• Le #sauvetage_en_mer au défi de la sécurisation des #frontières : le cas de la #Manche

    Cinq ans après le démantèlement de la « Jungle », en octobre 2016, Calais se trouve, une fois encore, au centre de l’attention politique et médiatique, en France et au Royaume-Uni. À l’aune de l’essor des traversées sur des petites embarcations surchargées, le terme de « crise » a fait sa réapparition. Si ces embarcations ne sont pas pour autant devenues l’unique mode d’accès à l’Angleterre, comme l’a sombrement rappelé le décès de Yasser, jeune soudanais mort après avoir été percuté par un camion, la maritimisation des migrations dans cette zone de l’Europe suscite de vives réactions.

    Jusqu’à présent, le sauvetage rapide des embarcations en difficulté demeure la norme en Manche. Pourra-t-il le rester, dans un contexte européen de sécurisation des frontières ?
    Faire frontière

    « Rendre la Manche impraticable pour les traversées de petites embarcations » : telle est l’intention de Priti Patel, Ministre de l’Intérieur du Royaume-Uni. Afin de préserver la vie humaine, l’enjeu serait de réaffirmer l’existence des frontières, de dissuader les entrées irrégulières en les criminalisant.

    Le projet de loi Nationality and Borders de la ministre prévoit ainsi que les entrées irrégulières, par embarcation par exemple, soient passibles de quatre ans d’emprisonnement.

    Malgré tout, les traversées continuent à augmenter : durant le mois de septembre 2021, ce sont 4 638 personnes qui ont réussi à traverser la Manche, sur quelque 160 embarcations surchargées. À la fin de ce même mois, le nombre de personnes arrivées par bateau sur les côtes anglaises depuis le début de l’année 2021 a déjà atteint le double du total de l’année précédente. Au-delà de cette hausse rapide, les zones de départ des traversées semblent, en 2021, s’être davantage étalées le long du littoral, comme en témoignent les interventions de secours au nord de Dieppe, dans la baie de Somme, ou autour du Touquet, entre autres.
    Pourquoi ce mode de franchissement s’est-il tant intensifié, depuis fin 2018 ? Pour les acteurs associatifs locaux, comme pour le gouvernement français, la sécurisation progressivement mise en place dans le Calaisis – largement financée par le Royaume-Uni, qui investit depuis plusieurs années dans ce contrôle aux frontières extra-territorialisé – est en partie responsable.
    Une « scène de théâtre politique idéale »

    À Calais, les accès aux ports, au site de l’Eurotunnel et à la rocade sont clôturés, hérissés de barbelés et vidéosurveillés. Et depuis 2019, un équipement high-tech est déployé pour surveiller cette partie du littoral : les patrouilles sont dotées de drones à caméras thermiques, de lunettes infrarouges, de remorques éclairantes… Ce renforcement des moyens de surveillance rend plus difficiles, d’une part, les passages clandestins par camions et ferries, et d’autre part, toute forme de départ de Calais.

    Paradoxalement, ces mesures de sécurisation destinées à faire disparaître les traversées irrégulières ont participé à une visibilité accrue des passages de frontière : contrairement aux passages en ferries et camions, les arrivées en embarcations de plus en plus surchargées se déroulent à ciel ouvert.

    Investi par des groupes et individus prônant, les uns le rejet des personnes arrivant, les autres des voies de passage sûres, le littoral britannique réincarne une « scène de théâtre politique idéale ». Et face aux arrivées qui se multiplient, la promesse du Brexit de « reprendre le contrôle des frontières » est mise à l’épreuve.

    Ainsi, les récents exercices de refoulement (push-backs) pratiqués par les forces frontalières britanniques, documentés et diffusés sur les réseaux sociaux par l’association Channel Rescue, semblent être un énième ressort de spectacularisation d’une frontière qui se veut ferme, et fermée.
    Des sauvetages aux « push-backs » et « pull-backs » ?

    Repousser des embarcations précaires et non adaptées à la navigation en Manche mettrait gravement en danger les personnes à bord. De plus, les sauvetages des embarcations de personnes migrantes (qui pour certaines, souhaitent demander l’asile) sont régis par un double cadre légal rendant les refoulements difficilement justifiables juridiquement.

    Ces interventions sont régulées à la fois par des accords bilatéraux – le Manche Plan de 1978 prévoit les procédures de coopération lors des opérations SAR (search and rescue) – et par des conventions internationales, qui affirment d’une part l’obligation de porter assistance aux personnes en danger en mer, et d’autre part la responsabilité des États côtiers dans la coordination des interventions de sauvetage.

    Et si, en mer, le droit des personnes réfugiées évolue dans un « vacuum juridique », les demandeurs d’asile se trouvant sous la juridiction d’un État sont, selon la CEDH et l’arrêt Hirsi Jamaa, protégés contre tout refoulement. Ainsi, en cas de sinistre impliquant des personnes migrantes dans les eaux territoriales françaises ou britanniques, les pays sont tenus de coordonner des sauvetages en faisant appel aux moyens maritimes disponibles, et ne peuvent procéder à des refoulements collectifs.

    Pour comprendre la multiplicité des acteurs impliqués dans les sauvetages en Manche, l’exemple d’une intervention, le 24 septembre, est édifiant. L’association Utopia 56, présente à Calais depuis 2016, reçoit, dans la nuit, un appel d’un bateau « sur le point de couler ». « Une soixantaine de personnes » serait à bord, à proximité de Dunkerque. Informé, le CROSS Gris-Nez engage les navires de la Douane, des Affaires maritimes, de la station SNSM de Dunkerque, mais également un hélicoptère de l’Armée belge : plusieurs personnes sont tombées à la mer. Certaines rejoignent les côtes par leurs propres moyens, tandis que deux sont hélitreuillées.

    C’est finalement le moyen britannique qui porte assistance aux personnes restées à bord de l’embarcation, qui a continué sa trajectoire. Ainsi, une unique embarcation a transporté des personnes dont certaines ont réussi et d’autres ont échoué à traverser. L’intervention déclenchée a par ailleurs mobilisé des acteurs d’organisations différentes, de trois pays.
    Un rôle ambivalent

    Parmi ces acteurs, l’un occupe une position particulière : la Société nationale de sauvetage en mer (SNSM) qui, contrairement à ce que son nom pourrait indiquer, ne dépend pas directement de ministères nationaux. Alors que les navires de la Douane, de la Marine et de la Gendarmerie nationale mènent des actions de surveillance, qui peuvent se transformer en sauvetage en cas de péril imminent, l’intervention de la SNSM, association composée de bénévoles mais reconnue d’utilité publique et assurant une mission de service public, est strictement limitée aux sauvetages.

    Or, les bénévoles voient dans certaines de leurs interventions une participation aux « opérations de police en mer », comme l’a expliqué récemment à la revue Le Chasse-Marée le président de la station dunkerquoise. Certains des bénévoles des stations de Berck-sur-Mer, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Calais, Gravelines et Dunkerque affirmaient ainsi au magazine Sauvetage la position ambivalente des équipiers, face à des personnes migrantes pour lesquelles un sauvetage dans les eaux françaises correspond aussi à un échec de leur tentative de traversée.

    Ces bénévoles pourraient-ils être amenés à terme, à réaliser des actions d’empêchement des traversées, en retenant les bateaux du côté des eaux territoriales françaises (pull-backs) ? Sous pression britannique, les moyens maritimes français ont-ils vocation à réaliser des interceptions telles que le font déjà certains pays voisins de l’Europe ?
    La Manche dans l’Europe

    Il est en effet difficile de s’intéresser aux enjeux du sauvetage en Manche sans les resituer dans le contexte européen de politique migratoire. D’autant plus que des liens directs entre les situations à Calais et en Mer Méditerranée sont établis par les responsables politiques eux-mêmes : en 2014, le Premier ministre français rapportait ainsi que les sauvetages en Méditerranée avaient contribué à créer des « points de fixation » dans le nord de la France.

    En 2019, le ministre de l’Intérieur énonçait en retour que si la France laissait des campements s’installer, des « migrants irréguliers » seraient attirés sur le littoral français. Tour à tour, les actions de la France et des pays européens sont ainsi présentées comme pouvant créer des « appels d’air ».

    Ces liens se retrouvent également dans les partages de pratiques et de moyens : Gérald Darmanin a promis l’intervention en Manche de moyens aériens de Frontex, l’agence européenne de garde-côtes, objet de nombreuses controverses, d’ici « la fin de l’année ». Son homologue britannique s’est quant à elle récemment rendue en Grèce pour discuter de « défis communs » et observer les méthodes de prévention des traversées mises en œuvre.
    Des perspectives d’évolution inquiétantes

    D’un point de vue comparatif, la situation en Mer Égée est particulièrement intéressante. Comme en Manche, les traversées entre la Grèce et la Turquie se déroulent dans les eaux territoriales de deux pays considérés comme sûrs, sur des distances relativement peu étendues. Mais alors que Priti Patel explore des solutions pour garantir l’immunité des forces frontalières en cas de décès de personnes migrantes en mer, il apparaît crucial d’alerter sur une transposition en Manche du recours systématique à la violence qui a pu être observé en Mer Égée.

    De nombreux rapports, de médias et d’ONG documentent depuis plusieurs mois les refoulements menés par les garde-côtes turques, grecs et européens. Refoulements réalisés dans l’illégalité, parfois par des personnes masquées, et accompagnés de démonstrations de force violentes et humiliantes (voir le rapport de l’ONG Mare Liberum).

    Dans un contexte de violence systématisée, comment le rôle des bénévoles de la SNSM pourrait-il évoluer ? De l’autre côté de la Méditerranée, le cas des garde-côtes espagnols montre comment en quelques années, une institution civile, non-militarisée, la SASEMAR, a pu être contrainte à passer d’une mission de sauvetage à une logique de gestion des frontières.

    Comme l’écrit la chercheuse Luna Vives, les contentieux politiques autour de la Manche et du sauvetage confirment le rôle des frontières en tant qu’« espace critique de ré-articulation de la souveraineté ». Ceci aux dépens des acteurs associatifs locaux, mais surtout des personnes tentant les traversées. Ainsi, il semble que nous assistions ici à un tournant. En dépit du droit international et dans un objectif de performance de frontières fermes, les actions de sauvetage en Manche risquent de ne plus être considérées comme un devoir, mais comme un « acte de charité », susceptible d’être suspendu.

    https://theconversation.com/le-sauvetage-en-mer-au-defi-de-la-securisation-des-frontieres-le-ca
    #La_Manche #UK #Angleterre #France #sécurité #contrôles_frontaliers
    #migrations #asile #réfugiés

    via @isskein

  • Friends of the Traffickers Italy’s Anti-Mafia Directorate and the “Dirty Campaign” to Criminalize Migration

    Afana Dieudonne often says that he is not a superhero. That’s Dieudonne’s way of saying he’s done things he’s not proud of — just like anyone in his situation would, he says, in order to survive. From his home in Cameroon to Tunisia by air, then by car and foot into the desert, across the border into Libya, and onto a rubber boat in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Dieudonne has done a lot of surviving.

    In Libya, Dieudonne remembers when the smugglers managing the safe house would ask him for favors. Dieudonne spoke a little English and didn’t want trouble. He said the smugglers were often high and always armed. Sometimes, when asked, Dieudonne would distribute food and water among the other migrants. Other times, he would inform on those who didn’t follow orders. He remembers the traffickers forcing him to inflict violence on his peers. It was either them or him, he reasoned.

    On September 30, 2014, the smugglers pushed Dieudonne and 91 others out to sea aboard a rubber boat. Buzzing through the pitch-black night, the group watched lights on the Libyan coast fade into darkness. After a day at sea, the overcrowded dinghy began taking on water. Its passengers were rescued by an NGO vessel and transferred to an Italian coast guard ship, where officers picked Dieudonne out of a crowd and led him into a room for questioning.

    At first, Dieudonne remembers the questioning to be quick, almost routine. His name, his age, his nationality. And then the questions turned: The officers said they wanted to know how the trafficking worked in Libya so they could arrest the people involved. They wanted to know who had driven the rubber boat and who had held the navigation compass.

    “So I explained everything to them, and I also showed who the ‘captain’ was — captain in quotes, because there is no captain,” said Dieudonne. The real traffickers stay in Libya, he added. “Even those who find themselves to be captains, they don’t do it by choice.”

    For the smugglers, Dieudonne explained, “we are the customers, and we are the goods.”

    For years, efforts by the Italian government and the European Union to address migration in the central Mediterranean have focused on the people in Libya — interchangeably called facilitators, smugglers, traffickers, or militia members, depending on which agency you’re speaking to — whose livelihoods come from helping others cross irregularly into Europe. People pay them a fare to organize a journey so dangerous it has taken tens of thousands of lives.

    The European effort to dismantle these smuggling networks has been driven by an unlikely actor: the Italian anti-mafia and anti-terrorism directorate, a niche police office in Rome that gained respect in the 1990s and early 2000s for dismantling large parts of the Mafia in Sicily and elsewhere in Italy. According to previously unpublished internal documents, the office — called the Direzione nazionale antimafia e antiterrorismo, or DNAA, in Italian — took a front-and-center role in the management of Europe’s southern sea borders, in direct coordination with the EU border agency Frontex and European military missions operating off the Libyan coast.

    In 2013, under the leadership of a longtime anti-mafia prosecutor named Franco Roberti, the directorate pioneered a strategy that was unique — or at least new for the border officers involved. They would start handling irregular migration to Europe like they had handled the mob. The approach would allow Italian and European police, coast guard agencies, and navies, obliged by international law to rescue stranded refugees at sea, to at least get some arrests and convictions along the way.

    The idea was to arrest low-level operators and use coercion and plea deals to get them to flip on their superiors. That way, the reasoning went, police investigators could work their way up the food chain and eventually dismantle the smuggling rings in Libya. With every boat that disembarked in Italy, police would make a handful of arrests. Anybody found to have played an active role during the crossing, from piloting to holding a compass to distributing water or bailing out a leak, could be arrested under a new legal directive written by Roberti’s anti-mafia directorate. Charges ranged from simple smuggling to transnational criminal conspiracy and — if people asphyxiated below deck or drowned when a boat capsized — even murder. Judicial sources estimate the number of people arrested since 2013 to be in the thousands.

    For the police, prosecutors, and politicians involved, the arrests were an important domestic political win. At the time, public opinion in Italy was turning against migration, and the mugshots of alleged smugglers regularly held space on front pages throughout the country.

    But according to the minutes of closed-door conversations among some of the very same actors directing these cases, which were obtained by The Intercept under Italy’s freedom of information law, most anti-mafia prosecutions only focused on low-level boat drivers, often migrants who had themselves paid for the trip across. Few, if any, smuggling bosses were ever convicted. Documents of over a dozen trials reviewed by The Intercept show prosecutions built on hasty investigations and coercive interrogations.

    In the years that followed, the anti-mafia directorate went to great lengths to keep the arrests coming. According to the internal documents, the office coordinated a series of criminal investigations into the civilian rescue NGOs working to save lives in the Mediterranean, accusing them of hampering police work. It also oversaw efforts to create and train a new coast guard in Libya, with full knowledge that some coast guard officers were colluding with the same smuggling networks that Italian and European leaders were supposed to be fighting.

    Since its inception, the anti-mafia directorate has wielded unparalleled investigative tools and served as a bridge between politicians and the courts. The documents reveal in meticulous detail how the agency, alongside Italian and European officials, capitalized on those powers to crack down on alleged smugglers, most of whom they knew to be desperate people fleeing poverty and violence with limited resources to defend themselves in court.

    Tragedy and Opportunity

    The anti-mafia directorate was born in the early 1990s after a decade of escalating Mafia violence. By then, hundreds of prosecutors, politicians, journalists, and police officers had been shot, blown up, or kidnapped, and many more extorted by organized crime families operating in Italy and beyond.

    In Palermo, the Sicilian capital, prosecutor Giovanni Falcone was a rising star in the Italian judiciary. Falcone had won unprecedented success with an approach to organized crime based on tracking financial flows, seizing assets, and centralizing evidence gathered by prosecutor’s offices across the island.

    But as the Mafia expanded its reach into the rest of Europe, Falcone’s work proved insufficient.

    In September 1990, a Mafia commando drove from Germany to Sicily to gun down a 37-year-old judge. Weeks later, at a police checkpoint in Naples, the Sicilian driver of a truck loaded with weapons, explosives, and drugs was found to be a resident of Germany. A month after the arrests, Falcone traveled to Germany to establish an information-sharing mechanism with authorities there. He brought along a younger colleague from Naples, Franco Roberti.

    “We faced a stone wall,” recalled Roberti, still bitter three decades later. He spoke to us outside a cafe in a plum neighborhood in Naples. Seventy-three years old and speaking with the rasp of a lifelong smoker, Roberti described Italy’s Mafia problem in blunt language. He bemoaned a lack of international cooperation that, he said, continues to this day. “They claimed that there was no need to investigate there,” Roberti said, “that it was up to us to investigate Italians in Germany who were occasional mafiosi.”

    As the prosecutors traveled back to Italy empty-handed, Roberti remembers Falcone telling him that they needed “a centralized national organ able to speak directly to foreign judicial authorities and coordinate investigations in Italy.”

    “That is how the idea of the anti-mafia directorate was born,” Roberti said. The two began building what would become Italy’s first national anti-mafia force.

    At the time, there was tough resistance to the project. Critics argued that Falcone and Roberti were creating “super-prosecutors” who would wield outsize powers over the courts, while also being subject to political pressures from the government in Rome. It was, they argued, a marriage of police and the judiciary, political interests and supposedly apolitical courts — convenient for getting Mafia convictions but dangerous for Italian democracy.

    Still, in January 1992, the project was approved in Parliament. But Falcone would never get to lead it: Months later, a bomb set by the Mafia killed him, his wife, and the three agents escorting them. The attack put to rest any remaining criticism of Falcone’s plan.

    The anti-mafia directorate went on to become one of Italy’s most important institutions, the national authority over all matters concerning organized crime and the agency responsible for partially freeing the country from its century-old crucible. In the decades after Falcone’s death, the directorate did what many in Italy thought impossible, dismantling large parts of the five main Italian crime families and almost halving the Mafia-related murder rate.

    And yet, by the time Roberti took control in 2013, it had been years since the last high-profile Mafia prosecution, and the organization’s influence was waning. At the same time, Italy was facing unprecedented numbers of migrants arriving by boat. Roberti had an idea: The anti-mafia directorate would start working on what he saw as a different kind of mafia. The organization set its sights on Libya.

    “We thought we had to do something more coordinated to combat this trafficking,” Roberti remembered, “so I put everyone around a table.”

    “The main objective was to save lives, seize ships, and capture smugglers,” Roberti said. “Which we did.”

    Our Sea

    Dieudonne made it to the Libyan port city of Zuwara in August 2014. One more step across the Mediterranean, and he’d be in Europe. The smugglers he paid to get him across the sea took all of his possessions and put him in an abandoned building that served as a safe house to wait for his turn.

    Dieudonne told his story from a small office in Bari, Italy, where he runs a cooperative that helps recent arrivals access local education. Dieudonne is fiery and charismatic. He is constantly moving: speaking, texting, calling, gesticulating. Every time he makes a point, he raps his knuckles on the table in a one-two pattern. Dieudonne insisted that we publish his real name. Others who made the journey more recently — still pending decisions on their residence permits or refugee status — were less willing to speak openly.

    Dieudonne remembers the safe house in Zuwara as a string of constant violence. The smugglers would come once a day to leave food. Every day, they would ask who hadn’t followed their orders. Those inside the abandoned building knew they were less likely to be discovered by police or rival smugglers, but at the same time, they were not free to leave.

    “They’ve put a guy in the refrigerator in front of all of us, to show how the next one who misbehaves will be treated,” Dieudonne remembered, indignant. He witnessed torture, shootings, rape. “The first time you see it, it hurts you. The second time it hurts you less. The third time,” he said with a shrug, “it becomes normal. Because that’s the only way to survive.”

    “That’s why arresting the person who pilots a boat and treating them like a trafficker makes me laugh,” Dieudonne said. Others who have made the journey to Italy report having been forced to drive at gunpoint. “You only do it to be sure you don’t die there,” he said.

    Two years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s government, much of Libya’s northwest coast had become a staging ground for smugglers who organized sea crossings to Europe in large wooden fishing boats. When those ships — overcrowded, underpowered, and piloted by amateurs — inevitably capsized, the deaths were counted by the hundreds.

    In October 2013, two shipwrecks off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa took over 400 lives, sparking public outcry across Europe. In response, the Italian state mobilized two plans, one public and the other private.

    “There was a big shock when the Lampedusa tragedy happened,” remembered Italian Sen. Emma Bonino, then the country’s foreign minister. The prime minister “called an emergency meeting, and we decided to immediately launch this rescue program,” Bonino said. “Someone wanted to call the program ‘safe seas.’ I said no, not safe, because it’s sure we’ll have other tragedies. So let’s call it Mare Nostrum.”

    Mare Nostrum — “our sea” in Latin — was a rescue mission in international waters off the coast of Libya that ran for one year and rescued more than 150,000 people. The operation also brought Italian ships, airplanes, and submarines closer than ever to Libyan shores. Roberti, just two months into his job as head of the anti-mafia directorate, saw an opportunity to extend the country’s judicial reach and inflict a lethal blow to smuggling rings in Libya.

    Five days after the start of Mare Nostrum, Roberti launched the private plan: a series of coordination meetings among the highest echelons of the Italian police, navy, coast guard, and judiciary. Under Roberti, these meetings would run for four years and eventually involve representatives from Frontex, Europol, an EU military operation, and even Libya.

    The minutes of five of these meetings, which were presented by Roberti in a committee of the Italian Parliament and obtained by The Intercept, give an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the events on Europe’s southern borders since the Lampedusa shipwrecks.

    In the first meeting, held in October 2013, Roberti told participants that the anti-mafia offices in the Sicilian city of Catania had developed an innovative way to deal with migrant smuggling. By treating Libyan smugglers like they had treated the Italian Mafia, prosecutors could claim jurisdiction over international waters far beyond Italy’s borders. That, Roberti said, meant they could lawfully board and seize vessels on the high seas, conduct investigations there, and use the evidence in court.

    The Italian authorities have long recognized that, per international maritime law, they are obligated to rescue people fleeing Libya on overcrowded boats and transport them to a place of safety. As the number of people attempting the crossing increased, many Italian prosecutors and coast guard officials came to believe that smugglers were relying on these rescues to make their business model work; therefore, the anti-mafia reasoning went, anyone who acted as crew or made a distress call on a boat carrying migrants could be considered complicit in Libyan trafficking and subject to Italian jurisdiction. This new approach drew heavily from legal doctrines developed in the United States during the 1980s aimed at stopping drug smuggling.

    European leaders were scrambling to find a solution to what they saw as a looming migration crisis. Italian officials thought they had the answer and publicly justified their decisions as a way to prevent future drownings.

    But according to the minutes of the 2013 anti-mafia meeting, the new strategy predated the Lampedusa shipwrecks by at least a week. Sicilian prosecutors had already written the plan to crack down on migration across the Mediterranean but lacked both the tools and public will to put it into action. Following the Lampedusa tragedy and the creation of Mare Nostrum, they suddenly had both.

    State of Necessity

    In the international waters off the coast of Libya, Dieudonne and 91 others were rescued by a European NGO called Migrant Offshore Aid Station. They spent two days aboard MOAS’s ship before being transferred to an Italian coast guard ship, Nave Dattilo, to be taken to Europe.

    Aboard the Dattilo, coast guard officers asked Dieudonne why he had left his home in Cameroon. He remembers them showing him a photograph of the rubber boat taken from the air. “They asked me who was driving, the roles and everything,” he remembered. “Then they asked me if I could tell him how the trafficking in Libya works, and then, they said, they would give me residence documents.”

    Dieudonne said that he was reluctant to cooperate at first. He didn’t want to accuse any of his peers, but he was also concerned that he could become a suspect. After all, he had helped the driver at points throughout the voyage.

    “I thought that if I didn’t cooperate, they might hurt me,” Dieudonne said. “Not physically hurt, but they could consider me dishonest, like someone who was part of the trafficking.”

    To this day, Dieudonne says he can’t understand why Italy would punish people for fleeing poverty and political violence in West Africa. He rattled off a list of events from the last year alone: draught, famine, corruption, armed gunmen, attacks on schools. “And you try to convict someone for managing to escape that situation?”

    The coast guard ship disembarked in Vibo Valentia, a city in the Italian region of Calabria. During disembarkation, a local police officer explained to a journalist that they had arrested five people. The journalist asked how the police had identified the accused.

    “A lot has been done by the coast guard, who picked [the migrants] up two days ago and managed to spot [the alleged smugglers],” the officer explained. “Then we have witness statements and videos.”

    Cases like these, where arrests are made on the basis of photo or video evidence and statements by witnesses like Dieudonne, are common, said Gigi Modica, a judge in Sicily who has heard many immigration and asylum cases. “It’s usually the same story. They take three or four people, no more. They ask them two questions: who was driving the boat, and who was holding the compass,” Modica explained. “That’s it — they get the names and don’t care about the rest.”

    Modica was one of the first judges in Italy to acquit people charged for driving rubber boats — known as “scafisti,” or boat drivers, in Italian — on the grounds that they had been forced to do so. These “state of necessity” rulings have since become increasingly common. Modica rattled off a list of irregularities he’s seen in such cases: systemic racism, witness statements that migrants later say they didn’t make, interrogations with no translator or lawyer, and in some cases, people who report being encouraged by police to sign documents renouncing their right to apply for asylum.

    “So often these alleged smugglers — scafisti — are normal people who were compelled to pilot a boat by smugglers in Libya,” Modica said.

    Documents of over a dozen trials reviewed by The Intercept show prosecutions largely built on testimony from migrants who are promised a residence permit in exchange for their collaboration. At sea, witnesses are interviewed by the police hours after their rescue, often still in a state of shock after surviving a shipwreck.

    In many cases, identical statements, typos included, are attributed to several witnesses and copied and pasted across different police reports. Sometimes, these reports have been enough to secure decadeslong sentences. Other times, under cross-examination in court, witnesses have contradicted the statements recorded by police or denied giving any testimony at all.

    As early as 2015, attendees of the anti-mafia meetings were discussing problems with these prosecutions. In a meeting that February, Giovanni Salvi, then the prosecutor of Catania, acknowledged that smugglers often abandoned migrant boats in international waters. Still, Italian police were steaming ahead with the prosecutions of those left on board.

    These prosecutions were so important that in some cases, the Italian coast guard decided to delay rescue when boats were in distress in order to “allow for the arrival of institutional ships that can conduct arrests,” a coast guard commander explained at the meeting.

    When asked about the commander’s comments, the Italian coast guard said that “on no occasion” has the agency ever delayed a rescue operation. Delaying rescue for any reason goes against international and Italian law, and according to various human rights lawyers in Europe, could give rise to criminal liability.

    NGOs in the Crosshairs

    Italy canceled Mare Nostrum after one year, citing budget constraints and a lack of European collaboration. In its wake, the EU set up two new operations, one via Frontex and the other a military effort called Operation Sophia. These operations focused not on humanitarian rescue but on border security and people smuggling from Libya. Beginning in 2015, representatives from Frontex and Operation Sophia were included in the anti-mafia directorate meetings, where Italian prosecutors ensured that both abided by the new investigative strategy.

    Key to these investigations were photos from the rescues, like the aerial image that Dieudonne remembers the Italian coast guard showing him, which gave police another way to identify who piloted the boats and helped navigate.

    In the absence of government rescue ships, a fleet of civilian NGO vessels began taking on a large number of rescues in the international waters off the coast of Libya. These ships, while coordinated by the Italian coast guard rescue center in Rome, made evidence-gathering difficult for prosecutors and judicial police. According to the anti-mafia meeting minutes, some NGOs, including MOAS, routinely gave photos to Italian police and Frontex. Others refused, arguing that providing evidence for investigations into the people they saved would undermine their efficacy and neutrality.

    In the years following Mare Nostrum, the NGO fleet would come to account for more than one-third of all rescues in the central Mediterranean, according to estimates by Operation Sophia. A leaked status report from the operation noted that because NGOs did not collect information from rescued migrants for police, “information essential to enhance the understanding of the smuggling business model is not acquired.”

    In a subsequent anti-mafia meeting, six prosecutors echoed this concern. NGO rescues meant that police couldn’t interview migrants at sea, they said, and cases were getting thrown out for lack of evidence. A coast guard admiral explained the importance of conducting interviews just after a rescue, when “a moment of empathy has been established.”

    “It is not possible to carry out this task if the rescue intervention is carried out by ships of the NGOs,” the admiral told the group.

    The NGOs were causing problems for the DNAA strategy. At the meetings, Italian prosecutors and representatives from the coast guard, navy, and Interior Ministry discussed what they could do to rein in the humanitarian organizations. At the same time, various prosecutors were separately fixing their investigative sights on the NGOs themselves.

    In late 2016, an internal report from Frontex — later published in full by The Intercept — accused an NGO vessel of directly receiving migrants from Libyan smugglers, attributing the information to “Italian authorities.” The claim was contradicted by video evidence and the ship’s crew.

    Months later, Carmelo Zuccaro, the prosecutor of Catania, made public that he was investigating rescue NGOs. “Together with Frontex and the navy, we are trying to monitor all these NGOs that have shown that they have great financial resources,” Zuccaro told an Italian newspaper. The claim went viral in Italian and European media. “Friends of the traffickers” and “migrant taxi service” became common slurs used toward humanitarian NGOs by anti-immigration politicians and the Italian far right.

    Zuccaro would eventually walk back his claims, telling a parliamentary committee that he was working off a hypothesis at the time and had no evidence to back it up.

    In an interview with a German newspaper in February 2017, the director of Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, refrained from explicitly criticizing the work of rescue NGOs but did say they were hampering police investigations in the Mediterranean. As aid organizations assumed a larger percentage of rescues, Leggeri said, “it is becoming more difficult for the European security authorities to find out more about the smuggling networks through interviews with migrants.”

    “That smear campaign was very, very deep,” remembered Bonino, the former foreign minister. Referring to Marco Minniti, Italy’s interior minister at the time, she added, “I was trying to push Minniti not to be so obsessed with people coming, but to make a policy of integration in Italy. But he only focused on Libya and smuggling and criminalizing NGOs with the help of prosecutors.”

    Bonino explained that the action against NGOs was part of a larger plan to change European policy in the central Mediterranean. The first step was the shift away from humanitarian rescue and toward border security and smuggling. The second step “was blaming the NGOs or arresting them, a sort of dirty campaign against them,” she said. “The results of which after so many years have been no convictions, no penalties, no trials.”

    Finally, the third step was to build a new coast guard in Libya to do what the Europeans couldn’t, per international law: intercept people at sea and bring them back to Libya, the country from which they had just fled.

    At first, leaders at Frontex were cautious. “From Frontex’s point of view, we look at Libya with concern; there is no stable state there,” Leggeri said in the 2017 interview. “We are now helping to train 60 officers for a possible future Libyan coast guard. But this is at best a beginning.”

    Bonino saw this effort differently. “They started providing support for their so-called coast guard,” she said, “which were the same traffickers changing coats.”
    Rescued migrants disembarking from a Libyan coast guard ship in the town of Khoms, a town 120 kilometres (75 miles) east of the capital on October 1, 2019.

    Same Uniforms, Same Ships

    Safe on land in Italy, Dieudonne was never called to testify in court. He hopes that none of his peers ended up in prison but said he would gladly testify against the traffickers if called. Aboard the coast guard ship, he remembers, “I gave the police contact information for the traffickers, I gave them names.”

    The smuggling operations in Libya happened out in the open, but Italian police could only go as far as international waters. Leaked documents from Operation Sophia describe years of efforts by European officials to get Libyan police to arrest smugglers. Behind closed doors, top Italian and EU officials admitted that these same smugglers were intertwined with the new Libyan coast guard that Europe was creating and that working with them would likely go against international law.

    As early as 2015, multiple officials at the anti-mafia meetings noted that some smugglers were uncomfortably close to members of the Libyan government. “Militias use the same uniforms and the same ships as the Libyan coast guard that the Italian navy itself is training,” Rear Adm. Enrico Credendino, then in charge of Operation Sophia, said in 2017. The head of the Libyan coast guard and the Libyan minister of defense, both allies of the Italian government, Credendino added, “have close relationships with some militia bosses.”

    One of the Libyan coast guard officers playing both sides was Abd al-Rahman Milad, also known as Bija. In 2019, the Italian newspaper Avvenire revealed that Bija participated in a May 2017 meeting in Sicily, alongside Italian border police and intelligence officials, that was aimed at stemming migration from Libya. A month later, he was condemned by the U.N. Security Council for his role as a top member of a powerful trafficking militia in the coastal town of Zawiya, and for, as the U.N. put it, “sinking migrant boats using firearms.”

    According to leaked documents from Operation Sophia, coast guard officers under Bija’s command were trained by the EU between 2016 and 2018.

    While the Italian government was prosecuting supposed smugglers in Italy, they were also working with people they knew to be smugglers in Libya. Minniti, Italy’s then-interior minister, justified the deals his government was making in Libya by saying that the prospect of mass migration from Africa made him “fear for the well-being of Italian democracy.”

    In one of the 2017 anti-mafia meetings, a representative of the Interior Ministry, Vittorio Pisani, outlined in clear terms a plan that provided for the direct coordination of the new Libyan coast guard. They would create “an operation room in Libya for the exchange of information with the Interior Ministry,” Pisani explained, “mainly on the position of NGO ships and their rescue operations, in order to employ the Libyan coast guard in its national waters.”

    And with that, the third step of the plan was set in motion. At the end of the meeting, Roberti suggested that the group invite representatives from the Libyan police to their next meeting. In an interview with The Intercept, Roberti confirmed that Libyan representatives attended at least two anti-mafia meetings and that he himself met Bija at a meeting in Libya, one month after the U.N. Security Council report was published. The following year, the Security Council committee on Libya sanctioned Bija, freezing his assets and banning him from international travel.

    “We needed to have the participation of Libyan institutions. But they did nothing, because they were taking money from the traffickers,” Roberti told us from the cafe in Naples. “They themselves were the traffickers.”
    A Place of Safety

    Roberti retired from the anti-mafia directorate in 2017. He said that under his leadership, the organization was able to create a basis for handling migration throughout Europe. Still, Roberti admits that his expansion of the DNAA into migration issues has had mixed results. Like his trip to Germany in the ’90s with Giovanni Falcone, Roberti said the anti-mafia strategy faltered because of a lack of collaboration: with the NGOs, with other European governments, and with Libya.

    “On a European level, the cooperation does not work,” Roberti said. Regarding Libya, he added, “We tried — I believe it was right, the agreements [the government] made. But it turned out to be a failure in the end.”

    The DNAA has since expanded its operations. Between 2017 and 2019, the Italian government passed two bills that put the anti-mafia directorate in charge of virtually all illegal immigration matters. Since 2017, five Sicilian prosecutors, all of whom attended at least one anti-mafia coordination meeting, have initiated 15 separate legal proceedings against humanitarian NGO workers. So far there have been no convictions: Three cases have been thrown out in court, and the rest are ongoing.

    Earlier this month, news broke that Sicilian prosecutors had wiretapped journalists and human rights lawyers as part of one of these investigations, listening in on legally protected conversations with sources and clients. The Italian justice ministry has opened an investigation into the incident, which could amount to criminal behavior, according to Italian legal experts. The prosecutor who approved the wiretaps attended at least one DNAA coordination meeting, where investigations against NGOs were discussed at length.

    As the DNAA has extended its reach, key actors from the anti-mafia coordination meetings have risen through the ranks of Italian and European institutions. One prosecutor, Federico Cafiero de Raho, now runs the anti-mafia directorate. Salvi, the former prosecutor of Catania, is the equivalent of Italy’s attorney general. Pisani, the former Interior Ministry representative, is deputy head of the Italian intelligence services. And Roberti is a member of the European Parliament.

    Cafiero de Raho stands by the investigations and arrests that the anti-mafia directorate has made over the years. He said the coordination meetings were an essential tool for prosecutors and police during difficult times.

    When asked about his specific comments during the meetings — particularly statements that humanitarian NGOs needed to be regulated and multiple admissions that members of the new Libyan coast guard were involved in smuggling activities — Cafiero de Raho said that his remarks should be placed in context, a time when Italy and the EU were working to build a coast guard in a part of Libya that was largely ruled by local militias. He said his ultimate goal was what, in the DNAA coordination meetings, he called the “extrajudicial solution”: attempts to prove the existence of crimes against humanity in Libya so that “the United Nation sends troops to Libya to dismantle migrants camps set up by traffickers … and retake control of that territory.”

    A spokesperson for the EU’s foreign policy arm, which ran Operation Sophia, refused to directly address evidence that leaders of the European military operation knew that parts of the new Libyan coast guard were also involved in smuggling activities, only noting that Bija himself wasn’t trained by the EU. A Frontex spokesperson stated that the agency “was not involved in the selection of officers to be trained.”

    In 2019, the European migration strategy changed again. Now, the vast majority of departures are intercepted by the Libyan coast guard and brought back to Libya. In March of that year, Operation Sophia removed all of its ships from the rescue area and has since focused on using aerial patrols to direct and coordinate the Libyan coast guard. Human rights lawyers in Europe have filed six legal actions against Italy and the EU as a result, calling the practice refoulement by proxy: facilitating the return of migrants to dangerous circumstances in violation of international law.

    Indeed, throughout four years of coordination meetings, Italy and the EU were admitting privately that returning people to Libya would be illegal. “Fundamental human rights violations in Libya make it impossible to push migrants back to the Libyan coast,” Pisani explained in 2015. Two years later, he outlined the beginnings of a plan that would do exactly that.

    The Result of Mere Chance

    Dieudonne knows he was lucky. The line that separates suspect and victim can be entirely up to police officers’ first impressions in the minutes or hours following a rescue. According to police reports used in prosecutions, physical attributes like having “a clearer skin tone” or behavior aboard the ship, including scrutinizing police movements “with strange interest,” were enough to rouse suspicion.

    In a 2019 ruling that acquitted seven alleged smugglers after three years of pretrial detention, judges wrote that “the selection of the suspects on one side, and the witnesses on the other, with the only exception of the driver, has almost been the result of mere chance.”

    Carrying out work for their Libyan captors has cost other migrants in Italy lengthy prison sentences. In September 2019, a 22-year-old Guinean nicknamed Suarez was arrested upon his arrival to Italy. Four witnesses told police he had collaborated with prison guards in Zawiya, at the immigrant detention center managed by the infamous Bija.

    “Suarez was also a prisoner, who then took on a job,” one of the witnesses told the court. Handing out meals or taking care of security is what those who can’t afford to pay their ransom often do in order to get out, explained another. “Unfortunately, you would have to be there to understand the situation,” the first witness said. Suarez was sentenced to 20 years in prison, recently reduced to 12 years on appeal.

    Dieudonne remembered his journey at sea vividly, but with surprising cool. When the boat began taking on water, he tried to help. “One must give help where it is needed.” At his office in Bari, Dieudonne bent over and moved his arms in a low scooping motion, like he was bailing water out of a boat.

    “Should they condemn me too?” he asked. He finds it ironic that it was the Libyans who eventually arrested Bija on human trafficking charges this past October. The Italians and Europeans, he said with a laugh, were too busy working with the corrupt coast guard commander. (In April, Bija was released from prison after a Libyan court absolved him of all charges. He was promoted within the coast guard and put back on the job.)

    Dieudonne thinks often about the people he identified aboard the coast guard ship in the middle of the sea. “I told the police the truth. But if that collaboration ends with the conviction of an innocent person, it’s not good,” he said. “Because I know that person did nothing. On the contrary, he saved our lives by driving that raft.”

    https://theintercept.com/2021/04/30/italy-anti-mafia-migrant-rescue-smuggling

    #Méditerranée #Italie #Libye #ONG #criminalisation_de_la_solidarité #solidarité #secours #mer_Méditerranée #asile #migrations #réfugiés #violence #passeurs #Méditerranée_centrale #anti-mafia #anti-terrorisme #Direzione_nazionale_antimafia_e_antiterrorismo #DNAA #Frontex #Franco_Roberti #justice #politique #Zuwara #torture #viol #Mare_Nostrum #Europol #eaux_internationales #droit_de_la_mer #droit_maritime #juridiction_italienne #arrestations #Gigi_Modica #scafista #scafisti #état_de_nécessité #Giovanni_Salvi #NGO #Operation_Sophia #MOAS #DNA #Carmelo_Zuccaro #Zuccaro #Fabrice_Leggeri #Leggeri #Marco_Minniti #Minniti #campagne #gardes-côtes_libyens #milices #Enrico_Credendino #Abd_al-Rahman_Milad #Bija ##Abdurhaman_al-Milad #Al_Bija #Zawiya #Vittorio_Pisani #Federico_Cafiero_de_Raho #solution_extrajudiciaire #pull-back #refoulement_by_proxy #refoulement #push-back #Suarez

    ping @karine4 @isskein @rhoumour

  • What happens to migrants forcibly returned to Libya?

    ‘These are people going missing by the hundreds.’

    The killing last week of three young men after they were intercepted at sea by the EU-funded Libyan Coast Guard has thrown the spotlight on the fate of tens of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers returned to Libya to face detention, abuse and torture by traffickers, or worse.

    The three Sudanese nationals aged between 15 and 18 were shot dead on 28 July, reportedly by members of a militia linked to the Coast Guard as they tried to avoid being detained. They are among more than 6,200 men, women, and children intercepted on the central Mediterranean and returned to Libya this year. Since 2017, that figure is around 40,000.

    Over the last three months, The New Humanitarian has spoken to migrants and Libyan officials, as well as to UN agencies and other aid groups and actors involved, to piece together what is happening to the returnees after they are brought back to shore.

    It has long been difficult to track the whereabouts of migrants and asylum seekers after they are returned to Libya, and for years there have been reports of people going missing or disappearing into unofficial detention centres after disembarking.

    But the UN’s migration agency, IOM, told TNH there has been an uptick in people vanishing off its radar since around December, and it suspects that at least some returnees are being taken to so-called “data-collection and investigation facilities” under the direct control of the Ministry of Interior for the Government of National Accord.

    The GNA, the internationally recognised authority in Libya, is based in the capital, Tripoli, and has been fighting eastern forces commanded by general Khalifa Haftar for 16 months in a series of battles that has developed into a regional proxy war.

    Unlike official detention centres run by the GNA’s Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration (DCIM) – also under the Ministry of the Interior – and its affiliated militias, neither IOM nor the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, has access to these data-collection facilities, which are intended for the investigation of smugglers and not for detaining migrants.

    “We have been told that migrants are no longer in these [data-collection] facilities and we wonder if they have been transferred,” Safa Msehli, spokesperson for IOM in Libya, told TNH.

    “These are people going missing by the hundreds. We have also been told – and are hearing reports from community leaders – that people are going missing,” she said. “We feel the worst has happened, and that these locations [data-collection facilities] are being used to smuggle or traffic people.”

    According to IOM, more than half of the over 6,200 people returned to Libya this year – which includes at least 264 women and 202 children – remain unaccounted for after being loaded onto buses and driven away from the disembarkation points on the coast.

    Msehli said some people had been released after they are returned, but that their number was “200 maximum”, and that if others had simply escaped she would have expected them to show up at community centres run by IOM and its local partners – which most haven’t.

    Masoud Abdal Samad, a commander in the Libyan Coast Guard, denied all accusations of trafficking to TNH, even though the UN has sanctioned individuals in the Coast Guard for their involvement in people smuggling and trafficking. He also said he didn’t know where asylum seekers and migrants end up after they are returned to shore. “It’s not my responsibility. It’s DCIM that determines where the migrants go,” he said.

    Neither the head of the DCIM, Al Mabrouk Abdel-Hafez, nor the media officer for the interior ministry, Mohammad Abu Abdallah, responded to requests for comment from TNH. But the Libyan government recently told the Wall Street Journal that all asylum seekers and migrants returned by the Coast Guard are taken to official detention centres.
    ‘I can’t tell you where we take them’

    TNH spoke to four migrants – three of whom were returned by the Libyan Coast Guard and placed in detention, one of them twice. All described a system whereby returned migrants and asylum seekers are being routinely extorted and passed between different militias.

    Contacted via WhatsApp, Yasser, who only gave his first name for fear of retribution for exposing the abuse he suffered, recounted his ordeal in a series of conversations between May and June.

    The final stage of his journey to start a new life in Europe began on a warm September morning in 2019 when he squeezed onto a rubber dinghy along with 120 other people in al-Garabulli, a coastal town near Tripoli. The year before, the 33-year-old Sudanese asylum seeker had escaped from conflict in his village in the Nuba Mountains to search for safety and opportunity.

    By nightfall, those on board the small boat spotted a reconnaissance aircraft, likely dispatched as part of an EU or Italian aerial surveillance mission. It appears the aircraft alerted the Libyan Coast Guard, which soon arrived to drag them onto their boat and back to war-torn Libya.

    Later that day, as the boat approached the port, Yasser overheard a uniformed member of the Coast Guard speaking on the phone. The man said he had around 100 migrants and was willing to sell each one for 500 Libyan dinars ($83).

    “Militias buy and sell us to make a profit in this country,” Yasser told TNH months later, after he escaped. “In their eyes, refugees are just an investment.”

    When Yasser stepped off the Coast Guard boat in Tripoli’s port, he saw dozens of people he presumed were aid workers tending to the injured. He tried to tell them that he and the others were going to be sold to a militia, but the scene was frantic and he said they didn’t listen.

    “Militias buy and sell us to make a profit in this country. In their eyes, refugees are just an investment.”

    Yasser couldn’t recall which organisation the aid workers were from. Whoever was there, they watched Libyan authorities herd Yasser and the other migrants onto a handful of buses and drive them away.

    IOM, or UNHCR, or one of their local partners are usually present at disembarkation points when migrants are returned to shore. The two UN agencies, which receive significant EU funding for their operations in Libya and have been criticised for participating in the system of interception and detention, say they tend to the injured and register asylum seekers. They also said they count the number of people returned from sea and jot down their nationalities and gender.

    But both agencies told TNH they are unable to track where people go next because Libyan authorities do not keep an official database of asylum seekers and migrants intercepted at sea or held in detention centres.

    News footage – and testimonies from migrants and aid workers – shows white buses with DCIM logos frequently pick up those disembarking. TNH also identified a private bus company that DCIM contracts for transportation. The company, called Essahim, imported 130 vehicles from China before beginning operations in September 2019.

    On its Facebook page, Essahim only advertises its shuttle bus services to Misrata airport, in northwest Libya. But a high-level employee, who asked TNH not to disclose his name for fear of reprisal from Libyan authorities, confirmed that the company picks up asylum seekers and migrants from disembarkation points on the shore.

    He said all of Essahim’s buses are equipped with a GPS tracking system to ensure drivers don’t deviate from their route. He also emphasised that the company takes people to “legitimate centres”, but he refused to disclose the locations.

    “You have to ask the government,” he told TNH. “I can’t tell you where we take them. It’s one of the conditions in the contract.”

    Off the radar

    Since Libya’s 2011 revolution, state security forces – such as the Coast Guard and interior ministry units – have mostly consisted of a collection of militias vying for legitimacy and access to sources of revenue.

    Migrant detention centres have been particularly lucrative to control, and even the official ones can be run by whichever local militia or armed group holds sway at a particular time. Those detained are not granted rights or legal processes, and there have been numerous reports of horrific abuse, and deaths from treatable diseases like tuberculosis.

    Facts regarding the number of different detention centres and who controls them are sketchy, especially as they often close and re-open or come under new management, and as territory can change hands between the GNA and forces aligned with Haftar. Both sides have a variety of militias fighting alongside them, and there are splits within the alliances.

    But IOM’s Msehli told TNH that as of 1 August that there are 11 official detention centres run by DCIM, and that she was aware of returned migrants also being taken to what she believes are four different data-collection and investigation facilities – three in Tripoli and one in Zuwara, a coastal city about 100 kilometres west of the capital. The government has not disclosed how many data-collection centres there are or where they are located.

    Beyond the official facilities, there are also numerous makeshift compounds used by smugglers and militias – especially in the south and in the former Muammar Gaddafi stronghold of Bani Walid – for which there is no data, according to a report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (GI).

    Yasser told TNH he had no idea if he was in an official DCIM-run detention centre or an unofficial site after he was pulled off the bus that took him to a makeshift prison from the port of Tripoli. Unless UN agencies show up, it is hard for detainees to tell the difference. Conditions are dismal and abuses occur in both locations: In unofficial facilities the extortion of detainees is systematic, while in official centres it tends to be carried out by individual staff members, according to the GI report.

    Between Yasser’s description and information from an aid group that gained access to the facility – but declined to be identified for fear of jeopardising its work – TNH believes Yasser was taken to an informal centre in Tripoli called Shaaria Zawiya, outside the reach of UN agencies. Msehli said IOM believes it is a data-collection and investigation facility.

    During the time Yasser was there, the facility was under the control of a militia commander with a brutal reputation, according to a high-level source from the aid group. The commander was eventually replaced in late 2019, but not before trying to extort hundreds of people, including Yasser.

    Several nights after he arrived at the centre, everyone being held there was ordered to pay a 3,000 Libyan dinar ransom – about $500 on the Libyan black market. The militia separated detainees by nationality and tossed each group a cell phone. They gave one to the Eritreans, one to the Somalis, and one to the Sudanese. The detainees were told to call their families and beg, Yasser recalled.

    Those who couldn’t pay languished in the centre until they were sold for a lower sum to another militia, which would try to extort them for a smaller ransom to earn a profit. This is a widely reported trend all across Libya: Militias sell migrants they can’t extort to make space for new hostages.

    Yasser’s friends and family were too poor to pay for his release, yet he clung to hope that he would somehow escape. He watched as the militia commander beat and intimidated other asylum seekers and migrants in the centre, but he was too scared to intervene. As the weeks passed, he started to believe nobody would find him.

    Then, one day, he saw a couple of aid workers. They came to document the situation and treat the wounded. “The migrants who spoke English whispered for help, but [the aid workers] just kept silent and nodded,” Yasser said.

    The aid workers were from the same NGO that identified the data-collection facility to TNH. The aid group said it suspects that Libyan authorities are taking migrants to two other locations in Tripoli after disembarkation: a data-collection and investigation facility in a neighbourhood called Hay al-Andulus, and an abandoned tobacco factory in another Tripoli suburb. “I know the factory exists, but I have no idea how many people are inside,” the source said, adding that the aid group had been unable to negotiate access to either location.

    “We were treated like animals.”

    Msehli confirmed that IOM believes migrants have been taken to both compounds, neither of which are under DCIM control. She added that more migrants are ending up in another unofficial location in Tripoli.

    After languishing for two months, until November, in Shaaria Zawiya, Yasser said he was sold to a militia manning what he thinks was an official detention centre. He assumed the location was official because uniformed UNHCR employees frequently showed up with aid. When UNHCR wasn’t there, the militia still demanded ransoms from the people inside.

    “We were treated like animals,” Yasser said. “But at least when UNHCR visited, the militia fed us more food than usual.”

    Tariq Argaz, the spokesperson for UNHCR in Libya, defended the agency’s aid provision to official facilities like this one, saying: “We are against the detention of refugees, but we have a humanitarian imperative to assist refugees wherever they are, even if it is a detention centre.”

    Growing pressure on EU to change tack

    The surge in disappearances raises further concerns about criminality and human rights abuses occurring within a system of interception and detention by Libyan authorities that the EU and EU member states have funded and supported since 2017.

    The aim of the support is to crack down on smuggling networks, reduce the number of asylum seekers and migrants arriving in Europe, and improve detention conditions in Libya, but critics say it has resulted in tens of thousands of people being returned to indefinite detention and abuse in Libya. There is even less oversight now that asylum seekers and migrants are ending up in data-collection and investigation facilities, beyond the reach of UN agencies.

    The escalating conflict in Libya and the coronavirus crisis have made the humanitarian situation for asylum seekers and migrants in the country “worse than ever”, according to IOM. At the same time, Italy and Malta have further turned their backs on rescuing people at sea. Italy has impounded NGO search and rescue ships, while both countries have repeatedly failed to respond, or responded slowly, to distress calls, and Malta even hired a private fishing vessel to return people rescued at sea to Libya.

    “We believe that people shouldn’t be returned to Libya,” Msehli told TNH. “This is due to the lack of any protection mechanism that the Libyan state takes or is able to take.”

    There are currently estimated to be at least 625,000 migrants in Libya and 47,859 registered asylum seekers and refugees. Of this number, around 1,760 migrants – including 760 registered asylum seekers and refugees – are in the DCIM-run detention centres, according to data from IOM and UNHCR, although IOM’s data only covers eight out of the 11 DCIM facilities.

    The number of detainees in unofficial centres and makeshift compounds is unknown but, based on those unaccounted for and the reported experiences of migrants, could be many times higher. A recent estimate from Liam Kelly, director of the Danish Refugee Council in Libya, suggests as many as 80,000 people have been in them at some point in recent years.

    There remains no clear explanation why some people intercepted attempting the sea journey appear to be being taken to data-collection and investigation facilities, while others end up in official centres. But researchers believe migrants are typically taken to facilities that have space to house new detainees, or other militias may strike a deal to purchase a new group to extort them.

    In a leaked report from last year, the EU acknowledged that the GNA “has not taken steps to improve the situation in the centres”, and that “the government’s reluctance to address the problems raises questions of its own involvement”.

    The UN, human rights groups, researchers, journalists and TNH have noted that there is little distinction between criminal groups, militias, and other entities involved in EU-supported migration control activities under the GNA.

    A report released last week by UNHCR and the Mixed Migration Centre (MMC) at the Danish Refugee Council said that migrants being smuggled and trafficked to the Mediterranean coast had identified the primary perpetrators of abuses as state officials and law enforcement.

    Pressure on the EU over its proximity to abuses resulting from the interception and detention of asylum seekers and migrants in Libya is mounting. International human rights lawyers have filed lawsuits to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the UN human rights committee, and the European Court of Human Rights to attempt to hold the EU accountable.

    Peter Stano, the EU Commission’s official spokesperson for External Affairs, told TNH that the EU doesn’t consider Libya a safe country, but that its priority has always been to stop irregular migration to keep migrants from risking their lives, while protecting the most vulnerable.

    “We have repeated again and again, together with our international partners in the UN and African Union, that arbitrary detention of migrants and refugees in Libya must end, including to Libyan authorities,” he said. “The situation in these centres is unacceptable, and arbitrary detention of migrants and refugees upon disembarkation must stop.”

    For Yasser, it took a war for him to have the opportunity to escape from detention. In January this year, the facility he was in came under heavy fire during a battle in the war for Tripoli. Dozens of migrants, including Yasser, made a run for it.

    He is now living in a crowded house with other Sudanese asylum seekers in the coastal town of Zawiya, and says that returning to the poverty and instability in Sudan is out of the question. With his sights set on Europe, he still intends to cross the Mediterranean, but he’s afraid of being intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard, trafficked, and extorted all over again.

    “It’s a business,” said Yasser. “Militias pay for your head and then they force you to pay for your freedom.”

    https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news-feature/2020/08/05/missing-migrants-Libya-forced-returns-Mediterranean

    #chronologie #timeline #time-line #migrations #asile #réfugiés #chiffres #statistiques #pull-back #pull-backs #push-backs #refoulements #disparitions #torture #décès #morts #gardes-côtes_libyens #détention #centres_de_détention #milices

    ping @isskein

    • The legal battle to hold the EU to account for Libya migrant abuses

      ‘It’s a well known fact that we’re all struggling here, as human rights practitioners.’

      More than 6,500 asylum seekers and migrants have been intercepted at sea and returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard so far this year. Since the EU and Italy began training, funding, equipping, and providing operational assistance to the Libyan Coast Guard in 2017, that number stands at around 40,000 people.

      Critics say European support for these interceptions and returns is one of the most glaring examples of the trade-off being made between upholding human rights – a fundamental EU value – and the EU’s determination to reduce migration to the continent.

      Those intercepted at sea and returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard – predominantly asylum seekers and migrants from East and West Africa – face indefinite detention, extortion, torture, sexual exploitation, and forced labour.

      This year alone, thousands have disappeared beyond the reach of UN agencies after being disembarked. Migration detention in Libya functions as a business that generates revenue for armed groups, some of whom have also pressed asylum seekers and migrants into military activities – a practice that is likely a war crime, according to Human Rights Watch.

      All of this has been well documented and widely known for years, even as the EU and Italy have stepped up their support for the Libyan Coast Guard. Yet despite their key role in empowering the Coast Guard to return people to Libya, international human rights lawyers have struggled to hold the EU and Italy to account. Boxed in by the limitations of international law, lawyers have had to find increasingly innovative legal strategies to try to establish European complicity in the abuses taking place.

      As the EU looks to expand its cooperation with third countries, the outcome of these legal efforts could have broader implications on whether the EU and its member states can be held accountable for the human rights impacts of their external migration policies.

      “Under international law there are rules… prohibiting states to assist other states in the commission of human rights violations,” Matteo de Bellis, Amnesty International’s migration researcher, told The New Humanitarian. “However, those international rules do not have a specific court where you can litigate them, where individuals can have access to remedy.”

      In fact, human rights advocates and lawyers argue that EU and Italian support for the Libyan Coast Guard is designed specifically to avoid legal responsibility.

      “For a European court to have jurisdiction over a particular policy, a European actor must be in control... of a person directly,” said Itamar Mann, an international human rights lawyer. “When a non-European agent takes that control, it’s far from clear that [a] European court has jurisdiction. So there is a kind of accountability gap under international human rights law.”
      ‘The EU is not blameless’

      When Italy signed a Memorandum of Understanding in February 2017 with Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) “to ensure the reduction of illegal migratory flows”, the agreement carried echoes of an earlier era.

      In 2008, former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi signed a friendship treaty with Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi that, among other things, committed the two countries to working together to curb irregular migration.

      The following year, Italian patrol boats began intercepting asylum seekers and migrants at sea and returning them to Libya. In 2012, the European Court of Human Rights, an international court based in Strasbourg, France – which all EU member states are party to – ruled that the practice violated multiple articles of the European Convention on Human Rights.

      The decision, in what is known as the Hirsi case, was based on the idea that Italy had established “extraterritorial jurisdiction” over asylum seekers and migrants when it took them under their control at sea and had violated the principle of non-refoulement – a core element of international refugee law – by forcing them back to a country where they faced human rights abuses.

      Many states that have signed the 1951 refugee convention have integrated the principle of non-refoulement into their domestic law, binding them to protect asylum seekers once they enter a nation’s territory. But there are divergent interpretations of how it applies to state actors in international waters.

      By the time of the Hirsi decision, the practice had already ended and Gaddafi had been toppled from power. The chaos that followed the Libyan uprising in 2011 paved the way for a new era of irregular migration. The number of people crossing the central Meditteranean jumped from an average of tens of thousands per year throughout the late 1990s and 2000s to more than 150,000 per year in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

      Reducing these numbers became a main priority for Italy and the EU, and they kept the lessons of the Hirsi case in mind as they set about designing their policies, according to de Bellis.

      Instead of using European vessels, the EU and Italy focused on “enabling the Libyan authorities to do the dirty job of intercepting people at sea and returning them to Libya”, he said. “By doing so, they would argue that they have not breached international European law because they have never assumed control, and therefore exercised jurisdiction, over the people who have then been subjected to human rights violations [in Libya].”

      The number of people crossing the central Mediterranean has dropped precipitously in recent years as EU policies have hardened, and tens of thousands of people – including those returned by the Coast Guard – are estimated to have passed through formal and informal migration detention centres in Libya, some of them getting stuck for years and many falling victim to extortion and abuse.

      “There is always going to be a debate about, is the EU responsible… [because] it’s really Libya who has done the abuses,” said Carla Ferstman, a human rights law professor at the University of Essex in England. “[But] the EU is not blameless because it can’t pretend that it didn’t know the consequences of what it was going to do.”

      The challenge for human rights lawyers is how to legally establish that blame.
      The accountability gap

      Since 2017, the EU has given more than 91 million euros (about $107 million) to support border management projects in Libya. Much of that money has gone to Italy, which implements the projects and has provided its own funding and at least six patrol boats to the Libyan Coast Guard.

      One objective of the EU’s funding is to improve the human rights and humanitarian situation in official detention centres. But according to a leaked EU document from 2019, this is something the Libyan government had not been taking steps to do, “raising the question of its own involvement”, according to the document.

      The main goal of the funding is to strengthen the capacity of Libyan authorities to control the country’s borders and intercept asylum seekers and migrants at sea. This aspect of the policy has been effective, according to a September 2019 report by the UN secretary-general.

      “All our action is based on international and European law,” an EU spokesperson told the Guardian newspaper in June. “The European Union dialogue with Libyan authorities focuses on the respect for human rights of migrants and refugees.”

      The EU has legal obligations to ensure that its actions do not violate human rights in both its internal and external policy, according to Ferstman. But when it comes to actions taken outside of Europe, “routes for those affected to complain when their rights are being violated are very, very weak,” she said.

      The EU and its member states are also increasingly relying on informal agreements, such as the Memorandum of Understanding with Libya, in their external migration cooperation.

      “Once the EU makes formal agreements with third states… [it] is more tightly bound to a lot of human rights and refugee commitments,” Raphael Bossong, a researcher at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin, told TNH. “Hence, we see a shift toward less binding or purely informal arrangements.”

      Lawyers and researchers told TNH that the absence of formal agreements, and the combination of EU funding and member state implementation, undermines the standing of the EU Parliament and the Court of Justice, the bloc’s supreme court, to act as watchdogs.

      Efforts to challenge Italy’s role in cooperating with Libya in Italian courts have also so far been unsuccessful.

      “It’s a well known fact that we’re all struggling here, as human rights practitioners… to grapple with the very limited, minimalistic tools we have to address the problem at hand,” said Valentina Azarova, a lawyer and researcher affiliated with the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), a nonprofit organisation that pursues international human rights litigation.

      Uncharted territory

      With no clear path forward, human rights lawyers have ventured into uncharted territory to try to subject EU and Italian cooperation with Libya to legal scrutiny.

      Lawyers called last year for the International Criminal Court to investigate the EU for its alleged complicity in thousands of deaths in the Mediterranean, and legal organisations have filed two separate complaints with the UN Human Rights Committee, which has a quasi-judicial function.

      In November last year, GLAN also submitted a case, called S.S. and others v. Italy, to the European Court of Human Rights that aims to build on the Hirsi decision. The case argues that – through its financial, material, and operational support – Italy assumes “contactless control” over people intercepted by Libyan Coast Guard and therefore establishes jurisdiction over them.

      “Jurisdiction is not only a matter of direct, effective control over bodies,” Mann, who is part of GLAN, said of the case’s argument. “It’s also a matter of substantive control that can be wielded in many different ways.”

      GLAN, along with two Italian legal organisations, also filed a complaint in April to the European Court of Auditors, which is tasked with checking to see if the EU’s budget is implemented correctly and that funds are spent legally.

      The GLAN complaint alleges that funding border management activities in Libya makes the EU and its member states complicit in the human rights abuses taking place there, and is also a misuse of money intended for development purposes – both of which fall afoul of EU budgetary guidelines.

      The complaint asks for the EU funding to be made conditional on the improvement of the situation for asylum seekers and migrants in the country, and for it to be suspended until certain criteria are met, including the release of all refugees and migrants from arbitrary detention, the creation of an asylum system that complies with international standards, and the establishment of an independent, transparent mechanism to monitor and hold state and non-state actors accountable for human rights violations against refugees and migrants.

      The Court of Auditors is not an actual courtroom or a traditional venue for addressing human rights abuses. It is composed of financial experts who conduct an annual audit of the EU budget. The complaint is meant to encourage them to take a specific look at EU funding to Libya, but they aren’t obligated to do so.

      “To use the EU Court of Auditors to get some kind of human rights accountability is an odd thing to do,” said Ferstman, who is not involved in the complaint. “It speaks to the [accountability] gap and the absence of clear approaches.”

      “[Still], it is the institution where this matter needs to be adjudicated, so to speak,” Azarova, who came up with the strategy, added. “They are the experts on questions of EU budget law.”

      Closing the gap?

      If successful, the Court of Auditors complaint could change how EU funding for Libya operates and set a precedent requiring a substantive accounting of how money is being spent and whether it ends up contributing to human rights violations in other EU third-country arrangements, according to Mann. “It will be a blow to the general externalisation pattern,” he said.

      Ferstman cautioned, however, that its impact – at least legally – might not be so concrete. “[The Court of Auditors] can recommend everything that GLAN has put forward, but it will be a recommendation,” she said. “It will not be an order.”

      Instead, the complaint’s more significant impact might be political. “It could put a lot of important arsenal in the hands of the MEPs [Members of the European Parliament] who want to push forward changes,” Ferstman said.

      A European Court of Human Rights decision in favour of the plaintiffs in S.S. and others v Italy could be more decisive. “It would go a long way towards addressing that [accountability] gap, because individuals will be able to challenge European states that encourage and assist other countries to commit human rights violations,” de Bellis said.

      If any or all of the various legal challenges that are currently underway are successful, Bossong, from SWP, doesn’t expect them to put an end to external migration cooperation entirely. “Many [external] cooperations would continue,” he said. “[But] policy-makers and administrators would have to think harder: Where is the line? Where do we cross the line?”

      The Court of Auditors will likely decide whether to review EU funding for border management activities in Libya next year, but the European Court of Human Rights moves slowly, with proceedings generally taking around five years, according to Mann.

      Human rights advocates and lawyers worry that by the time the current legal challenges are concluded, the situation in the Mediterranean will again have evolved. Already, since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, states such as Malta and Greece have shifted from empowering third countries to intercept people at sea to carrying out pushbacks directly.

      “What is happening now, particularly in the Aegean, is much more alarming than the facts that generated the Hirsi case in terms of the violence of the actual pushbacks,” Mann said.

      Human rights lawyers are already planning to begin issuing challenges to the new practices. As they do, they are acutely aware of the limitations of the tools available to them. Or, as Azarova put it: “We’re dealing with symptoms. We’re not addressing the pathology.”

      https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/analysis/2020/08/10/Libya-migrant-abuses-EU-legal-battle

      #justice

  • *La Marine teste l’utilisation de NETS pour piéger les migrants dans la Manche alors que des nombres record traversent illégalement*

    - Des navires militaires ont travaillé avec la UK Border Force pour essayer des tactiques en mai et juin
    - Priti Patel a révélé le stratagème en accusant Paris de la crise actuelle
    – Plus de 2 750 personnes auraient atteint le Royaume-Uni outre-Manche cette année

    La #Royal_Navy a testé l’utilisation de filets pour arrêter les migrants dans la Manche, a révélé hier #Priti_Patel.

    Des navires militaires ont travaillé avec la #UK_Border_Force en mai et juin, essayant des #tactiques pour se déployer contre de petits bateaux traversant la France.

    La ministre de l’Intérieur a fait la divulgation alors qu’elle reprochait à Paris de ne pas avoir maîtrisé la crise des migrants.

    Plus de 2 750 clandestins auraient atteint le Royaume-Uni de l’autre côté de la Manche cette année, dont 90 non encore confirmés qui ont atterri à Douvres hier.

    Ce chiffre se compare à seulement 1 850 au cours de l’année dernière. Dimanche, il y a eu un record de 180, entassés à bord de 15 dériveurs.

    Plus de 2 750 clandestins auraient atteint le Royaume-Uni de l’autre côté de la Manche cette année, dont 90 non encore confirmés qui ont atterri à #Douvres hier

    Les #chiffres montent en flèche malgré la promesse de Miss Patel, faite en octobre, qu’elle aurait pratiquement éliminé les passages de la Manche maintenant.

    Hier, elle a déclaré qu’elle s’efforçait de persuader les Français de « montrer leur volonté » et de permettre le retour des arrivées.

    Mlle Patel a affirmé que les #lois_maritimes_internationales autorisaient le Royaume-Uni à empêcher les bateaux de migrants d’atteindre le sol britannique, mais que Paris interprétait les règles différemment.

    « Je pense qu’il pourrait y avoir des mesures d’application plus strictes du côté français », a déclaré hier Mme Patel aux députés.

    « Je cherche à apporter des changements. Nous avons un problème majeur, majeur avec ces petits bateaux. Nous cherchons fondamentalement à changer les modes de travail en France.

    « J’ai eu des discussions très, très – je pense qu’il est juste de dire – difficiles avec mon homologue français, même en ce qui concerne les #interceptions en mer, car actuellement les autorités françaises n’interceptent pas les bateaux.

    « Et j’entends par là même des bateaux qui ne sont qu’à 250 mètres environ des côtes françaises.

    « Une grande partie de cela est régie par le #droit_maritime et les interprétations des autorités françaises de ce qu’elles peuvent et ne peuvent pas faire. »

    Elle a confirmé que les #navires_de_patrouille français n’interviendront pour arrêter les bateaux de migrants que s’ils sont en train de couler – et non pour empêcher les traversées illégales.

    Au sujet de la participation de la Marine, Mlle Patel a déclaré à la commission des affaires intérieures de la Chambre des communes : « Nous avons mené une série d’#exercices_dans_l’eau en mer impliquant une gamme d’#actifs_maritimes, y compris militaires.

    La ministre de l’Intérieur, photographiée hier, a fait la divulgation alors qu’elle reprochait à Paris de ne pas avoir maîtrisé la crise des migrants

    « Nous pouvons renforcer #Border_Force et montrer comment nous pouvons prendre des bateaux en toute sécurité et les renvoyer en France.

    « C’est effectivement le dialogue que nous entamons actuellement avec les Français pour savoir comment ils peuvent travailler avec nous et montrer leur volonté. Parce que cela ne sert à rien de leur pays.

    Tim Loughton, un député conservateur du comité, a demandé au ministre de l’Intérieur : « Pouvez-vous confirmer que vous pensez que les Français ont le pouvoir – qu’ils prétendent ne pas avoir – d’intercepter des bateaux en mer ? »

    Elle a répondu : ‘Absolument raison. Et c’est ce que nous nous efforçons de réaliser jusqu’au partage des #conseils_juridiques en matière de droit maritime. À travers la pandémie où le temps a été favorable, nous avons vu une augmentation des chiffres et nous devons mettre un terme à cette route.

    « Nous voulons rompre cette route, nous voulons rendre cela #non_viable. La seule façon d’y parvenir est d’intercepter et de renvoyer les bateaux en France. »

    Le ministre français de l’Intérieur, Gerald Darmanin, qui a été nommé il y a seulement dix jours, se rendra à Douvres le mois prochain pour voir l’impact des bateaux de migrants sur la communauté locale.

    « Le ministre de l’Intérieur est de plus en plus frustré par la partie française, mais nous avons de nouveaux espoirs que le nouveau ministre de l’Intérieur voudra régler ce problème », a déclaré une source de Whitehall.

    Hier, neuf passagers clandestins érythréens ont été découverts à l’arrière d’un camion lors d’un service Welcome Break sur la M40. La police a été appelée après que des témoins ont vu des mouvements à l’arrière du camion stationné dans l’Oxfordshire.

    https://www.fr24news.com/fr/a/2020/07/la-marine-teste-lutilisation-de-nets-pour-pieger-les-migrants-dans-la-manc
    #frontières #militarisation_des_frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #armée #NETS #Manche #La_Manche #France #UK #Angleterre #pull-back #pull-backs

    #via @FilippoFurri

  • The business of building walls

    Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Europe is once again known for its border walls. This time Europe is divided not so much by ideology as by perceived fear of refugees and migrants, some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

    Who killed the dream of a more open Europe? What gave rise to this new era of walls? There are clearly many reasons – the increasing displacement of people by conflict, repression and impoverishment, the rise of security politics in the wake of 9/11, the economic and social insecurity felt across Europe after the 2008 financial crisis – to name a few. But one group has by far the most to gain from the rise of new walls – the businesses that build them. Their influence in shaping a world of walls needs much deeper examination.

    This report explores the business of building walls, which has both fuelled and benefited from a massive expansion of public spending on border security by the European Union (EU) and its member states. Some of the corporate beneficiaries are also global players, tapping into a global market for border security estimated to be worth approximately €17.5 billion in 2018, with annual growth of at least 8% expected in coming years.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAuv1QyP8l0&feature=emb_logo

    It is important to look both beyond and behind Europe’s walls and fencing, because the real barriers to contemporary migration are not so much the fencing, but the vast array of technology that underpins it, from the radar systems to the drones to the surveillance cameras to the biometric fingerprinting systems. Similarly, some of Europe’s most dangerous walls are not even physical or on land. The ships, aircrafts and drones used to patrol the Mediterranean have created a maritime wall and a graveyard for the thousands of migrants and refugees who have no legal passage to safety or to exercise their right to seek asylum.

    This renders meaningless the European Commission’s publicized statements that it does not fund walls and fences. Commission spokesperson Alexander Winterstein, for example, rejecting Hungary’s request to reimburse half the costs of the fences built on its borders with Croatia and Serbia, said: ‘We do support border management measures at external borders. These can be surveillance measures. They can be border control equipment...But fences, we do not finance’. In other words, the Commission is willing to pay for anything that fortifies a border as long as it is not seen to be building the walls themselves.

    This report is a sequel to Building Walls – Fear and securitization in the European Union, co-published in 2018 with Centre Delàs and Stop Wapenhandel, which first measured and identified the walls that criss-cross Europe. This new report focuses on the businesses that have profited from three different kinds of wall in Europe:

    The construction companies contracted to build the land walls built by EU member states and the Schengen Area together with the security and technology companies that provide the necessary accompanying technology, equipment and services;

    The shipping and arms companies that provide the ships, aircraft, helicopters, drones that underpin Europe’s maritime walls seeking to control migratory flows in the Mediterranean, including Frontex operations, Operation Sophia and Italian operation Mare Nostrum;
    And the IT and security companies contracted to develop, run, expand and maintain EU’s systems that monitor the movement of people – such as SIS II (Schengen Information System) and EES (Entry/Exit Scheme) – which underpin Europe’s virtual walls.

    Booming budgets

    The flow of money from taxpayers to wall-builders has been highly lucrative and constantly growing. The report finds that companies have reaped the profits from at least €900 million spent by EU countries on land walls and fences since the end of the Cold War. The partial data (in scope and years) means actual costs will be at least €1 billion. In addition, companies that provide technology and services that accompany walls have also benefited from some of the steady stream of funding from the EU – in particular the External Borders Fund (€1.7 billion, 2007-2013) and the Internal Security Fund – Borders Fund (€2.76 billion, 2014-2020).

    EU spending on maritime walls has totalled at least €676.4 million between 2006 to 2017 (including €534 million spent by Frontex, €28.4 million spent by the EU on Operation Sophia and €114 million spent by Italy on Operation Mare Nostrum) and would be much more if you include all the operations by Mediterranean country coastguards. Total spending on Europe’s virtual wall equalled at least €999.4m between 2000 and 2019. (All these estimates are partial ones because walls are funded by many different funding mechanisms and due to lack of data transparency).

    This boom in border budgets is set to grow. Under its budget for the next EU budget cycle (2021–2027) the European Commission has earmarked €8.02 billion to its Integrated Border Management Fund (2021-2027), €11.27bn to Frontex (of which €2.2 billion will be used for acquiring, maintaining and operating air, sea and land assets) and at least €1.9 billion total spending (2000-2027) on its identity databases and Eurosur (the European Border Surveillance System).
    The big arm industry players

    Three giant European military and security companies in particular play a critical role in Europe’s many types of borders. These are Thales, Leonardo and Airbus.

    Thales is a French arms and security company, with a significant presence in the Netherlands, that produces radar and sensor systems, used by many ships in border security. Thales systems, were used, for example, by Dutch and Portuguese ships deployed in Frontex operations. Thales also produces maritime surveillance systems for drones and is working on developing border surveillance infrastructure for Eurosur, researching how to track and control refugees before they reach Europe by using smartphone apps, as well as exploring the use of High Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS) for border security, for the European Space Agency and Frontex. Thales currently provides the security system for the highly militarised port in Calais. Its acquisition in 2019 of Gemalto, a large (biometric) identity security company, makes it a significant player in the development and maintenance of EU’s virtual walls. It has participated in 27 EU research projects on border security.
    Italian arms company Leonardo (formerly Finmeccanica or Leonardo-Finmeccanica) is a leading supplier of helicopters for border security, used by Italy in the Mare Nostrum, Hera and Sophia operations. It has also been one of the main providers of UAVs (or drones) for Europe’s borders, awarded a €67.1 million contract in 2017 by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to supply them for EU coast-guard agencies. Leonardo was also a member of a consortium, awarded €142.1 million in 2019 to implement and maintain EU’s virtual walls, namely its EES. It jointly owns Telespazio with Thales, involved in EU satellite observation projects (REACT and Copernicus) used for border surveillance. Leonardo has participated in 24 EU research projects on border security and control, including the development of Eurosur.
    Pan-European arms giant Airbus is a key supplier of helicopters used in patrolling maritime and some land borders, deployed by Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania and Spain, including in maritime Operations Sophia, Poseidon and Triton. Airbus and its subsidiaries have participated in at least 13 EU-funded border security research projects including OCEAN2020, PERSEUS and LOBOS.
    The significant role of these arms companies is not surprising. As Border Wars (2016), showed these companies through their membership of the lobby groups – European Organisation for Security (EOS) and the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD) – have played a significant role in influencing the direction of EU border policy. Perversely, these firms are also among the top four biggest European arms dealers to the Middle East and North Africa, thus contributing to the conflicts that cause forced migration.

    Indra has been another significant corporate player in border control in Spain and the Mediterranean. It won a series of contracts to fortify Ceuta and Melilla (Spanish enclaves in northern Morocco). Indra also developed the SIVE border control system (with radar, sensors and vision systems), which is in place on most of Spain’s borders, as well as in Portugal and Romania. In July 2018 it won a €10 million contract to manage SIVE at several locations for two years. Indra is very active in lobbying the EU and is a major beneficiary of EU research funding, coordinating the PERSEUS project to further develop Eurosur and the Seahorse Network, a network between police forces in Mediterranean countries (both in Europe and Africa) to stop migration.

    Israeli arms firms are also notable winners of EU border contracts. In 2018, Frontex selected the Heron drone from Israel Aerospace Industries for pilot-testing surveillance flights in the Mediterranean. In 2015, Israeli firm Elbit sold six of its Hermes UAVs to the Switzerland’s Border Guard, in a controversial €230 million deal. It has since signed a UAV contract with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), as a subcontractor for the Portuguese company CEIIA (2018), as well as contracts to supply technology for three patrol vessels for the Hellenic Coast Guard (2019).
    Land wall contractors

    Most of the walls and fences that have been rapidly erected across Europe have been built by national construction companies, but one European company has dominated the field: European Security Fencing, a Spanish producer of razor wire, in particular a coiled wire known as concertinas. It is most known for the razor wire on the fences around Ceuta and Melilla. It also delivered the razor wire for the fence on the border between Hungary and Serbia, and its concertinas were installed on the borders between Bulgaria and Turkey and Austria and Slovenia, as well as at Calais, and for a few days on the border between Hungary and Slovenia before being removed. Given its long-term market monopoly, its concertinas are very likely used at other borders in Europe.

    Other contractors providing both walls and associated technology include DAT-CON (Croatia, Cyprus, Macedonia, Moldova, Slovenia and Ukraine), Geo Alpinbau (Austria/Slovenia), Indra, Dragados, Ferrovial, Proyectos Y Tecnología Sallén and Eulen (Spain/Morocco), Patstroy Bourgas, Infra Expert, Patengineeringstroy, Geostroy Engineering, Metallic-Ivan Mihaylov and Indra (Bulgaria/Turkey), Nordecon and Defendec (Estonia/Russia), DAK Acélszerkezeti Kft and SIA Ceļu būvniecības sabiedrība IGATE (Latvia/Russia), Gintrėja (Lithuania/Russia), Minis and Legi-SGS(Slovenia/Croatia), Groupe CW, Jackson’s Fencing, Sorhea, Vinci/Eurovia and Zaun Ltd (France/UK).

    In many cases, the actual costs of the walls and associated technologies exceed original estimates. There have also been many allegations and legal charges of corruption, in some cases because projects were given to corporate friends of government officials. In Slovenia, for example, accusations of corruption concerning the border wall contract have led to a continuing three-year legal battle for access to documents that has reached the Supreme Court. Despite this, the EU’s External Borders Fund has been a critical financial supporter of technological infrastructure and services in many of the member states’ border operations. In Macedonia, for example, the EU has provided €9 million for patrol vehicles, night-vision cameras, heartbeat detectors and technical support for border guards to help it manage its southern border.
    Maritime wall profiteers

    The data about which ships, helicopters and aircraft are used in Europe’s maritime operations is not transparent and therefore it is difficult to get a full picture. Our research shows, however, that the key corporations involved include the European arms giants Airbus and Leonardo, as well as large shipbuilding companies including Dutch Damen and Italian Fincantieri.

    Damen’s patrol vessels have been used for border operations by Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Portugal, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden and the UK as well as in key Frontex operations (Poseidon, Triton and Themis), Operation Sophia and in supporting NATO’s role in Operation Poseidon. Outside Europe, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey use Damen vessels for border security, often in cooperation with the EU or its member states. Turkey’s €20 million purchase of six Damen vessels for its coast guard in 2006, for example, was financed through the EU Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), intended for peace-building and conflict prevention.

    The sale of Damen vessels to Libya unveils the potential troubling human costs of this corporate trade. In 2012, Damen supplied four patrol vessels to the Libyan Coast Guard, sold as civil equipment in order to avoid a Dutch arms export license. Researchers have since found out, however, that the ships were not only sold with mounting points for weapons, but were then armed and used to stop refugee boats. Several incidents involving these ships have been reported, including one where some 20 or 30 refugees drowned. Damen has refused to comment, saying it had agreed with the Libyan government not to disclose information about the ships.

    In addition to Damen, many national shipbuilders play a significant role in maritime operations as they were invariably prioritised by the countries contributing to each Frontex or other Mediterranean operation. Hence, all the ships Italy contributed to Operation Sophia were built by Fincantieri, while all Spanish ships come from Navantia and its predecessors. Similarly, France purchases from DCN/DCNS, now Naval Group, and all German ships were built by several German shipyards (Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, HDW, Lürssen Gruppe). Other companies in Frontex operations have included Greek company, Motomarine Shipyards, which produced the Panther 57 Fast Patrol Boats used by the Hellenic Coast Guard, Hellenic Shipyards and Israel Shipyards.

    Austrian company Schiebel is a significant player in maritime aerial surveillance through its supply of S-100 drones. In November 2018, EMSA selected the company for a €24 million maritime surveillance contract for a range of operations including border security. Since 2017, Schiebel has also won contracts from Croatia, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The company has a controversial record, with its drones sold to a number of countries experiencing armed conflict or governed by repressive regimes such as Libya, Myanmar, the UAE and Yemen.

    Finland and the Netherlands deployed Dornier aircraft to Operation Hermes and Operation Poseidon respectively, and to Operation Triton. Dornier is now part of the US subsidiary of the Israeli arms company Elbit Systems. CAE Aviation (Luxembourg), DEA Aviation (UK) and EASP Air (Netherlands) have all received contracts for aircraft surveillance work for Frontex. Airbus, French Dassault Aviation, Leonardo and US Lockheed Martin were the most important suppliers of aircraft used in Operation Sophia.

    The EU and its member states defend their maritime operations by publicising their role in rescuing refugees at sea, but this is not their primary goal, as Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri made clear in April 2015, saying that Frontex has no mandate for ‘proactive search-and-rescue action[s]’ and that saving lives should not be a priority. The thwarting and criminalisation of NGO rescue operations in the Mediterranean and the frequent reports of violence and illegal refoulement of refugees, also demonstrates why these maritime operations should be considered more like walls than humanitarian missions.
    Virtual walls

    The major EU contracts for the virtual walls have largely gone to two companies, sometimes as leaders of a consortium. Sopra Steria is the main contractor for the development and maintenance of the Visa Information System (VIS), Schengen Information System (SIS II) and European Dactyloscopy (Eurodac), while GMV has secured a string of contracts for Eurosur. The systems they build help control, monitor and surveil people’s movements across Europe and increasingly beyond.

    Sopra Steria is a French technology consultancy firm that has to date won EU contracts worth a total value of over €150 million. For some of these large contracts Sopra Steria joined consortiums with HP Belgium, Bull and 3M Belgium. Despite considerable business, Sopra Steria has faced considerable criticism for its poor record on delivering projects on time and on budget. Its launch of SIS II was constantly delayed, forcing the Commission to extend contracts and increase budgets. Similarly, Sopra Steria was involved in another consortium, the Trusted Borders consortium, contracted to deliver the UK e-Borders programme, which was eventually terminated in 2010 after constant delays and failure to deliver. Yet it continues to win contracts, in part because it has secured a near-monopoly of knowledge and access to EU officials. The central role that Sopra Steria plays in developing these EU biometric systems has also had a spin-off effect in securing other national contracts, including with Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Romania and Slovenia GMV, a Spanish technology company, has received a succession of large contracts for Eurosur, ever since its testing phase in 2010, worth at least €25 million. It also provides technology to the Spanish Guardia Civil, such as control centres for its Integrated System of External Vigilance (SIVE) border security system as well as software development services to Frontex. It has participated in at least ten EU-funded research projects on border security.

    Most of the large contracts for the virtual walls that did not go to consortia including Sopra Steria were awarded by eu-LISA (European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice) to consortia comprising computer and technology companies including Accenture, Atos Belgium and Morpho (later renamed Idema).
    Lobbying

    As research in our Border Wars series has consistently shown, through effective lobbying, the military and security industry has been very influential in shaping the discourse of EU security and military policies. The industry has succeeded in positioning itself as the experts on border security, pushing the underlying narrative that migration is first and foremost a security threat, to be combatted by security and military means. With this premise, it creates a continuous demand for the ever-expanding catalogue of equipment and services the industry supplies for border security and control.

    Many of the companies listed here, particularly the large arms companies, are involved in the European Organisation for Security (EOS), the most important lobby group on border security. Many of the IT security firms that build EU’s virtual walls are members of the European Biometrics Association (EAB). EOS has an ‘Integrated Border Security Working Group’ to ‘facilitate the development and uptake of better technology solutions for border security both at border checkpoints, and along maritime and land borders’. The working group is chaired by Giorgio Gulienetti of the Italian arms company Leonardo, with Isto Mattila (Laurea University of Applied Science) and Peter Smallridge of Gemalto, a digital security company recently acquired by Thales.

    Company lobbyists and representatives of these lobby organisations regularly meet with EU institutions, including the European Commission, are part of official advisory committees, publish influential proposals, organise meetings between industry, policy-makers and executives and also meet at the plethora of military and security fairs, conferences and seminars. Airbus, Leonardo and Thales together with EOS held 226 registered lobbying meetings with the European Commission between 2014 and 2019. In these meetings representatives of the industry position themselves as the experts on border security, presenting their goods and services as the solution for ‘security threats’ caused by immigration. In 2017, the same group of companies and EOS spent up to €2.65 million on lobbying.

    A similar close relationship can be seen on virtual walls, with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission arguing openly for public policy to foster the ‘emergence of a vibrant European biometrics industry’.
    A deadly trade and a choice

    The conclusion of this survey of the business of building walls is clear. A Europe full of walls has proved to be very good for the bottom line of a wide range of corporations including arms, security, IT, shipping and construction companies. The EU’s planned budgets for border security for the next decade show it is also a business that will continue to boom.

    This is also a deadly business. The heavy militarisation of Europe’s borders on land and at sea has led refugees and migrants to follow far more hazardous routes and has trapped others in desperate conditions in neighbouring countries like Libya. Many deaths are not recorded, but those that are tracked in the Mediterranean show that the proportion of those who drown trying to reach Europe continues to increase each year.

    This is not an inevitable state of affairs. It is both the result of policy decisions made by the EU and its member states, and corporate decisions to profit from these policies. In a rare principled stand, German razor wire manufacturer Mutanox in 2015 stated it would not sell its product to the Hungarian government arguing: ‘Razor wire is designed to prevent criminal acts, like a burglary. Fleeing children and adults are not criminals’. It is time for other European politicians and business leaders to recognise the same truth: that building walls against the world’s most vulnerable people violates human rights and is an immoral act that history will judge harshly. Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is time for Europe to bring down its new walls.

    https://www.tni.org/en/businessbuildingwalls

    #business #murs #barrières_frontalières #militarisation_des_frontières #visualisation #Europe #UE #EU #complexe_militaro-industriel #Airbus #Leonardo #Thales #Indra #Israel_Aerospace_Industries #Elbit #European_Security_Fencing #DAT-CON #Geo_Alpinbau #Dragados #Ferrovial, #Proyectos_Y_Tecnología_Sallén #Eulen #Patstroy_Bourgas #Infra_Expert #Patengineeringstroy #Geostroy_Engineering #Metallic-Ivan_Mihaylov #Nordecon #Defendec #DAK_Acélszerkezeti_Kft #SIA_Ceļu_būvniecības_sabiedrība_IGATE #Gintrėja #Minis #Legi-SGS #Groupe_CW #Jackson’s_Fencing #Sorhea #Vinci #Eurovia #Zaun_Ltd #Damen #Fincantieri #Frontex #Damen #Turquie #Instrument_contributing_to_Stability_and_Peace (#IcSP) #Libye #exernalisation #Operation_Sophia #Navantia #Naval_Group #Flensburger_Schiffbau-Gesellschaft #HDW #Lürssen_Gruppe #Motomarine_Shipyards #Panther_57 #Hellenic_Shipyards #Israel_Shipyards #Schiebel #Dornier #Operation_Hermes #CAE_Aviation #DEA_Aviation #EASP_Air #French_Dassault_Aviation #US_Lockheed_Martin #murs_virtuels #Sopra_Steria #Visa_Information_System (#VIS) #données #Schengen_Information_System (#SIS_II) #European_Dactyloscopy (#Eurodac) #GMV #Eurosur #HP_Belgium #Bull #3M_Belgium #Trusted_Borders_consortium #économie #biométrie #Integrated_System_of_External_Vigilance (#SIVE) #eu-LISA #Accenture #Atos_Belgium #Morpho #Idema #lobby #European_Organisation_for_Security (#EOS) #European_Biometrics_Association (#EAB) #Integrated_Border_Security_Working_Group #Giorgio_Gulienetti #Isto_Mattila #Peter_Smallridge #Gemalto #murs_terrestres #murs_maritimes #coût #chiffres #statistiques #Joint_Research_Centre_of_the_European_Commission #Mutanox

    Pour télécharger le #rapport :


    https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/business_of_building_walls_-_full_report.pdf

    déjà signalé par @odilon ici :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/809783
    Je le remets ici avec des mots clé de plus

    ping @daphne @marty @isskein @karine4

    • La costruzione di muri: un business

      Trent’anni dopo la caduta del Muro di Berlino, l’Europa fa parlare di sé ancora una volta per i suoi muri di frontiera. Questa volta non è tanto l’ideologia che la divide, quanto la paura di rifugiati e migranti, alcune tra le persone più vulnerabili al mondo.

      Riassunto del rapporto «The Business of Building Walls» [1]:

      Chi ha ucciso il sogno di un’Europa più aperta? Cosa ha dato inizio a questa nuova era dei muri?
      Ci sono evidentemente molte ragioni: il crescente spostamento di persone a causa di conflitti, repressione e impoverimento, l’ascesa di politiche securitarie sulla scia dell’11 settembre, l’insicurezza economica e sociale percepita in Europa dopo la crisi finanziaria del 2008, solo per nominarne alcune. Tuttavia, c’è un gruppo che ha di gran lunga da guadagnare da questo innalzamento di nuovi muri: le imprese che li costruiscono. La loro influenza nel dare forma ad un mondo di muri necessita di un esame più profondo.

      Questo rapporto esplora il business della costruzione di muri, che è stato alimentato e ha beneficiato di un aumento considerevole della spesa pubblica dedicata alla sicurezza delle frontiere dall’Unione Europea (EU) e dai suoi Stati membri. Alcune imprese beneficiarie sono delle multinazionali che approfittano di un mercato globale per la sicurezza delle frontiere che si stima valere approssimativamente 17,5 miliardi di euro nel 2018, con una crescita annuale prevista almeno dell’8% nei prossimi anni.

      È importante guardare sia oltre che dietro i muri e le barriere d’Europa, perché i reali ostacoli alla migrazione contemporanea non sono tanto le recinzioni, quanto la vasta gamma di tecnologie che vi è alla base, dai sistemi radar ai droni, dalle telecamere di sorveglianza ai sistemi biometrici di rilevamento delle impronte digitali. Allo stesso modo, alcuni tra i più pericolosi muri d’Europa non sono nemmeno fisici o sulla terraferma. Le navi, gli aerei e i droni usati per pattugliare il Mediterraneo hanno creato un muro marittimo e un cimitero per i migliaia di migranti e di rifugiati che non hanno un passaggio legale verso la salvezza o per esercitare il loro diritto di asilo.

      Tutto ciò rende insignificanti le dichiarazioni della Commissione Europea secondo le quali essa non finanzierebbe i muri e le recinzioni. Il portavoce della Commissione, Alexander Winterstein, per esempio, nel rifiutare la richiesta dell’Ungheria di rimborsare la metà dei costi delle recinzioni costruite sul suo confine con la Croazia e la Serbia, ha affermato: “Noi sosteniamo le misure di gestione delle frontiere presso i confini esterni. Queste possono consistere in misure di sorveglianza o in equipaggiamento di controllo delle frontiere... . Ma le recinzioni, quelle non le finanziamo”. In altre parole, la Commissione è disposta a pagare per qualunque cosa che fortifichi un confine fintanto che ciò non sia visto come propriamente costruire dei muri.

      Questo rapporto è il seguito di “Building Walls - Fear and securitizazion in the Euopean Union”, co-pubblicato nel 2018 con Centre Delàs e Stop Wapenhandel, che per primi hanno misurato e identificato i muri che attraversano l’Europa.

      Questo nuovo rapporto si focalizza sulle imprese che hanno tratto profitto dai tre differenti tipi di muro in Europa:
      – Le imprese di costruzione ingaggiate per costruire i muri fisici costruiti dagli Stati membri UE e dall’Area Schengen in collaborazione con le imprese esperte in sicurezza e tecnologia che provvedono le tecnologie, l’equipaggiamento e i servizi associati;
      – le imprese di trasporto marittimo e di armamenti che forniscono le navi, gli aerei, gli elicotteri e i droni che costituiscono i muri marittimi dell’Europa per tentare di controllare i flussi migratori nel Mediterraneo, in particolare le operazioni di Frontex, l’operazione Sophia e l’operazione italiana Mare Nostrum;
      – e le imprese specializzate in informatica e in sicurezza incaricate di sviluppare, eseguire, estendere e mantenere i sistemi dell’UE che controllano i movimento delle persone, quali SIS II (Schengen Information System) e EES (Entry/Exii Scheme), che costituiscono i muri virtuali dell’Europa.
      Dei budget fiorenti

      Il flusso di denaro dai contribuenti ai costruttori di muri è stato estremamente lucrativo e non cessa di aumentare. Il report rivela che dalla fine della guerra fredda, le imprese hanno raccolto i profitti di almeno 900 milioni di euro di spese dei paesi dell’UE per i muri fisici e per le recinzioni. Con i dati parziali (sia nella portata e che negli anni), i costi reali raggiungerebbero almeno 1 miliardo di euro. Inoltre, le imprese che forniscono la tecnologia e i servizi che accompagnano i muri hanno ugualmente beneficiato di un flusso costante di finanziamenti da parte dell’UE, in particolare i Fondi per le frontiere esterne (1,7 miliardi di euro, 2007-2013) e i Fondi per la sicurezza interna - Fondi per le Frontiere (2,76 miliardi di euro, 2014-2020).

      Le spese dell’UE per i muri marittimi hanno raggiunto almeno 676,4 milioni di euro tra il 2006 e il 2017 (di cui 534 milioni sono stati spesi da Frontex, 28 milioni dall’UE nell’operazione Sophia e 114 milioni dall’Italia nell’operazione Mare Nostrum) e sarebbero molto superiori se si includessero tutte le operazioni delle guardie costiera nazionali nel Mediterraneo.

      Questa esplosione dei budget per le frontiere ha le condizioni per proseguire. Nel quadro del suo budget per il prossimo ciclo di bilancio dell’Unione Europea (2021-2027), la Commissione europea ha attribuito 8,02 miliardi di euro al suo fondo di gestione integrata delle frontiere (2021-2027), 11,27 miliardi a Frontex (dei quali 2,2 miliardi saranno utilizzati per l’acquisizione, il mantenimento e l’utilizzo di mezzi aerei, marittimi e terrestri) e almeno 1,9 miliardi di euro di spese totali (2000-2027) alle sue banche dati di identificazione e a Eurosur (il sistemo europeo di sorveglianza delle frontiere).
      I principali attori del settore degli armamenti

      Tre giganti europei del settore della difesa e della sicurezza giocano un ruolo cruciale nei differenti tipi di frontiere d’Europa: Thales, Leonardo e Airbus.

      – Thales è un’impresa francese specializzata negli armamenti e nella sicurezza, con una presenza significativa nei Paesi Bassi, che produce sistemi radar e sensori utilizzati da numerose navi della sicurezza frontaliera. I sistemi Thales, per esempio, sono stati utilizzati dalle navi olandesi e portoghesi impiegate nelle operazioni di Frontex.
      Thales produce ugualmente sistemi di sorveglianza marittima per droni e lavora attualmente per sviluppare una infrastruttura di sorveglianza delle frontiere per Eurosus, che permetta di seguire e controllare i rifugiati prima che raggiungano l’Europa con l’aiuto di applicazioni per Smartphone, e studia ugualmente l’utilizzo di “High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites - HAPS” per la sicurezza delle frontiere, per l’Agenzia spaziale europea e Frontex. Thales fornisce attualmente il sistema di sicurezza del porto altamente militarizzato di Calais.
      Con l’acquisto nel 2019 di Gemalto, multinazionale specializzata nella sicurezza e identità (biometrica), Thales diventa un attore importante nello sviluppo e nel mantenimento dei muri virtuali dell’UE. L’impresa ha partecipato a 27 progetti di ricerca dell’UE sulla sicurezza delle frontiere.

      – La società di armamenti italiana Leonardo (originariamente Finmeccanica o Leonardo-Finmeccanica) è uno dei principali fornitori di elicotteri per la sicurezza delle frontiere, utilizzati dalle operazioni Mare Nostrum, Hera e Sophia in Italia. Ha ugualmente fatto parte dei principali fornitori di UAV (o droni), ottenendo un contratto di 67,1 milioni di euro nel 2017 con l’EMSA (Agenzia europea per la sicurezza marittima) per fornire le agenzie di guardia costiera dell’UE.
      Leonardo faceva ugualmente parte di un consorzio che si è visto attribuire un contratto di 142,1 milioni di euro nel 2019 per attuare e assicurare il mantenimento dei muri virtuali dell’UE, ossia il Sistema di entrata/uscita (EES). La società detiene, con Thales, Telespazio, che partecipa ai progetti di osservazione dai satelliti dell’UE (React e Copernicus) utilizzati per controllare le frontiere. Leonardo ha partecipato a 24 progetti di ricerca dell’UE sulla sicurezza e il controllo delle frontiere, tra cui lo sviluppo di Eurosur.

      – Il gigante degli armamenti pan-europei Airbus è un importante fornitore di elicotteri utilizzati nella sorveglianza delle frontiere marittime e di alcune frontiere terrestri, impiegati da Belgio, Francia, Germania, Grecia, Italia, Lituania e Spagna, in particolare nelle operazioni marittime Sophia, Poseidon e Triton. Airbus e le sue filiali hanno partecipato almeno a 13 progetti di ricerca sulla sicurezza delle frontiere finanziati dall’UE, tra cui OCEAN2020, PERSEUS e LOBOS.

      Il ruolo chiave di queste società di armamenti in realtà non è sorprendente. Come è stato dimostrato da “Border Wars” (2016), queste imprese, in quanto appartenenti a lobby come EOS (Organizzazione europea per la sicurezza) e ASD (Associazione delle industrie aerospaziali e della difesa in Europa), hanno ampiamente contribuito a influenzare l’orientamento della politica delle frontiere dell’UE. Paradossalmente, questi stessi marchi fanno ugualmente parte dei quattro più grandi venditori europei di armi al Medio Oriente e all’Africa del Nord, contribuendo così ad alimentare i conflitti all’origine di queste migrazioni forzate.

      Allo stesso modo Indra gioca un ruolo non indifferente nel controllo delle frontiere in Spagna e nel Mediterraneo. L’impresa ha ottenuto una serie di contratti per fortificare Ceuta e Melilla (enclavi spagnole nel Nord del Marocco). Indra ha ugualmente sviluppato il sistema di controllo delle frontiere SIVE (con sistemi radar, di sensori e visivi) che è installato nella maggior parte delle frontiere della Spagna, così come in Portogallo e in Romania. Nel luglio 2018, Indra ha ottenuto un contratto di 10 milioni di euro per assicurare la gestione di SIVE su più siti per due anni. L’impresa è molto attiva nel fare lobby presso l’UE. È ugualmente una dei grandi beneficiari dei finanziamenti per la ricerca dell’UE, che assicurano il coordinamento del progetto PERSEUS per lo sviluppo di Eurosur e il Seahorse Network, la rete di scambio di informazioni tra le forze di polizia dei paesi mediterranei (in Europa e in Africa) per fermare le migrazioni.

      Le società di armamenti israeliane hanno anch’esse ottenuto numerosi contratti nel quadro della sicurezza delle frontiere in UE. Nel 2018, Frontex ha selezionato il drone Heron delle Israel Aerospace Industries per i voli di sorveglianza degli esperimenti pilota nel Mediterraneo. Nel 2015, la società israeliana Elbit Systems ha venduto sei dei suoi droni Hermes al Corpo di guardie di frontiera svizzero, nel quadro di un contratto controverso di 230 milioni di euro. Ha anche firmato in seguito un contratto per droni con l’EMSA (Agenzia europea per la sicurezza marittima), in quanto subappaltatore della società portoghese CEIIA (2018), così come dei contratti per equipaggiare tre navi di pattugliamento per la Hellenic Coast Guard (2019).
      Gli appaltatori dei muri fisici

      La maggioranza di muri e recinzioni che sono stati rapidamente eretti attraverso l’Europa, sono stati costruiti da società di BTP nazionali/società nazionali di costruzioni, ma un’impresa europea ha dominato nel mercato: la European Security Fencing, un produttore spagnolo di filo spinato, in particolare di un filo a spirale chiamato “concertina”. È famosa per aver fornito i fili spinati delle recinzioni che circondano Ceuta e Melilla. L’impresa ha ugualmente dotato di fili spinati le frontiere tra l’Ungheria e la Serbia, e i suoi fili spinati “concertina” sono stati installati alle frontiere tra Bulgaria e Turchia e tra l’Austria e la Slovenia, così come a Calais e, per qualche giorno, alla frontiera tra Ungheria e Slovenia, prima di essere ritirati. Dato che essi detengono il monopolio sul mercato da un po’ di tempo a questa parte, è probabile che i fili spinati “concertina” siano stati utilizzati presso altre frontiere in Europa.

      Tra le altre imprese che hanno fornito i muri e le tecnologie ad essi associate, si trova DAT-CON (Croazia, Cipro, Macedonia, Moldavia, Slovenia e Ucraina), Geo Alpinbau (Austria/Slovenia), Indra, Dragados, Ferrovial, Proyectos Y Tecnología Sallén e Eulen (Spagna/Marocco), Patstroy Bourgas, Infra Expert, Patengineeringstroy, Geostroy Engineering, Metallic-Ivan Mihaylov et Indra (Bulgaria/Turchia), Nordecon e Defendec (Estonia/Russia), DAK Acélszerkezeti Kft e SIA Ceļu būvniecības sabiedrība IGATE (Lettonia/Russia), Gintrėja (Lituania/Russi), Minis e Legi-SGS (Slovenia/Croazia), Groupe CW, Jackson’s Fencing, Sorhea, Vinci/Eurovia e Zaun Ltd (Francia/Regno Unito).

      I costi reali dei muri e delle tecnologie associate superano spesso le stime originali. Numerose accuse e denunce per corruzione sono state allo stesso modo formulate, in certi casi perché i progetti erano stati attribuiti a delle imprese che appartenevano ad amici di alti funzionari. In Slovenia, per esempio, accuse di corruzione riguardanti un contratto per la costruzione di muri alle frontiere hanno portato a tre anni di battaglie legali per avere accesso ai documenti; la questione è passata poi alla Corte suprema.

      Malgrado tutto ciò, il Fondo europeo per le frontiere esterne ha sostenuto finanziariamente le infrastrutture e i servizi tecnologici di numerose operazioni alle frontiere degli Stati membri. In Macedonia, per esempio, l’UE ha versato 9 milioni di euro per finanziare dei veicoli di pattugliamento, delle telecamere a visione notturna, dei rivelatori di battito cardiaco e sostegno tecnico alle guardie di frontiera nell’aiuto della gestione della sua frontiera meridionale.
      Gli speculatori dei muri marittimi

      I dati che permettono di determinare quali imbarcazioni, elicotteri e aerei sono utilizzati nelle operazioni marittime in Europa mancano di trasparenza. È dunque difficile recuperare tutte le informazioni. Le nostre ricerche mostrano comunque che tra le principali società implicate figurano i giganti europei degli armamenti Airbus e Leonardo, così come grandi imprese di costruzione navale come l’olandese Damen e l’italiana Fincantieri.

      Le imbarcazioni di pattugliamento di Damen sono servite per delle operazioni frontaliere portate avanti da Albania, Belgio, Bulgaria, Portogallo, Paesi Bassi, Romania, Svezia e Regno Unito, così come per le vaste operazioni di Frontex (Poseidon, Triton e Themis), per l’operazione Sophia e hanno ugualmente sostento la NATO nell’operazione Poseidon.

      Al di fuori dell’Europa, la Libia, il Marocco, la Tunisia e la Turchia utilizzano delle imbarcazioni Damen per la sicurezza delle frontiere, spesso in collaborazione con l’UE o i suoi Stati membri. Per esempio, le sei navi Damen che la Turchia ha comprato per la sua guardia costiera nel 2006, per un totale di 20 milioni di euro, sono state finanziate attraverso lo strumento europeo che contribuirebbe alla stabilità e alla pace (IcSP), destinato a mantenere la pace e a prevenire i conflitti.

      La vendita di imbarcazioni Damen alla Libia mette in evidenza l’inquietante costo umano di questo commercio. Nel 2012, Damen ha fornito quattro imbarcazioni di pattugliamento alla guardia costiera libica, che sono state vendute come equipaggiamento civile col fine di evitare la licenza di esportazione di armi nei Paesi Bassi. I ricercatori hanno poi scoperto che non solo le imbarcazioni erano state vendute con dei punti di fissaggio per le armi, ma che erano state in seguito armate ed utilizzate per fermare le imbarcazioni di rifugiati. Numerosi incidenti che hanno implicato queste imbarcazioni sono stati segnalati, tra i quali l’annegamento di 20 o 30 rifugiati. Damen si è rifiutata di commentare, dichiarando di aver convenuto col governo libico di non divulgare alcuna informazione riguardante le imbarcazioni.

      Numerosi costruttori navali nazionali, oltre a Damen, giocano un ruolo determinante nelle operizioni marittime poiché sono sistematicamente scelti con priorità dai paesi partecipanti a ogni operazione di Frontex o ad altre operazioni nel Mediterraneo. Tutte le imbarcazioni fornite dall’Italia all’operazione Sophia sono state costruite da Fincantieri e tutte quelle spagnole sono fornite da Navantia e dai suoi predecessori. Allo stesso modo, la Francia si rifornisce da DCN/DCNS, ormai Naval Group, e tutte le imbarcazioni tedesche sono state costruite da diversi cantieri navali tedeschi (Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, HDW, Lürssen Gruppe). Altre imprese hanno partecipato alle operazioni di Frontex, tra cui la società greca Motomarine Shipyards, che ha prodotto i pattugliatori rapidi Panther 57 utilizzati dalla guardia costiera greca, così come la Hellenic Shipyards e la Israel Shipyards.

      La società austriaca Schiebel, che fornisce i droni S-100, gioca un ruolo importante nella sorveglianza aerea delle attività marittime. Nel novembre 2018, è stata selezionata dall’EMSA per un contratto di sorveglianza marittima di 24 milioni di euro riguardante differenti operazioni che includevano la sicurezza delle frontiere. Dal 2017, Schiebel ha ugualmente ottenuto dei contratti con la Croazia, la Danimarca, l’Islanda, l’Italia, il Portogallo e la Spagna. L’impresa ha un passato controverso: ha venduto dei droni a numerosi paesi in conflitto armato o governati da regimi repressivi come la Libia, il Myanmar, gli Emirati Arabi Uniti e lo Yemen.

      La Finlandia e i Paesi Bassi hanno impiegato degli aerei Dornier rispettivamente nel quadro delle operazioni Hermès, Poseidon e Triton. Dornier appartiene ormai alla filiale americana della società di armamenti israeliana Elbit Systems.
      CAE Aviation (Lussemburgo), DEA Aviation (Regno Unito) e EASP Air (Paesi Bassi) hanno tutte ottenuto dei contratti di sorveglianza aerea per Frontex.
      Airbus, Dassault Aviation, Leonardo e l’americana Lockheed Martin hanno fornito il più grande numero di aerei utilizzati per l’operazione Sophia.

      L’UE e i suoi Stati membri difendono le loro operazioni marittime pubblicizzando il loro ruolo nel salvataggio dei rifugiati in mare. Ma non è questo il loro obiettivo principale, come sottolinea il direttore di Frontex Fabrice Leggeri nell’aprile 2015, dichiarando che “le azioni volontarie di ricerca e salvataggio” non fanno parte del mandato affidato a Frontex, e che salvare delle vite non dovrebbe essere una priorità. La criminalizzazione delle operazioni di salvataggio da parte delle ONG, gli ostacoli che esse incontrano, così come la violenza e i respingimenti illegali dei rifugiati, spesso denunciati, illustrano bene il fatto che queste operazioni marittime sono volte soprattutto a costituire muri piuttosto che missioni umanitarie.
      I muri virtuali

      I principali contratti dell’UE legati ai muri virtuali sono stati affidati a due imprese, a volte in quanto leader di un consorzio.
      Sopra Steria è il partner principale per lo sviluppo e il mantenimento del Sistema d’informazione dei visti (SIV), del Sistema di informazione Schengen (SIS II) e di Eurodac (European Dactyloscopy) e GMV ha firmato una serie di contratti per Eurosur. I sistemi che essi concepiscono permettono di controllare e di sorvegliare i movimenti delle persone attraverso l’Europa e, sempre più spesso, al di là delle sue frontiere.

      Sopra Steria è un’impresa francese di servizi per consultazioni in tecnologia che ha, ad oggi, ottenuto dei contratti con l’UE per un valore totale di più di 150 milioni di euro. Nel quadro di alcuni di questi grossi contratti, Sopra Steria ha formato dei consorzi con HP Belgio, Bull e 3M Belgio.

      Malgrado l’ampiezza di questi mercati, Sopra Steria ha ricevuto importanti critiche per la sua mancanza di rigore nel rispetto delle tempistiche e dei budget. Il lancio di SIS II è stato costantemente ritardato, costringendo la Commissione a prolungare i contratti e ad aumentare i budget. Sopra Steria aveva ugualmente fatto parte di un altro consorzio, Trusted Borders, impegnato nello sviluppo del programma e-Borders nel Regno Unito. Quest’ultimo è terminato nel 2010 dopo un accumulo di ritardi e di mancate consegne. Tuttavia, la società ha continuato a ottenere contratti, a causa del suo quasi monopolio di conoscenze e di relazioni con i rappresentanti dell’UE. Il ruolo centrale di Sopra Steria nello sviluppo dei sistemi biometrici dell’UE ha ugualmente portato alla firma di altri contratti nazionali con, tra gli altri, il Belgio, la Bulgaria, la Repubblica ceca, la Finlandia, la Francia, la Germania, la Romania e la Slovenia.

      GMV, un’impresa tecnologica spagnola, ha concluso una serie di grossi contratti per Eurosur, dopo la sua fase sperimentale nel 2010, per almeno 25 milioni di euro. Essa rifornisce ugualmente di tecnologie la Guardia Civil spagnola, tecnologie quali, ad esempio, i centri di controllo del suo Sistema integrato di sorveglianza esterna (SIVE), sistema di sicurezza delle frontiere, così come rifornisce di servizi di sviluppo logistico Frontex. L’impresa ha partecipato ad almeno dieci progetti di ricerca finanziati dall’UE sulla sicurezza delle frontiere.

      La maggior parte dei grossi contratti riguardanti i muri virtuali che non sono stati conclusi con consorzi di cui facesse parte Sopra Steria, sono stati attribuiti da eu-LISA (l’Agenzia europea per la gestione operazionale dei sistemi di informazione su vasta scale in seno allo spazio di libertà, di sicurezza e di giustizia) a dei consorzi di imprese specializzate nell’informazione e nelle nuove tecnologie, tra questi: Accenture, Atos Belgium e Morpho (rinominato Idemia).
      Lobby

      Come testimonia il nostro report “Border Wars”, il settore della difesa e della sicurezza, grazie ad una lobbying efficace, ha un’influenza considerabile nell’elaborazione delle politiche di difesa e di sicurezza dell’UE. Le imprese di questo settore industriale sono riuscite a posizionarsi come esperti della sicurezza delle frontiere, portando avanti il loro discorso secondo il quale la migrazione è prima di tutto una minaccia per la sicurezza che deve essere combattuta tramite mezzi militari e securitari. Questo crea così una domanda continua del catalogo sempre più fornito di equipaggiamenti e servizi che esse forniscono per la sicurezza e il controllo delle frontiere.

      Un numero alto di imprese che abbiamo nominato, in particolare le grandi società di armamenti, fanno parte dell’EOS (Organizzazione europea per la sicurezza), il più importante gruppo di pressione sulla sicurezza delle frontiere.

      Molte imprese informatiche che hanno concepito i muri virtuali dell’UE sono membri dell’EAB (Associazione Europea per la Biometria). L’EOS ha un “Gruppo di lavoro sulla sicurezza integrata delle frontiere” per “permettere lo sviluppo e l’adozione delle migliori soluzioni tecnologiche per la sicurezza delle frontiere sia ai checkpoint che lungo le frontiere marittime e terrestri”.
      Il gruppo di lavoro è presieduto da Giorgio Gulienetti, della società di armi italiana Leonardo, Isto Mattila (diplomato all’università di scienze applicate) e Peter Smallridge di Gemalto, multinazionale specializzata nella sicurezza numerica, recentemente acquisita da Thales.

      I lobbisti di imprese e i rappresentanti di questi gruppi di pressione incontrano regolarmente le istituzioni dell’UE, tra cui la Commissione europea, nel quadro di comitati di consiglio ufficiali, pubblicano proposte influenti, organizzano incontri tra il settore industriale, i policy-makers e i dirigenti e si ritrovano allo stesso modo in tutti i saloni, le conferenze e i seminari sulla difesa e la sicurezza.

      Airbus, Leonardo e Thales e l’EOS hanno anche assistito a 226 riunioni ufficiali di lobby con la Commissione europea tra il 2014 e il 2019. In queste riunioni, i rappresentanti del settore si presentano come esperti della sicurezza delle frontiere, e propongono i loro prodotti e servizi come soluzione alle “minacce alla sicurezza” costituite dall’immigrazione. Nel 2017, queste stesse imprese e l’EOS hanno speso fino a 2,56 milioni di euro in lobbying.

      Si constata una relazione simile per quanto riguarda i muri virtuali: il Centro comune della ricerca della Commissione europea domanda apertamente che le politiche pubbliche favoriscano “l’emergenza di una industria biometrica europea dinamica”.
      Un business mortale, una scelta

      La conclusione di questa inchiesta sul business dell’innalzamento di muri è chiara: la presenza di un’Europa piena di muri si rivela molto fruttuosa per una larga fetta di imprese del settore degli armamenti, della difesa, dell’informatica, del trasporto marittimo e delle imprese di costruzioni. I budget che l’UE ha pianificato per la sicurezza delle frontiere nei prossimi dieci anni mostrano che si tratta di un commercio che continua a prosperare.

      Si tratta altresì di un commercio mortale. A causa della vasta militarizzazione delle frontiere dell’Europa sulla terraferma e in mare, i rifugiati e i migranti intraprendono dei percorsi molto più pericolosi e alcuni si trovano anche intrappolati in terribili condizioni in paesi limitrofi come la Libia. Non vengono registrate tutte le morti, ma quelle che sono registrate nel Mediterraneo mostrano che il numero di migranti che annegano provando a raggiungere l’Europa continua ad aumentare ogni anno.

      Questo stato di cose non è inevitabile. È il risultato sia di decisioni politiche prese dall’UE e dai suoi Stati membri, sia dalle decisioni delle imprese di trarre profitto da queste politiche. Sono rare le imprese che prendono posizione, come il produttore tedesco di filo spinato Mutinox che ha dichiarato nel 2015 che non avrebbe venduto i suoi prodotti al governo ungherese per il seguente motivo: “I fili spinati sono concepiti per impedire atti criminali, come il furto. Dei rifugiati, bambini e adulti, non sono dei criminali”.

      È tempo che altri politici e capi d’impresa riconoscano questa stessa verità: erigere muri contro le popolazioni più vulnerabili viola i diritti umani e costituisce un atto immorale che sarà evidentemente condannato dalla storia.

      Trent’anni dopo la caduta del muro di Berlino, è tempo che l’Europa abbatta i suoi nuovi muri.

      https://www.meltingpot.org/La-costruzione-di-muri-un-business.html

    • How the arms industry drives Fortress Europe’s expansion

      In recent years, rising calls for deterrence have intensified the physical violence migrants face at the EU border. The externalization of the border through deals with sending and transit countries signals the expansion of this securitization process. Financial gains by international arms firms in this militarization trend form an obstacle for policy change.

      In March, April, and May of this year, multiple European countries deployed military forces to their national borders. This was done to assist with controls and patrols in the wake of border closures and other movement restrictions due to the Covid-19 crisis. Poland deployed 1,460 soldiers to the border to support the Border Guard and police as part of a larger military operation in reaction to Covid-19. And the Portuguese police used military drones as a complement to their land border checks. According to overviews from NATO, the Czech Republic, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands (military police), Slovakia, and Slovenia all stationed armed forces at their national borders.

      While some of these deployments have been or will be rolled back as the Corona crisis dies down, they are not exceptional developments. Rather, using armed forces for border security and control has been a common occurrence at EU external borders since the so-called refugee crisis of 2015. They are part of the continuing militarisation of European border and migration policies, which is known to put refugees at risk but is increasingly being expanded to third party countries. Successful lobbying from the military and security industry has been an important driver for these policies, from which large European arms companies have benefited.

      The militarization of borders happens when EU member states send armies to border regions, as they did in Operation Sophia off the Libyan coast. This was the first outright EU military mission to stop migration. But border militarization also includes the use of military equipment for migration control, such as helicopters and patrol vessels, as well as the the EU-wide surveillance system Eurosur, which connects surveillance data from all individual member states. Furthermore, EU countries now have over 1,000 kilometers of walls and fences on their borders. These are rigged with surveillance, monitoring, and detection technologies, and accompanied by an increasing use of drones and other autonomous systems. The EU also funds a constant stream of Research & Technology (R&T) projects to develop new technologies and services to monitor and manage migration.

      This process has been going on for decades. The Schengen Agreement of 1985, and the subsequent creation of the Schengen Area, which coupled the opening of the internal EU borders with robust control at the external borders, can be seen as a starting point for these developments. After 2011, when the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ led to fears of mass migration to Europe, and especially since the ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015, the EU accelerated the boosting and militarising of border security, enormously. Since then, stopping migration has been at the top of the EU agenda.

      An increasingly important part of the process of border militarization isn’t happening at the European borders, but far beyond them. The EU and its member states are incentivizing third party countries to help stop migrants long before they reach Europe. This externalising of borders has taken many forms, from expanding the goals of EUCAP missions in Mali and Niger to include the prevention of irregular migration, to funding and training the Libyan Coast Guard to return refugees back to torture and starvation in the infamous detention centers in Libya. It also includes the donation of border security equipment, for example from Germany to Tunisia, and funding for purchases, such as Turkey’s acquisition of coast guard vessels to strengthen its operational capacities.

      Next to the direct consequences of European border externalisation efforts, these policies cause and worsen problems in the third party countries concerned: diverting development funds and priorities, ruining migration-based economies, and strengthening authoritarian regimes such as those in Chad, Belarus, Eritrea, and Sudan by providing funding, training and equipment to their military and security forces. Precisely these state organs are most responsible for repression and abuses of human rights. All this feeds drivers of migration, including violence, repression, and unemployment. As such, it is almost a guarantee for more refugees in the future.

      EU border security agency Frontex has also extended its operations into non-EU-countries. Ongoing negotiations and conclusions of agreements with Balkan countries resulted in the first operation in Albania having started in May 2019. And this is only a small part of Frontex’ expanding role in recent years. In response to the ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015, the European Commission launched a series of proposals that saw large increases in the powers of the agency, including giving member states binding advice to boost their border security, and giving Frontex the right to intervene in member states’ affairs (even without their consent) by decision of the Commission or Council.

      These proposals also included the creation of a 10,000 person strong standing corps of border guards and a budget to buy or lease its own equipment. Concretely, Frontex started with a budget of €6 million in 2005, which grew to €143 million in 2015. This was then quickly increased again from €239 million in 2016 to €460 million in 2020. The enormous expansion of EU border security and control has been accompanied by rapidly increasing budgets in general. In recent years, billions of euros have been spent on fortifying borders, setting up biometric databases, increasing surveillance capacities, and paying non-EU-countries to play their parts in this expansion process.

      Negotiations about the next seven-year-budget for the EU, the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, are still ongoing. In the European Commission’s latest proposal, which is clearly positioned as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the fund for strengthening member states’ border security, the Integrated Border Management Fund, has been allotted €12.5 billion. Its predecessors, the External Borders Fund (2007-2013) and the Internal Security Fund – Borders (2014-2020), had much smaller budgets: €1.76 billion and €2.70 billion, respectively. For Frontex, €7.5 billion is reserved, with €2.2 billion earmarked for purchasing or leasing equipment such as helicopters, drones, and patrol vessels. These huge budget increases are exemplary of the priority the EU attaches to stopping migration.

      The narrative underlying these policies and budget growths is the perception of migration as a threat; a security problem. As researcher, Ainhoa Ruiz (Centre Delàs) writes, “the securitisation process also includes militarisation,” because “the prevailing paradigm for providing security is based on military principles: the use of force and coercion, more weapons equating to more security, and the achievement of security by eliminating threats.”

      This narrative hasn’t come out of the blue. It is pushed by right wing politicians and often followed by centrist and leftist parties afraid of losing voters. Importantly, it is also promoted by an extensive and successful industrial lobby. According to Martin Lemberg-Pedersen (Assistant Professor in Global Refugee Studies, Aalborg University), arms companies “establish themselves as experts on border security, and use this position to frame immigration to Europe as leading to evermore security threats in need of evermore advanced [security] products.” The narrative of migration as a security problem thus sets the stage for militaries, and the security companies behind the commercial arms lobby, to offer their goods and services as the solution. The range of militarization policies mentioned so far reflects the broad adoption of this narrative.

      The lobby organizations of large European military and security companies regularly interact with the European Commission and EU border agencies. They have meetings, organise roundtables, and see each other at military and security fairs and conferences. Industry representatives also take part in official advisory groups, are invited to present new arms and technologies, and write policy proposals. These proposals can sometimes be so influential that they are adopted as policy, almost unamended.

      This happened, for instance, when the the Commission decided to open up the Instrument contributing to Security and Peace, a fund meant for peace-building and conflict prevention. The fund’s terms were expanded to cover provision of third party countries with non-lethal security equipment, for example, for border security purposes. The new policy document for this turned out to be a step-by-step reproduction of an earlier proposal from lobby organisation, Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD). Yet, perhaps the most far-reaching success of this kind is the expansion of Frontex, itself, into a European Border Guard. Years before it actually happened, the industry had already been pushing for this outcome.

      The same companies that are at the forefront of the border security and control lobby are, not surprisingly, also the big winners of EU and member states’ contracts in these areas. These include three of the largest European (and global) arms companies, namely, Airbus (Paneuropean), Leonardo (Italy) and Thales (France). These companies are active in many aspects of the border security and control market. Airbus’ and Leonardo’s main product in this field are helicopters, with EU funds paying for many purchases by EU and third countries. Thales provides radar, for example, for border patrol vessels, and is heavily involved in biometric and digital identification, especially after having acquired market leader, Gemalto, last year.

      These three companies are the main beneficiaries of the European anti-migration obsession. At the same time, these very three companies also contribute to new migration streams to Europe’s shores through their trade in arms. They are responsible for significant parts of Europe’s arms exports to countries at war, and they provide the arms used by parties in internal armed conflicts, by human rights violators, and by repressive regimes. These are the forces fueling the reasons for which people are forced to flee in the first place.

      Many other military and security companies also earn up to hundreds of millions of euros from large border security and control projects oriented around logistics and transport. Dutch shipbuilder Damen provided not only many southern European countries with border patrol vessels, but also controversially sold those to Libya and Turkey, among others. Its ships have also been used in Frontex operations, in Operation Sophia, and on the Channel between Calais and Dover.

      The Spanish company, European Security Fencing, provided razor wire for the fences around the Spanish enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla, in Morocco, as well as the fence at Calais and the fences on the borders of Austria, Bulgaria, and Hungary. Frontex, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), and Greece leased border surveillance drones from Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). These are Israeli military companies that routinely promote their products as ‘combat-proven’ or ‘battlefield tested’ against Palestinians.

      Civipol, a French public-private company owned by the state, and several large arms producers (including Thales, Airbus, and Safran), run a string of EU-/member state-funded border security projects in third party countries. This includes setting up fingerprint databases of the whole populations of Mali and Senegal, which facilitates identification and deportation of their nationals from Europe. These are just a few examples of the companies that benefit from the billions of euros that the EU and its member states spend on a broad range of purchases and projects in their bid to stop migration.

      The numbers of forcibly displaced people in the world grew to a staggering 79.5 million by the end of last year. Instead of helping to eliminate the root causes of migration, EU border and migration policies, as well as its arms exports to the rest of the world, are bound to lead to more refugees in the future. The consequences of these policies have already been devastating. As experts in the field of migration have repeatedly warned, the militarisation of borders primarily pushes migrants to take alternative migration routes that are often more dangerous and involve the risks of relying on criminal smuggling networks. The Mediterranean Sea has become a sad witness of this, turning into a graveyard for a growing percentage of refugees trying to cross it.

      The EU approach to border security doesn’t stand on its own. Many other countries, in particular Western ones and those with authoritarian leaders, follow the same narrative and policies. Governments all over the world, but particularly those in the US, Australia, and Europe, continue to spend billions of euros on border security and control equipment and services. And they plan to increase budgets even more in the coming years. For military and security companies, this is good news; the global border security market is expected to grow by over 7% annually for the next five years to a total of $65 billion in 2025. It looks like they will belong to the very few winners of increasingly restrictive policies targeting vulnerable people on the run.

      https://crisismag.net/2020/06/27/how-the-arms-industry-drives-fortress-europes-expansion
      #industrie_militaire #covid-19 #coronavirus #frontières_extérieures #Operation_Sophia #Eurosur #surveillance #drones #technologie #EUCAP #externalisation #Albanie #budget #Integrated_Border_Management_Fund #menace #lobby_industriel #Instrument_contributing_to_Security_and_Peace #conflits #paix #prévention_de_conflits #Aerospace_and_Defence_Industries_Association_of_Europe (#ASD) #Airbus #Leonardo #Thales #hélicoptères #radar #biométrie #identification_digitale #Gemalto #commerce_d'armes #armement #Damen #European_Security_Fencing #barbelé #European_Maritime_Safety_Agency (#EMSA) #Elbit #Israel_Aerospace_Industries (#IAI) #Civipol #Safran #base_de_données

      –—

      Pour @etraces :

      Civipol, a French public-private company owned by the state, and several large arms producers (including Thales, Airbus, and Safran), run a string of EU-/member state-funded border security projects in third party countries. This includes setting up fingerprint databases of the whole populations of Mali and Senegal, which facilitates identification and deportation of their nationals from Europe

    • GUARDING THE FORTRESS. The role of Frontex in the militarisation and securitisation of migration flows in the European Union

      The report focuses on 19 Frontex operations run by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (hereafter Frontex) to explore how the agency is militarising borders and criminalising migrants, undermining fundamental rights to freedom of movement and the right to asylum.

      This report is set in a wider context in which more than 70.8 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced, according to the 2018 figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (UNHCR, 2019). Some of these have reached the borders of the European Union (EU), seeking protection and asylum, but instead have encountered policy responses that mostly aim to halt and intercept migration flows, against the background of securitisation policies in which the governments of EU Member States see migration as a threat. One of the responses to address migration flows is the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (hereafter Frontex), established in 2004 as the EU body in charge of guarding what many have called ‘Fortress Europe’, and whose practices have helped to consolidate the criminalisation of migrants and the securitisation of their movements.

      The report focuses on analysing the tools deployed by Fortress Europe, in this case through Frontex, to prevent the freedom of movement and the right to asylum, from its creation in 2004 to the present day.

      The sources used to write this report were from the EU and Frontex, based on its budgets and annual reports. The analysis focused on the Frontex regulations, the language used and its meaning, as well as the budgetary trends, identifying the most significant items – namely, the joint operations and migrant-return operations.

      A table was compiled of all the joint operations mentioned in the annual reports since the Agency was established in 2005 up to 2018 (see annexes). The joint operations were found on government websites but were not mentioned in the Frontex annual reports. Of these operations, we analysed those of the longest duration, or that have showed recent signs of becoming long-term operations. The joint operations are analysed in terms of their objectives, area of action, the mandates of the personnel deployed, and their most noteworthy characteristics.

      Basically, the research sought to answer the following questions: What policies are being implemented in border areas and in what context? How does Frontex act in response to migration movements? A second objective was to analyse how Frontex securitises the movement of refugees and other migrants, with the aim of contributing to the analysis of the process of border militarisation and the security policies applied to non-EU migrants by the EU and its Member States.

      https://www.tni.org/en/guarding-the-fortress

      Pour télécharger le rapport_
      https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/informe40_eng_ok.pdf

      #rapport #TNI #Transnational_institute

    • #Frontex aircraft : Below the radar against international law

      For three years, Frontex has been chartering small aircraft for the surveillance of the EU’s external borders. First Italy was thus supported, then Croatia followed. Frontex keeps the planes details secret, and the companies also switch off the transponders for position display during operations.

      The European Commission does not want to make public which private surveillance planes Frontex uses in the Mediterranean. In the non-public answer to a parliamentary question, the EU border agency writes that the information on the aircraft is „commercially confidential“ as it contains „personal data and sensitive operational information“.

      Frontex offers EU member states the option of monitoring their external borders using aircraft. For this „Frontex Aerial Surveillance Service“ (FASS), Frontex charters twin-engined airplanes from European companies. Italy first made use of the service in 2017, followed a year later by Croatia. In 2018, Frontex carried out at least 1,800 flight hours under the FASS, no figures are yet available for 2019.

      Air service to be supplemented with #drones

      The FASS flights are carried out under the umbrella of „Multipurpose Aerial Surveillance“, which includes satellite surveillance as well as drones. Before the end of this year, the border agency plans to station large drones in the Mediterranean for up to four years. The situation pictures of the European Union’s „pre-frontier area“ are fed into the surveillance system EUROSUR, whose headquarter is located at Frontex in Warsaw. The national EUROSUR contact points, for example in Spain, Portugal and Italy, also receive this information.

      In addition to private charter planes, Frontex also uses aircraft and helicopters provided by EU Member States, in the central Mediterranean via the „Themis“ mission. The EU Commission also keeps the call signs of the state aircraft operating there secret. They would be considered „sensitive operational information“ and could not be disclosed to MEPs.

      Previously, the FOIA platform „Frag den Staat“ („Ask the State“) had also tried to find out details about the sea and air capacities of the member states in „Themis“. Frontex refused to provide any information on this matter. „Frag den Staat“ lost a case against Frontex before the European Court of Justice and is now to pay 23,700 Euros to the agency for legal fees.

      Real-time tracking with FlightAware

      The confidentiality of Frontex comes as a surprise, because companies that monitor the Mediterranean for the agency are known through a tender. Frontex has signed framework contracts with the Spanish arms group Indra as well as the charter companies CAE Aviation (Canada), Diamond-Executive Aviation (Great Britain) and EASP Air (Netherlands). Frontex is spending up to 14.5 million euros each on the contracts.

      Finally, online service providers such as FlightAware can also be used to draw conclusions about which private and state airplanes are flying for Frontex in the Mediterranean. For real-time positioning, the providers use data from ADS-B transponders, which all larger aircraft must have installed. A worldwide community of non-commercial trackers receives this geodata and feeds it into the Internet. In this way, for example, Italian journalist Sergio Scandura documents practically all movements of Frontex aerial assets in the central Mediterranean.

      Among the aircraft tracked this way are the twin-engined „DA-42“, „DA-62“ and „Beech 350“ of Diamond-Executive Aviation, which patrol the Mediterranean Sea on behalf of Frontex as „Osprey1“, „Osprey3“ and „Tasty“, in former times also „Osprey2“ and „Eagle1“. They are all operated by Diamond-Executive Aviation and take off and land at airports in Malta and Sicily.

      „Push-backs“ become „pull-backs“

      In accordance with the Geneva Convention on Refugees, the EU Border Agency may not return people to states where they are at risk of torture or other serious human rights violations. Libya is not a safe haven; this assessment has been reiterated on several occasions by the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees, among others.

      Because these „push-backs“ are prohibited, Frontex has since 2017 been helping with so-called „pull-backs“ by bringing refugees back to Libya by the Libyan coast guard rather than by EU units. With the „Multipurpose Aerial Surveillance“, Frontex is de facto conducting air reconnaissance for Libya. By November 2019, the EU border agency had notified Libyan authorities about refugee boats on the high seas in at least 42 cases.

      Many international law experts consider this practice illegal. Since Libya would not be able to track down the refugees without the help of Frontex, the agency must take responsibility for the refoulements. The lawyers Omer Shatz and Juan Branco therefore want to sue responsibles of the European Union before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

      Frontex watches refugees drown

      This is probably the reason why Frontex disguises the exact location of its air surveillance. Private maritime rescue organisations have repeatedly pointed out that Frontex aircrafts occasionally switch off their transponders so that they cannot be tracked via ADS-B. In the answer now available, this is confirmed by the EU Commission. According to this, the visibility of the aircraft would disclose „sensitive operational information“ and, in combination with other kinds of information, „undermine“ the operational objectives.

      The German Ministry of the Interior had already made similar comments on the Federal Police’s assets in Frontex missions, according to which „general tracking“ of their routes in real time would „endanger the success of the mission“.

      However, Frontex claims it did not issue instructions to online service providers to block the real-time position display of its planes, as journalist Scandura described. Nonetheless, the existing concealment of the operations only allows the conclusion that Frontex does not want to be controlled when the deployed aircraft watch refugees drown and Italy and Malta, as neighbouring EU member states, do not provide any assistance.

      https://digit.site36.net/2020/06/11/frontex-aircraft-blind-flight-against-international-law
      #avions #Italie #Croatie #confidentialité #transparence #Frontex_Aerial_Surveillance_Service (#FASS) #Multipurpose_Aerial_Surveillance #satellites #Méditerranée #Thermis #information_sensible #Indra #CAE_Aviation #Diamond-Executive_Aviation #EASP_Air #FlightAware #ADS-B #DA-42 #DA-62 #Beech_350 #Osprey1 #Osprey3 #Tasty #Osprey2 #Eagle1 #Malte #Sicile #pull-back #push-back #refoulement #Sergio_Scandura

    • Walls Must Fall: Ending the deadly politics of border militarisation - webinar recording
      This webinar explored the trajectory and globalization of border militarization and anti-migrant racism across the world, the history, ideologies and actors that have shaped it, the pillars and policies that underpin the border industrial complex, the resistance of migrants, refugees and activists, and the shifting dynamics within this pandemic.

      - #Harsha_Walia, author of Undoing Border Imperialism (2013)
      - #Jille_Belisario, Transnational Migrant Platform-Europe (TMP-E)
      - #Todd_Miller, author of Empire of Borders (2020), Storming the Wall (2019) and TNI’s report More than A Wall (2019)
      - #Kavita_Krishnan, All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA).
      https://www.tni.org/en/article/walls-must-fall
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8B-cJ2bTi8&feature=emb_logo

      #conférence #webinar

    • Le business meurtrier des frontières

      Le 21ème siècle sera-t-il celui des barrières ? Probable, au rythme où les frontières nationales se renforcent. Dans un livre riche et documenté, publié aux éditions Syllepse, le géographe Stéphane Rosière dresse un indispensable état des lieux.

      Une nuit du mois de juin, dans un centre de rétention de l’île de Rhodes, la police grecque vient chercher une vingtaine de migrant·e·s, dont deux bébés. Après un trajet en bus, elle abandonne le groupe dans un canot de sauvetage sans moteur, au milieu des eaux territoriales turques. En août, le New York Times publie une enquête révélant que cette pratique, avec la combinaison de l’arrivée aux affaires du premier ministre conservateur Kyriakos Mitsotakis et de la diffusion de la pandémie de Covid-19, est devenue courante depuis mars.

      Illégales au regard du droit international, ces expulsions illustrent surtout le durcissement constant de la politique migratoire de l’Europe depuis 20 ans. Elles témoignent aussi d’un processus mondial de « pixellisation » des frontières : celles-ci ne se réduisent pas à des lignes mais à un ensemble de points plus ou moins en amont ou en aval (ports, aéroports, eaux territoriales…), où opèrent les polices frontalières.
      La fin de la fin des frontières

      Plus largement, le récent ouvrage de Stéphane Rosière, Frontières de fer, le cloisonnement du monde, permet de prendre la mesure d’un processus en cours de « rebordering » à travers le monde. À la fois synthèse des recherches récentes sur les frontières et résultats des travaux de l’auteur sur la résurgence de barrières frontalières, le livre est une lecture incontournable sur l’évolution contemporaine des frontières nationales.

      D’autant qu’il n’y a pas si longtemps, la mondialisation semblait promettre l’affaissement des frontières, dans la foulée de la disparition de l’Union soviétique et, corollairement, de la généralisation de l’économie de marché. La Guerre froide terminée annonçait la « fin de l’histoire » et, avec elle, la disparition des limites territoriales héritées de l’époque moderne. Au point de ringardiser, rappelle Stéphane Rosière, les études sur les frontières au sein de la géographie des années 1990, parallèlement au succès d’une valorisation tous azimuts de la mobilité dans le discours politique dominant comme dans les sciences sociales.

      Trente ans après, le monde se réveille avec 25 000 kilomètres de barrières frontalières – record pour l’Inde, avec plus de 3 000 kilomètres de clôtures pour prévenir l’immigration depuis le Bangladesh. Barbelés, murs de briques, caméras, détecteurs de mouvements, grilles électrifiées, les dispositifs de contrôle frontalier fleurissent en continu sur les cinq continents.
      L’âge des « murs anti-pauvres »

      La contradiction n’est qu’apparente. Les barrières du 21e siècle ne ferment pas les frontières mais les cloisonnent – d’où le titre du livre. C’est-à-dire que l’objectif n’est pas de supprimer les flux mondialisés – de personnes et encore moins de marchandises ni de capitaux – mais de les contrôler. Les « teichopolitiques », terme qui recouvre, pour Stéphane Rosière, les politiques de cloisonnement de l’espace, matérialisent un « ordre mondial asymétrique et coercitif », dans lequel on valorise la mobilité des plus riches tout en assignant les populations pauvres à résidence.

      De fait, on observe que les barrières frontalières redoublent des discontinuités économiques majeures. Derrière l’argument de la sécurité, elles visent à contenir les mouvements migratoires des régions les plus pauvres vers des pays mieux lotis économiquement : du Mexique vers les États-Unis, bien sûr, ou de l’Afrique vers l’Europe, mais aussi de l’Irak vers l’Arabie Saoudite ou du Pakistan vers l’Iran.

      Les dispositifs de contrôle frontalier sont des outils parmi d’autres d’une « implacable hiérarchisation » des individus en fonction de leur nationalité. Comme l’a montré le géographe Matthew Sparke à propos de la politique migratoire nord-américaine, la population mondiale se trouve divisée entre une classe hypermobile de citoyen·ne·s « business-class » et une masse entravée de citoyen·ne·s « low-cost ». C’est le sens du « passport index » publié chaque année par le cabinet Henley : alors qu’un passeport japonais ou allemand donne accès à plus de 150 pays, ce chiffre descend en-dessous de 30 avec un passeport afghan ou syrien.
      Le business des barrières

      Si les frontières revêtent une dimension économique, c’est aussi parce qu’elles sont un marché juteux. À l’heure où les pays européens ferment des lits d’hôpital faute de moyens, on retiendra ce chiffre ahurissant : entre 2005 et 2016, le budget de Frontex, l’agence en charge du contrôle des frontières de l’Union européenne, est passé de 6,3 à 238,7 millions d’euros. À quoi s’ajoutent les budgets colossaux débloqués pour construire et entretenir les barrières – budgets entourés d’opacité et sur lesquels, témoigne l’auteur, il est particulièrement difficile d’enquêter, faute d’obtenir… des fonds publics.

      L’argent public alimente ainsi une « teichoéconomie » dont les principaux bénéficiaires sont des entreprises du BTP et de la sécurité européennes, nord-américaines, israéliennes et, de plus en plus, indiennes ou saoudiennes. Ce complexe sécuritaro-industriel, identifié par Julien Saada, commercialise des dispositifs de surveillance toujours plus sophistiqués et prospère au rythme de l’inflation de barrières entre pays, mais aussi entre quartiers urbains.

      Un business d’autant plus florissant qu’il s’auto-entretient, dès lors que les mêmes entreprises vendent des armes. On sait que les ventes d’armes, alimentant les guerres, stimulent les migrations : un « cercle vertueux » s’enclenche pour les entreprises du secteur, appelées à la rescousse pour contenir des mouvements de population qu’elles participent à encourager.
      « Mourir aux frontières »

      Bénéfices juteux, profits politiques, les barrières font des heureux. Elles tuent aussi et l’ouvrage de Stéphane Rosière se termine sur un décompte macabre. C’est, dit-il, une « guerre migratoire » qui est en cours. Guerre asymétrique, elle oppose la police armée des puissances économiques à des groupes le plus souvent désarmés, venant de périphéries dominées économiquement et dont on entend contrôler la mobilité. Au nom de la souveraineté des États, cette guerre fait plusieurs milliers de victimes par an et la moindre des choses est de « prendre la pleine mesure de la létalité contemporaine aux frontières ».

      Sur le blog :

      – Une synthèse sur les murs frontaliers : http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2019/01/28/lamour-des-murs

      – Le compte rendu d’un autre livre incontournable sur les frontières : http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2019/08/03/frontieres-en-mouvement

      – Une synthèse sur les barricades à l’échelle intraurbaine : http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2020/10/21/gated-communities-le-paradis-entre-quatre-murs

      http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2020/11/05/le-business-meurtrier-des-frontieres

    • How Private Security Firms Profit Off the Refugee Crisis

      The UK has pumped money to corporations turning #Calais into a bleak fortress.

      Tall white fences lined with barbed wire – welcome to Calais. The city in northern France is an obligatory stop for anyone trying to reach the UK across the channel. But some travellers are more welcome than others, and in recent decades, a slew of private security companies have profited millions of pounds off a very expensive – an unattractive – operation to keep migrants from crossing.

      Every year, thousands of passengers and lorries take the ferry at the Port of Calais-Fréthun, a trading route heavily relied upon by the UK for imports. But the entrance to the port looks more like a maximum-security prison than your typical EU border. Even before Brexit, the UK was never part of the Schengen area, which allows EU residents to move freely across 26 countries. For decades, Britain has strictly controlled its southern border in an attempt to stop migrants and asylum seekers from entering.

      As early as 2000, the Port of Calais was surrounded by a 2.8 metre-high fence to prevent people from jumping into lorries waiting at the ferry departure point. In 1999, the Red Cross set up a refugee camp in the nearby town of Sangatte which quickly became overcrowded. The UK pushed for it to be closed in 2002 and then negotiated a treaty with France to regulate migration between the two countries.

      The 2003 Le Toquet Treaty allowed the UK to check travellers on French soil before their arrival, and France to do the same on UK soil. Although the deal looks fair on paper, in practice it unduly burdens French authorities, as there are more unauthorised migrants trying to reach the UK from France than vice versa.

      The treaty effectively moved the UK border onto French territory, but people still need to cross the channel to request asylum. That’s why thousands of refugees from conflict zones like Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia have found themselves stranded in Calais, waiting for a chance to cross illegally – often in search of family members who’ve already made it to the UK. Many end up paying people smugglers to hide them in lorries or help them cross by boat.

      These underlying issues came to a head during the Syrian crisis, when refugees began camping out near Calais in 2014. The so-called Calais Jungle became infamous for its squalid conditions, and at its peak, hosted more than 7,000 people. They were all relocated to other centres in France before the camp was bulldozed in 2016. That same year, the UK also decided to build a €2.7 million border wall in Calais to block access to the port from the camp, but the project wasn’t completed until after the camp was cleared, attracting a fair deal of criticism. Between 2015 and 2018, the UK spent over €110 million on border security in France, only to top it up with over €56 million more in 2018.

      But much of this public money actually flows into the accounts of private corporations, hired to build and maintain the high-tech fences and conduct security checks. According to a 2020 report by the NGO Care4Calais, there are more than 40 private security companies working in the city. One of the biggest, Eamus Cork Solutions (ECS), was founded by a former Calais police officer in 2004 and is reported to have benefited at least €30 million from various contracts as of 2016.

      Stéphane Rosière, a geography professor at the University of Reims, wrote his book Iron Borders (only available in French) about the many border walls erected around the world. Rosière calls this the “security-industrial” complex – private firms that have largely replaced the traditional military-industrial sector in Europe since WW2.

      “These companies are getting rich by making security systems adaptable to all types of customers – individuals, companies or states,” he said. According to Rosière, three-quarters of the world’s border security barriers were built in the 21st century.

      Brigitte, a pensioner living close to the former site of the Calais Jungle, has seen her town change drastically over the past two decades. “Everything is cordoned off with wire mesh," she said. "I have the before and after photos, and it’s not a pretty sight. It’s just wire, wire, wire.” For the past 15 years, Brigitte has been opening her garage door for asylum seekers to stop by for a cup of tea and charge their phones and laptops, earning her the nickname "Mama Charge”.

      “For a while, the purpose of these fences and barriers was to stop people from crossing,” said François Guennoc, president of L’Auberge des Migrants, an NGO helping displaced migrants in Calais.

      Migrants have still been desperate enough to try their luck. “They risked a lot to get into the port area, and many of them came back bruised and battered,” Guennoc said. Today, walls and fences are mainly being built to deter people from settling in new camps near Calais after being evicted.

      In the city centre, all public squares have been fenced off. The city’s bridges have been fitted with blue lights and even with randomly-placed bike racks, so people won’t sleep under them.

      “They’ve also been cutting down trees for some time now,” said Brigitte, pointing to a patch near her home that was once woods. Guennoc said the authorities are now placing large rocks in areas where NGOs distribute meals and warm clothes, to prevent displaced people from receiving the donations. “The objective of the measures now is also to make the NGOs’ work more difficult,” he said.

      According to the NGO Refugee Rights Europe, about 1,500 men, women and minors were living in makeshift camps in and around Calais as of April 2020. In July 2020, French police raided a camp of over 500 people, destroying residents’ tents and belongings, in the largest operation since the Calais Jungle was cleared. An investigation by Slate found that smaller camps are cleared almost every day by the French police, even in the middle of winter. NGOs keep providing new tents and basic necessities to displaced residents, but they are frustrated by the waste of resources. The organisations are also concerned about COVID-19 outbreaks in the camps.

      As VICE World News has previously reported, the crackdown is only pushing people to take more desperate measures to get into the UK. Boat crossings reached record-highs in 2020, and four people have died since August 2020 while trying to cross, by land and sea. “When you create an obstacle, people find a way to get around it,” Guennoc said. “If they build a wall all the way along the coast to prevent boat departures, people will go to Normandy – and that has already started.” Crossing the open sea puts migrants at even greater risk.

      Rosière agrees security measures are only further endangering migrants.“All locks eventually open, no matter how complex they may be. It’s just a matter of time.”

      He believes the only parties who stand to profit from the status quo are criminal organisations and private security firms: “At the end of the day, this a messed-up use of public money.”

      https://www.vice.com/en/article/wx8yax/how-private-security-firms-profit-off-the-refugee-crisis

      En français:
      À Calais, la ville s’emmure
      https://www.vice.com/fr/article/wx8yax/a-calais-la-ville-semmure

    • Financing Border Wars. The border industry, its financiers and human rights

      This report seeks to explore and highlight the extent of today’s global border security industry, by focusing on the most important geographical markets—Australia, Europe, USA—listing the human rights violations and risks involved in each sector of the industry, profiling important corporate players and putting a spotlight on the key investors in each company.

      Executive summary

      Migration will be one of the defining human rights issues of the 21st century. The growing pressures to migrate combined with the increasingly militarised state security response will only exacerbate an already desperate situation for refugees and migrants. Refugees already live in a world where human rights are systematically denied. So as the climate crisis deepens and intersects with other economic and political crises, forcing more people from their homes, and as states retreat to ever more authoritarian security-based responses, the situation for upholding and supporting migrants’ rights looks ever bleaker.

      States, most of all those in the richest countries, bear the ultimate responsibility to uphold the human rights of refugees and migrants recognised under International Human Rights Law. Yet corporations are also deeply implicated. It is their finance, their products, their services, their infrastructure that underpins the structures of state migration and border control. In some cases, they are directly involved in human rights violations themselves; in other cases they are indirectly involved as they facilitate the system that systematically denies refugees and migrants their rights. Most of all, through their lobbying, involvement in government ‘expert’ groups, revolving doors with state agencies, it becomes clear that corporations are not just accidental beneficiaries of the militarisation of borders. Rather they actively shape the policies from which they profit and therefore share responsibility for the human rights violations that result.

      This state-corporate fusion is best described as a Border Industrial Complex, drawing on former US President Eisenhower’s warning of the dangers of a Military-Industrial Complex. Indeed it is noticeable that many of the leading border industries today are also military companies, seeking to diversify their security products to a rapidly expanding new market.

      This report seeks to explore and highlight the extent of today’s global border security industry, by focusing on the most important geographical markets—Australia, Europe, USA—listing the human rights violations and risks involved in each sector of the industry, profiling important corporate players and putting a spotlight on the key investors in each company.
      A booming industry

      The border industry is experiencing spectacular growth, seemingly immune to austerity or economic downturns. Market research agencies predict annual growth of the border security market of between 7.2% and 8.6%, reaching a total of $65–68 billion by 2025. The largest expansion is in the global Biometrics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) markets. Markets and Markets forecasts the biometric systems market to double from $33 billion in 2019 to $65.3 billion by 2024—of which biometrics for migration purposes will be a significant sector. It says that the AI market will equal US$190.61 billion by 2025.

      The report investigates five key sectors of the expanding industry: border security (including monitoring, surveillance, walls and fences), biometrics and smart borders, migrant detention, deportation, and audit and consultancy services. From these sectors, it profiles 23 corporations as significant actors: Accenture, Airbus, Booz Allen Hamilton, Classic Air Charter, Cobham, CoreCivic, Deloitte, Elbit, Eurasylum, G4S, GEO Group, IBM, IDEMIA, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, Mitie, Palantir, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Serco, Sopra Steria, Thales, Thomson Reuters, Unisys.

      – The border security and control field, the technological infrastructure of security and surveillance at the border, is led by US, Australian, European and Israeli firms including Airbus, Elbit, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Leonardo and Thales— all of which are among the world’s major arms sellers. They benefit not only from border contracts within the EU, US, and Australia but also increasingly from border externalisation programmes funded by these same countries. Jean Pierre Talamoni, head of sales and marketing at Airbus Defence and Space (ADS), said in 2016 that he estimates that two thirds of new military market opportunities over the next 10 years will be in Asia and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Companies are also trying to muscle in on providing the personnel to staff these walls, including border guards.

      - The Smart Borders sector encompasses the use of a broad range of (newer) technologies, including biometrics (such as fingerprints and iris-scans), AI and phone and social media tracking. The goal is to speed up processes for national citizens and other acceptable travellers and stop or deport unwanted migrants through the use of more sophisticated IT and biometric systems. Key corporations include large IT companies, such as IBM and Unisys, and multinational services company Accenture for whom migration is part of their extensive portfolio, as well as small firms, such as IDEMIA and Palantir Technologies, for whom migration-related work is central. The French public–private company Civipol, co-owned by the state and several large French arms companies, is another key player, selected to set up fingerprint databases of the whole population of Mali and Senegal.

      – Deportation. With the exception of the UK and the US, it is uncommon to privatise deportation. The UK has hired British company Mitie for its whole deportation process, while Classic Air Charter dominates in the US. Almost all major commercial airlines, however, are also involved in deportations. Newsweek reported, for example, that in the US, 93% of the 1,386 ICE deportation flights to Latin American countries on commercial airlines in 2019 were facilitated by United Airlines (677), American Airlines (345) and Delta Airlines (266).

      - Detention. The Global Detention Project lists over 1,350 migrant detention centres worldwide, of which over 400 are located in Europe, almost 200 in the US and nine in Australia. In many EU countries, the state manages detention centres, while in other countries (e.g. Australia, UK, USA) there are completely privatised prisons. Many other countries have a mix of public and private involvement, such as state facilities with private guards. Australia outsourced refugee detention to camps outside its territories. Australian service companies Broadspectrum and Canstruct International managed the detention centres, while the private security companies G4S, Paladin Solutions and Wilson Security were contracted for security services, including providing guards. Migrant detention in third countries is also an increasingly important part of EU migration policy, with the EU funding construction of migrant detention centres in ten non-EU countries.

      - Advisory and audit services are a more hidden part of public policies and practices, but can be influential in shaping new policies. A striking example is Civipol, which in 2003 wrote a study on maritime borders for the European Commission, which adopted its key policy recommendations in October 2003 and in later policy documents despite its derogatory language against refugees. Civipol’s study also laid foundations for later measures on border externalisation, including elements of the migration deal with Turkey and the EU’s Operation Sophia. Since 2003 Civipol has received funding for a large number of migration-related projects, especially in African countries. Between 2015 and 2017, it was the fourth most-funded organisation under the EU Trust Fund. Other prominent corporations in this sector include Eurasylum, as well as major international consultancy firms, particularly Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers, for which migration-related work is part of their expansive portfolio.

      Financing the industry

      The markets for military and border control procurement are characterized by massively capital intensive investments and contracts, which would not be possible without the involvement of financial actors. Using data from marketscreener.com, the report shows that the world’s largest investment companies are also among the major shareholders in the border industry.

      – The Vanguard Group owns shares in 15 of the 17 companies, including over 15% of the shares of CoreCivic and GEO Group that manage private prisons and detention facilities.

      - Other important investors are Blackrock, which is a major shareholder in 11 companies, Capital Research and Management (part of the Capital Group), with shares in arms giants Airbus and Lockheed Martin, and State Street Global Advisors (SsgA), which owns over 15% of Lockheed Martin shares and is also a major shareholder in six other companies.

      - Although these giant asset management firms dominate, two of the profiled companies, Cobham and IDEMIA, are currently owned by the private equity firm Advent International. Advent specialises in buyouts and restructuring, and it seems likely that it will attempt to split up Cobham in the hope of making a profit by selling on the component companies to other owners.

      - In addition, three large European arms companies, Airbus, Thales and Leonardo, active in the border security market, are partly owned by the governments of the countries where they are headquartered.

      In all cases, therefore, the financing depends on our money. In the case of state ownership, through our taxes, and in terms of asset management funds, through the way individual savings, pension funds, insurance companies and university endowments are directly invested in these companies via the giant Asset Management Funds. This financing means that the border industry survives on at least the tacit approved use of the public’s funds which makes it vulnerable to social pressure as the human rights costs of the industry become ever more clear.
      Human rights and the border industry

      Universal human rights apply to every single human being, including refugees and migrants. While the International Bill of Human Rights provides the foundation, including defining universal rights that are important in the context of migration, such as the right to life, liberty and security of person, the right to freedom from torture or cruel or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, and freedom from discrimination, there are other instruments such as the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention or Geneva Convention) of 1951 that are also relevant. There are also regional agreements, including the Organisation of African Unity Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) that play a role relevant to the countries that have ratified them.

      Yet despite these important and legally binding human rights agreements, the human rights situation for refugees and migrants has become ever more desperate. States frequently deny their rights under international law, such as the right to seek asylum or non-refoulement principles, or more general rights such as the freedom from torture, cruel or inhumane treatment. There is a gap with regard to effective legal means or grievance mechanisms to counter this or to legally enforce or hold to account states that fail to implement instruments such as the UDHR and the Refugee Convention of 1951. A Permanent Peoples Tribunal in 2019 even concluded that ‘taken together, the immigration and asylum policies and practices of the EU and its Member States constitute a total denial of the fundamental rights of people and migrants, and are veritable crimes against humanity’. A similar conclusion can be made of the US and Australian border and immigration regime.

      The increased militarisation of border security worldwide and state-sanctioned hostility toward migrants has had a deeply detrimental impact on the human rights of refugees and migrants.

      – Increased border security has led to direct violence against refugees, pushbacks with the risk of returning people to unsafe countries and inhumane circumstances (contravening the principle of non-refoulement), and a disturbing rise in avoidable deaths, as countries close off certain migration routes, forcing migrants to look for other, often more dangerous, alternatives and pushing them into the arms of criminal smuggling networks.

      – The increased use of autonomous systems of border security such as drones threaten new dangers related to human rights. There is already evidence that they push migrants to take more dangerous routes, but there is also concern that there is a gradual trend towards weaponized systems that will further threaten migrants’ lives.

      – The rise in deportations has threatened fundamental human rights including the right to family unity, the right to seek asylum, the right to humane treatment in detention, the right to due process, and the rights of children’. There have been many instances of violence in the course of deportations, sometimes resulting in death or permanent harm, against desperate people who try to do everything to prevent being deported. Moreover, deportations often return refugees to unsafe countries, where they face violence, persecution, discrimination and poverty.

      - The widespread detention of migrants also fundamentally undermines their human rights . There have been many reports of violence and neglect by guards and prison authorities, limited access to adequate legal and medical support, a lack of decent food, overcrowding and poor and unhealthy conditions. Privatisation of detention exacerbates these problems, because companies benefit from locking up a growing number of migrants and minimising costs.

      – The building of major migration databases such as EU’s Eurodac and SIS II, VIS gives rise to a range of human rights concerns, including issues of privacy, civil liberties, bias leading to discrimination—worsened by AI processes -, and misuse of collected information. Migrants are already subject to unprecedented levels of surveillance, and are often now treated as guinea pigs where even more intrusive technologies such as facial recognition and social media tracking are tried out without migrants consent.

      The trend towards externalisation of migration policies raises new concerns as it seeks to put the human costs of border militarisation beyond the border and out of public sight. This has led to the EU, US and Australia all cooperating with authoritarian regimes to try and prevent migrants from even getting close to their borders. Moreover as countries donate money, equipment or training to security forces in authoritarian regimes, they end up expanding and strengthening their capacities which leads to a rise in human rights violations more broadly. Nowhere are the human rights consequences of border externalisation policies clearer than in the case of Libya, where the EU and individual member states (in particular Italy and Malta) funding, training and cooperation with security forces and militias have led to violence at the borders, murder, disappearances, rape, enslavement and abuse of migrants in the country and torture in detention centres.

      The 23 corporations profiled in this report have all been involved in or connected to policies and practices that have come under fire because of violations of the human rights of refugees and migrants. As mentioned earlier, sometimes the companies are directly responsible for human rights violations or concerns. In other cases, they are indirectly responsible through their contribution to a border infrastructure that denies human rights and through lobbying to influence policy-making to prioritize militarized responses to migration. 11 of the companies profiled publicly proclaim their commitment to human rights as signatories to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), but as these are weak voluntary codes this has not led to noticeable changes in their business operations related to migration.

      The most prominent examples of direct human rights abuses come from the corporations involved in detention and deportation. Classic Air Charter, Cobham, CoreCivic, Eurasylum, G4S, GEO Group, Mitie and Serco all have faced allegations of violence and abuse by their staff towards migrants. G4S has been one of the companies most often in the spotlight. In 2017, not only were assaults by its staff on migrants at the Brook House immigration removal centre in the UK broadcast by the BBC, but it was also hit with a class suit in Australia by almost 2,000 people who are or were detained at the externalised detention centre on Manus Island, because of physical and psychological injuries as a result of harsh treatment and dangerous conditions. The company eventually settled the case for A$70 million (about $53 million) in the largest-ever human rights class-action settlement. G4S has also faced allegations related to its involvement in deportations.

      The other companies listed all play a pivotal role in the border infrastructure that denies refugees’ human rights. Airbus P-3 Orion surveillance planes of the Australian Air Force, for example, play a part in the highly controversial maritime wall that prevents migrants arriving by boat and leads to their detention in terrible conditions offshore. Lockheed Martin is a leading supplier of border security on the US-Mexico border. Leonardo is one of the main suppliers of drones for Europe’s borders. Thales produces the radar and sensor systems, critical to patrolling the Mediterrean. Elbit Systems provides surveillance technologies to both the EU and US, marketed on their success as technologies used in the separation wall in the Palestinian occupied territories. Accenture, IDEMIA and Sopra Steria manage many border biometric projects. Deloitte has been one of the key consulting companies to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency since 2003, while PriceWaterhouseCoopers provides similar consultancy services to Frontex and the Australian border forces. IBM, Palantir and UNISYS provide the IT infrastructure that underpins the border and immigration apparatus.
      Time to divest

      The report concludes by calling for campaigns to divest from the border industry. There is a long history of campaigns and movements that call for divestment from industries that support human rights violations—from the campaigns to divest from Apartheid South Africa to more recent campaigns to divest from the fossil fuel industry. The border industry has become an equally morally toxic asset for any financial institution, given the litany of human rights abuses tied to it and the likelihood they will intensify in years to come.

      There are already examples of existing campaigns targeting particular border industries that have borne fruit. A spotlight on US migrant detention, as part of former President Trump’s anti- immigration policies, contributed to six large US banks (Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Fifth Third Bancorp, JPMorgan Chase, SunTrust, and Wells Fargo) publicly announcing that they would not provide new financing to the private prison industry. The two largest public US pension funds, CalSTRS and CalPERS, also decided to divest from the same two companies. Geo Group acknowledged that these acts of ‘public resistance’ hit the company financially, criticising the banks as ‘clearly bow[ing] down to a small group of activists protesting and conducting targeted social media campaigns’.

      Every company involved or accused of human rights violations either denies them or says that they are atypical exceptions to corporate behavior. This report shows however that a militarised border regime built on exclusion will always be a violent apparatus that perpetuates human rights violations. It is a regime that every day locks up refugees in intolerable conditions, separates families causing untold trauma and heartbreak, and causes a devastating death toll as refugees are forced to take unimaginable dangerous journeys because the alternatives are worse. However well-intentioned, any industry that provides services and products for this border regime will bear responsibility for its human consequences and its human rights violations, and over time will suffer their own serious reputational costs for their involvement in this immoral industry. On the other hand, a widespread exodus of the leading corporations on which the border regime depends could force states to change course, and to embrace a politics that protects and upholds the rights of refugees and migrants. Worldwide, social movements and the public are starting to wake up to the human costs of border militarisation and demanding a fundamental change. It is time now for the border industry and their financiers to make a choice.

      https://www.tni.org/en/financingborderwars

      #TNI #rapport
      #industrie_frontalière #militarisation_des_frontières #biométrie #Intelligence_artificielle #AI #IA

      #Accenture #Airbus #Booz_Allen_Hamilton #Classic_Air_Charter #Cobham #CoreCivic #Deloitte #Elbit #Eurasylum #G4S #GEO_Group #IBM #IDEMIA #Leonardo #Lockheed_Martin #Mitie #Palantir #PricewaterhouseCoopers #Serco #Sopra_Steria #Thales #Thomson_Reuters #Unisys
      #contrôles_frontaliers #surveillance #technologie #Jean-Pierre_Talamoni #Airbus_Defence_and_Space (#ADS) #smart_borders #frontières_intelligentes #iris #empreintes_digitales #réseaux_sociaux #IT #Civipol #Mali #Sénégal #renvois #expulsions #déportations #Mitie #Classic_Air_Charter #compagnies_aériennes #United_Airlines #ICE #American_Airlines #Delta_Airlines #rétention #détention_administrative #privatisation #Broadspectrum #Canstruct_International #Paladin_Solutions #Wilson_Security #Operation_Sophia #EU_Trust_Fund #Trust_Fund #externalisation #Eurasylum #Deloitte #PricewaterhouseCoopers #Vanguard_Group #CoreCivic #Blackrock #investisseurs #investissement #Capital_Research_and_Management #Capital_Group #Lockheed_Martin #State_Street_Global_Advisors (#SsgA) #Cobham #IDEMIA #Advent_International #droits_humains #VIS #SIS_II #P-3_Orion #Accenture #Sopra_Steria #Frontex #Australie

    • Outsourcing oppression. How Europe externalises migrant detention beyond its shores

      This report seeks to address the gap and join the dots between Europe’s outsourcing of migrant detention to third countries and the notorious conditions within the migrant detention centres. In a nutshell, Europe calls the shots on migrant detention beyond its shores but is rarely held to account for the deeply oppressive consequences, including arbitrary detention, torture, forced disappearance, violence, sexual violence, and death.

      Key findings

      – The European Union (EU), and its member states, externalise detention to third countries as part of a strategy to keep migrants out at all costs. This leads to migrants being detained and subjected to gross human rights violations in transit countries in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, West Asia and Africa.

      – Candidate countries wishing to join the EU are obligated to detain migrants and stop them from crossing into the EU as a prerequisite for accession to the Union. Funding is made available through pre-accession agreements specifically for the purpose of detaining migrants.

      – Beyond EU candidate countries, this report identifies 22 countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, the Balkans and West Asia where the EU and its member states fund the construction of detention centres, detention related activities such as trainings, or advocate for detention in other ways such as through aggressively pushing for detention legislation or agreeing to relax visa requirements for nationals of these countries in exchange for increased migrant detention.

      - The main goal of detention externalisation is to pre-empt migrants from reaching the external borders of the EU by turning third countries into border outposts. In many cases this involves the EU and its member states propping up and maintaining authoritarian regimes.

      – Europe is in effect following the ‘Australian model’ that has been highly criticised by UN experts and human rights organisations for the torturous conditions inside detention centres. Nevertheless, Europe continues to advance a system that mirrors Australia’s outsourced model, focusing not on guaranteeing the rights of migrants, but instead on deterring and pushing back would-be asylum seekers at all costs.

      - Human rights are systematically violated in detention centres directly and indirectly funded by the EU and its member states, including cases of torture, arbitrary and prolonged detention, sexual violence, no access to legal recourse, humanitarian assistance, or asylum procedures, the detention of victims of trafficking, and many other serious violations in which Europe is implicated.

      - Particularly horrendous is the case of Libya, which continues to receive financial and political support from Europe despite mounting evidence of brutality, enslavement, torture, forced disappearance and death. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), implement EU policies in Libya and, according to aid officials, actively whitewash the consequences of European policies to safeguard substantial EU funding.

      - Not only does the EU deport and push back migrants to unsafe third countries, it actively finances and coercively pushes for their detention in these countries. Often they have no choice but to sign ‘voluntary’ agreements to be returned to their countries of origin as the only means of getting out of torturous detention facilities.

      - The EU implements a carrot and stick approach, in particular in its dealings with Africa, prolonging colonialist dynamics and uneven power structures – in Niger, for example, the EU pushed for legislation on detention, in exchange for development aid funding.

      – The EU envisages a greater role for migrant detention in third countries going forward, as was evidenced in the European Commission’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum.

      - The EU acts on the premise of containment and deterrence, namely, that if migrants seeking to reach Europe are intercepted and detained along that journey, they will be deterred from making the journey in the first place. This approach completely misses the point that people migrate to survive, often fleeing war and other forms of violence. The EU continues to overlook the structural reasons behind why people flee and the EU’s own role in provoking such migration.

      – The border industrial complex profits from the increased securitisation of borders. Far from being passive spectators, the military and security industry is actively involved in shaping EU border policies by positioning themselves as experts on the issue. We can already see a trend of privatising migrant detention, paralleling what is happening in prison systems worldwide.

      https://www.tni.org/en/outsourcingoppression

      pour télécharger le rapport :
      https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/outsourcingoppression-report-tni.pdf

      #externalisation #rétention #détention #détention_arbitraire #violence #disparitions #disparitions_forcées #violence #violence_sexuelle #morts #mort #décès #Afrique #Europe_de_l'Est #Balkans #Asie #modèle_australien #EU #UE #Union_européenne #torture #Libye #droits_humains #droits_fondamentaux #HCR #UNHCR #OIM #IOM #dissuasion #privatisation

  • Malte permet à des garde-côtes libyens d’entrer dans sa zone de sauvetage pour intercepter des migrants

    Une embarcation de migrants a été interceptée vendredi dernier dans la zone de recherche et de sauvetage maltaise par une patrouille de garde-côtes libyens. Les 50 personnes qui se trouvaient à bord ont été ramenées en Libye. Pour la première fois, Alarm phone a pu documenter cette violation du #droit_maritime_international. Le HCR a ouvert une #enquête.

    L’agence des Nations unies pour les réfugiés (HCR) a annoncé mardi 22 octobre l’ouverture d’une enquête après que les autorités maltaises ont laissé des garde-côtes libyens intercepter une embarcation de migrants en détresse qui se trouvait dans la zone de recherche et de sauvetage (SAR) maltaise.

    Alarm phone, une organisation qui permet aux bateaux de migrants en difficultés de demander de l’aide, a retracé mercredi 23 octobre, dans un communiqué, le déroulé des événements qui ont conduit à l’emprisonnement des 50 migrants dans le centre de #Tarik_al_Sika, à #Tripoli.

    Tout commence le vendredi 18 octobre, en début d’après-midi, quand Alarm phone reçoit un appel de détresse d’un bateau surchargé. Environ 50 personnes, dont des femmes et des enfants, se trouvent à bord de ce rafiot en bois. Les coordonnées GPS que les migrants envoient à Alarm Phone indiquent qu’ils se trouvent dans la SAR zone maltaise.

    La plateforme téléphonique transmet alors la position de l’embarcation aux centres de coordination des secours en mer de Malte (#RCC) et de Rome (#MRCC). Malte ne tarde pas à répondre : “Nous avons reçu votre email. Nous nous occupons de tout", indique un officier maltais.

    Enfermement à Tripoli

    Dans les heures qui suivent, Alarm phone tente de garder le contact avec le RCC de Malte et le MRCC de Rome mais ne reçoit plus de réponse. À bord, les migrants donnent de nouvelles coordonnées GPS à l’organisation : ils se trouvent toujours dans la SAR zone maltaise. Le dernier contact entre Alarm phone et l’embarcation a lieu à 17h40.

    Quelques heures plus tard, le #PB_Fezzan, un navire appartenant aux garde-côtes libyens, a intercepté l’embarcation de migrants dans la zone de recherche et sauvetage de Malte. Les équipes d’Alarm phone apprennent, par un officier du RCC de Malte, qu’un hélicoptère des Forces armées maltaises avait été impliqué dans l’opération, en "supervisant la situation depuis les airs".

    Le PB Fezzan est ensuite rentré à Tripoli avec les migrants à son bord. Tous ont été placés dans le centre de détention de Tarik al Sika.

    Violation des conventions internationales et du principe de non-refoulement

    En ne portant pas secours à cette embarcation, le RCC de Malte a violé à la fois le droit de la mer et le principe de non-refoulement établi dans la Convention européenne des droits de l’Homme et celle relative au statut international de réfugiés.

    Le HCR a ouvert une enquête afin de déterminer pour quelles raisons Malte n’a pas porté secours à l’embarcation, a indiqué mardi Vincent Cochetel, l’envoyé spécial du HCR pour la Méditerranée centrale, à l’agence Associated press (AP).

    Selon lui, "des preuves existent que Malte a demandé à des garde-côtes libyens d’intervenir" dans sa propre zone de recherche et sauvetage le 18 octobre. "Le problème est que les migrants ont été débarqués en Libye. Il ne fait aucun doute qu’il s’agit d’une violation des lois maritimes. Il est clair que la Libye n’est pas un port sûr", a-t-il ajouté.

    Vincent Cochetel a également affirmé qu’il ne s’agissait pas de la première fois que Malte se rendait coupable d’une telle non-assistance.

    "Malte est particulièrement peu coopérant"

    Contacté par InfoMigrants, Maurice Stierl, membre d’Alarm phone, rappelle qu’il n’est pas rare que les garde-côtes européens ne remplissent pas leurs obligations. "Ce cas est particulièrement dramatique mais ce n’est pas une surprise pour nous tant nous avons vu [des autorités européennes] se dérober à leurs responsabilités", assure-t-il.

    "Malte est particulièrement peu coopérant ces dernières semaines. Quand nous les appelons, soit ils sont injoignables, soit ils ne nous communiquent pas d’informations sur les modalités de la mission de sauvetage qu’ils vont lancer", s’agace l’activiste.

    Malte n’est pas le seul pays européen à rechigner à secourir des migrants en Méditerranée centrale, précise Maurice Stierl. "Nous avons aussi eu de mauvaises expériences avec d’autres États membres dont le MRCC de Rome […] C’est un problème européen."

    https://twitter.com/alarm_phone/status/1187265157937991680?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E11

    https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/20377/malte-permet-a-des-garde-cotes-libyens-d-entrer-dans-sa-zone-de-sauvet
    #migrations #réfugiés #zone_SAR #SAR #gardes-côtes_libyens #sauvetage #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Méditerranée #pull-back #Mer_Méditerranée

  • In sette mesi di “buio informativo” sulle partenze di #migranti dalla Libia, possiamo essere certi che almeno 6.400 persone siano partite.

    Di queste, almeno 1.300 sono partite tra gennaio e febbraio scorsi.

    Il 75% di loro è stato intercettato dalla Guardia costiera libica.

    https://twitter.com/emmevilla/status/1107725189771657217

    Source des données :
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ncHxOHIx4ptt4YFXgGi9TIbwd53HaR3oFbrfBm67ak4/edit

    #statistiques #Méditerranée #Libye #gardes-côtes_libyens #frontières #asile #migrations #mer_Méditerranée #départs #chiffres #pull-back #refoulement #2016 #2017 #2018 #mourir_en_mer #morts #décès #mortalité #traversées

    • Nei primi quattro mesi del 2019, per ogni 8 migranti partiti dalla Libia, 1 è morto. E più l’Europa cede il controllo dei salvataggi alla Guardia costiera libica, più aumenta il rischio di morte in mare.

      All data to replicate these and other figures is publicly available at this link:
      https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ncHxOHIx4ptt4YFXgGi9TIbwd53HaR3oFbrfBm67ak4/edit#gid=0

      Traduction en anglais :

      THE VANISHING LIBYAN COAST GUARD. In the first four months of 2019, for every 8 #migrants who departed from #Libya-n shores, 1 died or went missing. And the more Europe delegated search and rescue to the Libyan Coast Guard, the more the risk of death at sea has risen.

      https://twitter.com/emmevilla/status/1126062971321561088
      #2019

    • I morti nel Mediterraneo

      Da qualche giorno si è scatenato un grottesco scontro sul numero dei #migranti morti nel Mediterraneo a seguito delle dichiarazioni del Ministro Salvini che difendendo la sua politica anti-sbarchi ha incautamente affermato: “Nel 2019 si sono avuti solo due morti nel Mediterraneo”. In un tweet successivo poi il ministro ha pubblicato, a sostegno delle sue tesi, una tabella con dati UNHCR riguardanti i cadaveri recuperati e i migranti morti/dispersi nel Mediterraneo negli ultimi 5 anni. Da questa tabella si capisce subito che nei primi 4 mesi del 2019 i morti e dispersi nel Mediterraneo non sono 2 ma 402, mentre il numero di 2 è riferito ai cadaveri recuperati. La tabella di Salvini presenta poi altre inesattezze, dal momento che compara impropriamente i dati dei primi 4 mesi del 2019 con i dati sui dodici mesi dei quattro anni precedenti. Inoltre, i dati menzionati dal ministro si riferiscono alle morti in tutto il Mediterraneo, dalla coste turche a quelle spagnole, mentre i dati che avrebbe dovuto citare, eventualmente imputabili alle sue politiche, sono quelli relativi al solo Mediterraneo centrale. Ci sembra questo un esempio evidente di come anche i numeri e i dati possano essere manipolati per sostenere le tesi più improbabili.

      Ma cosa sta davvero succedendo con le morti nel Mediterraneo? Le cose stanno davvero andando meglio? Per poter cercare di comprendere in maniera obiettiva, è necessario, prima di tutto, analizzare dati credibili. Il numero di cadaveri recuperati in mare non può fornire una stima attendibile di quanto sta accadendo, dal momento che recuperare i corpi dei naufraghi è di per sè già molto complicato, tanto più lo diventa in acque svuotate dalle navi di soccorso, quali sono oggi quelle del Mediterraneo centrale proprio in conseguenza delle misure adottate dal ministro dell’Interno. Se si vuole cercare di fare un’analisi seria, è necessario dunque prendere in considerazione le stime dei morti e dispersi. Questi numeri ci dicono che le vittime nel Mediterraneo centrale sono state, nei primi quattro mesi di ogni anno, 1.936 nel 2015, 966 nel 2016, 1.021 nel 2017, 379 nel 2018 ed infine 257 nel 2019. Ha dunque ragione Salvini? Il numero di morti, peraltro ancora tragicamente alto, sta comunque diminuendo? A nostro avviso assolutamente no, per alcune ragioni.

      Innanzi tutto se andiamo a vedere il numero di migranti sbarcati in Italia nello stesso periodo dei 5 anni vediamo che esso è drasticamente diminuito: 26.228 nel 2015, 27.926 nel 2016, 37.235 nel 2017, 9.467 nel 2018 e 779 nel 2019. Se andiamo poi a vedere il rapporto tra migranti che hanno perso la vita nel cercare di attraversare il Mediterraneo centrale e coloro che sono riusciti effettivamente ad arrivare sulle coste italiane, notiamo che esso è passato da 3 su cento nel 2017 a 32 su cento nel 2019. In altre parole la letalità della traversata, ossia il rischio di perdere la vita, si è più che decuplicato dal 2017 al 2019. Ma c’è un altro fattore, a nostro avviso ancora più importante, che smentisce le affermazioni del ministro Salvini e riguarda proprio la diminuzione del numero degli sbarchi da lui fortemente voluta. In effetti le morti nel Mediterraneo sono solo un aspetto della crisi migratoria che stiamo vivendo. E analizzare solo una parte di una questione complessa come questa, non porta a una verità parziale ma piuttosto a una menzogna completa. Coloro che non riescono più a partire dalle coste libiche rimangono intrappolati nella inaudita violenza di quel paese, presente sia fuori che dentro le miriadi di strutture di detenzione e sequestro per migranti. Che tali centri, formali e informali, siano luoghi di tortura e morte per i migranti è accertato al di là di ogni ragionevole dubbio ed è stato documentato anche dalle migliaia di testimonianze dirette raccolte dagli operatori di Medici per i Diritti Umani (si veda http://esodi.mediciperidirittiumani.org ). Chi si ostina a negare ciò o è ignorante o è in malafede, e se ha responsabilità politiche si assume una grave responsabilità storica. E’ dunque del tutto probabile che i morti in meno nel Mediterraneo vengano oggi controbilanciati da più torture e più morti tra le migliaia di migranti ancora intrappolati in Libia. La situazione non è dunque migliorata in questi mesi per chi ha cuore la dignità e la vita umana ma, se possibile, peggiorata.

      Che fare dunque di fronte alla sfida dell’attuale flusso migratorio (si badi bene, migrazione forzata nella stragrande maggioranza di casi) in arrivo, in particolare, dall’Africa sub-sahariana? La complessità della questione richiede una risposta che va al di là dello scopo di questa breve analisi. Un intervento immediato, a livello multilaterale, è comunque certamente necessario: procedere all’evacuazione verso paesi sicuri, in grado di assicurare protezione internazionale, di tutti i migranti oggi ancora detenuti nei centri di detenzione ufficiali libici. Sarebbe per lo meno un primo passo da parte della comunità internazionale che porta oggi la responsabilità di una pressoché totale indifferenza di fronte a una tragedia che sta segnando il nostro tempo.


      https://mediciperidirittiumani.org/i-morti-nel-mediterraneo

    • Migrazioni, il Mediterraneo sempre più pericoloso per chi fugge via mare

      Lanciata oggi la quarta edizione di «#Fatal_Journeys» (https://publications.iom.int/fr/books/fatal-journeys-volume-4-missing-migrant-children). Nel 2018 è morto in mare un migrante ogni 35. Nel 2017 era uno ogni 50. Sono circa 1.600 i bambini morti nel mondo lungo le rotte migratorie

      https://www.repubblica.it/solidarieta/immigrazione/2019/06/28/news/migrazioni_il_mediterraneo_sempre_piu_pericoloso_per_chi_fugge_via_mare-229866312/?ref=twhs&timestamp=1561731555000

    • Fatal Journeys Volume 4: Missing Migrant Children

      Fatal Journeys Volume 4 focuses on a special theme – missing migrant children – given the growing number of children embarking on journeys that are dangerous and often fatal. Since 2014, IOM has documented more than 32,000 deaths and disappearances during the migration journey worldwide, although the true number of migrant fatalities is unknown, as many deaths go unrecorded. Data on deaths and disappearances of missing migrant children tend to be even more limited. According to IOM’s Missing Migrants Project, nearly 1,600 children have been reported dead or missing since 2014.

      This report discusses why it is often difficult to find data on missing migrants disaggregated by age. It explores what measures could be taken to improve data on missing migrant children, to help improve policy options and to prevent these tragedies from occurring. The report is a contribution to the joint efforts of UNICEF, UNHCR, IOM, Eurostat and OECD to improve data on migrant and refugee children. Without better data on missing migrants, any policy understanding of children’s migration journeys and the risks and vulnerabilities they face will remain incomplete.


      https://publications.iom.int/fr/books/fatal-journeys-volume-4-missing-migrant-children
      #rapport #OIM #IOM

  • Salvini avverte i migranti : « Più partite più morirete, noi non apriamo i porti »

    Il vicepremier e ministro dell’Interno, Matteo Salvini, h parlato a Mattino 5: «Noi stiamo lavorando in Africa. In Italia è finito il business dei trafficanti e di chi non scappa dalla guerra. I porti italiani sono chiusi»
    "I migranti - ha spiegato - si salvano, come ha fatto la guardia costiera libica, e si riportano indietro, così la gente smetterà di pagare gli #scafisti per un viaggio che non ha futuro. Più persone partono più persone muoiono".


    https://www.globalist.it/news/2019/01/22/salvini-avverte-i-migranti-piu-partite-piu-morirete-noi-non-apriamo-i-port

    Je crois que les limites de l’#indécence ont été atteints...
    #Salvini #Matteo_Salvini #Italie #mots #vocabulaire #terminologie #ports #migrations #catégorisation #tri #réfugiés #ports_fermés #business #trafiquants #passeurs #smugglers #smuggling #gardes-côtes_libyens #pull-back #refoulement #push-back #scafista #mourir_en_mer #mort #Méditerranée #décès #business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Stopping Migrants, Whatever the Cost

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    A Deadly Policy in Action

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    A Legal Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ping @reka

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • How We Made an Invisible Crisis at Sea Visible

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

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

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

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

  • #métaliste (qui va être un grand chantier, car il y a plein d’information sur seenthis, qu’il faudrait réorganiser) sur :
    #externalisation #contrôles_frontaliers #frontières #migrations #réfugiés

    Des liens vers des articles généraux sur l’externalisation des frontières de la part de l’ #UE (#EU) :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/569305
    https://seenthis.net/messages/390549
    https://seenthis.net/messages/320101

    Ici une tentative (très mal réussie, car évidement, la divergence entre pratiques et les discours à un moment donné, ça se voit !) de l’UE de faire une brochure pour déconstruire les mythes autour de la migration...
    La question de l’externalisation y est abordée dans différentes parties de la brochure :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/765967

    Petit chapitre/encadré sur l’externalisation des frontières dans l’ouvrage "(Dé)passer la frontière" :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/769367

    Les origines de l’externalisation des contrôles frontaliers (maritimes) : accord #USA-#Haïti de #1981 :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/768694

    L’externalisation des politiques européennes en matière de migration
    https://seenthis.net/messages/787450

    "#Sous-traitance" de la #politique_migratoire en Afrique : l’Europe a-t-elle les mains propres ?
    https://seenthis.net/messages/789048

    Partners in crime ? The impacts of Europe’s outsourced migration controls on peace, stability and rights :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/794636
    #paix #stabilité #droits #Libye #Niger #Turquie

    Proceedings of the conference “Externalisation of borders : detention practices and denial of the right to asylum”
    https://seenthis.net/messages/880193

  • L’équation des #refoulements en Libye : depuis le début #2018 près de 15000 boat-people ont été reconduits en #Libye où sont enregistrés plus de 56000 réfugiés et demandeurs d’asile. Parmi eux, en un an, 900 ont été réinstallés. Que deviennent les autres ?

    https://twitter.com/Migreurop/status/1053981625321771008

    #push-back #refoulement #statistiques #chiffres #Méditerranée #pull-back #réinstallation

    Source :
    Flash update Libya (UNHCR)

    Population Movements
    As of 11 October, the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) rescued/intercepted 14,156 refugees and migrants (9,801 men, 2,126 women and 1,373 children) at sea during 108 operations. So far in 2018, the LCG recovered 99 bodies from the sea. The number of individualsdis embarked in Libya has gradually increased over the past weeks when compared to the month of August (552 individuals in August, 1,265 individuals in September and 884 individuals so far in October). An increase in disembarkations may be expected as the sea iscurrently very calm.
    During the reporting period, 174 refugees and migrants (163 men, eight women and three children) disembarked in #Alkhums (97 km southwest of Tripoli) and #Zawia (45 km west of Tripoli). The group was comprised mainly of Bangladeshi and Sudanese nationals. UNHCR and its partner International Medical Corps (IMC) provided core-relief items (CRIs) and vital medical assistance both at the disembarkation points and in the detention centres to which individuals were subsequently transferred by the authorities. So far in 2018, UNHCR has registered 11,401 refugees and asylum-seekers, bringing the total of individuals registered to 56,045.

    UNHCR Response
    On 9 October, #UNHCR in coordination with the municipality of Benghazi, distributed water tanks, medical waste disposal bins and wheel chairs to 14 hospitals and clinics in Benghazi. This was part of UNHCR’s quick-impact projects (#QIPs). QIPs are small, rapidly implemented projects intended to help create conditions for peaceful coexistence between displaced persons and their hosting communities. QIPs also strengthen the resilience of these communities. So far in 2018, UNHCR implemented 83 QIPs across Libya.
    On 8 October, UNHC partner #CESVI began a three-day school bag distribution campaign at its social centre in Tripoli. The aim is to reach 1,000 children with bags in preparation for the new school year. Due to the liquidity crisis in Libya, the price of school materials has increased over the past years. With this distribution, UNHCR hopes to mitigate the financial impact that the start of the school year has on refugee families.
    UNHCR estimates that 5,893 individuals are detained in Libya, of whom 3,964 are of concern to UNHCR. On 7 October, UNHCR visited #Abu-Slim detention centre to deliver humanitarian assistance and address the concerns of refugees and asylum-seekers held in the facility. UNHCR distributed non-food items including blankets, hygiene kits, dignity kits, sleeping mats and water to all detained individuals. UNHCR carried out a Q&A session with refugees and migrants to discuss UNHCR’s activities and possible solutions for persons of concern. Security permitting, UNHCR will resume its registration activities in detention centres over the coming days, targeting all persons of concern.
    So far in 2018, UNHCR conducted 982 visits to detention centres and registered 3,600 refugees and asylum-seekers. As of 10 October, UNHCR distributed 15,282 core-relief items to refugees and migrants held in detention centres in Libya.
    Throughits partner #IMC, UNHCR continues to provide medical assistance in detention centres in Libya. So far in 2018, IMC provided 21,548 primary health care consultations at the detention centres and 231 medical referrals to public hospitals. As conditions in detention remain extremely dire, UNHCR continues to advocate for alternatives to detention in Libya and for solutions in third countries. Since 1 September 2017, 901 individuals have been submitted for resettlement to eight States (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland).

    http://reporting.unhcr.org/sites/default/files/UNHCR%20Libya%20Flash%20Update%20-%205-12OCT18.pdf
    #réinstallation #détention #centres_de_détention #HCR #gardes-côtes_libyens

    ping @_kg_ @isskein

    • 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.

      Gli hanno detto che sarebbero sbarcati in Italia e quando hanno scoperto che invece #Lady_Sharm, il cargo battente bandiera della Sierra Leone, li stava riportando a Misurata in Libia, sono iniziate le tensioni a bordo. Secondo Alarm Phone i 100 migranti, che ieri avevano lanciato l’allarme a 50 miglia dalle coste libiche, dicendo che stavano congelando, sono “sotto choc” e si rifiutano di sbarcare. Le comunicazioni però sono molto difficoltose: non ci sono giornalisti sul posto e mancano conferme ufficiali. Le difficoltà di far sbarcare i 100 migranti sono state confermate a ilfattoquotidiano.it. L’episodio ricorda quello della nave Nivin, quando a novembre scorso un gruppo di migranti si rifiutò per giorni di scendere e l’esercito libico decise di fare irruzione sull’imbarcazione.

      Poco dopo la mezzanotte era terminato il trasbordo sul mercantile inviato da Tripoli in loro soccorso. Le persone – tra cui venti donne e dodici bambini, uno dei quali potrebbe essere morto di stenti – sono state in balia del mare e del freddo per ore. Ore di angoscia che sono terminate con l’invio dei soccorsi: in serata il mercantile dirottato sul posto dalla Guardia costiera libica – su cui pare sia intervenuto personalmente il premier Giuseppe Conte – ha raggiunto la carretta, cominciando ad imbarcare i migranti. “Verranno portati in salvo nel porto di Misurata”, aveva fatto sapere in serata Palazzo Chigi, che in precedenza aveva sollecitato la guardia costiera libica affinché effettuasse quanto prima l’intervento.


      https://twitter.com/alarm_phone/status/1087403549506658308?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E10
      Parallelamente altri 47 migranti, salvati dalla ong Sea Watch, attendono di avere notizie sulla loro destinazione finale: “Sono terrorizzati” dal possibile ritorno in Libia. “Le loro condizioni di salute sono buone e stazionarie”, ha detto all’agenzia Ansa l’equipaggio, “ma ora a preoccupare sono le condizioni meteo in peggioramento“.

      Di Maio: “D’ora in poi li porteremo a Marsiglia”
      “D’ora in poi i migranti che salviamo nel Mediterraneo glieli portiamo a Marsiglia – ha dichiarato questa mattina il vicepremier e ministro del Lavoro e dello Sviluppo economico, Luigi Di Maio, a Rtl 102.5 – Per far stare gli africani in Africa basta che la Francia stia a casa propria”. Il Viminale esprime soddisfazione: “Tutti sani e salvi, e riportati indietro, i 393 immigrati recuperati dalla Guardia Costiera libica nella giornata di ieri. In particolare, 143 sono stati riportati a Tripoli. 144 a Misurata, 106 ad al-Khoms”. La collaborazione funziona, gli scafisti, i trafficanti e i mafiosi devono capire che i loro affari sono finiti. Meno partenze, meno morti, la nostra linea non cambia” commenta il ministro dell’Interno Matteo Salvini.

      L’allarme e le richieste di aiuto inascoltate per ore
      Domenica mattina Alarm Phone, il sistema di allerta telefonico utilizzato per segnalare imbarcazioni in difficoltà, ha ricevuto la segnalazione del natante in avaria al largo di Misurata. Ora per ora, minuto per minuto, ha raccontato via tweet il dramma delle 100 persone stipate nell’imbarcazione facendo il resoconto delle innumerevoli segnalazioni effettuate a Roma, La Valletta e Tripoli, quest’ultima indicata da tutti come autorità competente a coordinare i soccorsi. “Abbiamo chiamato sette numeri differenti della sala operativa della cosiddetta Guardia costiera di Tripoli – raccontano i volontari – ma non abbiamo ricevuto risposta. Malta ci ha fornito un ottavo numero, che non risponde. Tutto questo è ridicolo. Ne basterebbe uno che funzionasse. Abbiamo avvisato Italia e Malta che la Libia non è raggiungibile. Nessuno ha attivato un’operazione di soccorso”.

      Affermazioni respinte dalla Marina libica, che con il suo portavoce, il brigadiere Ayoub Gassem, ha smentito che le richiesta di soccorso siano state ignorate, sottolineando che in mattinata altri 140 migranti sono stati salvati da una motovedetta di Tripoli. Dal canto suo la Guardia costiera italiana ha precisato che, non appena saputo dell’emergenza, “come previsto dalla normativa internazionale sul Sar ha immediatamente contattato la Guardia Costiera libica, nella cui area di responsabilità era in corso l’evento, che ha assunto il coordinamento e non potendo mandare propri mezzi perché impegnati nei precedenti soccorsi, ha inviato sul posto il mercantile della Sierra Leone”.

      I migranti: “Congeliamo, abbiamo paura di morire”
      A bordo del barcone i naufraghi hanno trascorso ore drammatiche: “Stiamo congelando, la situazione è disperata, aiutateci. Abbiamo paura di morire”, dicevano mentre imbarcavano acqua. Altri 47, salvati ieri da un gommone che stava per affondare, sono sulla Sea Watch, sempre al largo della Libia, in attesa di conoscere quale sarà il loro destino. “Nessuno ci dà informazioni, non sappiano cosa fare, quale sarà il porto dove attraccare – dicono dall’equipaggio – “Chiediamo istruzioni e restiamo in attesa. Siamo stati rimandati ai libici che però non rispondono. Non c’è modo di parlare con loro”.

      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

    • Il governo italiano elude il divieto di respingimenti collettivi

      La pietà per le 117 vittime del naufragio di venerdì 18 gennaio non è durata a lungo, e sono rimasti inascoltati tutti gli appelli volti a chiedere agli stati il rispetto degli obblighi di soccorso sanciti dal diritto internazionale. Una strage dopo l’altra, e sempre più rapidamente scattano i meccanismi di rimozione. Alla fine i “colpevoli” vengono indicati nelle ONG, ormai praticamente assenti, e non invece tra i governanti che hanno concluso accordi con autorità militari e guardiacoste che non rispettano i diritti umani, ed adesso omettono sistematicamente gli interventi di soccorso in acque internazionali.

      Si è conclusa nel peggiore dei modi l’operazione di ricerca e soccorso in acque internazionali di un gommone con circa cento persone a bordo, segnalato nella mattina di domenica 20 gennaio a circa 50 miglia a nord della città di Misurata. Per ore, che potevano fare la differenza tra la vita e la morte, praticamente per l’intera giornata di domenica, le autorità italiane, maltesi e libiche non hanno risposto alle richieste di aiuto rilanciate dall’organizzazione Alarm Phone.

      Senza l’insistenza delle organizzazioni umanitarie nessuno sarebbe andato a salvare le persone che erano ormai sul punto di annegare, e malgrado questo dato evidente, il ministro dell’interno Salvini non ha trovato altra risposta che inasprire le minacce contro le ONG, colpevoli di avere portato alla luce l’evento di soccorso, e sprattutto di avere salvato, in una precedente oprazione SAR, altre 46 persone portate a bordo della nave Sea Watch. Persone che ancora oggi rimangono abbandonate, con l’equipaggio della nave soccorritrice in alto mare, perchè nessun governo delle diverse zone SAR confinati nel Mediterraneo centrale ( Italia, Malta, Libia) risponde indicando un porto sicuro di sbarco, come sarebbe imposto dalle Convenzioni internazionali del diritto del mare e dal Diritto internazionale dei rifugiati. Sempre, ammesso e non concesso, che di Libia come stato unitario si possa parlare, e di una Guardia costiera “libica” con un Coordinamento centrale (MRCC) si possa disporre per garantire operazioni di soccorso che non possono essere legate alla ridotta capacità di intervento dei suoi assetti navali o alle pressioni diplomatiche di un governo straniero.

      Dopo una giornata in cui le autorità libiche avevano lasciato cadere le richieste di intervento, a 50 miglia a nord di Misurata, da parte delle autorità italiane, l’intervento del Presidente del Consiglio Conte, e di non meglio precisate componenti diplomatiche, ha indotto il governo di Tripoli a dirottare verso il gommone una nave cargo la Lady Shar con bandiera della Sierra Leone, ma in precedenza immatricolata con altro nome presso i registri maltesi, la nave commerciale più vicina in navigazione nella zona dei soccorsi, ed a effettuare un primo trasbordo dei naufraghi ormai stremati dal freddo. Successivamente, per quanto si è appreso dai media, sembrerebbe che alcune motovedette libiche avrebbero trasportato alcune persone a terra, riportandole nel porto di Misurata, dunque molto vicine al luogo dal quale erano state fatte partire dai trafficanti su un gommone fatiscente, approfittando del temporaneo miglioramento delle condizioni meteo. In realtà risulta che ai migranti “soccorsi” a bordo della nave commerciale “coordinata” dalle autorità libiche nessuno avesse detto che la nave li avrebbe sbarcati a Misurata. E che anzi qualcuno li aveva rassicurati che sarebbero stati sbarcati in Italia.

      Secondo le notizie più recenti però, una parte dei naufraghi starebbe facendo resistenza ancora a bordo della nave che li ha soccorsi, e si profilano altre violenze ai danni dei naufraghi, come già verificato proprio a Misurata, nel caso dello sbarco-irruzione operato a bordo della NIVIN. I naufraghi erano stati sbarcati con la forza dopo una irruzione delle milizie armate che sparavano con fucili proiettili di gomma ad altezza d’uomo. Mentre giornalisti ed operatori umanitari pure presenti nel porto di Misurata venivano tenuti lontani. Non ci sono state più notizie sulla sorte di quelle persone, fatte scomparire nel nulla. Questa è la “Libia”, meglio il territorio controllato dal governo di Tripoli e dalle milizie alleate, con cui collabora il governo italiano.

      A nulla sono serviti gli appelli perchè i migranti, che si trovavano ormai in acque internazionali, molto vicini al limite della zona SAR maltese, fossero portati in un porto sicuro Un place of safety (POS) che non si trova certo in Libia, neppure a Misurata come i fatti dimostrano. In Libia non ci sono place of safety per chi viene intercettato in alto mare, anche secondo quanto recentemente dichiarato dal Commissario per le Nazioni Unite per i rifugiati Grandi, sulla base di rapporti delle stesse Nazioni Unite, che documentano gli abusi che subiscono i migranti intercettati in alto mare e riportati indietro dalla sedicente Guardia costiera “libica”. Per comprendere la gravità delle violazioni del diritto internazionale commesse in questa occasione dal governo italiano occorre una breve ricostruzione dei rapporti intercorsi in questi ultimi due anni tra l’Italia ed il governo di Tripoli.

      2.Dopo gli accordi con la Libia del 2 febbraio 2017, ratificati dal Vertice euromediterraneo de La Valletta, a Malta, il giorno successivo, le autorità italiane hanno sempre operato per aggirare il divieto di respingimenti collettivi in mare, affermato dalla sentenza di condanna dell’Italia da parte della Corte Europea dei diritti dell’Uomo il 23 febbraio 2012 nel caso Hirsi.

      Occorreva chudere, o almeno ridurre in modo sostanziale, gli arrivi di migranti dalla Libia, dopo che i principali partiti allora di opposizione, e soprattutto la Lega ed i Cinquestelle, avevano conquistato fasce sempre più larghe di elettorato, utilizzando in modo strumentale l’allarme che si era fatto derivare dall’elevato numero di arrivi di migranti negli anni dal 2013 al 2016, effetto della crisi siriana e di una situazione di crescente instabilità in Libia e negli altri paesi dell’africa subsahariana. Per tutto questo occorreva delegare alla guardia costiera “libica” quell’attività di intercettazione e di respingimento collettivo che le unità italiane, in particolare la Guardia di finanza, non potevano più svolgere come avevano fatto nel 2009 e nel 2010, con Maroni ministro dell’interno. Cosa importava se le motovedette libiche non avevano a bordo neppure salvagenti o mezzi collettivi di salvataggio, in dotazione invece sulle navi delle ONG ?

      In questa direzione, con il supporto dell’Unione Europea ( missione Eunavfor Med) si sono addestrati centinaia di guardiacoste, nella veste di Guardia costiera “libica”, e si erano fornite motovedette e risorse finanziarie (Africa Trust Fund). Prima ancora che si arrivasse alla proclamazione di una zona SAR “libica”, si era quindi intensificata la collaborazione operativa con la sedicente Guardia costiera “libica”, come documentato dalla sentenze della magistratura di Catania, Ragusa e Palermo, al punto che i giudici arrivavano al punto di osservare quasi come scontato che il coordinamento sostanziale delle attività di ricerca e salvataggio (SAR) svolte dai libici in acque internazionali fosse di fatto demandato alle autorità italiane, presenti nel porto militare di Tripoli con la missione NAURAS.

      In un primo periodo, anche sulla base di operazioi di disinformazione alimentate da gruppi della estrema destra europea (GEFIRA), si cercavo di rallentare, se non dissuadere, con una forte pressione mediatica le attività delle navi delle ONG che operavano nelle acque del Mediterraneo centrale, per colmare un vuoto determinato dalla fine dell’operazione Mare Nostrum (2014) e poi dal progressivo ritiro degli assetti navali dell’operazione TRITON di Frontex.

      Nel giugno del 2017 un piano articolato su sette punti,proposto dall’allora ministro dell’interno Minniti, veniva proposto all’Unione Europea che lo approvava e si impegnava a finanziarlo. Tra le azioni previste dal piano rientravano anche le attività di collaborazione e coordinamento con la Guardia costiera “libica”. Gli obiettivi proposti all’Unione europea erano i seguenti :”  1) rafforzare la capacità della Libia nella sorveglianza marittima; 2) dare loro assistenza per la definizione di un’area marittima Sar (Search and rescue, ricerca e salvataggio); 3) istituire una Mrcc (maritime rescue coordination centre), una centrale operativa di coordinamento di salvataggio; 4) assistere la guardia costiera di Tripoli nelle procedure Sar; 5) irrobustire la cooperazione tra le agenzie internazionali e le autorità libiche; 6) intensificare gli interscambi operativi marittimi con l’Italia e gli altri stati Ue; 7) sviluppare le capacità di intervento ai confini di terra nel controllo dei traffici di esseri umani e di soccorso ai migranti in fuga.

      Con il Codice di condotta Minniti, alla fine del mese di luglio del 2017, venivano stabiliti obblighi pretestuosi che esulavano dalle prescrizioni stabilite nelle Convenzioni internazionali e si introduceva il principio che le navi private delle ONG avrebbeo dovuto operare nelle attività SAR senza interferire con le attività di soccorso che nel frattempo venivano affidate alla sedicente Guardia costiera libica, allora coordinata direttamente da personale italo-libico a bordo di una nave della Marina militare italiana della missione NAURAS di stanza nel porto militare di Abu Sittah a Tripoli. Tra le attività di supporto della missione Nauras a Tripoli, rientrava, fino al 28 giugno scorso, anche“l’importante compito di aiutare i libici a interfacciarsi con la Centrale operativa della Guardia costiera a Roma che coordina le operazioni di ricerca soccorso nel Mediterraneo centrale”. Questo coordinamento italiano delle attività di intercettazione in mare, affidate gia’ nella prima parte di quest’anno alla cd. Guardia costiera “libica“.

      Una previsione che contrastava con il riconoscimento della superiorità gerarchica ( rispetto al codice di condotta ed agli accordi bilterali) delle norme di diritto internazionale o di rango costituzionale, dal momento che già allora risultava evidente quanto gravi fossero le violazioni dei diritti ( e dei corpi) dei migranti sempre più frequenti in Libia, paese che ancora oggi non risulta firmatario della Convenzione di Ginevra sui rifugiati). Violazioni gravisssime che lasciavano segni evidenti nei corpi e nello spirito anche nelle persone che erano state bloccate in mare, in acque internazionali e riportate a terra in mano alle stesse milizie dalle quali erano fuggite.

      Il 26 luglio del 2017, all’indomani dell’incontro organizzato a Parigi sulla Libia, l’ex premier Gentiloni dichiarava addirittura che il capo del governo di Tripoli Serraj avrebbe chiesto l’aiuto dell’Italia ” in acque libiche con unità navali, per il contrasto ai trafficanti di esseri umani”.

      Nel mese di agosto del 2017 si concretizzava l’offensiva di alcune procure contro le navi delle ONG, con sequestri ed incriminazioni sempre più gravi, dopo una violenta campagna mediatica nei loro confronti, e soprattutto dopo che i loro equipaggi erano stati “infiltrati” da agenti sotto copertura che fornivano una ricostruzione artefatta delle attività di soccorso che avrebbe dovuto mostrare una “collusione” tra i trafficanti, gli scafisti, e gli operatori umanitari. Una “collusione” che veniva presto smontata da indagini difensive che dimostravano la artificiosità delle prove raccolte a base delle prime denunce, ma che comunque resta oggetto di un procedimento penale a Trapani. Il procedimento penale contro l’equipaggio della nave Juventa della ONG Jugend Rettet è infatti ancora in corso, mentre la Procura di Palermo ha chiesto ed ottenuto l’archiviazione di un analogo procedimento penale avviato presso il Tribunale di Palermo, contro la ONG spagnola Open Arms e contro la ONG tedesca Sea Watch. Anche per la Procura di Palermo nessun porto libico si poteva qualificare come “Place of safety (POS)” luogo di sbarco sicuro, e dunque bene avevano fatto le ONG, peraltro sotto coordinamento della Centrale operativa della Guardia costiera italiana (IMRCC), che in quel periodo avevano sbarcato in porti italiani i naufraghi raccolti nelle acque internazionali a nord della Libia.

      Dopo una serie di comunicati stampa e pesanti interventi mediatici, nonchè una audizione in Parlamento, la Procura di Catania non giungeva invece a formulare alcuno specifico capo di accusa, corrispondente alle prime dichiarazioni del Procuratore capo. Il processo avviato con il sequestro della nave Open Arms a Pozzallo nel mese di marzo del 2018, rimane ancora aperto, presso il Tribunale di Ragusa, dove il procedimento avviato a catania è stato trasferito per la caduta delle contestazioni relative alle ipotesi associative. Ma la nave è stata dissequestrata, dopo che il Giudice delle indagini preliminari, e poi il Tribunale di Ragusa, hanno ritenuto la Libia priva di porti sicuri e dunque conforme al diritto il comportamento del comandante che non aveva chiesto alle autorità libiche la indicazione di un porto di sbarco, ma sie era diretto invece verso le coste maltesi ed italiane per chiedere un POS (Place of safety), ricevendo anche da Malta un netto rifiuto di sbarco. Il Giudice delle indagini preliminari di Catania, decidendo su questo caso, rilevava il sostanziale coordinamento da parte delle autorità italiane (Operazione Nauras) delle attività di ricerca e salvataggio (SAR) condotte dalle autorità libiche nelle occasioni denunciate. Il Gip di Catania osservava in particolare che ” Anche questa eccezione non può essere condivisa, poiché le motovedette libiche erano intervenute per effettuare una operazione di soccorso, come richiesto da IMRCC di Roma e sotto l’egida italiana con le navi militari di stanza a Tripoli, e perciò non si può parlare minimamente di respingimento, ma solamente di soccorso e salvataggio in mare”.

      3.L’aggiramento della sentenza di condanna dell’Italia da parte della Corte europea dei diritti dell’uomo sul caso Hirsi era ormai realizzato. Con l’insediamento del nuovo governo Salvini-Di Maio-Conte, già nelle prime dichiarazioni del ministro dell’interno si percepiva un ulteriore inasprimento della linea di condotta delle autorità italiane nelle occasioni ancora frequenti di interventi di ricerca e soccorso in acque internazionali sulla rotta libica operati dalle navi delle ONG. Per tutta l’estate dello scorso anno era una guerra aperta contro le ONG, con espedienti burocratici, come le pressio i sugli stati di bandiera delle navi umanitarie perchè le cancellassero dai registri navali, e con la minaccia di altre sanzioni penali, unico strumento per “chiudere i porti”.

      Cresceva anche la pressione diplomatica sulla Libia e sull’IMO a Londra (Organizzazione marittima internazionale che fa capo alle Nazioni Unite) perchè fosse riconosciuta una zona SAR “libica” in modo da delegare completamente, almeno sulla carta, il coordinamento delle attività di salvataggio ad assetti libici ed alla costituenda Centrale operativa libica (IRCC). Una autentica finzione, dal momento che la Libia non ha ancora oggi organi di governo o forze armate uniche per tutto il suo vasto territorio, coste e mare territoriale compreso, controllato da milizie in perenne conflitto tra loro. Il 28 giugno 2018, l’IMO inseriva nei suoi data base la autoproclamata zona SAR “libica” comunicata dal governo di Tripoli che neppure riusciva a controllare il territorio dell’intera città, ma che veniva incontro alle richieste del governo italiano, dopo che una prima richiesta rivolta dai libici all’IMO nel dicembre del 2017 era stata ritirata per la evidente mancanza dei requisiti richiesti a livello internazionale per il riconoscimento di una zona SAR.

      Se fino al 28 giugno scorso era almeno chiaro che le responsabilità di coordinamento spettavano tutte alla Centrale operativa della Guardia costiera italiana (IMRCC), a partire da quella data, con la notifica di una zona SAR “libica” da parte del governo di Tripoli all’IMO a Londra,a partire da quella data è venuta meno qualsiasi certezza circa le responsabilità di coordinamento dei soccorsi, e dunque di individuazione del punto di sbarco. Non si è riusciti neppure a risolvere il problema ricorrente della sovrapposizione tra la zona SAR maltese e la zona SAR italiana, a sud di Lampedusa e Malta, già occasione di conflitti di competenze, che avevano portato a tragedie con centinaia di morti, come in occasione della cd. strage dei bambini dell’11 ottobre 2013. Per quella strage è ancora in corso un procedimento penale presso il Tribunale di Roma, dopo due richieste di archiviazione da parte delle procure di Agrigento e Roma.

      Intanto il responsabile della sedicente Guardia costiera libica da Tripoli annunciava che gli assetti militari a sua disposizione non avrebbero proceduto a svolgere attività di ricerca e soccorso che non fossero coordinate da autorità libiche con mezzi decisi da Tripoli, dunque con totale esclusione di ogni possibilità di collaborazione con le ONG, ancora presenti nelle acque internazionali del Mediterraneo centrale. Per le Nazioni Unite, invece,e dunque per qualunque governo del mondo, “la Libia non può essere considerata un luogo sicuro di sbarco”, come ricorda il più recente rapporto diffuso a livello mondiale. Anche se nei punti di sbarco compaiono le pettorine azzurre dell’UNHCR, coloro che ancora riescono a tentare la pericolosa traversata del Mediterraneo, e che “vengono sempre più spesso intercettati o soccorsi dalla Guardia costiera libica che li riconduce in Libia”, ritrovano l’inferno da dove erano fuggiti. Dopo lo sbarco e la consegna di un kit di prima accoglienza finiscono nelle mani delle milizie che controllano i centri di detenzione.

      In una visita in Libia ai primi di luglio, Human Rights Watch ha intervistato le forze della guardia costiera libica, decine di rifugiati e migranti detenuti in centri a Tripoli, Zuara e Misurata, e funzionari di organizzazioni internazionali. I richiedenti asilo detenuti e i migranti intervistati hanno espresso gravi accuse di abusi da parte delle guardie e dei trafficanti, e alcuni hanno riferito di comportamenti aggressivi da parte delle forze della guardie costiera durante le operazioni di salvataggio in mare. Human Rights Watch ha confermato che le forze della guardia costiera libica mancano della capacità di assicurare operazioni di ricerca e soccorso sicure ed efficaci.

      4. La competenza nelle attività SAR o la individuazione del place of safety non possono derogare i principi fondamentali affermati in favore dei rifugiati ai quali sono parificati i richiedenti asilo. In base alla Convenzione di Ginevra sui rifugiati (art.33), “nessuno Stato contraente potrà espellere o respingere (refouler) – in nessun modo – un rifugiato verso le frontiere dei luoghi ove la sua vita o la sua libertà sarebbero minacciate a causa della sua razza, della sua religione, della sua nazionalità, della sua appartenenza ad una determinata categoria sociale o delle sue opinioni politiche. Il beneficio di detta disposizione non potrà tuttavia essere invocato da un rifugiato per il quale vi siano gravi motivi per considerarlo un pericolo per la sicurezza dello Stato in cui si trova, oppure da un rifugiato il quale, essendo stato oggetto di una condanna già passata in giudicato per un crimine o un delitto particolarmente grave, rappresenti una minaccia per la comunità di detto Stato”.

      In ogni caso, le espulsioni collettive sono vietate dal quarto protocollo addizionale della Convenzione europea dei diritti dell’uomo firmato a Strasburgo il 16 settembre 1963 (cfr. art. 19.1 della Carta dei diritti fondamentali dell’Unione Europea).

      L’art.33 della Convenzione di Ginevra che impone il divieto di respingimento delle persone verso paesi che non ne garantiscono i diritti fondamentali, in coerenza con l’art. 10 della Costituzione italiana, rendono del tutto privo di basi legali, e dunque non vincolante, qualsiasi ordine di riconsegna dei naufraghi ai libici impartito dopo i soccorsi a navi private che si trovino in acque internazionali. Va ricordato che né la Libia, né le diverse entità statali in cui risulta divisa, hanno sottoscritto la Convenzione di Ginevra sui rifugiati, ne garantiscono un effettiva salvaguardia dei diritti fondamentali delle persone, per non parlare della condizione di abuso alla quale,dopo la riconduzione a terra, sono sistematicamente esposti donne e minori ( ma adesso anche molti adulti di sesso maschile).

      Se è vero che in base all’art. 25 della Convenzione UNCLOS lo stato può comunque impedire l’ingresso nei propri porti ad una nave sospettata di trasportare migranti irregolari, è altrettanto da considerare che se uno Stato respinge una imbarcazione carica di naufraghi soccorsi in acque internazionali, senza controllare se a bordo vi siano dei richiedenti asilo o soggetti non respingibili, o altrimenti inespellibili, come donne abusate e/o in stato di gravidanza e minori, e senza esaminare se essi possiedano i requisiti per il riconoscimento dello status di rifugiato, commette una violazione del principio di non respingimento sancito dall’art. 33 par. 1 della Convenzione del 1951 se i territori (Stati terzi o alto mare) verso cui la nave è respinta non offrono garanzie sufficienti per l’incolumità dei migranti. L’articolo 10 del Testo Unico sull’immigrazione 256/98 prevede ancora espressamente la possibilità di applicare il respingimento differito (comma 2) alle persone straniere che sono state “temporaneamente ammessi nel territorio per necessità di pubblico soccorso”. Dunque anche l’ordinamento interno prevede che in caso di eventi di ricerca e soccorso in mare non si possa procedere ad operazioni di respingimento che peraltro assumerebbero il carattere di respingimenti collettivi, vietati dall’art. 4 del Quarto Protocollo allegato alla CEDU e dall’art.19 della Carta dei diritti fondamentali dell’Unione Europea.

      La Convenzione di Palermo contro il crimine transnazionale ed i due Protocolli allegati, contro la tratta e contro il traffico di esseri umani, che pure prevedono accordi con i paesi di origine e transito dei migranti, antepongono la salvaguardia della vita umana in mare alla lotta contro quella che si definisce immigrazione “illegale”. In base all’art.7 del Protocollo contro il traffico, (Cooperazione) “Gli Stati Parte cooperano nella maniera più ampia per prevenire e reprimere il traffico di migranti via mare, ai sensi del diritto internazionale del mare”. Secondo l’art. 9 dello stesso Protocollo “Qualsiasi misura presa, adottata o applicata conformemente al presente capitolo tiene debitamente conto della necessità di non ostacolare o modificare: a) i diritti e gli obblighi degli Stati costieri e l’esercizio della loro giurisdizione, ai sensi del diritto internazionale del mare. Particolarmente importante l’art. 16 del Protocollo che prevede Misure di tutela e di assistenza: (1) Nell’applicazione del presente Protocollo, ogni Stato Parte prende, compatibilmente con i suoi obblighi derivanti dal diritto internazionale, misure adeguate, comprese quelle di carattere legislativo se necessario, per preservare e tutelare i diritti delle persone che sono state oggetto delle condotte di cui all’articolo 6 del presente Protocollo, come riconosciuti ai sensi del diritto internazionale applicabile, in particolare il diritto alla vita e il diritto a non essere sottoposto a tortura o altri trattamenti o pene inumani o degradanti. (2) Ogni Stato Parte prende le misure opportune per fornire ai migranti un’adeguata tutela contro la violenza che può essere loro inflitta, sia da singoli individui che da
      gruppi, in quanto oggetto delle condotte di cui all’articolo 6 del presente Protocollo. (3) Ogni Stato Parte fornisce un’assistenza adeguata ai migranti la cui vita, o incolumità, è in pericolo dal fatto di essere stati oggetto delle condotte di cui all’articolo 6 del presente Protocollo. (4) Nell’applicare le disposizioni del presente articolo, gli Stati Parte prendono in
      considerazione le particolari esigenze delle donne e dei bambini.

      Un ulteriore clausola di salvaguardia si ritrova all’art.19 del Protocollo addizionale contro il traffico: (1) Nessuna disposizione del presente Protocollo pregiudica diritti, obblighi e responsabilità degli Stati e individui ai sensi del diritto internazionale, compreso il diritto internazionale umanitario e il diritto internazionale dei diritti dell’uomo e, in particolare, laddove applicabile, la Convenzione del 1951 e il Protocollo del 1967 relativi allo Status di Rifugiati e il principio di non allontanamento”.

      Per effetto degli articoli 10 e 117 della Costituzione italiana le Convenzioni internazionali che l’Italia ha sottoscritto si impongono sulle scelte dell’esecutivo e non possono essere violate da leggi interne o accordi internazionali. Dunque il diritto alla vita ed al soccorso in mare è un diritto fondamentale che non si può ponderare sulla base di altri interessi dello stato pure rilevanti, come la difesa delle frontiere o la lotta alle reti di trafficanti.

      Non è dunque possibile che un ministro dell’interno proclami la sua insofferenza per il diritto internazionale, o che lo ritenga un ostacolo alle sue politiche di “chiusura dei porti”. La creazione della zona SAR libica è servita proprio per aggirare i divieti di respingimento e gli obblighi di salvataggio imposti agli stati dal Diritto internazionale. Era tutto chiaro da mesi. Non sono certo le ONG complici dei trafficanti libici, quanto piuttosto quei governi che fanno accordi con le milizie per bloccare e detenere i migranti prima che possano attraversare il Mediterraneo.

      Va ricordato infine che nel caso di avvistamenti o chiamate di soccorso non seguiti da tempestivi interventi di ricerca e salvataggio potrebbero configurarsi gravi responsabilità penali. Come ricordano Caffio e Leanza (Il SAR Mediterraneo) “è da ritenersi in conclusione che responsabilità sarebbero ipotizzabili nei seguenti casi:1) non intervento di navi le quali siano a conoscenza della situazione (anche a seguito di warning emanato dalle autorità italiane) e siano in condizione di intervenire in tempo utile in ragione della distanza e della velocità sempre che non sussistano condizioni ostative attinenti la sicurezza della navigazione e delle persone che sono a bordo nonché alla tipologia di nave (si pensi alle navi gasiere) sprovviste di spazi per ospitare le persone salvate o addirittura pericolose nei loro confronti;2) mancata emissione di warning ai mercantili in transito da parte delle autorità SAR italiane”.

      5. Occorre trovare al più prsto un porto sicuro di sbarco per le 47 persone soccorse ieri dalla nave SEA WATCH, per le quali nè Malta, nè Italia hanno finora indicato quanto dovuto in base alle Convenzioi internazionali. La Convenzione internazionale sulla ricerca e il soccorso in mare del 1979 (Convenzione SAR) obbliga gli Stati parte a “…garantire che sia prestata assistenza ad ogni persona in pericolo in mare… senza distinzioni relative alla nazionalità o allo status di tale persona o alle circostanze nelle quali tale persona viene trovata” (Capitolo 2.1.10) ed a “ […] fornirle le prime cure mediche o di altro genere ed a trasferirla in un luogo sicuro”. (Capitolo 1.3.2)

      Per “luogo di sbarco sicuro” (Place of safety-POS) si deve intendere un luogo in cui si ritiene che le operazioni di soccorso debbano concludersi e in cui la sicurezza per la vita dei sopravvissuti non è minacciata, dove possono essere soddisfatte le necessità umane di base e possono essere definite le modalità di trasporto dei sopravvissuti verso la destinazione successiva o finale tenendo conto della protezione dei loro diritti fondamentali nel rispetto del principio di non respingimento…» (Regolamento Frontex 656/2014).

      L’adempimento degli obblighi internazionali di salvaguardia della vita umana in mare e la tempestiva indicazione di un porto sicuro di sbarco non possono diventare merce di scambio per modificare le politiche dell’Unione Europea.

      Gli interessi nazionali diretti alla “difesa dei confini” non possono consentire di cancellare sostanzialmente gli articoli 10 e 117 della Costituzione italiana che affermano la piena operatività, nel nostro ordinamento interno, delle Convenzioni internazionali che l’Italia ha sottoscritto e ratificato. Rimane inalterata la diretta efficacia cogente dei Regolamenti dell’Unione Europea che forniscono una definizione vincolante ( anche per i ministri dell’interno) di “luogo di sbarco sicuro”.

      Qualunque trattativa per la distribuzione, pure auspicabile, di naufraghi tra diversi paesi europei può avvenire soltanto quando le persone hanno raggiunto un porto di sbarco sicuro, perché la nave soccorritrice va considerata in base al diritto internazionale come un luogo sicuro “transitorio”, e la permanenza a bordo di persone già duramente provate non può diventare arma di ricatto tra gli stati. Di certo non rileva nella individuazione del porto di sbarco sicuro la bandiera dell’unità soccorritrice, altro argomento utilizzato per impedire o ritardare lo sbarco nei porti italiani delle persone soccorse in mare.

      6. Una volta che il Centro nazionale di coordinamento di soccorso marittimo della Guardia Costiera di Roma(I.M.R.C.C.)abbia comunque ricevuto la segnalazione di un’emergenza e assunto il coordinamento iniziale delle operazioni di soccorso -anche se l’emergenza si è sviluppata fuori dalla propria area di competenza SAR – questo impone alle autorità italiane di portare a compimento il salvataggio individuando il luogo sicuro di sbarco dei naufraghi. Se le autorità di Malta hanno negato il loro consenso allo sbarco in un porto di quello Stato, l’Italia non può negare lo sbarco in un proprio porto sicuro, che diventa essenziale per completare le operazioni di salvataggio. Se, come risulta dagli ultimi rapporti delle Nazioni Unite, e come riconosce persino il ministro degli esteri Moavero la Libia non garantisce “porti di sbarco sicuri”, spetta al ministero dell’interno, di concerto con la Centrale operativa della guardia costiera (IMRCC) di Roma, indicare con la massima sollecitudine un porto di sbarco sicuro, anche se l’evento SAR si è verificato nelle acque internazionali che ricadono nella pretesa SAR libica.

      Se gli ordini di “chiusura dei porti ”, impartiti in modo informale dal ministro dell’interno, continueranno a produrre l’effetto di bloccare in alto mare, in acque internazionali, decine di persone particolarmente vulnerabili, come lo sono tutti coloro che provengono oggi dalla Libia, sarebbe violato l’inalienabile diritto delle persone, quale che sia il loro stato giuridico, “a non subire trattamenti inumani o degradanti”( Articolo 3 della CEDU). Trattamenti direttamente riferibili al ministero dell’interno che non indica un porto sicuro di sbarco e che potrebbero ben configurarsi qualora, a seguito di un ennesimo braccio di ferro tra gli stati europei, la permanenza a bordo dei naufraghi, malgrado il prodigarsi degli operatori umanitari, dovesse procurare ulteriori sofferenze, se non gravi rischi per la salute o per la stessa vita. Non si può ammettere che in acque internazionali ci siano persone sottratte a qualsiasi giurisdizione. Anche se non interviene direttamente con i suoi mezzi, fino a quando non intervengono direttamente unità navali o aeree, o centrali di coordinamento SAR di altri paesi, le persone che chiamano soccorso dall’alto mare si trovano sotto la giurisdizione del primo paese che riceve la chiamata di soccorso, dal cui esito tempestivo può dipendere la vita o la morte.

      In caso di violazione del divieto di respingimenti collettivi ( articolo 4 del Quarto Protocollo allegato alla CEDU) o del divieto di trattamenti inumani od degradanti (art.3 CEDU), imposti agli stati nei confronti di tutte le persone che ricadono nella loro giurisdizione, come sono i naufraghi soccorsi in operazioni coordinate, almeno nella fase iniziale, da una autorità statale, si potrebbero ipotizzare ricorsi in via di urgenza alla Corte Europea dei diritti dell’Uomo. Mentre se il conflitto tra gli stati ( in particolare Italia e Malta) nella individuazione di un POS (porto sicuro di sbarco) si dovesse ripetere, dovrebbe occuparsene la Corte di Giustizia dell’Unione Europea.

      https://dossierlibia.lasciatecientrare.it/il-governo-italiano-elude-il-divieto-di-respingimenti

  • Migrants in Libya : Pushed away, pulled back

    As EU policies drive migrants away, Libyan authorities push them into dire detention centres. For some who reach Europe, it is worth the risk

    http://www.middleeasteye.net/fr/news/migrants-libya-pushed-back-pulled-back-409483752
    #pull-back #push-back #Libye #externalisation
    #renvois #expulsions #retour_au_pays #prostitution #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Nigeria #trafic_d'êtres_humains :

    Eight years ago, Joy was a teenager when she was offered a job as a nanny in London. In the event, she was flown by plane to Milan, and ordered to work off a nearly $60,000 debt as a sex worker.

    When Joy fled to what she thought was the safety of her home in southern Nigeria’s Edo State however, it turned out to be “hell”.

    “Returning was one of the worst things I could have done,” she said.
    Her local recruiters repeatedly threatened the lives of her family for cash. Joy’s uncle beat her, and sold her off to be married twice.

    Et qu’est-ce qu’elle fait Joy quelques années après ?

    Years later, she resolved to return to Italy for a better life, by land through Libya, with her eyes open. “Everyone knows the story about Libya,” she said. “We all know it is dangerous.”

    • Dopo la Libia, l’inferno è in Italia: le donne nigeriane di #Castel_Volturno

      A Castel Volturno le donne nigeriane arrivano dopo essere passate dalla Libia. Qui le aspetta la paura del «juju», la prostituzione nelle case chiuse, lo sfruttamento. Finché non finiscono di pagare il debito che hanno contratto per arrivare in Italia. Sara Manisera e Federica Mameli sono state a parlare con loro nelle «connection house» di Castel Volturno.

      http://openmigration.org/analisi/dopo-la-libia-linferno-e-in-italia-le-donne-nigeriane-di-castel-voltu

    • UNHCR expresses concern over lack of rescue capability in Mediterranean, but condones Libyan coast guard pull back operations

      While UNHCR rightly calls for a change in EU practices, it fails to acknowledge or address the serious problems with the Libyan coast guard’s pull back practices in Libyan territorial waters – practices enabled and funded by the EU. UNHCR’s latest statement on this subject condones EU-funded Libyan coast guard pull back practices.

      From Jeff Crisp (@JFCrisp): “A simple question for UNHCR and IOM: Should asylum seekers who leave Libya by boat have an opportunity to submit an application for refugee status elsewhere, rather than being summarily intercepted and forcibly returned to and detained in the country of departure? Because UNHCR’s global policy says: ‘persons rescued or intercepted at sea cannot be summarily turned back or otherwise returned to the country of departure, including in particular where to do so would deny them a fair opportunity to seek asylum.’”

      UNHCR’s statement: “UNHCR continues to be very concerned about the legal and logistical restrictions that have been placed on a number of NGOs wishing to conduct search and rescue (SAR) operations, including the Aquarius. These have had the cumulative effect of the Central Mediterranean currently having no NGO vessels conducting SAR. Should NGO rescue operations on the Mediterranean cease entirely we risk returning to the same dangerous context we saw after Italy’s Mare Nostrum naval operation ended in 2015 and hundreds of people died in an incident on the central Mediterranean Sea. UNHCR welcomes the rescue efforts of the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG), as without them more lives would have been lost. Nonetheless, with the LCG now having assumed primary responsibility for search and rescue coordination in an area that extends to around 100 miles, the LCG needs further support. Any vessel with the capability to assist search and rescue operations should be allowed to come to the aid of those in need. UNHCR reiterates that people rescued in international waters (i.e. beyond the 12 nautical miles of the territorial waters of Libya) should not be brought back to Libya where conditions are not safe. The largest proportion of deaths have been reported in crossings to Italy, which account for more than half of all deaths reported this year so far, despite Spain having become the primary destination of those newly arrived. More than 48, 000 people have arrived there by sea, compared to around 22,000 in Italy and 27,000 in Greece. There is an urgent need to break away from the current impasses and ad-hoc boat-by-boat approaches on where to dock rescued passengers. UNHCR reiterates that in recent months, together with IOM, we have offered a regional solution that would provide clarity and predictability on search and rescue operations.”

      https://migrantsatsea.org/2018/11/12/week-in-review-11-november-2018

  • Reçu via la mailing-list Migreurop (envoyé par Pascaline Chappart) :

    Deux articles où il est question d’évacuation depuis les centres de détention libyens vers le #Niger, en vue d’une réinstallation en Europe...

    – « Un pont aérien pour les réfugiés », les Echos du 30/8/2017 : "Avramopoulos demande aussi le soutien des Etats-membres pour le plan de l’UNHCR de « procéder temporairement à une #évacuation d’urgence des groupes de migrants les plus vulnérables de la #Libye vers le #Niger et d’autres pays de la région ».

    – Le Monde, 22/9/2017 :Vincent Cochel, responsable de la situation en mer Méditerranée

    "Pour accélérer l’amélioration de la situation, nous oeuvrons à la création de centres ouverts de réception qui pourraient être installés en Libye. Il y a urgence compte tenu des conditions existantes
    dans les centres de détention. Le dossier avance, mais n’est pas bouclé. Ces centres nous permettront également d’évacuer en urgence certains réfugiés vers des pays tiers en vue de leur transfert dans des pays européens ou autres. Cependant, sans clarification rapide des intentions chiffrées des pays de réinstallation, nous ne pourrons pas évacuer ces réfugiés en danger vers des pays de transit susceptibles de les accueillir temporairement."

    –---------------------

    Migrants : « La France doit clarifier au plus tôt la hauteur de son engagement »

    Vincent Cochetel, responsable de la situation en mer Méditerranée pour l’Agence des Nations unies
    chargée des réfugiés, dénonce la faiblesse des réinstallations d’exilés en Europe.
    LE MONDE | 22.09.2017 à 11h19 | Propos recueillis par Maryline Baumard (/journaliste/maryline-baumard/)

    Après les annonces estivales d’Emmanuel Macron, qui propose d’ouvrir une voie légale d’accès en
    France pour éviter la traversée de la Méditerranée, Vincent Cochetel, l’émissaire spécial pour cette
    zone de l’Agence des Nations unies chargée des réfugiés (UNHCR), s’impatiente de l’absence
    d’engagement chiffré.
    Emmanuel Macron a annoncé en juillet que la France irait chercher des Africains sur les
    routes migratoires, avant leur arrivée en Libye, afin d’éviter qu’ils ne risquent la mort en mer.

    Le HCR se réjouit-il de cette initiative ?
    La réinstallation n’est pas la solution au problème migratoire, mais elle fait partie de l’approche
    globale… Ce message, qui consiste à aller chercher des réfugiés dans les pays voisins de zones de
    conflits et à leur offrir un avenir, une protection, a été plus ou moins entendu lorsqu’il s’agit des
    Syriens réfugiés au Liban, en Jordanie ou en Turquie, il ne l’était pas à ce jour pour les réfugiés
    africains.
    Nous nous réjouissons que la France organise des opérations avec notre soutien depuis le Tchad et
    le Niger. La situation est difficile sur ces deux zones, puisque le Tchad accueille un nombre
    important de réfugiés venus du Soudan (Darfour) ou de Centrafrique, et que le Niger reçoit ceux qui
    fuient les zones où sévit Boko Haram, mais aussi sur le Mali, où la situation actuelle nous inquiète.

    Quel rôle jouez-vous au Tchad et au Niger ?
    Nous gérons, avec les autorités, les camps de réfugiés dans les quinze pays qui longent la route
    migratoire des Africains que nous retrouvons ensuite en Libye. Les Etats y accordent une protection
    internationale et nous les assistons, ainsi que nos partenaires ONG, dans les services qu’ils offrent
    à ces populations fragilisées. Dans chaque pays, nous établissons une liste de personnes
    vulnérables qui nécessitent un transfert. Elle est de 83 500 au Tchad et de 10 500 au Niger, les deux
    pays dans lesquels la France projette de venir chercher des Africains pour les réinstaller. En plus,
    nous aimerions que la France et d’autres pays acceptent d’accueillir des réfugiés que nous voulons
    évacuer en urgence de Libye.

    Vous aimeriez que les pays européens en réinstallent 40 000, sélectionnés dans vos listes…
    La France vous a-t-elle fait part de quotas chiffrés d’Africains qu’elle souhaite accueillir ?
    Pas à ce jour. Aussi nous demandons au gouvernement français de clarifier au plus tôt la hauteur de
    son engagement. Le comptage des réinstallations déjà effectuées depuis ces zones est assez
    rapide. En 2015 et en 2016, aucun réfugié africain n’a été transféré depuis le Niger et un seul l’a été,
    vers la France, en 2017. Lorsque l’on s’intéresse au Tchad, 856 ont été réinstallés en 2015, 641
    en 2016 et 115 en 2017. Presque aucun vers l’Europe ; la plupart ont été accueillis au Canada ou
    aux Etats-Unis.

    Comment allez-vous travailler avec la France ?
    Nous commencerons par envoyer à l’Office français de protection des réfugiés et apatrides [Ofpra]
    une liste de dossiers de personnes vulnérables sélectionnées par nos soins comme devant de toute
    urgence rejoindre l’Europe. Leur cas sera d’abord analysé à Paris. L’Ofpra les étudiera du point de
    vue des critères de l’asile, et des spécialistes vérifieront les questions de sécurité et si toutes les
    conditions sont réunies. Ensuite, les équipes françaises de l’Ofpra entendront sur place les
    personnes sélectionnées. Ces entretiens pourront avoir lieu dans nos locaux avec éventuellement
    nos interprètes. Pendant que la France préparera leur accueil, une sensibilisation culturelle sur le
    pays leur sera prodiguée, afin qu’elles disposent d’emblée de quelques éléments de contexte.
    Emmanuel Macron a décidé d’intervenir au Niger et au Tchad, mais rêve dans le fond de
    travailler plus directement avec la Libye. Ce que fait ou tente de faire le HCR…
    Il faut que les Etats européens arrêtent de se bercer d’illusions sur les possibilités actuelles de
    travailler avec ce pays. Notre rôle à nous, agence de l’ONU, y reste malheureusement très limité.
    Même lorsque nous sommes présents dans les prisons officielles, où entre 7 000 et 9 000 migrants
    et demandeurs d’asile sont emprisonnés, sur 390 000 présents dans le pays. D’autres subissent des
    traitements inhumains dans des lieux de détention tenus par des trafiquants. Dans les prisons
    « officielles », nous n’avons pour l’instant l’autorisation de nous adresser qu’aux ressortissants de
    sept nationalités (Irakiens, Palestiniens, Somaliens, Syriens, Ethiopiens s’ils sont Oromos,
    Soudanais du Darfour et Erythréens). Ce qui signifie que nous n’avons jamais parlé à un Soudanais
    du Sud, à un Malien, à un Yéménite, etc.
    L’Organisation internationale pour les migrations a assisté cette année plus de 3 000 personnes
    arrivées en Libye afin de leur permettre de rentrer chez elles. Nous croyons que cette solution est
    très utile pour nombre d’entre elles. Il faut garder à l’esprit que 56 % des migrants en Libye disent
    avoir atteint leur destination finale. Ils espéraient y trouver du travail, ce qui ne s’est pas matérialisé
    pour beaucoup d’entre eux.
    Pour accélérer l’amélioration de la situation, nous oeuvrons à la création de centres ouverts de
    réception qui pourraient être installés en Libye. Il y a urgence compte tenu des conditions existantes
    dans les centres de détention. Le dossier avance, mais n’est pas bouclé. Ces centres nous
    permettront également d’évacuer en urgence certains réfugiés vers des pays tiers en vue de leur
    transfert dans des pays européens ou autres. Cependant, sans clarification rapide des intentions
    chiffrées des pays de réinstallation, nous ne pourrons pas évacuer ces réfugiés en danger vers des
    pays de transit susceptibles de les accueillir temporairement.

    Un pont aérien pour les réfugiés
    Les Echos, 30 août 2017
    https://www.lecho.be/economie-politique/europe-general/Un-pont-aerien-pour-les-refugies/9927215?ckc=1&ts=1507288383

    La Commission demande aux États membres de se montrer solidaires envers les Africains : jusqu’à 37.700 réfugiés pourraient rejoindre l’Europe en avion, en direct de Libye, d’Egypte, du Niger, d’Éthiopie et du Soudan.
    Dans la crise de la migration, l’attention européenne se porte de plus en plus vers le flux de migrants qui tentent la traversée vers l’Italie à partir de l’Afrique du Nord et de la corne de l’Afrique, via la Libye. Dans une lettre envoyée vendredi dernier à tous les ministres des États membres, le commissaire européen à la Migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, demande un doublement des efforts de réinstallation, ce qui porterait à 40.000 le nombre de réfugiés accueillis en Europe.

    Le commissaire européen à la Migration demande un doublement des efforts de réinstallation.
    Le pont aérien ne devrait pas se limiter aux pays voisins de la Syrie. Avramopoulos demande également que l’on accueille les réfugiés qui ont besoin de la protection internationale le long de la route de l’Europe centrale. Il demande « que l’on concentre la réinstallation au départ de l’Egypte, la Libye, le Niger, l’Éthiopie et le Soudan ».
    C’est au Haut commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés, l’UNHCR, qu’il reviendra de définir le profil des migrants qui pourront être pris en considération pour une réinstallation en Europe. Avramopoulos demande aussi le soutien des Etats-membres pour le plan de l’UNHCR de « procéder temporairement à une évacuation d’urgence des groupes de migrants les plus vulnérables de la Libye vers le Niger et d’autres pays de la région ».
    Les États membres ont jusqu’à la mi-septembre pour annoncer leurs plans. Ils ne sont pas obligés de participer à ce pont aérien. Le cadre européen de réinstallation travaille sur base d’engagements volontaires. La Commission européenne offre cependant une aide financière non négligeable de 10.000 euros par réfugié, pour un budget total de 377 millions d’euros.

    « J’ai toujours défendu le principe de réinstallation. La Belgique est prête à faire sa part. Il y a cependant une condition cruciale. La migration sûre et légale, via la réinstallation ne pourra se faire que si l’on met fin à l’asile après une migration illégale. »
    Theo Francken Secrétaire d’État à la Migration

    Vers une nouvelle controverse sur la solidarité ?
    Au cours de l’été 2015, la Commission avait déjà lancé un cadre commun pour l’UE portant sur l’acheminement direct de 22.000 réfugiés, au départ des pays voisins de la Syrie. Objectif : éviter les traversées dangereuses vers la Grèce.
    Aujourd’hui, 17.000 réfugiés – dont plus de 7.800 Syriens acheminés à partir de la Turquie dans le cadre de la convention entre l’Europe et la Turquie – ont effectivement bénéficié du pont aérien vers l’Europe au départ des pays voisins de la Syrie.
    Les diplomates européens craignent que cette nouvelle proposition ne provoque une nouvelle controverse sur la solidarité dans le cadre de la crise de la migration. La concentration sur l’Afrique et la route centrale via la mer Méditerranée pourrait avoir du mal à passer. Car elle donne l’impression que l’Europe essaie de reproduire l’accord avec la Turquie, mais dans une Libye dangereuse, instable et imprévisible. Une solution que le président du parlement européen, Antonio Tajani, défend ouvertement.
    Par ailleurs, la route entre la Libye et l’Italie est surtout utilisée par des migrants économiques, qui ne sont en principe pas éligibles pour l’asile. C’est pourquoi les efforts européens de ces derniers mois se sont surtout concentrés sur le renvoi de ces migrants dans leur pays, et l’arrêt des flux migratoires.
    Malgré tout, l’Allemagne, la France, l’Italie et l’Espagne ont déjà répondu à l’appel. Lors du mini-sommet qui s’est tenu lundi à Paris, les chefs de gouvernement de ces quatre pays ont promis, non seulement un soutien supplémentaire aux pays du Sahel afin de fermer la route vers la Libye, mais aussi davantage de solidarité lors de la réinstallation en Europe des personnes ayant droit à l’asile.
    Theo Francken, secrétaire d’État à la Migration, soutient Avramopoulos. « J’ai toujours défendu le principe de réinstallation. La Belgique est prête à faire sa part. Il y a cependant une condition cruciale. La migration sûre et légale, via la réinstallation ne pourra se faire que si l’on met fin à l’asile après une migration illégale. »
    Source : L’Echo

    #réinstallation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #centres_de_transit