the people were African. Some of them had been in there for four or five days. Luckily we Syrians were allowed out after one night and I headed for the UK.”

    In the UK Ismail met up with the family he hadn’t seen for three years and applied for asylum immediately.

    Then a letter came, saying his fingerprints had been found in Bulgaria and he would be returned. After a month in detention he now reports every two weeks, waiting and hoping that the UK will let him stay.

    “I will not go back to Bulgaria. I still have hope that I can stay here legally and rebuild my life with my family who have always supported me,” he said.

    ‘Dawoud’, 34, Iranian

    Dawoud (not his real name) was 28 when he fled Iran after his political activities had made him an enemy of the government. His brother and parents made it to the UK and were given refugee status.

    When he was told by border guards that he was in Romania he had no idea what that meant. “I had never even heard of this country,” he said. He was put in a camp where “water dripped through the electrics – we were electrocuted often. Children and families screamed. We lived in fear of the wild dogs who circled the camp, attacking and biting us. We were given no food; we had to go through bins in the town nearby for scraps.”

    He escaped once, to the Netherlands, but was sent back.

    “I experienced several beatings, on all parts of the body. There were people covered in blood and they were refused medical help. They even waterboarded me. I thought I would die.”

    Finally he managed to reach his mother, father and brother in the UK. For two years he has lived in hiding, too scared to apply for asylum for fear of being sent back to Romania. But a few months ago he finally reported to the Home Office. A letter informed him that a request had been made to Romania to take him back.

    Dawoud shakes as he talks about his fear of removal, saying: “When I hear people speak Romanian in the street it brings back my trauma. I once fell to the ground shaking just hearing someone speak. I will kill myself rather than go back.”

    Wael al-Awadi, 36, Syrian

    Wael travelled by sea to Italy and was detained on arrival in Sicily. “They hit us with their fists and sticks in order to make us give our fingerprints. Then they let us go. They gave us nothing, no accommodation, just told us: ‘Go where you like.’ So many Syrians were sleeping in the streets.”

    When he reached the UK he was detained for two months before friends helped him get bail. A year and a half later, when reporting at the Home Office, he was detained again and booked on to a plane to Italy.

    He refused to go and a solicitor got him out on bail. His appeal is due to be heard later this year. “I left Syria to avoid jail and detention and here I have been locked up twice,” he said. “I can’t understand it. Why can’t they look at me with some humanity? I am mentally so tired. My children call me from Syria but I can’t speak to them any more. It is too painful.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/12/the-refugees-uk-wants-to-send-back-to-countries-where-they-were-abused?
    #réfugiés_syriens #UK #Angleterre #Dublin #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Bulgarie #Roumanie #Hongrie #Italie #renvois #expulsions #renvois_Dublin

  • What happens to the bodies of those who die in the Mediterranean?

    Researchers, police, coroners and an imam in Sicily work hard to identify dead refugees and give them a proper burial.

    On All Soul’s Day, around three kilometres from the port in the Sicilian city of Catania, the pauper’s grave at the Monumental Cemetery is unusually well-tended, with fresh flowers and beads wrapped around cross-shaped headstones.

    Many belong to refugees and migrants who died at sea while trying to reach Europe. Sicilian cemeteries currently host the remains of more than 2,000 of them.

    The Mediterranean route is fraught with danger. So far this year, more than 2,000 people have died while crossing the sea, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

    Local authorities here recover on average only one in 10 bodies, which usually remains unidentified.

    “An overall indifference has led to a higher non-identification rate of most bodies,” says Giorgia Mirto, a Sicilian anthropologist and founder of Mediterranean Missing, a database project collecting names of the identified dead refugees and migrants. “They just become statistics instead of humans.”

    After spending her time in cemeteries across the island, Mirto has identified a trend.

    “Here, migrants become part of the community. I noticed average citizens bringing flowers and praying over their graves,” she says. “’[It is] part of a Catholic mindset that instils the idea of taking care of the dead, in place of those who can’t afford or aren’t able to pay a visit.”

    In August, local policeman Angelo Milazzo accompanied a Jamal Mekdad, a Syrian man and his two children who had travelled from Denmark, to the cemetery of Melilli, a port village in Syracuse, eastern Sicily.

    They were visiting the grave of their wife and mother, who died while attempting to cross the Mediterranean in 2014.

    “Remembering that day still brings me tears,” Milazzo says.

    He is part of a police unit trying to prevent undocumented migration and was present on the day the Syrian woman perished, that day he saw the bodies of 24 people.

    From that moment, his work went well beyond the duties of his job as he made it his mission to try and identify the dead - often outside his working hours - spending time in port towns, cemeteries and searching on Facebook.

    Most victims do not carry identification documents, such as passports, so the first step is collaborating with coroners who examine the bodies and provide forensic police with information about the refugees’ DNA, origin, height, weight and gender, as well as pictures of clothing and notes of distinctive features or objects they had.

    “These reports are sent to our police unit, as well as to migrant help centres hosting survivors of shipwrecks, who can help identifying some of the victims, as usually, they travel with family members,” Milazzo says.

    Some of the coroners in charge of examining bones and clothes were, like Milazzo, touched on a personal level by the tragedy.

    Antonella Argo, a coroner in Palermo, Sicily’s capital, examined the bodies of several drowned migrants.

    “The frustration in this job can be tough. I remember one time, during a major shipwreck in 2016, my team and I were in charge of helping provide information about 52 bodies. We only managed to identify 18,” Argo explains.

    “I think it’s a doctor’s duty, actually any human being’s duty, to give back dignity, importance and most of all an identity, to those who’ve represented something in someone else’s life. It’s called Mediterranean compassion, and we Sicilians know that well.”

    Milazzo, the policeman, began his work in identification in 2014, having received reports from Argo’s colleagues, by visiting several towns in the province.

    One of his first stops was La Zagara, a migrant centre in Melilli.

    With the help of an Arabic-speaking interpreter, he began talking to survivors, mostly Syrians, showing them pictures of clothing and giving them details.

    Many provided him with the information he was looking for, as they were also searching for the missing.

    A young Syrian woman, simply identified with the number 23, was on his list.

    At La Zagara, he showed a man who had lost his wife the woman’s pictures.

    “Angelo showed me a face close up from the autopsy. It was her, my Sireen,” says Jamal Mekdad, the Syrian refugee father, explaining he hadn’t recognised her at first.

    Now living and working as a photographer in Denmark with his two children, he says he’s grateful for those who helped identify his wife.

    “They do an important job of giving back dignity to the victims’ families, as well as the disappeared migrants themselves,” he said.

    It took Milazzo a year, two months and 10 days to file a complete report identifying all the victims from the 2014 shipwreck, allowing Italian authorities to issue official death certificates.

    He runs a Facebook page, posting details about the dead and exchanging messages with people searching for answers.

    “Facebook has been crucial in collecting information about the disappeared and to get in touch with relatives,” Milazzo says.

    “Death certificates are fundamental for the relatives to move on and think about the future, carry on their lives, be entitled to inheritance and get peace of mind.”
    ’They deserve to rest in peace’

    The 2014 case was, however, an exception.

    Most families remain in the dark about their relatives.

    But once an identity is settled, the search for a burial site begins.

    As most victims are Muslim, it falls on Abdelhafid Kheit, an imam in the community, to take care of the bodies.

    “When the refugee crisis began, I had the impulse to help, to do something not only as a spiritual leader but as a human being,” Kheit says, holding back tears.

    Overcrowding in cemeteries, however, is a challenge.

    “For years, I’ve asked Sicily’s president to buy a piece of land and open a cemetery of the sea deaths. So far, my request hasn’t been answered. But I don’t give up, and will continue my advocacy to reach this goal,” says Kheit.

    Mekdad remembers speaking on the phone in 2014 with Kheit, who he describes as a “gentle imam with a North African accent”.

    “I entrusted my wife’s soul to him for her funeral, as I wasn’t able to attend,” he says.

    Kheit supervises the various stages of burial: washing the deceased migrant’s body, wrapping it in a white shroud and leading the burial prayer.

    These experiences have been the most challenging of his career, he says.

    “On certain occasions, I was asked to do these rituals on bodies which were so decomposed that I almost refrained from doing my job,” he says, “but then I continued because they deserved to rest in peace.”


    https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/bodies-die-mediterranean-181125235524960.html
    #Catania #Sicile #Italie #mourir_en_mer #cadavres #enterrement #cimetière #corps #migrations #asile #réfugiés #Méditerranée

  • US navy ship ignored sinking migrants’ cries for help, say survivors | World news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/09/us-navy-ship-ignored-sinking-migrants-cries-for-help-say-survivors

    Prosecutors in Sicily are examining allegations by shipwreck survivors that a US navy ship ignored distress calls and failed to assist them before their dinghy capsized.

    The USS Trenton rescued 42 people after the dinghy sank on 12 June, but survivors allege that the cruiser had earlier ignored their cries for help, failing to avert a disaster in which 76 people died.

    Magistrates in Ragusa confirmed that they have examined a video published by La Repubblica in which six survivors say the US cruiser was near the boat before the sinking – but appeared to ignore their request for help.

    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #mourir_mer #méditerranée

  • Ancient shipwrecks found in Greek waters tell tale of trade routes | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-greece-ancient-shipwrecks/ancient-shipwrecks-found-in-greek-waters-tell-tale-of-trade-routes-idUSKCN1

    Archaeologists in Greece have discovered at least 58 shipwrecks, many laden with antiquities, in what they say may be the largest concentration of ancient wrecks ever found in the Aegean and possibly the whole of the Mediterranean.

    The wrecks lie in the small island archipelago of Fournoi, in the Eastern Aegean, and span a huge period from ancient Greece right through to the 20th century. Most are dated to the Greek, Roman and Byzantine eras.

    Although shipwrecks can be seen together in the Aegean, until now such a large number have not been found together.

     Experts say they weave an exciting tale of how ships full of cargo traveling through the Aegean, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea met their fate in sudden storms and surrounded by rocky cliffs in the area.

    The excitement is difficult to describe, I mean, it was just incredible. We knew that we had stumbled upon something that was going to change the history books,” said underwater archaeologist and co-director of the Fournoi survey project Dr. Peter Campbell of the RPM Nautical Foundation.

    The foundation is collaborating on the project with Greece’s Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, which is conducting the research.

    When the international team began the underwater survey in 2015, they were astounded to find 22 shipwrecks that year. With their latest finds that number has climbed to 58, and the team believe there are even more secrets lying on the seabed below.

    I would call it, probably, one of the top archaeological discoveries of the century in that we now have a new story to tell of a navigational route that connected the ancient Mediterranean,” Campbell told Reuters.

     The vessels and their contents paint a picture of ships carrying goods on routes from the Black Sea, Greece, Asia Minor, Italy, Spain, Sicily, Cyprus, the Levant, Egypt and north Africa.

    The team has raised more than 300 antiquities from the shipwrecks, particularly amphorae, giving archaeologists rare insight into where goods were being transported around the Mediterranean.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Les USA seuls maîtres à bord dans le Sahel

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

      Far West

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    cc @_kg_

    • Commentaires de Charles Heller sur FB :

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Sans nouvelles depuis quatre jours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Posté par Charles Heller sur FB :

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


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

    • I pescatori, eroi di Zarzis, in galera

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

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

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

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

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

      La guerra civile libica

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Criminalizzazione della solidarietà

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      ■ Dénoncés par Frontex

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Migrants : quand les pêcheurs tunisiens deviennent sauveteurs

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

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

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

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

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

    • Les pêcheurs tunisiens, sauveurs d’hommes en Méditerranée

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      – « Comme un ange » -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      – « Pas des gens » ! -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Violation du droit international

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Départs de migrants depuis la Libye :

      Libya : outcomes of the sea journey

      Migrants intercepted /rescued by the Libyan coast guard

      Lieux de désembarquement :


      #Italie #Espagne #Malte

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

      #statistiques #chiffres #2016 #2017 #2018

      cc @simplicissimus

    • Libyan Coast Guard Takes 611 Migrants Back to Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      https://euobserver.com/tickers/142821

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

      Scabies

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Libya coast guard detains 113 migrants during lull in fighting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Albania Cannot “Adopt” Asylum Seekers from Italy

    Over the weekend, the Albanian government announced that it would “adopt” 20 of the 150 Eritrean asylum seekers that had been blocked for a week in the Italian port of Catania by far-right deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini. The refugees were only allowed to leave the ship after the Italian court started proceedings against him.

    The Italian Ombudsman Mauro Palma, claimed that migrants were “de facto deprived of freedom without any legal basis or judicial oversight” and that Salvini and the Italian government had potentially violated the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights, the Italian Constitution, the Geneva Convention, as well as the Italian Criminal Code and Code of Navigation.

    The acceptance of Albania’s offer to take over 20 asylum seekers may yet be another violation, because Albania is a “third country” and not part of the common EU asylum system, the Dublin Convention.

    In an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Lorenzo Trucco, director of the Association for the Juridical Study of Immigration (ASGI), called the Albanian “solution” a “theater of the absurd”:
    Here we are outside any legal context. Albania is not in the European Union, so we are talking about a relocation to a third country that does not have everything that is foreseen by the common European asylum system. It means that we are not sure that they have the requisites required for the recognition of protection. So a transfer to this country can only take place if the migrants agree, never against their will. In that case it would be a forced removal.

    And then there is the issue of choice. How will anyone selected to go to Albania be selected? It is a theater of the absurd, an attack on the asylum system. Fortunately, there was the intervention of the judiciary.

    Transferring Eritrean refugees from Italy to Albania against their will or after they applied for asylum in Italy (for which they had the right as soon as they disembarked the ship) is a breach of EU law. The Albanian government has given Salvini a pretext for doing so, while also showing how little it understands of how the rule of law works.

    https://exit.al/en/2018/08/27/albania-cannot-adopt-asylum-seekers-from-italy
    #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Italie #Albanie

    Cette tentative d’externaliser les procédures en Albanie a été pensée pour les réfugiés à bord de la #Diciotti, navire bloqué pendant des jours et des jours en mer car le gouvernement italien a bloqué l’accès sur son territoire.
    Malheureusement, je n’ai pas trop suivi ce dernier épisode, car j’étais loin et pas toujours connectée.
    Il y a tout de même de la documentation ici, qui traite du cas Diciotti, mais pas de la tentative d’externalisation en Albanie :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/717803

    cc @isskein @reka

    • L’Italie a demandé au #Monténégro d’accepter des réfugiés du Diciotti

      30 août - 11h30 : « L’Italie a contacté le ministère des Affaires étrangères, lui demandant d’accueillir certains réfugiés du Diciotti », a confirmé le porte-parole du gouvernement monténégrin, Srđan Kusovac. Ces derniers, principalement d’origine africaine, sont bloqués depuis dix jours dans le port de Catane, en Sicile. L’Albanie doit accueillir 20 d’entre eux.

      Vu sur le site du Courrier des Balkans, dernières info, pas de URL propre, malheureusement.

    • Montenegro to Host Some Migrants From Italy

      Montenegrin on Thursday announced that it will take in up to five people from a ship full of migrants that was stranded off the coast of Italy for days.

      The government of Montenegro has said it will receive up to five refugees and migrants who disembarked at a port in Sicily after the Italian authorities kept them on the ship for days.

      “The Government, having acknowledged the principles of humanity and solidarity with people in need as a traditional value of Montenegrin society, confirmed many times in our history, decided that Montenegro should accept up to five migrants from the Diciotto,” the government said on its Twitter account on Thursday evening.

      Montenegro confirmed on August 30 that it had been approached by Italy and asked to take in a number of migrants and refugees, to help end a 10-day standoff with the ship docked off the Italian coast at Catania.

      Podgorica said then it was still mulling whether to take the mostly African-origin migrants and refugees, but had not yet taken a stance.

      “Unanimously, the Government of Montenegro confirms its commitment to the European value system and affirms human dignity,” it said on Twitter on Thursday.

      http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/montenegro-to-receive-up-to-five-migrants-from-italy-09-06-2018

  • Italy uncovers massive load of hash in ship’s fuel tanks | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-italy-drugs/italy-uncovers-massive-load-of-hash-in-ships-fuel-tanks-idUSKBN1KU17L
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dIsdWc0JUs

    Italian police said on Thursday they found 20 tonnes of hash worth as much as 200 million euros ($232 million) in the fuel tanks of a Panama-flagged ship that was stopped in international waters and escorted to Sicily.

    The entire 11-person crew, all from Montenegro, was arrested for international drugs trafficking, Italy’s finance police said in a statement.

  • ‘Migrants are more profitable than drugs’: how the mafia infiltrated Italy’s asylum system

    During the investigation, one of the alleged bosses of the group, #Salvatore_Buzzi, was caught on a wiretap bragging about how much money he made off the backs of asylum seekers. “Do you have any idea how much I earn on immigrants?” he was heard telling an associate. “They’re more profitable than drugs.” Buzzi and his associates were sentenced to decades in prison after a trial that ended in 2017, although their sentences were reduced on appeal. Another appeal is under way.

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/feb/01/migrants-more-profitable-than-drugs-how-mafia-infiltrated-italy-asylum-
    #migrations #mafia #profit #business #drogue #trafic_de_drogue #trafic_d'êtres_humains #esclavage #mafia_capitale #cara #mineo #prostitution #camorra #ndrangheta
    cc @albertocampiphoto @marty

  • ‘Migrants are more profitable than drugs’: how the mafia infiltrated Italy’s asylum system | News | The Guardian

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/feb/01/migrants-more-profitable-than-drugs-how-mafia-infiltrated-italy-asylum-

    Crime families have cashed in on the ‘refugee industry’. By Barbie Latza Nadeau

    Thu 1 Feb 2018 06.00 GMT

    Joy, a young Nigerian woman, was standing in the street outside the sprawling, overcrowded Cara di Mineo reception centre for asylum seekers in central Sicily, waiting for someone to pick her up when I met her. It was late summer 2016, and the weather was still hot. She said she was 18, but looked much younger. She was wearing a faded denim jacket over a crisp white T-shirt and tight jeans, and six or seven strings of colourful beads were wrapped around her neck. A gold chain hung from her left wrist, a gift from her mother.

    As we spoke, a dark car came into view and she took a couple of steps away from me to make sure whoever was driving saw her, and saw that she was alone. There were a handful of other migrants loitering along the road. The approaching car didn’t slow down, so Joy came back over to me and carried on our conversation.

    The oldest of six children, Joy (not her real name) told me she had left her family in a small village in Edo state in Nigeria at the age of 15, and gone to work for a wealthy woman who owned a beauty salon in Benin City. She had since come to suspect that her parents had sold her to raise money for their younger children. “They probably had no choice,” she said as she looked down the road toward the thick citrus groves that hid the coming traffic.

    #italie #asile #migrations #prostitution

  • #Iterations #1 : Trasformatorio Call
    http://constantvzw.org/site/Iterations-1-Trasformatorio-Call,2913.html

    The call for participation in the Trasformatorio international hacklab is open until 11 february 2018. Trasformatorio is a temporary laboratory that will take place in Sicily between April 20th to May 1st, 2018. It is organised by Dyne.org in collaboration with the City of Scaletta Zanclea. Trasformatorio is the first #Residency in the framework of the Iterations project, a collaboration between Hangar,Constant, Esc and Dyne.org running between 2017 and 2019. Iterations is a series of (...)

    Iterations / Residency

    « http://www.trasformatorio.net »
    http://iterations.space
    « https://hangar.org »
    http://constantvzw.org
    « http://esc.mur.at »
    « http://dyne.org »
    « http://iterations.space/index.php/2018/01/04/iterations-1-call-for-projects-in-trasformatorio »
    « http://www.trasformatorio.net/?p=2680 »

  • The mafia and a Nigerian gang are targeting refugees in Sicily

    This is particularly true for economic migrants, who don’t have the same legal status as refugees, and aren’t given the same work permits or financial aid to help them survive. Barred from the legal workforce, and with few financial options, many are targeted by criminal gangs — supported by the Italian mafia — and thrust into a life of sex slavery and drug trafficking.


    https://news.vice.com/story/the-mafia-and-a-nigerian-gang-are-targeting-refugees-in-sicily
    #mafia #Sicile #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Italie #trafic_de_drogue #prostitution #Nigeria
    cc @albertocampiphoto

  • #Agrigento, cento clandestini sbarcano in spiaggia e scappano (video)

    Adesso migranti sbarcano direttamente in spiaggia, per sfuggire ai controlli e rendendosi a tutti gli effetti clandestini. Accade a Torre Salsa, ad Agrigento. La mattina del 17 agosto circa un centinaio di migranti sono arrivati sulla spiaggia a bordo di un’imbarcazione in legno. Lo sbarco è stato ripreso dal mare dall’associazione ambientalista Mare Amico. Nel video, pubblicato anche su Youtube, si vedono i migranti scendere dalla barca e sparpagliarsi lungo il litorale. Sulla spiaggia rimangono abbandonate scarpe, vestiti, zaini e bottiglie d’acqua.

    http://www.secoloditalia.it/2017/08/agrigento-cento-clandestini-sbarcano-in-spiaggia-e-scappano-video

    Lien vers la vidéo sur YouTube :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzeCUTY_N9Y

    avec ce commentaire sur twitter de @MSF_sea :

    Smugglers are adapting to developments in the #Med with boats reportedly arriving from #Libya on Italian shores:

    #Italie #Méditerranée #nouvelles_stratégies #asile #migrations #réfugiés #plages #plage #vidéo #stratégie #Sicile

  • Torture, rape and slavery in Libya: why migrants must be able to leave this hell

    Rape, torture and slave labour are among the horrendous daily realities for people stuck in Libya who are desperately trying to escape war, persecution and poverty in African countries, according to a new report by Oxfam and Italian partners MEDU and Borderline Sicilia.

    The report features harrowing testimonies, gathered by Oxfam and its partners, from women and men who arrived in Sicily having made the dangerous crossing from Libya. Some revealed how gangs imprisoned them in underground cells, before calling their families to demand a ransom for their release. A teenager from Senegal told how he was kept in a cell which was full of dead bodies, before managing to escape. Others spoke of being regularly beaten and starved for months on end.

    Oxfam and its partners are calling on Italy and other European member states to stop pursuing migration policies that prevent people leaving Libya and the abuse they are suffering.

    158 testimonies, of 31 women and 127 men, gathered by Oxfam and MEDU in Sicily, paint a shocking picture of the conditions they endured in Libya:

    All but one woman said they had suffered from sexual violence
    74% of the refugees and other migrants said they had witnessed the murder and /or torture of a travelling companion
    84% said they had suffered inhuman or degrading treatment, extreme violence or torture in Libya
    80% said they had been regularly denied food and water during their stay in Libya
    70% said they had been tied up

    https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2017-08-09/torture-rape-and-slavery-libya-why-migrants-must-be-able-leave
    #torture #enlèvements #viols #Libye #asile #migrations #réfugiés #rapport

    • Lager Libia. I migranti raccontano l’indicibile

      Nel febbraio del 2017 l’Italia ha stipulato con la Libia un nuovo accordo sui migranti. Oggi si conoscono gli effetti di questo accordo: una drastica diminuzione degli sbarchi in Italia e centinaia di migliaia di migranti intrappolati nel paese nordafricano. Si tratta di persone provenienti sia dall’Africa occidentale che dal Corno d’Africa, in fuga da violenze, guerre, persecuzioni e miseria estrema. Cosa sia la Libia oggi lo raccontano migliaia di testimonianze dei migranti: un grande lager dove si consumano atrocità degne dei peggiori campi di sterminio del XX secolo. Le testimonianze di questo video sono state raccolte a Roma e in Sicilia nei progetti di Medici per i Diritti Umani a supporto delle vittime di tortura. Video di Noemi La Barbera/Medici per i Diritti Umani.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m93RBg8kCWA

      #viols #Libye #témoignages #vidéo

    • Inferno in Libia, «oggi vi ammazziamo tutti»: i migranti torturati e i video per chiedere il riscatto

      Plastica fusa sulla schiena, frustate su tutto il corpo: tutto ripreso con i cellulari e poi inviato ai parenti delle vittime. Il governo libico: «Catturati gli aguzzini autori delle torture»

      http://www.corriere.it/video-articoli/2018/01/24/inferno-libia-oggi-vi-ammazziamo-tutti-migranti-torturati-video-chiedere-riscatto/2a2dce8c-0144-11e8-b515-cd75c32c6722.shtml

    • Rapporto choc. Torture e stupri in Libia: l’ultima accusa dell’Onu

      Una strage occultata: migranti fucilati da militari libici in un centro di detenzione. Non ne avremmo saputo nulla se il segretario generale dell’Onu non ne avesse rivelato l’esistenza in un rapporto choc – visionato da Avvenire – trasmesso al Consiglio di sicurezza nel quale vengono riportati anche i soprusi della Guardia costiera e le crudeltà dei funzionari incaricati del contrasto all’immigrazione illegale. Nero su bianco Antonio Guterres smaschera la narrazione di una Libia in via di stabilizzazione, con i profughi finalmente trattati con più umanità. «I migranti sono stati sottoposti a detenzione arbitraria e torture, tra cui stupri e altre forme di violenza sessuale», scrive il segretario generale, basandosi sulle inchieste di Unsimil, la missione Onu a Tripoli. Indistintamente, nei centri governativi come nei lager clandestini, avvengono «rapimenti per estorsione, lavori forzati e uccisioni illegali» si legge nel documento consegnato al Consiglio di sicurezza il 12 febbraio.

      https://www.avvenire.it/attualita/pagine/torture-e-stupri-in-libia-lultima-accusa-dellonu

    • Ecco come vengono torturati i migranti in Libia: i referti shock della «pacchia»

      Profughi in catene, ustionati e denutriti, aggrediti con acido, picchiati con martelli e tubi. Siamo in grado di farvi leggere i documenti medici sulle ferite delle persone che fuggono dall’Africa e la prova delle violenze nei luoghi di detenzione

      http://espresso.repubblica.it/inchieste/2018/06/27/news/ecco-come-vengono-torturati-i-migranti-in-libia-i-referti-shock-
      #viol

    • EU’s foreign policy chief demands closure of migrant shelters in Libya

      The EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini demanded the closure of migrant shelters in Libya, on claims that their conditions of detention were unacceptable.

      “The European Commission is unable to act alone to eliminate the violent practices and violations of the rights of migrants and asylum seekers in shelters in Libya,” Mogherini said through her spokeswoman, Maja Kocijancic.

      Mogherini pointed out that the goal of the European Union is to secure safe spaces for asylum seekers, especially women, children and the marginalized groups, according to Italian Aki news agency.

      https://www.libyaobserver.ly/inbrief/eus-foreign-policy-chief-demands-closure-migrant-shelters-libya

      comme dit un collègue:

      Dans la série « Mogherini dit tout et n’importe quoi » : SI elle demande vraiment la fermeture des centres de détention (où les garde-côtes libyens sont censés envoyer tout migrant intercepter en mer), cela revient à demander l’arrêt des interceptions et retours des migrants en Libye par les garde-côtes libyens…

    • #IOM Statement: Protecting Migrants in Libya Must be our Primary Focus

      With regard to its activities in Libya, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) would like to clarify that we follow the UN position indicating that Libya cannot yet be considered a safe port.

      IOM in Libya is present at the disembarkation points to deliver primary assistance to migrants that have been rescued at sea. However, following their disembarkation, migrants are transferred to detention centres under the responsibility of the Libyan #Directorate_for_Combatting_Illegal_Migration (#DCIM) over which the Organization has no authority or oversight. The detention of men, women and children is arbitrary. The unacceptable and inhumane conditions in these detention centres are well documented, and IOM continues to call for alternative solutions to this systematic detention.

      The number of migrants returned to Libyan shores has reached over 16,000 since January 2018, and concern remains for their safety and security in Libya, due to the conditions in the detention centres.

      IOM only has access to centres to provide direct humanitarian assistance in the form of non-food items, health and protection assistance, as well as Voluntary Humanitarian Return support for migrants wishing to return to their countries of origin.

      IOM’s access to detention centres in Libya is part of the Organization’s efforts to alleviate the suffering of migrants but cannot guarantee their safety and protection from serious reported violations. IOM advocates for alternatives to detention including open centres and safe spaces for women, children and other vulnerable migrants. A change of policy is needed urgently as migrants returned to Libya should not be facing arbitrary detention.

      The security and humanitarian situations in the country remain dangerous, and IOM reiterates that Libya cannot be considered a safe port or haven for migrants.

      https://www.iom.int/news/iom-statement-protecting-migrants-libya-must-be-our-primary-focus
      #OIM

  • Meyer Lansky - Cuba
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meyer_Lansky

    After World War II, Luciano was paroled from prison on the condition that he permanently return to Sicily. However, Luciano secretly moved to Cuba, where he worked to resume control over American Mafia operations. Luciano also ran a number of casinos in Cuba with the sanction of Cuban president General Fulgencio Batista, though the US government succeeded in pressuring the Batista regime to deport Luciano.

    Batista’s closest friend in the Mafia was Lansky. They formed a renowned friendship and business relationship that lasted for a decade. During a stay at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York in the late 1940s, it was mutually agreed upon that, in exchange for kickbacks, Batista would offer Lansky and the Mafia control of Havana’s racetracks and casinos. Batista would open Havana to large scale gambling, and his government would match, dollar for dollar, any hotel investment over $1 million, which would include a casino license. Lansky would place himself at the center of Cuba’s gambling operations. He immediately called on his associates to hold a summit in Havana.

    The Havana Conference was held on December 22, 1946, at the Hotel Nacional. This was the first full-scale meeting of American underworld leaders since the Chicago meeting in 1932. Present were such figures as Joe Adonis and Albert “The Mad Hatter” Anastasia, Frank Costello, Joseph “Joe Bananas” Bonanno, Vito Genovese, Moe Dalitz, Thomas Luchese, from New York, Santo Trafficante Jr. from Tampa, Carlos Marcello from New Orleans, and Stefano Magaddino, Joe Bonanno’s cousin from Buffalo. From Chicago there were Anthony Accardo and the Fischetti brothers, “Trigger-Happy” Charlie and Rocco, and, representing the Jewish interest, Lansky, Dalitz and “Dandy” Phil Kastel from Florida. The first to arrive was Lucky Luciano, who had been deported to Italy, and had to travel to Havana with a false passport. Lansky shared with them his vision of a new Havana, profitable for those willing to invest the right sum of money. According to Luciano’s evidence, and he is the only one who ever recounted the events in any detail, he confirmed that he was appointed as kingpin for the mob, to rule from Cuba until such time as he could find a legitimate way back into the U.S. Entertainment at the conference was provided by, among others, Frank Sinatra who flew down to Cuba with his friends, the Fischetti brothers.

    In 1952, Lansky even offered then President Carlos Prío Socarrás a bribe of U.S. $250,000 to step down so Batista could return to power. Once Batista retook control of the government in a military coup in March, 1952 he quickly put gambling back on track. The dictator contacted Lansky and offered him an annual salary of U.S. $25,000 to serve as an unofficial gambling minister. By 1955, Batista had changed the gambling laws once again, granting a gaming license to anyone who invested $1 million in a hotel or U.S. $200,000 in a new nightclub. Unlike the procedure for acquiring gaming licenses in Vegas, this provision exempted venture capitalists from background checks. As long as they made the required investment, they were provided with public matching funds for construction, a 10-year tax exemption and duty-free importation of equipment and furnishings. The government would get U.S. $250,000 for the license plus a percentage of the profits from each casino. Cuba’s 10,000 slot machines, even the ones that dispensed small prizes for children at country fairs, were to be the province of Batista’s brother-in-law, Roberto Fernandez y Miranda. An Army general and government sports director, Fernandez was also given the parking meters in Havana as a little something extra. Import duties were waived on materials for hotel construction and Cuban contractors with the right “in” made windfalls by importing much more than was needed and selling the surplus to others for hefty profits. It was rumored that besides the U.S. $250,000 to get a license, sometimes more was required under the table. Periodic payoffs were requested and received by corrupt politicians.

    Lansky set about reforming the Montmartre Club, which soon became the “in” place in Havana. He also long expressed an interest in putting a casino in the elegant Hotel Nacional, which overlooked El Morro, the ancient fortress guarding Havana harbor. Lansky planned to take a wing of the 10-story hotel and create luxury suites for high-stakes players. Batista endorsed Lansky’s idea over the objections of American expatriates such as Ernest Hemingway and the elegant hotel opened for business in 1955 with a show by Eartha Kitt. The casino was an immediate success.[18]

    Once all the new hotels, nightclubs and casinos had been built Batista wasted no time collecting his share of the profits. Nightly, the “bagman” for his wife collected 10 percent of the profits at Trafficante’s interests; the Sans Souci cabaret, and the casinos in the hotels Sevilla-Biltmore, Commodoro, Deauville and Capri (part-owned by the actor George Raft). His take from the Lansky casinos, his prized Habana Riviera, the Nacional, the Montmartre Club and others, was said to be 30 percent. What exactly Batista and his cronies actually received in total in the way of bribes, payoffs and profiteering has never been certified. The slot machines alone contributed approximately U.S. $1 million to the regime’s bank account.

    Revolution

    The 1959 Cuban revolution and the rise of Fidel Castro changed the climate for mob investment in Cuba. On that New Year’s Eve of 1958, while Batista was preparing to flee to the Dominican Republic and then on to Spain (where he died in exile in 1973), Lansky was celebrating the $3 million he made in the first year of operations at his 440-room, $18 million palace, the Habana Riviera. Many of the casinos, including several of Lansky’s, were looted and destroyed that night.

    On January 8, 1959, Castro marched into Havana and took over, setting up shop in the Hilton. Lansky had fled the day before for the Bahamas and other Caribbean destinations. The new Cuban president, Manuel Urrutia Lleó, took steps to close the casinos.

    In October 1960, Castro nationalized the island’s hotel-casinos and outlawed gambling. This action essentially wiped out Lansky’s asset base and revenue streams. He lost an estimated $7 million. With the additional crackdown on casinos in Miami, Lansky was forced to depend on his Las Vegas revenues.

    ...

    When asked in his later years what went wrong in Cuba, the gangster offered no excuses. “I crapped out,” he said. Lansky even went as far as to tell people he had lost almost every penny in Cuba and that he was barely scraping by.

    ...

    Since the warming of relations between the United States and Cuba in 2015, Lansky’s grandson, Gary Rapoport, has been asking the Cuban government to compensate him for the confiscation of the Riviera hotel that his grandfather built in Havana.

    #Cuba #USA #mafia #histoire

  • Debunking myths about why people migrate across the Mediterranean
    http://theconversation.com/debunking-myths-about-why-people-migrate-across-the-mediterranean-7

    The myth of ‘destination Europe’

    Many people we interviewed did not even know anything about the EU prior to their arrival. Far from planning his journey with Europe as a destination point, one man from the Ivory Coast told us when we spoke to him in Sicily:

    My idea was not to reach Italy. I didn’t know Italy if not for the football. I never thought to come in Europe, because here I have not family. My family is only in Ivory Coast and Burkina. But is my family who pushed me to go to Mali. In Mali there was a war, then I moved to Algeria, otherwise I would have stayed there. I wasn’t lucky enough to stay in Algeria, if not I would have to stay there. I didn’t want to go in Libya, the situation is too crazy to go there. It [was] really hard … to stay in Libya … all these circumstances pushed me to reach here.

    Such unsustainable living situations were reported by many people who travelled to. In Rome, we interviewed a Palestinian-Syrian refugee who had been born in Libya. He told us:

    At first I didn’t want to come to Europe, I wanted to go to another Arabic country. I thought about doing some business in Libya, but then I discovered that there is no security, I can’t be free over there. There is always danger, for everybody. I have discovered a different reality from what I initially imagined in Libya. They treat everyone like slaves.

    This man’s testimony resonates with recent reports of people being sold as slaves or prostitutes in Libya. Even those people aiming to set up a new life in Turkey reported problems in their journeys that drove them to move on. As an Afghan man told us when we spoke to him in Athens:

    I didn’t care about borders. All I cared about was to save my life, seriously. I thought I could find a safe place and find work and that’s all. Maybe in Turkey. Turkey is a good place. But if they find you are illegal in Turkey they will deport you back to Kabul. This is the reason I came here [to Europe].

    #migration #migrants #Europe

  • From Gambia to Italy: a refugee’s perilous journey

    When Malick Jeng, 19, left Banjul, his hometown and capital of Gambia, on March 14, 2016, he never imagined the risks he would face on his way to Europe.

    Malick crossed the desert in Mali inside an oil tank where he almost suffocated. He was later held in a Libyan prison, where he witnessed the murder of some of his fellow travellers and only gained his freedom thanks to a payment sent by his family.

    On the night of August 1, after a month in Libya, he was transferred by smugglers to a beach near Tripoli, where he clambered into a rubber boat with 120 people on board to cross the Mediterranean. Hours later, the rescue vessel Iuventa, from the NGO Jugend Rettet, rescued them 20 nautical miles off the Libyan coast.

    Malick was first transferred to Catania, Sicily, and later to Biella, a city in the north of Italy, where he has lived ever since, in a temporary reception centre called Hotel Colibri - an old hotel that had been closed for 10 years. The hotel was turned into a reception centre for migrants in August 2016. The cooperative that manages it, which has other centres in the area, receives 35 euros ($37.7) per migrant per day from the Italian state. Malick and other migrants receive their basic necessities, including three meals per day and a bed, as well as monthly pocket money of 75 euros ($80.8).

    Malick is awaiting a response to his asylum application to find out if he can begin a life in Europe legally, as a refugee, or whether he will be forced to keep fighting for his future.


    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2017/03/gambia-italy-refugee-perilous-journey-170305105814251.html
    #Gambie #parcours_migratoire #itinéraire_migratoire #Italie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #photographie
    cc @albertocampiphoto

  • Raped, beaten, exploited: the 21st-century slavery propping up Sicilian farming. Thousands of female Romanian farm workers are suffering horrendous abuse

    Every night for almost three years, Nicoleta Bolos lay awake at night on a dirty mattress in an outhouse in Sicily’s Ragusa province, waiting for the sound of footsteps outside the door. As the hours passed, she braced herself for the door to creak open, for the metallic clunk of a gun being placed on the table by her head and the weight of her employer thudding down on the dirty grey mattress beside her.


    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/mar/12/slavery-sicily-farming-raped-beaten-exploited-romanian-women?CMP=Share_

    #viols #violence #femmes #agriculture #Sicile #Italie #exploitation #esclavage #néo-esclavage #migrations #migrants_roumains #Roumanie #Ragusa #esclavage_moderne

  • Migrants of the Mediterranean

    Migrants of the Mediterranean profiles the people who have crossed continents, countries, desert and sea to reach a life of freedom, safety and opportunity, and specifically those whose first stop in European territory is Lampedusa, the tiny Italian island south of mainland Sicily.

    The first step in fixing a problem is to be aware of it. The purpose, then, of Migrants of the Mediterranean is to introduce migrants as individuals, to see their faces, and after having met them, to develop a higher level of empathy for them as people, and to develop a heightened awareness of the greater global migrant crisis.

    Migrants of the Mediterranean, in short, aims to restore a piece of humanity to the people who in the course of their journeys have had it stripped away.

    Each profile details the migrant’s individual journey: the means and routes taken, the length of time it took to reach Lampedusa, and the incredible and often inhumane difficulties each one encountered to finally reach this Italian shore.


    http://www.migrantsofthemed.com

    #témoignages #migrations #asile #réfugiés #Lampedusa #Méditerranée #survivants #Italie
    cc @reka

  • MEDU - MAPPA INTERATTIVA

    http://esodi.mediciperidirittiumani.org

    Je ne connaissais pas (aussi ce lien : http://www.mediciperidirittiumani.org/en)

    cc @cdb_77

    EXODI is an interactive web map built upon testimonies of 1,000 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa that were collected in nearly three years of activity (2014-2016) by the operators and volunteers of Medici per i Diritti Umani/Doctors for Human Rights (MEDU).They are part of those 730 thousand men, women and children landed on Italian shores in the last 15 years, of which more than half in the last 32 months. The map describes in the simplest and detailed way the Migratory Routes from Sub-Saharan Countries to Italy, the difficulties, the violence, the tragedy and hopes encountered during the trip by the protagonists. This map is addressed to all those who want to understand and deepen the human experience marking our time. In this sense, EXODI is not only a map showing the stages and paths, as well as a report with data and statistics, but above all, a testimony that describes life stories. It is an interactive and in progress web map that will be periodically updated with new testimonies gathered from all those who will share the story of their own journey. The information was collected in Sicily (in the Centres of Special Reception for Asylum Seekers/CAS of Ragusa and in the Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers/CARA of Mineo) and in Rome (in informal reception centres and at Medu Psychè Centre for rehabilitation of victims of torture). Testimonials were also collected in Ventimiglia and Egypt, specifically in Aswan and Cairo. In all these places Medu’s work guarantees social and health support to migrants, first medical assistance as well as medical and psychological rehabilitation services for victims of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment. Through updated data EXODI aims also to describe the physical and mental consequences of the journey on the health of an entire generation of young Africans; a journey in which, as a witness said, “you are no longer considered as a human being”.

    #migrations #réfugiés #asile #circulations #itinéraires