• Push back of responsibility: Human Rights Violations as a Welcome Treatment at Europe’s Borders

    In a new report, DRC in partnership with six civil society organisations across six countries, have collected records of thousands of illegal pushbacks of migrants and refugees trying to cross Europe’s borders. Testimonies also reveal unofficial cooperation between authorities in different countries to transfer vulnerable people across borders to avoid responsibility.

    During only three months, authorities illegally prevented 2,162 men, women and children from seeking protection. The instances of illegal pushbacks were recorded from January to April 2021 at different border crossings in Italy, Greece, Serbia, Bosnia-and-Herzegovina, North Macedonia, and Hungary. More than a third of the documented pushbacks involved rights violations such as denial of access to asylum procedure, physical abuse and assault, theft, extortion and destruction of property, at the hands of national border police and law enforcement officials.

    Further, the report (https://drc.ngo/media/mnglzsro/prab-report-january-may-2021-_final_10052021.pdf) documents 176 cases of so-called “chain-pushbacks” where refugees and migrants were forcefully sent across multiple borders via informal cooperation between states to circumvent their responsibility and push unwanted groups outside of the EU. This could be from Italy or Austria through countries like Slovenia and Croatia to a third country such as Bosnia-and- Herzegovina.

    https://drc.ngo/about-us/for-the-media/press-releases/2021/5/prab-2-en
    #droits_humains #asile #migrations #réfugiés #responsabilité #frontières #push-backs #refoulements #rapport #DRC #statistiques #chiffres #2021 #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #frontière_sud-alpine #Italie #France #refoulements_en_chaîne

    Pour télécharger le rapport:
    https://drc.ngo/media/mnglzsro/prab-report-january-may-2021-_final_10052021.pdf

  • Annual Torture Report 2020

    Torture and pushbacks – an in depth analysis of practices in Greece and Croatia, and states participating in violent chain-pushbacks

    This special report analyses data from 286 first hand testimonies of violent pushbacks carried out by authorities in the Balkans, looking at the way practices of torture have become an established part of contemporary border policing. The report examines six typologies of violence and torture that have been identified during pushbacks from Croatia and Greece, and also during chain-pushbacks initiated by North Macedonia, Slovenia and Italy. Across the report, 30 victim testimonies of torture and inhuman treatment are presented which is further supplemented by a comprehensive legal analysis and overview of the States response to these allegations.

    The violations profiled include:

    - Excessive and disproportionate force
    - Electric discharge weapons
    - Forced undressing
    - Threats or violence with a firearm
    - Inhuman treatment inside a police vehicle
    - Inhuman treatment inside a detention facility

    –-

    Key Findings from Croatia:

    – In 2020, BVMN collected 124 pushback testimonies from Croatia, exposing the treatment of 1827 people
    - 87% of pushbacks carried out by Croatia authorities contained one or more forms of violence and abuse that we assert amounts to torture or inhuman treatment
    - Violent attacks by police officers against people-on-the-move lasting up to six hours
    - Unmuzzled police dogs being encouraged by officers to attack people who have been detained.
    - Food being rubbed into the open wounds of pushback victims
    - Forcing people naked, setting fire to their clothes and then pushing them back across borders in a complete state of undress

    Key Findings from Greece:

    – 89% of pushbacks carried out by Greek authorities contained one or more forms of violence and abuse that we assert amounts to torture or inhuman treatment
    - 52% of pushback groups subjected to torture or inhuman treatment by Greek authorities contained children and minors
    - Groups of up to 80 men, women and children all being forcibly stripped naked and detained within one room
    - People being detained and transported in freezer trucks
    - Brutal attacks by groups of Greek officers including incidents where they pin down and cut open the hands of people on the move or tied them to the bars of their detention cells and beat them.
    - Multiple cases where Greek officers beat and then threw people into the Evros with many incidents leading to people going missing, presumingly having drowned and died.

    https://www.borderviolence.eu/annual-torture-report-2020
    #rapport #2020 #Border_Violence_Monitoring-Network #BVMN
    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #frontières #push-backs #refoulements #traitements_inhumains_et_dégradants #détention #centres_de_détention #armes #déshabillage_forcé #armes_à_feu #Croatie #Grèce #Evros #refoulements_en_chaîne #taser

    ping @isskein

  • Torture, Covid-19 and border pushbacks: Stories of migration to Europe at the time of Covid-19

    The lived experience of people navigating the EU external border during the Covid-19 pandemic has brought into sharper focus the way border violence has become embedded within the landscape of migration. Here BVMN are sharing a feature article and comic strip from artistic journalist collective Brush&Bow which relays the human stories behind pushbacks, and the protracted violence which has come to characterise journeys along the Balkan Route. The researchers and artists spent time with transit communities along the Western Balkan Route, as well as speaking to network members Centre for Peace Studies, No Name Kitchen & Info Kolpa about their work. Combined with the indepth article (linked below) the comic strip brings to life much of the oral testimonies collected in the BVMN shared database, visualising movement and aspiration – as well as the counterforce of border violence.

    Authors: Roshan De Stone and David Leone Suber
    Illustrations and multimedia: Hannah Kirmes Daly
    (Brush&Bow C.I.C)
    Funded by: The Journalism Fund

    https://www.borderviolence.eu/torture-covid-19-and-border-pushbacks

    #push-back #refoulements_en_chaîne #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Croatie #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #dessin #BD #bande_dessinée #Slovénie #Italie #frontière_sud-alpine #Bosnie #Trieste #migrerrance #Trieste #violence

    • #Torture and pushbacks: Stories of migration to Europe during Covid-19

      Violent and often sadistic pushbacks from Italy, Slovenia and Croatia are a damning indictment of Europe’s broken migrant policy.

      Anatomy of a pushback: from Italy to Bosnia

      Trieste, Zagreb – On April 13 last year, Italy’s Coronavirus death-toll surpassed 20,000, making headlines worldwide. In the afternoon on that same day, Saeed carefully packed a bag. In it, a phone, three power banks, cigarettes, a sleeping bag and a photograph of his two children back in Pakistan.

      During the March lockdown, Saeed was forcibly held in Lipa camp for migrants and asylum seekers, in the Bosnian canton of Una Sana, right next to the Croatian border. Having travelled this far, he was ready for the final leg of his journey to Europe.

      That night, Saeed left the camp. On the way to the Croatian border, he was joined by nine other men.
      People on the move use GPS tracking systems to cross land borders far away from main roads and inhabited locations. (Hannah Kirmes Daly, Brush&Bow C.I.C)

      For 21 days, the group walked through the forests and mountains in Croatia, Slovenia and into Italy, avoiding roads and towns, always careful not to be seen. Never taking their shoes off, not even to sleep, ready to run at a moment’s notice if the police spotted them.

      When Covid-19’s first wave was at its peak in the spring of 2020, EU member states increased border security by sending the army to patrol borders and suspended freedom of movement as a measure to prevent the spread of the virus.

      This greatly affected migration, giving migrants and asylum seekers yet another reason to go into hiding. Saeed and his companions knew this well. But as they finally crossed the final border into Italy, they assumed the worst was over.

      Winding their way down the mountains, the group stopped at the border town of Bagnoli to order a dark, sweet, coffee - a small reward. Across the street, a woman looked out of her window and reached for the phone. Minutes later, police were on the scene.

      As the police later confirmed, it is thanks to calls from local inhabitants living in border areas that most migrants are intercepted by authorities.

      Bundled into an Italian police van, Saeed and his acquaintances were handed over to Slovenian officials, and driven back to the Croatia-Bosnia border in less than 24 hours. No anti-Covid precautions were taken, and requests for asylum were ignored.

      When the van finally stopped, they were released into an open field by a river bank. Plain-clothes officers speaking Croatian ordered them to undress.

      Blisters ripped open as Saeed’s skin tore off as he pried off his shoes. Two of the men were beaten with telescopic batons. Another was whipped with a piece of rope tied to a branch. “Go back to Bosnia” was the last thing they heard the Croatian officers shout as they climbed back up the Bosnian bank of the river.

      On the morning of May 7, Saeed walked barefoot to the same Bosnian camp he had left three weeks before. This was his first ’pushback’.

      #The_Game'
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnU-xWNfG8M&feature=emb_logo

      Trieste’s Piazza Liberta, in front of the main train station, above, is the final destination for many people on the move arriving from Bosnia.

      Since the start of the pandemic, the EU border agency Frontex reported a decrease in the overall number of irregular border crossings into Europe. This has been the case on all main routes to Europe aside from one: the Balkan route, a route migrants and asylum seekers take by foot to cross from Turkey into central Europe.

      On July 10, two months after that first pushback from Italy, Saeed sits in Piazza Liberta, the main square in front of Trieste’s train station.

      Young men from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Eritrea, Iraq and Syria sit with him on the square’s benches, forming small groups in the setting sun. For nearly two years now, this square has been the meeting point for ’people on the move’ – migrants and asylum seekers escaping war, famine and poverty in their countries, arriving by foot from Turkey and through the Balkans.

      They sit in Piazza Liberta waiting for the arrival of a group of volunteers, who hand out food, medication and attend to the blisters and welts many have on their feet as a result from the long weeks of restless walking.

      Saeed is in his thirties, clean shaven and sporting ’distressed’ jeans with impeccably white trainers. He would look like any other tourist if it wasn’t for the scars across his arms.

      “There are two borders that are particularly difficult to cross to reach Europe,” he explains.

      The first is at the Evros river, separating Greece and Turkey. This is the only alternative to anyone who wants to avoid the risk of crossing by boat to the Greek islands, where recent reports of pushbacks by the Greek police back to Turkey are rife.

      “The second border is the one between Bosnia and Croatia,” he pauses. “The road between these two borders and all the way to Italy or Austria is what we call ’The Game’.” "It is by doing The Game that I got these," he says pointing to his scars.

      The Game is one of the only alternatives to reach Europe without having to cross the Mediterranean Sea. But crossing the Balkans is a similarly dangerous journey, like a ’game’, played against the police forces of the countries on the route, so as to not get caught and arrested.

      With the outbreak of the pandemic, The Game has become more difficult and dangerous. Many have reported cases of sexual and violent abuse from the police.

      In Croatia, police officers forced people to lie on top of one another naked as they were beaten and crosses were spray-painted on their heads. To add insult to injury, all their possessions were stolen, and their phones would be smashed or thrown in the water by authorities.

      The last of thirteen siblings, Saeed wants to reach a cousin in Marseille; an opportunity to escape unemployment and the grinding poverty of his life back in Pakistan.

      From the outskirts of Karachi, Saeed lived with his two children, wife and seven relatives in two rooms. “I would go out every morning looking for work, but there is nothing. My daughter is sick. I left because I wanted to be able to provide for my family.”

      Despite his desire to end up in France, Saeed was forced to apply for asylum in Italy to buy himself time and avoid being arrested and sent back to Bosnia.

      Under current regulations governing refugee law, Saeed’s asylum application in Italy is unlikely to be accepted. Poverty and a dream for a better future are not recognised as valid reasons to be granted status in Europe. Instead, in order to keep those like Saeed out, in 2018, the European Commission proposed to almost triple funding for border enforcement between 2021 and 2027, for an overall investment of $38.4 billion.

      Despite being a skilled electrician looking for work, Saeed’s asylum application makes it impossible for him to legally work in Italy. To survive, he started working as a guide for other migrants, a low-level smuggler making the most of what he learned during The Game.

      He pulls a second phone out of his pocket and takes a call. “There are 70 men crossing the mountains from Slovenia who will be here by 4 am tomorrow,” he says. The large group will be split into smaller groups once they arrive at the Italian border, Saeed explains, so as to not be too noticeable.

      The mountain paths around Trieste are full of signs of life; sleeping bags, shoes and clothes scattered where groups decided to stop and camp the night before doing the final stretch to Trieste’s train station.

      “When they arrive, I’ll be their point of contact. I’ll show them where to access aid, how to get an Italian sim card and give them money that their families have sent to me via Western Union.” He pauses, “I know some of them because we were in the same camps in Bosnia. I try to help them as I know what it is like, and in return they pay me a small fee.” The amount he receives varies between 5 and 20 euro ($5.8 - $23.55) per person.

      All along the route there are those like Saeed, who manage to make a small living from the irregular migration route. However, it isn’t easy to recognise a smuggler’s good intentions, and not every smuggler is like Saeed. “There are also smugglers who make a big business by stealing money or taking advantage of less experienced people,” he says.

      Pointing to two young Afghan boys, Saeed shrugs, “They asked me where they could go to prostitute themselves to pay for the next part of the journey. There are many people ready to make money out of our misery.”

      Border violence and the fear of contagion

      Since the start of pandemic, The Game has become even more high stakes. For migrants and asylum seekers on the Balkan route, it has meant adding the risk of infection to a long list of potential perils.

      “If the police are looking for you, it’s hard to worry about getting sick with the virus. The most important thing is not to get arrested and sent back,” said Saeed.

      Covid-19 rules on migration have had the effect of further marginalising migrants and asylum seekers, excluding them from free testing facilities, their right to healthcare largely suspended and ignored by national Covid-19 prevention measures.

      This is confirmed by Lorenzo Tamaro, representative of Trieste’s Autonomous Police Syndicate (SAP). Standing under one of Trieste’s sweeping arches he begins, “The pandemic has made it more dangerous for them [migrants and asylum seekers], as it is for us [the police]."

      For all of 2020, Italian police have had to deal with the difficult task of stopping irregular entries while also performing extraordinary duties during two months of a strictly enforced lockdown.

      “The pandemic has revealed a systemic crisis in policing immigration in Europe, one we have been denouncing for years,” Tamaro says. He refers to how Italian police are both under-staffed and under-resourced when facing irregular migration, more so during lockdowns.

      Broad shouldered, his voice carries the confidence of someone who is no stranger to interviews. “Foreigners entering our territory with no authorisation are in breach of the law, even more so under national lockdown. It’s not us [the police] who make the law, but it is our job to make sure it is respected.”

      Born in Trieste himself, Tamaro and his colleagues have been dealing with immigration from the Balkans for years. The emergency brought on by increased arrivals during Italy’s tight lockdown period pushed the Ministry of Interior to request the deployment of a 100-strong Italian army contingent to the border with Slovenia, to assist in the detection and arrest of people on the move and their transfer to quarantine camps on the outskirts of the city.

      “We have been left to deal with both an immigration and public health emergency without any real support,” Tamaro says. “The army is of help in stopping irregular migrants, but it’s then us [the police] who have to carry out medical screenings without proper protective equipment. This is something the Ministry should have specialised doctors and medics do, not the police.”

      To deal with the increase in arrivals from the Balkan route, Italy revived a 1996 bilateral agreement with Slovenia, which dictates that any undocumented person found within 10 kilometres of the Slovenian border within the first 24 hours of arrival, can be informally readmitted to Slovenia.

      “In my opinion readmissions work,” Tamaro says. “Smugglers have started taking migrants to Udine and Gorizia, which are outside of the 10 km zone of informal readmissions, because they know that if stopped in Trieste, they risk being taken back to Slovenia.”

      On September 6, the Italian Interior Minister herself acknowledged 3,059 people have been returned to Slovenia from Trieste in 2020 alone, 1,000 more than the same period in 2019.

      Human rights observers have criticised this agreement for actively denying people on the move to request asylum and thus going against European law. “We know Italy is sending people back to Slovenia saying they can apply for asylum there. But the pushback does not end there,” says Miha, a member of the Slovenian solidarity initiative Info Kolpa.

      From his airy apartment overlooking Ljubljana, Miha explains how Slovenia resurfaced a readmission agreement with Croatia in June 2018 that has allowed an increase in pushbacks from Slovenia to Croatia.

      “Italy sends people to Slovenia and Slovenia to Croatia,” Miha says, “and from Croatia, they get pushed back further to Bosnia.”

      “What Europe is ignoring is that this is a system of coordinated chain-pushbacks, designed to send people back from Europe to Bosnia, a non-European Union country. And adding to the breach of human rights, no one is worrying about the high risk of contagion,” Miha concludes.

      Torture at Europe’s doorstep

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t36isJ1QHA4&feature=emb_logo

      A section of the border between Croatia and Slovenia runs along the Kulpa river, as shown in the video above. People on the move try to cross this river in places where there is no fence, and some drowned trying to cross it in 2018 and 2019.

      As pushbacks become more normalised, so has the violence used to implement them. Because the Croatian-Bosnian border is an external EU-border, Croatia and Bosnia do not have readmission agreements similar to those between Italy and Slovenia.

      As such, pushbacks cannot simply happen through police cooperation — they happen informally — and it is here that the greatest violence takes place.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8T9AFOJT2A&feature=emb_logo

      People on the move have been posting evidence of the violence they are subjected to across the Balkan route. The video above was posted on TikTok in the summer of 2020, showing the beatings suffered by many of those who try and cross from Bosnia to Croatia and are pushed back by Croatian police.

      Despite the Bosnian-Croatian border running for more than 900 km, most of the border crossing happens in a specific location, in the Una Sana canton, the top eastern tip of Bosnia.

      The border here is a far cry from the tall barbed wire fences one might expect. The scenery cuts across a beautiful landscape of forestry and mountain streams, with winding countryside roads gently curving around family-run farms and small towns.

      “I’ve seen it all,” Stepjan says, looking out from his small whitewashed home, perched less than 100 meters from the actual Bosnian-Croatian border. A 45-year old man born and raised in this town, he adds, “People have been using this route for years to try and cross into Europe. Sometimes I give them [people on the move] water or food when they pass.”

      Many of the locals living on either side of the border speak German. They themselves have been migrants to Germany in the 90s, when this used to be a war zone. Asked about the allegations of physical abuse inflicted upon migrants, Stepjan shrugged, replying, “It’s not for me to tell the police how to do their job.”

      “By law, once a person arrives on Croatian territory they have the right to seek asylum,” says Nikol, a Croatian activist working with the organisation No Name Kitchen on this stretch of the border. “But this right is denied by Croatian police who force people to return to Bosnia.”

      Sitting in a smoky cafe in Zagreb, Nikol (a psuedonym) says she wishes to remain anonymous due to intimidation received at the hands of Croatian and Bosnian authorities punishing people providing aid to people on the move. She is planning her return to Bihac as soon as Covid regulations will allow her to move. Bihac is the key town of the Una Sana canton, the hotspot where most of the people on the move are waiting to cross into Croatia.

      She knows all about the violence perpetrated here against migrants and asylum seekers trying to enter Europe. “The Croatian police hands people over to men in plain uniform and balaclavas, who torture migrants before forcing them to walk back across the border to Bosnia.”

      Many migrants and asylum seekers that have managed to cross Croatia have reported stories of men dressed in black uniforms and wearing balaclavas, some sort of special unit with a mandate to beat and torture migrants before sending them back to Bosnia.

      Nikol has a gallery of pictures depicting the aftermath of the violence. “There is so much evidence of torture in Croatia that I am surprised there are still journalists looking to verify it,” she says as she flicks through pictures of beatings on her phone.

      Scrolling through, she brings up picture after picture of open wounds and arms, backs and bodies marked with signs of repeated beatings, burns and cuts.

      She goes through a series of pictures of young men with swollen bloody faces, and explains: “These men were made to lie on the ground facing down, and then stamped on their heads to break their noses one after the other.”
      Activists and volunteers receive pictures from people on the move about the beatings and torture endured while undergoing pushbacks. (Hannah Kirmes Daly, Brush&Bow C.I.C)

      “These are the same techniques that the Croatian police used to terrorise Serbian minorities in Croatia after the war,” she adds.

      Finding Croats like Nikol willing to help people on the move is not easy. Stepjan says he is not amongst those who call the police when he sees people attempting to cross, but a policeman from the border police station in Cabar openly disclosed that “it is thanks to the tip offs we get from local citizens that we know how and when to intervene and arrest migrants.”

      As confirmed by Nikol, the level of public anger and fear against people on the move has grown during the pandemic, fueled by anti-immigrant rhetoric linked with fake and unverified news accusing foreigners of bringing Covid-19 with them.

      Much of this discourse takes place on social media. Far-right hate groups have been praising violence against migrants and asylum seekers through posts like the ones reported below, which despite being signalled for their violent content, have not yet been removed by Facebook.
      Hate speech and violent threats against people on the move and organisations supporting them are posted on Facebook and other social media on a daily basis. Despite being reported, most of them are not taken down. (Hannah Kirmes Daly, Brush&Bow C.I.C)

      Nikol’s accounts are corroborated by Antonia, a caseworker at the Center for Peace Studies in Zagreb, who is working closely on legal challenges made against Croatian police.

      “We continue to receive testimonies of people being tied to trees, terrorised by the shooting of weapons close to their faces, having stinging liquids rubbed into open wounds, being spray-painted upon, sexually abused and beaten with bats and rubber tubes on the head, arms and legs.”

      In July this summer, an anonymous complaint by a group of Croatian police officers was made public by the Croatian ombudswoman. In the letter, officers denounced some of their superiors of being violent toward people on the move, suggesting that such violence is systematic.

      This was also the opinion of doctors in Trieste, volunteering to treat people’s wounds once they arrive in Italy after having crossed Croatia and Slovenia. Their accounts confirm that the violence they often see marked on bodies is not just the consequence of police deterrence, but is aimed at causing long-term injuries that might make a further journey impossible.

      Neither the Croatian nor the Slovenian national police have responded to these allegations through their press offices. The EU Home Affairs spokesperson office instead did reply, reporting that “Croatian authorities have committed to investigate reports of mistreatment at their external borders, monitor this situation closely and keep the Commission informed on progress made.”

      And while the EU has sent a monitoring team to meet the Croatian Interior Minister, it nevertheless continues to add to Croatia’s internal security fund, sending over €100 million ($120 million) since 2015 to manage migration through visa systems, policing and border security.

      Back to square one…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dc0Um3gEbzE&feature=emb_logo

      Pushbacks from Italy, Slovenia and Croatia all the way back to Bosnia end with people on the move returning to overcrowded reception facilities, unsanitary camps, squats or tents, in inhumane conditions, often without running water or electricity. People in the video above were queuing at a food distribution site outside one of the IOM camps on the Bosnian-Croatian border in winter 2020.

      “These people have travelled thousands of kilometres, for months, and are now at the door of the European Union. They don’t want to return home,” Slobodan Ujic, Director of Bosnia’s Service for Foreigners’ Affairs, admitted in an interview to Balkan Insight earlier this year.

      “We are not inhumane, but we now have 30,000, 40,000 or 50,000 unemployed, while keeping 10,000 illegal migrants in full force…we have become a parking lot for migrants for Europe,” Ujic added.

      Public opinion in Bosnia reflects Ujic’s words. With a third of Bosnians unemployed and many youth leaving to Europe in search of better opportunities, there is a rising frustration from Bosnian authorities accusing the EU of having left the country to deal with the migration crisis alone.

      During the summer of 2020, tensions flared between Bosnian residents and arriving migrants to the point where buses were being stopped by locals to check if migrants were travelling on them.

      Today, thousands of people in Bosnia are currently facing a harsh snowy winter with no suitable facilities for refuge. Since the start of January the bad weather means increased rains and snowfall, making living in tents and abandoned buildings with no heating a new cause for humanitarian concern.

      In Bosnia around 7,500 people on the move are registered in eight camps run by the UNHCR and International Organization for Migration (IOM). The estimated number of migrants and asylum seekers in the country however, tops 30,000. The EU recently sent €3.5 million ($4.1 million) to manage the humanitarian crisis, adding to the over €40 million ($47 million) donated to Bosnia since 2015 to build and manage temporary camps.

      With the start of the pandemic, these reception centres became more like outdoor detention centres as Bosnian authorities forcefully transferred and confined people on the move to these facilities despite overcrowding and inhumane conditions.

      “I was taken from the squat I was in by Bosnian police and confined in a camp of Lipa, a few kilometers south of Bihac, for over a month,” Saeed says. “We had one toilet between 10 of us, no electricity and only one meal a day.”

      On December 23, 2020, Lipa camp, home to 1,300 people, was shut down as NGOs refused to run the camp due to the inhumane conditions and lack of running water and electricity. This came at a time where the closure of the camp had also been advocated by Bosnian local authorities of the Una Sana canton, pressured in local elections to close the facility.

      As people evacuated however, four residents, allegedly frustrated with the fact that they were being evicted with nowhere to go, set the camp on fire.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xK6mqaheA3c&feature=emb_logo

      The trauma of living through forced lockdown in those conditions will have a lasting effect on those who have lived it. “I still have nightmares about that place and the journey,” Saeed says, avoiding eye contact.

      “Most nights I hear the sound of dogs barking and I remember the running. But in my dreams, I am paralysed to the ground and I cannot move.”

      When Saeed managed to escape Lipa camp in June 2020, it took him three weeks to walk back to Trieste. “Now I spend my days here,” he gestures across, pointing his open palms at Piazza Liberta.

      As he speaks, Saeed is joined by two friends. A long scar twists a line of shiny nobbled skin across the scalp of one of them: a souvenir from the baton of a Croatian police officer. The other has burnt the tips of his fingers to avoid being fingerprinted and sent back to Greece.

      The absurdity of Europe’s migration policy is marked on their bodies. The trauma imprinted in their minds.

      “I dream of being able to drive a car to France, like any normal person, on a road with only green traffic lights ahead, no barriers to stop me.”

      https://www.trtworld.com/magazine/torture-and-pushbacks-stories-of-migration-to-europe-during-covid-19-45421
      #game #Katinovac

  • Turkey’s return policies to Syria & their impacts on migrants and refugees’ human rights

    –-> Chapitre 7 de ce rapport intitulé « Return Mania. Mapping Policies and Practices in the EuroMed Region » :

    https://euromedrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/EN_Chapter-7-Turkey_Report_Migration.pdf

    #renvois #expulsions #Turquie #réfugiés #asile #migrations #réfugiés_syriens #retour_au_pays #droits_humains #rapport #EuroMed_Rights

    –—

    ajouté à la métaliste sur les « retours au pays » des réfugiés syriens :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/904710

    ping @isskein @karine4 @rhoumour @_kg_

  • The fortified gates of the Balkans. How non-EU member states are incorporated into fortress Europe.

    Marko Gašperlin, a Slovenian police officer, began his first mandate as chair of the Management Board of Frontex in spring 2016. Less than two months earlier, then Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar had gone to North Macedonia to convey the message from the EU that the migration route through the Balkans — the so-called Balkan route — was about to close.

    “North Macedonia was the first country ready to cooperate [with Frontex] to stop the stampede we had in 2015 across the Western Balkans,” Gašperlin told K2.0 during an interview conducted at the police headquarters in Ljubljana in September 2020.

    “Stampede” refers to over 1 million people who entered the European Union in 2015 and early 2016 in search of asylum, the majority traveling along the Balkan route. Most of them were from Syria, but also some other countries of the global South where human rights are a vague concept.

    According to Gašperlin, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency’s primary interest at the EU’s external borders is controlling the movement of people who he describes as “illegals.”

    Given numerous allegations by human rights organizations, Frontex could itself be part of illegal activity as part of the push-back chain removing people from EU territory before they have had the opportunity to assert their right to claim asylum.

    In March 2016, the EU made a deal with Turkey to stop the flow of people toward Europe, and Frontex became even more active in the Aegean Sea. Only four years later, at the end of 2020, Gašperlin established a Frontex working group to look into allegations of human rights violations by its officers. So far, no misconduct has been acknowledged. The final internal Frontex report is due at the end of February.

    After allegations were made public during the summer and fall of 2020, some members of the European Parliament called for Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri to step down, while the European Ombudsman also announced an inquiry into the effectiveness of the Agency’s complaints mechanism as well as its management.

    A European Parliament Frontex Scrutiny Working Group was also established to conduct its own inquiry, looking into “compliance and respect for fundamental rights” as well as internal management, and transparency and accountability. It formally began work this week (February 23) with its fact-finding investigation expected to last four months.

    2021 started with more allegations and revelations.

    In January 2021 the EU anti-fraud office, OLAF, confirmed it is leading an investigation over allegations of harassment and misconduct inside Frontex, and push-backs conducted at the EU’s borders.

    Similar accusations of human rights violations related to Frontex have been accumulating for years. In 2011, Human Rights Watch issued a report titled “The EU’s Dirty Hands” that documented the ill-treatment of migrant detainees in Greece.

    Various human rights organizations and media have also long reported about Frontex helping the Libyan Coast Guard to locate and pull back people trying to escape toward Europe. After being pulled back, people are held in notorious detention camps, which operate with the support of the EU.

    Nonetheless, EU leaders are not giving up on the idea of expanding the Frontex mission, making deals with governments of non-member states in the Balkans to participate in their efforts to stop migration.

    Currently, the Frontex plan is to deploy up to 10,000 border guards at the EU external borders by 2027.

    Policing Europe

    Frontex, with its headquarters in Poland, was established in 2004, but it remained relatively low key for the first decade of its existence. This changed in 2015 when, in order to better control Europe’s visa-free Schengen area, the European Commission (EC) extended the Agency’s mandate as it aimed to turn Frontex into a fully-fledged European Border and Coastguard Agency. Officially, they began operating in this role in October 2016, at the Bulgarian border with Turkey.

    In recent years, the territory they cover has been expanding, framed as cooperation with neighboring countries, with the main goal “to ensure implementation of the European integrated border management.”

    The budget allocated for their work has also grown massively, from about 6 million euros in 2005, to 460 million euros in 2020. According to existing plans, the Agency is set to grow still further and by 2027 up to 5.6 billion euros is expected to have been spent on Frontex.

    As one of the main migration routes into Europe the Balkans has become the key region for Frontex. Close cooperation with authorities in the region has been growing since 2016, particularly through the “Regional Support to Protection-Sensitive Migration Management in the Western Balkans and Turkey” project: https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Partners/Third_countries/IPA_II_Phase_II.pdf.

    In order to increase its powers in the field, Frontex has promoted “status agreements” with the countries in the region, while the EC, through its Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) fund, has dedicated 3.4 million euros over the two-year 2019-21 period for strengthening borders.

    The first Balkan state to upgrade its cooperation agreement with Frontex to a status agreement was Albania in 2018; joint police operations at its southern border with Greece began in spring 2019. According to the agreement, Frontex is allowed to conduct full border police duties on the non-EU territory.

    Frontex’s status agreement with Albania was followed by a similar agreement with Montenegro that has been in force since July 2020.

    The signing of a status agreement with North Macedonia was blocked by Bulgaria in October 2020, while the agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina requires further approvals and the one with Serbia is awaiting ratification by the parliament in Belgrade.

    “The current legal framework is the consequence of the situation in the years from 2014 to 2016,” Gašperlin said.

    He added that he regretted that the possibility to cooperate with non-EU states in returns of “illegals” had subsequently been dropped from the Frontex mandate after an intervention by EU parliamentarians. In 2019, a number of changes were made to how Frontex functions including removing the power to “launch return interventions in third countries” due to the fact that many of these countries have a poor record when it comes to rule of law and respect of human rights.

    “This means, if we are concrete, that the illegals who are in BiH — the EU can pay for their accommodation, Frontex can help only a little with the current tools it has, while when it comes to returns, Frontex cannot do anything,” Gašperlin said.

    Fortification of the borders

    The steady introduction of status agreements is intended to replace and upgrade existing police cooperation deals that are already in place with non-EU states.

    Over the years, EU member states have established various bilateral agreements with countries around the world, including some in the Balkan region. Further agreements have been negotiated by the EU itself, with Frontex listing 20 “working arrangements” with different non-member states on its website.

    Based on existing Frontex working arrangements, exchange of information and “consultancy” visits by Frontex officials — which also include work at border crossings — are already practiced widely across the Balkan-EU borders.

    The new status agreements allow Frontex officers to guard the borders and perform police tasks on the territory of the country with which the agreement is signed, while this country’s national courts do not have jurisdiction over the Frontex personnel.

    Comparing bilateral agreements to status agreements, Marko Gašperlin explained that, with Frontex taking over certain duties, individual EU states will be able to avoid the administrative and financial burdens of “bilateral solidarity.”

    Radoš Đurović, director of the NGO Asylum Protection Centre (APC) which works with migrants in Serbia, questions whether Frontex’s presence in the region will bring better control over violations and fears that if past acts of alleged violence are used it could make matters worse.

    “The EU’s aim is to increase border control and reduce the number of people who legally or illegally cross,” Đurović says in a phone interview for K2.0. “We know that violence does not stop the crossings. It only increases the violence people experience.”

    Similarly, Jasmin Redžepi from the Skopje-based NGO Legis, argues that the current EU focus on policing its borders only entraps people in the region.

    “This causes more problems, suffering and death,” he says. “People are forced to turn to criminals in search of help. The current police actions are empowering criminals and organized crime.”

    Redžepi believes the region is currently acting as some kind of human filter for the EU.

    “From the security standpoint this is solidarity with local authorities. But in the field, it prevents greater numbers of refugees from moving toward central Europe,” Redžepi says.

    “They get temporarily stuck. The EU calls it regulation but they only postpone their arrival in the EU and increase the violations of human rights, European law and international law. In the end people cross, just more simply die along the way.”

    EU accused of externalizing issues

    For the EU, it was a shifting pattern of migratory journeys that signified the moment to start increasing its border security around the region by strengthening its cooperation with individual states.

    The overland Balkan route toward Western Europe has always been used by people on the move. But it has become even more frequented in recent years as changing approaches to border policing and rescue restrictions in the Central Mediterranean have made crossings by sea even more deadly.

    For the regional countries, each at a different stage of a still distant promise of EU membership, partnering with Frontex comes with the obvious incentive of demonstrating their commitment to the bloc.

    “When regional authorities work to stop people crossing towards the EU, they hope to get extra benefits elsewhere,” says APC Serbia’s Radoš Đurovic.

    There are also other potential perks. Jasmin Redžepi from Legis explains that police from EU states often leave behind equipment for under-equipped local forces.

    But there has also been significant criticism of the EU’s approach in both the Balkans and elsewhere, with many accusing it of attempting to externalize its borders and avoid accountability by pushing difficult issues elsewhere.

    According to research by Violeta Moreno-Lax and Martin Lemberg-Pedersen, who have analyzed the consequences of the EU’s approach to border management, the bloc’s actions amount to a “dispersion of legal duties” that is not “ethically and legally tenable under international law.”

    One of the results, the researchers found, is that “repressive forces” in third countries gain standing as valid interlocutors for cooperation and democratic and human rights credentials become “secondary, if at all relevant.”

    APC’s Radoš Đurović agrees, suggesting that we are entering a situation where the power of the law and international norms that prevent illegal use of force are, in effect, limited.

    “Europe may not have enough power to influence the situations in places further away that push migration, but it can influence its border regions,” he says. “The changes we see forced onto the states are problematic — from push-backs to violence.”

    Playing by whose rules?

    One of the particular anomalies seen with the status agreements is that Albanian police are now being accompanied by Frontex forces to better control their southern border at the same time as many of Albania’s own citizens are themselves attempting to reach the EU in irregular ways.

    Asked about this apparent paradox, Marko Gašperlin said he did “not remember any Albanians among the illegals.”

    However, Frontex’s risk analysis for 2020, puts Albania in the top four countries for whose citizens return orders were issued in the preceding two years and second in terms of returns effectively carried out. Eurostat data for 2018 and 2019 also puts Albania in 11th place among countries from which first time asylum seekers come, before Somalia and Bangladesh and well ahead of Morocco and Algeria.

    While many of these Albanian citizens may have entered EU countries via regular means before being subject to return orders for reasons such as breaching visa conditions, people on the move from Albania are often encountered along the Balkan route, according to activists working in the field.

    Meanwhile, other migrants have complained of being subjected to illegal push-backs at Albania’s border with Greece, though there is a lack of monitoring in this area and these claims remain unverified.

    In Serbia, the KlikAktiv Center for Development of Social Policies has analyzed Belgrade’s pending status agreement for Frontex operations.

    It warns that increasing the presence of armed police, from a Frontex force that has allegedly been involved in violence and abuses of power, is a recipe for disaster, especially when they will have immunity from local criminal and civil jurisdiction.

    It also flags that changes in legislation will enable the integration of data systems and rapid deportations without proper safeguards in place.

    Police activities to secure borders greatly depend on — and supply data to — EU information technology systems. But EU law provides fewer protections for data processing of foreign nationals than for that of EU citizens, effectively creating segregation in terms of data protection.

    The EU Fundamental Rights Agency has warned that the establishment of a more invasive system for non-EU nationals could potentially lead to increased discrimination and skew data that could further “fuel existing misperceptions that there is a link between asylum-seekers, migration and crime.”

    A question of standards

    Frontex emphasizes that there are codified safeguards and existing internal appeal mechanisms.

    According to the status agreements, violations of fundamental rights such as data protection rules or the principle of non-refoulement — which prohibits the forcible return of individuals to countries where they face danger through push-backs or other means — are all reasons for either party to suspend or terminate their cooperation.

    In January, Frontex itself suspended its mission in Hungary after the EU member state failed to abide by an EU Court of Justice decision. In December 2020, the court found that Hungarian border enforcement was in violation of EU law by restricting access to its asylum system and for carrying out illegal push-backs into Serbia.

    Marko Gašperlin claimed that Frontex’s presence improved professional police standards wherever it operated.

    However, claims of raising standards have been questioned by human rights researchers and activists.

    Jasmin Redžepi recounts that the first complaint against a foreign police officer that his NGO Legis filed with North Macedonian authorities and international organizations was against a Slovenian police officer posted through bilateral agreement; the complaint related to allegations of unprofessional conduct toward migrants.

    “Presently, people cross illegally and the police push them back illegally,” Redžepi says. “They should be able to ask for asylum but cannot as police push people across borders.”

    Gašperlin told K2.0 that it is natural that there will be a variation of standards between police from different countries.

    In its recruitment efforts, Frontex has sought to enlist police officers or people with a customs or army background. According to Gašperlin, recruits have been disproportionately from Romania and Italy, while fewer have been police officers from northern member states “where standards and wages are better.”

    “It would be illusory to expect that all of the EU would rise up to the level of respect for human rights and to the high standards of Sweden,” he said. “There also has not been a case of the EU throwing a member out, although there have been examples of human rights violations, of different kinds.”

    ‘Monitoring from the air’

    One of the EU member states whose own police have been accused of serious human rights violations against refugees and migrants, including torture, is Croatia.

    Despite the allegations, in January 2020, Croatia’s Ministry of the Interior Police Academy was chosen to lead the first Frontex-financed training session for attendees from police forces across the Balkan route region.

    Frontex currently has a presence in Croatia, at the EU border area with Bosnia and Herzegovina, amongst other places.

    Asked about the numerous reports from international NGOs and collectives, as well as from the national Ombudsman Lora Vidović and the Council of Europe, of mass human rights violations at the Croatian borders, Gašperlin declined to engage.

    “Frontex helps Croatia with monitoring from the air,” he said. “That is all.”

    Gašperlin said that the role of his agency is only to notify Croatia when people are detected approaching the border from Bosnia. Asked if Frontex also monitors what happens to people once Croatian police find them, given continuously worsening allegations, he said: “From the air this might be difficult. I do not know if a plane from the air can monitor that.”

    Pressed further, he declined to comment.

    To claim ignorance is, however, becoming increasingly difficult. A recent statement on the state of the EU’s borders by UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs, notes: “The pushbacks [at Europe’s borders] are carried out in a violent and apparently systematic way.”

    Radoš Đurović from APC Serbia pointed out that Frontex must know about the alleged violations.

    “The question is: Do they want to investigate and prevent them?” he says. “All those present in the field know about the violence and who perpetrates it.”

    Warnings that strict and violent EU border policies are increasing the sophistication and brutality of smugglers, while technological “solutions” and militarization come with vested interests and more potential human rights violations, do not seem to worry the head of Frontex’s Management Board.

    “If passage from Turkey to Germany is too expensive, people will not decide to go,” said Gašperlin, describing the job done by Frontex:

    “We do the work we do. So people cannot simply come here, sit and say — here I am, now take me to Germany, as some might want. Or — here I am, I’m asking for asylum, now take me to Postojna or Ljubljana, where I will get fed, cared for, and then I’ll sit on the bus and ride to Munich where I’ll again ask for asylum. This would be a minimal price.”

    Human rights advocates in the region such as Jasmin Redžepi have no illusions that what they face on the ground reflects the needs and aims of the EU.

    “We are only a bridge,” Redžepi says. “The least the EU should do is take care that its policies do not turn the region into a cradle for criminals and organized crime. We need legal, regular passages and procedures for people to apply for asylum, not illegal, violent push-backs.

    “If we talk about security we cannot talk exclusively about the security of borders. We have to talk about the security of people as well.”

    https://kosovotwopointzero.com/en/the-fortified-gates-of-the-balkans

    #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #externalisation #frontex #Macédoine_du_Nord #contrôles_frontaliers #militarisation_des_frontières #push-backs #refoulements #refoulements_en_chaîne #frontières_extérieures #Regional_Support_to_Protection-Sensitive_Migration_Management_in_the_Western_Balkans_and_Turkey #Instrument_for_Pre-Accession (#IPA) #budget #Albanie #Monténégro #Serbie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #accords_bilatéraux

    –—

    ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749
    Et plus particulièrement ici :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message782649

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • ITALY : UPTICK IN CHAIN-REMOVALS

    While the exact number of persons arriving via the Slovenian-Italian border is unknown, there has been a sharp rise since April (http://www.regioni.it/dalleregioni/2020/11/09/friuli-venezia-giulia-immigrazione-fedriga-ripensare-politiche-di-controllo-) of people entering Italy from the Balkan route. Not only in Trieste, but also around the province of #Udine, arrivals have increased compared to last year. In Udine, around 100 people (https://www.ansa.it/friuliveneziagiulia/notizie/2020/11/30/migranti-oltre-cento-persone-rintracciate-nelludinese_9fdae48d-8174-4ea1-b221-8) were identified in one day. This has been met with a huge rise in chain pushbacks, initiated by Italian authorities via readmissions to Slovenia. From January to October 2020, 1321 people (https://www.rainews.it/tgr/fvg/articoli/2020/11/fvg-massimiliano-fedriga-migranti-arrivi-emergenza-98da1880-455e-4c59-9dc9-6) have been returned via the informal readmissions agreement, representing a fivefold increase when compared with the statistics from 2019.

    In this context, civil society groups highlight that “the returns are being carried out so quickly there is no way Italian authorities are implementing a full legal process at the border to determine if someone is in need of international protection.” The pushbacks to Slovenia appear to be indiscriminate. According to Gianfranco Schiavone (https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news-feature/2020/11/17/europe-italy-bosnia-slovenia-migration-pushbacks-expulsion), from ASGI (Associazione per gli studi giuridici sullʼim-migrazione), “[they] have involved everybody, regardless of nationality,” he said. “They pushed back Afghans, Syrians, people from Iraq, people in clear need of protection.” As stated by Anna Brambilla, lawyer at ASGI, the Italian Ministry of the Interior (https://altreconomia.it/richiedenti-asilo-respinti-al-confine-tra-italia-e-slovenia-la-storia-d):
    “confirmed that people who have expressed a desire to apply for international protection are readmitted to Slovenia and that readmissions are carried out without delivering any provision relating to the readmission itself.”

    Crucially, the well publicised nature of chain removals from Slovenia, and onwards through Croatia, mean the authorities are aware of the violent sequence they are enter-ing people into, and thus complicit within this #violence.

    But instead of dealing with this deficit in adherence to international asylum law, in recent months Italian authorities have only sought to adapt border controls to apprehend more people. Border checks are now focusing on trucks, cars and smaller border crossings (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fu4es3xXVc8&feature=youtu.be

    ), rather than focusing solely on the military patrols of the forested area. This fits into a strategy of heightened control, pioneered by the Governor of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region Massimiliano Fedriga who hopes to deploy more detection equipment at the border. The aim is to choke off any onward transit beyond the first 10km of Italian territory, and therefore apply the fast tracked process of readmission to the maximum number of new arrivals.

    https://www.borderviolence.eu/wp-content/uploads/BVMN-November-Report.pdf

    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #refoulements #push-backs #Italie #Slovénie #droit_d'asile #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #10_km #refoulements_en_chaîne

    –—

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur la création de #zones_frontalières (au lieu de lignes de frontière) en vue de refoulements :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/795053

    • Schiavone: «#Lamorgese ammetta che l’Italia sta facendo respingimenti illegali»

      «Le riammissioni informali dei richiedenti asilo non hanno alcuna base giuridica», spiega Gianfranco Schiavone, del direttivo dell’Asgi, Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’immigrazione. Nel 2020 sono state riammesse in Slovenia 1301 persone. «Sostenere, come ha fatto la ministra dell’interno Lamorgese durante l’interrogazione del deputato di Leu, Erasmo Palazzotto, che la Slovenia e soprattutto la Croazia siano “Paesi sicuri” nonostante le prove schiaccianti della violenza esercitata dalla polizia croata sulle persone in transito, ha dell’incredibile, un’affermazione indecorosa»

      Quelle che il governo italiano chiama “riammissioni” in realtà altro non sono che respingimenti illegali dei profughi che arrivano dalla Rotta Balcanica a Trieste e Gorizia. Pakistani, iracheni, afghani, e talvolta anche siriani che avrebbero diritto di chiedere asilo nel nostro Paese ma neanche mettono piede sul suolo italiano che già sono in marcia per fare forzatamente la Rotta Balcanica al contrario: all’Italia alla Slovenia, dalla Slovenia alla Croazia, dalla Croazia alla Bosnia.

      Lo scorso 13 gennaio il deputato di Leu, Erasmo Palazzotto durante la sua interrogazione ha ricordato alla ministra dell’Interno Lamorgese quanto sia disumano quello che sta succedendo in Bosnia, alle porte dell’Europa e di come testimoni il fallimento dell’Unione nella gestione dei flussi migratori sottolinenando che "Il nostro Paese deve sospendere le riammissioni informali verso la Slovenia e porre la questione in sede di Consiglio Europeo per gestire in maniera umana questo fenomeno. Va messa la parola fine a questa barbarie”. Ma Lamorgese sembra ancora continuare a non curarsi di quello che avviene dentro i nostri confini. Nel 2020 sono state respinte illegalmente in Slovenia 1301 persone.

      «Quello che succede al confine italiano sono veri e propri respingimenti illegali», spiega Gianfranco Schiavone, del direttivo di Asgi, Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione. «Anche nel 2018 si erano registrati casi di respingimenti illegittimi ma in numero contenuto. Allora la risposta fu principalmente quella di negare i fatti. In ogni caso, oggi, il fenomeno dei respingimenti illegali è aumentato enormemente in termini di quantità ma soprattutto nella loro rivendicazione ideologica. Mentre in passato la giustificazione poggiava sulla tesi che non si trattasse di richiedenti asilo oggi si tende a giustificare (pur usando volutamente un linguaggio ambiguo) che si possono respingere anche i richiedenti perchè la domanda di asilo si può fare in Slovenia».

      Stando a quanto ha affermato la ministra le riammissioni sono possibili in virtù dell’accordo bilaterale firmato dai due Paesi, Italia e Slovenia, nel 1996. Si tratta di “riammissioni” effettuate non in ragione del ripristino dei controlli alle frontiere interne, mai formalmente avvenuto, ma in applicazione dell’Accordo bilaterale fra il Governo della Repubblica italiana e il Governo della Repubblica di Slovenia sulla riammissione delle persone alla frontiera, firmato a Roma il 3 settembre 1996, che contiene previsioni finalizzate a favorire la riammissione sul territorio dei due Stati sia di cittadini di uno dei due Stati contraenti sia cittadini di Stati terzi.

      «In primis», spiega Schiavone, «occorre rilevare come tale accordo risulti illegittimo per contrarietà al sistema costituzionale interno italiano e per violazione di normative interne. È infatti dubbia la legittimità nell’ordinamento italiano dell’Accordo bilaterale fra il Governo della Repubblica italiana e il Governo della Repubblica di Slovenia e di ogni altro analogo tipo di accordi intergovernativi per due ordini di ragioni: nonostante abbiano infatti una chiara natura politica, essi non sono stati ratificati con legge di autorizzazione alla ratifica ai sensi dell’art. 80 Cost.;in quanto accordi intergovernativi stipulati in forma semplificata, in ogni caso essi non possono prevedere modifiche alle leggi vigenti in Italia (altro caso in cui l’art. 80 Cost. prevede la preventiva legge di autorizzazione alla ratifica) e dunque essi neppure possono derogare alle norme di fonte primaria dell’ordinamento giuridico italiano. In ogni caso, anche volendo prescindere da ogni ulteriore valutazione sui profili di illegittimità dell’Accordo di riammissione è pacifico che ne è esclusa appunto l’applicazione ai rifugiati riconosciuti ai sensi della Convenzione di Ginevra (all’epoca la nozione di protezione sussidiaria ancora non esisteva) come chiaramente enunciato all’articolo 2 del medesimo Accordo. Del tutto priva di pregio sotto il profilo dell’analisi giuridica sarebbe l’obiezione in base alla quale l’accordo fa riferimento ai rifugiati e non ai richiedenti asilo giacché come è noto, il riconoscimento dello status di rifugiato (e di protezione sussidiaria) è un procedimento di riconoscimento di un diritto soggettivo perfetto i cui presupposti che lo straniero chiede appunto di accertare. Non v’è pertanto alcuna possibilità di distinguere in modo arbitrario tra richiedenti protezione e rifugiati riconosciuti dovendosi comunque garantire in ogni caso l’accesso alla procedura di asilo allo straniero che appunto chiede il riconoscimento dello status di rifugiato. A chiudere del tutto l’argomento sotto il profilo giuridico, è il noto Regolamento Dublino III che prevede che ogni domanda di asilo sia registrata alla frontiera o all’interno dello Stato nel quale il migrante si trova. Una successiva complessa procedura stabilita se il Paese competente ad esaminare la domanda è eventualmente diverso da quello nel quale il migrante ha chiesto asilo e in ogni caso il Regolamento esclude tassativamente che si possano effettuare riammissioni o respingimenti di alcun genere nel paese UE confinante solo perchè il richiedente proviene da lì. Anzi, il Regolamento è nato in primo luogo per evitare rimpalli di frontiera tra uno stato e l’altro. Violare, come sta avvenendo, questa fondamentale procedura, significa scardinare il Regolamento e in ultima analisi, il sistema europeo di asilo. È come se fossimo tornati indietro di trent’anni, a prima del 1990».

      Inoltre secondo la ministra "la Slovenia aderisce alla Convenzione di Ginevra e che la stessa Slovenia, come la Croazia sono considerati Paesi sicuri sul piano del rispetto dei diritti umani e delle convenzioni internazionali. Pertanto le riammissioni avvengono verso uno stato europeo, la Slovenia, dove vigono normative internazionali analoghe a quelle del nostro paese”.

      «Lamorgese», continua Schiavone, «ha fatto una figura veramente imbarazzante che ricade sul nostro Paese. Bisogna avere il coraggio di ammettere che abbiamo fatto una cosa illegale riammettendo i richiedenti asilo in Slovenia e da là, attraverso una collaudata catena, in Crozia e infine in Bosnia. E anche se nell’audizione dice tre parole, solo un piccolo inciso, sul fatto che non possono essere riamessi i migranti che hanno fatto richiesta d’asilo, nei fatti la sostanza non cambia. Infine sostenere che la Slovenia e soprattutto la Croazia siano “Paesi sicuri” nonostante le prove schiaccianti della violenza esercitata dalla polizia croata sulle persone in transito ha dell’incredibile. Un ministro non può permettersi di dire che quelli sono Paesi sicuri, perchè per i migranti della Rotta Balcanica non lo sono. E alla domanda “come finirà la questione?” La ministra non è stata in grado di formulare nessuna risposta chiara sul fatto che verrà posta fine alla pratica delle riammissioni dei richiedenti. Ed è forse questa la cosa più grave».

      http://www.vita.it/it/article/2021/01/18/schiavone-lamorgese-ammetta-che-litalia-sta-facendo-respingimenti-ille/158020

  • Rapporti di monitoraggio

    Sin dal 2016 il progetto ha pubblicato report di approfondimento giuridico sulle situazioni di violazione riscontrate presso le diverse frontiere oggetto delle attività di monitoraggio. Ciascun report affronta questioni ed aspetti contingenti e particolarmente interessanti al fine di sviluppare azioni di contenzioso strategico.

    Elenco dei rapporti pubblicati in ordine cronologico:

    “Le riammissioni di cittadini stranieri a Ventimiglia (giugno 2015): profili di illegittimità“

    Il report è stato redatto nel giugno del 2015 è costituisce una prima analisi delle principali criticità riscontrabili alla frontiera italo-francese verosimilmente sulla base dell’Accordo bilaterale fra il Governo della Repubblica italiana e il Governo della Repubblica francese sulla cooperazione transfrontaliera in materia di polizia e dogana (Accordo di Chambery)
    #Vintimille #Ventimiglia #frontière_sud-alpine #Alpes #Menton #accord_bilatéral #Accord_de_Chambéry #réadmissions

    Ajouté à la #métaliste de liens autour d’#accords_de_réadmission entre pays européens...
    https://seenthis.net/messages/736091
    Et plus précisément ici:
    https://seenthis.net/messages/736091#message887941

    –---

    “Le riammissioni di cittadini stranieri alla frontiera di Chiasso: profili di illegittimità”

    Il report è stato redatto nell’estate del 2016 per evidenziare la situazione critica che si era venuta a creare in seguito al massiccio afflusso di cittadini stranieri in Italia attraverso la rotta balcanica scatenata dalla crisi siriana. La frontiera italo-svizzera è stata particolarmente interessata da numerosi tentativi di attraversamento del confine nei pressi di Como e il presente documento fornisce una analisi giuridica delle criticità riscontrate.

    Ajouté à la #métaliste de liens autour d’#accords_de_réadmission entre pays européens...
    https://seenthis.net/messages/736091
    Et plus précisément ici:
    https://seenthis.net/messages/736091#message887940

    –-----

    “Lungo la rotta del Brennero”

    Il report, redatto con la collaborazione della associazione Antenne Migranti e il contributo della fondazione Alex Langer nel 2017, analizza le dinamiche della frontiera altoatesina e sviluppa una parte di approfondimento sulle violazioni relative al diritto all’accoglienza per richiedenti asilo e minori, alle violazioni all’accesso alla procedura di asilo e ad una analisi delle modalità di attuazione delle riammissioni alla frontiera.

    #Brenner #Autriche

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    “Attività di monitoraggio ai confini interni italiani – Periodo giugno 2018 – giugno 2019”

    Report analitico che riporta i dati raccolti e le prassi di interesse alle frontiere italo-francesi, italo-svizzere, italo-austriache e italo slovene. Contiene inoltre un approfondimento sui trasferimenti di cittadini di paesi terzi dalle zone di frontiera indicate all’#hotspot di #Taranto e centri di accoglienza del sud Italia.

    #Italie_du_Sud

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    “Report interno sopralluogo Bosnia 27-31 ottobre 2019”

    Report descrittivo a seguito del sopralluogo effettuato da soci coinvolti nel progetto Medea dal 27 al 31 ottobre sulla condizione delle persone in transito in Bosnia. Il rapporto si concentra sulla descrizione delle strutture di accoglienza presenti nel paese, sull’accesso alla procedura di protezione internazionale e sulle strategie di intervento future.

    #Bosnie #Bosnie-Herzégovine

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    “Report attività frontiere interne terrestri, porti adriatici e Bosnia”

    Rapporto di analisi dettagliata sulle progettualità sviluppate nel corso del periodo luglio 2019 – luglio 2020 sulle diverse frontiere coinvolte (in particolare la frontiera italo-francese, italo-slovena, la frontiera adriatica e le frontiere coinvolte nella rotta balcanica). Le novità progettuali più interessanti riguardano proprio l’espansione delle progettualità rivolte ai paesi della rotta balcanica e alla Grecia coinvolta nelle riammissioni dall’Italia. Nel periodo ad oggetto del rapporto il lavoro ha avuto un focus principale legato ad iniziative di monitoraggio, costituzione della rete ed azioni di advocacy.

    #Slovénie #mer_Adriatique #Adriatique

    https://medea.asgi.it/rapporti

    #rapport #monitoring #medea #ASGI
    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières
    #frontières_internes #frontières_intérieures #Balkans #route_des_balkans

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • La via della vergogna Sulla rotta balcanica delle migrazioni

    Il viaggio disperato lungo la rotta dei Balcani, tra violenze e torture inaudite da parte della polizia Centinaia di profughi con diritto alla protezione respinti dall’Italia

    È la schiena curva e livida dei respinti a dire le sprangate. Sono le gambe sanguinanti a raccontare la disperata corsa giù dal valico. A piedi nudi, con le caviglie spezzate dalle bastonate e i cani dell’esercito croato che azzannano gli ultimi della fila. È l’umiliato silenzio di alcuni ragazzi visitati dai medici volontari nel campo bosniaco di #Bihac per le cure e il referto: stuprati e seviziati dalla polizia con dei rami raccolti nella boscaglia. I meno sfortunati se la sono cavata con il marchio di una spranga incandescente, a perenne memoria dell’ingresso indesiderato nell’Unione Europea.

    Gli orrori avvengono alla luce del sole. Affinché gli altri, i recidivi degli attraversamenti e quelli che dalle retrovie attendono notizie, battano in ritirata. Velika Kladuša e il valico della paura. Di qua è Croazia, Europa. Di la è Bosnia, fuori dalla cortina Ue. Di qua si proclamano i diritti, ma si usa il bastone. Oramai tra i profughi della rotta balcanica lo sanno tutti che con gli agenti sloveni e gli sbirri croati non si scherza.

    «Siamo stati consegnati dalla polizia slovena alla polizia croata. Siamo stati picchiati, bastonati, ci hanno tolto le scarpe, preso i soldi e i telefoni. Poi ci hanno spinto fino al confine con la Bosnia, a piedi scalzi. Tanti piangevano per il dolore e per essere stati respinti». Sono le parole di chi aveva finalmente visto i cartelli stradali in italiano, ma è stato rimandato indietro, lungo una filiera del respingimento come non se ne vedeva dalla guerra nella ex Jugoslavia. Certi metodi non sembrano poi cambiati di molto.

    Tre Paesi e tre trattamenti. I militari italiani non alzano le mani, ma sono al corrente di cosa accadrà una volta rimandati indietro i migranti intercettati a Trieste come a Gorizia. Più si torna al punto di partenza, e peggio andranno le cose. Le testimonianze consegnate ad Avvenire dai profughi, dalle organizzazioni umanitarie, dai gruppi di avvocati lungo tutta la rotta balcanica, sembrano arrivare da un’altra epoca.

    Le foto non mentono. Un uomo si è visto quasi strappare il tendine del ginocchio destro da uno dei mastini delle guardie di confine croate. Quasi tutti hanno il torso attraversato da ematomi, cicatrici, escoriazioni. C’è chi adesso è immobile nella tendopoli di Bihac con la gamba ingessata, chi con il volto completamente bendato, ragazzini con le braccia bloccate dai tutori in attesa che le ossa tornino al loro posto. I segni degli scarponi schiacciati contro la faccia, le costole incrinate, i calci sui genitali. Un ragazzo pachistano mostra una profonda e larga ferita sul naso, il cuoio capelluto malridotto, mentre un infermiere volontario gli pratica le quotidiane medicazioni. Un afghano appena maggiorenne ha l’orecchio destro interamente ricucito con i punti a zigzag. Centinaia raccontano di essere stati allontanati dal suolo italiano.

    Una pratica, quella dei respingimenti a ritroso dal confine triestino fino agli accampamenti nel fango della Bosnia, non più episodica. «Solo nei primi otto mesi del 2020 sono state riammesse alla frontiera italo-slovena oltre 900 persone, con una eccezionale impennata nel trimestre estivo, periodo nel quale il fenomeno era già noto al mondo politico che è però rimasto del tutto inerte », lamenta Gianfranco Schiavone, triestino e vicepresidente di Asgi, l’associazione di giuristi specializzati nei diritti umani. «Tra le cittadinanze degli stranieri riammessi in Slovenia il primo posto va agli afghani (811 persone), seguiti da pachistani, iracheni, iraniani, siriani e altre nazionalità, la maggior parte delle quali – precisa Schiavone – relative a Paesi da cui provengono persone con diritto alla protezione ». A ridosso del territorio italiano arriva in realtà solo chi riesce a sfuggire alla caccia all’uomo fino ai tornanti che precedono la prima bandiera tricolore. Per lasciarsi alle spalle quei trecento chilometri da Bihac a Trieste possono volerci due settimane.

    Secondo il Danish Refugee Council, che nei Paesi coinvolti ha inviato numerosi osservatori incaricati di raccogliere testimonianze dirette, nel 2019 sono tornate nel solo campo di bosniaco di Bihac 14.444 persone, 1.646 solo nel giugno di quest’anno.

    I dati a uso interno del Viminale e visionati da Avvenire confermano l’incremento delle “restituzioni” direttamente alla polizia slovena. Nel secondo semestre del 2019 le riammissioni attive verso Zagabria sono state 107: 39 da Gorizia e 78 da Trieste. Il resto, circa 800 casi, si concentra tutto nel 2020. Il “Border violence monitoring”, una rete che riunisce lungo tutta la dorsale balcanica una dozzina di organizzazioni, tra cui medici legali e avvocati, ha documentato con criteri legali (testimonianze, foto, referti medici) 904 casi di violazione dei diritti umani. Lungo i sentieri sul Carso, tra i cespugli nei fitti boschi in cima ai dirupi, si trovano i tesserini identificativi rilasciati con i timbri dell’Alto commissariato Onu per i rifugiati o dall’Agenzia Onu per le migrazioni. I migranti li abbandonano lì. Testimoniano di come a decine avessero ottenuto la registrazione nei campi allestiti a ridosso del confine balcanico dell’Unione Europea.

    Quel documento, che un tempo sarebbe stato considerato un prezioso salvacondotto per invocare poi la protezione internazionale, oggi può essere una condanna. Perché averlo addosso conferma di provenire dalla Bosnia e dunque facilita la “riconsegna” alla polizia slovena. Anche per questo lo chiamano “game”.

    Un “gioco” puoi vincere una domanda d’asilo in Italia o in un’altro Paese dell’Ue, o un’altra tornata nell’inferno dei respingimenti. «Quando eravamo nascosti in mezzo ai boschi, la polizia slovena – racconta un altro dei respinti – era anche accompagnata dai cani. Qualcuno si era accucciato nel bosco e non era stato inizialmente visto, ma quattro o cinque cani li hanno scovati e quando hanno provato a scappare sono stati rincorsi dai cani e catturati».

    https://www.avvenire.it/attualita/pagine/lorrore-alle-porte-delleuropa

    #photographie #témoignage #images #violence #violences #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #torture #Croatie #game #the_game #viols #Velika_Kladuša #Velika_Kladusa #Bosnie #Slovénie #refoulements_en_chaîne #push-backs #refoulements #réadmission #chiens

    • Violenza sui migranti, in un video le prove dalla Croazia

      Impugnano una spranga da cui pende una corda. Stanno per spaccare ginocchia, frustare sulla schiena, lanciare sassi mirando alla testa dei profughi. Sono soldati croati...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tacXXCD8UL8&feature=emb_logo

      Non è per il freddo delle gelate balcaniche che gli uomini appostati nella radura indossano un passamontagna. Il branco è lì per un’imboscata. Impugnano una spranga da cui pende una corda. Stanno per spaccare ginocchia, frustare sulla schiena, lanciare sassi mirando alla testa dei profughi. Sono soldati croati. E stavolta Zagabria non potrà più dire che non ci sono prove.

      Ora c’è un video che conferma le accuse di questi anni. Nei giorni scorsi, dopo la ricostruzione di Avvenire e la pubblicazione di immagini e testimonianze di alcune tra le migliaia di persone seviziate dai gendarmi, era intervenuta la commissaria agli Affari Interni dell’Ue, Ylva Johansson. «Abbiamo sentito di respingimenti dagli Stati membri e non è accettabile». Nessun accenno, però, alla violenza. Il governo di Zagabria, infatti, ha sempre respinto le accuse dei profughi respinti a catena da Italia, Slovenia e Croazia. «Nonostante i report lo Stato croato ha negato, mettendo in dubbio la credibilità dei migranti, degli attivisti e dei giornalisti – ricordano i legali del “Border violence monitoring” – citando la mancanza di prove fotografiche». Ora quelle prove ci sono.

      I fotogrammi e i video raccolti sul campo non lasciano spazio a dubbi. La frusta schiocca i primi colpi. Un uomo viene atterrato dopo che l’aggressore lo ha quasi azzoppato. Neanche il tempo di stramazzare tra i rovi che viene centrato in pieno volto. Poco distante, in un fossato che segna il confine con la Bosnia Erzegovina, altri due uomini a volto coperto, entrambi con divise blu scure, afferrano dei grossi sassi e li scagliano contro alcuni ragazzi che corrono per riguadagnare il confine bosniaco, a meno di 30 metri, dove gli aggressori croati sanno di non potere addentrarsi.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtEDbuDbqzU&feature=youtu.be

      Le sequenze sono raccapriccianti. Le urla spezzano il fiato. I militari infieriscono ripetutamente su persone inermi. A tutti sono state tolte le scarpe, i telefoni, il denaro, gli zainetti con gli unici ricordi delle propRie origini. Un uomo piange. Il volto gonfio, una gamba dolorante, alcune ferite alla testa, il labbro superiore sanguinante. Nella sua lingua biascica la più universale delle invocazioni: «Mamma mia».

      Le immagini,che risalgono alla fine di marzo, sono state analizzate per mesi da legali e periti di vari Paesi per conto del “Border violence monitoring”, il network di organizzazioni di volontariato attivo in tutti i Balcani. Nel video integrale (sintetizzato da Avvenire in una versione di 4 minuti in questo articolo) si possono vedere i filmati con le ricostruzioni forensi. Oltre alle identità dei feriti è stato possibile riconoscere anche i corpi di appartenenza dei picchiatori: guardie di confine, nuclei speciali della polizia e militari dell’esercito.

      Le forze di sicurezza, come sempre, avevano pensato a impedire che le testimonianze potessero trovare riscontri fotografici. Questa volta, però, un ragazzo afghano è riuscito a beffarli. Poco prima del respingimento altri agenti in un posto di polizia avevano rubato denaro, telefoni ed effetti personali. Con le scarpe e i vestiti avevano fatto un falò. Nella concitazione, da uno degli zainetti è scivolato un telefono. Il ragazzo ha fatto in tempo a nasconderlo nelle mutande. Per consegnarci le immagini della vergogna all’interno dell’Unone europea.

      Dopo una corsa disperata, inseguito dalle sprangate e dalle scudisciate, una volta superato il fossato ha riacceso il cellulare danneggiato durante l’aggressione. C’era ancora abbastanza batteria. Si sente anche la sua voce mentre non riesce a tener ferme le mani: «Mi fa male una gamba, ho troppo dolore». Un altro accanto a lui comprende l’importanza di quegli istanti: «Ti tengo io, devi continuare a riprendere».

      Pochi giorni prima The Guardian aveva pubblicato un inchiesta di Lorenzo Tondo: la polizia croata veniva accusata di segnare i migranti islamici con una croce sulla testa, ma ancora una volta Zagabria aveva negato.

      Le riammissioni a catena, con cui dal confine italo–sloveno «si deportano illegalmente i rifugiati fino in Bosnia, hanno l’effetto di esporre le persone a condizioni inumane e a un rischio di morte: vanno pertanto immediatamente fermate», chiede il Consorzio italiano di solidarietà (Ics). Anche in Bosnia vengono denunciati episodi di violenza ed uso eccessivo della forza da parte della polizia.

      L’11 dicembre, sei giorni dopo la pubblicazione della prima puntata dell’inchiesta di Avvenire (LEGGI QUI), è intervenuta la Commissaria ai diritti umani del Consiglio d’Europa, il consesso che ha dato vita alla Corte europea dei diritti dell’Uomo. In una lettera la bosniaca Dunja Mijatovic parla delle «segnalazioni di gruppi di vigilantes locali che attaccano i migranti e distruggono i loro beni personali», esprimendo preoccupazione «per le segnalazioni di attacchi e minacce contro i difensori dei diritti umani che aiutano i migranti, tra cui una campagna diffamatoria e minacce di morte».

      E non sarà certo la prima neve a fermare le traversate.

      Ieri la polizia serba ha bloccato 300 persone in due distinte operazioni: 170 sono stati trovati nella zona di Kikinda, lungo un sentiero sul confine con la Romania; altri 140 sono stati vicino al valico di Horgos, alla frontiera con l’Ungheria. Sperano così di aggirare la sbirraglia.

      Nicola Bay, direttore in Bosnia del “Danish refugee council” spiega di avere identificato con la sua organizzazione «14.500 casi di respingimenti dalla Croazia alla Bosnia dall’inizio del 2020. Nel solo mese di ottobre, i casi sono stati 1.934, tra cui 189 episodi in cui migranti sono stati soggetti a brutale violenza, e in due episodi anche violenza sessuale, da parte di uomini in uniformi nere, con i volti mascherati». Perciò «non è accettabile che i respingimenti violenti siano utilizzati, di fatto, come strumento per il controllo dei confini dagli stati europei. È giunto il momento di esigere, da parte della Commissione Europea e degli stati membri della Ue, inclusa l’Italia, il pieno rispetto delle più basilari norme del diritto comunitario e internazionale».

      E non è escluso che grazie a queste immagini si apra finalmente una inchiesta giudiziaria per individuare i responsabili, i loro superiori e fermare i crimini contro gli esseri umani commessi nell’Unione Europea.

      https://www.avvenire.it/attualita/pagine/torture-su-migranti-al-confine-tra-croazia-e-bosnia-vide-scavo

    • L’inchiesta. Abusi sui migranti della rotta balcanica, scende in campo l’Ue

      Dopo le denunce su violenze e respingimenti, l’Agenzia Ue per i diritti umani: monitorare i comportamenti della polizia. Zagabria: violenze presunte. A Trieste con i volontari che curano le ferite

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

      La lavanda dei piedi comincia all’ora del vespro. È il quotidiano rito dei volontari che ogni sera, nel piccolo parco tra la stazione e il vecchio porto, dai loro zaini da studente estraggono garze, cerotti, unguenti. Passano da lì gli impavidi del game, i superstiti della roulette russa dei respingimenti a catena, e a bastonate, verso la Bosnia. Cacciati fuori dai confini Ue.

      Dopo le nuove denunce di queste settimane, qualcosa tra Bruxelles e Zagabria si muove. L’agenzia Ue per i diritti fondamentali è pronta a monitorare i comportamenti delle polizie lungo i confini. Ma manca una data per l’avvio del piano di prevenzione degli abusi.

      Pochi giorni fa a Bruxelles hanno chiuso un rapporto che racconta di vicende sfuggite alle principali cronache internazionali. Sono ancora in corso le indagini per episodi ch si ripetono da anni senza che mai si arrivi a individuare delle responsabilità. Nel novembre 2017 «una bambina afghana di sei anni, Madina Hosseini, è stata uccisa da un treno in transito al confine tra Croazia e Serbia» si legge nel dossier, che precisa: «Secondo il rapporto del difensore civico croato, Madina e la sua famiglia erano arrivate in Croazia e avevano chiesto asilo, quando è stato detto loro di tornare in Serbia». Una violazione delle norme sul diritto d’asilo finita in dramma. La famiglia è stata trasferita «in un veicolo della polizia vicino alla ferrovia e istruita a seguire i binari fino alla Serbia. Poco dopo, la bambina di sei anni è stata uccisa da un treno». D allora non molto è cambiato in meglio.

      Da Kabul a Trieste sono 4mila chilometri. Da qui il villaggio di casa è lontano, la guerra anche. C’è chi l’ultimo tratto lo ha percorso cinque volte. Perché acciuffato dagli agenti sloveni, infine riportato in Bosnia dopo una lezione della polizia croata. E c’è chi a Trieste invece c’era quasi arrivato, ma è stato colto dalla polizia italiana sulla fascia di confine, e poco dopo «riammesso» in Slovenia, come prevede un vecchio accordo tra Roma e Lubiana siglato quando implodeva la ex Jugoslavia.

      Scarpe sfondate, vestiti rotti, le caviglie gonfie e gli occhi troppo stanchi di chi l’ultima volta che s’è accucciato su un materasso era in un qualche posto di polizia. Per Gianfranco Schiavone, vicepresidente dell’Associazione per gli studi giuridici sull’immigrazione (Asgi), è più che «anomalo che la riammissione possa avvenire senza l’emanazione di un provvedimento amministrativo». Anche perché «è indiscutibile che l’azione posta in essere dalla pubblica sicurezza attraverso l’accompagnamento forzato in Slovenia produce effetti rilevantissimi – aggiunge – sulla situazione giuridica dei soggetti interessati».

      Ricacciati indietro senza neanche poter presentare la domanda di protezione, molti passano per le mani delle guardie croate. Anche qui, però, il compatto muro di omertà tra uomini in divisa comincia a incrinarsi. La diffusione di immagini e filmati che documentano la presenza di gendarmi tra i picchiatori di migranti sta convincendo diversi agenti a denunciare anche i loro superiori. Gli ordini, infatti, arrivano dall’alto. Il merito è dell’Ufficio per la protezione dei diritti umani di Zagabria, dotato di poteri investigativi che stanno aprendo la strada a indagini della magistratura, garantendo l’anonimato ai poliziotti che collaborano con le indagini. Il ministero dell’Interno di Zagabria respinge le accuse arrivate nelle ultime settimane da testate come Der Spiegel, The Guardian e Avvenire, riguardo le violenze commesse dalle autorità lungo i confini. Foto e filmati mostrano uomini in divisa armati di spranghe e fruste. «Non si può confermare con certezza che siano membri regolari della polizia croata», si legge in una nota. «La polizia croata protegge il confine dalla migrazione illegale, lo protegge dalle azioni illegali e dai pericoli – aggiunge – che possono portare con sé persone senza documenti e senza identità, e lo fa per fornire pace e sicurezza al popolo croato». Tuttavia «non tolleriamo alcuna violenza nella protezione delle frontiere né (la violenza) è parte integrante delle nostre azioni». Riguardo al filmato e alla ricostruzione di Border Violence Monitoring «concludiamo che non abbiamo registrato azioni in base alla data e al luogo dichiarati nell’annuncio». Quali indagini siano state condotte non è però dato saperlo. «Controlleremo accuratamente i presunti eventi».

      Mentre dal Carso i primi refoli della sera si scontrano con quelli che soffiano dal mare, i volontari appostati nei dintorni della statua della principessa Sissi si preparano a un’altra serata con dolori da alleviare e lamenti da ascoltare. Lorena Fornasier, 67 anni, psicoterapeuta, e suo marito Gian Andrea Franchi, 83 anni, professore di filosofia in pensione, passano spesso di qua. Raccolgono quelli messi peggio. Lo fanno da anni, senza clamore, e si devono a loro le prime denunce sui maltrattamenti subiti dove finiscono i Balcani e comincia la Mitteleuropa.

      «Bisogna portare in tribunale dei casi individuali con l’intento di definire un precedente che sia valido per tutti, per attivare dei cambiamenti normativi che permettano un maggiore rispetto dei diritti fondamentali», osserva Giulia Spagna, direttrice per l’Italia del Danish refugee council, le cui squadre continuano a raccogliere prove di abusi lungo tutta la dorsale balcanica. «Da una parte – aggiunge – si devono offrire soluzioni concrete alle persone che hanno subito soprusi, attraverso supporto legale, oltre che medico e psicologico. Dall’altra usare questi episodi per influenzare le politiche europee e nazionali».

      https://www.avvenire.it/attualita/pagine/a-trieste-tra-chi-cura-le-ferite-reportage-migranti

  • Europe’s chain of migrant expulsion, from Italy to Bosnia

    ‘They pushed back Afghans, Syrians, people from Iraq, people in clear need of protection.’

    Italian authorities are drawing criticism from legal advocacy groups for returning asylum seekers and migrants across Italy’s northeastern land border to Slovenia, triggering a series of often violent pushbacks through the Balkans and out of the European Union.

    Several asylum seekers told The New Humanitarian that after being returned to Slovenia they were pushed back to Croatia, another EU member state. In turn, the Croatian authorities – accused of using systematic violence and abuse against migrants – expelled them to Bosnia, which is outside the EU.

    “Generally, in two days, the person disappears from Italy and appears again in Bosnia,” Gianfranco Schiavone, a legal expert at the Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration, or ASGI, an Italian NGO that provides legal aid to migrants and asylum seekers, told TNH.

    Advocacy groups say the returns are illegal because they block people from requesting asylum in Italy, and ultimately end with them being expelled from the EU without due process.

    The Balkans serve as a key part of the migration route from Turkey and Greece to Western and Northern Europe, and the UN’s migration agency, IOM, estimates that nearly 22,000* asylum seekers and migrants are currently stranded in the region.

    The allegations of illegal returns from Italy come amidst increased scrutiny by watchdog groups, and growing concern on the part of the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, over reports of widespread and frequently violent pushbacks at EU borders, especially in Greece and Croatia.

    Pushbacks violate EU law and are prohibited by the European Convention on Human Rights.

    In July, Italy’s Interior Ministry told the Italian Parliament in a letter that the returns are taking place under a longstanding agreement between Italy and Slovenia and are within the bounds of the law because Slovenia is also an EU member state. Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese later backtracked on the position, saying that only irregular migrants were being returned – not asylum seekers.

    At the end of October, the governor of Friuli Venezia-Giulia, the Italian region bordering Slovenia, said 1,321 people had been returned to Slovenia this year. Last year, just 250 people were returned between January and September, according to the interior ministry.

    Civil society groups say the returns are being carried out so quickly there is no way Italian authorities are implementing a full legal process at the border to determine if someone is in need of international protection.

    “Under European law, [police are required to accept] asylum applications made on the border,” Schiavone said.

    Such returns are not new, but began to take place in larger numbers following an uptick in arrivals in Friuli Venezia-Giulia from Slovenia as the first round of coronavirus lockdowns ended in the spring.

    These arrivals fed into a charged political environment in Italy over migration during the pandemic and led Italy to increase its military presence along the Slovenian border to help “fight illegal migration”.

    In the first 10 months of 2020, local authorities in Friuli Venezia-Giulia counted 4,500 arrivals. By comparison, nearly 28,000 asylum seekers and migrants have arrived In Italy by sea so far this year.

    But it is difficult to know exactly how many people enter from Slovenia because local officials and international organisations do not regularly publish comprehensive data on land arrivals to Italy, and those crossing the border often try to steer clear of authorities to avoid being pushed back or having their fingerprints taken, which would subject them to the Dublin Protocol, requiring them to apply for asylum in the first EU country they entered.

    Much of the migration activity since May has been taking place in the city of Trieste – just four kilometres from the Slovenian border – and in the surrounding countryside.

    Trieste is a key transit point, and a destination that many migrants and asylum seekers see as offering some respite after the long and often dangerous trek through the mountainous Balkans.

    Those who reach Trieste without being returned are often in poor physical condition and find little official support.

    “Both the services and the response provided to people who arrive is not the most adequate. More should be done,” Chiara Cardoletti, the UN refugee agency’s representative in Italy, said following a visit to Trieste in October, adding: “Coronavirus is complicating the situation."
    The pushback chain

    Asylum seekers and migrants have nicknamed the journey across the Balkans “the game”, because to reach Italy they have to try over and over again, facing pushbacks and violence at each border along the way.

    For many, “the game” – if they are successful – sees them end up under the arches of an old, abandoned building close to Trieste’s train station.

    When TNH visited in October, voices echoed inside. Around 30 people – all recently arrived from Slovenia – were taking shelter on a rainy morning surrounded by worn out children’s shoes, piles of discarded clothes, rotting foam mattresses, and torn backpacks.

    Most were young men in their teens and early twenties from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Like others before them, they were resting for a couple of days before continuing on – they hoped – to Milan, France, or elsewhere in Europe.

    After crossing from Turkey to Greece, they had all reached a bottleneck in Bihać, a town in Bosnia close to the Croatian border where people often become stuck as they try repeatedly to enter the EU. Once they cross the border, it takes up to 20 days through the mountains of Croatia and Slovenia to reach Italy. Many paid thousands of dollars to smugglers to assist them along the way, but ended up with no food for days and only rainwater to drink. Most could barely walk on their battered feet.

    Umar, a 20-year-old from Pakistan who preferred not to use his real name, said he had tried to cross the Balkans nine times before landing up in Trieste. He said he had made it to Italy once before, in May.

    “[The] police caught us and put us somewhere in a [camouflage] tent with many people,” Umar said. “They took our fingerprints. I told the police we are staying here in Italy. We showed our foot injuries, but they said, ‘There is no camp. Go back’.”

    Umar said the Italian authorities handed him over the next morning to the Slovenian police, who passed the group he was with on to the Croatian police, who then put them in a small van and deposited them near the border with Bosnia. “There was no air inside,” he recalled. “The weather was hot.”

    Now back in Italy, Umar planned to travel further inland to the city of Udine, about 65 kilometres from Trieste, to apply for asylum. He was afraid to present himself to authorities in Trieste, believing it was too close to the border and that he might be pushed back again.

    Others in Trieste shared similar stories of reaching Italy on previous attempts only to end up back in Bosnia after being pushed back from one country to the next.

    Muhammed, a 21-year-old also from Pakistan, said he reached Italy on his third attempt crossing the Balkans, and he was taken to the same tent. “There was a translator, who told us, ‘you guys will be staying here in Italy’,” Muhammed said. “Despite that, we were pushed back.”

    Muhammed then described how the Slovenian authorities pushed his group back to Croatia. “The police in Croatia kicked us, punched us,” he recalled. “They… took our money and left us on the Bosnia border.”

    After making it back to Italy again on his fourth attempt, Muhammed said he had now managed to apply for asylum in Trieste.
    ‘It had become systematic’

    The pushbacks from Italy to Slovenia appear to be indiscriminate, according to Schiavone, from ASGI. “[They] have involved everybody, regardless of nationality,” he said. “They pushed back Afghans, Syrians, people from Iraq, people in clear need of protection.”

    Schiavone said the removal procedures appeared to be informal and people are not given the chance to apply for asylum before being returned to Slovenia.

    A spokesperson for the border police in Gorizia, an Italian border town in Friuli Venezia-Giulia, told TNH in a statement that the department was operating in accordance with Ministry of Interior directives, and that people belonging to “‘protected categories’ such as unaccompanied children and pregnant women or, in general, anyone in need of medical assistance”, were excluded from returns. “To safeguard each migrant’s individual circumstances, interviews take place with an interpreter… and multilingual information brochures are handed out,” the spokesperson added.

    The asylum seekers in Trieste told TNH that authorities took their fingerprints and gave them a slip of paper before sending them back to Slovenia.

    “It had become systematic,” Marco Albanese, the supervisor of a migration reception centre in Italy close to the Slovenian border, told TNH. “They were pushing back people who were unable to walk.”

    Those who are intercepted but not pushed back spend a quarantine period at a camp in the countryside before being transferred to a reception centre. Others manage to evade the authorities altogether.

    The job of providing basic services to asylum seekers and migrants not in the official system largely falls to volunteer groups.

    The square outside Trieste’s train station begins to fill with asylum seekers and migrants around 6 in the evening. The night TNH visited, around 30 to 40 people came in small groups, milled around, and sat on benches. Many had no shoes and their badly swollen feet were covered with blisters and cuts.

    Volunteers served hot meals and handed out warm clothes, and young doctors and nurses from an organisation called Strada Si.Cura – a play on the Italian words for safe streets and healing – checked people’s temperatures, performed basic medical screenings, and attended to injuries.

    Sharif, a 16-year-old Afghan whose name has been changed to protect his identity – waited in line to show an infected blister on his foot to one of the medical volunteers. He spent two years in Bosnia and said he was pushed back 15 or 16 times before finally reaching Trieste. Like nearly everyone, he had a story about Croatian police violence, recalling how he was stripped naked, beaten with a stick, and abandoned near the border with Bosnia.

    The thoughts of some in the square turned to people they had met along the way who hadn’t made it to Italy and now face harsh winters somewhere in the Balkans.

    “In our group, there were 80 people,” said Sami, a 23-year-old from Pakistan. “Other people [had] a lot of injuries, a lot of problems… So they stay in the forests in Croatia, in Slovenia, near Bosnia because the way is so hard.”

    https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news-feature/2020/11/17/europe-italy-bosnia-slovenia-migration-pushbacks-expulsion

    #expulsions #refoulements #refoulements_en_chaîne #route_des_Balkans #Italie #Bosnie #Slovénie #Balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #push-backs #frontière_sud-alpine #Croatie #Game #The_Game

    ping @isskein @karine4

    • “They punched me because I asked to stop the hot air - pushback from Trieste to Bihac”

      Date and time: September 16, 2020 01:00
      Location: San Dorligo della Valle, TS, Italy
      Coordinates: 45.607175981734, 13.85383960105
      Push-back from: Croatia, Italy, Slovenia
      Push-back to: Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia
      Demographics: 6 person(s), age: 25-35 , from: Bangladesh, Algeria
      Minors involved? No
      Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, dog attacks, forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings
      Police involved: Italian Army officers, one army van and one army car; several Italian police officers, one police van; several Slovenian police officers, one police van and several Croatian police officers (masked), one german shepard,, one police van.
      Taken to a police station?: yes
      Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, fingerprints taken, photos taken, personal information taken, papers signed, denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water
      Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
      Reported by: Anonymous Partner

      Original Report

      The respondent, an Algerian man, left the city of Bihac (BiH) on 2nd September, 2020 in a group with five other Algerians, aged between 22 and 30 years old. After 12 days of travel they arrived in Trieste (ITA). They entered into Italy near the municipality of San Dorligo della Valle (45.607871, 13.857776), in the early morning on the 14th September. While the group was walking along a the SP12B road, they were tracked down by a military convoy, composed of a car and a van. The three military officers onboard stopped them at the side of the road and called the Italian police, who arrived shortly after with a van.

      The captured group were then transferred with the van to a police station in Fernetti [exact location], a site with a military tent erected for identification procedures of people on the move and asylum seekers. The respondent claims that he found himself together with many around 60 other people from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, in addition to a person from Morocco. Many of the people held at the site, according to him, were minors or had been fingerprinted previously in Greece.

      The people detained in the tent were seperated by nationality. Each person of the transit group was questioned and processed individually in a separate, smaller tent, described as a small silo, the others had to wait in a small room which he describes as a “prison-room”. Personal data was gathered, fingerprints were recorded and photos of their faces were taken. The respondent clearly expressed the will to seek asylum in Italy.

      The assigned translator for the respondent and his group, of Moroccan origin, was already attending to one person from Morocco who was present when they arrived. The respondent overheard the translator suggesting to this person that he should declare himself as a minor. The police officers also searched him and confiscated his phone, a power bank and a watch, which were put inside a plastic bag. After that, the respondent had to sign 3 different documents, one of them – an identification and domicile paper – hidden and preserved by the respondent.

      When they deport you, they make you sign this paper so that they can say you accept it. And of course, you sign it. who care about you? They just say: ‘sign’ and you sign, because you don’t have power and there is no one listening to you.”

      The captured transit group remained in the police station from 08:00 until 17:00. The food was distributed collectively and due to a massive amount of people, some were left without. At some point the respondent requested to go to the
      toilet and he was taken outside, which allowed him to understand the area where he was. The respondent saw a reception center in front of him.

      At the end of the identification procedure, the police took five of the Algerians from the transit group. The sixth person was taken away however, the respondent stating this was because he had been fingerprinted in Greece. Some other Moroccans who were present in the tent were also kept there, which the respondent suggests was due to help from the translator in assisting their access to asylum.

      “Translator plays a big role. Maybe 80%”

      The remaining five people from Algeria were put inside a van. The respondent claims that he clearly saw the officers carrying the bag with his personal items, which he thought they would return to him once left at the next destination. The vehicle did not have either windows or light and the respondent described experiencing difficulties to breath during the ride. At this point the people-on-the-move received a small bottle of water and a small cracker for the first time since the apprehension.

      “They play with you. You just think just when is it finish.”

      Once they were sitting inside the van, the group realized that they were about to be deported to Slovenia and they asked what was going on. The police officers reassured them that they would stay in Trieste. The van then moved on: inside it was very hot and from the ventilation came out hot air. The respondent knocked on a window to attract the attention of the agents, who stopped the van, got out of the vehicle and opened the hatch to ask for explanations of why they were knocking on the window.

      There was a squabble, and one of the two officers punched the respondent, but was immediately stopped by his colleague who invited him to calm down. After the incident, they continued to drive and they arrived in an area, which was described as a road border crossing (likely Pesek-Kozina) between Italy and Slovenia. There, the group found a Slovenian police van with police officers waiting for them. They were transferred very quickly from the Italian police van to the Slovenian van: according to the respondent, officers were looking around with circumspection, as if they were worried about being noticed during the operation ongoing.

      Once the captured transit group were transferred to the Slovenian police van, they were taken in a police station, in Kozina, Slovenia. Here the respondent asked for his personal belongings, but the Slovenian police replied that the Italian police had not given them anything. The respondent doesn’t know if his belongings were kept by the Italian police officers or if the Slovenian police officers lied to him, keeping his belongings.

      In the station in Kozina, the officers took the prints of their thumbs of both hands, and realized that the respondent was already registered in the police database, due to previous entrance he had made into Slovenia (on this occasion he had also signed some documents). Later on, the group was transferred from Kozina to Ljubljana for a Covid-19 screening. After that, they returned to Kozina, where
      they spent the night detained. They stayed in this this location for what the respondent estimated to be a whole night. During this detention the group members could use the toilet and were handed another small bottle of water but were not provided with any food.

      The next morning (15th September) the group were transferred to Croatia, through the Socerga/Pozane border crossing. Here the Slovenian police photographed the documents that they had signed and threw them away in the garbage, before giving the group over to the regular Croatian police. The respondent, also in this occasion, managed to hide one Italian document, putting it inside his underwear (see previous photograph).

      The respondent identified the van that they were put in afterwards to be a Croatian police vehicle. Concerning the ride to Croatia he described that the driver was driving very bumpy, braking very sharply at any given moment.

      “you know, they really try to make you hate yourself. For what you have done and so you never try again to cross border to Croatia.”

      “If they deport you in the day you stay in the police car all day till it gets night. If they deport you in the night, they let you go directly.”

      In Croatia they had to wait for 15 hours, from 10:00 to 01:00 the next day (16th September) in the van. During this time they were not provided with any food or water and just left alone in the car. While they were waiting several other people-on-the-move were brought into the van by Croatian police officers, including a Bangladeshi man. Finally, at around 01:00 two Croatian police officers drove the van to the border of Bosnian territory, about 10 kilometers out of Bihac.

      When they arrived to this location, the respondent described that a Croatian officer wearing a dark uniform and a black ski-mask with a big German Shepherd told them to leave the van and line up in a file. The group-members were then told to get undressed to their boxers and a T-shirt. The officer took all of the clothes in a bin bag and set them on fire. Another officer was waiting behind the wheel of the vehicle during the procedure. The men then had to line up in a row, crowded closely together. The policeman yelled: “haide, go,go,go,go” and let the dog off the leash, which immediately snapped at the arm of the man in the last position in the row. The other men were able to run away in this way, but the last one apparently received a severe wound in his arm. The respondent then walked another 24 hours back to Velika Kladusa, where he started his journey.

      https://www.borderviolence.eu/violence-reports/deport-from-trieste

  • Asylum seekers illegally returned from Italy to Slovenia, NGOs claim

    Two migrant-aid organizations are accusing authorities in northeastern Italy of illegally returning asylum seekers to Slovenia. They also claim that readmission procedures between Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia prevent people from asking for asylum in the EU.
    The Italian Consortium of Solidarity (ICS) and Catholic charity Caritas in Trieste published a statement on May 28, saying that they were strongly concerned about “the implementation of informal readmissions of migrants” from Italy to Slovenia.

    The two organizations provide housing to immigrants in the province of Trieste in northeastern Italy, near the border with Slovenia.

    ICS and Caritas said that it is illegal for authorities to return those who intend to apply for asylum. They said asylum requests must be registered before authorities check whether the applicant might have applied in another EU country. Under the Dublin Regulation, asylum seekers can be transferred back to the first EU country where they were registered.

    Migrants ’illegitimately sent away from EU’?

    ICS and Caritas also claimed that readmission procedures between Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia enabled authorities to “illegitimately turn away... those who have entered to apply for protection” from European Union territory. These people, “are subjected to grave violence throughout the so-called Balkan route,” they said in their statement.

    Pierpaolo Roberti, the security councilor of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, where Trieste is located, responded to the statement, saying that authorities will “move ahead with informal readmissions.” He said that the police and the prefect had his “full support.” Roberti belongs to the far-right League party, which is known for its harsh anti-migrant policies.

    He said he hopes that “as many people as possible continue to be readmitted to Slovenia and, in addition, that we strive to totally stop that migration flow.”


    https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/25114/asylum-seekers-illegally-returned-from-italy-to-slovenia-ngos-claim
    #Slovénie #Italie #push-back #push-backs #renvois #frontière_sud-alpine #refoulements #refoulement #Alpes #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés

    ping @isskein

    • AYS Special: Italian Court StopsDeportation to Slovenia, Meanwhile Pushbacks Continue

      Italy has become the latest link in chain push backs where literally thousands of people — often violently — end up in the overcrowded camps of Bosnia and Serbia.

      Contradictory approaches in Italy

      An Italian court stopped deportation to Slovenia on the grounds that there is a risk for an asylum seeker to be subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment due to the high possibility of him (or her) being further expelled to Croatia and then to Bosnia or Serbia. However, although the court stopped the deportation of a single individual, collective push-backs from Italy are becoming increasingly common in the months since the judgement made by the court in Genova (April 7th). Thus Italian courts are acknowledging the cruel and inhumane treatment that a returnee is subjected to but, on the other hand, the Italian government is massively increasing the scope of push-backs to Slovenia, as is evident in the recent decision to deploy the army with police jurisdiction.

      16.000 people were returned to Croatia from Slovenia in the last two years.

      These are people who were caught and were processed in police stations with charges of illegal border crossing. When a person asks for asylum in slovenia, he is often faced with threats or the asylum claim is simply ignored and in the official records he is reported as an “economic migrant” — a category invented by the Ministry of Interior and the Police and not encompassed by any law. If one is classified as an “economic migrant” who has no interest to seek asylum, he can be returned to Croatia under a bilateral readmission agreement from 2006.

      The Court in Italy is concerned over systemic deficiencies in the Slovene asylum system and finds real risk for an asylum seeker to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment if deported to Slovenia. Meanwhile, reports of daily informal deportations from theItalian — Slovene border are becoming more and more common.

      COURT RULING: “…the risk of the applicant being subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment in Slovenia seems justified …

      In early April a court in Genoa, Italy found that:

      “Based on the submitted documentation and additional information obtained by this court proprio motu, the applicant’s complaint — given the conditions of receiving refugees in Slovenia and systemic shortcomings in the asylum procedure — seems justified. (…)

      In this case, the risk of the applicant being subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment in Slovenia seems justified (…) The data collected raise serious concerns about the reception and asylum system currently in force in Slovenia and in general about the atmosphere of cultural intolerance and discrimination prevailing in civil society, among government leaders and between police forces towards foreigners who have entered the country illegally, who have lodged or intend to lodge an application for international protection.”

      The complaint was lodged by a Pakistani asylum seeker, represented by Alessandra Ballerini, who had first filed the application for international protection in Slovenia and was consequently expected to be deported from Italy to Slovenia according to the Dublin regulation.

      The complaint stipulated that such a deportation would violate, inter alia, paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Dublin Regulation due to systemic deficiencies in the asylum system in Slovenia. The court agreed and refused to deport the asylum seeker to Slovenia, “because of the danger that he would be treated there contrary to fundamental humanitarian principles and contrary to the provisions of Article 4 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights”.

      As reported by Primorski dnevnik, the judges came to this conclusion taking into account reports of non-governmental organizations on the deteriorating treatment of migrants in Slovenia in the past two years and a 2018 report by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which confirms allegations by non-governmental organizations of collective expulsions and violence against migrants in the Balkan region, including Croatia and Slovenia.

      Reports of several Slovenian and International NGOs and civil society actors (Amnesty International, Are You Syrious?, InfoKolpa, Border Violence Monitoring Network) highlight the issue of the Slovenian police authority’s illegal restrictions of access to asylum and practice of forced returns of asylum seekers without a proper assessment of whether their human rights would be violated in other countries via an informal procedure and without the possibility to appeal the deportation (push-backs).

      This was shown by several fact-finding missions: a survey from 2018 by Amnesty International obtained testimonies of 51 people in Velika Kladuša and Bihać in BiH, who were returned to the hands of the Croatian authorities by the Slovenian police, despite the fact that they wanted to apply for asylum in Slovenia.

      Report on illegal practices of collective expulsion at the Slovene-Croatian border by InfoKolpa documents numerous cases of groups of migrants rejected by Slovenian police and returned to Croatia and further to Bosnia despite explicitly showing intention to file for asylum in Slovenia between 11th September and 7th November 2018 via an Alarmphone report; reports by No Name Kitchen and Balkan Violence Monitoring show collective expulsion and violent return of asylum seekers to the Bosnian border surrounding Velika Kladuša as a routine occurrence initiated by Croatian and Slovenian police forces.

      In one year there were 4,653 out of a total of 9,149 intercepted migrants that were collectively deported to Croatia. The above-mentioned reports also cite further official statistics from the Slovenian police, which show a change in practice between May and June 2018, when returns to Croatia increased sharply, while at the same time the number of people applying for asylum dropped severely. Police statistic from police station of a border town Črnomelj state that in May 2018, 371 of the 379 migrants considered (97.88% of all) applied for asylum; after receiving different instructions from the Chief of police, in June only 13 of the 412 migrants, ie 3.15%, lodged an asylum application.

      NGOs accuse the Slovenian government and police of preventing refugees from filing asylum applications and of carrying out collective forced returns without a proper and individual assessment of whether their human rights will be violated in other countries and without the possibility of appeal.

      Returns to Croatia are carried out on the basis of a controversial bilateral agreement between the two countries from 2006 (when Croatia was not yet a member of European Union), which enables informal returns under an abbreviated procedure. According to the court in Genoa, such an abbreviated procedure violates Slovenia’s human rights obligations.

      These findings are further corroborated by an official 2018 report of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which confirms allegations by non-governmental organizations of collective rejection and violence against migrants in the Balkan region, including Croatia and Slovenia.

      Primorski dnevnik cites the court decision featuring portions of NGO reports, saying:

      “Threats, violence, abuse of power and denial of fundamental rights have become common practice at border police stations, and collective deportations to Croatia are repeated daily with the support and awareness of senior police and government officials, despite the high risk of further police violence and theft in Croatia.”

      Slovenian daily newspaper Dnevnik asked Slovenian police for comments on the judgement, and they replied that their procedures were legal and professional, that the guidelines for the work of police officers had already been made public and that UNHCR had not discovered any irregularities when visiting police stations. The Ministry of the Interior replied that they were fully implementing EU legislation in the field of international protection, and that they were not aware of the ruling and could not comment on it.

      Though there was a decrease of irregular entries into Slovenia during the past few months there was an increase of record irregular entries recorded by Italian authorities. This has resulted in minor diplomatic tension between the countries where Slovenia has been dismissed as not being diligent enough in their Schengen gatekeeping duties.
      We suspect that there are two reasons that Italian authorities are recording an increase of border crossings:

      First, as InfoMigrants reported, as part of covid-19 measure the Italian authorities announced temporary legalisation of undocumented residents. We suspect that this might be a reason for a greater number of people reporting themselves and, thus, creating a spike in official records. Connected with this reason might be the Covid-19 measures as traveling became more difficult a greater number of people might be pressed to weather the virus in border municipalities (such as Trieste).

      Migrants (as well as border tensions with Slovenia) are traditionally a convenient distraction for the Italian government(s) in time(s) of crisis. To show its commitment to regulating the frontier the Italian government deployed the armed forces to aid police in intercepting migrants via the last stretch of the Balkan route. As Uroš Škerl reported for the daily newspaper Dnevnik in the last month Italy returned more people than in the previous four months combined (29 compared to 27 from January to April). In a statement for Dnevnik Gianfranco Schiavone of the NGO Consorzio Italiano di Solidarietà — Ufficio Rifugiati Onlus stated:

      “What is new in the last week is that the Italian police started to return people for whom we are convinced that they have the same circumstances as their colleagues that applied for asylum and stayed in Italy.”

      These returns are now conducted with the aid of the armed forces whose deployment the interior ministry justified as “an answer on illegal migrations”. Schiavone is skeptical of the military as they are not trained to conduct border patrols and handle asylum seekers adding: “this is all just political theater”.

      This latest act of EU migration policy melodrama has actors that are less fortunate than others. According to Dnevnik there have been three groups of people (14,17,8) returned to Slovenia and we suspect that at least one of these groups (if not all) has ended up in Velika Kladuša (BIH). A video emerged with a statement of a member of one of these groups containing claims of violent treatment during the Italy-BIH pushback was published recently by a migrant/activist: “This boy who left his fingerprints in Trieste and applied for asylum ، was deported to Slovenia and gradually back to hell”.

      So, on the one hand, Italian courts have found that push backs are cruel and inhumane, yet at the same time the same government has doubled down on its commitment to condemning people to this fate that its own courts find inhumane and cruel.

      Although the condemnation of deportation is a necessary first step, unless this idea is used to hold the security forces to account for their oppression and torture of people, it will remain a hollow ruling. Europeans like to look down on the USA due to their police violence on minorities, state hypocrisy towards its own values and their border walls. Maybe we should stop looking across the ocean and look closer to home.

      Written by: Iza Thaler and Miha Turk from InfoKolpa

      Find daily updates and special reports on our Medium page.

      If you wish to contribute, either by writing a report or a story, or by joining the info gathering team, please let us know.

      We strive to echo correct news from the ground through collaboration and fairness. Every effort has been made to credit organisations and individuals with regard to the supply of information, video, and photo material (in cases where the source wanted to be accredited). Please notify us regarding corrections.

      If there’s anything you want to share or comment, contact us through Facebook, Twitter or write to: areyousyrious@gmail.com

      https://medium.com/are-you-syrious/ays-special-italian-court-stops-deportation-to-slovenia-meanwhile-pushbacks-
      #refoulements_en_chaîne

    • Even from Trieste, Italy.

      “Working every day in the street with people-on-the-move has allowed medical volunteers in Trieste to witness the worsening situation at the Italian border with Slovenia. Here is a sum-up of the radical changes in the last two months, highlighting growing repression towards transit groups and a spike in pushbacks from Italian territory. The events are relayed in three distinct stages: from the start of the pandemic, the development of tighter police controls, and finally the expansion of pushbacks through the dubious “informal readmission” process”

      https://www.borderviolence.eu/news-from-trieste-covid-19-and-pushbacks

      Reçu via la mailing-list de Migreurop, le 15.06.2020

    • The Slovenian Administrative Court issued a judgement confirming that the Slovenian police committed chain pushbacks (https://www.cms.hr/hr/pravna-pomoc-azil-i-statusna-pitanja/slovenski-sud-potvrdio-hrvatska-sudjelovala-u-lancanom-nezakonitom-protjerivanju) in which Croatia also participated, as a result of which a person seeking international protection in Slovenia ended up in Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the judgement, the young man identified as J.D. must be returned to Slovenia, he must be given the opportunity to seek asylum again and he must be paid compensation in the amount of € 5,000. This judgement demonstrated the importance of the work of Infokolpa, a civic initiative and a member of the Border Violence Monitoring Network, which played a key role in gathering evidence. Namely, in the judgment, the Slovenian court relied on their reports and the reports of other organisations within the BVMN, as well as media reports. It is precisely in such cases that the importance of independent reports and the importance of documenting violent pushbacks of refugees can be seen.

      However, in addition to warning of the illegal actions of the Slovenian police, this judgement also proves the role of the Croatian police in chain pushbacks of refugees to Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is time for the Croatian authorities to conduct effective investigations and make concrete efforts to stop this illegal practice.

      The brutality of pushbacks from Croatia was also experienced by a group of 16 refugees who were tortured and humiliated for five hours by unknown perpetrators in late May before being pushed back to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Precisely because of this inhumane and illegal treatment of people in search of safety, the Centre for Peace Studies filed a criminal complaint (https://www.cms.hr/hr/azil-i-integracijske-politike/cms-podnio-kaznenu-prijavu-koja-je-poveznica-policije-i-naoruzanih-nasilnika-u-c) with the State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia against unknown perpetrators who tortured the group. Eight armed men in unmarked black uniforms and with balaclavas on their heads, which according to the description given by the victims may belong to a special unit of the Ministry of the Interior, the so-called “Corridor” operation (https://net.hr/danas/hrvatska/zastrasujuca-devijacija-akcije-koridor-policija-sve-dogovara-na-whatsappu-a-pose), treated in an inhumane manner people in search of protection. Armed men wearing black tied the refugees to trees, shot at their heads and feet, beat them with everything they could get their hands on, took all of their belongings under threat of death, and in the end humiliated them by rubbing mayonnaise, ketchup and sugar into the wounds they had previously inflicted. Then, they handed the refugees, some of whom could not walk due to their serious injuries, over to the police, while the police officers then pushed them back to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The victim’s testimonies suggest a cooperation between the perpetrators in black and the police. The Centre for Peace Studies once again stressed the importance of promptly conducting an effective and independent investigation into these crimes and sanctioning the perpetrators.

      Reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodosli, mail du 29.07.2020

      #Croatie #refoulements_en_chaîne #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #justice #corridor_operation

    • Slovénie : la justice reconnaît l’illégalité des expulsions vers la Croatie et la Bosnie-Herzégovine

      C’est un précédent de taille : le tribunal administratif de Ljubljana a donné raison à un jeune Camerounais qui demandait l’asile en Slovénie, mais que la police a illégalement expulsé en Croatie, et qui s’est finalement retrouvé dans les camps de Velika Kladuša et Bihač, en Bosnie-Herzégovine.

      La justice slovène a confirmé dans son verdict (https://www.borderviolence.eu/wp-content/uploads/PRESS-KIT-FOR-INTERNATIONAL-MEDIA.pdf) rendu public le 17 juillet dernier que la police slovène avait commis une expulsion illégale, à laquelle la Croatie a également participé, et à la suite de quoi un Camerounais de 23 ans, J. D., qui voulait demander une protection internationale en Slovénie, s’est retrouvé en Bosnie-Herzégovine.

      J. D., qui fait partie d’une minorité anglophone persécutée au Cameroun, a été détenu deux jours durant par la police slovène. Bien qu’il ait demandé l’asile à trois reprises, sa requête n’a jamais été prise en compte. Il a d’abord été illégalement expulsé vers la Croatie, puis vers la Bosnie-Herzégovine. À la suite de la décision du tribunal administratif de Ljubljana, il a désormais le droit de revenir en Slovénie et d’y demander l’asile. L’État slovène a été condamné à lui verser une indemnité de 5000 euros. Ce jugement n’est toutefois pas définitif, l’État ayant la possibilité de faire appel devant la Cour suprême.

      L’affaire a été suivie par InfoKolp, membre du Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN). Dans son verdict, la justice slovène s’appuie sur un rapport de 50 pages remis en mai 2019 par InfoKolp, ainsi que sur des rapports du BVMN et de divers médias, dont Radio Študent, présente dans les camps de Velika Kladuša et de Bihač, dans le nord-ouest de la Bosnie-Herzégovine. Ce verdict constitue un important précédent qui établit les violations en série des droits de l’Homme, mais aussi l’existence d’une « chaîne » d’expulsions illégales « systématiques et routinières », selon les termes de l’avocat du plaignant, depuis la Slovénie vers Bosnie-Herzégovine avec l’aide de la police croate.

      “Une « chaîne » d’expulsions illégales « systématiques et routinières ».”

      Ce verdict confirme également ce que les ONG et institutions soulignent depuis des années : des expulsions illégales de réfugiés et de migrants ont lieu, auxquelles de nombreux pays de l’Union européenne participent. Il s’agit donc d’un indicateur fort pour les institutions européennes de ce qui se passe sur le territoire de l’UE, ainsi qu’à ses frontières extérieures et intérieures, à savoir des violations des droits de l’Homme et de l’État de droit. L’affaire étaie en outre les témoignages de milliers de réfugiés et de migrants qui ont subi des violences, expulsions illégales et violations du droit d’asile, alors que les autorités croates refusent toujours de mener des enquêtes.

      Depuis le début de l’année 2018, la police slovène a renvoyé en Croatie quelque 20 000 personnes qui ont subi des mauvais traitements de la part de la police croate. Dans le meilleurs des cas, elles ont été débarquées d’une fourgonnette à la frontière avec la Bosnie-Herzégovine, mais le plus souvent, elles ont été insultées, battues et torturées par la police.

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Slovenie-la-justice-reconnait-une-chaine-d-expulsions-illegales-v

    • Italy-Slovenia border: ASGI’s open letter to the Italian government and UNHCR

      Background

      On July the 24th 2020, in the Italian Parliament’s lower Chamber, Undersecretary Variati on behalf of the Ministry of the Interior answered urgent questions by MP Riccardo Magi on the situation of the so-called “informal readmissions” of foreign citizens at the border between Italy and Slovenia. The response provided by the government in a note is exceptionally troubling, since it clearly violates principles of domestic and EU law on basic human rights. It should be stressed that the note contains a number of contradictions and provides no legal or case-law grounds for what it asserts.

      Before briefly examining the note’s content, it is worth recalling that “readmission” is a simplified procedure allowing a States to send a foreign citizen back at the border to the country s/he came from, when the foreigner does not meet the criteria for admission into the destination country. The basis for these actions is contained in bilateral States agreements, which must not conflict with European and international provisions on movement of people, the right to international protection and fundamental rights.

      Unregulated readmissions

      First of all, the Ministry has openly confirmed that informal readmissions do take place (without any written decision provided to the interested party), which obviously prevents the person to appeal the measure. The Ministry justified this modus operandi by making generic reference to “consolidated practices” of “accelerated readmission procedures”. As already highlighted in the open letter (still unanswered) that ASGI sent to the Government CCing UNHCR on June 5th, the expression “readmissions without formalities” contained in the bilateral Agreement between Italy and Slovenia for the readmission of persons at the border, signed in Rome on September 3rd 1996, certainly cannot be understood as implying no obligation to issue a written decision, as it is indisputable that the action taken by public security with forced accompaniment in Slovenia has effects on the legal situation of the person. Instead, it should be correctly understood in the sense that the procedures for reporting and coordinating readmission operations between the Italian and Slovenian authorities can take place without procedural burdens.

      Irrelevance of the application for international protection

      The assertion that readmissions by foreign citizens are applied “even if the intention to seek international protection has been expressed” is disconcerting. The right to international protection is a fundamental right and access to the asylum procedure and the identification of the country in charge of examining the application are regulated by EU law, notably by the Dublin III Regulation which states that “Member States shall examine any application for international protection lodged by a third-country national or a stateless person on the territory of any Member State, including at the border and in the transit areas”. The obligation for the Member State to register the application for international protection lodged at the border must be respected in all circumstances, even in cases where the applicant has crossed the border of a Member State irregularly from another Member State. The criteria of competence which establish which country will have to examine the asylum application are precisely indicated in the Regulation which in any case strictly excludes that the principles and procedures contained in the inter-state Readmission Agreements may apply.

      Subsequently, the text takes on ambiguous and contradictory tones, reassuring that “all the irregular migrants found are informed, through an interpreter, of the possibility to request international protection”, specifying that a special information booklet is distributed for this purpose. This assertion not only is contradicted by numerous testimonies collected, in Italy and abroad, but in any case would be a pointless exercise, in light of the imminent fate (i.e. readmission) that awaits also those who express their intention to seek asylum. As a further confirmation of this, the ministerial note states that “if the conditions for the readmission request are met and the same is accepted by the Slovenian authorities, there will be no formalization of the request in the police headquarters”. Declaring one’s intention to seek protection therefore produces no apparent legal effect and, consequently, entails no obligation for the Italian authorities, since if Slovenia accepts the readmission application “by completing and sending a special form in which the elements supporting the application are indicated” the foreign citizen is readmitted to Slovenia like those who have not asked for protection, therefore as an irregular foreigner. The note also does not consider that in this case the foreigner would be readmitted to Slovenia as an asylum seeker, thus opening the way to chain rejections as it has already happened in a number of cases.

      Risk of “chain” refoulements

      In relation to this practice, documented by numerous international reports, the Ministry of Interior merely replies that “Slovenia and Croatia are members of the European Union” and consequently “they are to be considered intrinsically safe countries, in terms of human rights and international conventions on the matter”. ASGI expresses serious concerns about the Slovenian and Croatian asylum systems and, above all, about the possibilities of effective access to the asylum procedure. According to Eurostat data, in the first four months of 2020, Croatia registered 400 applications for international protection, equal to 0.3% of the EU total. In Slovenia there were 490 applications registered against 6840 asylum applications registered in Italy. Furthermore, as already highlighted in the ASGI note of June 5th 2020, the right of States to reject or expel those who are not entitled to enter or remain on national territory, albeit lawful as an expression of the principle of state sovereignty, finds specific limits in that States have not only the obligation to recognize, guarantee and protect the human rights of people under their jurisdiction, but also the duty to respect human rights treaties and not to transform them into ineffective norms. The Italian government cannot pretend to ignore that migrants readmitted from Italy to Slovenia and then from Slovenia to Croatia are subsequently transferred coercively to Serbia or Bosnia-Herzegovina, that these operations take place without any written decisions being adopted and served on the foreigners and that migrants are subjected to brutal violence by both the Croatian police and members of private militias. The practice of chain refoulements was also recently recognized by the Slovenian Administrative Court which on July 16th recognized the unlawfulness of the readmission from Slovenia to Croatia and then from Croatia to Bosnia of an asylum seeker. The Slovenian judge ruled that the police had not informed the interested party of his right to apply for international protection, in clear violation of national and EU law. The readmission also violated the ban on collective expulsion because the applicant was not notified of a removal order, nor was he given legal and linguistic assistance before his readmission to Croatia. As regards chain refoulement, the ruling found “sufficiently reliable reports on the possible risks from the point of view of article 3 of the ECHR” both in Croatia, where the applicant was initially removed, and in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he was subsequently rejected.

      Likely ineffectiveness, against the background above, of a service to assist migrants at border crossings

      Lastly, the note ends with the reassurance that an assistance service for foreigners in the province of Trieste will be soon activated and will be operated by CIR (Consiglio Italiano per i Rifugiati). In light of the above considerations (i.e. the substantial uselessness of the application for international protection in order to prevent the readmission mechanism), it is highly questionable whether such a service would have any effectiveness and foreign citizens could access it.

      Conclusion

      In conclusion, the note with which the Ministry of the Interior made known its position on the so-called informal readmissions of foreign citizens, including asylum seekers, on the Italian-Slovenian border, represents an ideological endorsement of unlawful procedures implemented in total contempt for domestic and EU law. Despite the controversial and sometimes obscure asylum policy in Italy, so far there hasn’t ever been such a flagrant infringement of the legality, one that may make Italian and European institutions face possible responsibilities for violations of fundamental rights taking place on the border with Slovenia.

      Due to this very serious situation

      ASGI asks the Italian government

      to immediately end the practices of unlawful readmissions at the Italian-Slovenian border;
      to give precise indications to the peripheral government offices to respect the right of asylum and in particular the effective right to access the territory and request international protection adequately;
      to report urgently before the Parliament on the situation at the eastern border by providing all the necessary data and specifically reporting on the operating procedures with which the readmissions have so far been implemented.

      ASGI asks UNHCR

      to take an open public position on the note of the Italian Government in relation to the readmissions of applicants for international protection. For understandable reasons related to its mandate, UNHCR often operates through actions of moral suasion that do not take a public dimension. However, situations, such as that covered by this analysis, require that public opinion, institutions and associations have the full right to know UNHCR’s position on such serious events taking place in the territory of the European Union;
      to implement effective direct monitoring of the situation on the eastern border which has so far been completely lacking, in the awareness that the illegal situation described has already led to the rejection of hundreds of asylum seekers and that stopping this situation must become a top priority on the part of the United Nations agency responsible for defending the very existence of the right to asylum.

      For further information, please refer to the ASGI note of June 5th 2020 and to the recent dossier “La rotta balcanica” (“The Balkan Route”) by the Network “Rivolti ai Balcani”.

      https://en.asgi.it/informal-readmissions-balkan-route-asgi-letter-government-unhcr

    • Cries for help from the Balkan Route. Access to asylum remains a problem in Slovenia.

      “They don’t care about us. We have reached the refugee shelter several times, and they send us back to Croatia.”

      This is part of a message I received on Whatsapp on July 29 from 19-year-old Mohammed from Morocco who was writing from a center in south west Slovenia where he was being held in detention.

      Mohammed explained that he had previously managed to enter Slovenia several times, crossing over the mountains, but was pushed back initially to Croatia, and then again to Bosnia and Herzegovina or Serbia. This illegal deportation practice has been documented in recent years by a number of human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch and the Council of Europe, as well as some European parliamentarians.

      NGOs and human rights collectives including Amnesty International and Border Violence Monitoring Network have also said that since July 2018, people on the move have been denied their legal right to apply for asylum by Slovenian police, who have been part of an illegal chain of push backs from the EU, along Italy and Croatia to Bosnia or Serbia.

      Mohammed further told me that since July 19 he had been held alongside a number of other potential asylum seekers in the Aliens Center in #Postojna, a town in Slovenia midway between Ljubljana and the Italian border.

      Usually, people held in this center are in the process of being deported after their asylum claims have been denied, or their stay in the country has been deemed illegal, as defined by the Aliens Act. However, until recently, asylum seekers and those wanting to seek asylum like Mohammed were not being placed there unless there were specific circumstances where they were deemed a flight risk or a danger to public order.

      Through text messages, photos and videos, some of those inside the center managed to reach out to journalists like myself, as well as to some NGOs, and civil society groups.

      A group of activists subsequently organized protests on August 25 in an attempt to raise awareness about what is going on, supporting ongoing protests being held within the center by those being held in detention. They warned the public about this practice by the Slovenian police and drew parallels with the so-called Hungarian model of locking people up during their asylum process.

      Threats and deportations

      The center in Postojna where people are being detained consists of a large hangar-like building that has only lately been equipped with 14 containers. Each has six beds. Additionally, there are two sanitary containers serving as bathrooms and toilets.

      The official capacity of the complex is 180 beds, but the number of those locked-up varies daily. At the beginning of August, through email correspondence, police said that 145 people were held in the center, including 42 in the process of deportation and 65 who had requested asylum but who had not yet received an official response..

      Out of the total number, 38 individuals were registered asylum seekers.

      A few days later, police reported that 142 individuals were being held in the center, including 111 asylum seekers.

      People held in Postojna claim that when they were brought in, police told them they would be quarantined due to the pandemic.

      The General Police Directorate denied that the center in Postojna is being used as a form of quarantine, claiming that only basic medical check-ups are carried out. But in answer to questions, they also state that “the majority stays there for more than 14 days,” the quarantine period recommended by the World Health Organization for those who have been in close contact with somebody with COVID-19.

      https://vimeo.com/453221076

      Messages from those in the center claimed that even the right to request asylum was being denied, despite promises by police upon entering the center that everyone would get a chance to apply.

      Some, like Mohammed, say they have already gone through the experience of being deprived of the right to apply for asylum, and then being deported from the EU, back to the Balkans. They say they reached out to appeal for help after being threatened with deportation to Croatia 10 days after being taken to the center.

      In one of these messages sent to a local NGO, X. from Morocco wrote that the living conditions in the center are “terrible.”

      “They put us in a closed place, some people have been here 28 days and others 25 days without knowing what will happen with us,” he wrote.

      “They take out some and leave some in, even though we have the same case and were arrested in the same circumstances. There is no logic and no law. Some leave without proof of identity, while others are sentenced to three months.

      “There’s patients here and the medical care is not good, some friends are scared about what will happen with us and others are thinking of killing themselves here.”

      https://vimeo.com/453221292

      Violation of asylum laws

      The Ombudsperson’s Office in Slovenia has warned on several occasions about the problematic role of border police in asylum procedures and about the role of Postojna’s Aliens Center, which is officially considered a detention facility.

      Furthermore, in its reports the Office acknowledges that families and children were amongst those previously detained there, a controversial practice it calls to be abolished.

      The men who are currently locked up in Postojna complain of further irregularities, including accusing the translators working for the police as being corrupt and unprofessional. These echo similar claims cited by organizations including Amnesty International Slovenia, while the Ombudsperson’s office has also mentioned it in one of its reports and called on the government to react.

      Saša Zagorc, a professor of constitutional law at the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana and a member of the Odysseus Network with other experts on asylum, says that to date little has been done to address the concerns.

      “Systemic problems and irregularities when it comes to deprivation of personal liberty in Slovenia have been known and well analyzed for at least five years,” he says.

      Depriving those wanting to seek asylum of liberty is considered a measure of last resort under international law and is legal only after an individual’s specific circumstances have been taken into account and possible milder measures considered. But Professor Zagorc emphasizes a systemic lack of alternative measures in Slovenia.

      Self-organized activist collective Work-group for Asylum — part of the Ambasada Rog collective that has been working with refugees and migrants in Slovenia for years — issued a statement saying that deprivation of liberty of people who seek asylum is now used in Slovenia as a rule, and not as an exception, as stipulated in law.

      The Interior Ministry denies these allegations.

      Not standard police procedure

      The videos and photos that appeared in the public and the media at the end of July, shortly after protests within the camp, created public pressure. Three days after I received the first message from Mohammed, the men in Postojna reported they had been visited by a group of officials from the Interior Ministry with two different interpreters.

      However, three weeks later, on August 21, they still remained locked up and deprived of their liberty, with no legal counsel.

      In answer to my questions about the broader framing of the current situation in Postojna, the Ombudsperson’s Office said that part of the problem is a lack of systemic access to free legal counsel for some people deprived of their liberty in the Aliens Center.

      The official response from the Interior Ministry is that the men’s detention in Postojna might “not be a standard police procedure,” but that all police actions are lawful.

      Standard police procedure is to take asylum seekers to Ljubljana’s Asylum Center, where they have freedom of movement after a few days of quarantine and an initial interview. The Interior Ministry said that their officials can, and do, conduct first interviews with people who wish to apply for asylum in Ljubljana’s Asylum Center, as well as at other police stations.

      They explained that the asylum requests can be “deemed obviously unfounded if an individual comes from a so-called safe third country.” Such procedures aim to speed up deportations of individuals whose asylum requests have been denied.

      Human rights organizations, including the Council of Europe, however, have warned that even in such expedient procedures individual circumstances need to be considered and these may make asylum claims valid even when an applicant is from a so-called safe third country.

      The police practices are reflected in official statistics. According to the Interior Ministry, in the first half of 2020, 64 out of 120 asylum requests were rejected as “obviously unfounded.” In the same period last year, 30 out of 51 asylum requests were denied as “obviously unfounded.”

      Police instructions, exposed last month by Slovenian media, reveal that as a rule, asylum seekers are now to be taken to Postojna in an apparent attempt to speed up deportations, not to Ljubljana’s Asylum Center.

      In a phone conversation with a representative of the Legal-Informational Centre for NGOS, I find out that since late May and June they have been overwhelmed with filing legal motions to appeal the detention of asylum seekers in Postojna.

      Interior Ministry data shows that this year, police have deprived 75 potential asylum seekers of their liberty, 69 of which were in June alone. The administrative court this year annulled 35 of these measures.

      Meanwhile, based on a request made by right wing politicians in Italy, additional Italian army troops are to be deployed to the border with Slovenia. Some troops were already deployed in May, while the idea of having the army is supported by far right groups on both sides of the border.

      In Slovenia, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs, a member of the right wing SDS party, openly welcomed the idea.

      For now, the struggle of people in Postojna and Slovenian civic society continues. In one of his messages sent to the activists, X. wrote:

      “We are not criminals — we are humans. The difference between us and other people is just the paper — we are people without papers and that does not mean we are not good people.”

      https://kosovotwopointzero.com/en/cries-for-help-from-the-balkan-route

  • Rotta balcanica, ASGI: interrompere le riammissioni illegali al confine italo-sloveno

    Non è legittimo eseguire le riammissioni dei migranti in Slovenia senza un previo esame delle situazioni individuali ed un effettivo coinvolgimento delle persone interessate.


    E’ quanto chiede l’Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione in una lettera aperta (https://www.asgi.it/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/lettera-aperta-riammissioni_5-giugno-2020.pdf) inviata al Ministero dell’Interno, alla Questura e Prefettura di Trieste oltre che alla sede per l’Italia dell’UNHCR . L’associazione ha anche elaborato un documento di analisi “La riammissione informale dall’Italia alla Slovenia sulla base dell’Accordo bilaterale Italia – Slovenia e le riammissioni a catena verso la Slovenia e la Croazia“ (https://www.asgi.it/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/documento-riammissioni-Italia-Slovenia-_5_giugno_2020.pdf).

    Nella lettera l’ASGI ricorda come a metà di maggio 2020 il Ministero dell’interno ha annunciato di voler incrementare le riammissioni di migranti in Slovenia che, nei giorni successivi si sono susseguite con effettiva intensità ed hanno riguardato molti cittadini afgani e pakistani.

    Secondo le testimonianze raccolte, le persone riammesse non avrebbero ricevuto alcun provvedimento e ignare di tutto, si sono ritrovate respinte in Slovenia, quindi in Croazia, ed infine in Serbia o in Bosnia sebbene le stesse fossero intenzionate a domandare protezione internazionale all’Italia.

    Si tratta di “ riammissioni effettuate non in ragione del ripristino dei controlli alle frontiere interne mai formalmente avvenuto ma in applicazione dell’Accordo bilaterale fra il Governo della Repubblica italiana e il Governo della Repubblica di Slovenia sulla riammissione delle persone alla frontiera, firmato a Roma il 3 settembre 1996, che dimostrano una chiara volontà delle autorità italiane di incrementare riammissioni al confine orientale, secondo le direttive che sarebbero state ricevute direttamente dal Governo italiano.

    ASGI perciò chiede di sapere se tali direttive sono effettivamente state impartite da parte del Ministero e comunque di interrompere immediatamente le pratiche illegittime di riammissioni in Slovenia e da qui verso gli altri Stati ricordando che numerose inchieste internazionali testimoniano dei trattamenti inumani e degradanti ai quali, in violazione del divieto inderogabile previsto dall’art. 3 della Convenzione europea dei diritti dell’uomo le persone respinte vanno incontro lunga la rotta balcanica.

    https://www.asgi.it/allontamento-espulsione/rotta-balcanica-asgi-interrompere-le-riammissioni-illegali-al-confine-italo-slo

    #route_des_Balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Balkans #Slovénie #Italie #push-back #refoulements #refoulement #push-back #refoulement_en_chaîne #refoulements_en_chaîne #Croatie

    ping @isskein

  • UNHCR Serbia Update, November 2019

    • 1,035 asylum seekers reported collective expulsion from neighbouring countries (439 from Romania, 357 from Hungary, 133 from Croatia and 96 from BiH). 51% of them alleged to have been denied access to asylum and 19% maltreatment by authorities of these countries. Amongst them were asylum seekers, who were expelled to Serbia outside lawful procedures from Hungary (three) or BiH (two), though they had never been in Serbia before. The terrible danger of irregular movements was again illustrated in the early morning of 11 November, when a dinghy with ten migrants heading from the port of #Apatin towards Croatia overturned in the Danube, leading to four missing passengers, feared to have drowned.

    https://reliefweb.int/report/serbia/unhcr-serbia-update-november-2019
    #Serbie #push-back #refoulement #refoulements #push-backs #refoulements_collectifs #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Roumanie #Hongrie #Croatie #Bosnie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #par_ricochet

    Il y a aussi, dans ce rapport, la nouvelle de #décès #morts :

    The terrible danger of irregular movements was again illustrated in the early morning of 11 November, when a dinghy with ten migrants heading from the port of #Apatin towards Croatia overturned in the Danube, leading to four missing passengers, feared to have drowned

    Sur les #refoulements_en_chaîne...

    Comme ce qui se passait en 2013, et que j’avais signalé dans un texte écrit pour la revue Vivre Ensemble (@vivre) paru en septembre 2014 :
    Serbie | L’antichambre de l’Europe

    Une fois récolté l’argent nécessaire, ils et elles reprennent leur route vers l’Europe, souvent via la Hongrie. L’UE ayant renforcé les contrôles à la frontière hongro-serbe, les migrants restent fréquemment bloqués en Serbie. Quant à ceux qui parviennent à la franchir, ils risquent de se retrouver… en Grèce ! Les conditions d’accueil en Hongrie conduisent en effet nombre de migrants à refuser de donner leurs empreintes digitales pour ne pas s’y trouver coincés par le jeu du système Dublin. Ils sont alors acheminés vers la frontière serbe, selon les témoignages que nous avons recueillis. Et lorsqu’ils sont interceptés en Serbie, ils sont condamnables à une peine de prison (10 à 15 jours) ou à une amende et reçoivent un ordre d’expulsion. Parfois, ils sont directement retransférés en Macédoine. La Macédoine ayant notamment signé un accord de réadmission avec Athènes, les migrants peuvent, au final, se retrouver en Grèce. Un pays structurellement défaillant en matière de protection, au point que les renvois Dublin y sont illégaux depuis 2011. La Hongrie continue ainsi d’y renvoyer indirectement les migrants, par le jeu de refoulements en chaîne.

    https://asile.ch/chronique/serbie-lantichambre-de-leurope

    ping @isskein

  • VIOLENCE REPORTS

    The collective expulsion and violent return of asylum seekers to the Bosnian border surrounding #Velika_Kladuša is a routine occurrence. Men, women, and even children regularly return from their attempts to cross through Croatia and Slovenia with split lips, black eyes, and broken bones. The search for safety and asylum is all too often met with police batons and closed fists.

    The brutal practices of the Croatian police are against international laws and directives. Firstly, the beating and deportation of all people on the move, both irregular migrants and asylum seekers, is against the prohibition of collective expulsion (Article 4 Protocol 4 ECHR*), and the absolute prohibition of torture and non-humane or degrading treatment or punishment (Article 3 ECHR*).

    Secondly, according to the EU Directive on Asylum Procedures (2005/85/EC), all people on the move are entitled to information about asylum, translation assistance, the ability to present their case to a competent authority, notification of the outcome, and the right to appeal a negative decision (1). But most importantly, viewing people searching safety as mere illegal numbers and dangerous bodies pushes them to a grey zone. Within this grey zone, they are stripped of the right to have rights, resulting in their humiliation without legal consequence, leaving perpetrators unrecognisable and unpunished.

    Thousands of lives are being slowly destroyed while the EU community silently overlooks the brutality of its own border regime, absolving itself of any real sense of responsibility.

    To this end, No Name Kitchen, in coordination with several other independent groups operating in the area, has been engaged in the collection and presentation of the violence which occurs at Europe’s doorstep. In this capacity, we collect the testimonies of victims of border violence and present them to a variety of actors within the field in the hopes of highlighting the systematic nature of this violence. The methodological process for these reports is centered on leveraging the close social contact that we have as independent volunteers with refugees and migrants to monitor pushbacks from Croatia. When individuals return with significant injuries or stories of abuse, one of our violence monitoring volunteers will sit down with them and collect their testimonies. We collect hard data (dates, geo-locations, officer descriptions, photos of injuries/medical reports, etc.) but also open narratives of the abuse.

    http://www.nonamekitchen.org/en/violence-reports

    Lien pour télécharger le rapport :


    http://www.nonamekitchen.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Finished-Border-Violence-on-the-Balkan-Route.pdf
    #violence #rapport #route_des_balkans #Balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Bosnie #frontières #Croatie #Slovénie

    • Garaža za mučenje migranata

      “Policija je dovela njih sedmero u garažu u Korenicu, gdje su im oduzeli sve stvari. Slomili su im mobitele, uništili punjače. Uzeli su im novac, cigarete i hranu. Kad su skinuli odjeću policajci su ih počeli tući rukama, laktovima, nogama”. U posljednjih pola godine pojavila su se višestruka svjedočanstva koja ukazuju na to da hrvatska policija pritvara i muči izbjeglice i migrante u garaži u policijskoj postaji u Korenici. Garaža s plavim vratima, u kojoj, kako se opisuje u svjedočanstvima, izbjeglice i migranti bivaju pretučeni i izgladnjivani, nalazi se svega par metara od dječjeg igrališta.

      U više izvještaja različitih organizacija, a najnovije i u posljednjem izvještaju Border Violence Monitoringa, opisuju se garažna mjesta za pritvaranja i zlostavljanje, koja po opisu mogu odgovarati policijskoj postaji u Korenici, koja je zbog blizina granice često u službi odvraćanja izbjeglica i migranta natrag u Bosnu i Hercegovinu.

      Prema posljednjim svjedočanstvima u travnju je grupa muškaraca iz Sirije, Alžira i Maroka, uhvaćena blizu granice sa Slovenijom, odvedena u garažu u Korenicu i zatim vraćena natrag u Bosnu i Hercegovinu. Izrazili su namjeru za službenim traženjem azila, ali im je odbijen pristup proceduri, iako na nju imaju zakonsko pravo.

      “Policija je dovela njih sedmero u garažu u Korenicu, gdje su im oduzeli sve stvari. Slomili su im mobitele, uništili punjače. Uzeli su im novac, cigarete i hranu. Jednoj su osobi uzeli čak i naočale. U prostoru je samo prljavi pod, bez deka, spužvi, wc-a. Morali su na njemu ležati, iako je bilo užasno hladno. Kad su skinuli odjeću policajci su ih počeli tući rukama, laktovima, nogama. Imali su i elektrošokere i pepper sprej, koje su koristili nekoliko puta. Svi su ljudi plakali”, stoji u svjedočanstvu.

      Prva svjedočanstva i opisi garaže pojavili su se u prosincu prošle godine, od strane migranata koji su nakon prelaska granice u Hrvatsku uhićeni, odvedeni u “garažu” pa protjerani natrag u Bosnu i Hercegovinu, bez da im je omogućeno pravo da u Hrvatskoj zatraže azil.

      U prosincu 2018. godine, kako je evidentirao Border Violence Monitoring, grupu Alžiraca je nakon prelaska granice pokupio kombi s policajcima u maskirnim uniformama, koji su izgledali kao vojska. Odveli su ih u garažu.

      “Policijska postaja je ispred garaže. Dvorište je između policijske postaje i garaže. Unutra je umiovaonik i grijalica, te svjetla na stropu. Prostorija je malena. Nema prozora, samo plava vrata”, stoji u opisu. Istaknuli su kako je bilo hladno te zbog hladnoće nisu mogli spavati. Policajci su, navodi se, s njima pričali nasilno te su im odbili dati hranu.

      Naposljetku su, s drugim migrantima koji su već bili u garaži, bez da im se omogući da zatraže azil, izbačeni u planinama i poslani da hodaju natrag u Bosnu satima. Kad su izišli iz kombija, policajci su naložili vatru u koju su bacili sve njihove stvari. “Jedan je policajac htio uzeti i deku u kojoj je bila umotana djevojčica iz iračke obitelji, ali ga je drugi policajac zaustavio da to ne napravi”, navodi se u svjedočanstvu. Vreće za spavanje i šatori su završili u plamenu.

      “Policija radi što hoće”, komentar je koji se učestalo čuje među brojnim izbjeglicama koji su više puta protjerani iz Hrvatske. Većina odvraćenih i protjeranih u Velikoj Kladuši, gradu blizu granice u kojem smo nedavno bili, žale se upravo najgorljivije na hrvatsku policiju.

      I mještani Velike Kladuše, pogotovo oni koji svakodnevno pomažu izbjeglicama i migrantima, ističu kako ljudi s granice dolaze izmučeni i gladni, nerijetko s modricama, ožiljcima, otvorenim ranama. “Svi ti prizori podsjećaju me na zadnji rat, jedino što nema bombardiranja”, komentira nam jedna mještanka. Nasilje koje provodi hrvatska granična policija tako je postalo svakodnevna tema.

      Krajem prošle godine pojavljuje se još jedno svjedočanstvo o “garaži”, u kojem stoji: “Stavili su nas u ćeliju, ali to zapravo nije ćelija, nego više kao garaža, s plavim vratima i pločicama. Ispred je parkiralište i policijska postaja”. “Kad nas je policija uhvatila, nisu nam dali ništa. Tamo je bio neki stari kruh, dosta star. Zatražio sam taj kruh, ali mi ga nisu dali”, opisuje jedan od migranata.

      Ponukani ovim svjedočanstvima i opisima garaže za mučenje, nedavno smo posjetili Korenicu. Na ulazu u Korenicu primjećujemo jedan policijski auto parkiran kraj šume, i policajca koji se upravo izvlači iz šume prema autu. Tijekom zimskih mjeseci mogli smo čitati kako “službenici postaje granične policije Korenice provode mjere pojačanog suzbijanja nezakonitih migracija”. U razgovoru s mještanima doznajemo kako su pojačane policijske snage u okolici u posljednje vrijeme, a izbjeglice i migrante se intenzivno traži po okolnim brdima.

      Prilikom našeg kratkog boravka u Korenici, ispred policijske postaje se izmijenio velik broj policajaca, dolazili su i odlazili autima i kombijima. Osim policajaca u redovnim uniformama, bilo je i obučenih u tamnozelene uniforme. U postaju dolaze i kombiji bez policijskih oznaka, a prisutni su i policajci u civilnoj odjeći.

      Prednji dio postaje sastoji se od velike zgrade s mnogo prozora, dok je unutarnji dio kompleksa ograđen i s malim dvorištem na kojem je parkirano nekoliko policijskih automobila i kombija, uz prostorije koje nalikuju na garaže, s plavim vratima. Te prostorije s jedne strane gledaju i na obližnje dječje igralište i na tom dijelu nema nijednog prozora. U dvorištu se nalaze i Toi Toi WC-i.

      U najnovijem svjedočanstvu koje je dokumentirao Border Violence Monitoring stoji: “Možemo ići samo dva puta dnevno na zahod, ujutro i navečer. Za ovo nas se vodi van u dvorište, gdje se nalaze tri plastična WC-a”, što ukazuje da postoji mogućnost da se radi upravo o ovoj policijskoj postaji. Aktivisti nam potvrđuju kako su svjedočanstva o “garaži” postala učestalija i sve detaljnija u opisima.

      I u svjedočanstvima iz ožujka izbjeglice i migranti navode kako su bili zatvoreni satima bez vode i hrane, te su iz nužde morali urinirati u kutu prostorije. “Bili smo kao kokoši. Ne želim se prisjećati tog trenutka. Bili smo poput životinja”, opisuje jedan migrant. “Pod je betoniran, hladno je, moramo spavati na njemu. Postoji samo jedna slavina za vodu i mali grijač na zidu. Vrata su plava i na njima je ispisano na mnogo jezika, datumi, imena i mjesta. Pakistanski, alžirski, marokanski, iranski, sirijski, odasvud”, opisuje se.

      Kad su pušteni iz pritvora garaže, kažu, policija ih je ostavila u planinskom području i poslala da hodaju kilometrima natrag prema Bihaću. Učestalo se spominje oduzimanje novca i mobitela i vrijednih stvari koje migranti sa sobom nose.

      Procedure odvraćanja izbjeglica i migranata obično se izvode iza zatvorenih vrata i u skrovitim područjima, čime se umanjuje rizik da će biti onih koji će im svjedočiti. Paralelu možemo povući i sa tzv. trećestupanjskim policijskim ispitivanjima.

      “Većina trećestupanjskih ispitivanja događala se tijekom pritvaranja na izoliranim lokacijama, uključujući policijske postaje, garaže, ponekad i hotele i mrtvačnice. Ali obično se takva mučenja događaju u pozadinskim sobama, incommunicado prostorijama, posebno dizajniranima u ove svrhe. U javnosti se postojanje takvih prostorija poriče, a njihovo održavanje zahtjeva šutnju čitavog sustava. Policija je rijeko kažnjavana za brutalne metode ispitivanja, korištene za izvlačenje priznanja, ali i da se ’nepoželjne’ otjera iz grada”, navodi se u radu Police Interrogation and Coercion in Domestic American History: Lessons for the War on Terror, Richarda A. Leoa i Alexe Koenig.

      “Ovakve prakse postaju sredstvo putem kojeg policija nadilazi svoju ispitivačku ulogu, pojačava svoju moć i zaobilazi ulogu koja je dizajnirana kako bi se spriječila koncentracija i zlouporaba moći od strane države”, zaključuju autori.

      Brutalne prakse zlostavljanja i prisilnih protjerivanja koje provode policijski službenici na hrvatskoj granici i o kojima sad već postoje kontinuirana i detaljna svjedočanstva, protivne su i domaćim i međunarodnim zakonima te direktivama.

      “Premlaćivanje i deportacija ljudi protivni su zabrani kolektivnih protjerivanja (Članak 4 Protokola 4 ECHR) i zabrani mučenja i nečovječnog ili ponižavajućeg postupanja ili kazni (Članak 3 ECHR)”, navodi se u Petom izvještaju o nezakonitim protjerivanjima i nasilju Republike Hrvatske, koji su nedavno objavile organizacije Are You Syrious?, Centar za mirovne studije i Incijativa Dobrodošli.

      Vraćanje migranata u Bosnu i Hercegovinu bez uzimanja u obzir osobnih okolnosti svakog pojedinog slučaja, a posebice zanemarujući njihovu potrebu za međunarodnom zaštitom, pa čak i na izričito traženje azila, uporaba sredstava prisile te ponižavanje ozbiljna su povreda izbjegličkih i migantskih prava, ali i enorman prijestup MUP-a, na što je upozoravala i pučka pravobraniteljica.

      MUP-u smo uputili upit za komentar o opžubama za nasilje i mučenje od strane hrvatske policije, kao i za slučaj “garaže” koju se povezuje s policijskom postajom u Korenici. Upitali smo ih i jesu li, s obzirom na svjedočanstva koja se pojavljuju od prosinca, reagirali na optužbe i posvetili se detaljnoj istrazi i uvidu u potencijalne prijestupe i prekoračenja policijske ovlasti u Korenici. Do zaključenja teksta odgovor na upite nismo dobili.

      Kada su u pitanju optužbe za policijsko nasilje, u prijašnjim reakcijama iz MUP-a su isticali kako “prilikom postupanja prema migrantima policija poštuje njihova temeljna prava i dostojanstvo te im omogućuje pristup sustavu međunarodne zaštite, ukoliko im je takva zaštita potrebna, sukladno općim dokumentima o ljudskim pravima, regulativi EU-a te nacionalnom zakonodavstvu. Želimo naglasiti nultu stopu tolerancije ovog ministarstva na nezakonitu uporabu sredstava prisile od strane hrvatske policije naspram bilo koje populacije, kao i nultu stopu tolerancije nad neprocesuiranjem bilo kojeg kaznenog djela ili prekršaja počinjenog od strane policijskih službenika”.

      Kako je moguće da se u zemlji “nulte stope tolerancije na nezakonitu upotrebu sredstava prisile” kontinuirano pojavljuju svjedočanstva o garažama za mučenje? Ostaje nam zapitati se je li zaista moguće da su sva ova detaljna svjedočanstva, koja se u mnogočemu podudaraju, prikupljena u različitim vremenskim periodima, od ljudi čiji se putevi uglavnom nisu sreli, lažna? Volonteri i aktivisti koji prikupljaju svjedočanstva također se rotiraju i dolaze iz različitih organizacija, pa je i njihova “sugestivnost” faktor koji bi se moglo prekrižiti.

      Garaža za mučenje mali je prostor, ali je bijeg od suočavanja s njenim postojanjem velik i indikativan. Arundhati Roy piše: “Ne postoje oni koji nemaju glas. Postoje samo oni koji su namjerno ušutkani i oni koje biramo da ne čujemo.”

      https://www.h-alter.org/vijesti/garaza-za-mucenje-migranata
      #Korenica

      Commentaire reçu par email de Inicijativa Dobrodosli, le 22.05.2019 :

      H-alter published a text based on refugee testimonies and previously published reports of torture in a blue-coloured door garage that may correspond to the description of the police station in Korenica, located near the children’s playground. The testimonies describe denial of food, limited use of toilet and physical violence that occurs not only at the border but also in the depths of the Croatian territory.

    • ‘Nobody Hears You’ : Migrants, Refugees Beaten on Balkan Borders

      Migrants and refugees say they continue to face violence at the hands of police while trying to cross the Balkan peninsula.

      It was supposed to have closed. But migrants and refugees from the Middle East, Asia and Africa are still crossing the Balkan peninsula en route to Western Europe. Many report brutality at the hands of the police.

      In April this year, some 3,600 migrants and refugees – mainly from Afghanistan and Iran – were registered in Serbia, according to the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR.

      Bosnia last year registered 25,000, though only 3,500 chose to stay in the country while the rest crossed quickly into European Union member Croatia.

      No Name Kitchen, NNK, an NGO assisting migrants and refugees, says police violence is on the rise.

      Between May 2017 and May last year, NNK recorded 215 reported cases of push-backs by Croatian police to Serbia, of which 45 per cent involved physical violence.

      Between May 2017 and December last year, there were 141 push-backs from Croatia to Bosnia, NNK reported, of which 84 per cent involved violence.

      Croatian authorities denied police used violence against migrants and refugees, telling BIRN that such accusations were often made up.

      BIRN journalists spoke to a number of refugees and migrants in Serbia, Bosnia and Slovenia about their experiences with Croatian police. Most chose to be identified only by their first names.

      Ahmed: ‘Nobody hears you’

      “They make the music loud and start beating us, one by one. With sticks, electrical sticks…,” said Ahmed, a Moroccan who had spent the past month in a migrant camp in the small Serbian border town of Sid.

      Ahmed said he had tried several times to cross the nearby border into Croatia, running a gauntlet known among migrants and refugees as ‘The Game’, but had been turned back each time by Croatian police.

      “I’ve been captured and they turn me back, beat me and turn me back,” he told BIRN. “They would come out from the car, one by one and they start, like that until you scream and nobody hears you,” he said.

      Ali: ‘Police have no heart’

      Ali and a group of friends had made it into Croatia from Bosnia in April and walked for six days in the direction of Slovenia.

      “Police officers, they caught us and after that, they brought us in the police station and we were for four hours in the police station like a prisoner and after that… they beat us,” he told BIRN in the northwestern Bosnian town of Bihac, a hub for migrants and refugees trying to cross the Croatian border.

      “Police have no heart. They don’t want to see that the guys are human. It’s really horrible.”

      Nue: ‘I don’t have a country’

      Some of those BIRN spoke to said they were fleeing repression in their own countries.

      Nue, a Palestinian now also stuck in Sid, said: “My country, I don’t have a country because I am from Palestine… I have ID just to say I am from Palestine.”

      Nue said that when he tried to cross the border, he was caught by the Croatian police. He pointed to a cut on his head.

      “When he’s [the police officer] catching me, he does like this,” he said, imitating being beaten. “I have to just stay in the tent because maybe I have a problem in my head because [the beating was] very strong.”

      Nue said he was now sleeping in the street.

      Another man, in the centre of Sid, said police were also violent towards his wife, who was nine months pregnant when BIRN spoke to the couple.

      “They don’t care if she’s pregnant or not,” he said. “There is no human qualities in them, you understand. I never seen such people.”

      Muhamed: Old and new injuries

      Muhamed, from Tunisia, said he had been in Serbia for six weeks having been beating by police on the Croatian border.

      “They done with you everything,” he said, and showed injuries he said were inflicted the day before by Croatian police.

      Muhamed said he was beaten for 10 minutes and then sent back to Serbia.

      “Everytime, doing this, everytime, look, this old and this new,” he said, pointing to the bruises and cuts.

      Khalid: It was necessary

      In a migrant camp in Slovenia, Khalid, from Eritrea, said he had been deported back to Bosnia eight times.

      “I came to Ljubljana by walk,” he said.

      “[Croatian police] deported me eight times – four times to [Velika Kladusa] and four times to Bihac. They beat us, and they take [our] phones. They make many things.”

      Though he personally had not faced violence, Khalid said he knew of many others who had.

      “All the people now, they forget everything because they crossed the borders and also we have to tell them sorry, we cross your country… It was necessary to do it.”

      Activist: ‘It’s worse and worse’

      Diego Menjibar, an activist with No Name Kitchen, told BIRN:

      “They are beaten by batons in borders. Also, with fist, kicking them. We have a lot of cases every week of people beaten with batons, with physical violence, also verbal violence and some of them, they also passed out while they [were] beat, so we have a doctor here.”

      Menjibar spoke in a disused factory in Sid that is now filled with tents for migrants and refugees. Roughly 100 pass through the camp each day.

      “We talk with the people in the squat and we listen what they say and every time it’s worse and worse,” he said.

      Beaten around the legs

      In April, Swiss broadcaster SRF and the crew of the TV programme “Rundschau” spent three weeks in the fields on the Bosnian-Croatian border speaking to migrants and refugees in the moment after they were turned back by Croatian police.

      “I was literally running after these people when they came down [after being deported],” SRF journalist Nicole Vögele told BIRN. “I was aware that now what we really need is a full line of evidence.”

      In May, SRF broadcast a piece showing Croatian police pushing back migrants and refugees into Bosnia. Vögele said many sustained injuries to their legs from being beaten by police with sticks.

      “Most of them were showing me the [lower] parts of the legs,” Vögele said. “Two days later, I asked them if they have same traces because just an hour after the beating, as you can imagine you can see a bit of red. But two days later it is clearly visible.”

      In the SRF report, an Afghan family, including small children, spoke of bring stopped in the forest by Croatian policemen.

      “They pointed their guns at us and said ‘Stop’. We were very scared and cried,” said the oldest of the children. When the family asked for asylum, the police officers laughed and said that they would be given “Bosnian asylum” – meaning that they would be deported back to Bosnia.

      Injuries

      The Serbian-based NGO Asylum Protection Centre has also gathered extensive evidence of Croatian police brutality.

      In late April, Rados Djurovic, the director of the centre, said instances of violence were on the rise.

      The NGO has also gathered evidence of migrant families, including children, being starved and exhausted and illegally pushed back into Serbia by Hungarian police.

      Police denial

      The office of the Croatian ombudsperson said it had acted in more than 50 cases concerning refugees and migrants.

      The cases “often involve complaints on various grounds, including police treatment,” the office said in a written reply to BIRN.

      Most complaints concerned Croatian and Hungarian police.

      “The complaints relate to various types of violence, from hits by hands and sticks to the bite of official dogs,” the office said.

      The local health centre in Bihac, in northwestern Bosnia, said it saw up to 10 cases of violent injuries each month, “but injuries are done by various subjects, i.e. the internal conflicts of migrants, third parties and / or police”.

      Croatia’s interior ministry said it had looked into all complaints of alleged coercive measures against migrants and that none had warranted further criminal investigation.

      “In all these cases, detailed field inspections were carried out in police administrations, and so far in none of the cases have been found that police officers are using forced means against migrants,” it told BIRN.

      The ministry stressed its respect for the fundamental rights and dignity of migrants and that it used “prescribed procedure for returning to the country from which they illegally entered into the Republic of Croatia.”

      “Migrants are most often falsely accusing police officers of violence, expecting such accusations will help them with a new attempt to enter the Republic of Croatia and continue their journey towards the destination countries,” it said.

      In Bosnia, a police spokesman in the Una-Sana canton, where Bihac is located, said police had not received any complaints of violence against migrants and refugees by Bosnian police.

      https://balkaninsight.com/2019/06/13/nobody-hears-you-migrants-refugees-beaten-on-balkan-borders

    • Un monde de murs : en Bosnie, la matraque et les poings comme frontière

      L’Europe a fait tomber ses murs mais bétonne ses frontières. Depuis 2018, des milliers de personnes tentent de traverser le corridor croate depuis la Bosnie pour atteindre l’espace Schengen. Migrants et ONG dénoncent des refoulements ultra-violents.

      Le camp de #Vučjak est situé sur une ancienne décharge. D’après le responsable de la Croix-Rouge, du méthane s’échappe du sol dans certaines zones. Autour des terrains empruntés chaque jour par les migrants sont susceptibles d’abriter des #mines_antipersonnel. - Kristof Vadino.

      Ici, on appelle ça le « #game ». Tenter de franchir la frontière entre la Bosnie et la Croatie et atteindre la Slovénie puis l’Italie sans se faire pincer. Le « game », Anwar peut en parler : il a « joué », il a perdu. Ils sont un petit groupe d’adolescents pakistanais et afghans dans le coin d’une grande tente du camp de Vučjak, dans les montagnes du nord de la Bosnie, à manger à même le sol le deuxième (et dernier) repas de la journée. Certains sont majeurs. « La police a tout pris : mes vêtements, mes chaussures… Ils ont tout jeté dans le feu. Et puis, ils ont frappé, fort », raconte le jeune Pakistanais. Parce qu’on demande, il précise : coups de poing, coups de pied, coups de matraque. « Ils nous ont poussés dans la rivière, l’eau était vraiment très froide, mais ils nous ont forcés à rester là deux heures. Ensuite, on a dû monter dans un véhicule et ils ont mis la climatisation à fond. » Ils ont été renvoyés pieds nus dans la forêt.

      Si, à vol d’oiseau la frontière n’est qu’à quelques kilomètres du camp, il faut plusieurs heures de marche pour passer la montagne, notoirement habitée par loups, serpents et ours (un psychologue croate de Médecins du Monde raconte avoir suivi une enfant traumatisée après que sa famille a été prise en chasse par un ours). Cette fois-ci, Anwar s’en sort bien, des contusions mais pas de blessures. Celle d’avant, au tibia, a cicatrisé. Une fois, il est parvenu à marcher pendant dix jours en Croatie. Il approchait de la frontière slovène lorsqu’on l’a attrapé. « A chaque fois, ils nous lâchent dans la montagne quand ils nous ramènent. » Les violences ? « Toujours. » Un ami l’a dépanné d’une paire de chaussures et de vêtements, mais il faudra quelque temps avant de réunir à nouveau le matériel nécessaire pour camper dans la « jungle » le long des routes croates. Avant d’avoir une opportunité avec les passeurs aussi. Le tarif : 1.200 euros – payables à l’arrivée – pour rejoindre Trieste à pied depuis la Bosnie. L’option « taxi » est beaucoup plus sûre, mais trois à quatre fois plus chère.

      « C’est dur », mais pas question de dévisser de l’objectif. « Inch Allah, je retenterai et je rejoindrai la Belgique », assure Anwar, dans un grand sourire fayot. « Il n’y a pas de vie pour nous au Pakistan. » Autour, les copains qui comprennent un peu l’anglais acquiescent, sérieux.
      Une petite équipe pour 700 hommes

      L’acharnement, c’est l’impossibilité de faire machine arrière : la dette contractée auprès de sa famille – les terres vendues, les sacrifices pour financer le voyage –, l’obligation de réussite. C’est aussi que, si violentes que puissent être les fins de partie, le « game » vaut le coup. Depuis 2018, un peu plus de 50.000 migrants sont entrés en Bosnie. D’après les chiffres de l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM), ils seraient actuellement autour de 7.000 sur le territoire ; 700 ont fait le choix de rentrer dans leur pays d’origine. Les autres sont vraisemblablement passés en Europe.

      Comme beaucoup, Anwar a passé quelques nuits devant les portes de Bira, le vaste entrepôt qui parque depuis un an plus de 1.500 hommes, mineurs isolés et familles à quelques kilomètres de là. Il est complet en permanence (1.800 personnes en ce moment). L’espace permettrait de rajouter des containers pour ouvrir 500 places supplémentaires, mais le gouvernement local restreint strictement la capacité. Les conditions sont rudes mais, à côté du camp « cauchemar » de Vučjak, c’est trois étoiles. « J’ai dit à la barrière de Bira que j’avais 17 ans », raconte Anwar. « Mais ils n’ont pas voulu que j’entre. » Il a fini par lâcher l’affaire et revenir au camp.

      Dans la tente des garçons, le container de la Croix-Rouge locale conserve les pains qui restent du petit-déjeuner. Les retardataires et retournés frappent régulièrement à la porte pour en récupérer. « It’s oooooopeeeeeen. » Affalé sur la table, le garçon aux traits tirés retire prestement le masque médical en se redressant. Mohamed Cehic gère la toute petite équipe de la Croix-Rouge qui tente tant bien que mal, seule, de répondre aux besoins des 700 hommes du camp. Cinq « volontaires » mobilisés sept jours par semaine. Il est épuisé. « Rien à voir avec le travail, j’ai juste mal dormi », assure le responsable. Avant de prendre les rênes du camp, il avait travaillé un mois dans les centres gérés par l’OIM, où la Croix-Rouge assure la distribution des repas. Et avant cela, il était à l’école. Il a 19 ans.

      « On fait tout : on a monté les tentes, on collecte et distribue la nourriture, les vêtements, tout », explique Mohamed Cehic. « Ce n’est pas un camp, je dirais plutôt un… site de transit. La situation n’est pas bonne. Ce n’est pas facile pour les gens. » Il est parfois interrompu par les puissantes rafales de vent qui rabattent pluie et branches contre la paroi du container. Reprend quand cela se calme. « L’hiver approche. C’est la montagne ici, il fait beaucoup plus froid qu’en ville. Ça va vite devenir très difficile. » Est-ce qu’il y a d’autres questions, parce qu’il devrait y aller là, il y a encore… beaucoup.
      « Si une solution n’est pas trouvée rapidement, les gens vont mourir »

      Dehors, les sollicitations reprennent. Deux hommes reviennent de l’unité mobile que Médecins sans frontières fait désormais venir quatre fois par semaine à un kilomètre de là (il n’y avait avant cela aucun accès à l’aide médicale). Ils ont un papier certifiant leur diagnostic : tuberculose. Il faut organiser leur transport à l’hôpital. Entendant parler de « docteur », d’autres arrivent. Un homme a le poignet blessé. « Police. » Il a improvisé un bandage avec un t-shirt déchiré et de la ficelle. Un autre encore ; une plaie suinte à travers le tissu à sa cheville. « C’est trop tard pour le docteur. Demain. » L’eau dans la tente ? « Je sais, on n’a rien pour réparer. » Médicament ? Vêtements ? Non ; plus tard : désolé, je ne peux rien faire ; demain. « Je ne sais pas si on pourra continuer comme ça », reconnaît Mohamed Cehic. « Les autorités ont dit que le camp fermerait le 15 novembre, mais honnêtement, je ne sais plus à qui faire confiance. » Même la nourriture manque. Dans son dernier rapport, la Croix-Rouge affirme ne pas parvenir à fournir les 2.200 calories minimum nécessaires. Le chef de mission de l’OIM, Peter Van der Auweraert, est, lui, plus catégorique : « Si une solution n’est pas trouvée rapidement, les gens vont mourir. »

      Vučjak n’a rien d’un camp spontané. Il résulte de la volonté du gouvernement cantonal d’éloigner les migrants des centres-villes et des habitations. Nouvellement empruntée, la route bosnienne a vu le nombre de migrants soudainement augmenter début 2018, passant de 1.116 personnes en 2017 à 23.848 l’année suivante. Même si un centre d’accueil existe à Sarajevo (saturé, comme les autres), la population se concentre dans le seul canton d’Una Sana, très proche de la Slovénie et de l’Italie. Ce qui a pesé sur la population. En l’espace de dix mois, la police du canton a ouvert 185 dossiers criminels à l’encontre de migrants, incluant un meurtre, trois tentatives de meurtre et des intrusions dans des maisons (« Plutôt en quête d’abris que de vol », nuance le porte-parole de la police). Des migrants étaient victimes dans 26 dossiers. Mais s’agissant de Vučjak, l’OIM et la plupart des autres organisations (y compris l’Union européenne, qui finance tous les centres) ont refusé de jouer le jeu. Le site, une ancienne décharge, n’a pas été testé pour sa toxicité. Sans eau courante, ni électricité, il est entouré de zones toujours susceptibles d’abriter des mines antipersonnel, résidus de guerre.
      Violences policières

      Seule la Croix-Rouge a répondu à l’appel du gouvernement et jongle depuis avec des bouts de ficelle. Enfin, des colsons pour l’heure, seul moyen de rabibocher les tentes déchirées par les intempéries. Au petit matin, les hommes transis de froid se rassemblent près des feux aux abords des tentes. Voire à l’intérieur. C’est dangereux, mais comme tout. Encore emmitouflé dans une mince couverture, un homme se lance dans une grande supplique à l’Union européenne. « Vous nous repoussez, d’accord, mais s’il vous plaît, arrêtez de nous punir. Arrêtez les violences. »

      La violence « supposée » de la police croate, toutes les personnes rencontrées qui sont revenues de la frontière disent en avoir fait l’expérience. Les estropiés qui « se sont fait mal » en tentant de traverser font désormais partie du paysage cantonal. Tant à Vučjak que dans les rues et les centres gérés par l’OIM. Comme Ghulem, 38 ans, croisé à Miral, le centre de Velika Kladusa, dans son fauteuil roulant. Lorsque ses amis l’ont ramené du « game » il y a un mois, incapable de tenir sur ses jambes, les médecins ont fait une radio. Mais on ne lui a jamais communiqué les résultats. Il peut légèrement les bouger maintenant, pas plus. Il a mal, surtout le soir. C’était sa première tentative. Un seul coup de matraque sous les genoux. Il y pense tout le temps. Des migrants racontent que la police tape toujours plus dur sur les Pakistanais – majoritaires en ce moment – sans qu’on sache pourquoi.

      Naeem était presque en Italie, lorsque la police slovène l’a intercepté et remis aux forces croates. Retour à la montagne. Le bâton a frappé tellement fort qu’il a creusé des trous dans la chair. Sa jambe a doublé de volume avec l’infection. Un mois plus tard, les plaies suintent encore à travers les pansements. Il a de la chance, il a accès à un docteur.
      Histoires de disparitions

      Contactée, la Commission européenne assure prendre la situation très au sérieux et attend que la Croatie la « tienne informée ». Fin 2018, Bruxelles débloquait une enveloppe de 6,8 millions d’euros pour permettre à la Croatie de renforcer le contrôle de ses frontières – condition pour une intégration future du pays dans l’espace Schengen – « dans le respect du droit de l’Union européenne ». Outre l’achat de matériel, la création de nouveaux postes-frontières et le renforcement des équipes, l’argent devait financer un « monitoring indépendant », censé essentiellement passer en revue les procédures en place. Quant aux violences policières et au déni d’asile, la Croatie « s’est engagée à enquêter sur toute allégation de mauvais traitement de migrants et réfugiés à la frontière ». Le ministère de l’Intérieur croate n’a pas donné suite à nos requêtes (refusant par ailleurs l’accès à un centre d’accueil de Zagreb).
      Quotidien de migrant

      Le monitoring se fait surtout du côté des ONG. Une poignée d’organisations actives dans les Balkans alimente continuellement le Border Violence Monitoring de rapports d’entretiens menés avec des migrants, souvent complétés de rapports médicaux corroborant les témoignages. De quoi conforter l’idée d’un usage systématique de la violence incluant torture par le froid, passage à tabac, destructions des biens et vêtements et, dans certains cas, des morsures de chiens, os brisés par des coups de bâton…

      L’angle mort pour l’heure, ce sont les disparitions. Dans les camps circulent de nombreuses histoires de noyade lors de la traversée de la Glina, la rivière qui sépare la Bosnie de la Croatie. Mais elles restent quasi impossibles à documenter. Alertées par les migrants, les ONG ont amené (poussé) la police bosnienne à découvrir trois corps – dont un dans la rivière – depuis le mois de septembre, induisant ainsi l’ouverture d’enquêtes. Depuis son lit superposé dans l’immense dortoir de Miral, un garçon essaie de se faire entendre, cherche du regard un Pakistanais capable de traduire. « S’il vous plaît, mes amis, ils sont restés là-bas. » Quatre jours plus tôt, il a laissé quatre compagnons dans les bois, à proximité de la frontière slovène, raconte-t-il. « Ils ont mangé des baies empoisonnées. Ils ne se sont pas réveillés. » Les informations lui manquent, il n’a pas de données GPS. « C’est près d’un village. S’il vous plaît. Il faut les aider. »

      Déni d’asile

      L.K.

      D’après les témoignages de migrants et d’organisations locales, de nombreux cas de refoulements se feraient depuis les commissariats de police croates, seuls endroits où les personnes peuvent déclarer leur intention de demander l’asile. « Il est déjà arrivé que des personnes viennent directement dans nos locaux, qu’on les renvoie vers les commissariats… et qu’elles se retrouvent en Bosnie le lendemain », raconte Tajana Tadic, de l’association citoyenne Are you Sirious. « Ça nous met dans une situation compliquée. C’est délicat de demander aux gens de faire confiance une autorité dont ils ont peur, tout en sachant qu’ils ont de bonnes raisons de se méfier. »

      La Croatie, cela dit, accueille des demandeurs d’asile. Des familles surtout. Médecins du Monde y assure le screening médical et les consultations psychologiques. « On constate essentiellement des maladies de peau, des blessures traumatiques et des problèmes respiratoires. Côté psychologique, leur esprit est encore tourné vers la route, l’urgence d’avancer. Ce n’est qu’après quelque temps que les problèmes apparaissent, quand ils sortent du “mode survie” », explique une psychologue. « On voit des symptômes dépressifs, des crises de panique, de l’anxiété, des troubles de stress post-traumatiques… »

      https://plus.lesoir.be/259302/article/2019-11-08/un-monde-de-murs-en-bosnie-la-matraque-et-les-poings-comme-frontiere
      #Vucjak #the_game #Cazin #Bihac #Vedika_Kladusa

    • Réfugiés en Bosnie-Herzégovine : à la frontière croate, le « game » a repris

      Bloqués depuis la mi-avril par les mesures de confinement liés à la pandémie, les candidats à l’exil sont de plus en plus nombreux à reprendre la route de Bihać pour tenter de passer en Croatie puis se diriger vers l’Europe occidentale. Malgré les violences, les humiliations et les actes de torture commis par la police, dénoncés par Amnesty international (https://www.amnesty.be/infos/actualites/article/croatie-violences-policieres-torture-infligees-migrantes)

      « Je vais en Italie. J’ai fait 100 km à pied pour arriver ici », raconte Velid, un Afghan. Trois jours plus tôt, il est parti du camp de Blažuj, près de Sarajevo, afin d’essayer de passer la frontière croate par Bihać, dans le nord-ouest de la Bosnie-Herzégovine. Velid dort dans des bâtiments abandonnés en attendant de tenter le « game ». « Je n’ai rien à boire ni à manger. Les conditions de logement sont mauvaises, sans eau, ni électricité. On a essayé d’aller dans un camp officiel, mais les gens de la sécurité nous disent qu’il n’y a pas de place pour nous. ». Velid est accompagné d’Abdul Samed, lui aussi venu de Blažuj avec l’objectif de rallier l’Italie.

      Muhamed Husein est Pakistanais. Il y a trois semaines, il logeait au camp Lipa, à 30 km de Bihać. Il a fini dans les locaux désaffectés de Krajinametal après avoir échoué à passer la frontière croate. « Nous sommes arrivés dans ce bâtiment. Nous n’avons pas d’eau, pas de chaussures. Le camp de Lipa est plein et de nouvelles personnes arrivent. Quand on essaie de pénétrer en Croatie, la police nous attrape et nous reconduit à la frontière. Mais nous, on veut aller en Italie. »

      Suite à l’assouplissement des mesures de lutte contre la pandémie, l’arrivée de réfugiés et de migrants sur le territoire du canton d’Una-Sana (USK) est en forte hausse. Selon les informations de la police locale, ces dix derniers jours, 1500 à 2000 nouveaux réfugiés et migrants seraient entrés dans le canton. « Chaque jour, entre 100 et 150 nouveaux migrants en moyenne arrivent dans notre canton en autocar, depuis Sarajevo, Tuzla et Banja Luka », confirme Ale Šiljededić, porte-parole de la police de l’USK. « Comme nous avons pu nous en assurer lors de nos contrôles, certains ont des cartes de camps en activité en Bosnie-Herzégovine, plus précisément à Sarajevo, ce qui signifie qu’ils en partent librement, sans le moindre contrôle ni surveillance. »

      Dans le canton de Bihać, les autorités sont inquiètes

      Selon les autorités municipales, l’augmentation des arrivées à Bihać réveille la crainte que la situation ne revienne à son état d’avant l’état d’urgence, quand les bâtiments abandonnés, mais également les parcs de la ville, étaient devenus des lieux de rassemblement et de vie pour les migrants faute de place dans les camps officiels saturés. « Il n’y a pas eu de nouvelles arrivées pendant la pandémie », précise Ale Šiljededić. « Nous avons vidé les bâtiments squattés et installé les migrants dans le camp Lipa. Ces jours-ci, ces espaces se remplissent à nouveaux, car les centres d’accueil affichent complet. »

      Selon les données de l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM), en charge de la gestion des camps officiels en Bosnie-Herzégovine, 3500 migrants séjournent actuellement dans les camps du Canton d’Una-Sana, dont 1200 dans le nouveau camp de Lipa. Autre problème pour les autorités municipales, le camp de Bira, situé dans la ville de Bihać, dont la fermeture traîne depuis des mois. D’après l’OIM, il accueille à l’heure actuelle quelque 610 migrants. « Bira doit fermer, c’est notre objectif à long terme, mais fermer Bira et avoir des milliers de migrants dans la nature et dans les rues, ce n’est pas non plus une solution », a déclaré le maire Šuhret Fazlić lors d’une conférence de presse le 4 juin.

      Sur la base des conclusions du Groupe opérationnel de suivi de la crise migratoire dans le Canton d’Una-Sana, la police contrôle les autocars qui entrent sur le territoire du canton. « Malheureusement, nous n’arrivons pas complètement à dissuader les migrants d’entrer dans le canton, car la majorité d’entre eux poursuit son chemin vers Bihać à pied ou par d’autres moyens », précise Ale Šiljededić.

      Les migrants ont le même objectif que les Bosniens

      Azra Ibrahimović-Srebrenica, directrice du camp d’Ušivak, près de Sarajevo, confirme que les migrants sont à nouveau en mouvement. Pendant le confinement, il y avait dans ce centre d’accueil dirigé par l’OIM environ 900 migrants, ils ne sont plus que 400 aujourd’hui. « Leur objectif n’est pas la Bosnie-Herzégovine, mais les pays d’Europe occidentale », rappelle-t-elle. « Toute surveillance de la direction du camp cesse quand les migrants les quittent », poursuit-elle. « D’après ce qu’ils nous disent, ils utilisent les transports publics, selon l’argent dont ils disposent. Certains paient leur voyage, et ceux qui ne peuvent pas s’acheter un billet partent à pied. »

      Les restrictions de déplacement des migrants sont-elles toujours en vigueur ? Pour l’OIM, « depuis l’adoption de la décision du Conseil des ministres sur la restriction des déplacements et du séjour des étrangers, qui a suivi l’annonce officielle de la pandémie de Covid-19, il est impossible de quitter les centres d’accueil temporaires de manière régulière ». Cette décision, adoptée le 16 avril, interdit les déplacements et le séjour des sans-papiers en dehors des centres d’accueil. Mais les migrants, comme l’a confirmé l’OIM, quittent en général les camps en sautant les barrières.

      La population locale est inquiète, « mais c’est principalement à cause des préjugés envers les migrants », affirme la directrice du camp Ušivak. L’objectif de ces derniers, rappelle-t-elle, est exactement le même que celui des citoyens bosniens qui quittent le pays : une vie meilleure. « Les gens se font des idées fausses et des préjugés sur la base de quelques individus problématiques. En réalité, nous avons dans nos centres des gens charmants, bien élevés, éduqués, cultivés, des sportifs talentueux, comme ce groupe de six footballeurs qui se sont entraînés avec le petit club près du camp. Nous avons aussi des musiciens, des enseignants, des médecins... » Selon les données de l’OIM, il y aurait actuellement sur l’ensemble du territoire de la Bosnie-Herzégovine, plus de 5700 migrants logés dans les sept centres d’accueil sous sa tutelle.

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/A-la-frontiere-Bosnie-Herzegovine-Croatie-les-migrants-tentent-de