• Sink the Boats

    The UK government is paying France to ‘Stop the Boats’. Now first-time footage reveals French police have violently intercepted dinghies sailing for Britain, risking the lives of people on board

    For decades, people have tried to reach the UK from northern France in order to claim asylum in Britain. With tightened security at French ports making it harder for stowaways, tens of thousands of people have crossed the English Channel in rubber dinghies, prompting the British government to make stopping the boats one of its top priorities.

    Last year, the UK announced that it would allocate nearly £500m to France over three years to prevent boats from leaving its shores.

    The British government has repeatedly pressured France to intercept the boats at sea. France has previously refused on the basis that it would place lives at risk.

    But in collaboration with Le Monde, The Observer and Der Spiegel, Lighthouse Reports can reveal that French police officers have carried out so-called “pullbacks” in the Channel, in moves experts say mirror the deadly and illegal tactics used in the Aegean and the Central Mediterranean by the Greek and Libyan coast guards.

    We’ve established through sources that the patrol boat used by the French police to carry out at least one of these dangerous manoeuvres was funded by the British.

    Meanwhile, over the last two years there has been a sharp increase in the number of drownings in the sea off northern France where most of the pullbacks have taken place.

    We obtained previously unseen footage, leaked documents and witness testimony showing French police have used aggressive methods to intercept migrant vessels at sea, including circling a small boat, causing waves to flood it; ramming into a small boat while threatening passengers with pepper spray; and puncturing boats while they are already at sea, forcing people to swim back to shore. We were able to geolocate the videos to confirm their veracity.

    We showed the videos to a number of maritime experts, UK Border Force officers and French coast guards, who said the tactics would have clearly endangered the lives of those on board and appeared to be illegal. Leaked maritime documents helped us to establish that these types of interceptions at sea are not compatible with French law.

    We then obtained an additional crucial piece of evidence: a complaint filed by a coast guard officer to the prosecutor about an incident in which French police officers had ordered a National Society of Sea Rescues (SNSM) crew to puncture a migrant dinghy that had already set sail despite the risk of drowning being “obvious and imminent”.

    To find out whether these interceptions were happening on a wider scale, we travelled to Northern France to speak to people on the ground trying to reach the UK in boats. A number of people described having their dinghies slashed by police once they had already set sail.

    We were able to link the hundreds of millions of pounds provided by Britain to France with these tactics when sources confirmed that police patrol vessels, including the exact vessel seen in one of the videos, had been bought by the French with funding provided by the British government.

    An analysis of data by charity Alarm Phone meanwhile showed a sharp increase in the number of people known to have drowned within the vicinity of the French coastline, where most of the pullbacks we documented took place – with one in 2022 compared to five already this year.

    We met Satinder* from Punjab, a predominantly Sikh region in northern India, in Calais.

    Five days earlier, he and two friends had tried to make it to Britain by boat. The dinghy was overcrowded with around 46 people, mainly Indians and Afghans, on board. “We sailed for around 10 minutes at dawn without a hitch in an overloaded boat,” he said. “Then a boat came. It was a gendarmerie boat, they had uniforms. They said: ‘Stop the boat’.

    “They went around the boat like in a circle and then they stabbed the boat and left. We had to swim for about 10 minutes […] We nearly died.”

    The two friends Satinder was with in the boat gave matching accounts. We spoke to four other people who recounted similar stories on different occasions.

    “It reminds me of the Greek and Turkish coast guards,” said French customs coast guard Rémi Vandeplanque.”And that’s shameful for the French. If the police continue to use such tactics, there is likely to be a death at some point.”

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    • Revealed: UK-funded French forces putting migrants’ lives at risk with small-boat tactics

      Exclusive: newly obtained footage and leaked documents show how a ‘mass casualty event’ could arise from aggressive tactics employed by border forces

      French police funded by the UK government have endangered the lives of vulnerable migrants by intercepting small boats in the Channel, using tactics that search and rescue experts say could cause a “mass casualty event”.

      Shocking new evidence obtained by the Observer, Lighthouse Reports, Le Monde and Der Spiegel reveals for the first time that the French maritime police have tried physically to force small boats to turn around – manoeuvres known as “pullbacks” – in an attempt to prevent them reaching British shores.

      Newly obtained footage, leaked documents and witness testimonies show that the French authorities have used aggressive tactics including circling a migrant boat, causing waves to flood the dinghy; ramming into a small boat while threatening passengers with a large tank of pepper spray; and puncturing boats when they are already at sea, forcing migrants to swim back to shore.

      The French authorities have previously refused the UK’s requests for them to carry out interceptions at sea, stating that they contravened international maritime law. But evidence indicates there has been an escalation in the use of these tactics since last summer.

      Rishi Sunak has pledged to “stop the boats” crossing the Channel and has promised hundreds of millions of pounds to France to pay for more surveillance and border guards to prevent people making the journey. Last Wednesday the government’s safety of Rwanda (asylum and immigration) bill suffered several defeats in the House of Lords, delaying the prime minister’s plan to see flights for Kigali take off until after Easter.

      Ministers claim that the bill will act as a deterrent to all those crossing the Channel from northern France to the UK. In the first video obtained and verified for this investigation, a police boat in Dunkirk harbour circles close to a dinghy holding about 25 people, creating a wake that floods the boat.

      The police vessel is seen advancing towards the dinghy at speed, before turning sharply to create waves, circling and coming back again. Migrants are seen wearing foam-packed lifejackets and attempting to bale water out using their shoes.

      Sources confirmed that the police patrol vessel used to carry out the manoeuvre seen in the video was bought by the French authorities with funding provided by the UK government under the “Sandhurst treaty”, a bilateral border security deal signed at the royal military academy in 2018.

      “This is a textbook pushback – exactly the same as we see in Greece,” said one search and rescue expert who was shown the footage. “That one manoeuvre alone could cause a mass casualty event. The water is deep enough to drown in. I’ve seen this in the central Mediterranean many times, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this happening in the Channel.”

      Previous evidence has shown how the Greek coastguard has forced boats carrying migrants back into Turkish waters in the Aegean Sea, in some cases by manoeuvring around them at high speed to create waves.

      Two senior UK Border Force sources confirmed that the tactic could lead to multiple deaths and injuries. “If the blades [of the French boat] make contact with the vessel, it will slash right through it,” said one operational Border Force official.

      “The other thing is a collision. The weight and the force of that vessel could ride straight over the top of the rib. It would knock the passengers out, knock them unconscious and into the water. It could potentially lead to death. I can’t believe any mariner could condone that.”

      Maritime experts added that they would be “very surprised” if Border Force and HM Coastguard were not aware of these tactics being used, with one adding: “One hundred per cent, someone high up will definitely be aware of this.”

      In a second video, members of the French gendarmerie drive alongside a dinghy in a speedboat about 12 miles from the French coast, threatening to use a large tank of pepper spray against a boat carrying migrants. They then proceed to ram their vessel into the dinghy. “They don’t even know who’s on board – whether there’s someone asthmatic that you’re using pepper spray against, or pregnant women,” said a Border Force official. “That could really harm people.”

      In evidence of a third attempted pullback, a complaint filed by a member of the French customs coastguard to the public prosecutor in Boulogne-sur-Mer alleges that on 11 August 2023 police officers ordered a National Society of Sea Rescues (SNSM) crew to puncture a small boat that had already set sail. In an email seen by this investigation, the complainant, Rémi Vandeplanque, states that the SNSM crew “obviously refused” to do this, adding that the risk of drowning if they had done so was “obvious and imminent”.

      Testimony from several sources who boarded small boats bound for the UK supports the claims that French police have used such tactics. “There were four of them [French gendarmes] on the boat,” said one man, who was from India. “They went round the boat in a circle and then they stabbed the boat and left. We had to swim for about 10 minutes … We nearly died.” On 9 February 2024, the man lodged a complaint with the French human rights ombudsman. The incident is under investigation.

      Sources within France’s interior ministry have described the UK government’s “enormous pressure on a daily basis” for the French maritime police to prevent small boat departures, with one French civil servant describing the pressure as “intense” and “nonstop”.

      Another senior civil servant, who was in post until the end of 2020, added: “As far as the British were concerned, the boats had to be caught at sea. They sometimes insisted on it.”

      In September last year, then immigration minister Robert Jenrick said in the House of Commons that “there is clearly more that we need the French to do for us”, pointing to a recent trip to Belgium, where he said the authorities had “been willing to intercept in the water small boats leaving its shores”. He added: “That has proven decisive. Small boats from Belgian waters are now extremely rare, so that is an approach that we encourage the French to follow.”

      In August 2021, during a visit to the Greek island of Samos, then home secretary Priti Patel went out on patrol with the Greek coastguard, which is known for its use of aggressive pushbacks in the Aegean.

      “She came back invigorated,” said a Home Office source with knowledge of the trip. “They were very aggressive, had a good success rate of detection and were swift in how they processed them [asylum seekers]. She liked their posturing of ‘protecting borders’ and working with the military, though there was recognition that a lot of this wouldn’t be lawful in the UK.”

      Britain has allocated more than £700m to France to prevent irregular migration since 2014.

      At a summit in March 2023, Sunak announced that Britain would give France £500m over three years to fund additional border guards and a new detention facility, as well as video surveillance cameras, drones and night-vision binoculars, among other equipment.

      The package was, according to several sources at the French interior ministry, a turning point. “This has really put the relationship between the two countries on a contractual footing,” said one senior official.

      Last month the UK signed a working agreement with the European border agency Frontex to bolster intelligence sharing and deploy UK Border Force officials to coordinate the Channel response.

      When contacted by this investigation, the prefecture for the north of France confirmed that a police boat had circled a dinghy and that the aim of the intervention was to “dissuade passengers” from approaching the open sea, adding: “It’s the only time we’ve been able to intercept a small boat using this manoeuvre and it was a deterrent. All the migrants were recovered and the smugglers arrested.”

      A Home Office spokesperson said: “An unacceptable number of people are crossing the Channel and we will do whatever is necessary to end these perilous and fatal journeys. We remain committed to building on the successes that saw arrivals drop by more than a third last year.

      “Not only have we introduced tougher legislation and agreements with international partners, but we continue to work closely with our French counterparts, who are working tirelessly to save lives and stop the boats.”


    • Dans la Manche, les techniques agressives de la police pour empêcher les traversées de migrants

      Officiellement, la police a interdiction formelle d’intercepter en mer les embarcations de migrants qui tentent de traverser la Manche. Après plusieurs mois d’enquête, « Le Monde » et ses partenaires de Lighthouse Reports, de « The Observer » et du « Der Spiegel » ont pourtant pu documenter différentes situations où les forces de l’ordre emploient des manœuvres dangereuses à l’encontre de ces « small boats » pourtant déjà à l’eau.

      Il pleut des cordes et la grande tonnelle blanche, sous laquelle plusieurs dizaines de personnes viennent s’abriter, a du mal à supporter le poids de l’eau qui s’accumule. Il est presque 11 heures, dans une zone périphérique de Loon-Plage Nord), ce mardi 12 mars, à l’entrée de l’un des nombreux campements de personnes migrantes présents depuis des années maintenant sur la commune, voisine de Dunkerque.

      Ziko (les personnes citées par leur prénom ont requis l’anonymat), 16 ans, vivote ici depuis cinq mois. Le jeune Somalien a déjà essayé cinq fois de gagner le Royaume-Uni. A chaque fois en bateau. A chaque fois sans succès. Systématiquement, les policiers sont intervenus pour stopper l’embarcation à bord de laquelle lui et d’autres espéraient traverser la Manche. « A chaque fois, ils ont crevé le bateau », se souvient-il.

      Il y a environ deux semaines de cela, les policiers ont fait une manœuvre au large de la plage de Gravelines (Nord) que le jeune homme n’est pas près d’oublier. Les fonctionnaires ont fait obstacle au canot alors qu’il était déjà en mer. « On était à plusieurs dizaines de mètres des côtes quand un bateau pneumatique avec cinq ou six policiers s’est approché et a crevé notre embarcation. » Ziko rapporte que lui et la cinquantaine de passagers sont tous tombés à l’eau. « J’avais de l’eau jusqu’à la poitrine, c’était très dangereux. Il y avait des enfants qui étaient portés à bout de bras par des adultes pour ne pas se noyer. »

      De ses cinq tentatives de traversée, c’est la seule au cours de laquelle le bateau de Ziko a été crevé en mer. Son témoignage, rare, vient percuter la version officielle livrée par les autorités depuis 2018 et l’explosion du phénomène des small boats, ces petites embarcations de migrants dont le but est de rejoindre le Royaume-Uni. Officiellement, la police a interdiction formelle d’intervenir lorsque les small boats sont déjà en mer. Dans une directive à diffusion restreinte du 10 novembre 2022, le préfet maritime de la Manche et de la mer du Nord, Marc Véran, rappelait que « le cadre de l’action des moyens agissant en mer (…) y compris dans la bande littorale des 300 mètres (…) est celui de la recherche et du sauvetage en mer » et « ne permet pas de mener des actions coercitives de lutte contre l’immigration clandestine ».

      Et ce, en dépit de la pression constante sur le littoral : alors que moins de 2 000 personnes ont traversé la Manche en 2019, elles étaient plus de 45 000 en 2022 et près de 30 000 en 2023. Un phénomène qui est devenu un irritant majeur dans la relation franco-britannique.

      Manœuvre dangereuse

      Au terme de plusieurs mois d’enquête, Le Monde, ses partenaires du collectif de journalistes Lighthouse Reports, du journal britannique The Observer et de l’hebdomadaire allemand Der Spiegel ont pourtant pu documenter différentes situations, parfois filmées, où des tactiques agressives similaires à celles que dénonce Ziko ont été employées depuis juillet 2023. D’après nos informations, elles sont même comptabilisées par le ministère de l’intérieur sous la dénomination explicite d’« interceptions en mer ». Des données d’une sensibilité telle qu’elles ne font l’objet d’aucune publicité.

      D’autres que Ziko en témoignent. La Défenseure des droits explique au Monde que quatre saisines sont en cours d’investigation portant sur des interceptions en mer en 2022 et 2023. Par ailleurs, l’inspection générale de la police nationale est saisie depuis l’automne 2023 d’une enquête préliminaire à la suite d’un signalement au parquet de Boulogne-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais) effectué par Rémi Vandeplanque, un garde-côte douanier et représentant du syndicat Solidaires.

      Ce dernier rapporte que, le 11 août 2023, au petit matin, un gendarme aurait demandé à un membre d’équipage de la Société nationale de sauvetage en mer (SNSM) de l’aider à percer un bateau au large de la plage de Berck-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais) avec une dizaine de personnes à son bord. Une manœuvre dangereuse que le sauveteur a refusé d’effectuer, tout en avisant le centre régional opérationnel de surveillance et de sauvetage (Cross) de Gris-Nez (Pas-de-Calais).

      L’échange a été entendu sur l’un des canaux radio utilisés par le Cross. « En tant que policier, on ne peut pas agir d’une manière qui met la vie d’autrui en danger, affirme Rémi Vandeplanque. On doit respecter les règles. » Sollicitée, la préfecture maritime de la Manche et de la mer du Nord assure que, « si elle est avérée, cette initiative ne pourrait être qu’une initiative individuelle de la personne en question et inappropriée ».

      Rares sont les images qui documentent ces pratiques, mais une vidéo inédite que nous nous sommes procurée, datée du 9 octobre 2023, montre un semi-rigide de la police nationale tourner autour d’un small boat dans le port de Dunkerque en créant à dessein des vagues qui déstabilisent la petite embarcation. A bord se trouvent pourtant une trentaine de passagers. Une partie d’entre eux se tient sur le boudin du canot. De l’eau entre dans l’embarcation au point que ceux assis au milieu sont immergés jusqu’aux genoux. Le policier semble ensuite dire aux occupants du petit bateau de retourner sur le bord. Les migrants seront finalement débarqués sains et saufs.

      Une manœuvre dangereuse, jugent plusieurs experts maritimes, d’autant que, en cas de chavirement, les embarcations légères des forces de l’ordre ne sont pas dimensionnées pour conduire des opérations de sauvetage. « Cette vidéo m’a choqué, raconte Kevin Saunders, ancien officier de la Border Force britannique en poste à Calais jusqu’en 2016 et connu pour ses positions extrêmement critiques à l’égard de l’immigration. Elle me rappelle ce que les Grecs faisaient à la frontière maritime avec la Turquie. Je suis surpris que les Français fassent cela parce que c’est contraire à leur interprétation du droit de la mer. »

      « Les Français sont poussés à jouer le même rôle dans la Manche que celui que l’Union européenne offre aux pays africains. Paris reçoit beaucoup d’argent des Anglais pour empêcher les migrants de partir ou les arrêter en mer », renchérit de son côté le politiste autrichien Gerald Knaus, architecte de l’accord de lutte contre l’immigration irrégulière entre l’Union européenne et la Turquie, faisant référence à la pression grandissante des autorités britanniques.

      Crever des bateaux bondés

      De son côté, la préfecture de la zone de défense et de sécurité Nord relativise : « On était en journée, dans une enceinte portuaire. Le but de l’intervention est de dissuader les passagers de s’approcher de la digue du Braek [qui mène à la mer du Nord]. C’est la seule fois où on a pu intercepter un small boat par cette manœuvre et ça a été dissuasif. Toutes les personnes migrantes ont été sauvées et les passeurs interpellés. »

      Dans une seconde vidéo, diffusée sur le réseau social TikTok en juillet 2023, un semi-rigide appartenant à la vedette de gendarmerie maritime Aber-Ildut, déployée depuis 2022 dans la Manche, est filmé en train de percuter à deux reprises une embarcation de migrants à pleine vitesse, au large des côtes de Boulogne-sur-Mer. Trois gendarmes sont à bord. L’un d’entre eux brandit une bombe de gaz lacrymogène en direction du small boat et intime à ses passagers de s’arrêter. Une pratique, encore une fois, contraire au cadre opérationnel français.

      « Refusant le contrôle coopérant, aucune action de coercition n’a été réalisée et cette embarcation a librement poursuivi sa route, précise la préfecture maritime, interrogée sur cette action. Le nombre de ces contrôles reste très modeste, aucun naufrage, blessé ou procédure non conforme n’a été signalé. »

      D’autres témoignages, recueillis auprès de migrants à Calais (Pas-de-Calais) ou à Loon-Plage, décrivent des tentatives de traversées empêchées par des forces de l’ordre, qui s’avancent dans l’eau, jusqu’aux épaules parfois, pour crever des bateaux bondés de passagers. « A aucun moment de telles consignes ne sont données ni même suggérées aux équipes coordonnées, assure pourtant la préfecture maritime, bien au contraire, la préservation de la vie humaine en mer est le seul credo qui vaille. »

      La lutte contre l’immigration irrégulière franchit-elle la ligne rouge ? Le 10 mars 2023, une grappe de journalistes trépignent dans la cour de l’Elysée balayée par un vent hivernal. Tous attendent la poignée de main entre le chef de l’Etat, Emmanuel Macron, et le premier ministre britannique, Rishi Sunak, sur le perron du palais présidentiel. C’est le premier sommet bilatéral entre les deux pays depuis cinq ans. Le rapprochement qui doit être mis en scène ce jour-là va s’incarner sur un sujet : l’immigration. Londres annonce le versement sur trois ans de 543 millions d’euros à la France pour « stopper davantage de bateaux », au titre du traité de Sandhurst de 2018.

      Cet argent va permettre de financer le déploiement de réservistes et l’installation de barrières et de caméras de vidéosurveillance sur la Côte d’Opale, mais aussi la surveillance aérienne du littoral ou encore l’équipement des forces de l’ordre en drones, jumelles à vision nocturne ou semi-rigides, comme celui que l’on voit à l’œuvre dans la vidéo prise dans le port de Dunkerque. Une tranche importante d’une centaine de millions d’euros est aussi dévolue à des projets immobiliers tels que la création d’un centre de rétention administrative vers Dunkerque ou d’un lieu de cantonnement pour les CRS à Calais. Désormais, plus de 700 policiers et gendarmes sillonnent vingt-quatre heures sur vingt-quatre heures les 150 kilomètres de littoral.

      « Pression énorme » des Britanniques

      Il n’est pas question ici de sauvetage en mer, au grand dam de certains opérateurs qui verraient bien leur flotte renouvelée alors que les naufrages d’embarcations sont récurrents et mettent à rude épreuve les équipages. Ainsi la SNSM a échoué à plusieurs reprises à bénéficier des fonds Sandhurst, « parce que son action n’est pas assimilable à de la lutte contre l’immigration illégale », justifie à regret un cadre de l’association dans un document que nous avons pu consulter.

      L’enveloppe d’un demi-milliard d’euros débloquée par les Britanniques en 2023 constitue, de l’aveu de plusieurs sources au ministère de l’intérieur, un tournant. « Cela a vraiment contractualisé la relation entre les deux pays, rapporte un cadre de la Place Beauvau, sous le couvert de l’anonymat. Les Anglais se comportent avec nous comme nous on le ferait avec un pays tiers. Ils mettent une pression énorme au quotidien sur le déblocage des crédits, si les chiffres ne s’améliorent pas. C’est non-stop et à tous les niveaux. »

      Déjà présents au sein d’un centre conjoint d’information et de coordination franco-britannique ainsi que dans une unité de renseignement à Coquelles (Pas-de-Calais), des officiers de liaison britanniques de la Border Force participent aussi, officiellement comme simples observateurs, à la réunion hebdomadaire de l’état-major de lutte contre l’immigration clandestine. « Ils sont extrêmement intrusifs, mais ils connaissent bien la zone, ils savent où on contrôle bien, où on est en difficulté », affirme un cadre de la gendarmerie.

      Pour tarir les flux de migrants, les Britanniques ne manquent pas d’idées. En octobre 2020, le gouvernement conservateur de Boris Johnson disait réfléchir à installer des machines à vagues pour repousser les small boats. En août 2021, la ministre britannique de l’intérieur d’alors, Priti Patel, est revenue enthousiasmée d’une visite en Grèce où elle a effectué des patrouilles avec les gardes-côtes helléniques en mer Egée, l’une des portes d’entrée en Europe. « Elle a dit que nous devrions apprendre des Grecs, se souvient une source au Home Office. Ils étaient très agressifs, avaient un bon taux de détection. » Et ont, à de nombreuses reprises, fait l’objet d’accusations de refoulements illégaux de demandeurs d’asile vers la Turquie.

      Toutes ces idées sont partagées avec la France lors de réunions bilatérales. « Pour les Britanniques, il fallait attraper les bateaux en mer. Ils le disaient de façon par moment insistante, lâche un haut fonctionnaire du ministère de l’intérieur, en poste jusqu’à fin 2020. Ils nous ont même expliqué comment faire, par exemple en lançant des grappins ou des filets. » A la préfecture de la zone de défense et de sécurité Nord, on reconnaît que « de nouvelles techniques sont essayées en permanence », à l’image de celle qui consiste à paralyser l’hélice d’un bateau de migrants à l’aide de filets.

      Mais « cela n’a pas été concluant », assure-t-on. « Notre stratégie, ça a été plutôt de dire qu’il fallait une forte présence sur les plages et empêcher les livraisons de bateaux, corrobore un ancien directeur de la police aux frontières. En mer, on porte secours aux personnes, on ne les intercepte pas. » D’autres croient que ce qui a freiné les autorités tient plutôt à des contingences matérielles : « Il n’y avait pas de moyens nautiques pour cela », assure l’ancien haut fonctionnaire du ministère de l’intérieur.

      Vingt-quatre noyades depuis 2023

      L’ampleur du phénomène des traversées persistant, les digues ont-elles sauté ? Les manœuvres en mer des forces de l’ordre « se comptent sur les doigts d’une main », balaye une source au ministère de l’intérieur.

      Le 10 mars 2023, tandis qu’Emmanuel Macron et Rishi Sunak enterrent à l’Elysée des années de brouille diplomatique, le préfet maritime Véran signe une nouvelle directive à diffusion restreinte. Elle précise le cadre de certaines manœuvres opérationnelles face à l’apparition du phénomène des taxis boats, ces embarcations qui longent la côte et récupèrent les migrants directement à l’eau pour éviter les interceptions sur les plages. La directive ouvre la voie à l’interception de small boats en mer par les forces de sécurité intérieure, à condition d’opérer « uniquement de jour », dans la bande côtière de 200 mètres de littoral, avant que le taxi boat n’embarque des passagers et dans le cas où « moins de trois personnes » seraient à bord.

      L’intervention est conditionnée, explique le vice-amiral, au comportement coopératif des occupants du bateau, mais aussi à l’absence de risques de mise en danger de la vie humaine. « En dehors des missions dédiées de contrôle des taxis boats, (…) le cadre juridique de la lutte contre l’immigration clandestine en mer se limite à l’exercice de pouvoirs de police à l’encontre des passeurs et non des passagers eux-mêmes », insiste M. Véran. Le préfet maritime ordonne d’éviter à tout prix des « routes de collision ».

      A la garde-côte douanière, Rémi Vandeplanque s’inquiète : « C’est une évolution choquante, mais ce n’est vraiment pas une surprise. » Un sentiment partagé par l’association d’aide aux migrants Utopia 56, présente sur le littoral et qui fustige, par la voix de son porte-parole, Nikolaï Posner, une « violence stérile et illégitime ». « Depuis octobre 2021 et la mise en place d’une maraude qui sillonne la côte, l’association est souvent la première à recueillir les témoignages de ceux qui ont tenté la traversée. »

      Sollicitée sur les différents cas de pratiques dangereuses des forces de l’ordre à l’encontre de small boats déjà à l’eau, la préfecture de la zone de défense et de sécurité Nord renvoie vers la préfecture maritime de la Manche et de la mer du Nord, qui est l’autorité compétente en mer. De plus, elle insiste sur la violence des réseaux de passeurs, confrontés à « la montée en puissance des saisies de bateaux en amont du littoral et sur les plages ».

      Les autorités décrivent ainsi comment « des personnes migrantes sont parfois sommées de créer des lignes de défense » et de jeter des pierres aux forces de l’ordre, pour permettre la mise à l’eau des small boats. Quarante et un policiers et gendarmes ont été blessés à cette occasion en 2023 et la préfecture a dénombré sur la même période « 160 confrontations sur les plages, c’est-à-dire avec usage de la force et de gaz lacrymogènes, alors qu’il n’y en a quasiment pas eu en 2022 ».

      C’est ce qui s’est notamment passé le 15 décembre 2023, à Sangatte, dans le Pas-de-Calais. D’après les éléments partagés par le parquet de Boulogne-sur-Mer, un groupe de migrants aurait fait barrage à des policiers pour permettre à un bateau de partir. Les policiers auraient essuyé des jets de projectiles et fait usage de gaz lacrymogènes en retour. Un récit en substance corroboré par plusieurs témoins présents sur place ce jour-là. Parvenu à prendre la mer, le small boat aurait rapidement subi une avarie de moteur et voulu regagner le rivage.

      Un migrant somalien parmi les passagers assure que, à bord du bateau, un jeune homme de 25 ans a par ailleurs été victime d’un malaise. La police aurait continué d’user de gaz lacrymogènes et se serait avancée pour crever le bateau avant qu’il n’ait pu atteindre le rivage. « Une personne de nationalité soudanaise se retrouve inanimée sur la plage », selon le parquet, et décède peu de temps après d’un arrêt cardio-respiratoire, en dépit des tentatives de le réanimer. « Depuis août 2023, on observe une recrudescence des événements dramatiques », dit le procureur de Boulogne-sur-Mer, Guirec Le Bras. Sans parvenir à expliquer cette particularité, il note que sa juridiction a recensé dix-neuf décès par noyade, survenus pour « la plupart au bord de l’eau ».

      Au total, selon l’estimation de la préfecture du Nord, vingt-quatre personnes sont décédées par noyade depuis 2023. Les autorités incriminent des « embarcations beaucoup plus chargées et une dégradation de la qualité des bateaux ». Dans un rapport publié en janvier, le réseau d’activistes Alarm Phone alertait sur ces morts près des côtes : « L’augmentation des fonds alloués à la France s’est traduite par un renforcement de la police, une augmentation de la violence sur les plages et, par conséquent, une augmentation des embarquements dangereusement surpeuplés et chaotiques au cours desquels des personnes perdent la vie. »

      « Nous avons dû nager »

      C’est peu ou prou ce que rapportent des migrants après une tentative de traversée échouée dans la nuit du 2 au 3 mars. Un exilé syrien de 27 ans, Jumaa Alhasan, s’est noyé dans le canal de l’Aa, un fleuve côtier qui se jette dans la mer du Nord. Plusieurs témoins, interrogés par Le Monde, assurent l’avoir vu tomber dans l’eau lors d’une intervention des forces de l’ordre qui aurait provoqué la panique des passeurs et poussé le Syrien à s’élancer depuis les rives de l’Aa pour tenter de sauter sur le canot en marche, là où le bateau était censé accoster et embarquer tout le monde. « Pour moi, il ne serait pas mort si les policiers français n’avaient pas été là », ne décolère pas Youssef, témoin de la scène. Le corps de Jumaa Alhasan a été retrouvé dans le chenal de l’Aa mardi 19 mars.

      Il est près de midi sur un des campements de Calais, ce 22 janvier. Sous le crachin habituel, un homme débite du bois pour alimenter un brasero autour duquel viennent se masser une demi-douzaine d’hommes. La plupart viennent du Pendjab, une région à majorité sikhe du nord de l’Inde. Tous sont arrivés il y a quelques semaines dans le nord de la France.

      Cinq jours plus tôt, Satinder, Paramjit et Gurfateh ont tenté une traversée. Ils ont longé l’autoroute qui mène jusqu’au port de Calais pour arriver au pied des dunes. « On a mis le bateau sur la plage, on l’a gonflé, tout se passait bien », rappelle Satinder, grand gaillard barbu, emmitouflé dans un cache-cou. Les trois hommes naviguent une petite dizaine de minutes au petit jour sans anicroche. Ils sont quarante-six à bord, la plupart avec des gilets de sauvetage. La météo n’est pas mauvaise, la mer presque plate.

      Ils entendent finalement une voix qui semble les poursuivre : « Stop the boat. » Un bateau s’approche du leur. La voix répète : « Stop the boat. » Satinder aperçoit une embarcation de la gendarmerie qui arrive par l’ouest. Le conducteur panique, remet les gaz sans parvenir à distancer les gendarmes. « Ils étaient quatre sur le bateau. Ils ont tourné autour de nous et ils nous ont dit que les conditions météorologiques étaient trop dangereuses, qu’ils ne pouvaient pas nous laisser partir », explique Satinder. L’un des gendarmes sort alors un « click-knife [un couteau d’attaque] », raconte Gurfateh, et assène un coup dans l’embarcation. L’air s’échappe du boudin. Le bateau s’affaisse.

      Le conducteur met alors le cap sur la terre ferme, mais le bateau coule avant de rejoindre la plage. « Nous avons dû nager une dizaine de minutes. Heureusement qu’il n’y avait presque que des adultes. Il y avait juste une petite fille de 4 ans », complète Satinder. Sur la plage, le groupe, hébété, reprend ses esprits avant de regagner la route du campement. Les trois hommes n’ont pas abandonné l’idée de traverser. Le 9 février, ils ont saisi la Défenseure des droits. « Ce jour-là, nous avons failli mourir. »


  • Cassazione, dare i migranti ai guardiacoste di Tripoli è reato

    La consegna di migranti alla guardia costiera libica è reato perché la Libia «non è porto sicuro».

    E’ quanto sancisce una sentenza della Corte di Cassazione che ha reso definitiva la condanna del comandante del rimorchiatore #Asso_28 che il 30 luglio del 2018 soccorse 101 persone nel Mediterraneo centrale e li riportò in Libia consegnandoli alla Guardia costiera di Tripoli. Della sentenza scrive Repubblica.

    Per i supremi giudici favorire le intercettazioni dei guardiacoste di Tripoli rientra nella fattispecie illecita «dell’abbandono in stato di pericolo di persone minori o incapaci e di sbarco e abbandono arbitrario di persone». Nella sentenza viene sostanzialmente sancito che l’episodio del 2018 fu un respingimento collettivo verso un Paese non ritenuto sicuro vietato dalla Convenzione europea per i diritti umani.

    Casarini, dopo Cassazione su migranti pronti a #class_action

    "Con la sentenza della Corte di Cassazione, che ha chiarito in maniera definitiva che la cosiddetta «guardia costiera libica» non può «coordinare» nessun soccorso, perché non è in grado di garantire il rispetto dei diritti umani dei naufraghi, diventa un reato grave anche ordinarci di farlo, come succede adesso. Ora metteremo a punto non solo i ricorsi contro il decreto Piantedosi, che blocca per questo le navi del soccorso civile, ma anche una grande class action contro il governo e il ministro dell’Interno e il memorandum Italia-Libia". E’ quanto afferma Luca Casarini della ong Mediterranea Saving Humans.

    "Dovranno rispondere in tribunale delle loro azioni di finanziamento e complicità nelle catture e deportazioni che avvengono in mare ad opera di una «sedicente» guardia costiera - aggiunge Casarini -, che altro non è che una formazione militare che ha come compito quello di catturare e deportare, non di «mettere in salvo» le donne, gli uomini e i bambini che cercano aiuto. La suprema corte definisce giustamente una gravissima violazione della Convenzione di Ginevra, la deportazione in Libia di migranti e profughi che sono in mare per tentare di fuggire da quell’inferno". Casarini ricorda, inoltre, che di recente la nave Mare Jonio di Mediterranea "di recente è stata colpita dal fermo amministrativo del governo per non aver chiesto alla Libia il porto sicuro. Proporremo a migliaia di cittadini italiani, ad associazioni e ong, di sottoscrivere la «class action», e chiederemo ad un tribunale della Repubblica di portare in giudizio i responsabili politici di questi gravi crimini. Stiamo parlando di decine di migliaia di esseri umani catturati in mare e deportati in Libia, ogni anno, coordinati di fatto da Roma e dall’agenzia europea Frontex.

    E il ministro Piantedosi, proprio ieri, l’ha rivendicato testimoniando al processo a Palermo contro l’allora ministro Salvini. Lui si è costruito un alibi, con la distinzione tra centri di detenzione legali e illegali in Libia, dichiarando che «l’Italia si coordina con le istituzioni libiche che gestiscono campi di detenzione legalmente. Finalmente questo alibi, che è servito fino ad ora a coprire i crimini, è crollato grazie al pronunciamento della Cassazione. Adesso questo ministro deve essere messo sotto processo, perché ha ammesso di avere sistematicamente commesso un reato, gravissimo, che ha causato morte e sofferenze a migliaia di innocenti».


    #justice #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières #gardes-côtes_libyens #Libye #jurisprudence #condamnation #externalisation #pull-backs #refoulements #push-backs #cour_de_cassation #cassation #port_sûr

    • Sentenza Cassazione: Consegnare gli immigranti alla guardia costiera libica è reato

      La Libia è un paese canaglia: bocciati Minniti, Conte e Meloni. Dice la sentenza della Cassazione, è noto che in Libia i migranti subiscono vessazioni, violenze e tortura. Quindi è un reato violare la legge internazionale e il codice di navigazione che impongono di portare i naufraghi in un porto sicuro

      Il governo italiano (sia questo in carica sia quelli di centrosinistra che avevano Marco Minniti come ministro dell’interno) potrebbe addirittura finire sotto processo sulla base di una sentenza emessa dalla Corte di Cassazione.

      Dice questa sentenza che la Libia non è un porto sicuro, e che dunque non si possono consegnare alla Libia (o favorire la cattura da parte delle motovedette libiche) le persone salvate da un naufragio.

      Dice la sentenza, è noto che in Libia i migranti subiscono vessazioni, violenze e tortura. Quindi è un reato violare la legge internazionale e il codice di navigazione che impongono di portare i naufraghi in un porto sicuro.

      Che la Libia non fosse un porto sicuro era stranoto. Bastava non leggere i giornali italiani per saperlo. La novità è che questa evidente verità viene ora formalmente affermata con una sentenza della Cassazione che fa giurisprudenza. E che, come è del tutto evidente, mette in discussione gli accordi con la Libia firmati dai governi di centrosinistra e poi confermati dai governi Conte e infine dai governi di centrodestra.

      Accordi che si basarono persino sul finanziamento italiano e sulla consegna di motovedette – realizzate a spese del governo italiano – alle autorità di Tripoli. Ora quegli accordi devono essere immediatamente cancellati e in linea di principio si potrebbe persino ipotizzare l’apertura di processi (se non è scattata la prescrizione) ai responsabili di quegli accordi.

      I reati per i quali la Cassazione con questa sentenza ha confermato la condanna al comandante di una nave che nel luglio del 2018 (governo gialloverde, Salvini ministro dell’Interno) consegnò alla guardia costiera libica 101 naufraghi salvati in mezzo al Mediterraneo sono “abbandono in stato di pericolo di persone minori o incapaci, e di sbarco e abbandono arbitrario di persone”. La Cassazione ha dichiarato formalmente che la Libia non è un porto sicuro.

      Tutta la politica dei respingimenti a questo punto, se dio vuole, salta in aria. La Cassazione ha stabilito che bisogna tornare allo Stato di diritto, a scapito della propaganda politica. E saltano in aria anche i provvedimenti recentemente adottati dalle autorità italiane sulla base del decreto Spazza-naufraghi varato circa un anno fa dal governo Meloni.

      Ancora in queste ore c’è una nave della Ocean Viking che è sotto fermo amministrativo perché accusata di non aver seguito le direttive impartite dalle autorità libiche. Ovviamente dovrà immediatamente essere dissequestrata e forse c’è anche il rischio che chi ha deciso il sequestro finisca sotto processo. Inoltre bisognerà restituire la multa e probabilmente risarcire il danno.

      E quello della Ocean Viking è solo uno di numerosissimi casi. Certo, perché ciò avvenga sarebbe necessaria una assunzione di responsabilità sia da parte del Parlamento sia da parte della magistratura. E le due cose non sono probabilissime.


    • Italy’s top court: Handing over migrants to Libyan coast guards is illegal

      Italy’s highest court, the Cassation Court, has ruled that handing over migrants to Libyan coast guards is unlawful because Libya does not represent a safe port. The sentence could have major repercussions.

      Handing over migrants rescued in the Central Mediterranean to Tripoli’s coast guards is unlawful because Libya is not a safe port and it is conduct which goes against the navigation code, the Cassation Court ruled on February 17. The decision upheld the conviction of the captain of the Italian private vessel Asso 28, which, on July 30, 2018, rescued 101 individuals in the central Mediterranean and then handed them over to the Libyan coast guards to be returned to Libya.

      The supreme court judges ruled in sentence number 4557 that facilitating the interception of migrants and refugees by the Libyan coast guards falls under the crime of “abandonment in a state of danger of minors or incapacitated people and arbitrary disembarkation and abandonment of people.” This ruling effectively characterizes the 2018 incident as collective refoulement to a country not considered safe, contravening the European Convention on Human Rights.

      NGOs announce class action lawsuit

      Beyond its political implications, the Cassation’s decision could significantly impact ongoing legal proceedings, including administrative actions. NGOs have announced a class action lawsuit against the government, the interior minister, and the Italy-Libya memorandum.

      The case, which was first examined by the tribunal of Naples, focuses on the intervention of a trawler, a support ship for a platform, to rescue 101 migrants who were on a boat that had departed from Africa’s coast.

      According to investigators, the ship’s commander was asked by personnel on the rig to take on board a Libyan citizen, described as a “Libyan customs official”, who suggested sailing to Libya and disembarking the rescued migrants.

      The supreme court judges said the defendant “omitted to immediately communicate, before starting rescue operations and after completing them, to the centres of coordination and rescue services of Tripoli and to the IMRCC (Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) of Rome, in the absence of a reply by the first,” that the migrants had been rescued and were under his charge.

      The Cassation ruled that, by operating in this way, the commander violated “procedures provided for by the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and by the directives of the International Maritime Organization,” thus carrying out a “collective refoulement to a port deemed unsafe like Libya.”

      Furthermore, the Cassation emphasized the commander’s obligation to ascertain whether the migrants wanted to apply for asylum and conduct necessary checks on accompanying minors.
      ’Cassation should not be interpreted ideologically on Libya’, Piantedosi

      “Italy has never coordinated and handed over to Libya migrants rescued in operations coordinated or directly carried out by Italy,” Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi said on February 19, when asked to comment the Cassation’s ruling. “That sentence must be read well — sentences should never be interpreted in a political or ideological manner,” he said.

      Piantedosi contextualized the ruling within the circumstances prevailing in Libya at the time, citing efforts to assist Libya with EU cooperation. He highlighted the government’s adherence to principles governing repatriation activities and concluded by saying “there can be no spontaneity” and that “coordination” is essential.


  • #Frontex and the pirate ship

    The EU’s border agency Frontex and the Maltese government are systematically sharing coordinates of refugee boats trying to escape Libya with a vessel operated by a militia linked to Russia, human trafficking, war crimes and smuggling.

    Tareq Bin Zeyad (TBZ) is one of the most dangerous militia groups in the world. It is run by Saddam Haftar, the powerful son of East Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar. The group has been operating a vessel, also called TBZ, in the Central Mediterranean since May, during which it has intercepted more than 1,000 people at sea off the coasts of Libya and Malta and returned them to Libya.

    Experts say the militia would not have been able to find the refugee boats without help from surveillance planes. We analysed several interceptions carried out by the TBZ boat in Maltese waters. These are known as ‘pullbacks’ and are illegal according to Maritime experts. We found that TBZ receives coordinates from EU planes in three ways:

    – Direct communication through a Frontex mayday alert. On 26 July, a Frontex plane issued a mayday (a radio alert to all vessels within range used in cases of immediate distress) in relation to a refugee boat. TBZ answered within minutes. Frontex only informed the nearby rescue authorities of Italy, Libya and Malta after issuing the mayday. They did not intervene. Frontex admitted the plane had to leave the area after an hour, leaving the fate of the refugees in the hands of a militia. It would take TBZ another six hours to reach the boat and drag people back to Libya.


    – Indirect communication through Tripoli. Frontex routinely shares refugee vessel coordinates with the Libyan authorities. In Frontex’s own system, they recorded that on 16 August the coordinates they shared with Tripoli were handed over to TBZ and led to an interception.

    – Direct communication with Malta’s Armed forces. On 2 August, a pilot with a Maltese accent was recorded giving coordinates to TBZ. Hours later, the TBZ vessel was spotted by NGOs near the coordinates. Malta’s armed forces did not deny the incident.


    Both Frontex and Malta say their aim when sharing the coordinates is to help people in distress.

    Responding to our questions on the 26 July mayday, Frontex said its experts decided to issue the alert because “the vessel was far away from the shoreline, it was overcrowded, and there was no life-saving equipment visible.”

    However, in all of the cases we analysed there were safer options: merchant ships were sailing nearby -– much closer than the TBZ ship – and NGO vessels or the Maltese or Italian coast guards could have assisted.

    According to international law expert Nora Markard “Frontex should have ensured that someone else took over the rescue after the distress call – for example one of the merchant ships, which would have been on site much faster anyway.”

    Markard added: “Frontex knows that this situation is more of a kidnapping than a rescue. You only have to imagine pirates announcing that they will deal with a distress case. That wouldn’t be right either.”

    The TBZ is described by the EU as a militia group affiliated with warlord Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army in confidential documents obtained by this investigation. We also found confidential reports showing that EU states are aware of the illicit nature of many of TBZ’s activities – including human trafficking. The group was described in an EU report as being supported by Russian private military group PCM-Wagner.

    Frontex declined to comment on whether TBZ was an appropriate partner.

    We obtained confidential EU documents, tracked position data from European surveillance aircraft and cargo ships, monitored social media of militia members on board the TBZ vessel, spoke to insider sources in EU and Libya institutions and reached out to linguistic experts to analyse a radio communication.

    We were able to speak to seven refugees who were dragged back to Libya by the TBZ and gave harrowing accounts of mistreatment.

    All the refugees we spoke to reported abuse at the hands of the militia, including torture, forced labour and ransom payment. One of them, Syrian Bassel Nahas*, described a three-week ordeal that he did not think he would survive.

    He said TBZ crew shaved his eyebrows and lashes and mutilated his head. “They beat us until our bodies turned black,” he said. “Then they threw our bodies in the water”.

    Bassel said he and other refugees were left in the Benghazi harbour next to the docked vessel for hours overnight, the salt burning their wounds, before they took him out at 4am and beat him more.

    Finally, Bassel recounts, the armed men made him wear an orange prisoner suit and stand against a wall. They opened fire, laughing as he collapsed. It was only when he regained consciousness and checked his body for blood that he realised the bullets hadn’t hit him.

    A Frontex drone was filming Bassel’s boat while it was intercepted by TBZ several days before, on 18 August. Bassel recounts the moment the militia approached: “We told them to leave us alone, that we had children and women on board. But they accused us of having weapons and drugs and opened fire on our boat.”

    Frontex claims that due to poor visibility on that day “detailed observations were challenging”. The same drone spotted Bassel’s vessel two days before its interception by TBZ and shared coordinates with Malta and Greece.

    Frontex declined to comment on whether its coordinates were used to intercept Bassel’s vessel and on allegations of torture and human rights abuses by TBZ.

    Jamal*, a Syrian from the southwestern province of Deraa, recalls that after being intercepted at sea on 25 May he was taken “to a big prison” where they were beaten “with sticks and iron” and all their belongings – “[their] passports, [their] cell phones” – were confiscated. “There was no water available in the prison. We drank in the bathroom. They fed us rice, soup or pasta in small quantities. We were held for 20 days by the Tariq bin Ziyad brigade,” he said.

    Several people report that they were forced to work to earn their freedom. “What this brigade did to us was not authorised, it was slavery. They sold us to businessmen so that we would work for them for free,” said Hasni, who was intercepted on 7 July by the TBZ.


    #Malte #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #migrations #réfugiés #Russie #Libye #Tareq_Bin_Zeyad (#TBZ) #milices #collaboration #Saddam_Haftar #Khalifa_Haftar #Méditerranée #mer_Méditerranée #pull-backs #sauvetage (well...) #PCM-Wagner #drones

  • Get out ! Zur Situation von Geflüchteten in Bulgarien
    (publié en 2020, ajouté ici pour archivage)

    „Bulgaria is very bad“ ist eine typische Aussage jener, die auf ihrer Flucht bereits etliche Länder durchquert haben. Der vorliegende Bericht geht der Frage nach, warum Bulgarien seit Langem einen extrem schlechten Ruf unter den Geflüchteten genießt.

    Hierzu wird kenntnisreich die massive Gewalt nachgezeichnet, die Bulgarien im Zuge sogenannter „Push-Backs“ anwendet. Auch auf die intensive Kooperation mit der Türkei beim Schutz der gemeinsamen Grenze wird eingegangen. Da die Inhaftierung von Geflüchteten in Bulgarien obligatorisch ist, werden überdies die rechtlichen Hintergründe hierfür und die miserablen Haftbedingungen beschrieben. Weiterhin wird das bulgarische Asylsystem thematisiert und auf die besondere Situation von Geflüchteten eingegangen, die im Rahmen der Dublin-Verordnung nach Bulgarien abgeschoben wurden. Das bulgarische Integrationskonzept, das faktisch nur auf dem Papier existiert, wird ebenfalls beleuchtet.

    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières #rapport #Bulgarie #push-backs #refoulements #pull-backs #violence #morts_aux_frontières #mourir_aux_frontières #milices #extrême_droite #enfermement #Dublin #renvois_Dublin #droit_d'asile #encampement #camps

    • Épisode 1/4 : Des #bénévoles dans les airs face à l’agence européenne de garde-frontières et garde-côtes, #Frontex

      Depuis 2018, l’ONG #Pilotes_Volontaires survole le large des côtes libyennes pour localiser les bateaux de fortune en détresse qu’empruntent les migrants pour tenter de rejoindre l’Europe.

      #José_Benavente fait ce triste constat : « les agences européennes comme Frontex espéraient que mettre un terme à l’opération "#Mare_Nostrum" rendraient les traversées plus difficiles et opéreraient un effet de dissuasion pour les migrants qui tentent de traverser la mer ». Or depuis leur petit avion d’observation, le Colibri 2, ils aident les bateaux qui sont évidemment toujours présents dans la zone à opérer des sauvetages plus rapidement.

      D’autres avions, ceux de Frontex notamment, transitent aussi par là pour permettre aux gardes côtes libyens d’opérer toujours plus d’interceptions synonymes d’un retour en enfer pour les migrants qui tentent justement de fuir coûte que coûte ce pays en proie à la guerre civile. Comme le regrette #Charles_Heller « les migrants fuient la Libye, où ils sont réduits à l’esclavage, aux travaux forcés, à la torture. Les migrants sont devenus un objet qui circule de main en main, que ce soit les milices ou les centres de détention de l’Etat. Aucune opération de secours en mer dans la zone libyenne ne peut effectivement être terminée de manière adéquate et respectueuse du droit international, dès lors que les passagers sont ramenés dans un pays où leur vie est en danger ».

      Surveillance et interception d’un côté, contre surveillance et sauvetage de l’autre, ce documentaire retrace l’histoire récente de ce qui se trame dans les airs et en mer depuis l’arrêt en 2014 de l’opération "Mare Nostrum" initiée par la marine italienne et qui avait permis de sauver des dizaines de milliers de vies car comme le rappelle Charles Heller : « l’Union européenne a sciemment créé ce vide de secours d’abord, et ce système de refoulement indirect ensuite. Et les avions de surveillance européens sont au cœur de ce dispositif » et José Benavente ajoute « lorsqu’on survole la Méditerranée, on n’est pas au-dessus d’un cimetière. On est littéralement au-dessus d’une fosse commune ».

      Avec :

      – Jose Benavente, fondateur de l’ONG Pilotes Volontaires ONG Pilotes Volontaires
      - Charles Heller, chercheur et cinéaste, co-fondateur du projet Forensic Oceanography

      #frontières #sauvetage_en_mer #sauvetage #Méditerranée #mer_Méditerranée #asile #migrations #réfugiés #gardes-côtes_libyens #pull-backs #solidarité

    • Épisode 2/4 : De l’#apprentissage à l’#expulsion

      Les initiatives pour alerter sur la condition des jeunes majeurs étrangers en passe d’être expulsés se multiplient partout en France.

      La très médiatique grève de la faim de Stéphane Ravacley, boulanger à Besançon, tentant d’empêcher l’expulsion vers la Guinée de son apprenti Laye Fodé Traoré, a fait des émules : “j’ai reçu énormément d’appels de patrons qui étaient dans la même problématique que moi et ça m’a posé question. Je savais qu’il y avait des milliers de Laye en France, mais que je ne m’étais jamais posé la question. Et là, je me suis dit il faut faire quelque chose.”

      Dans la Marne, les militants épuisés, par l’aberration du système, comme l’explique Marie-Pierre Barrière : “il faut une autorisation de travail pour aller au CFA et il faut un titre de séjour. Donc ils ne peuvent pas travailler avec un patron parce qu’ils ne l’ont pas. C’est le serpent qui se mord la queue”.

      Pourtant quelques chefs d’entreprise commencent à timidement à protester contre les mesures d’expulsion de leurs apprentis étrangers. C’est le cas de Ricardo Agnesina : _“_je suis furax parce que quand on a justement des éléments comme Souleyman, on se dit il ne faut pas le louper parce que c’est réellement quelqu’un à qui il faut donner sa chance. Qu’il vienne de Guinée, de Pologne, de Normandie ou du sud de la France, peu importe, c’est quelqu’un qui a envie de travailler et qui a envie d’apprendre un métier donc on n’a pas le droit de lui dire non.”

      Ces patrons et artisans de secteurs dits "en tension" comme la restauration et le bâtiment se trouvent, par le biais de la défense de leurs intérêts, nouvellement sensibilisés à la question migratoire sont interdits face à l’arbitraire des décisions préfectorales qu’ils découvrent alors qu’ils peinent à embaucher des jeunes compétents. Bruno Forget, président de la foire de Châlons-en-Champagne s’indigne : “aujourd’hui, on vit une véritable hérésie. J’ai un cas précis d’une personne qui ne peut pas avoir de boulot parce qu’elle n’a pas de papiers. Et cette personne n’a pas de papiers parce qu’on ne peut pas fournir un certificat d’employeur. On se pince ! Il faut s’indigner ! ”

      Avec :

      – Mamadou, jeune apprenti guinéen
      - Souleimane, jeune apprenti guinéen
      - Laye Fodé Traoré, jeune apprenti guinéen
      - Marie-Pierre Barrière, militante Réseau Education Sans Frontières (RESF)
      – Stéphane Ravacley, boulanger, fondateur de l’association Patrons solidaires
      – Riccardo Agnesina, chef d’entreprise
      – Bruno Forget, directeur de la foire de Châlons-en-Champagne
      – M. et Mme Ansel, restaurateurs à Reims
      – Alexandrine Boia, avocate au barreau de Reims

      #travail #sans-papiers

    • Épisode 3/4 : #Femmes migrantes invisibles

      Statistiquement plus nombreuses que les hommes sur les chemins de l’exil, les femmes sont pourtant les grandes absentes du récit médiatique et de la recherche scientifique dans le domaine des migrations.

      Pour comprendre l’invisibilité Camille Schmoll constate : “il y a aussi un peu d’auto-invisibilité de la part des femmes qui ne souhaitent pas forcément attirer l’attention sur leur sort, leur trajectoire. La migration reste une transgression” et remarque que cette absence peut servir un certain discours “ or, quand on veut construire la migration comme une menace, c’est probablement plus efficace de se concentrer sur les hommes.”

      Depuis plus d’un demi-siècle, les bénévoles de l’Association meusienne d’accompagnement des trajets de vie des migrants (AMATRAMI) viennent en aide aux personnes migrantes présentes sur leur territoire, aux femmes notamment. Camille Schmoll rappelle cette situation : “il y a toujours eu des femmes en migration. On les a simplement occultés pour différentes raisons. En fait, ce sont à l’initiative de femmes, de chercheuses féministes que depuis les années 60-70, on redécouvre la part des femmes dans ces migrations. On sait qu’elles étaient très nombreuses dans les grandes migrations transatlantiques de la fin du 19ème siècle et du début du 20ème siècle. "

      Confrontées tout au long de leurs parcours migratoires mais également dans leur pays de destination à des violences de genre, ces femmes ne sont que trop rarement prises en compte et considérées selon leur sexe par les pouvoirs publics. Majoritairement des femmes, les bénévoles de l’AMATRAMI tentent, avec le peu de moyens à leur disposition de leur apporter un soutien spécifique et adapté.  Lucette Lamousse se souvient “elles étaient perdues en arrivant, leur première demande c’était de parler le français”. Camille Schmoll observe un changement dans cette migration : “les femmes qui partent, partent aussi parce qu’elles ont pu conquérir au départ une certaine forme d’autonomie. Ces changements du point de vue du positionnement social des femmes dans les sociétés de départ qui font qu’on va partir, ne sont pas uniquement des changements négatifs”.


      - Aïcha, citoyenne algérienne réfugiée en France
      - Mire, citoyenne albanaise réfugiée en France
      - Salimata, citoyenne ivoirienne réfugiée en France
      - Lucette Lamousse, co-fondatrice de l’Association meusienne d’accompagnement des trajets de vie des migrants (AMATRAMI)
      - Colette Nordemann, présidente de l’AMATRAMI
      - Camille Georges, médiatrice socioculturelle à l’AMATRAMI
      – Khadija, employée à l’AMATRAMI
      – Camille Schmoll, géographe, autrice de Les damnées de la mer (éd. La Découverte)
      - Élise Buliard, animatrice famille à l’AMATRAMI

      #femmes_migrantes #invisibilisation

    • Épisode 4/4 : Une famille afghane en #Touraine

      Comment Aziz et les siens négocient-ils leur exil en Touraine ? 

      Après des années d’une attente angoissée que la France veuille bien lui fournir un sauf conduit pour fuir la menace des Talibans en Afghanistan, Aziz, ancien Personnel Civil de Recrutement local (PCRL) de l’armée française est en sécurité dans le village d’#Avoine (Indre-et-Loire) avec son épouse et leurs six enfants. Mais comme le précise le maire de la commune d’Avoine : “une petite commune comme nous de 1900 habitants quand vous avez 10 réfugiés sur le terrain de la commune, ils sont acceptés, les gens sont très généreux avec eux et ils sont très acceptés. Si demain vous m’en mettez 200 sur un terrain de la commune, là vous risquez d’avoir des problèmes”.

      Quoique libéral car il a créé un lycée pour filles, Aziz est originaire d’une petite ville de province, patriarcale, religieuse et conservatrice qu’il a laissée derrière lui pour découvrir le monde jusque-là inconnu d’une société sécularisée. Ancien notable de cette petite ville qui l’a vu naître, il doit désormais vivre l’expérience du déclassement et de l’anonymat : “j’ai tout laissé derrière et j’ai le sentiment de ne plus avoir de valeur” . Mais il doit aussi faire face et tenter d’accepter la transformation de ses plus jeunes enfants qu’il a confiés aux bons soins de l’école de la République. Et l’adaptation n’est pas toujours évidente, ainsi son épouse qui à la nostalgie du pays, se sent mise à nue depuis le jour où elle a dû quitter sa burka : “c’était la première fois que je n’avais pas le visage caché. Nous portions toujours le voile avant. Je me sentais très bizarre. Je ne pouvais pas regarder les gens. C’était étrange, difficile”

      Le couple est vigilant et craint que leurs enfants perdent peu à peu l’usage de leur langue, le pashto : "j’espère que mes filles et mes fils n’oublieront pas l’islam, leur langue maternelle et leur éducation. Les quatre plus grands sont âgés et nous devons faire attention aux deux petites filles parce qu’elles sont petites. Elles oublient facilement la culture.”

      Avec :

      - Aziz Rahman Rawan, citoyen afghan réfugié en France, son épouse Bibi Hadia Azizi et leurs enfants
      - Julie Vérin, artiste
      – Françoise Roufignac, enseignante à la retraite
      – Didier Godoy, maire d’Avoine (Indre-et-Loire)
      – Christelle Simonaire, parente d’élève
      – M. Galet, directeur de l’école primaire d’Avoine
      – Mme Camard, enseignante à l’école primaire d’Avoine
      – Pauline Miginiac, coordinatrice régionale en Formation professionnelle à l’Union française des centres de vacances (UFCV)


  • EU to step up support for human rights abuses in North Africa

    In a letter (https://www.statewatch.org/media/4088/eu-com-migration-letter-eur-council-10-23.pdf) to the European Council trumpeting the EU’s efforts to control migration, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen highlighted the provision of vessels and support to coast guards in Libya and Tunisia, where refugee and migrant rights are routinely violated.

    The letter (pdf) states:

    “…we need to build up the capacity of our partners to conduct effective border surveillance and search and rescue operations. We are providing support to many key partners with equipment and training to help prevent unauthorised border crossings. All five vessels promised to Libya have been delivered and we see the impact of increased patrols. Under the Memorandum of Understanding with Tunisia, we have delivered spare parts for Tunisian coast guards that are keeping 6 boats operational, and others will be repaired by the end of the year. More is expected to be delivered to countries in North Africa in the coming months.”

    What it does not mention is that vessels delivered to the so-called Libyan coast guard are used to conduct “pullbacks” of refugees to brutal detention conditions and human rights violations.

    Meanwhile in Tunisia, the coast guard has been conducting pullbacks of people who have subsequently been dumped in remote regions near the Tunisian-Algerian border.

    According to testimony provided to Human Rights Watch (HRW)¸ a group of people who were intercepted at sea and brought back to shore were then detained by the National Guard, who:

    “…loaded the group onto buses and drove them for 6 hours to somewhere near the city of Le Kef, about 40 kilometers from the Algerian border. There, officers divided them into groups of about 10, loaded them onto pickup trucks, and drove toward a mountainous area. The four interviewees, who were on the same truck, said that another truck with armed agents escorted their truck.

    The officers dropped their group in the mountains near the Tunisia-Algeria border, they said. The Guinean boy [interviewed by HRW) said that one officer had threatened, “If you return again [to Tunisia], we will kill you.” One of the Senegalese children [interviewed by HRW] said an officer had pointed his gun at the group.”

    Von der Leyen does not mention the fact that the Tunisian authorities refused an initial disbursement of €67 million offered by the Commission as part of its more than €1 billion package for Tunisia, which the country’s president has called “small” and said it “lacks respect.” (https://apnews.com/article/tunisia-europe-migration-851cf35271d2c52aea067287066ef247) The EU’s ambassador to Tunisia has said that the refusal “speaks to Tunisia’s impatience and desire to speed up implementation” of the deal.

    [voir: https://seenthis.net/messages/1020596]

    The letter also emphasises the need to “establish a strategic and mutually beneficial partnership with Egypt,” as well as providing more support to Türkiye, Jordan and Lebanon. The letter hints at the reason why – Israel’s bombing of the Gaza strip and a potential exodus of refugees – but does not mention the issue directly, merely saying that “the pressures on partners in our immediate vicinity risk being exacerbated”.

    It appears that the consequences rather than the causes of any movements of Palestinian refugees are the main concern. Conclusions on the Middle East agreed by the European Council last night demand “rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access and aid to reach those in need” in Gaza, but do not call for a ceasefire. The European Council instead “strongly emphasises Israel’s right to defend itself in line with international law and international humanitarian law.”

    More surveillance, new law

    Other plans mentioned in the letter include “increased aerial surveillance” for “combatting human smuggling and trafficking” by Operation IRINI, the EU’s military mission in the Mediterranean, and increased support for strengthening controls at points of departure in North African states as well as “points of entry by migrants at land borders.”

    The Commission also wants increased action against migrant smuggling, with a proposal to revise the 2002 Facilitation Directive “to ensure that criminal offences are harmonised, assets are frozen, and coordination strengthened,” so that “those who engage in illegal acts exploiting migrants pay a heavy price.”

    It appears the proposal will come at the same time as a migrant smuggling conference organised by the Commission on 28 November “to create a Global Alliance with a Call to Action, launching a process of regular international exchange on this constantly evolving crime.”

    Deportation cooperation

    Plans are in the works for more coordinated action on deportations, with the Commission proposing to:

    “…work in teams with Member States on targeted return actions, with a lead Member State or Agency for each action. We will develop a roadmap that could focus on (1) ensuring that return decisions are issued at the same time as a negative asylum decisions (2) systematically ensuring the mutual recognition of return decisions and follow-up enforcement action; (3) carrying out joint identification actions including through a liaison officers’ network in countries of origin; (4) supporting policy dialogue on readmission with third countries and facilitating the issuance of travel documents, as well as acceptance of the EU laissez passer; and (5) organising assisted voluntary return and joint return operations with the support of Frontex.”

    Cooperation on legal migration, meanwhile, will be done by member states “on a voluntary basis,” with the letter noting that any offers made should be conditional on increased cooperation with EU deportation efforts: “local investment and opportunities for legal migration must go hand in hand with strengthened cooperation on readmission.”

    More funds

    For all this to happen, the letter calls on the European Council to make sure that “migration priorities - both on the internal and external dimension - are reflected in the mid-term review of the Multiannual Financial Framework,” the EU’s 2021-27 budget.

    Mid-term revision of the budget was discussed at the European Council meeting yesterday, though the conclusions on that point merely state that there was an “in-depth exchange of views,” with the European Council calling on the Council of the EU “to take work forward, with a view to reaching an overall agreement by the end of the year.”


    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #Afrique_du_Nord #externalisation #Ursula_von_der_Leyen #lettre #contrôles_frontaliers #Tunisie #Libye #bateaux #aide #gardes-côtes_libyens #surveillance_frontalière #surveillance_frontalière_effective #frontières #Méditerranée #mer_Méditerranée #Memorandum_of_Understanding #MoU #pull-backs #Egypte #Turquie #Jourdanie #Liban #réfugiés_palestiniens #Palestine #7_octobre_2023 #Operation_IRINI #IRINI #surveillance_aérienne #passeurs #directive_facilitation #renvois #déportation #officiers_de_liaison #réadmissions #laissez-passer #Frontex

    ping @isskein @_kg_ @karine4

    • *Crise migratoire : le bilan mitigé des accords passés par l’Union européenne pour limiter les entrées sur son sol*

      Réunis en conseil jeudi et vendredi, les Vingt-Sept devaient faire le point sur la sécurisation des frontières extérieures de l’UE. Mardi, la présidente de la Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, a proposé de conclure de nouveaux partenariats « sur mesure » avec le #Sénégal, la #Mauritanie et l’Egypte.

      Malgré la guerre entre Israël et le Hamas, qui s’est imposée à leur ordre du jour, le sujet de la migration demeure au menu des Vingt-Sept, qui se réunissent en Conseil européen jeudi 26 et vendredi 27 octobre à Bruxelles. Les chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement doivent faire un point sur la dimension externe de cette migration et la sécurisation des frontières extérieures de l’Union européenne (UE). Depuis janvier, le nombre d’arrivées irrégulières, selon l’agence Frontex, a atteint 270 000, en progression de 17 % par rapport à 2022. Sur certaines routes, la croissance est bien plus importante, notamment entre la Tunisie et l’Italie, avec une augmentation de 83 % des arrivées sur les neuf premiers mois de 2023.

      Si le #pacte_asile_et_migration, un ensemble de réglementations censé améliorer la gestion intra européenne de la migration, est en passe d’être adopté, le contrôle des frontières externes de l’Europe est au cœur des discussions politiques. A moins de huit mois des élections européennes, « les questions de migration seront décisives », prévient Manfred Weber, le patron du groupe conservateur PPE au Parlement européen.

      Nouveaux « #partenariats sur mesure »

      Mardi, dans une lettre aux dirigeants européens, Ursula von der Leyen, la présidente de la Commission, a rappelé sa volonté de « combattre la migration irrégulière à la racine et travailler mieux avec des #pays_partenaires », c’est-à-dire ceux où les migrants s’embarquent ou prennent la route pour l’UE, en établissant avec ces pays des « #partenariats_stratégiques_mutuellement_bénéficiaires ». Elle propose de conclure avec le Sénégal, la Mauritanie et l’Egypte de nouveaux « #partenariats_sur_mesure » sur le modèle de celui qui a été passé avec la Tunisie. Sans oublier la Jordanie et le Liban, fortement déstabilisés par le conflit en cours entre Israël et Gaza.

      L’UE souhaite que ces pays bloquent l’arrivée de migrants vers ses côtes et réadmettent leurs citoyens en situation irrégulière sur le Vieux Continent contre des investissements pour renforcer leurs infrastructures et développer leur économie. « L’idée n’est pas nécessairement mauvaise, glisse un diplomate européen, mais il faut voir comment c’est mené et négocié. Le partenariat avec la Tunisie a été bâclé et cela a été fiasco. »

      Depuis vingt ans, l’Europe n’a eu de cesse d’intégrer cette dimension migratoire dans ses accords avec les pays tiers et cette préoccupation s’est accentuée en 2015 avec l’arrivée massive de réfugiés syriens. Les moyens consacrés à cet aspect migratoire ont augmenté de façon exponentielle. Au moins 8 milliards d’euros sont programmés pour la période 2021-2027, soit environ 10 % des fonds de la coopération, pour des politiques de sécurisation et d’équipements des gardes-côtes. Ces moyens manquent au développement des pays aidés, critique l’ONG Oxfam. Et la Commission a demandé une rallonge de 15 milliards d’euros aux Vingt-Sept.

      Mettre l’accent sur les retours

      Tant de moyens, pour quels résultats ? Il est impossible de chiffrer le nombre d’entrées évitées par les accords passés, exception faite de l’arrangement avec la Turquie. Après la signature le 18 mars 2016, par les Vingt-Sept et la Commission, de la déclaration UE-Turquie, les arrivées de Syriens ont chuté de 98 % dès 2017, mais cela n’a pas fonctionné pour les retours, la Turquie ayant refusé de réadmettre la majorité des Syriens refoulés d’Europe. Cet engagement a coûté 6 milliards d’euros, financés à la fois par les Etats et l’UE.

      « Pour les autres accords, le bilan est modeste, indique Florian Trauner, spécialiste des migrations à la Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgique). Nous avons étudié l’ensemble des accords passés par l’UE avec les pays tiers sur la période 2008-2018 pour mesurer leurs effets sur les retours et réadmissions. Si les pays des Balkans, plus proches de l’Europe, ont joué le jeu, avec les pays africains, cela ne fonctionne pas. »

      Depuis le début de l’année, la Commission assure malgré tout mettre l’accent sur les retours. Selon Ylva Johansson, la commissaire chargée de la politique migratoire, sur près de 300 000 obligations de quitter le territoire européen, environ 65 000 ont été exécutées, en progression de 22 % en 2023. Ces chiffres modestes « sont liés à des questions de procédures internes en Europe, mais également à nos relations avec les Etats tiers. Nous avons fait beaucoup de pédagogie avec ces Etats en mettant en balance l’accès aux visas européens et cela commence à porter ses fruits. »

      « Généralement, explique Florian Trauner, les Etats tiers acceptent les premiers temps les retours, puis la pression de l’opinion publique locale se retourne contre eux et les taux de réadmissions baissent. Les accords qui conditionnent l’aide au développement à des réadmissions créent davantage de problèmes qu’ils n’en résolvent. La diplomatie des petits pas, plus discrète, est bien plus efficace. »

      L’alternative, juge le chercheur, serait une meilleure gestion par les Européens des migrations, en ménageant des voies légales identifiées pour le travail, par exemple. Dans ce cas, affirme-t-il, les pays concernés accepteraient de reprendre plus simplement leurs citoyens. « Mais en Europe, on ne veut pas entendre cela », observe M. Trauner.
      Statut juridique obscur

      Le développement de ces accords donnant-donnant pose un autre problème à l’UE : leur statut juridique. « Quel que soit leur nom – partenariat, déclaration…–, ce ne sont pas des accords internationaux en bonne et due forme, négociés de manière transparente avec consultation de la société civile, sous le contrôle du Parlement européen puis des tribunaux, rappelle Eleonora Frasca, juriste à l’Université catholique de Louvain (Belgique). Ce sont des objets juridiques plus obscurs. »

      En outre, les arrangements avec la Turquie ou la Libye ont conduit des migrants à des situations dramatiques. Qu’il s’agisse des camps aux conditions déplorables des îles grecques où étaient parqués des milliers de Syriens refoulés d’Europe mais non repris en Turquie, ou des refoulements en mer, souvent avec des moyens européens, au large de la Grèce et de la Libye, ou enfin du sort des migrants renvoyés en Libye où de multiples abus et de crimes ont été documentés.

      Concernant la Tunisie, « l’Union européenne a signé l’accord sans inclure de clause de respect de l’Etat de droit ou des droits de l’homme au moment même où cette dernière chassait des migrants subsahariens vers les frontières libyenne et algérienne, relève Sara Prestianni, de l’ONG EuroMed Droit. Du coup, aucune condamnation n’a été formulée par l’UE contre ces abus. » L’Europe a été réduite au silence.

      Sous la pression d’Ursula von der Leyen, de Giorgia Melloni, la présidente du conseil italien, et de Mark Rutte, le premier ministre néerlandais, ce partenariat global doté d’un milliard d’euros « a été négocié au forceps et sans consultation », juge une source européenne. La conséquence a été une condamnation en Europe et une incompréhension de la part des Tunisiens, qui ont décidé de renvoyer 60 millions d’euros versés en septembre, estimant que c’était loin du milliard annoncé. « Aujourd’hui, le dialogue avec la Tunisie est exécrable, déplore un diplomate. La méthode n’a pas été la bonne », déplore la même source.
      Exposition à un chantage aux migrants

      « L’Union européenne a déjà été confrontée à ce risque réputationnel et semble disposée à l’accepter dans une certaine mesure, nuance Helena Hahn, de l’European Policy Center. Il est important qu’elle s’engage avec les pays tiers sur cette question des migrations. Toutefois, elle doit veiller à ce que ses objectifs ne l’emportent pas sur ses intérêts dans d’autres domaines, tels que la politique commerciale ou le développement. »

      Dernier risque pour l’UE : en multipliant ces accords avec des régimes autoritaires, elle s’expose à un chantage aux migrants. Depuis 2020, elle en a déjà été l’objet de la part de la Turquie et du Maroc, de loin le premier bénéficiaire d’aides financières au titre du contrôle des migrations. « Ce n’est pas juste le beau temps qui a exposé Lampedusa à l’arrivée de 12 000 migrants en quelques jours en juin, juge Mme Prestianni. Les autorités tunisiennes étaient derrière. La solution est de rester fermes sur nos valeurs. Et dans notre négociation avec la Tunisie, nous ne l’avons pas été. »


    • EU planning new anti-migration deals with Egypt and Tunisia, unrepentant in support for Libya

      The European Commission wants to agree “new anti-smuggling operational partnerships” with Tunisia and Egypt before the end of the year, despite longstanding reports of abuse against migrants and refugees in Egypt and recent racist violence endorsed by the Tunisian state. Material and financial support is already being stepped up to the two North African countries, along with support for Libya.

      The plan for new “partnerships” is referred to in a newly-revealed annex (pdf) of a letter from European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, that was sent to the European Council prior to its meeting in October and published by Statewatch.

      In April, the Commission announced “willingness” from the EU and Tunisia “to establish a stronger operational partnership on anti-smuggling,” which would cover stronger border controls, more police and judicial cooperation, increased cooperation with EU agencies, and anti-migration advertising campaigns.

      The annex includes little further detail on the issue, but says that the agreements with Tunisia and Egypt should build on the anti-smuggling partnerships “in place with Morocco, Niger and the Western Balkans, with the support of Europol and Eurojust,” and that they should include “joint operational teams with prosecutors and law enforcement authorities of Member States and partners.”

      Abuse and impunity

      Last year, Human Rights Watch investigations found that “Egyptian authorities have failed to protect vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers from pervasive sexual violence, including by failing to investigate rape and sexual assault,” and that the police had subjected Sudanese refugee activists to “forced physical labor [sic] and beatings.” Eritrean asylum-seekers have also been detained and deported by the Egyptian authorities.

      The EU’s own report on human rights in Egypt in 2022 (pdf) says the authorities continue to impose “constraints” on “freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and media freedom,” while “concerns remained about broad application of the Terrorism Law against peaceful critics and individuals, and extensive and indiscriminate use of pre-trial detention.”

      Amr Magdi, Human Rights Watch’s Senior Researcher on the Middle East and North Africa, has said more bluntly that “there can be no light at the end of the tunnel without addressing rampant security force abuses and lawlessness.” The Cairo Institute for Human Rights said in August that the country’s “security apparatus continues to surveil and repress Egyptians with impunity. There is little to no access to participatory democracy.”

      The situation in Tunisia for migrants and refugees has worsened substantially since the beginning of the year, when president Kais Said declared a crackdown against sub-Saharan Africans in speeches that appeared to draw heavily from the far-right great replacement theory.

      It is unclear whether the EU will attempt to address this violence, abuse and discrimination as it seeks to strengthen the powers of the countries’ security authorities. The annex to von der Leyen’s letter indicates that cooperation with Tunisia is already underway, even if an anti-smuggling deal has not been finalised:

      “Three mentorship pairs on migrant smuggling TU [Tunisia] with Member States (AT, ES, IT [Austria, Spain and Italy]) to start cooperation in the framework of Euromed Police, in the last quarter of 2023 (implemented by CEPOL [the European Police College] with Europol)”

      Anti-smuggling conference

      The annex to von der Leyen’s letter indicates that the Egyptian foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, “confirmed interest in a comprehensive partnership on migration, including anti-smuggling and promoting legal pathways,” at a meeting with European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, at the UN General Assembly.

      This month the fourth EU-Egypt High Level Dialogue on Migration and the second Senior Officials Meeting on Security and Law Enforcement would be used to discuss the partnership, the annex notes – “including on the involvement of CEPOL, Europol and Frontex” – but it is unclear when exactly the Commission plans to sign the new agreements. An “International Conference on strengthening international cooperation on countering migrant smuggling” that will take place in Brussels on 28 November would provide an opportune moment to do so.

      The conference will be used to announce a proposal “to reinforce the EU legal framework on migrant smuggling, including elements related to: sanctions, governance, information flows and the role of JHA agencies,” said a Council document published by Statewatch in October.

      Other sources indicate that the proposal will include amendments to the EU’s Facilitation Directive and the Europol Regulation, with measures to boost the role of the European Migrant Smuggling Centre hosted at Europol; step up the exchange of information between member states, EU agencies and third countries; and step up Europol’s support to operations.

      Additional support

      The proposed “partnerships” with Egypt and Tunisia come on top of ongoing support provided by the EU to control migration.

      In July the EU signed a memorandum of understanding with Tunisia covering “macro-economic stability, economy and trade, green energy, people-to-people contacts and migration and mobility.”

      Despite the Tunisian government returning €67 million provided by the EU, the number of refugee boat departures from Tunisia has decreased significantly, following an increase in patrols at sea and the increased destruction of intercepted vessels.

      Violent coercion is also playing a role, as noted by Matthias Monroy:

      “State repression, especially in the port city of Sfax, has also contributed to the decline in numbers, where the authorities have expelled thousands of people from sub-Saharan countries from the centre and driven them by bus to the Libyan and Algerian borders. There, officials force them to cross the border. These measures have also led to more refugees in Tunisia seeking EU-funded IOM programmes for “voluntary return” to their countries of origin.”

      The annex to von der Leyen’s letter notes that the EU has provided “fuel to support anti-smuggling operations,” and that Tunisian officials were shown around Frontex’s headquarters in mid-September for a “familiarisation visit”.

      Egypt, meanwhile, is expected to receive the first of three new patrol boats from the EU in December, €87 million as part of the second phase of a border management project will be disbursed “in the coming months,” and Frontex will pursue a working arrangement with the Egyptian authorities, who visited the agency’s HQ in Warsaw in October.

      Ongoing support to Libya

      Meanwhile, the EU’s support for migration control by actors in Libya continues, despite a UN investigation earlier this year accusing that support of contributing to crimes against humanity in the country.

      The annex to von der Leyen’s letter notes with approval that five search and rescue vessels have been provided to the Libyan Coast Guard this year, and that by 21 September, “more than 10,900 individuals reported as rescued or intercepted by the Libyan authorities in more than 100 operations… Of those disembarked, the largest groups were from Bangladesh, Egypt and Syria”.

      The letter does not clarify what distinguishes “rescue” and “interception” in this context. The organisation Forensic Oceanography has previously described them as “conflicting imperatives” in an analysis of a disaster at sea in which some survivors were taken to Libya, and some to EU territory.

      In a letter (pdf) sent last week to the chairs of three European Parliament committees, three Commissioners – Margaritas Schinas, Ylva Johansson and Oliver Várhelyi – said the Commission remained “convinced that halting EU assistance in the country or disengagement would not improve the situation of those most in need.”

      While evidence that EU support provided to Libya has facilitated the commission of crimes against humanity is not enough to put that policy to a halt, it remains to be seen whether the Egyptian authorities’ violent repression, or state racism in Tunisia, will be deemed worthy of mention in public by Commission officials.

      The annex to von der Leyen’s letter also details EU action in a host of other areas, including the “pilot projects” launched in Bulgaria and Romania to step up border surveillance and speed up asylum proceedings and returns, support for the Moroccan authorities, and cooperation with Western Balkans states, amongst other things.


      en italien:
      Statewatch. Mentre continua il sostegno alla Libia, l’UE sta pianificando nuovi accordi anti-migrazione con Egitto e Tunisia

    • Accord migratoire avec l’Égypte. Des #navires français en eaux troubles

      Les entreprises françaises #Civipol, #Défense_Conseil_International et #Couach vont fournir à la marine du Caire trois navires de recherche et sauvetage dont elles formeront également les équipages, révèle Orient XXI dans une enquête exclusive. Cette livraison, dans le cadre d’un accord migratoire avec l’Égypte, risque de rendre l’Union européenne complice d’exactions perpétrées par les gardes-côtes égyptiens et libyens.

      La France est chaque année un peu plus en première ligne de l’externalisation des frontières de l’Europe. Selon nos informations, Civipol, l’opérateur de coopération internationale du ministère de l’intérieur, ainsi que son sous-traitant Défense Conseil International (DCI), prestataire attitré du ministère des armées pour la formation des militaires étrangers, ont sélectionné le chantier naval girondin Couach pour fournir trois navires de recherche et sauvetage (SAR) aux gardes-côtes égyptiens, dont la formation sera assurée par DCI sur des financements européens de 23 millions d’euros comprenant des outils civils de surveillance des frontières.

      Toujours selon nos sources, d’autres appels d’offres de Civipol et DCI destinés à la surveillance migratoire en Égypte devraient suivre, notamment pour la fourniture de caméras thermiques et de systèmes de positionnement satellite.

      Ces contrats sont directement liés à l’accord migratoire passé en octobre 2022 entre l’Union européenne (UE) et l’Égypte : en échange d’une assistance matérielle de 110 millions d’euros au total, Le Caire est chargé de bloquer, sur son territoire ainsi que dans ses eaux territoriales, le passage des migrants et réfugiés en partance pour l’Europe. Ce projet a pour architecte le commissaire européen à l’élargissement et à la politique de voisinage, Olivér Várhelyi. Diplomate affilié au parti Fidesz de l’illibéral premier ministre hongrois Viktor Orbán, il s’est récemment fait remarquer en annonçant unilatéralement la suspension de l’aide européenne à la Palestine au lendemain du 7 octobre — avant d’être recadré.

      La mise en œuvre de ce pacte a été conjointement confiée à Civipol et à l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM) de l’ONU, comme déjà indiqué par le média Africa Intelligence. Depuis, la présidente de la Commission européenne Ursula von der Leyen a déjà plaidé pour un nouvel accord migratoire avec le régime du maréchal Sissi. Selon l’UE, il s’agirait d’aider les gardes-côtes égyptiens à venir en aide aux migrants naufragés, via une approche « basée sur les droits, orientée vers la protection et sensible au genre ».
      Circulez, il n’y a rien à voir

      Des éléments de langage qui ne convainquent guère l’ONG Refugees Platform in Egypt (REP), qui a alerté sur cet accord il y a un an. « Depuis 2016, le gouvernement égyptien a durci la répression des migrants et des personnes qui leur viennent en aide, dénonce-t-elle auprès d’Orient XXI. De plus en plus d’Égyptiens émigrent en Europe parce que la jeunesse n’a aucun avenir ici. Ce phénomène va justement être accentué par le soutien de l’UE au gouvernement égyptien. L’immigration est instrumentalisée par les dictatures de la région comme un levier pour obtenir un appui politique et financier de l’Europe. »

      En Égypte, des migrants sont arrêtés et brutalisés après avoir manifesté. Des femmes réfugiées sont agressées sexuellement dans l’impunité. Des demandeurs d’asile sont expulsés vers des pays dangereux comme l’Érythrée ou empêchés d’entrer sur le territoire égyptien. Par ailleurs, les gardes-côtes égyptiens collaborent avec leurs homologues libyens qui, également soutenus par l’UE, rejettent des migrants en mer ou les arrêtent pour les placer en détention dans des conditions inhumaines, et entretiennent des liens avec des milices qui jouent aussi le rôle de passeurs.

      Autant d’informations peu compatibles avec la promesse européenne d’un contrôle des frontières « basé sur les droits, orienté vers la protection et sensible au genre ». Sachant que l’agence européenne de gardes-frontières et de gardes-côtes Frontex s’est elle-même rendue coupable de refoulements illégaux de migrants (pushbacks) et a été accusée de tolérer de mauvais traitements sur ces derniers.

      Contactés à ce sujet, les ministères français de l’intérieur, des affaires étrangères et des armées, l’OIM, Civipol, DCI et Couach n’ont pas répondu à nos questions. Dans le cadre de cette enquête, Orient XXI a aussi effectué le 1er juin une demande de droit à l’information auprès de la Direction générale du voisinage et des négociations d’élargissement (DG NEAR) de la Commission européenne, afin d’accéder aux différents documents liés à l’accord migratoire passé entre l’UE et l’Égypte. Celle-ci a identifié douze documents susceptibles de nous intéresser, mais a décidé de nous refuser l’accès à onze d’entre eux, le douzième ne comprenant aucune information intéressante. La DG NEAR a invoqué une série de motifs allant du cohérent (caractère confidentiel des informations touchant à la politique de sécurité et la politique étrangère de l’UE) au plus surprenant (protection des données personnelles — alors qu’il aurait suffi de masquer lesdites données —, et même secret des affaires). Un premier recours interne a été déposé le 18 juillet, mais en l’absence de réponse de la DG NEAR dans les délais impartis, Orient XXI a saisi fin septembre la Médiatrice européenne, qui a demandé à la Commission de nous répondre avant le 13 octobre. Sans succès.

      Dans un courrier parvenu le 15 novembre, un porte-parole de la DG NEAR indique :

      "L’Égypte reste un partenaire fiable et prévisible pour l’Europe, et la migration constitue un domaine clé de coopération. Le projet ne cible pas seulement le matériel, mais également la formation pour améliorer les connaissances et les compétences [des gardes-côtes et gardes-frontières égyptiens] en matière de gestion humanitaire des frontières (…) Le plein respect des droits de l’homme sera un élément essentiel et intégré de cette action [grâce] à un contrôle rigoureux et régulier de l’utilisation des équipements."

      Paris-Le Caire, une relation particulière

      Cette livraison de navires s’inscrit dans une longue histoire de coopération sécuritaire entre la France et la dictature militaire égyptienne, arrivée au pouvoir après le coup d’État du 3 juillet 2013 et au lendemain du massacre de centaines de partisans du président renversé Mohamed Morsi. Paris a depuis multiplié les ventes d’armes et de logiciels d’espionnage à destination du régime du maréchal Sissi, caractérisé par la mainmise des militaires sur la vie politique et économique du pays et d’effroyables atteintes aux droits humains.

      La mise sous surveillance, la perquisition par la Direction générale de la sécurité intérieure (DGSI) et le placement en garde à vue de la journaliste indépendante Ariane Lavrilleux fin septembre étaient notamment liés à ses révélations dans le média Disclose sur Sirli, une opération secrète associant les renseignements militaires français et égyptien, dont la finalité antiterroriste a été détournée par Le Caire vers la répression intérieure. Une enquête pour « compromission du secret de la défense nationale » avait ensuite été ouverte en raison de la publication de documents (faiblement) classifiés par Disclose.

      La mise en œuvre de l’accord migratoire UE-Égypte a donc été indirectement confiée à la France via Civipol. Société dirigée par le préfet Yann Jounot, codétenue par l’État français et des acteurs privés de la sécurité — l’électronicien de défense Thales, le spécialiste de l’identité numérique Idemia, Airbus Defence & Space —, Civipol met en œuvre des projets de coopération internationale visant à renforcer les capacités d’États étrangers en matière de sécurité, notamment en Afrique. Ceux-ci peuvent être portés par la France, notamment via la Direction de la coopération internationale de sécurité (DCIS) du ministère de l’intérieur. Mais l’entreprise travaille aussi pour l’UE.

      Civipol a appelé en renfort DCI, société pilotée par un ancien chef adjoint de cabinet de Nicolas Sarkozy passé dans le privé, le gendarme Samuel Fringant. DCI était jusqu’à récemment contrôlée par l’État, aux côtés de l’ancien office d’armement Eurotradia soupçonné de corruption et du vendeur de matériel militaire français reconditionné Sofema. Mais l’entreprise devrait prochainement passer aux mains du groupe français d’intelligence économique ADIT de Philippe Caduc, dont l’actionnaire principal est le fonds Sagard de la famille canadienne Desmarais, au capital duquel figure désormais le fonds souverain émirati.

      DCI assure principalement la formation des armées étrangères à l’utilisation des équipements militaires vendus par la France, surtout au Proche-Orient et notamment en Égypte. Mais à l’image de Civipol, l’entreprise collabore de plus en plus avec l’UE, notamment via la mal nommée « Facilité européenne pour la paix » (FEP).
      Pacte (migratoire) avec le diable

      Plus largement, ce partenariat avec l’Égypte s’inscrit dans une tendance généralisée d’externalisation du contrôle des frontières de l’Europe, qui voit l’UE passer des accords avec les pays situés le long des routes migratoires afin que ceux-ci bloquent les départs de migrants et réfugiés, et que ces derniers déposent leurs demandes d’asile depuis l’Afrique, avant d’arriver sur le territoire européen. Après la Libye, pionnière en la matière, l’UE a notamment signé des partenariats avec l’Égypte, la Tunisie — dont le président Kaïs Saïed a récemment encouragé des émeutes racistes —, le Maroc, et en tout 26 pays africains, selon une enquête du journaliste Andrei Popoviciu pour le magazine américain In These Times.

      Via ces accords, l’UE n’hésite pas à apporter une assistance financière, humaine et matérielle à des acteurs peu soucieux du respect des droits fondamentaux, de la bonne gestion financière et parfois eux-mêmes impliqués dans le trafic d’êtres humains. L’UE peine par ailleurs à tracer l’utilisation de ces centaines de millions d’euros et à évaluer l’efficacité de ces politiques, qui se sont déjà retournées contre elles sous la forme de chantage migratoire, par exemple en Turquie.

      D’autres approches existent pourtant. Mais face à des opinions publiques de plus en plus hostiles à l’immigration, sur fond de banalisation des idées d’extrême droite en politique et dans les médias, les 27 pays membres et les institutions européennes apparaissent enfermés dans une spirale répressive.


  • Leaked letter on intended Cyprus-Lebanon joint border controls: increased deaths and human rights violations

    In an increasingly worrying context for migrants and refugees in Cyprus, with the recent escalation of violent racist attacks and discrimination against refugees on the island and the continued pushback policy, civil society organisations raise the alarm concerning Cyprus’ increased support to the Lebanese Army to harden border control and prevent departures.

    A letter leaked on 26 September 2023 (https://www.philenews.com/kipros/koinonia/article/1389120/exi-metra-protini-ston-livano-i-kipros), from the Cypriot Interior Minister to his Lebanese counterpart, reveals that Cyprus will provide Lebanon with 6 vessels and speedboats by the end of 2024, trainings for the Lebanese Armed Forces, will carry out joint patrol operations from Lebanese shores, and will finance the salaries of members of the Lebanese Armed Forces “who actively contribute to the interception of vessels carrying irregular migrants to Cyprus”. In this way, by providing equipment, funding and training to the Lebanese Army, Cyprus will have a determining influence, if not effective control, on the interceptions of migrants’ boats in Lebanese territorial waters and forced returns (the so-called “pullbacks”), to Lebanon. This in violation of EU and international law, which is likely to trigger legal liability issues. As seen in numerous cases, refugees, especially Syrians, who are pulled back to Lebanon are at risk of detention, ill-treatment and deportations to Syria where they are subject to violence, arrest, torture, and enforced disappearance. The worsening situation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, who face increasing violence and deportations, confirms that Lebanon is not a “safe” third country.

    As seen in the past with several examples from other examples at the EU’s external borders, (e.g. Turkey, Libya and most recently Tunisia), striking deals with EU neighboring countries of departure in order to increase border controls and contain migratory movements has several catastrophic consequences. Despite officially aiming at decreasing the number of lost lives, they actually increase border violence and deaths, leading to serious human rights abuses and violations of EU and international laws. They also foster a blackmail approach as third countries use their borders as leverage against European countries to get additional funds or negotiate on other sensitive issues, at the expense of people’s lives. All these contribute to having a negative impact on the EU and Member States’ foreign policy.

    As demonstrated by a recent article from the Mixed Migration Centre (https://mixedmigration.org/articles/how-to-break-the-business-model-of-smugglers), the most effective way to “disrupt the business model of smugglers” and reduce irregular departures, migrants’ dangerous journeys and the consequent losses of lives, is to expand legal migratory routes.

    By going in the complete opposite direction, Cyprus, for many years now, has prevented migrants, asylum seekers and refugees from reaching the island in a legal way and from leaving the island for other EU countries1. Cyprus has resorted to systematic practices of pushbacks sending refugees back to countries where they are at risk of torture, persecution and arbitrary detention, has intensified forced returns, has dismantled the reception and asylum system, and has fueled a toxic anti-refugee narrative that has led to indiscriminate violent attacks that were initially against Syrian refugees and their properties in #Chloraka (https://kisa.org.cy/sundays-pogrom-in-chloraka) and a few days later to against migrants and their properties in #Limassol (https://cde.news/racism-fuelled-violence-spreads-in-cyprus). More recently, Cyprus has also announced its willingness to push the EU and Member States to re-evaluate Syria’s status and consider the country as “safe” in order to forcibly return Syrian refugees to Syria – despite on-going clashes, structural human rights violations, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

    These deadly externalisation policies and unlawful practices have and continue to kill individuals and prevent them from accessing their rights. A complete change in migration and asylum policies is urgently needed, based on the respect of human rights and people’s lives, and on legal channels for migration and protection. Cyprus, as well as the EU and its Member States, must protect the human rights of migrants at international borders, ensure access to international protection and proper reception conditions in line with EU and international human rights law. They must open effective legal migratory pathways, including resettlement, humanitarian visas and labour migration opportunities; and they must respect their obligations of saving lives at sea and set up proper Search and Rescue operations in the Mediterranean.


    #mourir_aux_frontières #frontières #droits_humains #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Chypre #Liban #racisme #attaques_racistes #refoulements #push-backs #militarisation_des_frontières #joint_operations #opérations_conjointes #aide #formation #gardes-côtes_libanaises #pull-backs #réfugiés_syriens #externalisation

  • Des appareils de #surveillance de #Frontex sont utilisés par les #gardes-côtes_libyens pour intercepter illégalement des migrants

    « Le Monde » a identifié l’origine de sept images aériennes publiées par les gardes-côtes libyens sur leurs pages Facebook. Elles ont été réalisées par des appareils de surveillance de Frontex, et démontrent comment les activités de l’agence européenne facilitent des interceptions illicites par les Libyens en Méditerranée. Frontex a toujours soutenu ne pas collaborer avec les garde-côtes libyens.

    « Le patrouilleur Fezzan a porté secours à un chalutier en feu et a sauvé son équipage de huit personnes. » Le 24 août 2021, la page Facebook « Gardes-côtes et sécurité portuaire » publie le bilan d’une opération de sauvetage menée au cours de la journée par les gardes-côtes libyens.

    La présence d’informations temporelles et de localisations sur l’image indique qu’il s’agit d’une prise de vue réalisée par un appareil de surveillance aérienne, et non par un simple appareil photo. Ce genre d’images, entre 2018 et 2022, les gardes-côtes libyens en ont publié une douzaine, sur différents comptes et réseaux. Sauf que la Libye n’est pas dotée d’appareils capables de réaliser ces images. Qui en est à l’origine ?

    Pour identifier leur source, Le Monde a recoupé les informations qu’elles contiennent avec des données ADS-B, un signal émis par les avions en vol, ainsi qu’avec les journaux de bord de plusieurs ONG actives en Méditerranée, dans les airs ou en mer. Dans le cas du 24 août 2021, par exemple, les informations présentes sur l’image indiquent les coordonnées, l’altitude et l’heure précise à laquelle l’appareil se trouvait lorsqu’il a réalisé cette image. Elles donnent aussi la position approximative du chalutier observé par l’appareil.

    Nous avons reconstitué le trafic aérien au-dessus de la Méditerranée dans la matinée du 24 août 2021. En comparant les parcours des différents appareils avec les données disponibles sur l’image, nous avons ainsi pu identifier un appareil qui se trouvait précisément aux coordonnées et à l’altitude à laquelle la photo a été prise, lorsqu’elle a été réalisée : le drone AS2132, opéré par Frontex.

    Pour d’autres images, nous avons eu accès aux observations d’ONG, comme SeaWatch ou SOS Méditerranée, consignées dans des journaux de bord. Ceux-ci sont librement accessibles ici. Au total, ce travail nous permet d’affirmer que sur cinq dates différentes les images publiées par les gardes-côtes libyens ont été réalisées par des appareils de Frontex. Au moins une autre l’a été par un appareil de l’EunavforMed, la force navale européenne en Méditerranée, qui collabore avec Frontex.

    Des interceptions impossibles sans renseignements extérieurs

    Sollicitée, l’agence de garde-frontière l’assure : « il n’y a pas de collaboration entre Frontex et les gardes-côtes libyens », ce qu’affirmait déjà en mars 2021 son ex-directeur Fabrice Leggeri.

    L’agence précise, en revanche : « Chaque fois qu’un avion de Frontex découvre une embarcation en détresse, une alerte – et une image, le cas échéant – est immédiatement envoyée au centre de coordination des sauvetages régional. L’information envoyée inclut notamment la position, la navigabilité du navire et la probabilité qu’il n’atteigne pas sa destination finale. »

    De fait, dans les cinq cas identifiés par Le Monde, les images de Frontex ont pourtant bien fini entre les mains des gardes-côtes libyens. Et certaines ont vraisemblablement rendu possible l’interception d’embarcations, autrement impossibles à localiser pour les Libyens. Dans le cas du 8 mai 2019, par exemple, l’avion de Frontex découvre une embarcation en route pour l’Europe en Méditerranée centrale. Un contact est établi entre les autorités libyennes et l’agence, mais il n’émet pas de Mayday. Ce message d’urgence aurait pu être capté par tous les avions et navires à proximité à ce moment-là, dont le Mare Jonio, de l’ONG Mediterranea Saving Humans, spécialisé dans le sauvetage. Frontex dit n’envoyer des Maydays que « lorsqu’il existe un danger imminent pour la vie des occupants ».

    Les gardes-côtes libyens retrouvent finalement sans difficulté l’embarcation, pourtant située à plus d’une centaine de kilomètres de leurs côtes. A 17 heures, ils font monter les migrants à bord de leur patrouilleur avant de les rapatrier en Libye. Une interception que les informations de Frontex ont vraisemblablement facilitée, voire rendue possible. Pendant toute la durée de l’opération, l’avion de Frontex continue de survoler la zone, et de filmer la scène. Des images auxquelles les gardes-côtes ont aussi eu accès.

    Frontex souligne que, conformément au règlement européen relatif à la surveillance des frontières maritimes extérieures, ses alertes ne sont pas adressées aux gardes-côtes libyens, mais au « centre régional de coordination des sauvetages (#RCC) [libyen] (…) internationalement reconnu ». Une fois l’alerte envoyée, « Frontex ne coordonne pas les opérations de recherche et de sauvetage (...), c’est la responsabilité des centres de secours régionaux« . Reste à savoir si ce RCC existe réellement. Frontex s’en tient à la position de l’Organisation maritime internationale (OMI), qui a reconnu officiellement l’existence d’un RCC en 2018.

    Plusieurs enquêtes ont pourtant mis en doute l’existence d’un tel RCC libyen. Derrière les adresses e-mail et les numéros de téléphone du RCC se trouvent en réalité les gardes-côtes, selon les différentes ONG impliquées dans des opérations de sauvetage en mer Méditerranée. Et le 8 novembre 2022, le vice-président de la commission européenne, Josep Borrell, lui-même affirmait : « Le centre de coordination des secours maritime n’est pas encore opérationnel. »

    Parmi les règles européennes, que Frontex dit respecter, figure le principe du non-refoulement : « Nul ne peut être (…) débarqué, forcé à entrer, conduit dans un pays ou autrement remis aux autorités d’un pays où il existe (…) un risque sérieux qu’il soit soumis à la peine de mort, à la torture, à la persécution ou à d’autres peines ou traitements inhumains ou dégradants. » Des situations courantes en Libye, de sorte qu’en 2020 la Commission européenne affirmait que le pays n’était pas un « lieu sûr » vers lequel il serait possible de renvoyer des migrants. Dans un rapport de 2018, l’ONU constatait que « les migrants subissent des horreurs inimaginables en Libye (…). Ils s’exposent à des meurtres extrajudiciaires, à la torture et à des mauvais traitements, à la détention arbitraire (…), au viol (…), à l’esclavage et au travail forcé, à l’extorsion et à l’exploitation ».

    #frontières #migrations #asile #réfugiés #Méditerranée #Libye #mer_Méditerranée #pull-backs #pull-back #push-backs

    • Airborne Complicity – Frontex Aerial Surveillance Enables Abuse

      Over the last year, we have partnered with Human Rights Watch to investigate the use by the EU’s border agency, Frontex, of aerial surveillance in the central Mediterranean. The aircraft, several planes and a drone operated by private companies, transmit video feeds and other information to a situation centre in Frontex headquarters in Warsaw, where operational decisions are taken about when and whom to alert about migrants’ boats. Frontex aerial surveillance is key in enabling the Libyan Coast Guard to intercept migrant boatsand return their passengers to Libya, knowing full well that they will face systematic and widespread abuse when forcibly returned there.

      To circumvent Frontex’s lack of transparency on these issues (in processing 27 of 30 freedom of information requests we submitted – the others are pending – Frontex identified thousands of relevant documents but released only 86 of them, most of which were heavily redacted) we cross-referenced official and open-source data, including drone and plane flight tracks, together with information collected by Sea-Watch (through its various search and rescue ships and planes operating in the area), the Alarm Phone, as well as the testimony of survivors who courageously shared their stories with us. 

      Overall, contrary to Frontex claim that its aerial surveillance saves lives, the evidence gathered by Human Rights Watch and Border Forensics demonstrates it is in service of interceptions by Libyan forces, rather than rescue. While the presence of Frontex aircraft has not had a meaningful impact on the death rate at sea, we found a moderate and statistically significant correlation between its aerial assets flights and the number of interceptions performed by the Libyan Coast Guard. On days when the assets fly more hours over its area of operation, the Libyan Coast Guard tends to intercept more vessels.

      Our reconstruction of the events of July 30, 2021, when several boats carrying migrants were intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard in the area where the drone was patrolling, is a good demonstration of this. The evidence we collected strongly suggests that the droneplayed a key role in facilitating the interception of potentially hundreds of people. 

      The analysis of available data supports the conclusion that the Frontex aerial surveillance forms a central plank of the EU’s strategy to prevent migrants and asylum seekers from reaching Europe by boat and to knowingly return them to unspeakable abuse in Libya. It should be understood in continuity with the progressive withdrawal of EU ships from the central Mediterranean, the handover of responsibility to Libyan forces, and the obstruction of nongovernmental rescue groups which we have been investigating in the frame of the Forensic Oceanography project since several years. 

      The retreat of rescue vessels from the central Mediterranean and the simultaneous increase of surveillance aircraft in the sky is yet another attempt by the EU to further remove itself spatially, physically, and legally from its responsibilities: it allows the EU to maintain a distance from boats in distress, while keeping a close eye from the sky that enables Libyan forces to carry out what we have previously referred to as “refoulement by proxy”. Our investigation seeks to re-establish the connection between Frontex aerial surveillance and the violence captured migrants face at sea and in Libya thereafter.
      Reconstructing 30 July 2021 

      Since the beginning of our research, we have been looking into a number of specific cases of interceptions that involved European aerial assets. Thanks to the relentless effort of documentation by civil society organisations active in the central Mediterranean, in particular the Alarm Phone and Sea Watch, we were able to put together an extensive list of such cases. 

      We eventually decided to focus on the events of July 30, 2021 as a case study. In order to reconstruct what happened on that day, we have combined witness testimonies, data and footage collected by Alarm Phone and Sea Watch, tracks of aerial and naval assets, open-source information and data about disembarkation in Libya as well as two separate databases of interceptions (Frontex’ own JORA database and information from two European Union External Action Service classified documents). 

      Frontex drone’s tracks that day indicate it most likely detected at least two boats later intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard. The rescue ship Sea-Watch 3 witnessed by chance the interception of one of them that took place within the Maltese Search and Rescue Area. The Sea-Watch 3 had not received any distress alert via Frontex despite being in the immediate vicinity of the boat and ready to assist its passengers. 

      Frontex’ own database admits that its aerial surveillance program detected a total of 5 boats on that day. While only further disclosure by Frontex would allow to ultimately assess its impact on each specific interception that took place on that day, the precise geographical coordinates for the five interceptions reported in the classified EEAS documents seem to match at least three peculiar flight patterns of the Frontex drone.
      Analysing Frontex aerial surveillance
      Flight tracking

      In parallel to case reconstructions, we have been tracking the overall activities of Frontex aircraft in the central Mediterranean. Since these planes and drone are chartered from private companies such as DEA Aviation and ADAS, a subsidiary of Airbus, there is no publicly available official list of such assets. The first task was to understand which were the aerial assets patrolling the central Mediterranean on behalf of Frontex. Cross-referencing various identification information (hexcodes, callsigns, etc.) of these planes with those that had been already identified by Sea Watch airborne team and various journalists allowed us to establish a dependable list of Frontex aerial assets operating in the area. 

      Once that was established, we acquired from ADS-B Exchange (the only flight tracking platform that does not block any aircraft for which data is received by their feeders) a large dataset of flight tracking data covering a period of several months (May 2020 to September 2022) for all these aircraft. While the low number of data feeders near our area of interest means that coverage of the recorded data is at times inconsistent, ADS-B flight tracking data (which include latitude, longitude, altitude, and several other parameters) provide an exceptional insight into aerial activities performed by these assets and became a key element in our investigation.

      Thanks to these data, we were able to visualize the extend of each assets operational area over time. Each of these aircraft monitors a specific area of the central Mediterranean. What emerged were also a series of clearly identifiable and consistent search patters that Frontex aircraft are flying off the coast of Libya. More generally, these visualisations have allowed to grasp the extensive, yet tightly knit web of surveillance that results from aerial operations. 

      Pattern analysis

      When observed closely, flight tracks can provide further precious insights into Frontex surveillance activities. Several loops, U-turns, perfect circles, and sharp corners starts to emerge against the strict geometry of standard search patterns. These deviations indicate an aircraft is taking a closer look at something, thus testifying to potential sightings of migrant boats. Inspired by similar projects by John Wiseman, Emmanuel Freundenthal and others, we then started to isolate and taxonomise such search patterns and then wrote code to automatically identify similar patterns across the whole flight tracking dataset we had acquired. While this aspect of the research is still ongoing, it was already very useful in reconstructing the events of July 30, 2021, as detailed in the following section.

      Statistical analysis

      In order to assess the overall impact of aerial surveillance, we also conducted statistical analysis exploring the relation between interceptions carried out by Libyan forces and the presence of Frontex’s aerial assets in the 2021-2022 timeframe. 

      We first compiled several statistical data sources (data from the IOM, the UNHCR, the Maltese government as well as Frontex’ JORA database and a classified report by the European External Action Service) which, despite inconsistencies, have allowed us to measure migrant crossings and deaths, Libyan Coast Guard interceptions, and Frontex aerial presence. 

      The data gathered shows that Frontex aerial surveillance activities have intensified over time, and that they have been increasingly related to interception events. Our analysis reveals that almost one third of the 32,400 people Libyan forces captured at sea and forced back to Libya in 2021 were intercepted thanks to intelligence gathered by Frontex through aerial surveillance. Frontex incident database also shows that while Frontex’s role is very significant in enabling interception to Libya, it has very little impact on detecting boats whose passengers are eventually disembarked in Italy and Malta. 

      We then tested the correlation between Frontex aerial presence and Libyan Coast Guard interceptions over time and in space. The results show a moderate-to-strong and statistically significant correlation between the number of interceptions and the hours of flight flown by Frontex aerial assets. Said otherwise, on days when the assets fly more hours over its area of operation, the Libyan Coast Guard tends to intercept more vessels. A spatial approach showed that interceptions and flight tracks are autocorrelated in space. At the same time, contrary to Frontex claims that aerial surveillance saves lives at sea, the analysis shows that there is no correlation between death rate and the flight time.

      Read the full statistical analysis here

      Ultimately these different methods have allowed us to demonstrate how Frontex aerial surveillance (and in particular, because of its wider operational range, its drone) has become a key cog in the “pushback machine” that forces thousands of people back to abuse in Libya. 

      The publication of our findings with Human Rights Watch is the first stage of our ongoing investigation into the impact of European aerial surveillance on the lives and rights of migrants. We plan to continue deepening this investigation over the coming months.


      #surveillance_aérienne #drones

  • EU’s Drone Is Another Threat to Migrants and Refugees

    Frontex Aerial Surveillance Facilitates Return to Abuse in Libya

    “We didn’t know it was the Libyans until the boat got close enough and we could see the flag. At that point we started to scream and cry. One man tried to jump into the sea and we had to stop him. We fought off as much as we could to not be taken back, but we couldn’t do anything about it,” Dawit told us. It was July 30, 2021, and Dawit, from Eritrea, his wife, and young daughter were trying to seek refuge in Europe.

    Instead, they were among the more than 32,450 people intercepted by Libyan forces last year and hauled back to arbitrary detention and abuse in Libya.

    Despite overwhelming evidence of torture and exploitation of migrants and refugees in Libya – crimes against humanity, according to the United Nations – over the last few years the European Union has propped up Libyan forces’ efforts to intercept the boats. It has withdrawn its own vessels and installed a network of aerial assets run by private companies. Since May 2021, the EU border agency Frontex has deployed a drone out of Malta, and its flight patterns show the crucial role it plays in detecting boats close to Libyan coasts. Frontex gives the information from the drone to coastal authorities, including Libya.

    Frontex claims the surveillance is to aid rescue, but the information facilitates interceptions and returns to Libya. The day Dawit and his family were caught at sea, Libyan forces intercepted at least two other boats and took at least 228 people back to Libya. One of those boats was intercepted in international waters, inside the Maltese search-and-rescue area. The drone’s flight path suggests it was monitoring the boat’s trajectory, but Frontex never informed the nearby nongovernmental Sea-Watch rescue vessel.

    Human Rights Watch and Border Forensics, a nonprofit that uses innovative visual and spatial analysis to investigate border violence, are examining how the shift from sea to air surveillance contributes to the cycle of extreme abuse in Libya. Frontex’s lack of transparency – they have rejected ours and Sea-Watch’s requests for information about their activities on July 30, 2021 – leaves many questions about their role unanswered.

    Dawit and others panicked when they saw the Libyan boat because they knew what awaited upon return. He and his family ended up in prison for almost two months, released only after paying US$1,800. They are still in Libya, hoping for a chance to reach safety in a country that respects their rights and dignity.

    #Frontex #surveillance_aérienne #Méditerranée #asile #migrations #réfugiés #drones #contrôles_frontaliers #frontières #push-backs #pull-backs #refoulements #Libye #interception

    • Libia: il drone anti-migranti di Frontex

      Frontex, la controversa agenzia di sorveglianza delle frontiere esterne dell’Unione europea, pur avendo smesso la vigilanza marittima delle coste, attraverso l’utilizzo di un drone, sta aiutando la guardia costiera libica a intercettare i barconi dei migranti e rifugiati che tentano di raggiungere le coste italiane. I migranti, perlopiù provenienti dall’Africa subsahariana, sono così ricondotti in Libia dove sono sfruttati e sottoposti a gravi abusi.

      Lo denuncia l’organizzazione internazionale Human Rights Watch. È dal maggio del 2021 che Frontex ha dislocato un drone a Malta: secondo l’ong i piani di volo dimostrerebbero che il velivolo ha un ruolo cruciale nell’individuazione dei battelli in prossimità delle coste libiche; Frontex trasmette infatti i dati raccolti dal drone alle autorità libiche.

      L’agenzia europea sostiene che l’utilizzo del drone ha lo scopo di aiutare il salvataggio dei barconi in difficoltà, ma Human Rights Watch ribatte che questa attività manca di «trasparenza». Il rapporto vuole sottolineare che all’Europa non può bastare che i migranti non arrivino sulle sue coste. E non può nemmeno fingere di non sapere qual è la situazione in Libia.

      L’instabilità politica che caratterizza la Libia dalla caduta di Gheddafi nel 2011 ha fatto del paese nordafricano una via privilegiata per decine di migliaia di migranti che cercano di raggiungere l’Europa attraverso le coste italiane che distano circa 300 km da quelle libiche. Non pochi di questi migranti sono bloccati in Libia, vivono in condizioni deprecabili e in balia di trafficanti di esseri umani.


  • Libia, così i gruppi armati controllano il territorio e la tratta dei migranti

    L’organizzazione Libyan Crimes Watch ha confermato che lo scorso 14 gennaio, 3 marocchini sono stati torturati e uccisi nel centro di detenzione ad Al Mayah, nella parte occidentale di Tripoli.
    Un rapporto militare confidenziale distribuito ai funzionari dell’Ue lo scorso gennaio e ottenuto da Domani, conferma la visione dell’Unione europea nel continuare supportare la guardia costiera e la marina libica nonostante il trattamento riservato ai migranti
    Il rapporto compilato dal contrammiraglio della Marina italiana Stefano Turchetto, comandante dell’operazione militare dell’Unione europea nel Mediterraneo (Eunavfor, Med Irini), riconosce inoltre «l’uso eccessivo della forza» da parte delle autorità libiche, aggiungendo che la formazione dell’Ue «non è più completamente seguita».

    L’article est en #paywall, mais une carte intéressante a été publiée sur twitter:



    #cartographie #visualisation #pull-backs #push-backs #Libye #Méditerranée #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières

    ping @isskein @reka

  • Migrants : enquête sur le rôle de l’Europe dans le piège libyen

    Des données de vol obtenues par « Le Monde » révèlent comment l’agence européenne #Frontex encourage les #rapatriements de migrants vers la Libye, malgré les exactions qui y sont régulièrement dénoncées par l’ONU.

    300 kilomètres séparent la Libye de l’île de Lampedusa et de l’Europe. Une traversée de la #Méditerranée périlleuse, que des dizaines de milliers de migrants tentent chaque année. Depuis 2017, lorsqu’ils sont repérés en mer, une partie d’entre eux est rapatriée en Libye, où ils peuvent subir #tortures, #viols et #détentions_illégales. Des #exactions régulièrement dénoncées par les Nations unies.

    L’Union européenne a délégué à la Libye la responsabilité des #sauvetages_en_mer dans une large zone en Méditerranée, et apporte à Tripoli un #soutien_financier et opérationnel. Selon les images et documents collectés par Le Monde, cela n’empêche pas les garde-côtes libyens d’enfreindre régulièrement des règles élémentaires du #droit_international, voire de se rendre coupables de #violences graves.

    Surtout, l’enquête #vidéo du Monde révèle que, malgré son discours officiel, l’agence européenne de gardes-frontières Frontex semble encourager les #rapatriements de migrants en Libye, plutôt que sur les côtes européennes. Les données de vol du drone de Frontex montrent comment l’activité de l’agence européenne se concentre sur la zone où les migrants, une fois détectés, sont rapatriés en Libye. Entre le 1er juin et le 31 juillet 2021, le drone de Frontex a passé 86 % de son temps de vol opérationnel dans cette zone. Sur la même période, à peine plus de la moitié des situations de détresse localisées par l’ONG Alarm Phone y étaient enregistrées.

    #responsabilité #Europe #UE #EU #Union_européenne #Libye #migrations #asile #réfugiés #pull-backs #pullbacks #push-backs #refoulements #frontières #gardes-côtes_libyens

    déjà signalé sur seenthis par @colporteur

  • Fossil fuel giant #Shell and EU maritime authorities accused of complicity in Mediterranean refugee ‘pullback’

    Banksy-funded rescue ship #Louise_Michel carries 31 refugees as Tunisian Navy sends 70 to its ‘unsafe’ country

    EUROPEAN maritime authorities and fossil fuel giant Shell were accused of complicity in the sending of about 70 refugees to an unsafe country today.

    Civilian rescuers on board the Louise Michel, a rescue ship part-funded by the elusive British artist Banksy, saved the lives of about 101 people within Malta‘s search-and-rescue (SAR) zone in the central Mediterranean on Monday night.

    It was the Seabird, a reconnaissance plane operated by rescuers Sea-Watch, that first spotted the refugees in distress, and passed their position onto the Louise Michael.

    The Louise Michel’s crew managed to bring 31 refugees aboard their vessel, but the remaining 70 or so others climbed onto the nearby Miskar offshore gas platform, which Shell operates on behalf of the Tunisian government.

    The Louise Michel warned on social media this morning that the refugees on the platform had been waiting there for over 14 hours and that the Maltese authorities, who are legally responsible for coordinating their rescue, were refusing to communicate.

    The Tunisian navy arrived on scene later in the afternoon and took the 70 refugees from the platform to Tunisia, a move Louise Michel and many of the other NGO refugee rescuers condemned as a “#pullback,” the unlawful return of refugees to an unsafe place.

    “We witnessed an illegal pullback of around 70 people by several Tunisian Navy vessels from the Shell platform,” a crew member aboard the Louise Michel told The Civil Fleet today.

    “We strongly condemn this violation of human rights and maritime law of which European authorities and Shell are complicit in.”

    Jacob Berkson, an activist with the distress hotline organisation Alarm Phone, described the Tunisian and Maltese authorities’ actions as an “egregious breach” of the refugee conventions.

    “It is to be hoped that they [the refugees] have not been returned to the hell of Libya, but nor can Tunisia be assumed to be a safe third country. It was on Malta to rescue these people,” Mr Berkman told The Civil Fleet today.

    “In any sane world, the Armed Forces of Malta would intervene swiftly and professionally to rescue people in distress, irrespective of why they took to sea in the first place.

    “Of course, in any sane world, it would be rare that people seeking refuge needed rescuing because they would be travelling on a well maintained, commercial vessel to a country of their choice.”

    Shell’s Tunisian arm said: “[We] can confirm that on January 3 2022 at 8pm (Tunis time), a boat carrying people reached our offshore platform. They were assisted and provided with water, food and dry clothes.

    “Shell had informed the Tunisian authorities and worked closely with them to ensure the safety of people on board the boat. They have since been safely transferred to the Tunisian navy vessel on January 4.”


    #pull-backs #réfugiés #asile #migrations #Méditerranée #Shell #Plate-forme_pétrolière #plateforme_pétrolière #mer_Méditerranée #Tunisie #SAR

    j’ajoute aussi #push-backs #refoulements —> même si techniquement il s’agit de pull-backs, mais pour avoir plus de chances de le retrouver dans le futur...

  • 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.”


    #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.”



  • *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.

    #frontières #militarisation_des_frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #armée #NETS #Manche #La_Manche #France #UK #Angleterre #pull-back #pull-backs

    #via @FilippoFurri