• Lesbos, symbole de l’échec de la politique migratoire européenne
    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2020/09/27/lesbos-symbole-de-l-echec-de-la-politique-migratoire-europeenne_6053793_3210

    L’histoire de Moria a été émaillée d’incidents et de violences lié au surpeuplement du camp : files interminables pour accéder à la nourriture et aux services de base, sanitaires insuffisants, rixes, saleté, départs de feu causés par les chauffages de fortune, tentatives de suicide, cas d’automutilation chez les enfants… Les ONG dénonçaient régulièrement les conditions de vie « inhumaines » de Moria. Plus récemment, l’épidémie de Covid-19 a aggravé l’enfermement et le désespoir des migrants. Les mesures de confinement imposées depuis le mois de mars ont été durcies début septembre, à la suite de la découverte d’un cas positif. Les incendies début septembre auraient été provoqués, selon les autorités grecques, par des résidents du camp eux-mêmes, pour protester contre la dureté de l’enfermement. Aucune campagne de tests n’avait auparavant pas été organisée par Athènes dans les camps situés sur les îles de la mer Egée, malgré la promiscuité et l’insalubrité qui les caractérisent.
    Début septembre, plus de 14 500 migrants étaient bloqués à Lesbos, dans le camp de Moria, et dans les structures alternatives mises en place au fil des années par la municipalité et les résidents de l’île, à Kara Tepe et Pikpa, ou encore par le Haut-commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés (HCR). Les migrants ayant le droit de se déplacer en Grèce continentale pendant l’étude de leur demande d’asile restaient bloqués sur l’île, faute de mesures prévues pour leur transfert, et les relocalisations vers le continent organisées ponctuellement par les autorités ont toujours été insuffisantes pour désengorger les structures d’accueil de l’île.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#grece#moria#camp#sante#politiquemigratoire#refugie#demandeurdasile#UE#relocalisation

  • Migrants: le règlement de Dublin va être supprimé

    La Commission européenne doit présenter le 23 septembre sa proposition de réforme de sa politique migratoire, très attendue et plusieurs fois repoussée.

    Cinq ans après le début de la crise migratoire, l’Union européenne veut changer de stratégie. La Commission européenne veut “abolir” le règlement de Dublin qui fracture les Etats-membres et qui confie la responsabilité du traitement des demandes d’asile au pays de première entrée des migrants dans l’UE, a annoncé ce mercredi 16 septembre la cheffe de l’exécutif européen Ursula von der Leyen dans son discours sur l’Etat de l’Union.

    La Commission doit présenter le 23 septembre sa proposition de réforme de la politique migratoire européenne, très attendue et plusieurs fois repoussée, alors que le débat sur le manque de solidarité entre pays Européens a été relancé par l’incendie du camp de Moria sur lîle grecque de Lesbos.

    “Au coeur (de la réforme) il y a un engagement pour un système plus européen”, a déclaré Ursula von der Leyen devant le Parlement européen. “Je peux annoncer que nous allons abolir le règlement de Dublin et le remplacer par un nouveau système européen de gouvernance de la migration”, a-t-elle poursuivi.
    Nouveau mécanisme de solidarité

    “Il y aura des structures communes pour l’asile et le retour. Et il y aura un nouveau mécanisme fort de solidarité”, a-t-elle dit, alors que les pays qui sont en première ligne d’arrivée des migrants (Grèce, Malte, Italie notamment) se plaignent de devoir faire face à une charge disproportionnée.

    La proposition de réforme de la Commission devra encore être acceptée par les Etats. Ce qui n’est pas gagné d’avance. Cinq ans après la crise migratoire de 2015, la question de l’accueil des migrants est un sujet qui reste source de profondes divisions en Europe, certains pays de l’Est refusant d’accueillir des demandeurs d’asile.

    Sous la pression, le système d’asile européen organisé par le règlement de Dublin a explosé après avoir pesé lourdement sur la Grèce ou l’Italie.

    Le nouveau plan pourrait notamment prévoir davantage de sélection des demandeurs d’asile aux frontières extérieures et un retour des déboutés dans leur pays assuré par Frontex. Egalement à l’étude pour les Etats volontaires : un mécanisme de relocalisation des migrants sauvés en Méditerranée, parfois contraints d’errer en mer pendant des semaines en attente d’un pays d’accueil.

    Ce plan ne résoudrait toutefois pas toutes les failles. Pour le patron de l’Office français de l’immigration et de l’intégration, Didier Leschi, “il ne peut pas y avoir de politique européenne commune sans critères communs pour accepter les demandes d’asile.”

    https://www.huffingtonpost.fr/entry/migrants-le-reglement-de-dublin-tres-controverse-va-etre-supprime_fr_

    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #Dublin #règlement_dublin #fin #fin_de_Dublin #suppression #pacte

    –---

    Documents officiels en lien avec le pacte:
    https://seenthis.net/messages/879881

    ping @reka @karine4 @_kg_ @isskein

    • Immigration : le règlement de Dublin, l’impossible #réforme ?

      En voulant abroger le règlement de Dublin, qui impose la responsabilité des demandeurs d’asile au premier pays d’entrée dans l’Union européenne, Bruxelles reconnaît des dysfonctionnements dans l’accueil des migrants. Mais les Vingt-Sept, plus que jamais divisés sur cette question, sont-ils prêts à une refonte du texte ? Éléments de réponses.

      Ursula Von der Leyen en a fait une des priorités de son mandat : réformer le règlement de Dublin, qui impose au premier pays de l’UE dans lequel le migrant est arrivé de traiter sa demande d’asile. « Je peux annoncer que nous allons [l’]abolir et le remplacer par un nouveau système européen de gouvernance de la migration », a déclaré la présidente de la Commission européenne mercredi 16 septembre, devant le Parlement.

      Les États dotés de frontières extérieures comme la Grèce, l’Italie ou Malte se sont réjouis de cette annonce. Ils s’estiment lésés par ce règlement en raison de leur situation géographique qui les place en première ligne.

      La présidente de la Commission européenne doit présenter, le 23 septembre, une nouvelle version de la politique migratoire, jusqu’ici maintes fois repoussée. « Il y aura des structures communes pour l’asile et le retour. Et il y aura un nouveau mécanisme fort de solidarité », a-t-elle poursuivi. Un terme fort à l’heure où l’incendie du camp de Moria sur l’île grecque de Lesbos, plus de 8 000 adultes et 4 000 enfants à la rue, a révélé le manque d’entraide entre pays européens.

      Pour mieux comprendre l’enjeu de cette nouvelle réforme européenne de la politique migratoire, France 24 décrypte le règlement de Dublin qui divise tant les Vingt-Sept, en particulier depuis la crise migratoire de 2015.

      Pourquoi le règlement de Dublin dysfonctionne ?

      Les failles ont toujours existé mais ont été révélées par la crise migratoire de 2015, estiment les experts de politique migratoire. Ce texte signé en 2013 et qu’on appelle « Dublin III » repose sur un accord entre les membres de l’Union européenne ainsi que la Suisse, l’Islande, la Norvège et le Liechtenstein. Il prévoit que l’examen de la demande d’asile d’un exilé incombe au premier pays d’entrée en Europe. Si un migrant passé par l’Italie arrive par exemple en France, les autorités françaises ne sont, en théorie, pas tenu d’enregistrer la demande du Dubliné.
      © Union européenne | Les pays signataires du règlement de Dublin.

      Face à l’afflux de réfugiés ces dernières années, les pays dotés de frontières extérieures, comme la Grèce et l’Italie, se sont estimés abandonnés par le reste de l’Europe. « La charge est trop importante pour ce bloc méditerranéen », estime Matthieu Tardis, chercheur au Centre migrations et citoyennetés de l’Ifri (Institut français des relations internationales). Le texte est pensé « comme un mécanisme de responsabilité des États et non de solidarité », estime-t-il.

      Sa mise en application est aussi difficile à mettre en place. La France et l’Allemagne, qui concentrent la majorité des demandes d’asile depuis le début des années 2000, peinent à renvoyer les Dublinés. Dans l’Hexagone, seulement 11,5 % ont été transférés dans le pays d’entrée. Outre-Rhin, le taux ne dépasse pas les 15 %. Conséquence : nombre d’entre eux restent « bloqués » dans les camps de migrants à Calais ou dans le nord de Paris.

      Le délai d’attente pour les demandeurs d’asile est aussi jugé trop long. Un réfugié passé par l’Italie, qui vient déposer une demande d’asile en France, peut attendre jusqu’à 18 mois avant d’avoir un retour. « Durant cette période, il se retrouve dans une situation d’incertitude très dommageable pour lui mais aussi pour l’Union européenne. C’est un système perdant-perdant », commente Matthieu Tardis.

      Ce règlement n’est pas adapté aux demandeurs d’asile, surenchérit-on à la Cimade (Comité inter-mouvements auprès des évacués). Dans un rapport, l’organisation qualifie ce système de « machine infernale de l’asile européen ». « Il ne tient pas compte des liens familiaux ni des langues parlées par les réfugiés », précise le responsable asile de l’association, Gérard Sadik.

      Sept ans après avoir vu le jour, le règlement s’est vu porter le coup de grâce par le confinement lié aux conditions sanitaires pour lutter contre le Covid-19. « Durant cette période, aucun transfert n’a eu lieu », assure-t-on à la Cimade.

      Le mécanisme de solidarité peut-il le remplacer ?

      « Il y aura un nouveau mécanisme fort de solidarité », a promis Ursula von der Leyen, sans donné plus de précision. Sur ce point, on sait déjà que les positions divergent, voire s’opposent, entre les Vingt-Sept.

      Le bloc du nord-ouest (Allemagne, France, Autriche, Benelux) reste ancré sur le principe actuel de responsabilité, mais accepte de l’accompagner d’un mécanisme de solidarité. Sur quels critères se base la répartition du nombre de demandeurs d’asile ? Comment les sélectionner ? Aucune décision n’est encore actée. « Ils sont prêts à des compromis car ils veulent montrer que l’Union européenne peut avancer et agir sur la question migratoire », assure Matthieu Tardis.

      En revanche, le groupe dit de Visegrad (Hongrie, Pologne, République tchèque, Slovaquie), peu enclin à l’accueil, rejette catégoriquement tout principe de solidarité. « Ils se disent prêts à envoyer des moyens financiers, du personnel pour le contrôle aux frontières mais refusent de recevoir les demandeurs d’asile », détaille le chercheur de l’Ifri.

      Quant au bloc Méditerranée (Grèce, Italie, Malte , Chypre, Espagne), des questions subsistent sur la proposition du bloc nord-ouest : le mécanisme de solidarité sera-t-il activé de façon permanente ou exceptionnelle ? Quelles populations sont éligibles au droit d’asile ? Et qui est responsable du retour ? « Depuis le retrait de la Ligue du Nord de la coalition dans le gouvernement italien, le dialogue est à nouveau possible », avance Matthieu Tardis.

      Un accord semble toutefois indispensable pour montrer que l’Union européenne n’est pas totalement en faillite sur ce dossier. « Mais le bloc de Visegrad n’a pas forcément en tête cet enjeu », nuance-t-il. Seule la situation sanitaire liée au Covid-19, qui place les pays de l’Est dans une situation économique fragile, pourrait faire évoluer leur position, note le chercheur.

      Et le mécanisme par répartition ?

      Le mécanisme par répartition, dans les tuyaux depuis 2016, revient régulièrement sur la table des négociations. Son principe : la capacité d’accueil du pays dépend de ses poids démographique et économique. Elle serait de 30 % pour l’Allemagne, contre un tiers des demandes aujourd’hui, et 20 % pour la France, qui en recense 18 %. « Ce serait une option gagnante pour ces deux pays, mais pas pour le bloc du Visegrad qui s’y oppose », décrypte Gérard Sadik, le responsable asile de la Cimade.

      Cette doctrine reposerait sur un système informatisé, qui recenserait dans une seule base toutes les données des demandeurs d’asile. Mais l’usage de l’intelligence artificielle au profit de la procédure administrative ne présente pas que des avantages, aux yeux de la Cimade : « L’algorithme ne sera pas en mesure de tenir compte des liens familiaux des demandeurs d’asile », juge Gérard Sadik.

      Quelles chances pour une refonte ?

      L’Union européenne a déjà tenté plusieurs fois de réformer ce serpent de mer. Un texte dit « Dublin IV » était déjà dans les tuyaux depuis 2016, en proposant par exemple que la responsabilité du premier État d’accueil soit définitive, mais il a été enterré face aux dissensions internes.

      Reste à savoir quel est le contenu exact de la nouvelle version qui sera présentée le 23 septembre par Ursula Van der Leyen. À la Cimade, on craint un durcissement de la politique migratoire, et notamment un renforcement du contrôle aux frontières.

      Quoi qu’il en soit, les négociations s’annoncent « compliquées et difficiles » car « les intérêts des pays membres ne sont pas les mêmes », a rappelé le ministre grec adjoint des Migrations, Giorgos Koumoutsakos, jeudi 17 septembre. Et surtout, la nouvelle mouture devra obtenir l’accord du Parlement, mais aussi celui des États. La refonte est encore loin.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/27376/immigration-le-reglement-de-dublin-l-impossible-reforme

      #gouvernance #Ursula_Von_der_Leyen #mécanisme_de_solidarité #responsabilité #groupe_de_Visegrad #solidarité #répartition #mécanisme_par_répartition #capacité_d'accueil #intelligence_artificielle #algorithme #Dublin_IV

    • Germany’s #Seehofer cautiously optimistic on EU asylum reform

      For the first time during the German Presidency, EU interior ministers exchanged views on reforms of the EU asylum system. German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) expressed “justified confidence” that a deal can be found. EURACTIV Germany reports.

      The focus of Tuesday’s (7 July) informal video conference of interior ministers was on the expansion of police cooperation and sea rescue, which, according to Seehofer, is one of the “Big Four” topics of the German Council Presidency, integrated into a reform of the #Common_European_Asylum_System (#CEAS).

      Following the meeting, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, spoke of an “excellent start to the Presidency,” and Seehofer also praised the “constructive discussions.” In the field of asylum policy, she said that it had become clear that all member states were “highly interested in positive solutions.”

      The interior ministers were unanimous in their desire to further strengthen police cooperation and expand both the mandates and the financial resources of Europol and Frontex.

      Regarding the question of the distribution of refugees, Seehofer said that he had “heard statements that [he] had not heard in years prior.” He said that almost all member states were “prepared to show solidarity in different ways.”

      While about a dozen member states would like to participate in the distribution of those rescued from distress at the EU’s external borders in the event of a “disproportionate burden” on the states, other states signalled that they wanted to make control vessels, financial means or personnel available to prevent smuggling activities and stem migration across the Mediterranean.

      Seehofer’s final act

      It will probably be Seehofer’s last attempt to initiate CEAS reform. He announced in May that he would withdraw completely from politics after the end of the legislative period in autumn 2021.

      Now it seems that he considers CEAS reform as his last great mission, Seehofer said that he intends to address the migration issue from late summer onwards “with all I have at my disposal.” adding that Tuesday’s (7 July) talks had “once again kindled a real fire” in him. To this end, he plans to leave the official business of the Interior Ministry “in day-to-day matters” largely to the State Secretaries.

      Seehofer’s shift of priorities to the European stage comes at a time when he is being sharply criticised in Germany.

      While his initial handling of a controversial newspaper column about the police published in Berlin’s tageszeitung prompted criticism, Seehofer now faces accusations of concealing structural racism in the police. Seehofer had announced over the weekend that, contrary to the recommendation of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), he would not commission a study on racial profiling in the police force after all.

      Seehofer: “One step is not enough”

      In recent months, Seehofer has made several attempts to set up a distribution mechanism for rescued persons in distress. On several occasions he accused the Commission of letting member states down by not solving the asylum question.

      “I have the ambition to make a great leap. One step would be too little in our presidency,” said Seehofer during Tuesday’s press conference. However, much depends on when the Commission will present its long-awaited migration pact, as its proposals are intended to serve as a basis for negotiations on CEAS reform.

      As Johansson said on Tuesday, this is planned for September. Seehofer thus only has just under four months to get the first Council conclusions through. “There will not be enough time for legislation,” he said.

      Until a permanent solution is found, ad hoc solutions will continue. A “sustainable solution” should include better cooperation with the countries of origin and transit, as the member states agreed on Tuesday.

      To this end, “agreements on the repatriation of refugees” are now to be reached with North African countries. A first step towards this will be taken next Monday (13 July), at a joint conference with North African leaders.

      https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/germany-eyes-breakthrough-in-eu-migration-dispute-this-year

      #Europol #Frontex

    • Relocation, solidarity mandatory for EU migration policy: #Johansson

      In an interview with ANSA and other European media outlets, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs #Ylva_Johansson explained the new migration and asylum pact due to be unveiled on September 23, stressing that nobody will find ideal solutions but rather a well-balanced compromise that will ’’improve the situation’’.

      European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson has explained in an interview with a group of European journalists, including ANSA, a new pact on asylum and migration to be presented on September 23. She touched on rules for countries of first entry, a new mechanism of mandatory solidarity, fast repatriations and refugee relocation.

      The Swedish commissioner said that no one will find ideal solutions in the European Commission’s new asylum and migration proposal but rather a good compromise that “will improve the situation”.

      She said the debate to change the asylum regulation known as Dublin needs to be played down in order to find an agreement. Johansson said an earlier 2016 reform plan would be withdrawn as it ’’caused the majority’’ of conflicts among countries.

      A new proposal that will replace the current one and amend the existing Dublin regulation will be presented, she explained.

      The current regulation will not be completely abolished but rules regarding frontline countries will change. Under the new proposal, migrants can still be sent back to the country responsible for their asylum request, explained the commissioner, adding that amendments will be made but the country of first entry will ’’remain important’’.

      ’’Voluntary solidarity is not enough," there has to be a “mandatory solidarity mechanism,” Johansson noted.

      Countries will need to help according to their size and possibilities. A member state needs to show solidarity ’’in accordance with the capacity and size’’ of its economy. There will be no easy way out with the possibility of ’’just sending some blankets’’ - efforts must be proportional to the size and capabilities of member states, she said.
      Relocations are a divisive theme

      Relocations will be made in a way that ’’can be possible to accept for all member states’’, the commissioner explained. The issue of mandatory quotas is extremely divisive, she went on to say. ’’The sentence of the European Court of Justice has established that they can be made’’.

      However, the theme is extremely divisive. Many of those who arrive in Europe are not eligible for international protection and must be repatriated, she said, wondering if it is a good idea to relocate those who need to be repatriated.

      “We are looking for a way to bring the necessary aid to countries under pressure.”

      “Relocation is an important part, but also” it must be done “in a way that can be possible to accept for all member states,” she noted.

      Moreover, Johansson said the system will not be too rigid as the union should prepare for different scenarios.
      Faster repatriations

      Repatriations will be a key part of the plan, with faster bureaucratic procedures, she said. The 2016 reform proposal was made following the 2015 migration crisis, when two million people, 90% of whom were refugees, reached the EU irregularly. For this reason, the plan focused on relocations, she explained.

      Now the situation is completely different: last year 2.4 million stay permits were issued, the majority for reasons connected to family, work or education. Just 140,000 people migrated irregularly and only one-third were refugees while two-thirds will need to be repatriated.

      For this reason, stressed the commissioner, the new plan will focus on repatriation. Faster procedures are necessary, she noted. When people stay in a country for years it is very hard to organize repatriations, especially voluntary ones. So the objective is for a negative asylum decision “to come together with a return decision.”

      Also, the permanence in hosting centers should be of short duration. Speaking about a fire at the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos where more than 12,000 asylum seekers have been stranded for years, the commissioner said the situation was the ’’result of lack of European policy on asylum and migration."

      “We shall have no more Morias’’, she noted, calling for well-managed hosting centers along with limits to permanence.

      A win-win collaboration will instead be planned with third countries, she said. ’’The external aspect is very important. We have to work on good partnerships with third countries, supporting them and finding win-win solutions for readmissions and for the fight against traffickers. We have to develop legal pathways to come to the EU, in particular with resettlements, a policy that needs to be strengthened.”

      The commissioner then rejected the idea of opening hosting centers in third countries, an idea for example proposed by Denmark.

      “It is not the direction I intend to take. We will not export the right to asylum.”

      The commissioner said she was very concerned by reports of refoulements. Her objective, she concluded, is to “include in the pact a monitoring mechanism. The right to asylum must be defended.”

      https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/27447/relocation-solidarity-mandatory-for-eu-migration-policy-johansson

      #relocalisation #solidarité_obligatoire #solidarité_volontaire #pays_de_première_entrée #renvois #expulsions #réinstallations #voies_légales

    • Droit d’asile : Bruxelles rate son « #pacte »

      La Commission européenne, assurant vouloir « abolir » le règlement de Dublin et son principe du premier pays d’entrée, doit présenter ce mercredi un « pacte sur l’immigration et l’asile ». Qui ne bouleverserait rien.

      C’est une belle victoire pour Viktor Orbán, le Premier ministre hongrois, et ses partenaires d’Europe centrale et orientale aussi peu enclins que lui à accueillir des étrangers sur leur sol. La Commission européenne renonce définitivement à leur imposer d’accueillir des demandeurs d’asile en cas d’afflux dans un pays de la « ligne de front » (Grèce, Italie, Malte, Espagne). Certes, le volumineux paquet de textes qu’elle propose ce mercredi (10 projets de règlements et trois recommandations, soit plusieurs centaines de pages), pompeusement baptisé « pacte sur l’immigration et l’asile », prévoit qu’ils devront, par « solidarité », assurer les refoulements vers les pays d’origine des déboutés du droit d’asile, mais cela ne devrait pas les gêner outre mesure. Car, sur le fond, la Commission prend acte de la volonté des Vingt-Sept de transformer l’Europe en forteresse.
      Sale boulot

      La crise de 2015 les a durablement traumatisés. A l’époque, la Turquie, par lassitude d’accueillir sur son sol plusieurs millions de réfugiés syriens et des centaines de milliers de migrants économiques dans l’indifférence de la communauté internationale, ouvre ses frontières. La Grèce est vite submergée et plusieurs centaines de milliers de personnes traversent les Balkans afin de trouver refuge, notamment en Allemagne et en Suède, parmi les pays les plus généreux en matière d’asile.

      Passé les premiers moments de panique, les Européens réagissent de plusieurs manières. La Hongrie fait le sale boulot en fermant brutalement sa frontière. L’Allemagne, elle, accepte d’accueillir un million de demandeurs d’asile, mais négocie avec Ankara un accord pour qu’il referme ses frontières, accord ensuite endossé par l’UE qui lui verse en échange 6 milliards d’euros destinés aux camps de réfugiés. Enfin, l’Union adopte un règlement destiné à relocaliser sur une base obligatoire une partie des migrants dans les autres pays européens afin qu’ils instruisent les demandes d’asile, dans le but de soulager la Grèce et l’Italie, pays de premier accueil. Ce dernier volet est un échec, les pays d’Europe de l’Est, qui ont voté contre, refusent d’accueillir le moindre migrant, et leurs partenaires de l’Ouest ne font guère mieux : sur 160 000 personnes qui auraient dû être relocalisées, un objectif rapidement revu à 98 000, moins de 35 000 l’ont été à la fin 2017, date de la fin de ce dispositif.

      Depuis, l’Union a considérablement durci les contrôles, notamment en créant un corps de 10 000 gardes-frontières européens et en renforçant les moyens de Frontex, l’agence chargée de gérer ses frontières extérieures. En février-mars, la tentative d’Ankara de faire pression sur les Européens dans le conflit syrien en rouvrant partiellement ses frontières a fait long feu : la Grèce a employé les grands moyens, y compris violents, pour stopper ce flux sous les applaudissements de ses partenaires… Autant dire que l’ambiance n’est pas à l’ouverture des frontières et à l’accueil des persécutés.
      « Usine à gaz »

      Mais la crise migratoire de 2015 a laissé des « divisions nombreuses et profondes entre les Etats membres - certaines des cicatrices qu’elle a laissées sont toujours visibles aujourd’hui », comme l’a reconnu Ursula von der Leyen, la présidente de la Commission, dans son discours sur l’état de l’Union du 16 septembre. Afin de tourner la page, la Commission propose donc de laisser tomber la réforme de 2016 (dite de Dublin IV) prévoyant de pérenniser la relocalisation autoritaire des migrants, désormais jugée par une haute fonctionnaire de l’exécutif « totalement irréaliste ».

      Mais la réforme qu’elle propose, une véritable « usine à gaz », n’est qu’un « rapiéçage » de l’existant, comme l’explique Yves Pascouau, spécialiste de l’immigration et responsable des programmes européens de l’association Res Publica. Ainsi, alors que Von der Leyen a annoncé sa volonté « d’abolir » le règlement de Dublin III, il n’en est rien : le pays responsable du traitement d’une demande d’asile reste, par principe, comme c’est le cas depuis 1990, le pays de première entrée.

      S’il y a une crise, la Commission pourra déclencher un « mécanisme de solidarité » afin de soulager un pays de la ligne de front : dans ce cas, les Vingt-Sept devront accueillir un certain nombre de migrants (en fonction de leur richesse et de leur population), sauf s’ils préfèrent « parrainer un retour ». En clair, prendre en charge le refoulement des déboutés de l’asile (avec l’aide financière et logistique de l’Union) en sachant que ces personnes resteront à leur charge jusqu’à ce qu’ils y parviennent. Ça, c’est pour faire simple, car il y a plusieurs niveaux de crise, des exceptions, des sanctions, des délais et l’on en passe…

      Autre nouveauté : les demandes d’asile devront être traitées par principe à la frontière, dans des camps de rétention, pour les nationalités dont le taux de reconnaissance du statut de réfugié est inférieur à 20% dans l’Union, et ce, en moins de trois mois, avec refoulement à la clé en cas de refus. « Cette réforme pose un principe clair, explique un eurocrate. Personne ne sera obligé d’accueillir un étranger dont il ne veut pas. »

      Dans cet ensemble très sévère, une bonne nouvelle : les sauvetages en mer ne devraient plus être criminalisés. On peut craindre qu’une fois passés à la moulinette des Etats, qui doivent adopter ce paquet à la majorité qualifiée (55% des Etats représentant 65% de la population), il ne reste que les aspects les plus répressifs. On ne se refait pas.


      https://www.liberation.fr/planete/2020/09/22/droit-d-asile-bruxelles-rate-son-pacte_1800264

      –—

      Graphique ajouté au fil de discussion sur les statistiques de la #relocalisation :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/605713

    • Le pacte européen sur l’asile et les migrations ne tire aucune leçon de la « crise migratoire »

      Ce 23 septembre 2020, la nouvelle Commission européenne a présenté les grandes lignes d’orientation de sa politique migratoire à venir. Alors que cinq ans plutôt, en 2015, se déroulait la mal nommée « crise migratoire » aux frontières européennes, le nouveau Pacte Asile et Migration de l’UE ne tire aucune leçon du passé. Le nouveau pacte de l’Union Européenne nous propose inlassablement les mêmes recettes alors que les preuves de leur inefficacité, leur coût et des violences qu’elles procurent sont nombreuses et irréfutables. Le CNCD-11.11.11, son homologue néerlandophone et les membres du groupe de travail pour la justice migratoire appellent le parlement européen et le gouvernement belge à un changement de cap.

      Le nouveau Pacte repose sur des propositions législatives et des recommandations non contraignantes. Ses priorités sont claires mais pas neuves. Freiner les arrivées, limiter l’accueil par le « tri » des personnes et augmenter les retours. Cette stratégie pourtant maintes fois décriée par les ONG et le milieu académique a certes réussi à diminuer les arrivées en Europe, mais n’a offert aucune solution durable pour les personnes migrantes. Depuis les années 2000, l’externalisation de la gestion des questions migratoires a montré son inefficacité (situation humanitaires dans les hotspots, plus de 20.000 décès en Méditerranée depuis 2014 et processus d’encampement aux frontières de l’UE) et son coût exponentiel (coût élevé du contrôle, de la détention-expulsion et de l’aide au développement détournée). Elle a augmenté le taux de violences sur les routes de l’exil et a enfreint le droit international en toute impunité (non accès au droit d’asile notamment via les refoulements).

      "ll est important que tous les États membres développent des systèmes d’accueil de qualité et que l’UE s’oriente vers une protection plus unifiée"

      La proposition de mettre en place un mécanisme solidaire européen contraignant est à saluer, mais celui-ci doit être au service de l’accueil et non couplé au retour. La possibilité pour les États européens de choisir à la carte soit la relocalisation, le « parrainage » du retour des déboutés ou autre contribution financière n’est pas équitable. La répartition solidaire de l’accueil doit être permanente et ne pas être actionnée uniquement en cas « d’afflux massif » aux frontières d’un État membre comme le recommande la Commission. Il est important que tous les États membres développent des systèmes d’accueil de qualité et que l’UE s’oriente vers une protection plus unifiée. Le changement annoncé du Règlement de Dublin l’est juste de nom, car les premiers pays d’entrée resteront responsables des nouveaux arrivés.

      Le focus doit être mis sur les alternatives à la détention et non sur l’usage systématique de l’enfermement aux frontières, comme le veut la Commission. Le droit de demander l’asile et d’avoir accès à une procédure de qualité doit être accessible à tous et toutes et rester un droit individuel. Or, la proposition de la Commission de détenir (12 semaines maximum) en vue de screener (5 jours de tests divers et de recoupement de données via EURODAC) puis trier les personnes migrantes à la frontière en fonction du taux de reconnaissance de protection accordé en moyenne à leur pays d’origine (en dessous de 20%) ou de leur niveau de vulnérabilité est contraire à la Convention de Genève.

      "La priorité pour les personnes migrantes en situation irrégulière doit être la recherche de solutions durables (comme l’est la régularisation) plutôt que le retour forcé, à tous prix."

      La priorité pour les personnes migrantes en situation irrégulière doit être la recherche de solutions durables (comme l’est la régularisation) plutôt que le retour forcé, à tous prix, comme le préconise la Commission.

      La meilleure façon de lutter contre les violences sur les routes de l’exil reste la mise en place de plus de voies légales et sûres de migration (réinstallation, visas de travail, d’études, le regroupement familial…). Les ONG regrettent que la Commission reporte à 2021 les propositions sur la migration légale. Le pacte s’intéresse à juste titre à la criminalisation des ONG de sauvetage et des citoyens qui fournissent une aide humanitaire aux migrants. Toutefois, les propositions visant à y mettre fin sont insuffisantes. Les ONG se réjouissent de l’annonce par la Commission d’un mécanisme de surveillance des droits humains aux frontières extérieures. Au cours de l’année écoulée, on a signalé de plus en plus souvent des retours violents par la Croatie, la Grèce, Malte et Chypre. Toutefois, il n’est pas encore suffisamment clair si les propositions de la Commission peuvent effectivement traiter et sanctionner les refoulements.

      Au lendemain de l’incendie du hotspot à Moria, symbole par excellence de l’échec des politiques migratoires européennes, l’UE s’enfonce dans un déni total, meurtrier, en vue de concilier les divergences entre ses États membres. Les futures discussions autour du Pacte au sein du parlement UE et du Conseil UE seront cruciales. Les ONG membres du groupe de travail pour la justice migratoire appellent le Parlement européen et le gouvernement belge à promouvoir des ajustements fermes allant vers plus de justice migratoire.

      https://www.cncd.be/Le-pacte-europeen-sur-l-asile-et

    • The New Pact on Migration and Asylum. A Critical ‘First Look’ Analysis

      Where does it come from?

      The New Migration Pact was built on the ashes of the mandatory relocation scheme that the Commission tried to push in 2016. And the least that one can say, is that it shows! The whole migration plan has been decisively shaped by this initial failure. Though the Pact has some merits, the very fact that it takes as its starting point the radical demands made by the most nationalist governments in Europe leads to sacrificing migrants’ rights on the altar of a cohesive and integrated European migration policy.

      Back in 2016, the vigorous manoeuvring of the Commission to find a way out of the European asylum dead-end resulted in a bittersweet victory for the European institution. Though the Commission was able to find a qualified majority of member states willing to support a fair distribution of the asylum seekers among member states through a relocation scheme, this new regulation remained dead letter. Several eastern European states flatly refused to implement the plan, other member states seized this opportunity to defect on their obligations and the whole migration policy quickly unravelled. Since then, Europe is left with a dysfunctional Dublin agreement exacerbating the tensions between member states and 27 loosely connected national asylum regimes. On the latter point, at least, there is a consensus. Everyone agrees that the EU’s migration regime is broken and urgently needs to be fixed.

      Obviously, the Commission was not keen to go through a new round of political humiliation. Having been accused of “bureaucratic hubris” the first time around, the commissioners Schinas and Johansson decided not to repeat the same mistake. They toured the European capitals and listened to every side of the entrenched migration debate before drafting their Migration Pact. The intention is in the right place and it reflects the complexity of having to accommodate 27 distinct democratic debates in one single political space. Nevertheless, if one peers a bit more extensively through the content of the New Plan, it is complicated not to get the feelings that the Visegrad countries are currently the key players shaping the European migration and asylum policies. After all, their staunch opposition to a collective reception scheme sparked the political process and provided the starting point to the general discussion. As a result, it is no surprise that the New Pact tilts firmly towards an ever more restrictive approach to migration, beefs up the coercive powers of both member states and European agencies and raises many concerns with regards to the respect of the migrants’ fundamental rights.
      What is in this New Pact on Migration and Asylum?

      Does the Pact concede too much ground to the demands of the most xenophobic European governments? To answer that question, let us go back to the bizarre metaphor used by the commissioner Schinas. During his press conference, he insisted on comparing the New Pact on Migration and Asylum to a house built on solid foundations (i.e. the lengthy and inclusive consultation process) and made of 3 floors: first, some renewed partnerships with the sending and transit states, second, some more effective border procedures, and third, a revamped mandatory – but flexible ! – solidarity scheme. It is tempting to carry on with the metaphor and to say that this house may appear comfortable from the inside but that it remains tightly shut to anyone knocking on its door from the outside. For, a careful examination reveals that each of the three “floors” (policy packages, actually) lays the emphasis on a repressive approach to migration aimed at deterring would-be asylum seekers from attempting to reach the European shores.
      The “new partnerships” with sending and transit countries, a “change in paradigm”?

      Let us add that there is little that is actually “new” in this New Migration Pact. For instance, the first policy package, that is, the suggestion that the EU should renew its partnerships with sending and transit countries is, as a matter of fact, an old tune in the Brussels bubble. The Commission may boast that it marks a “change of paradigm”, one fails to see how this would be any different from the previous European diplomatic efforts. Since migration and asylum are increasingly considered as toxic topics (for, they would be the main factors behind the rise of nationalism and its corollary, Euroscepticism), the European Union is willing to externalize this issue, seemingly at all costs. The results, however, have been mixed in the past. To the Commission’s own admission, only a third of the migrants whose asylum claims have been rejected are effectively returned. Besides the facts that returns are costly, extremely coercive, and administratively complicated to organize, the main reason for this low rate of successful returns is that sending countries refuse to cooperate in the readmission procedures. Neighbouring countries have excellent reasons not to respond positively to the Union’s demands. For some, remittances sent by their diaspora are an economic lifeline. Others just do not want to appear complicit of repressive European practices on their domestic political scene. Furthermore, many African countries are growing discontent with the forceful way the European Union uses its asymmetrical relation of power in bilateral negotiations to dictate to those sovereign states the migration policies they should adopt, making for instance its development aid conditional on the implementation of stricter border controls. The Commission may rhetorically claim to foster “mutually beneficial” international relation with its neighbouring countries, the emphasis on the externalization of migration control in the EU’s diplomatic agenda nevertheless bears some of the hallmarks of neo-colonialism. As such, it is a source of deep resentment in sending and transit states. It would therefore be a grave mistake for the EU to overlook the fact that some short-term gains in terms of migration management may result in long-term losses with regards to Europe’s image across the world.

      Furthermore, considering the current political situation, one should not primarily be worried about the failed partnerships with neighbouring countries, it is rather the successful ones that ought to give us pause and raise concerns. For, based on the existing evidence, the EU will sign a deal with any state as long as it effectively restrains and contains migration flows towards the European shores. Being an authoritarian state with a documented history of human right violations (Turkey) or an embattled government fighting a civil war (Lybia) does not disqualify you as a partner of the European Union in its effort to manage migration flows. It is not only morally debatable for the EU to delegate its asylum responsibilities to unreliable third countries, it is also doubtful that an increase in diplomatic pressure on neighbouring countries will bring major political results. It will further damage the perception of the EU in neighbouring countries without bringing significant restriction to migration flows.
      Streamlining border procedures? Or eroding migrants’ rights?

      The second policy package is no more inviting. It tackles the issue of the migrants who, in spite of those partnerships and the hurdles thrown their way by sending and transit countries, would nevertheless reach Europe irregularly. On this issue, the Commission faced the daunting task of having to square a political circle, since it had to find some common ground in a debate bitterly divided between conflicting worldviews (roughly, between liberal and nationalist perspectives on the individual freedom of movement) and competing interests (between overburdened Mediterranean member states and Eastern member states adamant that asylum seekers would endanger their national cohesion). The Commission thus looked for the lowest common denominator in terms of migration management preferences amongst the distinct member states. The result is a two-tier border procedure aiming to fast-track and streamline the processing of asylum claims, allowing for more expeditious returns of irregular migrants. The goal is to prevent any bottleneck in the processing of the claims and to avoid the (currently near constant) overcrowding of reception facilities in the frontline states. Once again, there is little that is actually new in this proposal. It amounts to a generalization of the process currently in place in the infamous hotspots scattered on the Greek isles. According to the Pact, screening procedures would be carried out in reception centres created across Europe. A far cry from the slogan “no more Moria” since one may legitimately suspect that those reception centres will, at the first hiccup in the procedure, turn into tomorrow’s asylum camps.

      According to this procedure, newly arrived migrants would be submitted within 5 days to a pre-screening procedure and subsequently triaged into two categories. Migrants with a low chance of seeing their asylum claim recognized (because they would come from a country with a low recognition rate or a country belonging to the list of the safe third countries, for instance) would be redirected towards an accelerated procedure. The end goal would be to return them, if applicable, within twelve weeks. The other migrants would be subjected to the standard assessment of their asylum claim. It goes without saying that this proposal has been swiftly and unanimously condemned by all human rights organizations. It does not take a specialized lawyer to see that this two-tiered procedure could have devastating consequences for the “fast-tracked” asylum seekers left with no legal recourse against the initial decision to submit them to this sped up procedure (rather than the standard one) as well as reduced opportunities to defend their asylum claim or, if need be, to contest their return. No matter how often the Commission repeats that it will preserve all the legal safeguards required to protect migrants’ rights, it remains wildly unconvincing. Furthermore, the Pact may confuse speed and haste. The schedule is tight on paper (five days for the pre-screening, twelve weeks for the assessment of the asylum claim), it may well prove unrealistic to meet those deadlines in real-life conditions. The Commission also overlooks the fact that accelerated procedures tend to be sloppy, thus leading to juridical appeals and further legal wrangling and eventually amounting to processes far longer than expected.
      Integrating the returns, not the reception

      The Commission talked up the new Pact as being “balanced” and “humane”. Since the two first policy packages focus, first, on preventing would-be migrants from leaving their countries and, second, on facilitating and accelerating their returns, one would expect the third policy package to move away from the restriction of movement and to complement those measures with a reception plan tailored to the needs of refugees. And here comes the major disappointment with the New Pact and, perhaps, the clearest indication that the Pact is first and foremost designed to please the migration hardliners. It does include a solidarity scheme meant to alleviate the burden of frontline countries, to distribute more fairly the responsibilities amongst member states and to ensure that refugees are properly hosted. But this solidarity scheme is far from being robust enough to deliver on those promises. Let us unpack it briefly to understand why it is likely to fail. The solidarity scheme is mandatory. All member states will be under the obligation to take part. But there is a catch! Member states’ contribution to this collective effort can take many shapes and forms and it will be up to the member states to decide how they want to participate. They get to choose whether they want to relocate some refugees on their national soil, to provide some financial and/or logistical assistance, or to “sponsor” (it is the actual term used by the Commission) some returns.

      No one expected the Commission to reintroduce a compulsory relocation scheme in its Pact. Eastern European countries had drawn an obvious red line and it would have been either naïve or foolish to taunt them with that kind of policy proposal. But this so-called “flexible mandatory solidarity” relies on such a watered-down understanding of the solidarity principle that it results in a weak and misguided political instrument unsuited to solve the problem at hand. First, the flexible solidarity mechanism is too indeterminate to prove efficient. According to the current proposal, member states would have to shoulder a fair share of the reception burden (calculated on their respective population and GDP) but would be left to decide for themselves which form this contribution would take. The obvious flaw with the policy proposal is that, if all member states decline to relocate some refugees (which is a plausible scenario), Mediterranean states would still be left alone when it comes to dealing with the most immediate consequences of migration flows. They would receive much more financial, operational, and logistical support than it currently is the case – but they would be managing on their own the overcrowded reception centres. The Commission suggests that it would oversee the national pledges in terms of relocation and that it would impose some corrections if the collective pledges fall short of a predefined target. But it remains to be seen whether the Commission will have the political clout to impose some relocations to member states refusing them. One could not be blamed for being highly sceptical.

      Second, it is noteworthy that the Commission fails to integrate the reception of refugees since member states are de facto granted an opt-out on hosting refugees. What is integrated is rather the return policy, once more a repressive instrument. And it is the member states with the worst record in terms of migrants’ rights violations that are the most likely to be tasked with the delicate mission of returning them home. As a commentator was quipping on Twitter, it would be like asking a bully to walk his victim home (what could possibly go wrong?). The attempt to build an intra-European consensus is obviously pursued at the expense of the refugees. The incentive structure built into the flexible solidarity scheme offers an excellent illustration of this. If a member state declines to relocate any refugee and offers instead to ‘sponsor’ some returns, it has to honour that pledge within a limited period of time (the Pact suggests a six month timeframe). If it fails to do so, it becomes responsible for the relocation and the return of those migrants, leading to a situation in which some migrants may end up in a country where they do not want to be and that does not want them to be there. Hardly an optimal outcome…
      Conclusion

      The Pact represents a genuine attempt to design a multi-faceted and comprehensive migration policy, covering most aspects of a complex issue. The dysfunctions of the Schengen area and the question of the legal pathways to Europe have been relegated to a later discussion and one may wonder whether they should not have been included in the Pact to balance out its restrictive inclination. And, in all fairness, the Pact does throw a few bones to the more cosmopolitan-minded European citizens. For instance, it reminds the member states that maritime search and rescue operations are legal and should not be impeded, or it shortens (from five to three years) the waiting period for refugees to benefit from the freedom of movement. But those few welcome additions are vastly outweighed by the fact that migration hardliners dominated the agenda-setting in the early stage of the policy-making exercise and have thus been able to frame decisively the political discussion. The end result is a policy package leaning heavily towards some repressive instruments and particularly careless when it comes to safeguarding migrants’ rights.

      The New Pact was first drafted on the ashes of the mandatory relocation scheme. Back then, the Commission publicly made amends and revised its approach to the issue. Sadly, the New Pact was presented to the European public when the ashes of the Moria camp were still lukewarm. One can only hope that the member states will learn from that mistake too.

      https://blog.novamigra.eu/2020/09/24/the-new-pact-on-migration-and-asylum-a-critical-first-look-analysis

    • #Pacte_européen_sur_la_migration : un “nouveau départ” pour violer les droits humains

      La Commission européenne a publié aujourd’hui son « Nouveau Pacte sur l’Asile et la Migration » qui propose un nouveau cadre règlementaire et législatif. Avec ce plan, l’UE devient de facto un « leader du voyage retour » pour les migrant.e.s et les réfugié.e.s en Méditerranée. EuroMed Droits craint que ce pacte ne détériore encore davantage la situation actuelle pour au moins trois raisons.

      Le pacte se concentre de manière obsessionnelle sur la politique de retours à travers un système de « sponsoring » : des pays européens tels que l’Autriche, la Pologne, la Hongrie ou la République tchèque – qui refusent d’accueillir des réfugié.e.s – pourront « sponsoriser » et organiser la déportation vers les pays de départ de ces réfugié.e.s. Au lieu de favoriser l’intégration, le pacte adopte une politique de retour à tout prix, même lorsque les demandeurs.ses d’asile peuvent être victimes de discrimination, persécution ou torture dans leur pays de retour. A ce jour, il n’existe aucun mécanisme permettant de surveiller ce qui arrive aux migrant.e.s et réfugié.e.s une fois déporté.e.s.

      Le pacte proposé renforce la sous-traitance de la gestion des frontières. En termes concrets, l’UE renforce la coopération avec les pays non-européens afin qu’ils ferment leurs frontières et empêchent les personnes de partir. Cette coopération est sujette à l’imposition de conditions par l’UE. Une telle décision européenne se traduit par une hausse du nombre de refoulements dans la région méditerranéenne et une coopération renforcée avec des pays qui ont un piètre bilan en matière de droits humains et qui ne possèdent pas de cadre efficace pour la protection des droits des personnes migrantes et réfugiées.

      Le pacte vise enfin à étendre les mécanismes de tri des demandeurs.ses d’asile et des migrant.e.s dans les pays d’arrivée. Ce modèle de tri – similaire à celui utilisé dans les zones de transit aéroportuaires – accentue les difficultés de pays tels que l’Espagne, l’Italie, Malte, la Grèce ou Chypre qui accueillent déjà la majorité des migrant.e.s et réfugié.e.s. Placer ces personnes dans des camps revient à mettre en place un système illégal d’incarcération automatique dès l’arrivée. Cela accroîtra la violence psychologique à laquelle les migrant.e.s et réfugié.e.s sont déjà soumis. Selon ce nouveau système, ces personnes seront identifié.e.s sous cinq jours et toute demande d’asile devra être traitée en douze semaines. Cette accélération de la procédure risque d’intensifier la détention et de diviser les arrivant.e.s entre demandeurs.ses d’asile et migrant.e.s économiques. Cela s’effectuerait de manière discriminatoire, sans analyse détaillée de chaque demande d’asile ni possibilité réelle de faire appel. Celles et ceux qui seront éligibles à la protection internationale seront relocalisé.e.s au sein des États membres qui acceptent de les recevoir. Les autres risqueront d’être déportés immédiatement.

      « En choisissant de sous-traiter davantage encore la gestion des frontières et d’accentuer la politique de retours, ce nouveau pacte conclut la transformation de la politique européenne en une approche pleinement sécuritaire. Pire encore, le pacte assimile la politique de “retour sponsorisé” à une forme de solidarité. Au-delà des déclarations officielles, cela démontre la volonté de l’Union européenne de criminaliser et de déshumaniser les migrant.e.s et les réfugié.e.s », a déclaré Wadih Al-Asmar, Président d’EuroMed Droits.

      https://euromedrights.org/fr/publication/pacte-europeen-sur-la-migration-nouveau-depart-pour-violer-les-droits

    • Whose Pact? The Cognitive Dimensions of the New EU Pact on Migration and Asylum

      This Policy Insight examines the new Pact on Migration and Asylum in light of the principles and commitments enshrined in the United Nations Global Compact on Refugees (UN GCR) and the EU Treaties. It finds that from a legal viewpoint the ‘Pact’ is not really a Pact at all, if understood as an agreement concluded between relevant EU institutional parties. Rather, it is the European Commission’s policy guide for the duration of the current 9th legislature.

      The analysis shows that the Pact has intergovernmental aspects, in both name and fundamentals. It does not pursue a genuine Migration and Asylum Union. The Pact encourages an artificial need for consensus building or de facto unanimity among all EU member states’ governments in fields where the EU Treaties call for qualified majority voting (QMV) with the European Parliament as co-legislator. The Pact does not abolish the first irregular entry rule characterising the EU Dublin Regulation. It adopts a notion of interstate solidarity that leads to asymmetric responsibilities, where member states are given the flexibility to evade participating in the relocation of asylum seekers. The Pact also runs the risk of catapulting some contested member states practices’ and priorities about localisation, speed and de-territorialisation into EU policy.

      This Policy Insight argues that the Pact’s priority of setting up an independent monitoring mechanism of border procedures’ compliance with fundamental rights is a welcome step towards the better safeguarding of the rule of law. The EU inter-institutional negotiations on the Pact’s initiatives should be timely and robust in enforcing member states’ obligations under the current EU legal standards relating to asylum and borders, namely the prevention of detention and expedited expulsions, and the effective access by all individuals to dignified treatment and effective remedies. Trust and legitimacy of EU asylum and migration policy can only follow if international (human rights and refugee protection) commitments and EU Treaty principles are put first.

      https://www.ceps.eu/ceps-publications/whose-pact

    • First analysis of the EU’s new asylum proposals

      This week the EU Commission published its new package of proposals on asylum and (non-EU) migration – consisting of proposals for legislation, some ‘soft law’, attempts to relaunch talks on stalled proposals and plans for future measures. The following is an explanation of the new proposals (not attempting to cover every detail) with some first thoughts. Overall, while it is possible that the new package will lead to agreement on revised asylum laws, this will come at the cost of risking reduced human rights standards.

      Background

      Since 1999, the EU has aimed to create a ‘Common European Asylum System’. A first phase of legislation was passed between 2003 and 2005, followed by a second phase between 2010 and 2013. Currently the legislation consists of: a) the Qualification Directive, which defines when people are entitled to refugee status (based on the UN Refugee Convention) or subsidiary protection status, and what rights they have; b) the Dublin III Regulation, which allocates responsibility for an asylum seeker between Member States; c) the Eurodac Regulation, which facilitates the Dublin system by setting up a database of fingerprints of asylum seekers and people who cross the external border without authorisation; d) the Asylum Procedures Directive, which sets out the procedural rules governing asylum applications, such as personal interviews and appeals; e) the Reception Conditions Directive, which sets out standards on the living conditions of asylum-seekers, such as rules on housing and welfare; and f) the Asylum Agency Regulation, which set up an EU agency (EASO) to support Member States’ processing of asylum applications.

      The EU also has legislation on other aspects of migration: (short-term) visas, border controls, irregular migration, and legal migration – much of which has connections with the asylum legislation, and all of which is covered by this week’s package. For visas, the main legislation is the visa list Regulation (setting out which non-EU countries’ citizens are subject to a short-term visa requirement, or exempt from it) and the visa code (defining the criteria to obtain a short-term Schengen visa, allowing travel between all Schengen states). The visa code was amended last year, as discussed here.

      For border controls, the main legislation is the Schengen Borders Code, setting out the rules on crossing external borders and the circumstances in which Schengen states can reinstate controls on internal borders, along with the Frontex Regulation, setting up an EU border agency to assist Member States. On the most recent version of the Frontex Regulation, see discussion here and here.

      For irregular migration, the main legislation is the Return Directive. The Commission proposed to amend it in 2018 – on which, see analysis here and here.

      For legal migration, the main legislation on admission of non-EU workers is the single permit Directive (setting out a common process and rights for workers, but not regulating admission); the Blue Card Directive (on highly paid migrants, discussed here); the seasonal workers’ Directive (discussed here); and the Directive on intra-corporate transferees (discussed here). The EU also has legislation on: non-EU students, researchers and trainees (overview here); non-EU family reunion (see summary of the legislation and case law here) and on long-term resident non-EU citizens (overview – in the context of UK citizens after Brexit – here). In 2016, the Commission proposed to revise the Blue Card Directive (see discussion here).

      The UK, Ireland and Denmark have opted out of most of these laws, except some asylum law applies to the UK and Ireland, and Denmark is covered by the Schengen and Dublin rules. So are the non-EU countries associated with Schengen and Dublin (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein). There are also a number of further databases of non-EU citizens as well as Eurodac: the EU has never met a non-EU migrant who personal data it didn’t want to store and process.

      The Refugee ‘Crisis’

      The EU’s response to the perceived refugee ‘crisis’ was both short-term and long-term. In the short term, in 2015 the EU adopted temporary laws (discussed here) relocating some asylum seekers in principle from Italy and Greece to other Member States. A legal challenge to one of these laws failed (as discussed here), but in practice Member States accepted few relocations anyway. Earlier this year, the CJEU ruled that several Member States had breached their obligations under the laws (discussed here), but by then it was a moot point.

      Longer term, the Commission proposed overhauls of the law in 2016: a) a Qualification Regulation further harmonising the law on refugee and subsidiary protection status; b) a revised Dublin Regulation, which would have set up a system of relocation of asylum seekers for future crises; c) a revised Eurodac Regulation, to take much more data from asylum seekers and other migrants; d) an Asylum Procedures Regulation, further harmonising the procedural law on asylum applications; e) a revised Reception Conditions Directive; f) a revised Asylum Agency Regulation, giving the agency more powers; and g) a new Resettlement Regulation, setting out a framework of admitting refugees directly from non-EU countries. (See my comments on some of these proposals, from back in 2016)

      However, these proposals proved unsuccessful – which is the main reason for this week’s attempt to relaunch the process. In particular, an EU Council note from February 2019 summarises the diverse problems that befell each proposal. While the EU Council Presidency and the European Parliament reached agreement on the proposals on qualification, reception conditions and resettlement in June 2018, Member States refused to support the Presidency’s deal and the European Parliament refused to renegotiate (see, for instance, the Council documents on the proposals on qualification and resettlement; see also my comments on an earlier stage of the talks, when the Council had agreed its negotiation position on the qualification regulation).

      On the asylum agency, the EP and Council agreed on the revised law in 2017, but the Commission proposed an amendment in 2018 to give the agency more powers; the Council could not agree on this. On Eurodac, the EP and Council only partly agreed on a text. On the procedures Regulation, the Council largely agreed its position, except on border procedures; on Dublin there was never much prospect of agreement because of the controversy over relocating asylum seekers. (For either proposal, a difficult negotiation with the European Parliament lay ahead).

      In other areas too, the legislative process was difficult: the Council and EP gave up negotiating amendments to the Blue Card Directive (see the last attempt at a compromise here, and the Council negotiation mandate here), and the EP has not yet agreed a position on the Returns Directive (the Council has a negotiating position, but again it leaves out the difficult issue of border procedures; there is a draft EP position from February). Having said that, the EU has been able to agree legislation giving more powers to Frontex, as well as new laws on EU migration databases, in the last few years.

      The attempted relaunch

      The Commission’s new Pact on asylum and immigration (see also the roadmap on its implementation, the Q and As, and the staff working paper) does not restart the whole process from scratch. On qualification, reception conditions, resettlement, the asylum agency, the returns Directive and the Blue Card Directive, it invites the Council and Parliament to resume negotiations. But it tries to unblock the talks as a whole by tabling two amended legislative proposals and three new legislative proposals, focussing on the issues of border procedures and relocation of asylum seekers.

      Screening at the border

      This revised proposals start with a new proposal for screening asylum seekers at the border, which would apply to all non-EU citizens who cross an external border without authorisation, who apply for asylum while being checked at the border (without meeting the conditions for legal entry), or who are disembarked after a search and rescue operation. During the screening, these non-EU citizens are not allowed to enter the territory of a Member State, unless it becomes clear that they meet the criteria for entry. The screening at the border should take no longer than 5 days, with an extra 5 days in the event of a huge influx. (It would also be possible to apply the proposed law to those on the territory who evaded border checks; for them the deadline to complete the screening is 3 days).

      Screening has six elements, as further detailed in the proposal: a health check, an identity check, registration in a database, a security check, filling out a debriefing form, and deciding on what happens next. At the end of the screening, the migrant is channelled either into the expulsion process (if no asylum claim has been made, and if the migrant does not meet the conditions for entry) or, if an asylum claim is made, into the asylum process – with an indication of whether the claim should be fast-tracked or not. It’s also possible that an asylum seeker would be relocated to another Member State. The screening is carried out by national officials, possibly with support from EU agencies.

      To ensure human rights protection, there must be independent monitoring to address allegations of non-compliance with human rights. These allegations might concern breaches of EU or international law, national law on detention, access to the asylum procedure, or non-refoulement (the ban on sending people to an unsafe country). Migrants must be informed about the process and relevant EU immigration and data protection law. There is no provision for judicial review of the outcome of the screening process, although there would be review as part of the next step (asylum or return).

      Asylum procedures

      The revised proposal for an asylum procedures Regulation would leave in place most of the Commission’s 2016 proposal to amend the law, adding some specific further proposed amendments, which either link back to the screening proposal or aim to fast-track decisions and expulsions more generally.

      On the first point, the usual rules on informing asylum applicants and registering their application would not apply until after the end of the screening. A border procedure may apply following the screening process, but Member States must apply the border procedure in cases where an asylum seeker used false documents, is a perceived national security threat, or falls within the new ground for fast-tracking cases (on which, see below). The latter obligation is subject to exceptions where a Member State has reported that a non-EU country is not cooperating on readmission; the process for dealing with that issue set out under the 2019 amendments to the visa code will then apply. Also, the border process cannot apply to unaccompanied minors or children under 12, unless they are a supposed national security risk. Further exceptions apply where the asylum seeker is vulnerable or has medical needs, the application is not inadmissible or cannot be fast-tracked, or detention conditions cannot be guaranteed. A Member State might apply the Dublin process to determine which Member State is responsible for the asylum claim during the border process. The whole border process (including any appeal) must last no more than 12 weeks, and can only be used to declare applications inadmissible or apply the new ground for fast-tracking them.

      There would also be a new border expulsion procedure, where an asylum application covered by the border procedure was rejected. This is subject to its own 12-week deadline, starting from the point when the migrant is no longer allowed to remain. Much of the Return Directive would apply – but not the provisions on the time period for voluntary departure, remedies and the grounds for detention. Instead, the border expulsion procedure would have its own stricter rules on these issues.

      As regards general fast-tracking, in order to speed up the expulsion process for unsuccessful applications, a rejection of an asylum application would have to either incorporate an expulsion decision or entail a simultaneous separate expulsion decision. Appeals against expulsion decisions would then be subject to the same rules as appeals against asylum decisions. If the asylum seeker comes from a country with a refugee recognition rate below 20%, his or her application must be fast-tracked (this would even apply to unaccompanied minors) – unless circumstances in that country have changed, or the asylum seeker comes from a group for whom the low recognition rate is not representative (for instance, the recognition rate might be higher for LGBT asylum-seekers from that country). Many more appeals would be subject to a one-week time limit for the rejected asylum seeker to appeal, and there could be only one level of appeal against decisions taken within a border procedure.

      Eurodac

      The revised proposal for Eurodac would build upon the 2016 proposal, which was already far-reaching: extending Eurodac to include not only fingerprints, but also photos and other personal data; reducing the age of those covered by Eurodac from 14 to 6; removing the time limits and the limits on use of the fingerprints taken from persons who had crossed the border irregularly; and creating a new obligation to collect data of all irregular migrants over age 6 (currently fingerprint data for this group cannot be stored, but can simply be checked, as an option, against the data on asylum seekers and irregular border crossers). The 2020 proposal additionally provides for interoperability with other EU migration databases, taking of personal data during the screening process, including more data on the migration status of each person, and expressly applying the law to those disembarked after a search and rescue operation.

      Dublin rules on asylum responsibility

      A new proposal for asylum management would replace the Dublin regulation (meaning that the Commission has withdrawn its 2016 proposal to replace that Regulation). The 2016 proposal would have created a ‘bottleneck’ in the Member State of entry, requiring that State to examine first whether many of the grounds for removing an asylum-seeker to a non-EU country apply before considering whether another Member State might be responsible for the application (because the asylum seeker’s family live there, for instance). It would also have imposed obligations directly on asylum-seekers to cooperate with the process, rather than only regulate relations between Member States. These obligations would have been enforced by punishing asylum seekers who disobeyed: removing their reception conditions (apart from emergency health care); fast-tracking their substantive asylum applications; refusing to consider new evidence from them; and continuing the asylum application process in their absence.

      It would no longer be possible for asylum seekers to provide additional evidence of family links, with a view to being in the same country as a family member. Overturning a CJEU judgment (see further discussion here), unaccompanied minors would no longer have been able to make applications in multiple Member States (in the absence of a family member in any of them). However, the definition of family members would have been widened, to include siblings and families formed in a transit country. Responsibility for an asylum seeker based on the first Member State of irregular entry (a commonly applied criterion) would have applied indefinitely, rather than expire one year after entry as it does under the current rules. The ‘Sangatte clause’ (responsibility after five months of living in a second Member State, if the ‘irregular entry’ criterion no longer applies) would be dropped. The ‘sovereignty clause’, which played a key part in the 2015-16 refugee ‘crisis’ (it lets a Member State take responsibility for any application even if the Dublin rules do not require it, cf Germany accepting responsibility for Syrian asylum seekers) would have been sharply curtailed. Time limits for detention during the transfer process would be reduced. Remedies for asylum seekers would have been curtailed: they would only have seven days to appeal against a transfer; courts would have fifteen days to decide (although they could have stayed on the territory throughout); and the grounds of review would have been curtailed.

      Finally, the 2016 proposal would have tackled the vexed issue of disproportionate allocation of responsibility for asylum seekers by setting up an automated system determining how many asylum seekers each Member State ‘should’ have based on their size and GDP. If a Member State were responsible for excessive numbers of applicants, Member States which were receiving fewer numbers would have to take more to help out. If they refused, they would have to pay €250,000 per applicant.

      The 2020 proposal drops some of the controversial proposals from 2016, including the ‘bottleneck’ in the Member State of entry (the current rule, giving Member States an option to decide if a non-EU country is responsible for the application on narrower grounds than in the 2016 proposal, would still apply). Also, the sovereignty clause would now remain unchanged.

      However, the 2020 proposal also retains parts of the 2016 proposal: the redefinition of ‘family member’ (which could be more significant now that the bottleneck is removed, unless Member States choose to apply the relevant rules on non-EU countries’ responsibility during the border procedure already); obligations for asylum seekers (redrafted slightly); some of the punishments for non-compliant asylum-seekers (the cut-off for considering evidence would stay, as would the loss of benefits except for those necessary to ensure a basic standard of living: see the CJEU case law in CIMADE and Haqbin); dropping the provision on evidence of family links; changing the rules on responsibility for unaccompanied minors; retaining part of the changes to the irregular entry criterion (it would now cease to apply after three years; the Sangatte clause would still be dropped; it would apply after search and rescue but not apply in the event of relocation); curtailing judicial review (the grounds would still be limited; the time limit to appeal would be 14 days; courts would not have a strict deadline to decide; suspensive effect would not apply in all cases); and the reduced time limits for detention.

      The wholly new features of the 2020 proposal are: some vague provisions about crisis management; responsibility for an asylum application for the Member State which issued a visa or residence document which expired in the last three years (the current rule is responsibility if the visa expired less than six months ago, and the residence permit expired less than a year ago); responsibility for an asylum application for a Member State in which a non-EU citizen obtained a diploma; and the possibility for refugees or persons with subsidiary protection status to obtain EU long-term resident status after three years, rather than five.

      However, the most significant feature of the new proposal is likely to be its attempt to solve the underlying issue of disproportionate allocation of asylum seekers. Rather than a mechanical approach to reallocating responsibility, the 2020 proposal now provides for a menu of ‘solidarity contributions’: relocation of asylum seekers; relocation of refugees; ‘return sponsorship’; or support for ‘capacity building’ in the Member State (or a non-EU country) facing migratory pressure. There are separate rules for search and rescue disembarkations, on the one hand, and more general migratory pressures on the other. Once the Commission determines that the latter situation exists, other Member States have to choose from the menu to offer some assistance. Ultimately the Commission will adopt a decision deciding what the contributions will be. Note that ‘return sponsorship’ comes with a ticking clock: if the persons concerned are not expelled within eight months, the sponsoring Member State must accept them on its territory.

      Crisis management

      The issue of managing asylum issues in a crisis has been carved out of the Dublin proposal into a separate proposal, which would repeal an EU law from 2001 that set up a framework for offering ‘temporary protection’ in a crisis. Note that Member States have never used the 2001 law in practice.

      Compared to the 2001 law, the new proposal is integrated into the EU asylum legislation that has been adopted or proposed in the meantime. It similarly applies in the event of a ‘mass influx’ that prevents the effective functioning of the asylum system. It would apply the ‘solidarity’ process set out in the proposal to replace the Dublin rules (ie relocation of asylum seekers and other measures), with certain exceptions and shorter time limits to apply that process.

      The proposal focusses on providing for possible exceptions to the usual asylum rules. In particular, during a crisis, the Commission could authorise a Member State to apply temporary derogations from the rules on border asylum procedures (extending the time limit, using the procedure to fast-track more cases), border return procedures (again extending the time limit, more easily justifying detention), or the time limit to register asylum applicants. Member States could also determine that due to force majeure, it was not possible to observe the normal time limits for registering asylum applications, applying the Dublin process for responsibility for asylum applications, or offering ‘solidarity’ to other Member States.

      Finally, the new proposal, like the 2001 law, would create a potential for a form of separate ‘temporary protection’ status for the persons concerned. A Member State could suspend the consideration of asylum applications from people coming from the country facing a crisis for up to a year, in the meantime giving them status equivalent to ‘subsidiary protection’ status in the EU qualification law. After that point it would have to resume consideration of the applications. It would need the Commission’s approval, whereas the 2001 law left it to the Council to determine a situation of ‘mass influx’ and provided for the possible extension of the special rules for up to three years.

      Other measures

      The Commission has also adopted four soft law measures. These comprise: a Recommendation on asylum crisis management; a Recommendation on resettlement and humanitarian admission; a Recommendation on cooperation between Member States on private search and rescue operations; and guidance on the applicability of EU law on smuggling of migrants – notably concluding that it cannot apply where (as in the case of law of the sea) there is an obligation to rescue.

      On other issues, the Commission plan is to use current legislation – in particular the recent amendment to the visa code, which provides for sticks to make visas more difficult to get for citizens of countries which don’t cooperate on readmission of people, and carrots to make visas easier to get for citizens of countries which do cooperate on readmission. In some areas, such as the Schengen system, there will be further strategies and plans in the near future; it is not clear if this will lead to more proposed legislation.

      However, on legal migration, the plan is to go further than relaunching the amendment of the Blue Card Directive, as the Commission is also planning to propose amendments to the single permit and long-term residence laws referred to above – leading respectively to more harmonisation of the law on admission of non-EU workers and enhanced possibilities for long-term resident non-EU citizens to move between Member States (nb the latter plan is separate from this week’s proposal to amend this law as regards refugees and people with subsidiary protection already). Both these plans are relevant to British citizens moving to the EU after the post-Brexit transition period – and the latter is also relevant to British citizens covered by the withdrawal agreement.

      Comments

      This week’s plan is less a complete restart of EU law in this area than an attempt to relaunch discussions on a blocked set of amendments to that law, which moreover focusses on a limited set of issues. Will it ‘work’? There are two different ways to answer that question.

      First, will it unlock the institutional blockage? Here it should be kept in mind that the European Parliament and the Council had largely agreed on several of the 2016 proposals already; they would have been adopted in 2018 already had not the Council treated all the proposals as a package, and not gone back on agreements which the Council Presidency reached with the European Parliament. It is always open to the Council to get at least some of these proposals adopted quickly by reversing these approaches.

      On the blocked proposals, the Commission has targeted the key issues of border procedures and allocation of asylum-seekers. If the former leads to more quick removals of unsuccessful applicants, the latter issue is no longer so pressing. But it is not clear if the Member States will agree to anything on border procedures, or whether such an agreement will result in more expulsions anyway – because the latter depends on the willingness of non-EU countries, which the EU cannot legislate for (and does not even address in this most recent package). And because it is uncertain whether they will result in more expulsions, Member States will be wary of agreeing to anything which either results in more obligations to accept asylum-seekers on their territory, or leaves them with the same number as before.

      The idea of ‘return sponsorship’ – which reads like a grotesque parody of individuals sponsoring children in developing countries via charities – may not be appealing except to those countries like France, which have the capacity to twist arms in developing countries to accept returns. Member States might be able to agree on a replacement for the temporary protection Directive on the basis that they will never use that replacement either. And Commission threats to use infringement proceedings to enforce the law might not worry Member States who recall that the CJEU ruled on their failure to relocate asylum-seekers after the relocation law had already expired, and that the Court will soon rule on Hungary’s expulsion of the Central European University after it has already left.

      As to whether the proposals will ‘work’ in terms of managing asylum flows fairly and compatibly with human rights, it is striking how much they depend upon curtailing appeal rights, even though appeals are often successful. The proposed limitation of appeal rights will also be maintained in the Dublin system; and while the proposed ‘bottleneck’ of deciding on removals to non-EU countries before applying the Dublin system has been removed, a variation on this process may well apply in the border procedures process instead. There is no new review of the assessment of the safety of non-EU countries – which is questionable in light of the many reports of abuse in Libya. While the EU is not proposing, as the wildest headbangers would want, to turn people back or refuse applications without consideration, the question is whether the fast-track consideration of applications and then appeals will constitute merely a Potemkin village of procedural rights that mean nothing in practice.

      Increased detention is already a feature of the amendments proposed earlier: the reception conditions proposal would add a new ground for detention; the return Directive proposal would inevitably increase detention due to curtailing voluntary departure (as discussed here). Unfortunately the Commission’s claim in its new communication that its 2018 proposal is ‘promoting’ voluntary return is therefore simply false. Trump-style falsehoods have no place in the discussion of EU immigration or asylum law.

      The latest Eurodac proposal would not do much compared to the 2016 proposal – but then, the 2016 proposal would already constitute an enormous increase in the amount of data collected and shared by that system.

      Some elements of the package are more positive. The possibility for refugees and people with subsidiary protection to get EU long-term residence status earlier would be an important step toward making asylum ‘valid throughout the Union’, as referred to in the Treaties. The wider definition of family members, and the retention of the full sovereignty clause, may lead to some fairer results under the Dublin system. Future plans to improve the long-term residents’ Directive are long overdue. The Commission’s sound legal assessment that no one should be prosecuted for acting on their obligations to rescue people in distress at sea is welcome. The quasi-agreed text of the reception conditions Directive explicitly rules out Trump-style separate detention of children.

      No proposals from the EU can solve the underlying political issue: a chunk of public opinion is hostile to more migration, whether in frontline Member States, other Member States, or transit countries outside the EU. The politics is bound to affect what Member States and non-EU countries alike are willing to agree to. And for the same reason, even if a set of amendments to the system is ultimately agreed, there will likely be continuing issues of implementation, especially illegal pushbacks and refusals to accept relocation.

      https://eulawanalysis.blogspot.com/2020/09/first-analysis-of-eus-new-asylum.html?spref=fb

    • Pacte européen sur les migrations et l’asile : Le rendez-vous manqué de l’UE

      Le nouveau pacte européen migrations et asile présenté par la Commission ce 23 septembre, loin de tirer les leçons de l’échec et du coût humain intolérable des politiques menées depuis 30 ans, s’inscrit dans la continuité des logiques déjà largement éprouvées, fondées sur une approche répressive et sécuritaire au service de l’endiguement et des expulsions et au détriment d’une politique d’accueil qui s’attache à garantir et à protéger la dignité et les droits fondamentaux.

      Des « nouveaux » camps européens aux frontières pour filtrer les personnes arrivées sur le territoire européen et expulser le plus grand nombre

      En réaction au drame des incendies qui ont ravagé le camp de Moria sur l’île grecque de Lesbos, la commissaire européenne aux affaires intérieures, Ylva Johansson, affirmait le 17 septembre devant les députés européens qu’« il n’y aurait pas d’autres Moria » mais de « véritables centres d’accueil » aux frontières européennes.

      Si le nouveau pacte prévoie effectivement la création de « nouveaux » camps conjuguée à une « nouvelle » procédure accélérée aux frontières, ces derniers s’apparentent largement à l’approche hotspot mise en œuvre par l’Union européenne (UE) depuis 2015 afin d’organiser la sélection des personnes qu’elle souhaite accueillir et l’expulsion, depuis la frontière, de tous celles qu’elle considère « indésirables ».

      Le pacte prévoie ainsi la mise en place « d’un contrôle préalable à l’entrée sur le territoire pour toutes les personnes qui se présentent aux frontières extérieures ou après un débarquement, à la suite d’une opération de recherche et de sauvetage ». Il s’agira, pour les pays situés à la frontière extérieure de l’UE, de procéder – dans un délai de 5 jours et avec l’appui des agences européennes (l’agence européenne de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes – Frontex et le Bureau européen d’appui en matière d’asile – EASO) – à des contrôles d’identité (prise d’empreintes et enregistrement dans les bases de données européennes) doublés de contrôles sécuritaires et sanitaires afin de procéder à un tri préalable à l’entrée sur le territoire, permettant d’orienter ensuite les personne vers :

      Une procédure d’asile accélérée à la frontière pour celles possédant une nationalité pour laquelle le taux de reconnaissance d’une protection internationale, à l’échelle de l’UE, est inférieure à 20%
      Une procédure d’asile normale pour celles considérées comme éligibles à une protection.
      Une procédure d’expulsion immédiate, depuis la frontière, pour toute celles qui auront été rejetées par ce dispositif de tri, dans un délai de 12 semaines.

      Pendant cette procédure de filtrage à la frontière, les personnes seraient considérées comme n’étant pas encore entrées sur le territoire européen ce qui permettrait aux Etats de déroger aux conventions de droit international qui s’y appliquent.

      Un premier projet pilote est notamment prévu à Lesbos, conjointement avec les autorités grecques, pour installer un nouveau camp sur l’île avec l’appui d’une Task Force européenne, directement placée sous le contrôle de la direction générale des affaires intérieure de la Commission européenne (DG HOME).

      Difficile de voir où se trouve l’innovation dans la proposition présentée par la Commission. Si ce n’est que les États européens souhaitent pousser encore plus loin à la fois la logique de filtrage à ces frontières ainsi que la sous-traitance de leur contrôle. Depuis l’été 2018, l’Union européenne défend la création de « centres contrôlés au sein de l’UE » d’une part et de « plateformes de débarquement dans les pays tiers » d’autre part. L’UE, à travers ce nouveau mécanisme, vise à organiser l’expulsion rapide des migrants qui sont parvenus, souvent au péril de leur vie, à pénétrer sur son territoire. Pour ce faire, la coopération accrue avec les gardes-frontières des États non européens et l’appui opérationnel de l’agence Frontex sont encore et toujours privilégiés.
      Un « nouvel écosystème en matière de retour »

      L’obsession européenne pour l’amélioration du « taux de retour » se retrouve au cœur de ce nouveau pacte, en repoussant toujours plus les limites en matière de coopération extérieure et d’enfermement des personnes étrangères jugées indésirables et en augmentant de façon inédite ses moyens opérationnels.

      Selon l’expression de Margaritis Schinas, commissaire grec en charge de la « promotion du mode de vie européen », la nouvelle procédure accélérée aux frontières s’accompagnera d’« un nouvel écosystème européen en matière de retour ». Il sera piloté par un « nouveau coordinateur de l’UE chargé des retours » ainsi qu’un « réseau de haut niveau coordonnant les actions nationales » avec le soutien de l’agence Frontex, qui devrait devenir « le bras opérationnel de la politique de retour européenne ».

      Rappelons que Frontex a vu ses moyens décuplés ces dernières années, notamment en vue d’expulser plus de personnes migrantes. Celle-ci a encore vu ses moyens renforcés depuis l’entrée en vigueur de son nouveau règlement le 4 décembre 2019 dont la Commission souhaite accélérer la mise en œuvre effective. Au-delà d’une augmentation de ses effectifs et de la possibilité d’acquérir son propre matériel, l’agence bénéficie désormais de pouvoirs étendus pour identifier les personnes « expulsables » du territoire européen, obtenir les documents de voyage nécessaires à la mise en œuvre de leurs expulsions ainsi que pour coordonner des opérations d’expulsion au service des Etats membres.

      La Commission souhaite également faire aboutir, d’ici le second trimestre 2021, le projet de révision de la directive européenne « Retour », qui constitue un recul sans précédent du cadre de protection des droits fondamentaux des personnes migrantes. Voir notre précédente actualité sur le sujet : L’expulsion au cœur des politiques migratoires européennes, 22 mai 2019
      Des « partenariats sur-mesure » avec les pays d’origine et de transit

      La Commission étend encore redoubler d’efforts afin d’inciter les Etats non européens à participer activement à empêcher les départs vers l’Europe ainsi qu’à collaborer davantage en matière de retour et de réadmission en utilisant l’ensemble des instruments politiques à sa disposition. Ces dernières années ont vu se multiplier les instruments européens de coopération formelle (à travers la signature, entre autres, d’accords de réadmission bilatéraux ou multilatéraux) et informelle (à l’instar de la tristement célèbre déclaration entre l’UE et la Turquie de mars 2016) à tel point qu’il est devenu impossible, pour les États ciblés, de coopérer avec l’UE dans un domaine spécifique sans que les objectifs européens en matière migratoire ne soient aussi imposés.

      L’exécutif européen a enfin souligné sa volonté de d’exploiter les possibilités offertes par le nouveau règlement sur les visas Schengen, entré en vigueur en février 2020. Celui-ci prévoie d’évaluer, chaque année, le degré de coopération des Etats non européens en matière de réadmission. Le résultat de cette évaluation permettra d’adopter une décision de facilitation de visa pour les « bon élèves » ou à l’inverse, d’imposer des mesures de restrictions de visas aux « mauvais élèves ». Voir notre précédente actualité sur le sujet : Expulsions contre visas : le droit à la mobilité marchandé, 2 février 2020.

      Conduite au seul prisme des intérêts européens, cette politique renforce le caractère historiquement déséquilibré des relations de « coopération » et entraîne en outre des conséquences désastreuses sur les droits des personnes migrantes, notamment celui de quitter tout pays, y compris le leur. Sous couvert d’aider ces pays à « se développer », les mesures « incitatives » européennes ne restent qu’un moyen de poursuivre ses objectifs et d’imposer sa vision des migrations. En coopérant davantage avec les pays d’origine et de transit, parmi lesquelles des dictatures et autres régimes autoritaires, l’UE renforce l’externalisation de ses politiques migratoires, sous-traitant la gestion des exilées aux Etats extérieurs à l’UE, tout en se déresponsabilisant des violations des droits perpétrées hors de ses frontières.
      Solidarité à la carte, entre relocalisation et expulsion

      Le constat d’échec du système Dublin – machine infernale de l’asile européen – conjugué à la volonté de parvenir à trouver un consensus suite aux profonds désaccords qui avaient mené les négociations sur Dublin IV dans l’impasse, la Commission souhaite remplacer l’actuel règlement de Dublin par un nouveau règlement sur la gestion de l’asile et de l’immigration, liant étroitement les procédures d’asile aux procédures d’expulsion.

      Les quotas de relocalisation contraignants utilisés par le passé, à l’instar du mécanisme de relocalisation mis en place entre 2015 et 2017 qui fut un échec tant du point de vue du nombre de relocalisations (seulement 25 000 relocalisations sur les 160 000 prévues) que du refus de plusieurs Etats d’y participer, semblent être abandonnés.

      Le nouveau pacte propose donc un nouveau mécanisme de solidarité, certes obligatoire mais flexible dans ses modalités. Ainsi les Etats membres devront choisir, selon une clé de répartition définie :

      Soit de participer à l’effort de relocalisation des personnes identifiées comme éligibles à la protection internationale depuis les frontières extérieures pour prendre en charge l’examen de leur demande d’asile.
      Soit de participer au nouveau concept de « parrainage des retours » inventé par la Commission européenne. Concrètement, il s’agit d’être « solidaire autrement », en s’engageant activement dans la politique de retour européenne par la mise en œuvre des expulsions des personnes que l’UE et ses Etats membres souhaitent éloigner du territoire, avec la possibilité de concentrer leurs efforts sur les nationalités pour lesquelles leurs perspectives de faire aboutir l’expulsion est la plus élevée.

      De nouvelles règles pour les « situations de crise et de force majeure »

      Le pacte prévoie d’abroger la directive européenne relative à des normes minimales pour l’octroi d’une protection temporaire en cas d’afflux massif de personnes déplacées, au profit d’un nouveau règlement européen relatif aux « situations de crise et de force majeure ». L’UE et ses Etats membres ont régulièrement essuyé les critiques des acteurs de la société civile pour n’avoir jamais activé la procédure prévue par la directive de 2001, notamment dans le cadre de situation exceptionnelle telle que la crise de l’accueil des personnes arrivées aux frontières sud de l’UE en 2015.

      Le nouveau règlement prévoie notamment qu’en cas de « situation de crise ou de force majeure » les Etats membres pourraient déroger aux règles qui s’appliquent en matière d’asile, en suspendant notamment l’enregistrement des demandes d’asile pendant un durée d’un mois maximum. Cette mesure entérine des pratiques contraires au droit international et européen, à l’instar de ce qu’a fait la Grèce début mars 2020 afin de refouler toutes les personnes qui tenteraient de pénétrer le territoire européen depuis la Turquie voisine. Voir notre précédente actualité sur le sujet : Frontière Grèce-Turquie : de l’approche hotspot au scandale de la guerre aux migrant·e ·s, 3 mars 2020

      Cette proposition représente un recul sans précédent du droit d’asile aux frontières et fait craindre de multiples violations du principe de non refoulement consacré par la Convention de Genève.

      Bien loin d’engager un changement de cap des politiques migratoires européennes, le nouveau pacte européen migrations et asile ne semble n’être qu’un nouveau cadre de plus pour poursuivre une approche des mouvements migratoires qui, de longue date, s’est construite autour de la volonté d’empêcher les arrivées aux frontières et d’organiser un tri parmi les personnes qui auraient réussi à braver les obstacles pour atteindre le territoire européen, entre celles considérées éligibles à la demande d’asile et toutes les autres qui devraient être expulsées.

      De notre point de vue, cela signifie surtout que des milliers de personnes continueront à être privées de liberté et à subir les dispositifs répressifs des Etats membres de l’Union européenne. Les conséquences néfastes sur la dignité humaine et les droits fondamentaux de cette approche sont flagrantes, les personnes exilées et leurs soutiens y sont confrontées tous les jours.

      Encore une fois, des moyens très importants sont consacrés à financer l’érection de barrières physiques, juridiques et technologiques ainsi que la construction de camps sur les routes migratoires tandis qu’ils pourraient utilement être redéployés pour accueillir dignement et permettre un accès inconditionnel au territoire européen pour les personnes bloquées à ses frontières extérieures afin d’examiner avec attention et impartialité leurs situations et assurer le respect effectif des droits de tou∙te∙s.

      Nous appelons à un changement radical des politiques migratoires, pour une Europe qui encourage les solidarités, fondée sur la protection des droits humains et la dignité humaine afin d’assurer la protection des personnes et non pas leur exclusion.

      https://www.lacimade.org/pacte-europeen-sur-les-migrations-et-lasile-le-rendez-vous-manque-de-lue

    • EU’s new migrant ‘pact’ is as squalid as its refugee camps

      Governments need to share responsibility for asylum seekers, beyond merely ejecting the unwanted

      One month after fires swept through Europe’s largest, most squalid refugee camp, the EU’s migration policies present a picture as desolate as the blackened ruins of Moria on the Greek island of Lesbos. The latest effort at overhauling these policies is a European Commission “pact on asylum and migration”, which is not a pact at all. Its proposals sharply divide the EU’s 27 governments.

      In an attempt to appease central and eastern European countries hostile to admitting asylum-seekers, the commission suggests, in an Orwellian turn of phrase, that they should operate “relocation and return sponsorships”, dispatching people refused entry to their places of origin. This sort of task is normally reserved for nightclub bouncers.

      The grim irony is that Hungary and Poland, two countries that would presumably be asked to take charge of such expulsions, are the subject of EU disciplinary proceedings due to alleged violations of the rule of law. It remains a mystery how, if the commission proposal moves forward, the EU will succeed in binding Hungary and Poland into a common asylum policy and bend them into accepting EU definitions of the rule of law.

      Perhaps the best thing to be said of the commission’s plan is that, unlike the UK government, EU policymakers are not toying with hare-brained schemes of sending asylum-seekers to Ascension Island in the south Atlantic. Such options are the imagined privilege of a former imperial power not divested of all its far-flung possessions.

      Yet the commission’s initiative still reeks of wishful thinking. It foresees a process in which authorities swiftly check the identities, security status and health of irregular migrants, before returning them home, placing them in the asylum system or putting them in temporary facilities. This will supposedly decongest EU border zones, as governments will agree how to relocate new arrivals. But it is precisely the lack of such agreement since 2015 that led to Moria’s disgraceful conditions.

      The commission should not be held responsible for governments failing to shoulder their responsibilities. It is also justified in emphasising the need for a strong EU frontier. This is a precondition for free movement inside the bloc, vital for a flourishing single market.

      True, the Schengen system of border-free internal travel is curtailed at present because of the pandemic, not to mention restrictions introduced in some countries after the 2015 refugee and migrant crisis. But no government wants to abandon Schengen. Where they fall out with each other is over the housing of refugees and migrants.

      Europe’s overcrowded, unhygienic refugee camps, and the paralysis that grips EU policies, are all the more shameful in that governments no longer face a border emergency. Some 60,800 irregular migrants crossed into the EU between January and August, 14 per cent less than the same period in 2019, according to the EU border agency.

      By contrast, there were 1.8m illegal border crossings in 2015, a different order of magnitude. Refugees from conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria made desperate voyages across the Mediterranean, with thousands drowning in ramshackle boats. Some countries, led by Germany and Sweden, were extremely generous in opening their doors to refugees. Others were not.

      The roots of today’s problems lie in the measures devised to address that crisis, above all a 2016 accord with Turkey. Irregular migrants were kept on Moria and other Greek islands, designated “hotspots”, in the expectation that failed asylum applicants would be smoothly returned to Turkey, its coffers replenished by billions of euros in EU assistance. In practice, few went back to Turkey and the understaffed, underfunded “hotspots” became places of tension between refugees and locals.

      Unable to agree on a relocation scheme among themselves, EU governments lapsed into a de facto policy of deterrence of irregular migrants. The pandemic provided an excuse for Italy and Malta to close their ports to people rescued at sea. Visiting the Greek-Turkish border in March, Ursula von der Leyen, the commission president, declared: “I thank Greece for being our European aspida [shield].”

      The legitimacy of EU refugee policies depends on adherence to international law, as well the bloc’s own rules. Its practical success requires all governments to share a responsibility for asylum-seekers that goes beyond ejecting unwanted individuals. Otherwise the EU will fall into the familiar trap of cobbling together unsatisfactory half-measures that guarantee more trouble in the future.

      https://www.ft.com/content/c50c6b9c-75a8-40b1-900d-a228faa382dc?segmentid=acee4131-99c2-09d3-a635-873e61754

    • The EU’s pact against migration, Part One

      The EU Commission’s proposal for a ‘New Pact for Migration and Asylum’ offers no prospect of ending the enduring mobility conflict, opposing the movements of illegalised migrants to the EU’s restrictive migration policies.

      The ’New Pact for Migration and Asylum’, announced by the European Commission in July 2019, was finally presented on September 23, 2020. The Pact was eagerly anticipated as it was described as a “fresh start on migration in Europe”, acknowledging not only that Dublin had failed, but also that the negotiations between European member states as to what system might replace it had reached a standstill.

      The fire in Moria that left more than 13.000 people stranded in the streets of Lesvos island offered a glaring symbol of the failure of the current EU policy. The public outcry it caused and expressions of solidarity it crystallised across Europe pressured the Commission to respond through the publication of its Pact.

      Considering the trajectory of EU migration policies over the last decades, the particular position of the Commission within the European power structure and the current political conjuncture of strong anti-migration positions in Europe, we did not expect the Commission’s proposal to address the mobility conflict underlying its migration policy crisis in a constructive way. And indeed, the Pact’s main promise is to manage the diverging positions of member states through a new mechanism of “flexible solidarity” between member states in sharing the “burden” of migrants who have arrived on European territory. Perpetuating the trajectory of the last decades, it however remains premised on keeping most migrants from the global South out at all cost. The “New Pact” then is effectively a pact between European states against migrants. The Pact, which will be examined and possibly adopted by the European Parliament and Council in the coming months, confirms the impasse to which three decades of European migration and asylum policy have led, and an absence of any political imagination worthy of the name.
      The EU’s migration regime’s failed architecture

      The current architecture of the European border regime is based on two main and intertwined pillars: the Schengen Implementing Convention (SIC, or Schengen II) and the Dublin Convention, both signed in 1990, and gradually enforced in the following years.[1]

      Created outside the EC/EU context, they became the central rationalities of the emerging European border and migration regime after their incorporation into EU law through the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997/99). Schengen instituted the EU’s territory as an area of free movement for its citizens and, as a direct consequence, reinforced the exclusion of citizens of the global South and pushed control towards its external borders.

      However this profound transformation of European borders left unchanged the unbalanced systemic relations between Europe and the Global South, within which migrants’ movements are embedded. As a result, this policy shift did not stop migrants from reaching the EU but rather illegalised their mobility, forcing them to resort to precarious migration strategies and generating an easily exploitable labour force that has become a large-scale and permanent feature of EU economies.

      The more than 40,000 migrant deaths recorded at the EU’s borders by NGOs since the end of the 1980s are the lethal outcomes of this enduring mobility conflict opposing the movements of illegalised migrants to the EU’s restrictive migration policies.

      The second pillar of the EU’s migration architecture, the Dublin Convention, addressed asylum seekers and their allocation between member-states. To prevent them from filing applications in several EU countries – derogatively referred to as “asylum shopping” – the 2003 Dublin regulation states that the asylum seekers’ first country of entry into the EU is responsible for processing their claims. Dublin thus created an uneven European geography of (ir)responsibility that allowed the member states not directly situated at the intersection of European borders and routes of migration to abnegate their responsibility to provide shelter and protection, and placed a heavier “burden” on the shoulders of states located at the EU’s external borders.

      This unbalanced architecture, around which the entire Common European Asylum System (CEAS) was constructed, would begin to wobble as soon as the number of people arriving on the EU’s shores rose, leading to crisis-driven policy responses to prevent the migration regime from collapsing under the pressure of migrants’ refusal to be assigned to a country that was not of their choosing, and conflicts between member states.

      As a result, the development of a European border, migration and asylum policy has been driven by crisis and is inherently reactive. This pattern particularly holds for the last decade, when the large-scale movements of migrants to Europe in the wake of the Arab Uprisings in 2011 put the EU migration regime into permanent crisis mode and prompted hasty reforms. As of 2011, Italy allowed Tunisians to move on, leading to the re-introduction of border controls by states such as France, while the same year the 2011 European Court of Human Rights’ judgement brought Dublin deportations to Greece to a halt because of the appalling reception and living conditions there. The increasing refusal by asylum seekers to surrender their fingerprints – the core means of implementing Dublin – as of 2013 further destabilized the migration regime.

      The instability only grew when in April 2015, more then 1,200 people died in two consecutive shipwrecks, forcing the Commission to publish its ‘European Agenda for Migration’ in May 2015. The 2015 agenda announced the creation of the hotspot system in the hope of re-stabilising the European migration regime through a targeted intervention of European agencies at Europe’s borders. Essentially, the hotspot approach offered a deal to EU member states: comprehensive registration in Europeanised structures (the hotspots) by so-called “front-line states” – thus re-imposing Dublin – in exchange for relocation of part of the registered migrants to other EU countries – thereby alleviating front-line states of part of their “burden”.

      This plan however collapsed before it could ever work, as it was immediately followed by the large-scale summer arrivals of 2015 as migrants trekked across Europe’s borders. It was simultaneously boycotted by several member states who refused relocations and continue to lead the charge in fomenting an explicit anti-migration agenda in the EU. While border controls were soon reintroduced, relocations never materialised in a meaningful manner in the years that followed.

      With the Dublin regime effectively paralysed and the EU unable to agree on a new mechanism for the distribution of asylum seekers within Europe, the EU resorted to the decades-old policies that had shaped the European border and migration regime since its inception: keeping migrants out at all cost through border control implemented by member states, European agencies or outsourced to third countries.

      Considering the profound crisis the turbulent movements of migrants had plunged the EU into in the summer of 2015, no measure was deemed excessive in achieving this exclusionary end: neither the tacit acceptance of violent expulsions and push-backs by Spain and Greece, nor the outsourcing of border control to Libyan torturers, nor the shameless collaboration with dictatorial regimes such as Turkey.

      Under the guise of “tackling the root causes of migration”, development aid was diverted and used to impose border externalisation and deportation agreements. But the external dimension of the EU’s migration regime has proven just as unstable as its internal one – as the re-opening of borders by Turkey in March 2020 demonstrates. The movements of illegalised migrants towards the EU could never be entirely contained and those who reached the shores of Europe were increasingly relegated to infrastructures of detention. Even if keeping thousands of migrants stranded in the hell of Moria may not have been part of the initial hotspot plan, it certainly has been the outcome of the EU’s internal blockages and ultimately effective in shoring up the EU’s strategy of deterrence.

      The “New Pact” perpetuating the EU’s failed policy of closure

      Today the “New Pact”, promised for Spring 2020 and apparently forgotten at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, has been revived in a hurry to address the destruction of Moria hotspot. While detailed analysis of the regulations that it proposes are beyond the scope of this article,[2] the broad intentions of the Pact’s rationale are clear.

      Despite all its humane and humanitarian rhetoric and some language critically addressing the manifest absence of the rule of law at the border of Europe, the Commission’s pact is a pact against migration. Taking stock of the continued impasse in terms of internal distribution of migrants, it re-affirms the EU’s central objective of reducing, massively the number of asylum seekers to be admitted to Europe. It promises to do so by continuing to erect chains of externalised border control along migrants’ entire trajectories (what it refers to as the “whole-of-route approach”).

      Those who do arrive should be swiftly screened and sorted in an infrastructure of detention along the borders of Europe. The lucky few who will succeed in fitting their lives into the shrinking boxes of asylum law are to be relocated to other EU countries in function of a mechanism of distribution based on population size and wealth of member states.

      Whether this will indeed undo the imbalances of the Dublin regime remains an open question[3], nevertheless, this relocation key is one of the few positive steps offered by the Pact since it comes closer to migrants’ own “relocation key” but still falls short of granting asylum seekers the freedom to choose their country of protection and residence.[4] The majority of rejected asylum seekers – which may be determined on the basis of an extended understanding of the “safe third country” notion – is to be funnelled towards deportations operated by the EU states refusing relocation. The Commission hopes deportations will be made smoother after a newly appointed “EU Return Coordinator” will have bullied countries of origin into accepting their nationals using the carrot of development aid and the stick of visa sanctions. The Commission seems to believe that with fewer expected arrivals and fewer migrants ending up staying in Europe, and with its mechanism of “flexible solidarity” allowing for a selective participation in relocations or returns depending on the taste of its member states, it can both bridge the gap between member states’ interests and push for a deeper Europeanisation of the policy field in which its own role will become more central.

      Thus, the EU Commission’s attempt to square the circle of member states’ conflicting interests has resulted in a European pact against migration, which perpetuates the promises of the EU’s (anti-)migration policy over the last three decades: externalisation, enhanced borders, accelerated asylum procedures, detention and deportations to prevent and deter migrants from the global South. It seeks to strike yet another deal between European member states, without consulting – and at the expense of – migrants themselves. Because most of the policy means contained in the pact are not new, and have always failed to durably end illegalised migration – instead they have created a large precaritised population at the heart of Europe – we do not see how they would work today. Migrants will continue to arrive, and many will remain stranded in front-line states or other EU states as they await deportation. As such, the outcome of the pact (if it is agreed upon) is likely a perpetuation and generalisation of the hotspot system, the very system whose untenability – glaringly demonstrated by Moria’s fire – prompted the presentation of the New Pact in the first place. Even if the Commission’s “no more Morias” rhetoric would like to persuade us of the opposite,[5] the ruins of Moria point to the past as well as the potential future of the CEAS if the Commission has its way.

      We are dismayed at the loss of yet another opportunity for Europe to fundamentally re-orient its policy of closure, one which is profoundly at odds with the reality of large-scale displacement in an unequal and interconnected world. We are dismayed at the prospect of more suffering and more political crises that can only be the outcome of this continued policy failure. Clearly, an entirely different approach to how Europe engages with the movements of migration is called for. One which actually aims to de-escalate and transform the enduring mobility conflict. One which starts from the reality of the movements of migrants and offers a frame for it to unfold rather than seeks to suppress and deny it.

      Notes and references

      [1] We have offered an extensive analysis of the following argument in previous articles. See in particular : Bernd Kasparek. 2016. “Complementing Schengen: The Dublin System and the European Border and Migration Regime”. In Migration Policy and Practice, edited by Harald Bauder and Christian Matheis, 59–78. Migration, Diasporas and Citizenship. Houndmills & New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani. 2016. “Ebbing and Flowing: The EU’s Shifting Practices of (Non-)Assistance and Bordering in a Time of Crisis”. Near Futures Online. No 1. Available here.

      [2] For first analyses see Steve Peers. 2020. “First analysis of the EU’s new asylum proposals”, EU Law Analysis, 25 September 2020; Sergio Carrera. 2020. “Whose Pact? The Cognitive Dimensions of the New EU Pact on Migration and Asylum”, CEPS, September 2020.

      [3] Carrera, ibid.

      [4] For a discussion of migration of migrants’ own relocation key, see Philipp Lutz, David Kaufmann and Anna Stütz. 2020. “Humanitarian Protection as a European Public Good: The Strategic Role of States and Refugees”, Journal of Common Market Studies 2020 Volume 58. Number 3. pp. 757–775. To compare the actual asylum applications across Europe over the last years with different relocations keys, see the tool developed by Etienne Piguet.

      https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/can-europe-make-it/the-eus-pact-against-migration-part-one

      #whole-of-route_approach #relocalisation #clé_de_relocalisation #relocation_key #pays-tiers_sûrs #EU_Return_Coordinator #solidarité_flexible #externalisation #new_pact

    • Towards a European pact with migrants, Part Two

      We call for a new Pact that addresses the reality of migrants’ movements, the systemic conditions leading people to flee their homes as well as the root causes of Europe’s racism.

      In Part One, we analysed the EU’s new Pact against migration. Here, we call for an entirely different approach to how Europe engages with migration, one which offers a legal frame for migration to unfold, and addresses the systemic conditions leading people to flee their homes as well as the root causes of Europe’s racism.Let us imagine for a moment that the EU Commission truly wanted, and was in a position, to reorient the EU’s migration policy in a direction that might actually de-escalate and transform the enduring mobility conflict: what might its pact with migrants look like?

      The EU’s pact with migrants might start from three fundamental premises. First, it would recognize that any policy that is entirely at odds with social practices is bound to generate conflict, and ultimately fail. A migration policy must start from the social reality of migration and provide a frame for it to unfold. Second, the pact would acknowledge that no conflict can be brought to an end unilaterally. Any process of conflict transformation must bring together the conflicting parties, and seek to address their needs, interests and values so that they no longer clash with each other. In particular, migrants from the global South must be included in the definition of the policies that concern them. Third, it would recognise, as Tendayi Achiume has put it, that migrants from the global South are no strangers to Europe.[1] They have long been included in the expansive webs of empire. Migration and borders are embedded in these unequal relations, and no end to the mobility conflict can be achieved without fundamentally transforming them. Based on these premises, the EU’s pact with migrants might contain the following four core measures:
      Global justice and conflict prevention

      Instead of claiming to tackle the “root causes” of migration by diverting and instrumentalising development aid towards border control, the EU’s pact with migrants would end all European political and economic relations that contribute to the crises leading to mass displacement. The EU would end all support to dictatorial regimes, would ban all weapon exports, terminate all destabilising military interventions. It would cancel unfair trade agreements and the debts of countries of the global South. It would end its massive carbon emissions that contribute to the climate crisis. Through these means, the EU would not claim to end migration perceived as a “problem” for Europe, but it would contribute to allowing more people to live a dignified life wherever they are and decrease forced migration, which certainly is a problem for migrants. A true commitment to global justice and conflict prevention and resolution is necessary if Europe wishes to limit the factors that lead too many people onto the harsh paths of exile in their countries and regions, a small proportion of whom reach European shores.
      Tackling the “root causes” of European racism

      While the EU’s so-called “global approach” to migration has in fact been one-sided, focused exclusively on migration as “the problem” rather then the processes that drive the EU’s policies of exclusion, the EU’s pact with migrants would boldly tackle the “root causes” of racism and xenophobia in Europe. Bold policies designed to address the EU’s colonial past and present and the racial imaginaries it has unleashed would be proposed, a positive vision for living in common in diverse societies affirmed, and a more inclusive and fair economic system would be established in Europe to decrease the resentment of European populations which has been skilfully channelled against migrants and racialised people.
      Universal freedom of movement

      By tackling the causes of large-scale displacement and of exclusionary migration policies, the EU would be able to de-escalate the mobility conflict, and could thus propose a policy granting all migrants legal pathways to access and stay in Europe. As an immediate outcome of the institution of right to international mobility, migrants would no longer resort to smugglers and risk their lives crossing the sea – and thus no longer be in need of being rescued. Using safe and legal means of travel would also, in the time of Covid-19 pandemic, allow migrants to adopt all sanitary measures that are necessary to protect migrants and those they encounter. No longer policed through military means, migration could appear as a normal process that does not generate fear. Frontex, the European border agency, would be defunded, and concentrate its limited activities on detecting actual threats to the EU rather then constructing vulnerable populations as “risks”. In a world that would be less unequal and in which people would have the possibly to lead a dignified life wherever they are, universal freedom of movement would not lead to an “invasion” of Europe. Circulatory movement rather then permanent settlement would be frequent. Migrants’ legal status would no longer allow employers to push working conditions down. A European asylum system would continue to exist, to grant protection and support to those in need. The vestiges of the EU’s hotspots and detention centres might be turned into ministries of welcome, which would register and redirect people to the place of their choice. Registration would thus be a mere certification of having taken the first step towards European citizenship, transforming the latter into a truly post-national institution, a far horizon which current EU treaties only hint at.
      Democratizing borders

      Considering that all European migration policies to date have been fundamentally undemocratic – in that they were imposed on a group of people – migrants – who had no say in the legislative and political process defining the laws that govern their movement – the pact would instead be the outcome of considerable consultative process with migrants and the organisations that support them, as well the states of the global South. The pact, following from Étienne Balibar’s suggestion, would in turn propose to permanently democratise borders by instituting “a multilateral, negotiated control of their working by the populations themselves (including, of course, migrant populations),” within “new representative institutions” that “are not merely ‘territorial’ and certainly not purely national.”[2] In such a pact, the original promise of Europe as a post-national project would finally be revived.

      Such a policy orientation may of course appear as nothing more then a fantasy. And yet it appears evident to us that the direction we suggest is the only realistic one. European citizens and policy makers alike must realise that the question is not whether migrants will exercise their freedom to cross borders, but at what human and political cost. As a result, it is far more realistic to address the processes within which the mobility conflict is embedded, than seeking to ban human mobility. As the Black Lives Matter’s slogan “No justice no peace!” resonating in the streets of the world over recent months reminds us, without mobility justice, [3] their can be no end to mobility conflict.
      The challenges ahead for migrant solidarity movements

      Our policy proposals are perfectly realistic in relation to migrants’ movements and the processes shaping them, yet we are well aware that they are not on the agenda of neoliberal and nationalist Europe. If the EU Commission has squandered yet another opportunity to reorient the EU’s migration policy, it is simply that this Europe, governed by these member states and politicians, has lost the capacity to offer bold visions of democracy, freedom and justice for itself and the world. As such, we have little hope for a fundamental reorientation of the EU’s policies. The bleak prospect is of the perpetuation of the mobility conflict, and the human suffering and political crises it generates.

      What are those who seek to support migrants to do in this context?

      We must start by a sobering note addressed to the movement we are part of: the fire of Moria is not only a symptom and symbol of the failures of the EU’s migration policies and member states, but also of our own strategies. After all, since the hotspots were proposed in 2015 we have tirelessly denounced them, and documented the horrendous living conditions they have created. NGOs have litigated against them, but efforts have been turned down by a European Court of Human Rights that appears increasingly reluctant to position itself on migration-related issues and is thereby contributing to the perpetuation of grave violations by states.

      And despite the extraordinary mobilisation of civil society in alliance with municipalities across Europe who have declared themselves ready to welcome migrants, relocations never materialised on any significant scale. After five years of tireless mobilization, the hotspots still stand, with thousands of asylum seekers trapped in them.

      While the conditions leading to the fire are still being clarified, it appears that the migrants held hostage in Moria took it into their own hands to try to get rid of the camp through the desperate act of burning it to the ground. As such, while we denounce the EU’s policies, our movements are urgently in need of re-evaluating their own modes of action, and re-imagining them more effectively.

      We have no lessons to give, as we share these shortcomings. But we believe that some of the directions we have suggested in our utopian Pact with migrants can guide migrant solidarity movements as well , as they may be implemented from the bottom-up in the present and help reopen our political imagination.

      The freedom to move is not, or not only, a distant utopia, that may be instituted by states in some distant future. It can also be seen as a right and freedom that illegalised migrants seize on a day-to-day basis as they cross borders without authorisation, and persist in living where they choose.

      Freedom of movement can serve as a useful compass to direct and evaluate our practices of contestation and support. Litigation remains an important tool to counter the multiple forms of violence and violations that migrants face along their trajectories, even as we acknowledge that national and international courts are far from immune to the anti-migrant atmosphere within states. Forging infrastructures of support for migrants in the course of their mobility (such as the WatchTheMed Alarm Phone and the civilian rescue fleet) – and their stay (such as the many citizen platforms for housing )– is and will continue to be essential.

      While states seek to implement what they call an “integrated border management” that seeks to manage migrants’ unruly mobilities before, at, and after borders, we can think of our own networks as forming a fragmented yet interconnected “integrated border solidarity” along the migrants’ entire trajectory. The criminalisation of our acts of solidarity by states is proof that we are effective in disrupting the violence of borders.

      Solidarity cities have formed important nodes in these chains, as municipalities do have the capacity to enable migrants to live in dignity in urban spaces, and limit the reach of their security forces for example. Their dissonant voices of welcome have been important in demonstrating that segments of the European population, which are far from negligible, refuse to be complicit with the EU’s policies of closure and are ready to embody an open relation of solidarity with migrants and beyond. However we must also acknowledge that the prerogative of granting access to European states remains in the hands of central administrations, not in those of municipalities, and thus the readiness to welcome migrants has not allowed the latter to actually seek sanctuary.

      While humanitarian and humanist calls for welcome are important, we too need to locate migration and borders in a broader political and economic context – that of the past and present of empire – so that they can be understood as questions of (in)justice. Echoing the words of the late Edouard Glissant, as activists focusing on illegalised migration we should never forget that “to have to force one’s way across borders as a result of one’s misery is as scandalous as what founds that misery”.[4] As a result of this framing, many more alliances can be forged today between migrant solidarity movements and the global justice and climate justice movements, as well as anti-racist, anti-fascist, feminist and decolonial movements. Through such alliances, we may be better equipped to support migrants throughout their entire trajectories, and transform the conditions that constrain them today.

      Ultimately, to navigate its way out of its own impasses, it seems to us that migrant solidarity movements must address four major questions.

      First, what migration policy do we want? The predictable limits of the EU’s pact against migration may be an opportunity to forge our own alternative agenda.

      Second, how can we not only oppose the implementation of restrictive policies but shape the policy process itself so as to transform the field on which we struggle? Opposing the EU’s anti-migrant pact over the coming months may allow us to conduct new experiments.

      Third, as long as policies that deny basic principles of equality, freedom, justice, and our very common humanity, are still in place, how can we lead actions that disrupt them effectively? For example, what are the forms of nongovernmental evacuations that might support migrants in accessing Europe, and moving across its internal borders?

      Fourth, how can struggles around migration and borders be part of the forging of a more equal, free, just and sustainable world for all?

      The next months during which the EU’s Pact against migration will be discussed in front of the European Parliament and Council will see an uphill battle for all those who still believe in the possibility of a Europe of openness and solidarity. While we have no illusions as to the policy outcome, this is an opportunity we must seize, not only to claim that another Europe and another world is possible, but to start building them from below.

      Notes and references

      [1] Tendayi Achiume. 2019, “The Postcolonial Case for Rethinking Borders.” Dissent 66.3: pp.27-32.

      [2] Etienne Balibar. 2004. We, the People of Europe? Reflections on Transnational Citizenship. Princeton: University Press, p. 108 and 117.

      [3] Mimi Sheller. 2018. Mobility Justice: The Politics of Movement in an Age of Extremes. London: Verso.

      [4] Edouard Glissant. 2006. “Il n’est frontière qu’on n’outrepasse”. Le Monde diplomatique, October 2006.

      https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/can-europe-make-it/towards-pact-migrants-part-two

    • Pacte européen sur la migration et l’asile : Afin de garantir un nouveau départ et d’éviter de reproduire les erreurs passées, certains éléments à risque doivent être reconsidérés et les aspects positifs étendus.

      L’engagement en faveur d’une approche plus humaine de la protection et l’accent mis sur les aspects positifs et bénéfiques de la migration avec lesquels la Commission européenne a lancé le Pacte sur la migration et l’asile sont les bienvenus. Cependant, les propositions formulées reflètent très peu cette rhétorique et ces ambitions. Au lieu de rompre avec les erreurs de la précédente approche de l’Union européenne (UE) et d’offrir un nouveau départ, le Pacte continue de se focaliser sur l’externalisation, la dissuasion, la rétention et le retour.

      Cette première analyse des propositions, réalisée par la société civile, a été guidée par les questions suivantes :

      Les propositions formulées sont-elles en mesure de garantir, en droit et en pratique, le respect des normes internationales et européennes ?
      Participeront-elles à un partage plus juste des responsabilités en matière d’asile au niveau de l’UE et de l’international ?
      Seront-elles susceptibles de fonctionner en pratique ?

      Au lieu d’un partage automatique des responsabilités, le Pacte introduit un système de Dublin, qui n’en porte pas le nom, plus complexe et un mécanisme de « parrainage au retour »

      Le Pacte sur la migration et l’asile a manqué l’occasion de réformer en profondeur le système de Dublin : le principe de responsabilité du premier pays d’arrivée pour examiner les demandes d’asile est, en pratique, maintenu. De plus, le Pacte propose un système complexe introduisant diverses formes de solidarité.

      Certains ajouts positifs dans les critères de détermination de l’Etat membre responsable de la demande d’asile sont à relever, par exemple, l’élargissement de la définition des membres de famille afin d’inclure les frères et sœurs, ainsi qu’un large éventail de membres de famille dans le cas des mineurs non accompagnés et la délivrance d’un diplôme ou d’une autre qualification par un Etat membre. Cependant, au regard de la pratique actuelle des Etats membres, il sera difficile de s’éloigner du principe du premier pays d’entrée comme l’option de départ en faveur des nouvelles considérations prioritaires, notamment le regroupement familial.

      Dans le cas d’un nombre élevé de personnes arrivées sur le territoire (« pression migratoire ») ou débarquées suite à des opérations de recherche et de sauvetage, la solidarité entre Etats membres est requise. Les processus qui en découlent comprennent une série d’évaluations, d’engagements et de rapports devant être rédigés par les États membres. Si la réponse collective est insuffisante, la Commission européenne peut prendre des mesures correctives. Au lieu de promouvoir un mécanisme de soutien pour un partage prévisible des responsabilités, ces dispositions tendent plutôt à créer des formes de négociations entre États membres qui nous sont toutes devenues trop familières. La complexité des propositions soulève des doutes quant à leur application réelle en pratique.

      Les États membres sont autorisés à choisir le « parrainage de retour » à la place de la relocalisation de personnes sur leur territoire, ce qui indique une attention égale portée au retour et à la protection. Au lieu d’apporter un soutien aux Etats membres en charge d’un plus grand nombre de demandes de protection, cette proposition soulève de nombreuses préoccupations juridiques et relatives au respect des droits de l’homme, en particulier si le transfert vers l’Etat dit « parrain » se fait après l’expiration du délai de 8 mois. Qui sera en charge de veiller au traitement des demandeurs d’asile déboutés à leur arrivée dans des Etats qui n’acceptent pas la relocalisation ?

      Le Pacte propose d’étendre l’utilisation de la procédure à la frontière, y compris un recours accru à la rétention

      A défaut de rééquilibrer la responsabilité entre les États membres de l’UE, la proposition de règlement sur les procédures communes exacerbe la pression sur les États situés aux frontières extérieures de l’UE et sur les pays des Balkans occidentaux. La Commission propose de rendre, dans certains cas, les procédures d’asile et de retour à la frontière obligatoires. Cela s’appliquerait notamment aux ressortissants de pays dont le taux moyen de protection de l’UE est inférieur à 20%. Ces procédures seraient facultatives lorsque les Etats membres appliquent les concepts de pays tiers sûr ou pays d’origine sûr. Toutefois, la Commission a précédemment proposé que ceux-ci deviennent obligatoires pour l’ensemble des Etats membres. Les associations réitèrent leurs inquiétudes quant à l’utilisation de ces deux concepts qui ont été largement débattus entre 2016 et 2019. Leur application obligatoire ne doit plus être proposée.

      La proposition de procédure à la frontière repose sur deux hypothèses erronées – notamment sur le fait que la majorité des personnes arrivant en Europe n’est pas éligible à un statut de protection et que l’examen des demandes de protection peut être effectué facilement et rapidement. Ni l’une ni l’autre ne sont correctes. En effet, en prenant en considération à la fois les décisions de première et de seconde instance dans toute l’UE il apparaît que la plupart des demandeurs d’asile dans l’UE au cours des trois dernières années ont obtenu un statut de protection. En outre, le Pacte ne doit pas persévérer dans cette approche erronée selon laquelle les procédures d’asile peuvent être conduites rapidement à travers la réduction de garanties et l’introduction d’un système de tri. La durée moyenne de la procédure d’asile aux Pays-Bas, souvent qualifiée d’ « élève modèle » pour cette pratique, dépasse un an et peut atteindre deux années jusqu’à ce qu’une décision soit prise.

      La proposition engendrerait deux niveaux de standards dans les procédures d’asile, largement déterminés par le pays d’origine de la personne concernée. Cela porte atteinte au droit individuel à l’asile et signifierait qu’un nombre accru de personnes seront soumises à une procédure de deuxième catégorie. Proposer aux Etats membres d’émettre une décision d’asile et d’éloignement de manière simultanée, sans introduire de garanties visant à ce que les principes de non-refoulement, d’intérêt supérieur de l’enfant, et de protection de la vie privée et familiale ne soient examinés, porte atteinte aux obligations qui découlent du droit international. La proposition formulée par la Commission supprime également l’effet suspensif automatique du recours, c’est-à-dire le droit de rester sur le territoire dans l’attente d’une décision finale rendue dans le cadre d’une procédure à la frontière.

      L’idée selon laquelle les personnes soumises à des procédures à la frontière sont considérées comme n’étant pas formellement entrées sur le territoire de l’État membre est trompeuse et contredit la récente jurisprudence de l’UE, sans pour autant modifier les droits de l’individu en vertu du droit européen et international.

      La proposition prive également les personnes de la possibilité d’accéder à des permis de séjour pour des motifs autres que l’asile et impliquera très probablement une privation de liberté pouvant atteindre jusqu’à 6 mois aux frontières de l’UE, c’est-à-dire un maximum de douze semaines dans le cadre de la procédure d’asile à la frontière et douze semaines supplémentaires en cas de procédure de retour à la frontière. En outre, les réformes suppriment le principe selon lequel la rétention ne doit être appliquée qu’en dernier recours dans le cadre des procédures aux frontières. En s’appuyant sur des restrictions plus systématiques des mouvements dans le cadre des procédures à la frontière, la proposition restreindra l’accès de l’individu aux services de base fournis par des acteurs qui ne pourront peut-être pas opérer à la frontière, y compris pour l’assistance et la représentation juridiques. Avec cette approche, on peut s’attendre aux mêmes échecs rencontrés dans la mise en œuvre des « hotspot » sur les îles grecques.

      La reconnaissance de l’intérêt supérieur de l’enfant comme élément primordial dans toutes les procédures pour les États membres est positive. Cependant, la Commission diminue les garanties de protection des enfants en n’exemptant que les mineurs non accompagnés ou âgés de moins de douze ans des procédures aux frontières. Ceci est en contradiction avec la définition internationale de l’enfant qui concerne toutes les personnes jusqu’à l’âge de dix-huit ans, telle qu’inscrite dans la Convention relative aux droits de l’enfant ratifiée par tous les États membres de l’UE.

      Dans les situations de crise, les États membres sont autorisés à déroger à d’importantes garanties qui soumettront davantage de personnes à des procédures d’asile de qualité inférieure

      La crainte d’iniquité procédurale est d’autant plus visible dans les situations où un État membre peut prétendre être confronté à une « situation exceptionnelle d’afflux massif » ou au risque d’une telle situation.

      Dans ces cas, le champ d’application de la procédure obligatoire aux frontières est considérablement étendu à toutes les personnes en provenance de pays dont le taux moyen de protection de l’UE est inférieur à 75%. La procédure d’asile à la frontière et la procédure de retour à la frontière peuvent être prolongées de huit semaines supplémentaires, soit cinq mois chacune, ce qui porte à dix mois la durée maximale de privation de liberté. En outre, les États membres peuvent suspendre l’enregistrement des demandes d’asile pendant quatre semaines et jusqu’à un maximum de trois mois. Par conséquent, si aucune demande n’est enregistrée pendant plusieurs semaines, les personnes sont susceptibles d’être exposées à un risque accru de rétention et de refoulement, et leurs droits relatifs à un accueil digne et à des services de base peuvent être gravement affectés.

      Cette mesure permet aux États membres de déroger à leur responsabilité de garantir un accès à l’asile et un examen efficace et équitable de l’ensemble des demandes d’asile, ce qui augmente ainsi le risque de refoulement. Dans certains cas extrêmes, notamment lorsque les États membres agissent en violation flagrante et persistante des obligations du droit de l’UE, le processus de demande d’autorisation à la Commission européenne pourrait être considéré comme une amélioration, étant donné qu’actuellement la loi est ignorée, sans consultation et ce malgré les critiques de la Commission européenne. Toutefois, cela ne peut être le point de départ de l’évaluation de cette proposition de la législation européenne. L’impact à grande échelle de cette dérogation offre la possibilité à ce qu’une grande majorité des personnes arrivant dans l’UE soient soumises à une procédure de second ordre.

      Pré-filtrage à la frontière : risques et opportunités

      La Commission propose un processus de « pré-filtrage à l’entrée » pour toutes les personnes qui arrivent de manière irrégulière aux frontières de l’UE, y compris à la suite d’un débarquement dans le cadre des opérations de recherche et de sauvetage. Le processus de pré-filtrage comprend des contrôles de sécurité, de santé et de vulnérabilité, ainsi que l’enregistrement des empreintes digitales, mais il conduit également à des décisions impactant l’accès à l’asile, notamment en déterminant si une personne doit être sujette à une procédure d’asile accélérée à la frontière, de relocalisation ou de retour. Ce processus peut durer jusqu’à 10 jours et doit être effectué au plus près possible de la frontière. Le lieu où les personnes seront placées et l’accès aux conditions matérielles d’accueil demeurent flous. Le filtrage peut également être appliqué aux personnes se trouvant sur le territoire d’un État membre, ce qui pourrait conduire à une augmentation de pratiques discriminatoires. Des questions se posent également concernant les droits des personnes soumises au filtrage, tels que l’accès à l’information, , l’accès à un avocat et au droit de contester la décision prise dans ce contexte ; les motifs de refus d’entrée ; la confidentialité et la protection des données collectées. Etant donné que les États membres peuvent facilement se décharger de leurs responsabilités en matière de dépistage médical et de vulnérabilité, il n’est pas certain que certains besoins seront effectivement détectés et pris en considération.

      Une initiative à saluer est la proposition d’instaurer un mécanisme indépendant des droits fondamentaux à la frontière. Afin qu’il garantisse une véritable responsabilité face aux violations des droits à la frontière, y compris contre les éloignements et les refoulements récurrents dans un grand nombre d’États membres, ce mécanisme doit être étendu au-delà de la procédure de pré-filtrage, être indépendant des autorités nationales et impliquer des organisations telles que les associations non gouvernementales.

      La proposition fait de la question du retour et de l’expulsion une priorité

      L’objectif principal du Pacte est clair : augmenter de façon significative le nombre de personnes renvoyées ou expulsées de l’UE. La création du poste de Coordinateur en charge des retours au sein de la Commission européenne et d’un directeur exécutif adjoint aux retours au sein de Frontex en sont la preuve, tandis qu’aucune nomination n’est prévue au sujet de la protection de garanties ou de la relocalisation. Le retour est considéré comme un élément admis dans la politique migratoire et le soutien pour des retours dignes, en privilégiant les retours volontaires, l’accès à une assistance au retour et l’aide à la réintégration, sont essentiels. Cependant, l’investissement dans le retour n’est pas une réponse adaptée au non-respect systématique des normes d’asile dans les États membres de l’UE.

      Rien de nouveau sur l’action extérieure : des propositions irréalistes qui risquent de continuer d’affaiblir les droits de l’homme

      La tension entre l’engagement rhétorique pour des partenariats mutuellement bénéfiques et la focalisation visant à placer la migration au cœur des relations entre l’UE et les pays tiers se poursuit. Les tentatives d’externaliser la responsabilité de l’asile et de détourner l’aide au développement, les mécanismes de visa et d’autres outils pour inciter les pays tiers à coopérer sur la gestion migratoire et les accords de réadmission sont maintenues. Cela ne représente pas seulement un risque allant à l’encontre de l’engagement de l’UE pour ses principes de développement, mais cela affaiblit également sa posture internationale en générant de la méfiance et de l’hostilité depuis et à l’encontre des pays tiers. De plus, l’usage d’accords informels et la coopération sécuritaire sur la gestion migratoire avec des pays tels que la Libye ou la Turquie risquent de favoriser les violations des droits de l’homme, d’encourager les gouvernements répressifs et de créer une plus grande instabilité.

      Un manque d’ambition pour des voies légales et sûres vers l’Europe

      L’opportunité pour l’UE d’indiquer qu’elle est prête à contribuer au partage des responsabilités pour la protection au niveau international dans un esprit de partenariat avec les pays qui accueillent la plus grande majorité des réfugiés est manquée. Au lieu de proposer un objectif ambitieux de réinstallation de réfugiés, la Commission européenne a seulement invité les Etats membres à faire plus et a converti les engagements de 2020 en un mécanisme biennal, ce qui résulte en la perte d’une année de réinstallation européenne.

      La reconnaissance du besoin de faciliter la migration de main-d’œuvre à travers différents niveaux de compétences est à saluer, mais l’importance de cette migration dans les économies et les sociétés européennes ne se reflète pas dans les ressources, les propositions et les actions allouées.

      Le soutien aux activités de recherche et de sauvetage et aux actions de solidarité doit être renforcé

      La tragédie humanitaire dans la mer Méditerranée nécessite encore une réponse y compris à travers un soutien financier et des capacités de recherches et de sauvetage. Cet enjeu ainsi que celui du débarquement sont pris en compte dans toutes les propositions, reconnaissant ainsi la crise humanitaire actuelle. Cependant, au lieu de répondre aux comportements et aux dispositions règlementaires des gouvernements qui obstruent les activités de secours et le travail des défendeurs des droits, la Commission européenne suggère que les standards de sécurité sur les navires et les niveaux de communication avec les acteurs privés doivent être surveillés. Les acteurs privés sont également requis d’adhérer non seulement aux régimes légaux, mais aussi aux politiques et pratiques relatives à « la gestion migratoire » qui peuvent potentiellement interférer avec les obligations de recherches et de sauvetage.

      Bien que la publication de lignes directrices pour prévenir la criminalisation de l’action humanitaire soit la bienvenue, celles-ci se limitent aux actes mandatés par la loi avec une attention spécifique aux opérations de sauvetage et de secours. Cette approche risque d’omettre les activités humanitaires telles que la distribution de nourriture, d’abris, ou d’information sur le territoire ou assurés par des organisations non mandatées par le cadre légal qui sont également sujettes à ladite criminalisation et à des restrictions.

      Des signes encourageants pour l’inclusion

      Les changements proposés pour permettre aux réfugiés d’accéder à une résidence de long-terme après trois ans et le renforcement du droit de se déplacer et de travailler dans d’autres Etats membres sont positifs. De plus, la révision du Plan d’action pour l’inclusion et l’intégration et la mise en place d’un groupe d’experts pour collecter l’avis des migrants afin de façonner la politique européenne sont les bienvenues.

      La voie à suivre

      La présentation des propositions de la Commission est le commencement de ce qui promet d’être une autre longue période conflictuelle de négociations sur les politiques européennes d’asile et de migration. Alors que ces négociations sont en cours, il est important de rappeler qu’il existe déjà un régime d’asile européen et que les Etats membres ont des obligations dans le cadre du droit européen et international.

      Cela requiert une action immédiate de la part des décideurs politiques européens, y compris de la part des Etats membres, de :

      Mettre en œuvre les standards existants en lien avec les conditions matérielles d’accueil et les procédures d’asile, d’enquêter sur leur non-respect et de prendre les mesures disciplinaires nécessaires ;
      Sauver des vies en mer, et de garantir des capacités de sauvetage et de secours, permettant un débarquement et une relocalisation rapide ;
      Continuer de s’accorder sur des arrangements ad-hoc de solidarité pour alléger la pression sur les Etats membres aux frontières extérieures de l’UE et encourager les Etats membres à avoir recours à la relocalisation.

      Concernant les prochaines négociations sur le Pacte, nous recommandons aux co-législateurs de :

      Rejeter l’application obligatoire de la procédure d’asile ou de retour à la frontière : ces procédures aux standards abaissés réduisent les garanties des demandeurs d’asile et augmentent le recours à la rétention. Elles exacerbent le manque de solidarité actuel sur l’asile dans l’UE en plaçant plus de responsabilité sur les Etats membres aux frontières extérieures. L’expérience des hotspots et d’autres initiatives similaires démontrent que l’ajout de procédures ou d’étapes dans l’asile peut créer des charges administratives et des coûts significatifs, et entraîner une plus grande inefficacité ;
      Se diriger vers la fin de la privation de liberté de migrants, et interdire la rétention de mineurs conformément à la Convention internationale des droits de l’enfant, et de dédier suffisamment de ressources pour des solutions non privatives de libertés appropriées pour les mineurs et leurs familles ;
      Réajuster les propositions de réforme afin de se concentrer sur le maintien et l’amélioration des standards des droits de l’homme et de l’asile en Europe, plutôt que sur le retour ;
      Œuvrer à ce que les propositions réforment fondamentalement la façon dont la responsabilité des demandeurs d’asile en UE est organisée, en adressant les problèmes liés au principe de pays de première entrée, afin de créer un véritable mécanisme de solidarité ;
      Limiter les possibilités pour les Etats membres de déroger à leurs responsabilités d’enregistrer les demandes d’asile ou d’examiner les demandes, afin d’éviter de créer des incitations à opérer en mode gestion de crise et à diminuer les standards de l’asile ;
      Augmenter les garanties pendant la procédure de pré-filtrage pour assurer le droit à l’information, l’accès à une aide et une représentation juridique, la détection et la prise en charge des vulnérabilités et des besoins de santé, et une réponse aux préoccupations liées à l’enregistrement et à la protection des données ;
      Garantir que le mécanisme de suivi des droits fondamentaux aux frontières dispose d’une portée large afin de couvrir toutes les violations des droits fondamentaux à la frontière, qu’il soit véritablement indépendant des autorités nationales et dispose de ressources adéquates et qu’il contribue à la responsabilisation ;
      S’opposer aux tentatives d’utiliser l’aide au développement, au commerce, aux investissements, aux mécanismes de visas, à la coopération sécuritaire et autres politiques et financements pour faire pression sur les pays tiers dans leur coopération étroitement définie par des objectifs européens de contrôle migratoire ;
      Evaluer l’impact à long-terme des politiques migratoires d’externalisation sur la paix, le respect des droits et le développement durable et garantir que la politique extérieure migratoire ne contribue pas à la violation de droits de l’homme et prenne en compte les enjeux de conflits ;
      Développer significativement les voies légales et sûres vers l’UE en mettant en œuvre rapidement les engagements actuels de réinstallation, en proposant de nouveaux objectifs ambitieux et en augmentant les opportunités de voies d’accès à la protection ainsi qu’à la migration de main-d’œuvre et universitaire en UE ;
      Renforcer les exceptions à la criminalisation lorsqu’il s’agit d’actions humanitaires et autres activités indépendantes de la société civile et enlever les obstacles auxquels font face les acteurs de la société civile fournissant une assistance vitale et humanitaire sur terre et en mer ;
      Mettre en place une opération de recherche et de sauvetage en mer Méditerranée financée et coordonnée par l’UE ;
      S’appuyer sur les propositions prometteuses pour soutenir l’inclusion à travers l’accès à la résidence à long-terme et les droits associés et la mise en œuvre du Plan d’action sur l’intégration et l’inclusion au niveau européen, national et local.

      https://www.forumrefugies.org/s-informer/positions/europe/774-pacte-europeen-sur-la-migration-et-l-asile-afin-de-garantir-un-no

    • Nouveau Pacte européen  : les migrant.e.s et réfugié.e.s traité.e.s comme des « # colis à trier  »

      Le jour même de la Conférence des Ministres européens de l’Intérieur, EuroMed Droits présente son analyse détaillée du nouveau Pacte européen sur l’asile et la migration, publié le 23 septembre dernier (https://euromedrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Analysis-of-Asylum-and-Migration-Pact_Final_Clickable.pdf).

      On peut résumer les plus de 500 pages de documents comme suit  : le nouveau Pacte européen sur l’asile et la migration déshumanise les migrant.e.s et les réfugié.e.s, les traitant comme des «  #colis à trier  » et les empêchant de se déplacer en Europe. Ce Pacte soulève de nombreuses questions en matière de respect des droits humains, dont certaines sont à souligner en particulier  :

      L’UE détourne le concept de solidarité. Le Pacte vise clairement à «  rétablir la confiance mutuelle entre les États membres  », donnant ainsi la priorité à la #cohésion:interne de l’UE au détriment des droits des migrant.e.s et des réfugié.e.s. La proposition laisse le choix aux États membres de contribuer – en les mettant sur un pied d’égalité – à la #réinstallation, au #rapatriement, au soutien à l’accueil ou à l’#externalisation des frontières. La #solidarité envers les migrant.e.s et les réfugié.e.s et leurs droits fondamentaux sont totalement ignorés.

      Le pacte promeut une gestion «  sécuritaire  » de la migration. Selon la nouvelle proposition, les migrant.e.s et les réfugié.e.s seront placé.e.s en #détention et privé.e.s de liberté à leur arrivée. La procédure envisagée pour accélérer la procédure de demande d’asile ne pourra se faire qu’au détriment des lois sur l’asile et des droits des demandeur.se.s. Il est fort probable que la #procédure se déroulera de manière arbitraire et discriminatoire, en fonction de la nationalité du/de la demandeur.se, de son taux de reconnaissance et du fait que le pays dont il/elle provient est «  sûr  », ce qui est un concept douteux.

      L’idée clé qui sous-tend cette vision est simple  : externaliser autant que possible la gestion des frontières en coopérant avec des pays tiers. L’objectif est de faciliter le retour et la réadmission des migrant.e.s dans le pays d’où ils/elles sont parti.es. Pour ce faire, l’Agence européenne de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes (Frontex) verrait ses pouvoirs renforcés et un poste de coordinateur.trice européen.ne pour les retours serait créé. Le pacte risque de facto de fournir un cadre juridique aux pratiques illégales telles que les refoulements, les détentions arbitraires et les mesures visant à réduire davantage la capacité en matière d’asile. Des pratiques déjà en place dans certains États membres.

      Le Pacte présente quelques aspects «  positifs  », par exemple en matière de protection des enfants ou de regroupement familial, qui serait facilité. Mais ces bonnes intentions, qui doivent être mises en pratique, sont noyées dans un océan de mesures répressives et sécuritaires.

      EuroMed Droits appelle les Etats membres de l’UE à réfléchir en termes de mise en œuvre pratique (ou non) de ces mesures. Non seulement elles violent les droits humains, mais elles sont impraticables sur le terrain  : la responsabilité de l’évaluation des demandes d’asile reste au premier pays d’arrivée, sans vraiment remettre en cause le Règlement de Dublin. Cela signifie que des pays comme l’Italie, Malte, l’Espagne, la Grèce et Chypre continueront à subir une «  pression  » excessive, ce qui les encouragera à poursuivre leurs politiques de refoulement et d’expulsion. Enfin, le Pacte ne répond pas à la problématique urgente des «  hotspots  » et des camps de réfugié.e.s comme en Italie ou en Grèce et dans les zones de transit à l’instar de la Hongrie. Au contraire, cela renforce ce modèle dangereux en le présentant comme un exemple à exporter dans toute l’Europe, alors que des exemples récents ont démontré l’impossibilité de gérer ces camps de manière humaine.

      https://euromedrights.org/fr/publication/nouveau-pacte-europeen%e2%80%af-les-migrant-e-s-et-refugie-e-s-traite

      #paquets_de_la_poste #paquets #poste #tri #pays_sûrs

  • Première relocalisation en France de 16 mineurs non accompagnés vivant en Grèce - InfoMigrants
    https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/26786/premiere-relocalisation-en-france-de-16-mineurs-non-accompagnes-vivant

    Décidé depuis l’année dernière par le gouvernement grec en coopération avec ses partenaires européens, le programme de relocalisation baptisé « No Child Alone » (Aucun Enfant Seul), s’inscrit dans le cadre d’un programme de protection des mineurs non accompagnés victimes de « l’exploitation et de la criminalité ».Toutefois en raison de la pandémie du Covid-19, le programme n’a commencé qu’en avril avec le départ de 12 enfants au Luxembourg, suivi d’un deuxième groupe de 50 mineurs accueillis en Allemagne. Début juillet un groupe de 25 migrants mineurs avait été relocalisé en Finlande ainsi qu’un autre du même nombre au Portugal, un pays qui a promis d’héberger au total 500 enfants. Le programme de relocalisation vise à aider la Grèce à faire face à environ 5 000 enfants non accompagnés, dont la grande majorité vit dans des conditions insalubres ou dans des logements non adaptés aux enfants. De plus, la France doit également héberger environ 400 demandeurs d’asile en provenance de Grèce mais aucun transfert n’a encore été organisé pour ces personnes.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#grece#portugal#allemagne#finlande#luxembourg#UE#sante#relocalisation#asile#mineur#MNA

  • Education : la Grèce octroie l’asile à un étudiant Guinéen admis à Sciences Po Paris

    Les autorités grecques vont octroyer l’asile à un jeune migrant guinéen, admis à Sciences Po Paris. Il était bloqué en Grèce car l’examen de sa demande d’asile a été retardé par l’épidémie de coronavirus.

    « C’est un pas positif, un pas dans la bonne direction », s’est félicitée Sofia Kouvelaki, directrice de l’ONG, The Home Project, qui s’était chargée du jeune migrant guinéen admis à Sciences Po à Paris mais bloqué en Grèce à cause du coronavirus.

    Les autorités grecques vont octroyer mardi l’asile à Amadou Diallo, 20 ans, réfugié sans-papiers. Après avoir terminé sa scolarité en Grèce, il a été accepté pour étudier à Sciences Po Paris sur dossier, après avoir passé un entretien en visioconférence.
    L’asile octroyé à trois jeunes migrants boursiers

    Le ministère grec des Migrations a indiqué ce lundi dans un communiqué que le ministre Notis Mitarakis allait octroyer mardi l’asile « à trois migrants qui ont réussi à obtenir des bourses d’études grâce aux possibilités que la Grèce leur a offertes ».

    Outre Amadou Diallo, deux autres jeunes migrants vont recevoir l’asile, respectivement de nationalité camerounaise et afghane. La responsable de l’ONG The Home Project a toutefois exprimé l’importance qu’Amadou Diallo reçoive « rapidement une carte de séjour et un passeport » pour qu’il puisse se rendre à temps à Paris pour commencer ses études.

    L’examen de sa demande d’asile a été retardé par l’épidémie de coronavirus, qui risquait en effet de l’empêcher de se rendre en France à temps pour la rentrée universitaire. C’est l’ambassade de France à Athènes qui s’est saisie de la question du jeune Guinéen, et avait travaillé à une solution avec le gouvernement grec.
    « La France est prête à l’accueillir ! »

    Le jeune homme, qui a perdu ses parents encore enfant, a fui son pays où il se sentait persécuté. Il est arrivé en 2016 sur l’île grecque de Lesbos. Il s’est enfui du camp de réfugié de Moria à Lesbos en se cachant dans un ferry pour Athènes où il a vécu un temps sans abri, jusqu’à ce qu’il rencontre des membres de l’ONG The Home Project.

    Grâce à un travail dans un hôtel l’été et au soutien de l’ONG, il a pu intégrer le lycée franco hellénique Eugène Delacroix à Athènes. Sur les réseaux sociaux, son histoire a été vivement commentée et a suscité l’émotion.

    La ministre française déléguée à la citoyenneté Marlène Schiappa a réagi sur Twitter : « Grâce à la mobilisation du Ministère de l’Intérieur et de la diplomatie française la Grèce va octroyer l’asile à Amadou Diallo, jeune réfugié admis à Sciences Po. Il pourra donc poursuivre sa scolarité en France ! ».

    https://twitter.com/MarleneSchiappa/status/1285310610629107714?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E12


    https://twitter.com/MarleneSchiappa/status/1285310610629107714

    https://www.leparisien.fr/societe/education-la-grece-octroie-l-asile-a-un-etudiant-guineen-admis-a-sciences
    #relocalisation #Grèce #France #études #université #études #réfugiés #asile #migrations

    –-

    Ajouté à la métaliste des #villes-refuge et en particulier des #universités-refuge :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/759145#message766829

  • Border pre-screening centres part of new EU migration pact

    The European Commission’s long-awaited and long-delayed pact on migration will include new asylum centres along the outer rim of the European Union, EUobserver has been told.

    The idea is part of a German proposal, floated last year, that seeks to rapidly pre-screen asylum seekers before they enter European Union territory.

    Michael Spindelegger, director-general of the Vienna-based International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) told EUobserver on Thursday (9 July) that the European Commission had in fact decided to include it into their upcoming migration pact.

    “I got some information that this will be part of these proposals from the European Commission. So this is what I can tell you. I think this really is something that could bring some movement in the whole debate,” he said.

    Spindelegger was Austria’s minister of foreign affairs and finance minister before taking over the ICMPD in 2016, where he has been outspoken in favour of such centres as a means to unblock disagreements among member states on the overhaul of the future EU-wide asylum system.

    The German non-paper published in November 2019 proposed a mandatory initial assessment of asylum applications at the external border.

    The idea is to prevent irregular and economic migrants from adding to the administrative bottlenecks of bona-fide asylum seekers and refugees.

    “Manifestly unfounded or inadmissible applications shall be denied immediately at the external border, and the applicant must not be allowed to enter the EU,” stated the paper.

    EUobserver understands the new pact may also include a three-tiered approach.

    Abusive claims would be immediately dismissed and returned, those clearly in the need for protection would be relocated to an EU state, while the remainder would end up in some sort of facility.

    Spindelegger concedes the idea has its detractors - noting it will be also be tricky to find the legal framework to support it.

    “To give people, within some days, the right expectation is a good thing - so this is more or less a surprise that the European Commission took this initiative, because there are also some people who are totally against this,” he said.
    EU ’hotspots’ in Greece

    Among those is Oxfam International, an NGO that says people may end up in similar circumstances currently found in the so-called hotspots on the Greek islands.

    “We are very concerned that the Greek law and the hotspots on the islands are going to be the blueprint for the new asylum and migration pact and we have seen them failed in every criteria,” said Oxfam International’s Raphael Shilhav, an expert on migration.

    The hotspots were initially touted as a solution by the European Commission to facilitate and expedite asylum claims of people seeking international protection, who had disembarked from Turkey to the Greek islands.

    The zones on the islands quickly turned into overcrowded camps where people, including women and children, are forced to live amid filth and violence.

    Shilvav said some people at the hotspots who deserved asylum ended up falling through the cracks, noting new Greek laws effectively bar many people who do not have legal support from appealing an asylum rejection.

    EUobserver has previously spoken to one asylum seeker from the Congo who had spent almost three years living in a tent with others at the hotspot in Moria on Lesbos island.

    The new pact is a cornerstone policy of the Von der Leyen Commission and follows years of bickering among member states who failed to agree on a previous proposal to overhaul the existing EU-wide asylum rules.

    “Over the past few years, many member states simply refused to find a solution,” Germany’s interior minister Horst Seehofer said ahead of the current German EU presidency’s first debate on home affairs issues.

    The commission has so far refused to release any specific details of the plan - which has been delayed until September, following the eruption of the pandemic and on-going debates over the EU’s next long-term budget.

    “This proposal will be there to protect and defend the right to asylum and that includes the possibility to apply for asylum, that is a right for everybody to do so,” EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson told MEPs earlier this week.

    For its part, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says the new pact needs to be common and workable.

    “This means establishing fair and fast asylum procedures to quickly determine who needs international protection and who does not,” a UNHCR spokeswoman said, in an emailed statement.

    She also noted that some 85 percent of the world’s refugees are currently hosted in neighbouring and developing countries and that more funds are needed for humanitarian and development support.

    https://euobserver.com/migration/148902
    #migration_pact #pacte_migratoire #Europe #identification #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #pré-identification #centres_d'identification #hotspots #Grèce #contrôles_migratoires #contrôles_frontaliers #externalisation #EU #UE #frontières_extérieures #relocalisation #renvois #expulsions

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • #Coronavirus : comment entreprises et élus tentent de relocaliser la production en France et en Europe
    https://www.francetvinfo.fr/sante/maladie/coronavirus/coronavirus-comment-entreprises-et-elus-tentent-de-relocaliser-la-produ

    La crise du Covid-19 a révélé les défaillances tricolores dans la production de certains biens stratégiques et sa dépendance vis-à-vis de l’Asie. Au-delà de la pénurie de masques, les Français ont aussi découvert que 80% des principes actifs des médicaments étaient fabriqués en Chine et en Inde, que 55% des gants chirurgicaux venaient de Malaisie et que, dans le nord de la France, ancien fleuron du textile, on était incapable de produire des surblouses. Le fruit de plusieurs décennies de délocalisations, un mouvement initié dans les années 1980 et qui s’est accéléré dans les années 2000.

    On a été victimes, au début des années 2000, de la philosophie des élites françaises : ’On va garder la R&D et on va laisser partir l’industrie en Asie’.Vincent Bedouin, vice-président du Comité stratégique de filière de l’industrie électroniqueà franceinfo

    Le « monde d’après » sera-t-il synonyme de #relocalisation ? C’est en tout cas l’ambition affichée au sommet de l’Etat. « Déléguer notre alimentation, notre protection, notre capacité à soigner, notre cadre de vie à d’autres est une folie », a lancé Emmanuel Macron le 12 mars. Dont acte. Bercy a chargé les 16 Comités stratégiques de filière (CSF), créés dans le sillage du Conseil national de l’industrie en 2010, de plancher sur les secteurs relocalisables, que ce soit dans la santé, l’agroalimentaire, l’automobile, l’aéronautique ou encore l’électronique, et d’arriver avec une feuille de route avant l’été.

    #politique_industrielle #industrie

  • Lesbos en quarantaine, la situation des réfugiés

    Dans le camp de Mória sur l’île de Lesbos, des travailleurs humanitaires apportent leur soutien à des dizaines de milliers de migrants malgré le confinement et les conditions sanitaires catastrophiques. « ARTE Regards » lève le voile sur la situation désespérée dans ce site surpeuplé, considéré comme l’un des plus dangereux d’Europe.

    Leurs histoires ne font pas la une mais elles émeuvent, surprennent et donnent à réfléchir. En prise avec un thème d’actualité, les reportages choisis par ARTE Regards vont à la rencontre de citoyens européens et proposent une plongée inédite dans leurs réalités quotidiennes.

    https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/090637-059-A/arte-regards-lesbos-en-quarantaine-la-situation-des-refugies
    #Moria #Lesbos #asile #migrations #réfugiés #distanciation_sociale #camps_de_réfugiés #coronavirus #covid-19 #Team_Humanity #humanitaire #solidarité #Grèce #délit_de_solidarité #dissuasion
    #film #vidéo #documentaire #campement #bagarres #agressions #queue #déchets #liberté_de_mouvement #hygiène #eau #accès_à_l'eau #eaux_usées #sécurité #insécurité #toilettes #résistance #relocalisation #
    ping @luciebacon

  • TRIBUNE #Covid-19 : l’impératif coopératif et solidaire

    Nous, acteurs, chercheurs, élus, territoires et réseaux de l’ESS des Hauts-de-France appelons à un #engagement véritablement coopératif et solidaire pour sortir par le haut de cette #crise sans précédent.

    Les crises se succèdent à un rythme effréné

    En un temps court, nos sociétés ont été amenées à faire face à une succession de crises majeures que l’on songe à la crise financière internationale de 2008, à la crise sociale et démocratique des gilets jaunes depuis 2018, à la crise écologique qu’incarnent le changement climatique et l’effondrement de la biodiversité. L’arrivée et la diffusion mondiale du coronavirus fin 2019 et les réponses qui ont été fournies ont cette fois provoqué une crise multidimensionnelle sans précédent.

    À chaque crise, l’État est appelé à la rescousse : il retrouve de sa superbe, n’est plus conspué ni par ceux qui d’habitude idolâtrent la privatisation des gains ni par ceux qui vantent les bienfaits de l’austérité. À chaque crise, qui provoque un accroissement effroyable des inégalités (sociales, territoriales, de logement etc.), des appels solennels à la solidarité et à la coopération sont lancés. Quelques actes philanthropiques trouvent un large écho dans la presse : tel grand groupe décide de réorienter une ligne de production vers des produits de première nécessité sanitaire ; tel autre achète « à ses frais » des équipements en Chine ou ailleurs ; tel autre encore réduit la part des dividendes qui seront versés à ses actionnaires, tandis qu’il profite par ailleurs du filet de protection sociale du chômage partiel assuré par l’État. Telle grande fortune appelle aussi à une redistribution ponctuelle des revenus (souvent financiers) engrangés.

    L’économie sociale et solidaire, un acteur discret de réponse à ces crises

    Une partie de l’économie pourtant, fait de ces appels, là-bas ponctuels, le cœur structurel de son organisation et de son activité du quotidien. Crise ou pas crise, les initiatives solidaires, l’économie sociale et solidaire, les communs interrogent le sens de ce qu’ils réalisent, orientent leurs productions vers des activités d’utilité sociale, qui répondent à des besoins écologiques et sociaux, fondent leurs décisions sur des principes égalitaires, font de la solidarité et de la coopération la grammaire de leur dynamique.

    De nombreuses initiatives citoyennes, comme autant de solidarités auto-organisées, ont été réactives pour répondre à la crise. Souvent à bas bruit, elles ont abattu, et abattent, un travail considérable pour pallier les défaillances industrielles, et assurer, par exemple, la fabrication de masques via de simples machines à coudre, et parfois via des FabLabs et tiers lieux. Des acteurs de l’économie sociale et solidaire jouent un rôle de proximité dans le déploiement des circuits courts alimentaires, proposent des paniers de fruits et légumes en zones urbaines. Des actions autour de l’alimentaire sont démultipliées grâce à des acteurs de tiers lieux en lien avec des métropoles, ou proposent des solutions de plateformes type « open food network ». Des associations maintiennent une continuité des services publics dans le sanitaire et social malgré les risques de non distanciation physique, qu’on songe à l’aide à domicile, aux Ehpad gérés de manière associative, aux IME, aux maisons d’accueil spécialisées, dont beaucoup ont décidé de rester ouverts. Des associations continuent de défendre les sans-abris et les réfugiés, d’autres encore structurent l’entraide de proximité au quotidien. Tous les secteurs économiques sont durement touchés. Les activités culturelles et artistiques sont parmi les plus affectées. Seuls les réseaux de coopération et de solidarité leur permettent de ne pas disparaître de l’espace public. Dans l’urgence de leur survie, et conscientes de leur forte utilité sociale, certains de ses acteurs nouent des appuis politique et économique avec l’économie sociale et solidaire.

    L’État et les collectivités locales et territoriales savent bien d’ailleurs, en temps de crise, qu’ils peuvent compter sur cette économie solidaire de proximité, et plus largement sur ce tissu socioéconomique territorial, pour en amortir les effets, tandis que les mêmes ont parfois déployé une énergie non dissimulée pour réduire, avant la crise, leurs moyens d’agir et l’ont parfois instrumentalisée ici ou là comptant sur elle pour maintenir une paix sociale à moindres coûts.

    Quelles alternatives ?

    Dans quelques semaines ou quelques mois, chacun des grands acteurs économiques multinationaux espérera la reprise du « monde d’avant », un business as usual qui nous a pourtant conduits dans cette situation. Las. Les crises multiples traversées, et celles qui se succéderont certainement dans les années à venir, rendent urgent de repenser l’économie autrement. Mais vraiment autrement. Il est urgent de remplacer les dogmes du vieux monde par de nouvelles manières de penser et de pratiquer l’économie et par de nouvelles manières de vivre la démocratie. Cela est possible. L’économie sociale et solidaire en est un témoin en actes et un acteur décisif de cet après crise. Le logiciel de l’économie « conventionnelle » est suranné : logiciel de la croissance, logiciel du tout marché, logiciel techno-optimiste : non ce n’est pas dans la croissance pour la croissance, dans le marché et dans le lucre qu’on trouvera le salut de tous nos maux. Cette crise en est le plus spectaculaire contre-exemple.

    Il faut donc réhabiliter l’économie soutenable comme organisation sociale qui se donne les moyens de répondre aux besoins sociaux tout en prenant soin de ses patrimoines, écologique, social, démocratique.

    Faire toute sa place aux « corps intermédiaires »

    Les différentes crises révèlent aussi les faiblesses de nos pratiques de la démocratie. En se privant des expertises et des expériences sociotechniques et politiques des acteurs de terrains, des réseaux, des corps intermédiaires, l’État finit par produire des politiques publiques hors sol ou à rebours des urgences. Les associations écologistes alertent depuis de nombreuses années sur l’urgence climatique ; les acteurs du médico-social ne cessent d’exprimer, et bien avant le Covid-19, le manque de moyens pour faire un vrai travail de soin et de care ; les acteurs de la recherche et de la médiation scientifique en lien étroit avec l’économie sociale et solidaire contribuent à éclairer le débat et à redonner à la science sa juste place dans la société : celle qui permet le maintien d’un esprit critique ; les acteurs de proximité de l’économie sociale et solidaire, alertent depuis longtemps sur la fracture sociale (et numérique) à l’origine du mouvement des Gilets Jaunes.

    L’expertise, le regard et l’avis de tous ces corps intermédiaires, constitués de citoyens organisés et structurés, devront être pris en compte dans les choix de politiques publiques de demain.

    Démocratiser et relocaliser l’économie

    Par-dessus tout, il faut démocratiser les économies : ouvrir des espaces de délibération sur l’identification des activités essentielles, sur le pilotage des politiques publiques, en particulier locales ou sur l’impact environnemental et social des entreprises. Il faut repenser la hiérarchie des priorités économiques. Cette idée n’est pas nouvelle : au Québec, dès 1997 un collectif de l’éducation populaire, le « Collectif pour un Québec sans pauvreté » propose au ministre des Finances de l’époque l’élaboration d’un « produit intérieur doux » : il s’agissait, par la délibération démocratique, de trier les activités utiles socialement des activités nuisibles pour les sociétés. Il s’agissait aussi d’appeler à identifier des activités contributrices au bien-être social et qui étaient ignorées des comptes. De nouvelles initiatives vont dans ce sens aujourd’hui et réclament des délibérations collectives pour définir l’utilité sociale des activités.

    La démocratie ne doit plus non plus rester aux portes de l’entreprise. Il est temps de valoriser les gouvernements d’entreprise qui s’appuient sur un véritable équilibre des pouvoirs, qui rénovent les pratiques managériales et qui réinterrogent le sens du travail humain. L’expérience d’une partie des coopératives, des SCIC, CAE etc., qui sont autant de démarches coopératives et de fabriques sociales démocratiques, permet de construire les capacités socio-économiques locales dont les territoires et leurs écosystèmes ont besoin.

    La relocalisation de la production ne doit pas être synonyme de repli sur soi. L’impératif coopératif et solidaire implique un soutien massif porté, notamment, aux systèmes de santé des pays du Sud. Grands perdants de la mondialisation ils seront les plus durement touchés, à terme, par cette crise sanitaire, comme ils le sont et le seront par la crise écologique. Face aux tentations identitaires et autoritaires, ces valeurs et pratiques de solidarité internationale sont une urgence.

    Les activités du care

    Les activités de service de care et de soin, d’intérêt général ne doivent plus être mises entre les mains du marché. Il n’est pas besoin d’épiloguer, la fuite en avant du tout marché pour les activités sociales montre toutes ses failles. Il faut appeler à des partenariats durables État, collectivités locales et territoriales et ESS pour la création et le financement d’un service public du grand âge et de la perte d’autonomie : il doit être financé publiquement et géré par des organismes publics ou à but non lucratif. Il doit permettre une revalorisation structurelle des métiers dont la crise a montré de manière éclatante toute la nécessité, alors qu’ils sont souvent les moins bien considérés et les moins bien rémunérés.

    Coopérer et être solidaire

    Il faut appeler à une coopération et une solidarité plutôt qu’une concurrence et une compétitivité qui loin d’amener le bien-être s’avèrent mortifères. La crise écologique rend d’autant plus urgente et nécessaire la remise en cause de ce modèle. Les initiatives types pôles territoriaux de coopération économiques (PTCE) devront être consolidées, étendues, enrichies. Lorsqu’ils jouent vraiment la carte de la coopération, ils deviennent de véritables projets d’avenir. Ils pourront s’appuyer sur les initiatives solidaires et les communs qui s’expérimentent en continu partout sur les territoires. Les monnaies locales complémentaires pourront aussi en être un vecteur innovant, un repère utile pour orienter production et consommation vers des biens et services soutenables.

    Bien sûr il faut faire tout cela sans angélisme. Si l’économie sociale et solidaire est souvent exemplaire, elle n’est pas toujours exempte de critiques. Des financements, devenus scandaleusement exsangues, ont conduit certains acteurs à l’oubli du projet associatif, à la soumission volontaire à la concurrence, à l’acceptation de la précarisation de l’emploi. Tout cela a parfois pris le pas sur l’affirmation du projet politique et sur la coopération et la solidarité.

    C’est la raison pour laquelle il faut en appeler à des coopérations avec l’État, les collectivités locales et les entreprises locales reconnaissant véritablement les fondements et pratiques de l’économie sociale et solidaire. L’ESS doit aussi se mobiliser, avec d’autres forces sociales, pour éviter un retour au vieux monde et impulser sur une large échelle les dynamiques et les initiatives dont elle est porteuse. La mobilisation doit s’opposer au détricotage de la protection sociale, des solidarités locales, des droits démocratiques. En bref. Elle doit être un appel à prendre soin et développer les communs sociaux des territoires.

    Les crises qui ne manqueront pas d’arriver rendent cette mobilisation impérative.

    Les réseaux, acteurs, personnes signataires du présent texte sont conscients de l’immensité de la tâche, et sont convaincus que seule une coopération de tous les acteurs permettra d’infléchir le mouvement, et d’obtenir des décisions utiles à tous les niveaux politiques, institutionnels et sociaux nécessaires.

    Ils s’emploient à en concrétiser les engagements au sein de leurs réseaux par leurs initiatives respectives.

    https://chairess.org/tribune-covid-19-limperatif-cooperatif-et-solidaire
    #recherche #le_monde_d'après #solidarité #ESS #philanthropie #redistribution #alternative #business_as_usual #démocratie #économie #croissance #économie_soutenable #corps_intermédiaires #expertise #relocalisation #relocalisation_de_l'économie #éducation_populaire #produit_intérieur_doux #bien-être_social #utilité_sociale #care #soin #coopération #concurrence #compétitivité #monnaies_locales #communs #commons

  • Grèce : 50 premiers réfugiés mineurs relocalisés en France en juillet

    La relocalisation en France des migrants mineurs non accompagnés de Grèce a pris du retard à cause de la pandémie de coronavirus, et les 50 premiers jeunes réfugiés partiront début juillet, a annoncé lundi le gouvernement grec.

    La relocalisation en France des migrants mineurs non accompagnés de Grèce a pris du retard à cause de la pandémie de coronavirus, et les 50 premiers jeunes réfugiés partiront début juillet, a annoncé lundi le gouvernement grec.

    « Les procédures de relocalisation qui s’étaient arrêtées temporairement en raison de la crise sanitaire vont démarrer de nouveau au plus vite », a souligné le ministre délégué grec à la Politique migratoire et à l’asile, Georges Koumoutsakos, dans un communiqué.

    En janvier dernier, la Grèce et la France s’étaient mis d’accord sur la relocalisation de 400 demandeurs d’asile se trouvant dans les camps surpeuplés des îles grecques face à la Turquie.

    Outre ces 400 demandeurs d’asile, le communiqué du ministère aux migrations grec évoque également la relocalisation de 350 mineurs non accompagnés.

    « La crise du coronavirus a perturbé les relocalisations programmées mais la France reste cependant attachée à ses promesses envers la Grèce », a déclaré l’ambassadeur de France à Athènes, Patrick Maisonnave, après une rencontre lundi avec le ministre grec.

    Le nombre total des enfants non accompagnés en Grèce s’élève à environ 5.200, selon les autorités grecques. Une grande majorité vit dans des conditions insalubres dans des logements non adaptés aux enfants.

    Face à cette situation, plusieurs pays européens, l’Allemagne, la Belgique, la Bulgarie, la Croatie, la Finlande, la France, l’Irlande, la Lituanie, la Serbie, la Suisse, ont décidé de participer à un programme européen volontaire de relocalisation de 1.600 enfants non accompagnés depuis la Grèce.

    HTTPS://WWW.MEDIAPART.FR/JOURNAL/FIL-DACTUALITES/250520/GRECE-50-PREMIERS-REFUGIES-MINEURS-RELOCALISES-EN-FRANCE-EN-JUILLET

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Relocalisation #Mineursnonaccompagnés #France

  • Info Park
    Weekly
    13 – 19 May 2020

    Serbia
    ➢ On 14 May, Health Minister Zlatibor Loncar annulled the previous order that extended the lockdown for Reception and Asylum Centers in Serbia. (Official Gazette, no. 74/2020) As a result, all refugees and other migrants regained the right to freedom of movement in the country. Asylum office of the Serbian Interior Ministry will resume its operations on 1 June.
    ➢ In a stark contrast to above decision to relax the lockdown measures in all the camps, on 16 May Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic ordered Serbian Army deployment in municipality Sid with 3 centers: Adasevci, Principovac and Sid city. Apparently, the decision is made following requests from the local municipality to prevent any incidents that occurred before corona epidemics, including petty crime, burglaries and illegal entry into abandoned buildings including farms or weekend houses in the area. The units belonging to the elite 72 Brigade for Special Operations of Serbian army are deployed on the same day, guarding 3 centers and patrolling in the town.
    According to the SCRM, the migrants are allowed to leave all of these camps, however their stay outside after the 10PM curfew is not tolerated, and they are forced
    to return to the camp. Various representatives of civil society criticized this decision heavily, claiming it is connected with the campaign for general elections in Serbia set for 21 June - especially given that no incidents are reported since lifting lockdown of Sid area camps.
    Last week was marked by the swift return to “normality” regarding migrations in Serbia. Nearly 1,500 migrants managed to leave the camps since the end the state of
    emergency, despite strong SCRM efforts to slow down the outflow with the partial restriction of freedom of movement with a system of quotas (for instance, in Krnjaca AC only 5 migrants per barrack were allowed to exit the premises). According to Serbian Commissar for refugees and migrations Vladimir Cucic, Serbian ACs and
    RCs currently host 7,700 beneficiaries, with an estimation of at least 150 people on the move outside. At the peak of the state of emergency, the camps had over 9.100 accommodated people.
    ➢ Inflow of refugees and other migrants in the parks of Belgrade Savamala district is notable, with numbers rising from 120 on Wednesday to 270 on Sunday. Consequently, significant number of smugglers are also present in the area, seeking clients and brokering deals about irregular travel to the EU. As a result, there is a significant increase in attempts to cross the borders of Hungary and Romania. Push backs from Hungarian border peaked at 188 over the weekend. At the same time an apparent movement of Kurdish families is noticed towards or over the border with Romania. Read more on how the new border regime could influence people on the
    move in this Weekly’s appendix “Protection of borders in times of crisis”.
    ➢ Around 50 right-wingers, mostly members of the extremist neo-nazi Levijatan movement, gathered outside the Obrenovac RTC on 13 May to protest in support to a
    member of the organization who had forcibly driven into the camp the week before and was ordered 30-day detention.

    Croatia
    ➢ Following the reports condemning the photos of physically marked refuges in Croatia last week, the Guardian published an article about this humiliating practice. However, the Croatian Ministry of Interior denied the accusations published in the UK paper dubbing that these accusations absurd and dangerous since they are
    coming during the holy month of Ramadan.

    Greece
    ➢ The program of relocation of unaccompanied children from Greek islands to other EU countries is scheduled to continue. Portugal is set to welcome 500 boys and girls
    and dozens are ready for the relocation to Belgium. However, authorities have extended the lockdown of Greek refugee camps due to the corona virus pandemic.
    ➢ According to Alarm Phone, push-backs on the Aegean sea reportedly continued. Since early March 2020, Alarm Phone has received 28 emergency calls from the
    Aegean and in most of these cases the distress resulted from attacks on boats carried out in Greek waters by various vigilante groups.

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Serbie #Déconfinement #Couvre-feu #Grèce #Refoulement #Relocalisation #Enfants #Croatie #Violencespolicières #

  • GCR and Oxfam bulletin on Lesvos-2
    The Greek Council for Refugees and Oxfam publish their second news bulletin regarding the situation in Lesvos, amidst the coronavirus pandemic, in the framework of a joint program.

    On this note, GCR recalls its long-standing positions that Greece needs to:

    – Respect the principle of non-refoulement

    – Urgently transfer asylum seekers from the islands to suitable accommodation on the mainland

    – Refrain from further undermining the safeguards of the asylum procedure and the right to effective remedies.

    You can find the bulletin attached in English and Greek herewith.

    Download attachments: Lesbos_COVID19_210420-GR.pdf Lesbos_COVID19_update_210420-EN.pdf

    https://www.gcr.gr/en/news/press-releases-announcements/item/1431-gcr-and-oxfam-bulletin-on-lesvos-2

    #Covid-19 #Migrants #Migrations #camp #Grèce #ilesgrecques #Samos #chios #refoulement #relocalisation #enfants #mineurs #asile #violence

  • Esternalizzazione e diritto d’asilo, un approfondimento dell’ASGI

    Con il documento che si pubblica l’ASGI, facendo uso delle analisi, delle azioni e delle discussioni prodotte nel corso degli ultimi anni, offre una lettura del fenomeno dell’esternalizzazione delle frontiere e del diritto di asilo focalizzando la propria attenzione in particolare sulle politiche di esternalizzazione volte ad impedire o limitare l’accesso delle persone straniere attraverso la rotta del Mare Mediterraneo centrale, nonché nell’ottica della verifica del rispetto delle norme costituzionali, europee ed internazionali che tutelano i diritti fondamentali delle persone e della conseguente ricerca di strumenti giuridici di contrasto alle violazioni verificate.

    L’esternalizzazione del controllo delle frontiere e del diritto dei rifugiati viene definita come l’insieme delle azioni economiche, giuridiche, militari, culturali, prevalentemente extraterritoriali, poste in essere da soggetti statali e sovrastatali, con il supporto indispensabile di ulteriori attori pubblici e privati, volte ad impedire o ad ostacolare che i migranti (e, tra essi, i richiedenti asilo) possano entrare nel territorio di uno Stato al fine di usufruire delle garanzie, anche giurisdizionali, previste in tale Stato, o comunque volte a rendere legalmente e sostanzialmente inammissibili il loro ingresso o una loro domanda di protezione sociale e/o giuridica.

    Nell’ambito del documento è considerato prima il contesto storico della esternalizzazione, dunque quello geopolitico più recente, attinente la rotta del mar Mediterraneo centrale, infine il contesto giuridico nazionale ed internazionale che si ritiene leso da tali politiche. Vengono, dunque, indicate alcune tra le possibili strade affinché sia individuata la responsabilità dei soggetti che determinano la violazione dei diritti umani delle persone conseguenti alle politiche in materia.

    Il documento intende porsi quale strumento di dibattito nell’ambito dell’ evoluzione dell’analisi del diritto di asilo per fornire adeguati strumenti di comprensione e contrasto di un fenomeno che si ritiene particolarmente insidioso e tale da inficiare sostanzialmente la rilevanza di diritti, tra cui innanzitutto il diritto di asilo, pur formalmente riconosciuti alle persone da parte dell’Italia e degli Stati membri dell’Unione europea.

    https://www.asgi.it/asilo-e-protezione-internazionale/asilo-esternalizzazione-approfondimento
    #ASGI #rapport #externalisation #Méditerranée_centrale #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #Mer_Méditerranée #droits_fondamentaux #droit_d'asile #Libye #Italie #Trust_Fund #HCR #relocalisation #fonds_fiduciaire_d’urgence #Trust_Fund_for_Africa

    Pour télécharger le rapport:


    https://www.asgi.it/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020_1_Documento-Asgi-esternalizzazione.pdf

    ping @isskein

  • Cities must act

    40,000 people are currently trapped on the Aegean islands, forced to live in overcrowded camps with limited medical services and inadequate sanitation.

    #Glasgow, sign this petition from @ActMust
    @ScotlandMustAct
    demanding relocation from the islands.

    https://twitter.com/scotrefcouncil/status/1253348493332267009

    #Ecosse #UK #villes-refuge #Glasgow #migrations #asile #réfugiés #Grèce #relocalisation #pétition

    –---

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur les villes-refuge :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/759145

    ping @isskein @karine4

    • #CitiesMustAct (qui fait partie de la #campagne #EuropeMustAct)

      #CitiesMustAct is a bold new campaign asking the citizens, councils and mayors of European towns and cities to pledge their support for the immediate relocation of asylum seekers on the Greek islands.

      In our previous campaigns we pushed for change on the EU level. From our interaction with EU leaders we have learned that they are hesitant or even unable to act because they believe that there is no broad support for helping refugees among European citizens. Let’s prove them wrong!

      On the 30th of March, the Mayor and citizens of Berlin pledged to take in 1,500 refugees. Now we are asking cities and towns across Europe to join Berlin in offering sanctuary to refugees in overcrowded camps on the Greek mainland and islands.

      As COVID-19 threatens a health crisis in densely overcrowded camps, we must act now to relieve pressure on these horrendous camps.

      Whilst cities may not have the legislative power to directly relocate refugees themselves, #CitiesMustAct will send a powerful message of citizen solidarity that governments and the EU can’t ignore!

      Join us in spreading the #CitiesMustAct campaign across Europe - join us today!


      http://www.europemustact.org/citiesmustact

    • Cities lobby EU to offer shelter to migrant children from Greece

      #Amsterdam, #Barcelona and #Leipzig among cities calling for action to ease humanitarian crisis

      Ten European cities have pledged shelter to unaccompanied migrant children living in desperate conditions on Greek island camps or near the Turkish border.

      Amsterdam, Barcelona and Leipzig are among the cities that have written to European Union leaders, saying they are ready to offer a home to vulnerable children to ease what they call a rapidly worsening humanitarian crisis in Greece.

      “We can provide these children with what they now so urgently need: to get out of there, to have a home, to be safe, to have access to medical care and to be looked after by dedicated people,” the letter states.

      But the cities can only make good on their pledge if national governments agree. Seven of the 10 local government signatories to the letter are in countries that have not volunteered to take in children under a relocation effort launched by the European commission in March.

      #Rutger_Groot_Wassink, Amsterdam’s deputy mayor for social affairs, said it was disappointing the Dutch government had declined to join the EU relocation scheme. He believes Dutch cities could house 500 children, with “30-35, maybe 40 children” being brought to Amsterdam.

      “It’s not that we can send a plane in and pick them up, because you need the permission of the national government. But we feel we are putting pressure on our national government, which has been reluctant to move on this issue,” he said.

      The Dutch government – a four-party liberal-centre-right coalition – has so far declined to join the EU relocation effort, despite requests by Groot Wassink, who is a member of the Green party.

      “It might have something to do with the political situation in the Netherlands, where there is a huge debate on refugees and migrants and the national government doesn’t want to be seen as refugee-friendly. From the perspective of some of the parties they feel that they do enough. They say they are helping Greece and of course there is help for Greece.”

      If the Dutch government lifted its opposition, Groot Wassink said transfers could happen fairly quickly, despite coronavirus restrictions. “If there is a will it can be done even pretty soon,” he said.

      Ten EU countries – Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Croatia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Luxembourg and Lithuania – have pledged to take in at least 1,600 lone children from the Greek islands, just under a third of the 5,500 unaccompanied minors estimated to be in Greece.

      So far, only a small number have been relocated: 12 to Luxembourg and 47 to Germany.

      The municipal intervention chimes with comments from the German Social Democrat MEP Brigit Sippel, who said earlier this month that she knew of “cities and German Länder who are ready … tomorrow, to do more”. The MEP said Germany’s federal government was moving too slowly and described the initial transfer of 47 children as “ridiculous”.

      Amsterdam, with Utrecht, organised the initiative through the Eurocities network, which brings together more than 140 of the continent’s largest municipalities, including 20 UK cities. The UK’s home secretary, Priti Patel, has refused calls to take in lone children from the Greek islands.

      Groot Wassink said solidarity went beyond the EU’s borders. He said: “You [the UK] are still part of Europe.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/24/cities-lobby-eu-to-offer-shelter-to-migrant-children-from-greece
      #Barcelone #îles #vulnérabilité #enfants #MNA #mineurs_non_accompagnés

    • Migrants and mayors are the unsung heroes of COVID-19. Here’s why

      - Some of the most pragmatic responses to COVID-19 have come from mayors and governors.
      - The skills and resourcefulness of refugees and migrants are also helping in the fight against the virus.
      - It’s time for international leaders to start following suit.

      In every crisis it is the poor, sick, disabled, homeless and displaced who suffer the most. The COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. Migrants and refugees, people who shed one life in search for another, are among the most at risk. This is because they are often confined to sub-standard and overcrowded homes, have limited access to information or services, lack the financial reserves to ride out isolation and face the burden of social stigma.

      Emergencies often bring out the best and the worst in societies. Some of the most enlightened responses are coming from the world’s governors and mayors. Local leaders and community groups from cities as diverse as #Atlanta, #Mogadishu (https://twitter.com/cantoobo/status/1245051780787994624?s=12) and #Sao_Paulo (https://www.docdroid.net/kSmLieL/covid19-pmsao-paulo-city-april01-pdf) are setting-up dedicated websites for migrants, emergency care and food distribution facilities, and even portable hand-washing stations for refugees and internally displaced people. Their actions stand in glaring contrast to national decision-makers, some of whom are looking for scapegoats.

      Mayors and city officials are also leading the charge when it comes to recovery. Global cities from #Bogotá (https://www.eltiempo.com/bogota/migrantes-en-epoca-de-coronavirus-en-bogota-se-avecina-una-crisis-478062) to #Barcelona (https://reliefweb.int/report/spain/barcelonas-show-solidarity-time-covid-19) are introducing measures to mitigate the devastating economic damages wrought by the lockdown. Some of them are neutralizing predatory landlords by placing moratoriums on rent hikes and evictions. Others are distributing food through schools and to people’s doorsteps as well as providing cash assistance to all residents, regardless of their immigration status.

      Cities were already in a tight spot before COVID-19. Many were facing serious deficits and tight budgets, and were routinely asked to do ‘more with less’. With lockdowns extended in many parts of the world, municipalities will need rapid financial support. This is especially true for lower-income cities in Africa, South Asia and Latin America where migrants, refugees and other vulnerable groups risk severe hunger and even starvation. They also risk being targeted if they try and flee. International aid donors will need to find ways to direct resources to cities and allow them sizeable discretion in how those funds are used.

      Philanthropic groups and city networks around the world are rapidly expanding their efforts to protect and assist migrants and refugees. Take the case of the #Open_Society_Foundations, which is ramping up assistance to New York City, Budapest and Milan to help them battle the pandemic while bolstering safety nets for the most marginal populations. Meanwhile, the #Clara_Lionel_and_Shawn_Carter_Foundations in the US have committed millions in grants to support undocumented workers in Los Angeles and New York (https://variety-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/variety.com/2020/music/news/rihanna-jay-z-foundations-donate-million-coronavirus-relief-1203550018/amp). And inter-city coalitions, like the #US_Conference_of-Mayors (https://www.usmayors.org/issues/covid-19) and #Eurocities (http://www.eurocities.eu/eurocities/documents/EUROCITIES-reaction-to-the-Covid-19-emergency-WSPO-BN9CHB), are also helping local authorities with practical advice about how to strengthen preparedness and response.

      The truth is that migrants and refugees are one of the most under-recognized assets in the fight against crises, including COVID-19. They are survivors. They frequently bring specialized skills to the table, including expertise in medicine, nursing, engineering and education. Some governments are catching on to this. Take the case of Portugal, which recently changed its national policies to grant all migrants and asylum seekers living there permanent residency, thus providing access to health services, social safety nets and the right to work. The city of #Buenos_Aires (https://www.lanacion.com.ar/sociedad/coronavirus-municipios-provincia-buenos-aires-sumaran-medicos-nid234657) authorized Venezuelan migrants with professional medical degrees to work in the Argentinean healthcare system. #New_York (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-20210-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating), #New_Jersey (https://www.nj.gov/governor/news/news/562020/20200401b.shtml) and others have cleared the way for immigrant doctors without US licenses to provide patient care during the current pandemic.

      There are several steps municipal governments, businesses and non-governmental organizations should take to minimize the impacts of COVID-19 on migrants and displaced people. For one, they need to clearly account for them in their response and recovery plans, including ensuring free access to healthy food and cash assistance. Next, they could strengthen migrant associations and allow qualified professionals to join the fight against infectious disease outbreaks. What is more, they could ensure access to basic services like housing, electricity, healthcare and education - and information about how to access them in multiple languages - as Portugal has done.

      Mayors are on the frontline of supporting migrants and refugees, often in the face of resistance from national authorities. Consider the experience of Los Angeles’s mayor, #Eric_Garcetti (https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2020/04/08/coronavirus-garcetti-relief-businesses-immigrants), who recently called on the US Congress to provide rapid relief to roughly 2.5 million undocumented immigrants in California. Or the mayor of Uganda’s capital #Kampala, #Erias_Lukwago (https://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Opposition-gives-out-food-to-poor-despite-Museveni-ban/688334-5518340-hd23s8/index.html), who has resorted to distributing food himself to poor urban residents despite bans from the central government. At the same time, #Milan ’s mayor, #Giuseppe_Sala (https://www.corriere.it/economia/finanza/20_aprile_13/sala-sindaci-europei-alla-crisi-si-risponde-piu-solidarieta-attenzione-citt), wrote to the European Union to urgently request access to financial aid. These three mayors also lead the #Mayors_Migration_Council, a city coalition established to influence international migration policy and share resources (https://docs.google.com/document/u/1/d/e/2PACX-1vRqMtCR8xBONCjntcDmiKv0m4-omNzJxkEB2X2gMZ_uqLeiiQv-m2Pb9aZq4AlDvw/pub) with local leaders around the world.

      The truth is that refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people are not sitting idly by; in some cases they are the unsung heroes of the pandemic response. Far from being victims, migrants and displaced people reflect the best of what humanity has to offer. Despite countless adversities and untold suffering, they are often the first to step up and confront imminent threats, even giving their lives (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/08/world/europe/coronavirus-doctors-immigrants.html) in the process. The least we can all do is protect them and remove the obstacles in the way of letting them participate in pandemic response and recovery. Mayors have got this; it’s now time for national and international decision-makers to follow suit.

      https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/migrants-and-mayors-are-the-unsung-heroes-of-covid-19-heres-why
      #Mogadisho

      signalé par @thomas_lacroix

    • *Bologna: il Consiglio comunale per la regolarizzazione dei

      migranti irregolari*
      Il Consiglio Comunale di Bologna oggi ha approvato, con 18 voti favorevoli e 6 contrari, un ordine del giorno per ottenere un provvedimento di regolarizzazione dei migranti attualmente soggiornanti in territorio italiano in condizione di irregolarità originaria o sopravvenuta, con la massima tempestività, data l’emergenza sanitaria in corso.

      L’ordine del giorno è stato presentato dal consigliere Federico Martelloni (Coalizione civica) e firmato dai consiglieri Clancy (Coalizione civica), Frascaroli (Città comune), Palumbo (gruppo misto-Nessuno resti indietro), Errani, Persiano, Campaniello, Mazzoni, Li Calzi, Colombo (Partito Democratico), Bugani, Piazza, Foresti (Movimento 5 stelle). Ecco il testo :

      “Il Consiglio Comunale di Bologna, a fronte dello stato di emergenza sanitaria da Covid-19 in corso e delle misure assunte dal Governo nazionale e dalle Giunte locali per contrastarne la diffusione e limitarne l’impatto sulla popolazione attualmente presente sul territorio. Ritenuto che non trova spazio nell’odierno dibattito pubblico, segnato dalla predetta emergenza, l’esigenza di assumere provvedimenti che sanino la posizione dei migranti che soggiornano irregolarmente nel nostro Paese, tema oggetto dell’ordine del giorno votato il 23 dicembre 2019 dalla Camera dei Deputati in sede di approvazione della legge di bilancio, adottato col fine di produrre molteplici benefici per la collettività , a partire dal fatto che: a) si offrirebbe l’opportunità di vivere e lavorare legalmente nel nostro Paese a chi già si trova sul territorio ma che , senza titolo di soggiorno , è spesso costretto per sopravvivere a rivolgersi ai circuiti illeciti ; b) si andrebbe incontro ai tanti datori di lavoro che , bisognosi di personale, non possono assumere persone senza documenti , anche se già formati, e ricorrono al lavoro in nero ; c) si avrebbero maggiore contezza – e conseguentemente controllo – delle presenze sui nostri territori di alcune centinaia di migliaia di persone di cui poco o nulla si sa , e, conseguentemente, maggiore sicurezza per tutti.

      Dato atto chetale esigenza è stata ribadita, alla vigilia della dichiarazione dello stato di pandemia, dalla ministra dell’interno Lamorgese in data 15 gennaio 2020, in Risposta a interrogazione orale, confermando che “L’intenzione del Governo e del Ministero dell’Interno è quella di valutare le questioni poste all’ordine del giorno che richiamavo in premessa, nel quadro più generale di una complessiva rivisitazione delle diverse disposizioni che incidono sulle politiche migratorie e sulla condizione dello straniero in Italia” (resoconto stenografico della seduta della Camera dei Deputati del 15 gennaio 2020, pag. 22).Tenuto conto che il tema della regolarizzazione degli stranieri irregolarmente soggiornanti diventa ancor più rilevante e urgente nella contingenza che ci troviamo ad attraversare, come giustamente rimarcato nell’Appello per la sanatoria dei migranti irregolari al tempo dei Covid-19, elaborato e sottoscritto da centinaia di associazioni (visibile al seguente indirizzo: https://www.meltingpot.org/Appello-per-la-sanatoria-dei-migranti-irregolari-ai-tempi.html#nb1), atteso che alle buone ragioni della sanatoria si aggiungono , oggi, anche le esigenze di tutela della salute collettiva, compresa quella delle centinaia di migliaia di migranti privi del permesso di soggiorno, che non hanno accesso alla sanità pubblica. Considerato che l’Appello richiamato al punto che precede giustamente sottolinea che il migrante irregolare:-non è ovviamente iscritto al Sistema Sanitario Nazionale e di conseguenza non dispone di un medico di base, avendo diritto alle sole prestazioni sanitarie urgenti ;-non si rivolge alle strutture sanitarie nei casi di malattia lieve, mentre, nei casi più gravi non ha alternativa al presentarsi al pronto soccorso , il che contrasterebbe con tutti i protocolli adottati per contenere la diffusione del virus. – è costretto a soluzioni abitative di fortuna , in ambienti spesso degradati e insalubri, condivisi con altre persone .Considerato,in definitiva,che i soggetti “invisibili” sono per molti aspetti più esposti al contagio del virus e più di altri rischiano di subirne le conseguenze sia sanitarie, per la plausibile mancanza di un intervento tempestivo, sia sociali, per lo stigma cui rischiano di essere sottoposti a causa di responsabilità e inefficienze non loro ascrivibili .Assunto che iniziative di tal fatta sono all’ordine del giorno anche in altri paesi dell’Unione, avendo il governo del Portogallo già approvato una sanatoria per l’immediata regolarizzazione di tutti i migranti in attesa di permesso di soggiorno che avessero presentato domanda alla data di dichiarazione dell’emergenza Coronavirus, per consentirne l’accesso al sistema sanitario nazionale, all’apertura di conti correnti bancari; alle misure economiche straordinarie di protezione per persone e famiglie in condizioni di fragilità ; alla regolarizzazione dei rapporti di lavoro .Condivide l’urgenza di intercettare centinaia di migliaia di persone attualmente prive di un regolare permesso di soggiorno, per contenere il loro rischio di contrarre il virus; perché possano con tranquillità usufruire dei servizi della sanità pubblica nel caso di sintomatologia sospetta; perché non diventino loro malgrado veicolo di trasmissione del virus, con tutte le nefaste conseguenze che possono derivarne nei territori, incluso il territorio di Bologna.

      Invita il Sindaco e la Giunta a dare massima diffusione, anche attraverso i canali di comunicazione istituzionale, agli appelli e alle iniziative finalizzate ad ottenere un provvedimento di regolarizzazione dei migranti attualmente soggiornanti in territorio italiano in condizione d’irregolarità originaria o sopravvenuta .a farsi promotore, in tutte le sedi istituzionali, a partire dall’ANCI, delle iniziative volte a ottenere l’adozione di un provvedimento di regolarizzazione ed emersione degli stranieri irregolarmente soggiornanti, con la massima tempestività richiesta dell’emergenza sanitaria oggi in corso.

      https://www.pressenza.com/it/2020/04/bologna-il-consiglio-comunale-per-la-regolarizzazione-dei-migranti-irrego
      #Bologne #régularisation

  • Amnesty remet une pétition à la Première ministre pour la protection des migrants en Grèce

    Amnesty International a remis vendredi à la Première ministre, Sophie Wilmès, et au Premier ministre grec, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, une pétition de 20.421 signatures appelant la Belgique, en tant qu’État membre de l’Union européenne (UE), à coopérer avec la Grèce pour protéger les migrants et demandeurs d’asile contre le Covid-19.

    L’organisation demande notamment que les migrants et demandeurs d’asile se trouvant sur les îles grecques soient évacués vers des logements adéquats sur le continent. Amnesty appelle par ailleurs au transfert d’urgence des personnes vulnérables vers les États membres de l’UE, dont la Belgique, en les soumettant si nécessaire aux mêmes mesures de quarantaine prévues pour les individus revenant de l’étranger.

    L’ONG réclame également une aide financière et humanitaire pour la Grèce afin de protéger les migrants contre le coronavirus. « Ils vivent dans des conditions misérables et sont dans l’impossibilité de maintenir des distances de sécurité. Un manque cruel de soins de santé et d’installations sanitaires se fait par ailleurs ressentir. Dans ces conditions, le Covid-19 peut avoir des conséquences terribles », souligne le directeur de la section belge francophone d’Amnesty International, Philippe Hensmans. Selon lui, un premier pas positif pour la Belgique serait d’accueillir une proportion importante de mineurs non accompagnés. « Actuellement, 1.600 d’entre eux sont évacués vers le continent. Les premiers arriveront au Luxembourg et en Allemagne cette semaine. Le Portugal, la Croatie, la Finlande, la Lituanie, l’Irlande et la France préparent également leur relocalisation. La Belgique, elle, n’a encore pris aucun engagement », conclut-il.
    https://www.lalibre.be/international/europe/amnesty-remet-une-petition-a-la-premiere-ministre-pour-la-protection-des-mig

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Camp #Ilesgrecques #Transfert #Belgique #Portugal #Croatie #Finlande #Lituanie #Irlande #France # Belgique #relocalisation #Enfant #mineursnonaccompagnés

  • Athènes doit cesser la détention « abusive » de centaines d’enfants migrants
    14 AVRIL 2020 PAR AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
    La Grèce doit libérer les centaines d’enfants migrants non accompagnés qu’elle détient dans des conditions « abusives » et leur trouver un hébergement pour les protéger du coronavirus, a demandé mardi l’ONG Human Rights Watch (HRW).
    La Grèce doit libérer les centaines d’enfants migrants non accompagnés qu’elle détient dans des conditions « abusives » et leur trouver un hébergement pour les protéger du coronavirus, a demandé mardi l’ONG Human Rights Watch (HRW).
    Selon les données citées par l’organisation, 331 enfants étaient en détention au 31 mars, « dans les cellules de postes de police et des centres de détention insalubres en Grèce ».
    « Libérés de leurs conditions de détention abusives, ils seraient mieux protégés de l’infection dans le contexte de la pandémie de coronavirus », a écrit HRW, dans un communiqué qui appelle le Premier ministre Kyriakos Mitsotakis à organiser leur « transfert vers des lieux d’hébergement sûrs et adaptés aux enfants ».
    « Garder des enfants enfermés dans des cellules crasseuses des postes de police a toujours été une erreur, mais désormais cela les expose de surcroît au risque d’infection au Covid-19 », a souligné Eva Cossé, chercheuse sur la Grèce à Human Rights Watch.
    L’ONG déplore en particulier « l’hygiène défaillante » dans les centres de détention, rendant « impossible » la mise en place des « mesures basiques » de lutte contre le coronavirus, ainsi que les « détentions arbitraires et prolongées » : « Souvent, ils n’ont pas accès aux soins médicaux, au soutien psychologique (ni) à l’aide juridique, et peu d’entre eux connaissent les raisons de leur détention ».
    Si elle rappelle le plan mis en place par Athènes le 24 novembre 2019 pour protéger les enfants non accompagnés, notamment par la création de refuges, elle en note également l’insuffisance au regard du droit international.
    La Cour européenne des droits de l’homme (CEDH) a encore demandé à la Grèce, la semaine dernière, de protéger trois migrants dont deux mineurs non accompagnés, qui avaient saisi l’instance sur les conditions de vie dans les camps de réfugiés insalubres et surpeuplés, sur fond de pandémie.
    La CEDH a appelé les autorités grecques à « transférer les requérants, ou du moins leur garantir un hébergement compatible » avec la Convention européenne des droits de l’homme, qui interdit « les traitements inhumains ou dégradants ».
    Le total des enfants non accompagnés en Grèce s’élève à environ 5.200, selon les autorités grecques.
    Dans le cadre d’un programme européen de relocalisation de 1.600 mineurs non accompagnés vers d’autres pays européens, le premier groupe de 12 enfants, vivant jusqu’à présent dans des camps sur des îles de la mer Egée, doit quitter mercredi la Grèce pour le Luxembourg. Parmi ce groupe figurent neuf enfants de Lesbos, un de Samos et deux de Chios, a indiqué mardi le ministre des Migrations et de l’Asile, Notis Mitarachi, à la radio municipale d’Athènes.
    Prochainement, 50 mineurs non accompagnés seront transférés en Allemagne, a-t-il ajouté.
    Parmi les autres pays candidats à ce programme figurent la Belgique, la Bulgarie, la Croatie, la Finlande, la France, l’Irlande, la Lituanie, la Serbie et la Suisse, selon Athènes.
    Les trois derniers mois 19.254 demandeurs d’asile sont arrivés en Grèce dont la majorité dans les camps surpeuplés des îles, en particulier à Lesbos où se trouve le camp de Moria, surnommé « la jungle ».
    Afin de désengorger les camps sordides sur ces îles, le gouvernement a graduellement transféré les trois derniers mois 10.687 personnes en Grèce continentale, selon les chiffres ministériels.
    Environ 100.000 demandeurs d’asile vivent actuellement en Grèce dont 70.000 dans les 38 camps installés sur son territoire. Plus de la moitié, soit environ 40.000 personnes s’entassent dans les camps des îles dont la capacité initiale n’est que pour 6.200 personnes.
    En Grèce continentale, deux camps ont récemment été placés en quarantaine après l’apparition d’une trentaine de cas de Covid-19.

    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/fil-dactualites/140420/athenes-doit-cesser-la-detention-abusive-de-centaines-d-enfants-migrants

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Camp #Lesbos #Chios #Samos #Enfant #Transfert #Relocalisation

  • La banque d’Angleterre brise le tabou du non-financement des Etats | Mediapart
    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/economie/090420/la-banque-d-angleterre-brise-le-tabou-du-non-financement-des-etats

    Un tabou est tombé ce 9 avril. Et pas n’importe lequel. Un de ceux qui constituent les piliers du néolibéralisme : l’indépendance des banques centrales et l’interdiction qui leur est faite de financer directement les États. La banque d’Angleterre a annoncé en début de matinée qu’elle allait financer directement « sur une base temporaire et à court terme » les dépenses supplémentaires du gouvernement britannique liées aux conséquences de la pandémie du Covid-19.

    Désormais, toutes les nouvelles émissions du Trésor seront souscrites directement par la banque centrale. Ce qui permet au gouvernement de ne plus passer par les marchés obligataires et d’échapper au moins momentanément aux contraintes et aux exigences des marchés financiers.

  • Germany to take in 50 refugee children from Greek islands

    Germany will take in fifty unaccompanied minors from the Greek islands next week. Critics say this is too little, too late, given that tens of thousands of migrants and refugees remain in the overcrowded camps.

    The German interior ministry announced on Tuesday that the federal cabinet was set to approve the transfer of 50 unaccompanied minors to Germany on Wednesday.

    The children and teenagers will be brought to Germany “in the following week if possible,” the ministry said. After their arrival, they will be quarantined for two weeks and then send to different states across the country.

    In an interview with German TV stations RTL and n-tv on Wednesday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that Germany would take in a total of 350 to 500 minors over the next few weeks. He also said that Germany and Luxembourg were currently the only countries within the European Union (EU) willing to take in refugees and migrants from Greece.

    According to Maas, Germany and Luxembourg will try to carry out a charter flight together next week.

    Plans to relocate refugees stalled by coronavirus

    In early March, the three governing parties in Germany had agreed on taking in between 1,000 and 1,500 foreign minors that were particularly vulnerable (i.e. either seriously ill or under the age of 14 and without their families) from Greece.

    Also in early March, several EU states had announced that they would take in a total of 1,600 vulnerable refugees from the Greek island camps. Eight other EU countries had agreed to take in underage refugees and migrants from the Greek islands, according to a recent statement by the German interior ministry. These countries were France, Portugal, Ireland, Finland, Croatia, Lithuania, Belgium and Bulgaria. But due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, these countries’ relocation plans seem to have been largely suspended.

    Critics: government not doing enough

    Several opposition politicians and activists in Germany criticized the German government’s handling of the situation in Greece, saying that taking in just 50 minors was far too little.

    Claudia Roth, a prominent member of the Green Party, said the interior ministry’s plans were “long overdue” and only amounted to a drop in the ocean.

    Günter Burkhardt, the head of the Pro Asyl NGO, said that the camps in Greece should be completely evacuated to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 - the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

    Erik Marquardt, a migrants’ rights activist, Green Party politician and member of the European Parliament, tweeted: “Germany wants to evacuate 50 children. On Lesbos alone this will mean that the government coalition will sacrifice 19,950 people … They are bringing 80,000 workers to Germany to harvest asparagus but fail to (help) a few thousand people in mortal danger. What a sad embarrassment.”

    https://twitter.com/ErikMarquardt/status/1247572330575994880?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E12

    Marquardt in his statement referred to the fact that an estimated 20,000 people live in the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. Germany recently announced it would bring in 80,000 foreign farmworkers for the harvest, in spite of various border closures across the EU.

    Camps extremely overcrowded

    Experts and migrant rights activists have long been worried about the situation on several Greek islands, where tens of thousands of migrants are sill living in overcrowded camps. The situation is particularly dire on Lesbos. The Moria camp there was built for no more than 3,000 people – yet around 20,000 migrants and refugees currently live in and around the camp.

    The Greek government has put the migrants camps on partial lockdown to prevent a potential coronavirus outbreak, but many believe that these measures are insufficient to protect the residents.

    In Greece, there have been 1,832 confirmed coronavirus cases and 269 deaths, according to John Hopkins University (as of midday on Wednesday, CEST). There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in camps on the Greek islands thus far. But there has been at least one case on Lesbos among the island’s native population, and there have also been outbreaks at two camps on the Greek mainland.

    https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/23949/germany-to-take-in-50-refugee-children-from-greek-islands

    #Allemagne #asile #réfugiés #Grèce #relocalisation #transfert #îles #mineurs #enfants #coronavirus #covid-19

    • Migrant children on Greek islands to be flown to Luxembourg

      Luxembourg to take in 11 minors after member states and Switzerland pledge to find homes for 1,600.

      Eleven children trapped on Greek islands will be flown to Luxembourg next week, the first of a European Union migrant relocation scheme that highlights the uncertain fate of thousands.

      The group will leave Chios and Lesbos for Luxembourg as part of an EU voluntary effort to help the most vulnerable quit Greece’s desperately overcrowded refugee and migrant island camps.

      They are expected to be the first to move since eight member states and Switzerland pledged last month to take in 1,600 unaccompanied minors.

      “They are boys and girls all under the age of 12 and will fly out next Wednesday,” said Manos Logothetis, the Greek migration ministry’s general secretary. “This is a crucial first step, the start of a process that we hope can set an example,” he told the Guardian.

      “In an ideal world they would leave tomorrow but there is the issue of getting through bureaucracy that is there to protect the children, meeting the criteria set by the member states and, of course, coronavirus.”

      The pandemic has complicated relocation plans, with flights cancelled and restrictions on the movement of officials working with refugees. One volunteer country, Croatia, lost a building it had planned to house the children in last month’s earthquake.

      The virus has also required extra medical tests being conducted on the children in addition to those needed to help check their age. European commission officials, who are co-ordinating the scheme, have been urging recipient countries to carry out tests on arrival to avoid delays.

      Greece’s centre-right government, which has itself described the Aegean island facilities as “ticking health bombs”, has been pushing for resettlement of the children since September.

      In an interview with the Guardian last month, the prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said: “We sent out a letter to all the member states and got zero response. We’ve been pushing very hard for a long time on this issue.”

      On Wednesday, Berlin said it was willing to accept 350-500 children “in the next few weeks”, 50 of whom would be taken as a matter of urgency. But Birgit Sippel, a German Social Democrat MEP, who sits on the European parliament’s home affairs committee, said the delay in Germany fulfilling its pledge was the result of “a political game” and reluctance among Christian Democrats in the governing grand coalition to act. Describing the number of 50 as “ridiculous”, she said it did “not [send] a strong signal regarding solidarity … from one of the biggest countries in Europe”.

      Even if the pandemic had caused problems with organising flights, the German government had, she pointed out, repatriated EU travellers from around the world. While welcoming the decision, Greek officials said the process would probably be further complicated by Berlin’s demand for the unaccompanied children to be exclusively girls below the age of 14.

      “Coming up with the perfect match isn’t easy,” said one official.

      At the end of February, Unicef counted 5,463 unaccompanied migrant children in Greece, including 1,752 living in overcrowded reception centres on the islands. Since that date the number is likely to have increased, as people have continued to arrive either seeking asylum or better prospects. More than three-quarters of the unaccompanied children are from three countries: Afghanistan (44%), Pakistan (21%) and Syria (11%).

      The UN children’s agency is urging volunteer member states not to impose conditions on the children they accept, but instead to follow criteria based on need, such as the child’s age, health and any disabilities.

      Aaron Greenberg, regional adviser for child protection at Unicef, said the organisation was concerned that host countries could apply sub-criteria, such as taking in only girls, under-14s or certain nationalities, which would be a problem as the majority of unaccompanied children are boys aged between 14 and 18.

      “We need collective action in supporting Greece to handle this situation over the medium term,” Greenberg added. “Migration levels have ticked down, but it’s not over. We are still seeing a large number of unaccompanied children coming through. We are relieving stress, but the stress could build back up again. We need a comprehensive European agenda that goes beyond the emergency.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/08/migrant-children-in-greek-island-camps-to-be-relocated-across-eu

    • 47 asylum-seeking minors fly to Germany

      Forty-seven unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors were relocated from Greece to Germany Saturday.

      Germany’s interior minister, Horst Seehofer, said the evacuation was “the result of months of preparation and intense talks with our European partners" and expressed hope that other countries would also begin taking in refugee children soon.

      The children come from Afghanistan, Syria and Eritrea. Four are girls and there are several siblings among the group.

      “The Greek government has been trying to sensitize other EU countries to (the plight) of the young children, which have fled war and persecution, to find new families and start a new life. I’m glad this program is finally being implemented,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotsakis told reporters at the Athens airport, where he met the departing children, alongside Germany’s Ambassador to Greece, Ernst Reichel.

      Mitsotakis added that he hopes that over 1,500 minors will be relocated over the next months.

      “Greece will continue to treat all persecuted people that arrive in our country with great sensitivity. But, at the same time, it has the obligation to guard and protect its borders. We have proven, as a country, that we can do both,” Mitsotakis said.

      This was the second flight taking unaccompanied minor refugees to another European country. On Wednesday, 12 children travelled to Luxembourg.

      According to the United Nations Secretary-General’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, there were over 5,200 unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors in Greece in early April “in urgent need of durable solutions, including expedited registration, family reunification and relocation” Dujarric said earlier this week.

      Eight EU countries have agreed to take up 1,600 of those children, ages 5-16, who now live in migrant camps on the islands of Chios, Lesvos and Samos. Germany pledged last month to take in at least 350 children, but the plan has stalled in some countries due to the coronavirus pandemic.

      https://www.ekathimerini.com/251827/article/ekathimerini/news/47-asylum-seeking-minors-fly-to-germany

    • Aldo Brina | C’est à quel moment qu’il faut applaudir ?

      Aldo Brina, chargé d’information sur l’asile au CSP Genève, revient sur l’annonce faite par le gouvernement suisse de son soutien à la Grèce, notamment de l’accueil de 22 requérants d’asile mineurs non accompagnés. Alors que la communication officielle et les médias ont salué cet élan de générosité, l’auteur relativise. D’une part, par ce que le nombre est insignifiant face aux multitudes de personnes et d’enfants encore bloqués dans des conditions de vie insalubres et insécures. D’autre part, parce que la Suisse par ce geste ne fait qu’appliquer le règlement Dublin duquel elle est partie prenante. Rien d’héroïque à cela donc. Au contraire, la Suisse pourrait et se doit d’en faire plus.

      C’est à quel moment qu’il faut applaudir ?

      Le Secrétariat d’État aux Migrations a annoncé la semaine dernière que la Suisse renforçait son soutien à la Grèce dans le domaine de l’ « asile » de diverses manières : financer des projets humanitaires, fournir des tentes et des lits pour les camps de réfugiés, envoyer des garde-frontières en renfort, accueillir vingt-deux requérants d’asile mineurs non accompagnés en Suisse. Les médias ont repris l’information : la Suisse offre son « soutien » à la Grèce, « propose » d’accueillir des mineurs…

      Quelle hypocrisie !

      En effet, ces mesures ne sont que le corollaire bas de gamme d’une politique qui n’apparaît qu’en creux dans la communication de Karin Keller-Sutter et des autres dirigeants européens : utiliser la Grèce comme rempart contre les réfugiés. Les îles grecques sont débordées parce que les réfugiés ne peuvent plus circuler plus loin vers la riche Europe ? La situation dégénère ? Elle est catastrophique sur les plans humains et sanitaire ? Qu’à cela ne tienne : nous enverrons des couvertures à croix-blanche et de l’aspirine pour les malades. Et la Direction du Développement et de la Coopération d’être mise à contribution pour pallier quelque peu aux effets de cet endiguement prémédité… quelle faillite morale pour l’aide humanitaire suisse !

      Pire, nous (oui je dis « nous », car Karin Keller-Sutter nous représente) nous tressons des couronnes à annoncer que nous accueillerons généreusement vingt-deux requérants d’asile mineurs non accompagnés. Vingt-deux ? 40’000 personnes en demande d’asile s’entassent dans les îles grecques, plus de 5’000 d’entre elles sont des mineurs non accompagnés.

      Le chiffre annoncé par l’administration fédérale est dérisoire, mais il y a pire encore.

      Les autorités suisses présentent l’accueil de ces vingt-deux mineurs, qui doivent remplir la condition d’avoir de la famille en Suisse, comme un acte de solidarité… sauf qu’envoyer les requérants d’asile mineurs vers un pays où ils ont des proches qui peuvent s’occuper d’eux, c’est justement ce que prévoit le Règlement européen Dublin III à son article 8. Vous ne rêvez pas : sous l’emballage cadeau avec un joli nœud rose, le SEM n’annonce peut-être rien d’autre que la banale application du cadre légal en vigueur. C’est comme si en payant un arriéré d’impôts, vous envoyiez un communiqué de presse pour vous féliciter de votre généreux soutien à l’État. C’est à quel moment qu’il faut applaudir ?

      Sur le terrain, en Suisse, les permanences juridiques font en ce moment-même des pieds et des mains pour obtenir le regroupement familial de proches, coincés en Grèce, des personnes en demande d’asile en Suisse. Quand ces demandes ne sont pas refusées, elles traînent parfois pendant des mois. L’autorité fait donc montre d’un certain culot en annonçant simultanément une généreuse opération d’accueil de vingt-deux mineurs.

      Heureusement qu’il reste la société civile. Le prochain numéro de la revue Vivre Ensemble informe avec précision sur ce qui se passe en Grèce, lisez-le. Un Appel de Pâques, lancé par diverses organisations et personnalités, demande « au Conseil fédéral et au Parlement de faire venir en Suisse le plus grand nombre possible de réfugiés de la mer Égée », signez-le. En Suisse, le nombre de demandes d’asile est au plus bas depuis 2008 ; en mer Egée, la situation est catastrophique. Notre pays sera affecté par une crise économique post-covid-19 ? La Grèce ne le sera pas moins. C’est le moment de se montrer solidaires, et de démasquer les tartufes qui feignent de l’être.

      Aldo Brina, chargé d’information sur l’asile du CSP Genève

      https://asile.ch/2020/04/28/aldo-brina-cest-a-quel-moment-quil-faut-applaudir
      #Suisse

    • Finland preparing to fly 100 unaccompanied migrant children from Greece

      Finland is the latest EU country to announce it is preparing to fly about 100 unaccompanied children from overcrowded camps on the Greek islands to the capital Helsinki.

      On Thursday, Greece’s migration ministry announced it was preparing to fly around 100 unaccompanied children and about 30 adults, with relatives already in Finland, from the overcrowded camps on the Greek islands to the Finnish capital Helsinki.

      According to the Daily Sabah, the announcement came after a call between the Deputy Migration Minister Giorgios Koumoutsakos and Finland’s Interior Ministry Official Olli-Poika Parviainen.

      This was described by a spokesperson at Greece’s migration ministry as a “decision of practical solidarity,” on the part of Finland.

      According to the German press agency dpa, Switzerland has also announced it will fly out 22 unaccompanied children “in the next two weeks.”

      Transfering the vulnerable

      The latest UNHCR data for the week April 20-26 shows that despite efforts by the Greek authorities to transfer some of the most vulnerable from the Greek islands, there are still about 38,700 migrants living in overcrowded conditions on the islands.

      About a third of that population are children and about 13% of those are unaccompanied; the majority of them hail originally from Afghanistan.

      To date no new arrivals were regsitered on the islands, and about 139 of the most vulnerable were transferred out of the camps to hotels providing temporary accommodation in order to shield them during the coronavirus pandemic.

      On April 2, the Finnish interior ministry released a statement showing how it would apply for EU funding to host a total of 175 asylum seekers to be transferred from the Greek islands.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/24464/finland-preparing-to-fly-100-unaccompanied-migrant-children-from-greec

      #Finlande

    • Les relocalisations d’enfants mineurs non accompagnés sont possibles malgré le COVID-19

      C’est presque inimaginable. Les relocalisations d’enfants mineurs non accompagnés bloqués depuis des mois sur les îles grecques sont enfin possibles et ce malgré la fermeture des frontières dues au COVID-19. Il suffit de volonté politique et de bonne coordination pour permettre à des enfants non accompagnés (3 à 15 ans) bloqués depuis des mois en Grèce de faire le voyage vers le Luxembourg et l’Allemagne. Les images montrant des enfants très jeunes monter dans l’avion qui doit les mener en Allemagne font tellement de bien.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UGhTJfbImQ&feature=emb_logo

      Elan de solidarité envers les enfants mineurs non accompagnés en Grèce

      Début mars, de nombreuses organisations humanitaires ont alerté les Etats membres de l’Union européenne sur la situation humanitaire inquiétante dans les centres hotspots en Grèce et demandé à ce que les enfants mineurs non accompagnés soient rapidement relocalisés. Plusieurs Etats ont répondu à cet appel. C’est le cas de l’Allemagne, la Belgique, la Bulgarie, la Croatie, la Finlande, la France, l’Irlande, la Lituanie, le Luxembourg et le Portugal, qui se sont mis d’accord sur la relocalisation progressive de 1600 mineurs non accompagnés bloqués sur les îles grecques depuis des mois. Les promesses de relocalisation concernent aussi des mineurs non accompagné sans attaches familiales en Europe.

      Premières opérations de relocalisation

      Le 15 avril, 11 enfants se sont envolés vers le Luxembourg, le 18 avril 49 enfants (entre 3 et 15 ans) sont arrivés en Allemagne, d’autres opérations de relocalisations vont suivre ces prochaines semaines. La Suisse rejoindra l’effort avec le transfert imminent de 22 mineurs non accompagnés qui ont de la famille en Suisse (1).

      En Grèce, l’organisation METAdrasi a participé aux quatres missions d’accompagnement des enfants sélectionnés pour les relocalisations vers le Luxembourg et l’Allemagne et parle des missions les plus complexes et les plus exigeantes jamais réalisées sur les 5 100 missions entreprises au cours de neuf dernières années (2). Selon Lora Pappa, fondatrice de l’organisation “ces transferts représentent une grande réjouissance et montrent que les choses se font rapidement lorsqu’il y a la volonté politique.”

      La détermination de l’intérêt supérieur des enfants et le rôle des tuteurs

      De la récupération des enfants dispersés sur les îles, à leur embarquement en dernière minute sur les ferry en partance pour Athène, à l’entretien, aux examens médicaux, à leur décollage, il n’a fallu qu’une courte semaine pour organiser le départ de plus de 50 enfants entre 3 et 15 ans. Un véritable parcours du combattant.

      A commencer par l’entretien personnalisé appelé “BID” (Best Interest Determination). Cette étape est très importante puisqu’elle doit établir l’intérêt supérieur de l’enfant surtout lorsqu’il est supposé rejoindre non pas un père ou une mère, un frère ou une soeur, mais un cousin adulte, une tante éloignée ou … personne. En amont de cette étape, ce sont les tuteurs responsables de l’accompagnement de l’enfant dès son arrivée en Grèce qui connaissent le mieux le dossier de l’enfant. Leur rôle est donc principal (3).

      “C’est l’intérêt supérieur de l’enfant qui compte. Nos tuteurs sont en contact réguliers avec les enfants non accompagnés sur les îles et aussi sur le continent. Ce sont eux qui connaissent les enfants, leurs dossiers, leurs parcours, leurs liens familiaux en Europe lorsqu’il y en a. C’est pour ça que notre rôle est important dans l’organisation des relocalisations, ce que les autorités grecques et le Haut-commissariat des Nations unies (UNHCR) reconnaissent”, m’explique Lora Pappa.

      Dans quelques jours, l’Agence de droits fondamentaux de l’UE (FRA) publiera un document sur les bonnes pratiques de réinstallations d’enfants non accompagnés depuis la Grèce. Les recommandations se basent sur une recherche et près de 50 entretiens menés entre novembre 2019 et mars 2020 en Belgique, Finlande, France, Allemagne, Grèce, Irlande, Italie, Malte, aux Pays-Bas et au Portugal. L’une de ses recommandations est la création d’un pôle de tuteurs exclusivement destinés à l’organisation des relocalisations d’enfants mineurs non accompagnés. Le rapport mentionne d’ailleurs l’expertise de METAdrasi et recommande qu’elle puisse continuer de jouer un rôle clé dans cette procédure en collaboration avec le Centre national de la solidarité sociale (EKKA).

      Examens médicaux de rigueur

      L’autre étape importante est l’examen médical surtout avec l’épidémie du Covid-19. Aucun enfant malade n’est admis pour le transfert. Tous les enfants sélectionnés pour les relocalisation sont soumis au test de dépistage du Covid-19 ainsi qu’à d’autres examens médicaux. Pour l’instant les autorités n’ont pas annoncé avoir décelé de cas d’infection au Covid-19 parmi les requérants d’asile sur les îles. Seulement sur le continent dans trois camps différents placés en quarantaine (3).

      Renoncer aux conditions de relocalisations trop restrictives

      Le Luxembourg et l’Allemagne ont d’abord poser des conditions trop restrictives à la relocalisation. En acceptant initialement 12 enfants de Syrie âgés de moins de 14 ans sans perspectives de regroupement familial, le Luxembourg posait des conditions irréalisables car la grande majorité des enfants syriens ont de la famille dans d’autres pays européens et n’auraient pas été éligibles. L’Allemagne quant à elle demandait au départ que les enfants ne soient que des filles de moins de 14 ans ayant de graves problèmes de santé. Puis elle a inclu les garçons de moin de 14 ans sans restriction de pays d’origine et elle a accepté d’accueillir des enfants qui pour la plupart n’ont pas de famille en Allemagne.

      Le règlement Dublin établit les critère de responsabilité dans l’examen de la demande d’asile de mineurs non accompagnés. Il prévoit que ce dernier pourra rejoindre un membre de sa famille (père, mère frère, soeur) ou un proche (oncle, tante, cousin) situé dans un autre Etat Dublin en respectant le principe de l’intérêt supérieur de l’enfant et que si nécessaire les Etats membres peuvent déroger aux critères de responsabilité pour des motifs humanitaires et de compassions (article 8, para. 13, 16, 17). Ainsi la relocalisation d’enfants mineurs non accompagnés sans perspectives de regroupement familial est déjà prévu dans le règlement Dublin. Dans l’application de ce texte, les Etats parties, dont la Suisse, ont pour habitude de “minimiser leurs propres responsabilités et maximiser les responsabilités d’autrui” et ils ont longtemps agit, comme l’explique le Professeur Francesco Maiani, “à la limite de ce qui est permis par le Règlement (…) en imposant des exigences excessives de preuves de liens familiaux.”(5)

      Engagements de la Suisse

      Le 21 avril, la Suisse annonçait renforcer son aide aux mineurs dans les camps de réfugiés en Grèce avec un crédit supplémentaire de 1,1 million de francs pour des projets menés par des organisations d’aide. Cette aide avait déjà été annoncée en février dernier. En plus la Suisse a promis de faire venir 22 enfants non accompagnés qui ont de la famille en Suisse. Leur arrivée est imminente. Cette aide est un bon départ. Mais le gouvernement suisse doit aller plus loin.

      “La Suisse pourrait être un centre de transit pour les enfants mineurs non accompagnés devant rejoindre leur familles dans d’autres pays européens conformément à ce qui est prévu par le Règlement Dublin. La Suisse rendrait un immense service à la Grèce qui serait déchargée du travail administratif lourd impliquant les démarches compliquées de réunification. Cela aiderait surtout beaucoup les enfants concernés, confinés depuis des mois dans des camps invivables, dangereux et malsains. La Suisse devrait aussi envisager, comme d’autres pays européens, accueillir des enfants mineurs non accompagnés sans liens familiaux en Suisse,”suggère Lora Pappa.

      De plus en plus de voix s’élèvent pour que la Suisse fasse encore davantage pour la Grèce. Plus de 100 organisations humanitaires en Suisse, de nombreux commentateurs dans les médias suisses et certains politiciens et partis politiques suisses ont appelé le gouvernement suisse à accueillir une partie des réfugiés pris au piège dans le camp de réfugiés de Moria surpeuplé et insalubre sur l’île de Lesbos en Grèce.

      Peut-être que le vent tourne. Le 23 avril la Commission des institutions politiques du Conseil national s’est penchée sur la situation des réfugiés en Grèce. Elle a décidé de déposer une motion chargeant le Conseil fédéral de “s’engager au niveau européen pour une amélioration substantielle de la situation dans les îles égéennes et de s’investir en faveur d’une réforme des accords de Dublin, afin qu’une répartition plus juste et plus équilibrée des réfugiés soit opérée” (6).

      Comme l’explique Alexandra Dufresne (7) pour Swissinfo.ch “la Suisse est, par habitant, l’un des pays les plus riches du monde avec une forte tradition humanitaire. Elle dispose d’une communauté d’ONG exceptionnelle, bien organisée et solide, désireuse et disposée à aider.”

      Lire aussi :

      METAdrasi fondé par Lora Papa, reçoit le Prix Conrad N. Hilton pour son travail auprès des requérants d’asile en Grèce, Le temps des réfugiés, 15.10.2019
      Des suggestions pour une aide suisse efficace en Grèce, Le temps des réfugiés, 20.2.2020
      65 organisations demandent la relocalisation urgente de 1’800 mineurs non accompagnés bloqués sur les îles grecques, Le temps des réfugiés, 5.3.2020
      Agir pour éviter que le COVID-19 ne tue dans les camps de réfugiés et bien au-delà, Le temps des réfugiés,18.3.2020

      Relocation of unaccompanied children from Greece FRA input on the initiative of the European Commission and a group of Member States to relocate unaccompanied children, 17 mars 2020.
      Covid-19 : Evacuation of squalid greek camps more urgent that ever in light of the coronavirus pandemic, MSF, 3 April 2020.
      Amid Covid-19, Switzerland should heed calls to host trapped refugees, by Alexandra Dufresne, Swissinfo.ch

      https://blogs.letemps.ch/jasmine-caye/2020/04/28/les-relocalisations-denfants-mineurs-non-accompagnes-sont-possibles-ma

    • Le Portugal va accueillir 500 mineurs isolés des îles grecques

      Le Portugal a annoncé mardi qu’il allait accueillir 500 mineurs non accompagnés vivant dans les camps surpeuplés des îles grecques. D’autres pays, dont l’Allemagne, l’Irlande, la France et le Luxembourg, sont également impliqués dans cette initiative.

      Ils vont bientôt pouvoir sortir de l’enfer des camps surpeuplés des îles grecques. Cinq cents mineurs non accompagnés vont être accueillis par le Portugal dès que les restrictions de mouvements imposées pour contenir la propagation du coronavirus seront levées, a déclaré mardi 12 mai le ministre portugais des Affaires étrangères, Augusto Santos Silva.

      Cette annonce intervient alors que la députée socialiste Isabel Santos a annoncé samedi que 60 enfants des camps de réfugiés grecs devaient arriver au Portugal dans les prochaines semaines, sans donner de date précise.

      Au moins 5 200 mineurs isolés vivent en Grèce, dont une majorité dans les camps des îles de la mer Égée, dans des conditions déplorables dénoncées à plusieurs reprises par les ONG.

      D’autres pays, dont l’Allemagne, l’Irlande, la France et le Luxembourg, sont également impliqués dans cette initiative. Le premier transfert a eu lieu en avril quand 12 mineurs ont été accueillis au Luxembourg. L’Allemagne avait ensuite pris en charge 50 enfants.

      Lundi 11 mai, c’est le Royaume-Uni qui a accueilli 50 migrants, dont 16 mineurs, qui vivaient en Grèce. Ils ont été transférés en Angleterre dans le cadre de regroupements familiaux.

      Cependant, le chiffre avancé par le Portugal reste supérieur à celui des autres États membres de l’Union européenne. Le pays s’est illustré à plusieurs reprises en se montrant accueillant envers les migrants. Fin mars, en pleine pandémie de coronavirus, le Portugal avait annoncé la régularisation temporaire des immigrés en attente de titre de séjour. C’est le seul pays de l’UE à avoir pris une telle mesure.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/24747/le-portugal-va-accueillir-500-mineurs-isoles-des-iles-grecques?ref=tw
      #Portugal

    • Grèce : 50 premiers réfugiés mineurs relocalisés en #France en juillet

      La relocalisation en France des migrants mineurs non accompagnés de Grèce a pris du retard à cause de la pandémie de coronavirus, et les 50 premiers jeunes réfugiés partiront début juillet, a annoncé lundi le gouvernement grec.

      « Les procédures de relocalisation qui s’étaient arrêtées temporairement en raison de la crise sanitaire vont démarrer de nouveau au plus vite », a souligné le ministre délégué grec à la Politique migratoire et à l’asile, Georges Koumoutsakos, dans un communiqué.

      En janvier dernier, la Grèce et la France s’étaient mis d’accord sur la relocalisation de 400 demandeurs d’asile se trouvant dans les camps surpeuplés des îles grecques face à la Turquie.

      Outre ces 400 demandeurs d’asile, le communiqué du ministère aux migrations grec évoque également la relocalisation de 350 mineurs non accompagnés.

      « La crise du coronavirus a perturbé les relocalisations programmées mais la France reste cependant attachée à ses promesses envers la Grèce », a déclaré l’ambassadeur de France à Athènes, Patrick Maisonnave, après une rencontre lundi avec le ministre grec.

      Le nombre total des enfants non accompagnés en Grèce s’élève à environ 5.200, selon les autorités grecques. Une grande majorité vit dans des conditions insalubres dans des logements non adaptés aux enfants.

      Face à cette situation, plusieurs pays européens, l’Allemagne, la Belgique, la Bulgarie, la Croatie, la Finlande, la France, l’Irlande, la Lituanie, la Serbie, la Suisse, ont décidé de participer à un programme européen volontaire de relocalisation de 1.600 enfants non accompagnés depuis la Grèce.

      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/fil-dactualites/250520/grece-50-premiers-refugies-mineurs-relocalises-en-france-en-juillet
      #volontariat #programme_volontaire

    • Germany takes in another 249 minors from Greece

      Germany has taken in an additional 249 refugee children from Greece, the country’s interior minister Horst Seehofer said Wednesday, noting that most of the minors are sick or the siblings of migrants that are already in Germany.

      “As the rates of coronavirus are currently at this low level, we decided as the Interior Ministry… to take in more children from Greece,” Seehofer said, noting that Germany had already received 47 refugee children in April.

      Seehofer said that some of his associates visited Greece last week to arrange the transfer of the children.

      Six of the youngsters who were too sick to travel last week will be transferred on a subsequent trip, he said.

      “I always said that my migration policy includes order but also humanity,” the German minister said.

      Luxembourg, Switzerland, Portugal and France are among the countries that have also taken in child refugees from Greece.

      Many of the children being relocated belong to the ranks of unaccompanied refugee minors in Greece, who number over 5,000.

      https://www.ekathimerini.com/253542/article/ekathimerini/news/germany-takes-in-another-249-minors-from-greece

    • Dutch government under growing pressure to take in child refugees

      Protests call for coalition to admit 500 unaccompanied minors from Greek islands.

      https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/6d0d8c19c2b1db47ae947d35dbdff2f8cd33cb40/0_205_5555_3334/master/5555.jpg?width=605&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=e4e80bb650fc57a6

      They have gathered in city squares, parks and on piers with the water lapping at their feet. In silent, physically distanced protests, demonstrators stand 1.5 metres apart, some holding signs saying “WeesWelkom” (be welcome – the word “Wees” also meaning orphan) and “500 Kinderen” (500 children).

      Since April, protests have taken place across the Netherlands to lobby the Dutch government to take in 500 unaccompanied children living in squalid camps on the Greek islands.

      Last October, the Greek government asked EU member states to shelter 2,500 lone children – about half the total on the Greek mainland and islands. After months of inaction, 11 EU member states, plus Norway and Switzerland, have promised a home for at least 1,600 young asylum seekers, who are mostly from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria. The Dutch government is not among them.

      Now the fragile, four-party, liberal-centre-right coalition led by Mark Rutte is coming under growing public pressure.

      One third of Dutch municipalities – a total of 119 local authorities representing 9 million people, as of June 5 – have said they are in favour of bringing 500 children to the Netherlands, according to the University of Utrecht. Big cities, such as Amsterdam, Arnhem and Utrecht, have offered to take in some children.

      About 100 prominent figures signed an open letter calling on the Dutch government to answer Greece’s “cry for help”. The campaign has drawn figures from all walks of life, ranging from the two-time Dutch EU commissioner Neelie Kroes to the indie music star Joshua Nolet.

      For several Mondays running, Nolet, who visited Greek island camps in 2016 and 2017, has filmed himself staging a one-man protest and encouraged his 32,000 followers to do the same.

      “There are 20,000 people living in a camp that has space for 3,000 asylum seekers,” he said, referring to the infamous Moria camp on Lesbos, where people queue for hours for food, water and to wash. “This is insane that we are letting this happen and it does not reflect the country that I grew up in.”

      For Rutte, the situation would be easier to dismiss if it didn’t chime with views of coalition partners. Two of four governing parties, the liberal D66 and the Christian Union, support the campaign, while a third, the Christian Democrat Alliance, is under pressure from its grassroots.

      Klaas Valkering, a CDA councillor in Bergen, North Holland, said 80 local CDA chapters supported his campaign to bring children to the Netherlands. “There are 500 children in a Greek refugee camp, all of them without any parents and that is why we need to help them.”

      Some local chapters are motivated by pure compassion, he said, while others also want to take a stand against the perceived rightward drift of the CDA. The debate has also played into what it means to be an EU member during a time of crisis.

      “European solidarity is not only Dutch intensive care patients using German intensive care-units,” Valkering told Trouw last month.

      The government argues there is a better way and last month pledged €3.5m-€4m to help children in Greece.

      Some of the money will help set up a guardianship scheme to represent the legal interests of unaccompanied children in Greece. The government has also promised to fund places in reception centres on the Greek mainland – although Greek officials have raised questions over when shelters would be up and running.

      A Dutch justice ministry spokesperson said a memorandum of understanding signed with the Greek government on 18 June included agreement on sheltering 48 children on the Greek mainland “as soon as possible, with a total capacity of 500 over three years”.

      “It is a more humane solution,” said Bente Becker, an MP and spokesperson on migration for Rutte’s VVD party. She said this “structural solution” would dissuade families from putting their lives in the hands of people smugglers, citing the model of the EU’s 2016 deal with Turkey.

      “It should not be a ticket to the Netherlands when you go to a Greek island,” she said. “What I don’t want to happen is that parents decide their children should be sent in a rubber boat in the Mediterranean sea, perhaps endangering their own lives.”

      Critics say the government is mistaken if it thinks it can fix Greece’s asylum system, riddled by accusations of misspent funds and inadequate processes.

      “The Greeks are ‘not able to solve’ the issue, said Sander Schaap at the Dutch Refugee Council. He described the plan to shelter children in Greece as “naive”. The government plan, Schaap contended, is “mostly an attempt to find a political solution to a political problem in the governing coalition”.

      Dutch politicians have been taking more restrictive positions on migration since the 1990s, said Saskia Bonjour, a political scientist at the University of Amsterdam. That tendency was reinforced by the country’s “strong radical right presence”, from Pim Fortuyn to Geert Wilders and Thierry Baudet. “There is a strong tendency in Dutch politics in general and on the mainstream right in particular to interpret the potential electoral success of the radical right as [meaning] general concerns aren’t being heard.”

      • This article was amended on 21 June 2020. An earlier version correctly translated “WeesWelkom” as “be welcome” but this was expanded to acknowledge the word play with “Wees” also meaning “orphan”.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/21/dutch-government-under-growing-pressure-to-take-in-child-refugees
      #Pays-Bas

    • L’UE transfère des demandeurs d’asile vulnérables vers l’#Allemagne et la #Finlande

      Un premier transfert de 83 membres de familles avec des enfants gravement malades avait été effectué le 24 juillet entre la Grèce et l’Allemagne.

      Près de 100 demandeurs d’asile vulnérables, dont des mineurs, ont été transférés depuis la Grèce et Chypre vers l’Allemagne et la Finlande, a annoncé mercredi l’agence de coordination de l’asile pour l’Union européenne.

      L’opération fait partie d’un projet de l’UE de relocaliser 1 600 mineurs dans divers pays européens. Le projet est soutenu par la Commission européenne, le Haut-Commissariat de l’ONU pour les réfugiés (HCR) et l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations.
      L’UE finance aussi les retours

      Une seconde opération, ne s’inscrivant pas dans le cadre du projet de relocalisation de l’UE, a eu lieu le 27 juillet avec le transfert entre Chypre et la Finlande, de 16 Somaliens et Congolais venant de familles monoparentales.

      Tous ont fait l’objet de tests de dépistage du Covid-19 avant de quitter Chypre et la Grèce, a affirmé le Bureau européen d’appui en matière d’asile (EASO).

      Le ministre grec des Migrations a annoncé de son côté mercredi avoir activé un dispositif financé par l’Union européenne de rapatriement volontaire pour 5 000 demandeurs d’asile, offrant 2 000 euros pour rentrer dans son pays.
      Désengorger les camps des îles grecques

      Le dispositif, destiné à désengorger les camps de migrants sur les îles de la mer Égée, surpeuplés, avait été annoncé en mars mais était resté inactif jusqu’ici en raison de la pandémie de Covid-19, a déclaré Notis Mitarachi. Les premiers vols devraient partir dans quelques semaines, a-t-il ajouté.

      La Grèce compte près de 5 000 migrants mineurs, la plupart vivant dans des conditions insalubres au sein de camps de réfugiés, ou dans des habitations inadaptées pour eux.

      En tout, le pays recense près de 120 000 réfugiés selon le HCR, dont plus de 26 000 dans des camps sur des îles de la mer Égée.
      D’autres pays prennent le relais

      Des dizaines de milliers de demandeurs d’asile ont été bloqués en Grèce depuis 2016 lorsqu’un certain nombre d’États européens ont fermé leurs frontières en réponse à l’afflux de migrants et de réfugiés, principalement depuis la Syrie en guerre.

      Plus d’une dizaine de pays européens ont accepté de faire une exception pour les mineurs. Un petit nombre d’entre eux a déjà été transféré au Portugal, au Luxembourg et en Allemagne.

      La Belgique, la Bulgarie, la Croatie, la France, l’Irlande, la Lituanie, la Serbie et la Suisse ont également accepté d’en accueillir un certain nombre.

      https://www.lavoixdunord.fr/845360/article/2020-07-29/l-ue-transfere-des-demandeurs-d-asile-vulnerables-vers-l-allemagne-et-l

    • Germany sees political controversy over rescuing refugees from Greece

      Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has blocked individual German states from rescuing migrants from Greek refugee camps. The state governments are up in arms and are considering legal action.

      Several of Germany’s 16 states are considering banding together to defy the federal government’s plan to block them from bringing in refugees from the chronically overcrowded camps in Greece.

      Angela Merkel’s administration has blocked two German states — Berlin and Thuringia — from unilaterally flying a few hundred refugees out of the hopelessly overcrowded camps on the Greek islands.

      The two states are considering challenging the block in court, but given the humanitarian conditions at the Moria camp on Lesbos, they are also seeking political options to accelerate the process.

      Other states, including the most populous, North Rhine-Westphalia, have also said they would be prepared to take in refugees from the camps.

      Berlin’s Interior Minister Andreas Geisel this week called for a conference where state interior ministers can speak to Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer to resolve the issue. “We cannot simply shrug our shoulders and accept a ’No’ from #Horst_Seehofer to our readiness to help people in desperate circumstances,” he said.

      Crisis unfolding

      The humanitarian disaster unfolding at the Moria camp is all too clear — even to leading members of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU). One of them, North Rhine-Westphalia’s State Premier Armin Laschet even visited Moria last week. He had to abruptly cut short his visit for security reasons after crowds of refugees had gathered, reportedly under the impression he was Germany’s chancellor.

      Read more: Coronavirus crisis hampering Mediterranean migrant rescues

      But before his visit ended, Laschet — who does indeed have ambitions to take over from Merkel as chancellor — acknowledged that he was witnessing a “cry of the desperate.”

      The Moria camp is designed for just under 3,000 refugees, but according to the latest information, between 14,000 and 17,000 people live there and in unofficial camps around it. Violence between members of different nationalities and disputes with the local population have become recurrent.

      An EU solution, or a local one?

      Laschet’s state, North Rhine-Westphalia, has offered to accept several hundred particularly vulnerable people from the Greek camps, but only as part of a program coordinated by the federal government together with other EU countries.

      Meanwhile, Berlin’s and Thuringia’s offers to take in refugees unilaterally has only got them into a row with Seehofer, who once called immigration the “mother of all problems.”

      The fierceness of the dispute could have something to do with party politics: Both Berlin and Thuringia are governed by left-wing coalitions, Berlin’s one is led by the Social Democrats, while Thuringia’s is led by the socialist Left Party.

      Seehofer says the federal government has final say, and anyway, any solution to the refugee crisis has to be worked out by the European Union. “No country in the world can manage migration alone,” said Seehofer. “This makes it all the more important that we finally make visible progress in European asylum policy. We are on the right track, and I am not prepared to jeopardize that now.”

      States’ rights

      Ulrich Karpenstein, a lawyer at the Redeker, Sellner and Dahs law firm who drew up an assessment of whether the Federal Interior Ministry can refuse consent to the humanitarian programs of the states, does not agree with Seehofer.

      “You could just as easily say we need a UN solution, and as long as there’s no UN solution you can’t get people out of a humanitarian emergency,” he told DW. “It’s a purely political argument, but not a legal one.”

      On the basis of those humanitarian programs, a private organization Karpenstein co-founded, named “Flüchtlingspaten Syrien,” has been involved in bringing people out of desperate humanitarian circumstances in Syria.

      “According to German law, the state government can give certain groups of foreign nationals a residency permit if they are in an emergency humanitarian situation,” he told DW.

      The approval of the Federal Interior Ministry is necessary, but, he argues, the federal government cannot overrule the states if it believes that these people need help. “And that is not in dispute in the case of Moria — even the federal government has said it wants to help these people,” said Karpenstein.

      The state governments want to select refugees based on lists drawn up by organizations on the ground like the UNHCR or Doctors Without Borders.
      Unequal treatment

      In fact, Seehofer has approved earlier requests for people in need. There were, for example, programs to bring Yazidi people from Iraq as well additional contingents of Syrians. The difference is that those people did not come via another EU country, but directly from their home countries, usually in cooperation with the UNHCR.

      The EU has been at an impasse on this issue for years. The Mediterranean countries where the refugees arrive, such as Italy, Greece and Malta, want a fixed migrant distribution system among all EU countries.

      But other member states, especially in the eastern part of the EU, are flatly opposed to this “in any form,” as seven countries emphasized in a letter to the EU Commission in July. Seehofer believes that any compromise with them, no matter how small, is only possible if there is calm, in other words: if there are no new admission initiatives from German states.

      Seehofer is also facing strong opposition from left-wing parties and from the churches. But from a purely legal point of view, Seehofer has the power to enforce a uniformity of German refugee policy.

      https://www.dw.com/en/germany-greece-refugees-asylum-controversy/a-54538520

  • Coronavirus strands refugee children
    A number of EU member states want to take in refugee children stuck in Greece. However, Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn now says the coronavirus pandemic has made that impossible.
    https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-strands-refugee-children/a-52864442

    Although the river has run dry, its bed is overflowing: Plastic bags, cardboard and plastic bottles extend as far as the eye can see. A young child, maybe six years old, wades through the garbage. Here, in the so-called “jungle,” where makeshift huts crush up against one another and children play in the filth, the squalor of the Moria refugee camp is on full display.

    This hot spot, located on the Greek island of Lesbos, has been the scene of Europe’s largest humanitarian crisis for years now. A camp originally designed to temporarily shelter 3,000 people, it is now the cramped home of more than 20,000.

    The situation is not much better on other islands in the Aegean. In all, some 42,000 refugees and migrants are currently stuck on Lesbos, Chios and Samos, and many have been there for more than a year. Now, the coronavirus pandemic threatens to make the situation even worse.

    Just recently, Germany and a number of EU member states, including France and Luxembourg, declared their willingness to take in those in most desperate need of help: Vulnerable, unaccompanied minors and children.

    The European Commission estimates that 1,500 unaccompanied children and minors are currently on the Greek isles. Last Friday, EU interior ministers pledged they would be distributed among a “coalition of willing” EU member states within a week.

    Water cannon, tear gas and smoke bombs

    But that willingness is not only humanitarian in nature, it is also pragmatic. The EU was forced into action when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan decided to open his country’s borders with Greece two weeks ago, sending thousands of refugees rushing toward Europe.

    Greek security forces overwhelmed by the sheer number of refugees demanding entry into Europe answered with water cannon, tear gas and smoke bombs. It was reported that at least two people were killed by Greek bullets, something the government in Athens denies. Images of standoffs were quickly broadcast around the world, putting the EU under pressure to do something about the situation.

    But the new COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has changed everything, with EU member states enhancing border controls or closing borders altogether in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus. That was also the reason the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) gave for the temporary suspension of activities at their Refugee Resettlement Program. Thus, for the moment no safe haven can be found for those refugees in especially dire straits — that includes safe haven in Germany.

    Read more: Opinion: In Greece, refugees are painted as the enemy

    Asselborn: ’It’s not up to us’

    The program for taking in unaccompanied children was not supposed to be affected by the situation, at least according to European Commission spokesperson Adalbert Jahnz. He claimed, albeit in vague terms, that the process would go on as planned, but suggested that respecting and navigating the many different steps EU member states had taken to stop the spread of the virus was taking up a lot of time and making it impossible to set out a clear timeline for the transfer of children from Greece.

    Jahnz went on to say, “However, I assure you that intense discussions are going on as we speak and preparations are currently underway.” Another spokesperson for the Commission, which has agreed to play a coordinating role in the project, told DW the COVID-19 pandemic will likely have an effect on the process.

    Germany’s Interior Ministry was vague as well, saying only that the European Commission is currently assessing what level of coordination is possible right now in light of the situation. On Wednesday, a statement was released saying the COVID-19 pandemic would “not have any effect on our efforts.” Still, speaking with DW on Thursday, Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn conceded that his country would not be taking in refugee children for now.

    Refugees pushed from both sides of the Turkey-EU border
    “It’s not up to us, to Greece, or the UNHCR. In terms of security and health, it is simply impossible to guarantee humane conditions for taking in people during these difficult times,” said Asselborn. He said Luxembourg and other EU member states would do all they could in the meantime to prepare for the children to be transferred as soon as possible.

    Boris Cheshirkov, a spokesperson for UNHCR Greece, understands that coronavirus will slow the process, but urged the EU to push on with preparations regardless so that they can start transferring children as soon as the time comes.

    Refugee camps under quarantine

    Many aid organizations have warned that catastrophic sanitary conditions at refugee camps make it imperative to get people there to safer lodgings where they can better protect themselves from illness.

    In Germany, celebrities and politicians started online petitions to do just that under the names #WirHabenPlatz (We Have Space) and #LeaveNoOneBehind — so far 80,000 people have signed the appeals.

    Those behind the campaigns point to the miserable living conditions at the camps — something DW journalists have frequently documented — pointing to the fact that hundreds of refugees at Moria, for instance, are forced to share just one toilet. It is also almost impossible to bathe at the camps and even the most basic hygienic precautions, such as washing one’s hands, cannot be taken.

    Human hand cleaning a door handle
    HANDS OFF! WHAT CAN WE TOUCH DURING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK?
    Contaminated door handles
    Current research says the coronavirus family of viruses can survive on some surfaces, like door handles, for an average of four to five days. Like all droplet infections, SARS-CoV-2 can spread via hands and frequently touched surfaces. Although it hasn’t previously been seen in humans and therefore hasn’t been studied in detail, experts believe it spreads similarly to other known coronaviruses.

    12345678
    They also note that there is a severe shortage of doctors at the camps to help with those who may become infected. There is simply no way for the more than 20,000 people crammed into the bursting facility to isolate themselves to avoid contracting the virus.

    Hoping to stop an explosion of infections, the Greek government has put its camps under quarantine. Residents are only allowed to leave the camps during the day, and then only in small numbers.

    It remains to be seen if that will be enough, though EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johannsson is convinced it is. On Thursday, she tweeted that she is working “to make absolutely sure that the health of asylum seekers and migrants in camps on EU territory is being protected.”

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Moria #Camp #Enfants #Mineurs #Relocalisation #Lesbos

  • Coronavirus: Urgent appeal for evacuation of Greek refugee camps

    Moria, on the island of Lesbos, is Europe’s biggest camp for displaced people. It was designed for 3,000 people but houses 20,000. Given the coronavirus, evacuating it is paramount, migration expert Gerald Knaus says.

    How do you keep social distance in a sprawling, totally overstretched refugee such as Moria, which was already a health hazard before the coronavirus made landfall in Greece? How do you regularly wash your hands when there is not enough water and soap?

    For most people living in any of the overcrowded camps on the Greek islands, following the measures recommended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus simply is not possible.

    Read more: Moria ’an ideal breeding ground for a rapid spread’ of coronavirus

    DW spoke to migration expert Gerald Knaus, who is a co-founder of the think tank the European Stability Initiative. Knaus was the architect of the European Union’s refugee deal with Turkey signed in March 2016. However, he says that that deal is now “gone.”

    DW: The European Union wants to start the relocation of 1,600 unaccompanied minors to willing EU member states this week — is this a sufficient step?

    Gerald Knaus: Under normal conditions, it makes sense to focus on the most vulnerable, such as unaccompanied minors. However, these are not normal conditions and the emphasis should be on whatever can help the largest number of vulnerable people. There are tens of thousands of vulnerable people on the Greek islands, many of them children, and all of them should be evacuated. Children with parents are no safer than unaccompanied minors. The question is how to move 35,000 people from the islands to the mainland fast.

    Knaus was key in developing a refugee and migration deal between the EU and Turkey

    Because of the coronavirus?

    Yes. We are facing a still preventable, well-announced and devastating humanitarian crisis on the islands. Conditions have been terrible for a long time, but if you add that some in these hotspots will at some point catch the virus, under conditions in Lesbos where 20,000 people can’t separate, can’t wash their hands, and with only six intensive care beds on the island — it is obvious why we must act.

    The coronavirus entered a Dutch submarine recently, and everyone was put in social isolation right away. What are we waiting for in Lesbos? This is not only in the interest of the refugees but of Greece and the European Union as a whole. To defeat the virus we need to tackle the weakest links in our health care systems.

    How could such a relocation to the Greek mainland work?

    The very basic first step is that the Greek government tells its European partners that it wants to do this. If the Greek government is thinking, “we’ll sit this out, we’ll risk it,” then nobody can help.

    It is clear now that there will be no returns from the islands to Turkey in the coming months. The borders are closed. This means those who are now on the islands will stay in Greece. Many in Greece understand that this is a time bomb: it is like repeating a large-scale mass event, every day. I hope any moment now the Greek prime minister will call other prime ministers in Europe and say, “We must solve this, and we need support.” Then, of course, others in the EU must be ready — and that requires starting a debate on what to do, now.

    You are taking part in this debate and you have presented a proposal.

    It’s actually clear what needs to be done and what can be done. You have to evacuate 35,000 refugees as quickly as possible from the islands to the Greek mainland. You could quickly have 15,000 additional beds in temporary tent camps. The International Organization of Migration (IOM) is capable of building these within a few weeks. Another 10,000 people can be accommodated in now-vacant Greek hotels. Finally, 10,000 people could easily be accommodated in places already paid for by the EU — places where recognized refugees are hosted right now. If countries like Germany could take in these recognized refugees quickly they would create space for families from the islands immediately. This would also send a strong signal to the Greeks that they’re not alone.

    But in European countries strongly affected by the coronavirus, politicians might find it very difficult to convince the public to take in refugees right now.

    It is clear only some countries will participate. In Germany, people are aware that there is space in refugee centers today. And if you transfer recognized asylum-seekers you know who they are. Let’s say Germany offers to bring in 5,000 of them from the mainland. We know their identity. We know they deserve protection. We are talking about a relatively small number. Germany moved 170,000 Germans back from abroad in the past week. This could be done while ensuring health standards. It would be the kind of European solidarity that people would still remember decades from now.

    It is in a moment of crisis where we show that we will defend values like human dignity and the refugee convention, that solidarity with European partners will still be defended under pressure.

    Watch video01:44

    Coronavirus catastrophe looms over Lesbos refugee camp

    What is the status of the EU-Turkey refugee deal given the pandemic? You were the mastermind behind it four years ago.

    It’s gone. We had an agreement in 2016. That worked for four years, benefitted Syrians in Turkey and brought down numbers of arrivals and deaths sharply. It never worked on the islands, however, and the assistance the EU promised to Turkey was to be allocated for four years. This happened, and the money was all allocated to projects by the end of 2019. This was the key interest for Turkey from the statement. But there was no follow-up. Then, at the end of February 2020, Ankara did the opposite of what it had committed to and moved migrants to the Greek land border. With this the 2016 statement was history.

    So what now? If the EU wants renewed cooperation, we need a new mutual engagement, a new statement. There are talks at this moment between the European Commission and Turkey. But these suffer from two basic problems: The European Commission is not putting more money on the table. This must change, but it will only change if EU member states back this strongly. And secondly, Turkey is not realistic. It wants to discuss things now that the EU will not resolve quickly in this crisis. Turkey needs to be realistic; the EU needs to be realistic. Everybody loses without cooperation. All benefit from helping refugees where they are, and from reducing irregular migration. Greece and the European Union should continue to uphold the right to claim asylum.

    The interview was conducted by DW’s Birgitta Schülke.

    https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-urgent-appeal-for-evacuation-of-greek-refugee-camps/a-52967371

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Moria #Camp #Relocalisation #Accordgrecoturc #Lesbos

  • Outbreaks like coronavirus start in and spread from the edges of cities

    Emerging infectious disease has much to do with how and where we live. The ongoing coronavirus is an example of the close relationships between urban development and new or re-emerging infectious diseases.

    Like the SARS pandemic of 2003, the connections between accelerated urbanization, more far-reaching and faster means of transportation, and less distance between urban life and non-human nature due to continued growth at the city’s outskirts — and subsequent trans-species infection — became immediately apparent.

    The new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, first crossed the animal-human divide at a market in Wuhan, one of the largest Chinese cities and a major transportation node with national and international connections. The sprawling megacity has since been the stage for the largest quarantine in human history, and its periphery has seen the pop-up construction of two hospitals to deal with infected patients.

    When the outbreak is halted and travel bans lifted, we still need to understand the conditions under which new infectious diseases emerge and spread through urbanization.
    No longer local

    Infectious disease outbreaks are global events. Increasingly, health and disease tend to be urban as they coincide with prolific urban growth and urban ways of life. The increased emergence of infectious diseases is to be expected.

    SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) hit global cities like Beijing, Hong Kong, Toronto and Singapore hard in 2003. COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, goes beyond select global financial centres and lays bare a global production and consumption network that sprawls across urban regions on several continents.

    To study the spread of disease today, we have to look beyond airports to the European automobile and parts industry that has taken root in central China; Chinese financed belt-and-road infrastructure across Asia, Europe and Africa; and in regional transportation hubs like Wuhan.

    While the current COVID-19 outbreak exposes China’s multiple economic connectivities, this phenomenon is not unique to that country. The recent outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, shone a light on the myriad strategic, economic and demographic relations of that country.
    New trade connections

    In January 2020, four workers were infected with SARS-CoV-2 during a training session at car parts company Webasto headquartered near Munich, revealing a connection with the company’s Chinese production site in Wuhan.

    The training was provided by a colleague from the Chinese branch of the firm who didn’t know she was infected. At the time of the training session in Bavaria, she did not feel sick and only fell ill on her flight back to Wuhan.

    First one, then three more colleagues who had participated in the training event in Germany, showed symptoms and soon were confirmed to have contracted the virus and infected other colleagues and family members.

    Eventually, Webasto and other German producers stopped fabrication in China temporarily, the German airline Lufthansa, like other airlines, cancelled all flights to that country and 110 individuals who had been contact traced to have been in touch with the four infected patients in Bavaria were advised by health officials to observe “domestic isolation” or “home quarantine.”

    This outbreak will likely be stopped. Until then, it will continue to cause human suffering and even death, and economic damage. The disease may further contribute to the unravelling of civility as the disease has been pinned to certain places or people. But when it’s over, the next such outbreak is waiting in the wings.
    Disease movements

    We need to understand the landscapes of emerging extended urbanization better if we want to predict, avoid and react to emerging disease outbreaks more efficiently.

    First, we need to grasp where disease outbreaks occur and how they relate to the physical, spatial, economic, social and ecological changes brought on by urbanization. Second, we need to learn more about how the newly emerging urban landscapes can themselves play a role in stemming potential outbreaks.

    Rapid urbanization enables the spread of infectious disease, with peripheral sites being particularly susceptible to disease vectors like mosquitoes or ticks and diseases that jump the animal-to-human species boundary.

    Our research identifies three dimensions of the relationships between extended urbanization and infectious disease that need better understanding: population change and mobility, infrastructure and governance.
    Travel and transport

    Population change and mobility are immediately connected. The coronavirus travelled from the periphery of Wuhan — where 1.6 million cars were produced last year — to a distant Bavarian suburb specializing in certain auto parts.

    Quarantined megacities and cruise ships demonstrate what happens when our globalized urban lives come grinding to a halt.

    Infrastructure is central: diseases can spread rapidly between cities through infrastructures of globalization such as global air travel networks. Airports are often located at the edges of urban areas, raising complex governance and jurisdictional issues with regards to who has responsibility to control disease outbreaks in large urban regions.

    We can also assume that disease outbreaks reinforce existing inequalities in access to and benefits from mobility infrastructures. These imbalances also influence the reactions to an outbreak. Disconnections that are revealed as rapid urban growth is not accompanied by the appropriate development of social and technical infrastructures add to the picture.

    Lastly, SARS-CoV-2 has exposed both the shortcomings and potential opportunities of governance at different levels. While it is awe-inspiring to see entire megacities quarantined, it is unlikely that such drastic measures would be accepted in countries not governed by centralized authoritarian leadership. But even in China, multilevel governance proved to be breaking down as local, regional and central government (and party) units were not sufficiently co-ordinated at the beginning of the crisis.

    This mirrored the intergovernmental confusion in Canada during SARS. As we enter another wave of megaurbanization, urban regions will need to develop efficient and innovative methods of confronting emerging infectious disease without relying on drastic top-down state measures that can be globally disruptive and often counter-productive. This may be especially relevant in fighting racism and intercultural conflict.

    The massive increase of the global urban population over the past few decades has increased exposure to diseases and posed new challenges to the control of outbreaks. Urban researchers need to explore these new relationships between urbanization and infectious disease. This will require an interdisciplinary approach that includes geographers, public health scientists, sociologists and others to develop possible solutions to prevent and mitigate future disease outbreaks.

    https://theconversation.com/outbreaks-like-coronavirus-start-in-and-spread-from-the-edges-of-ci
    #villes #urban_matter #géographie_urbaine #covid-19 #coronavirus #ressources_pédagogiques

    ping @reka

    • The Urbanization of COVID-19

      Three prominent urban researchers with a focus on infectious diseases explain why political responses to the current coronavirus outbreak require an understanding of urban dynamics. Looking back at the last coronavirus pandemic, the SARS outbreak in 2002/3, they highlight what affected cities have learned from that experience for handling the ongoing crisis. Exploring the political challenges of the current state of exception in Canada, Germany, Singapore and elsewhere, Creighton Connolly, Harris Ali and Roger Keil shed light on the practices of urban solidarity as the key to overcoming the public health threat.

      Guests:

      Creighton Connolly is a Senior Lecturer in Development Studies and the Global South in the School of Geography, University of Lincoln, UK. He researches urban political ecology, urban-environmental governance and processes of urbanization and urban redevelopment in Southeast Asia, with a focus on Malaysia and Singapore. He is editor of ‘Post-Politics and Civil Society in Asian Cities’ (Routledge 2019), and has published in a range of leading urban studies and geography journals. Previously, he worked as a researcher in the Asian Urbanisms research cluster at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore.

      Harris Ali is a Professor of Sociology, York University in Toronto. He researches issues in environmental sociology, environmental health and disasters including the social and political dimensions of infectious disease outbreaks. He is currently conducting research on the role of community-based initiatives in the Ebola response in Africa.

      Roger Keil is a Professor at the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University in Toronto. He researches global suburbanization, urban political ecology, cities and infectious disease, and regional governance. Keil is the author of “Suburban Planet” (Polity 2018) and editor of “Suburban Constellations” (Jovis 2013). A co-founder of the International Network for Urban Research and Action (INURA), he was the inaugural director of the CITY Institute at York University and former co-editor of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.

      Referenced Literature:

      Ali, S. Harris, and Roger Keil, eds. 2011. Networked disease: emerging infections in the global city. Vol. 44. John Wiley & Sons.

      Keil, Roger, Creighton Connolly, and Harris S. Ali. 2020. “Outbreaks like coronavirus start in and spread from the edges of cities.” The Conversation, February 17. Available online here: https://theconversation.com/outbreaks-like-coronavirus-start-in-and-spread-from-the-edges-of-ci

      https://urbanpolitical.podigee.io/16-covid19

    • Extended urbanisation and the spatialities of infectious disease: Demographic change, infrastructure and governance

      Emerging infectious disease has much to do with how and where we live. The recent COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak is an example of the close relationships between urban development and new or re-emerging infectious diseases. Like the SARS pandemic of 2003, the connections between accelerated urbanisation, more expansive and faster means of transportation, and increasing proximity between urban life and non-human nature — and subsequent trans-species infections — became immediately apparent.

      Our Urban Studies paper contributes to this emerging conversation. Infectious disease outbreaks are now global events. Increasingly, health and disease tend to be urban as they coincide with the proliferation of planetary urbanisation and urban ways of life. The increased emergence of infectious diseases is to be expected in an era of extended urbanisation.

      We posit that we need to understand the landscapes of emerging extended urbanisation better if we want to predict, avoid and react to emerging disease outbreaks more efficiently. First, we need to grasp where disease outbreaks occur and how they relate to the physical, spatial, economic, social and ecological changes brought on by urbanisation. Second, we need to learn more about how the newly emerging urban landscapes can themselves play a role in stemming potential outbreaks. Rapid urbanisation enables the spread of infectious disease, with peripheral sites being particularly susceptible to disease vectors like mosquitoes or ticks and diseases that jump the animal-to-human species boundary.

      Our research identifies three dimensions of the relationships between extended urbanisation and infectious disease that need better understanding: population change and mobility, infrastructure and governance. Population change and mobility are immediately connected. Population growth in cities - driven primarily by rural-urban migration - is a major factor influencing the spread of disease. This is seen most clearly in rapidly urbanising regions such as Africa and Asia, which have experienced recent outbreaks of Ebola and SARS, respectively.

      Infrastructure is also central: diseases can spread rapidly between cities through infrastructures of globalisation such as global air travel networks. Airports are often located at the edges of urban areas, raising complex governance and jurisdictional issues with regards to who has responsibility to control disease outbreaks in large urban regions. We can also assume that disease outbreaks reinforce existing inequalities in access to and benefits from mobility infrastructures. We therefore need to consider the disconnections that become apparent as rapid demographic and peri-urban growth is not accompanied by appropriate infrastructure development.

      Lastly, the COVID-19 outbreak has exposed both the shortcomings and potential opportunities of governance at different levels. While it is awe-inspiring to see entire megacities quarantined, it is unlikely that such drastic measures would be accepted in countries not governed by centralised authoritarian leadership. But even in China, multilevel governance proved to be breaking down as local, regional and central government (and party) units were not sufficiently co-ordinated at the beginning of the crisis. This mirrored the intergovernmental confusion in Canada during SARS.

      As we enter another wave of megaurbanisation, urban regions will need to develop efficient and innovative methods of confronting emerging infectious disease without relying on drastic top-down state measures that can be globally disruptive and often ineffective. This urges upon urban researchers to seek new and better explanations for the relationships of extended urbanisation and the spatialities of infectious disease - an effort that will require an interdisciplinary approach including geographers, health scientists, sociologists.

      https://www.urbanstudiesonline.com/resources/resource/extended-urbanisation-and-the-spatialities-of-infectious-disease
      #géographie_de_la_santé #maladies_infectieuses

    • Cities after coronavirus: how Covid-19 could radically alter urban life

      Pandemics have always shaped cities – and from increased surveillance to ‘de-densification’ to new community activism, Covid-19 is doing it already.

      Victoria Embankment, which runs for a mile and a quarter along the River Thames, is many people’s idea of quintessential London. Some of the earliest postcards sent in Britain depicted its broad promenades and resplendent gardens. The Metropolitan Board of Works, which oversaw its construction, hailed it as an “appropriate, and appropriately civilised, cityscape for a prosperous commercial society”.

      But the embankment, now hardwired into our urban consciousness, is entirely the product of pandemic. Without a series of devastating global cholera outbreaks in the 19th century – including one in London in the early 1850s that claimed more than 10,000 lives – the need for a new, modern sewerage system may never have been identified. Joseph Bazalgette’s remarkable feat of civil engineering, which was designed to carry waste water safely downriver and away from drinking supplies, would never have materialised.

      From the Athens plague in 430BC, which drove profound changes in the city’s laws and identity, to the Black Death in the Middle Ages, which transformed the balance of class power in European societies, to the recent spate of Ebola epidemics across sub-Saharan Africa that illuminated the growing interconnectedness of today’s hyper-globalised cities, public health crises rarely fail to leave their mark on a metropolis.
      Coronavirus: the week explained - sign up for our email newsletter
      Read more

      As the world continues to fight the rapid spread of coronavirus, confining many people to their homes and radically altering the way we move through, work in and think about our cities, some are wondering which of these adjustments will endure beyond the end of the pandemic, and what life might look like on the other side.

      One of the most pressing questions that urban planners will face is the apparent tension between densification – the push towards cities becoming more concentrated, which is seen as essential to improving environmental sustainability – and disaggregation, the separating out of populations, which is one of the key tools currently being used to hold back infection transmission.

      “At the moment we are reducing density everywhere we can, and for good reason,” observes Richard Sennett, a professor of urban studies at MIT and senior adviser to the UN on its climate change and cities programme. “But on the whole density is a good thing: denser cities are more energy efficient. So I think in the long term there is going to be a conflict between the competing demands of public health and the climate.”

      Sennett believes that in the future there will be a renewed focus on finding design solutions for individual buildings and wider neighbourhoods that enable people to socialise without being packed “sardine-like” into compressed restaurants, bars and clubs – although, given the incredibly high cost of land in big cities like New York and Hong Kong, success here may depend on significant economic reforms as well.

      In recent years, although cities in the global south are continuing to grow as a result of inward rural migration, northern cities are trending in the opposite direction, with more affluent residents taking advantage of remote working capabilities and moving to smaller towns and countryside settlements offering cheaper property and a higher quality of life.

      The “declining cost of distance”, as Karen Harris, the managing director of Bain consultancy’s Macro Trends Group, calls it, is likely to accelerate as a result of the coronavirus crisis. More companies are establishing systems that enable staff to work from home, and more workers are getting accustomed to it. “These are habits that are likely to persist,” Harris says.

      The implications for big cities are immense. If proximity to one’s job is no longer a significant factor in deciding where to live, for example, then the appeal of the suburbs wanes; we could be heading towards a world in which existing city centres and far-flung “new villages” rise in prominence, while traditional commuter belts fade away.

      Another potential impact of coronavirus may be an intensification of digital infrastructure in our cities. South Korea, one of the countries worst-affected by the disease, has also posted some of the lowest mortality rates, an achievement that can be traced in part to a series of technological innovations – including, controversially, the mapping and publication of infected patients’ movements.

      In China, authorities have enlisted the help of tech firms such as Alibaba and Tencent to track the spread of Covid-19 and are using “big data” analysis to anticipate where transmission clusters will emerge next. If one of the government takeaways from coronavirus is that “smart cities” including Songdo or Shenzhen are safer cities from a public health perspective, then we can expect greater efforts to digitally capture and record our behaviour in urban areas – and fiercer debates over the power such surveillance hands to corporations and states.

      Indeed, the spectre of creeping authoritarianism – as emergency disaster measures become normalised, or even permanent – should be at the forefront of our minds, says Sennett. “If you go back through history and look at the regulations brought in to control cities at times of crisis, from the French revolution to 9/11 in the US, many of them took years or even centuries to unravel,” he says.

      At a time of heightened ethnonationalism on the global stage, in which rightwing populists have assumed elected office in many countries from Brazil to the US, Hungary and India, one consequence of coronavirus could be an entrenchment of exclusionary political narratives, calling for new borders to be placed around urban communities – overseen by leaders who have the legal and technological capacity, and the political will, to build them.

      In the past, after a widespread medical emergency, Jewish communities and other socially stigmatised groups such as those affected by leprosy have borne the brunt of public anger. References to the “China virus” by Donald Trump suggest such grim scapegoating is likely to be a feature of this pandemic’s aftermath as well.

      On the ground, however, the story of coronavirus in many global cities has so far been very different. After decades of increasing atomisation, particularly among younger urban residents for whom the impossible cost of housing has made life both precarious and transient, the sudden proliferation of mutual aid groups – designed to provide community support for the most vulnerable during isolation – has brought neighbours together across age groups and demographic divides. Social distancing has, ironically, drawn some of us closer than ever before. Whether such groups survive beyond the end of coronavirus to have a meaningful impact on our urban future depends, in part, on what sort of political lessons we learn from the crisis.

      The vulnerability of many fellow city dwellers – not just because of a temporary medical emergency but as an ongoing lived reality – has been thrown into sharp relief, from elderly people lacking sufficient social care to the low-paid and self-employed who have no financial buffer to fall back on, but upon whose work we all rely.

      A stronger sense of society as a collective whole, rather than an agglomeration of fragmented individuals, could lead to a long-term increase in public demands for more interventionist measures to protect citizens – a development that governments may find harder to resist given their readiness in the midst of coronavirus to override the primacy of markets.

      Private hospitals are already facing pressure to open up their beds without extra charge for those in need; in Los Angeles, homeless citizens have seized vacant homes, drawing support from some lawmakers. Will these kinds of sentiments dwindle with the passing of coronavirus, or will political support for urban policies that put community interests ahead of corporate ones – like a greater imposition of rent controls – endure?

      We don’t yet know the answer, but in the new and unpredictable connections swiftly being forged within our cities as a result of the pandemic, there is perhaps some cause for optimism. “You can’t ‘unknow’ people,” observes Harris, “and usually that’s a good thing.” Sennett thinks we are potentially seeing a fundamental shift in urban social relations. “City residents are becoming aware of desires that they didn’t realise they had before,” he says, “which is for more human contact, for links to people who are unlike themselves.” Whether that change in the nature of city living proves to be as lasting as Bazalgette’s sewer-pipe embankment remains, for now, to be seen.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/26/life-after-coronavirus-pandemic-change-world
      #le_monde_d'après

    • Listening to the city in a global pandemic

      What’s the role of ‘academic experts’ in the debate about COVID-19 and cites, and how can we separate our expert role from our personal experience of being locked down in our cities and homes?

      This is a question we’ve certainly been struggling with at City Road, and we think it’s a question that a lot of academics are struggling with at the moment. Perhaps it’s a good time to listen to the experiences of academics as their cities change around them, rather than ask them to speak at us about their urban expertise. With this in mind, we asked academics from all over the world to open up the voice recorder on their phones and record a two minute report from the field about their city.

      Over 25 academics from all over the world responded. As you will hear, some of their recordings are not great quality, but their stories certainly are. Many of those who responded to our call are struggling , just like us, to make sense of their experience in the COVID-19 city.

      https://cityroadpod.org/2020/03/29/listening-to-the-city-in-a-global-pandemic

    • Ce que les épidémies nous disent sur la #mondialisation

      Bien que la première épidémie connue par une trace écrite n’ait eu lieu qu’en 430 avant J.-C. à Athènes, on dit souvent que les microbes, et les épidémies auxquels ils donnent lieu, sont aussi vieux que le monde. Mais le Monde est-il aussi vieux qu’on veutbien le dire ? Voici une des questions auxquelles l’étude des épidémies avec les sciences sociales permet d’apporter des éléments de réponse. Les épidémies ne sont pas réservées aux épidémiologistes et autres immunologistes. De grands géographes comme Peter Haggett ou Andrew Cliff ont déjà investi ce domaine, dans une optique focalisée sur les processus de diffusion spatiale. Il est possible d’aller au-delà de cette approche mécanique et d’appréhender les épidémies dans leurs interactions sociales. On verra ici qu’elles nous apprennent aussi beaucoup sur le Monde, sur l’organisation de l’espace mondial et sur la dimension sociétale du processus de mondialisation.

      http://cafe-geo.net/wp-content/uploads/epidemies-mondialisation.pdf
      #épidémie #globalisation

    • Città ai tempi del Covid

      Lo spazio pubblico urbano è uno spazio di relazioni, segnato dai corpi, dagli incontri, dalla casualità, da un ordine spontaneo che non può, se lo spazio è pubblico veramente, accettare altro che regole di buon senso e non di imposizione. È un palcoscenico per le vite di tutti noi, che le vogliamo in mostra o in disparte, protagonisti o comparse della commedia urbana e, come nella commedia, con un fondo di finzione ed un ombra di verità.
      Ma cosa accade se gli attori abbandonano la scena, se i corpi sono negati allo spazio? Come percepiamo quel che rimane a noi frequentabile di strade e piazze che normalmente percorriamo?

      Ho invitato gli studenti che negli anni hanno frequentato il seminario “Fotografia come strumento di indagine urbana”, ma non solo loro, ad inviarmi qualche immagine che documenta (e riflette su) spazio pubblico, città e loro stessi in questi giorni. Come qualcuno mi ha scritto sono immagini spesso letteralmente ‘rubate’, quasi sentendosi in colpa. Eppure documentare e riflettere è un’attività tanto più essenziale quanto la criticità si prolunga e tocca la vita di tutti noi.

      Appunti di viaggio – Iacopo Zetti Ho avuto modo, per una serie di evenienze, di attraversare Firenze di mattina e di sera. Aspettavo il silenzio ed infatti l’ho ascoltato. Il silenzio non è quello dei luoghi extraurbani. ...
      Inferriata – Eni Nurihana L’inferriata de balcone ricorda sempre di più le sbarre carcerarie 23 marzo 2020, 15:11
      Situazioni di necessità – Chiara Zavattaro Le strade della zona di Sant’Ambrogio a Firenze
      Ora d’aria – Antonella Zola Ho avuto la possibilità di scattare queste foto dopo 10 giorni di quarantena completa, in cui ho rinunciato a qualunque contatto con il mondo esterno. Alla fine sono dovuta uscire ...
      Firenze – Agnese Turchi Firenze - Agnese Turchi
      Nostalgia di Silenzi – Gabriele Pierini
      Il recinto – Laura Panichi In un libro che ho letto in questo periodo di “reclusione”, Haruki Murakami dice che quando si prova ad uscire da una gabbia alla fine si finisce sempre per trovarci ...
      Spazio solidale – Jacopo Lorenzini
      Castagneto Carducci – Cristian Farina Chissà se dall’alto qualcuno si è accorto che ci siamo fermati solo per un attimo Da lontano si scorgano i monumenti fermi nel tempo, quasi come noi, fermi nello spazio
      Firenze, mercoledì 18/03/20 ore 15.30 circa – Leonardo Ceccarelli Firenze, mercoledì 18/03/20 ore 15.30 circa - Leonardo Ceccarelli
      Firenze, marzo 2020 – Giulia D’Ercole Firenze, marzo 2020 - Giulia D’Ercole
      Feriale d’altri tempi – Dario Albamonte La mia fortuna è quella di vivere in campagna e di potermi muovere liberamente e avere molto spazio a disposizione senza varcare i confini di casa mia. Quello che mi ...
      L’architettura è fatta di mattoni e PERSONE – Laura Pagnotelli L’architettura è fatta di mattoni e PERSONE. Esse sono il fine ultimo del costruire, del dare vita a spazi sempre nuovi. Senza la loro presenza, dell’architettura non resta che una scatola vuota, priva ...
      Il traffico di Firenze – Veronica Capecchi Il Traffico di Firenze, oggi è scomparso, e lascia intravedere la città, profondamente diversa e silenziosa. Una città che è sempre viva, oggi priva della sua vitalità, dei suoi rumori, una ...
      Dalla finestra – Lucio Fiorentino Ho sentito dei rumori nella strada sotto la mia finestra e ho immaginato l’atmosfera scura di un film di Bergman, (goffamente) ho cercato di riprodurla Nel palazzo di fronte alla mia ...
      Livorno, 28 marzo – Giulia Bandini Luoghi affollati di ricordi vie trafficate di emozioni ormai vinte dal tempo ma vive nella mente di chi sa sperare forte
      Sesto Fiorentino: la piana senza smog – Alice Giordano Sesto Fiorentino: la piana senza smog - Alice Giordano
      Lari e Pontedera – Silvia Princi Ritorno alle origini – Perignano di Lari (Pi), 23 marzo 2020 La semina del trattore, rappresenta uno dei pochi segni di vitalità umana e meccanica,in questo periodo di quarantena e di ...
      A distanza sociale nel parco: Zurigo – Philipp Klaus A distanza sociale nel parco: Zurigo - Philipp Klaus
      Galleggiare in un mondo irreale – Alessio Prandin

      http://controgeografie.net/controgeografie/citta-ai-tempi-del-covid

    • Coronavirus Was Slow to Spread to Rural America. Not Anymore.

      Grace Rhodes was getting worried last month as she watched the coronavirus tear through New York and Chicago. But her 8,000-person hometown in Southern Illinois still had no reported cases, and her boss at her pharmacy job assured her: “It’ll never get here.”

      Now it has. A new wave of coronavirus cases is spreading deep into rural corners of the country where people once hoped their communities might be shielded because of their isolation from hard-hit urban centers and the natural social distancing of life in the countryside.

      The coronavirus has officially reached more than two-thirds of the country’s rural counties, with one in 10 reporting at least one death. Doctors and elected officials are warning that a late-arriving wave of illness could overwhelm rural communities that are older, poorer and sicker than much of the country, and already dangerously short on medical help.

      “Everybody never really thought it would get to us,” said Ms. Rhodes, 18, who is studying to become a nurse. “A lot of people are in denial.”

      With 42 states now urging people to stay at home, the last holdouts are the Republican governors of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Arkansas. Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota has suggested that the stricter measures violated personal liberties, and she said her state’s rural character made it better positioned to handle the outbreak.

      “South Dakota is not New York City,” Ms. Noem said at a news conference last week.

      But many rural doctors, leaders and health experts worry that is exactly where their communities are heading, and that they will have fewer hospital beds, ventilators and nurses to handle the onslaught.

      “We’re behind the curve in rural America,” said Senator Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana, who said his state needs hundreds of thousands of masks, visors and gowns. “If they don’t have the protective equipment and somebody goes down and gets sick, that could close the hospital.”

      Rural nurses and doctors, scarce in normal times, are already calling out sick and being quarantined. Clinics are scrambling to find couriers who can speed their coronavirus tests to labs hundreds of miles away. The loss of 120 rural hospitals over the past decade has left many towns defenseless, and more hospitals are closing even as the pandemic spreads.

      Coronavirus illnesses and deaths are still overwhelmingly concentrated in cities and suburbs, and new rural cases have not exploded at the same rate as in some cities. But they are growing fast. This week, the case rate in rural areas was more than double what it was six days earlier.

      Deaths are being reported in small farming and manufacturing towns that barely had a confirmed case a week ago. Fourteen infections have been reported in the county encompassing Ms. Rhodes’s southern Illinois hometown of Murphysboro, and she recently quarantined with her parents, who are nurses, as a precaution after they got sick.

      Rich ski towns like Sun Valley, Idaho, and Vail, Colo., have some of the highest infection rates in the country, and are discouraging visitors and second homeowners from seeking refuge in the mountains. Indian reservations, which grapple daily with high poverty and inadequate medical services, are now confronting soaring numbers of cases.

      In some places, the virus has rushed in so suddenly that even leaders are falling ill. In the tiny county of Early in southwest Georgia, five people have died. And the mayor and the police chief of the county seat, Blakely, are among the county’s 92 confirmed cases. It has been a shock for the rural county of fewer than 11,000 people.

      “Being from a small town, you think it’s not going to touch us,” Blakely’s assistant police chief, Tonya Tinsley, said. “We are so small and tucked away. You have a perception that it’s in bigger cities.”

      That is all gone now.

      “You say, wait a minute, I know them!” she said. “It’s, like, oh my God, I knew them. I used to talk to them. I knew their family. Their kids. It’s a blow to the community each time.”

      Even a single local case has been enough to jolt some people out of the complacency of the earliest days of the virus, when President Trump spent weeks playing down the threat and many conservative leaders brushed it aside as politically driven hysteria.

      In Letcher County, Ky., which got its first case on Sunday, waiting for the disease to arrive has been unnerving. Brian Bowan, 48, likes the daily briefings by Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, and he is glad for the governor’s relatively early actions to close nonessential businesses. Without them, Mr. Bowan said, “we could have a really bad pandemic. We could be like California or New York.”

      In Mississippi, a mostly rural state, the virus had spread to nearly every county by April, with more than 1,000 cases and nearly two dozen deaths reported, causing health care workers to wonder, nervously, when the governor would issue a stay-at-home order. Last week, he finally did, and doctors at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson breathed a sigh of relief.

      “There was this chatter today at the medical center, people saying ‘Oh thank goodness — we need this to get people to realize how serious this is,’ ” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, the hospital’s top executive.

      While Americans are still divided on whether they approve of how Mr. Trump has handled the crisis, the virus is uniting nearly everyone in the country with worry — urban and rural, liberal and conservative. More than 90 percent of Americans said the virus posed a threat to the country’s economy and public health, according to a Pew Research Center poll conducted from March 19 to March 24.

      “Some of the petty things that would be in the news and on social media before have sort of fallen away,” said David Graybeal, a Methodist pastor in Athens, Tenn. “There’s a sense that we are really in this together. Now it’s, ‘How can we pull through this and support one another in this social distancing?’ ”

      In Mangum, Okla., a town of 6,000 in the western part of the state, it all started with a visit. A pastor from Tulsa appeared at a local church, but got sick shortly thereafter and became the state’s first Covid-19 fatality.

      Then somebody at the local church started to feel unwell — a person who eventually tested positive for coronavirus.

      “Then it was just a matter of time,” said Mangum’s mayor, Mary Jane Scott. Before realizing they were infected, several people who eventually tested positive for the virus had moved about widely through the city, including to the local nursing home, which now has a cluster of cases.

      Over all in the town, there are now three deaths and 26 residents who have tested positive for the coronavirus — one of the highest infection rates in rural America.

      “You’d think in rural Oklahoma, that we all live so far apart, but there’s one place where people congregate, and that’s at the nursing home,” she said. “I thought I was safe here in Southwest Oklahoma, I didn’t think there would be a big issue with it, and all of a sudden, bam.”

      Mangum now has an emergency shelter-in-place order and a curfew — just like larger towns and cities around the United States.

      Just as New Yorkers have gotten accustomed to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daily televised briefings, residents of Mangum have turned to the mayor’s Facebook page, where she livecasts status updates and advisories. On Monday night, it was the recommendation that residents use curbside pickup when going to Walmart, a broadcast that garnered more than 1,000 views in the hour after she posted it.

      “Since we have no newspaper, it’s the only way I know to get the word out,” she told viewers, after inviting them to contact her personally with any questions or concerns.

      She also has encouraged residents to step out onto their lawns each night at 7 p.m. where she leads them in a chorus of “God Bless America.”

      The virus has complicated huge swaths of rural life. Darvin Bentlage, a Missouri rancher, says he is having trouble selling his cattle because auctions have been canceled. In areas without reliable internet access, adults are struggling to work remotely and children are having to get assignments and school updates delivered to their door.

      Rural health providers are also challenged. A clinic in Stockton, Kan., turned to a local veterinarian for a supply of masks and gowns. One rural hospital in Lexington, Neb., was recently down to its last 500 swabs. Another in Batesville, Ind., was having its staff members store their used masks in plastic baggies in case they had to sterilize and reuse them. In Georgia, a peanut manufacturer in Blakely donated a washer and dryer to the local hospital for its handmade masks and gowns.

      The financial strain of gearing up to fight the coronavirus has put much pressure on cash-strapped rural hospitals. Many have canceled all non-emergency care like the colonoscopies, minor surgeries and physical therapy sessions that are a critical source of income.

      Last month, one hospital in West Virginia and another in Kansas shut their doors altogether.

      “It’s just absolutely crazy,” said Michael Caputo, a state delegate in Fairmont, W.Va., where the Fairmont Regional Medical Center, the only hospital in the county, closed in mid-March. “Across the country, they’re turning hotels and sports complexes into temporary hospitals. And here we’ve got a hospital where the doors are shut.”

      For now, there is an ambulance posted outside the emergency room, in case sick people show up looking for help.

      Michael Angelucci, a state delegate and the administrator of the Marion County Rescue Squad, said the hospital’s closure during the pandemic is already being felt.

      On March 23, emergency medics were called to take an 88-year-old woman with the coronavirus to the hospital, Mr. Angelucci said. Instead of making a quick drive to Fairmont Regional, about two minutes away, Mr. Angelucci said that the medics had to drive to the next-nearest hospital, about 25 minutes away. A few days later, she became West Virginia’s first reported coronavirus death.

      https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/08/us/coronavirus-rural-america-cases.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgty
      #cartographie #visualisation

    • Coronavirus in the city: A Q&A on the catastrophe confronting the urban poor

      ‘While all populations are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, not all populations are affected equally.’

      Health systems in the world’s megacities and crowded urban settlements are about to be put under enormous strain as the new coronavirus takes hold, with the estimated 1.2 billion people who live in informal slums and shanty-towns at particular risk.

      To understand more about the crisis confronting the urban poor, The New Humanitarian interviewed Robert Muggah, principal of The SecDev Group and co-founder of the Igarapé Institute, a think tank focused on urban innovation that has worked with the World Health Organisation to map pandemic threats and is supporting governments, businesses, and civil society groups to improve COVID-19 detection, response, and recovery.

      What has so far been a public healthcare crisis in mostly wealthier cities in East Asia, Europe, and the United States appears likely to become an even graver disaster for countries with far less resources in Latin America, Africa, and South Asia.

      Cities from Lagos to Mumbai to Rio de Janeiro have started locking down, but for residents of crowded slums the unenviable choice is often between a greater risk of catching and spreading disease or the certainty of hunger. Social distancing, self-isolation – handwashing even – are impossible luxuries.

      This interview, conducted by email on 29-30 March, has been edited for length and clarity.
      TNH: A lot has been made about the risks of coronavirus in crowded refugee and displacement camps – from Greece to Idlib. Do you feel the urban poor have been a little neglected?

      Robert Muggah: While all populations are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, not all populations are affected equally. Lower-income households and elderly individuals with underlying health conditions are particularly at-risk. Among the most vulnerable categories are the homeless, migrants, refugees, and displaced people. In some US cities, for example, undocumented migrants are fearful of being tested or going to the hospital for fear of forcible detainment, separation from their families, and deportation. In densely populated informal settlements and displaced person camps, there is a higher likelihood of infection because of the difficulties of social distancing. The limited testing, detection, isolation, and hospitalisation capacities in these settings mean we can expect a much higher rate of direct and excess mortality. The implications are deeply worrying.

      The COVID-19 pandemic is a totalising event – affecting virtually every country, city and neighbourhood on the planet. It is also laying open the social and economic fault lines in our urban spaces. Predictably, many governments, businesses, and societies are looking inward, seeking to shore up their own health capacities and provide for their populations through aid and assistance. Yet the virus is revealing the extent of economic and social inequalities within many countries, including among OECD members. In the process, it is exposing the deficiencies of the social contract and the ways in which certain people – especially the elderly, poor, homeless, displaced – are systematically at-risk. While media attention is growing, there is comparatively limited investment in protecting refugees and displaced people facing infectious disease outbreaks. As public awareness of the sheer scale of infection, hospitalisation, and case fatalities becomes clearer in lower- and middle-income settings, we can expect this to change; at which point it may be too late.
      TNH: Can you give us a sense of the scale of the problem in the world’s megacities and slums, where social distancing and self-isolation are a fantasy for many?

      Muggah: According to the UN, there are about 33 megacities with 10 million or more people. There are another 48 cities with between five and 10 million. Compare this to the 1950s when there were just three megacities. Most of these massive cities are located in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Many of them are characterised by a concentrated metropolitan core and a sprawling periphery of informal settlements, including shanty-towns, slums, and favelas. Roughly 1.2 billion people live in densely packed informal settlements characterised by poor quality housing, limited basic services, and poor sanitation. While suffering from stigmas, these settlements tend to be a critical supply of labour for cities, an unsatisfactory answer to the crisis in housing availability and affordability. A challenge now facing large cities is that, owing to years of neglect, informal settlements are essentially “off the grid”, and as such, difficult to monitor and service.

      There are many reasons why large densely populated slums are hotbeds for the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious disease outbreaks. In many cases, there are multiple households crammed into tiny tenements making social distancing virtually impossible. In Dharavi, Mumbai’s largest slum, there are 850,000 people per square mile. Most inhabitants of informal settlements lack access to medical and health services, making it difficult to track cases and isolate people who are infected. A majority of the people living in these areas depend on the services and informal economies, including jobs, that are most vulnerable to termination when cities are shut down and the economy begins to slow. Strictly enforced isolation won’t just lead to diminished quality of life, it will result in starvation. A large proportion of residents also frequently suffer from chronic illnesses – including respiratory infections, cancer, diabetes, and obesity – increasing susceptibility to COVID-19. These comorbidities will contribute to soaring excess deaths.

      All of these challenges are compounded by the systemic neglect and stigmatisation of these communities by the political and economic elite. Violence has already erupted in Ethiopia, Kenya, India, Liberia, and South Africa as police enforce quarantines. In Brazil, drug trafficking organisations and militia groups are enforcing social distancing and self isolation in lieu of the state authorities. In Australia, Europe, and the United States, racist and xenophobic incidents spiked against people of Asian descent. There is a real risk that governments ramp up hardline tactics and repression against marginalised populations, especially those living in lower-income communities, shanty-towns, and refugee and displaced person camps.
      TNH: How seriously were international aid agencies and other humanitarian actors taking calls to scale up urban preparedness and response before this pandemic, and to what extent is COVID-19 a wake-up call?

      Muggah: The global humanitarian aid sector was aware of the threat of a global pandemic. For more than a decade the WHO, several university and research centres, and organisations such as the CDC, the Wellcome Trust, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have publicly warned about the catastrophic risks of pandemic outbreaks. The international community experienced a series of jolting wake-up calls with SARS, H1N1, Ebola, and other major epidemics over the past 20 years, though these were typically confined to specific regions and were generally rapidly contained. Although fears of potential outbreaks emerging from China were widely acknowledged, the sheer speed and scale of COVID-19 seems to have caught most governments, and the aid community, by surprise.

      With notable exceptions such as Singapore or Taiwan, there has not been major investment in preparing cities for dealing with pandemics, however. Most attention has been focused on national capacities, and less on the specific capabilities of urban governments, health and social safety-net services. Together with Georgetown University’s Center for Health Sciences and Security, the Igarape Institute highlighted the importance of networks of mayors to share information and strategies in 2018. This call was highlighted by the Global Parliament of Mayors in 2018 and 2019. Starting in March 2020, the Bloomberg Foundation established a mayors network focusing on pandemic preparedness in the US. The Mayors Migration Council, World Economic Forum, and UN-Habitat are also looking to ramp up assistance to cities. What is also needed are systems to support mayors, city managers, and health providers in lower- and middle-income countries.
      TNH: Part of the problem is that cities are unfamiliar territory for humanitarian responders, with many new actors to deal with, from local governments to gangs. What relationships and skill sets do they need to cultivate?

      Muggah: Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, many humanitarian agencies were already refocusing some of their operations toward urban settings. International organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, and Oxfam set up policies and procedures for engaging in cities. There is a growing recognition across the relief and development sectors of the influence and impacts of urbanisation on their operations and beneficiary populations. This is more radical than it sounds. For at least half a century, most aid work was predominantly rural-focused. This was not surprising since most people in developing countries lived in rural or semi-rural areas. This has changed dramatically, however, with more than half of the world’s population now living in cities. Over the next 30 years, roughly 90 percent of all urbanisation will be occurring in lower- and middle-income countries – predominantly in Africa and Asia. The aid community only started to recognise these trends relatively recently.

      Working in urban settings requires changes in how many international and national aid agencies operate. For one, it often depends less on direct than indirect delivery, working in partnership with municipal service providers. It also requires less visible branding and marketing strategies, shoring up the legitimacy of public and non-governmental providers with less focus on the contribution of relief agencies. In some cases, aid agencies are also required to work with, or alongside, non-state providers, including armed groups. For example, in some Brazilian, Colombian, and Mexican cities organised crime and self-defence groups are engaged in social service provision, raising complex questions for aid providers about whether and how to support vulnerable communities. Similar challenges confronted aid agencies working to provide relief in Ebola-stricken villages in eastern DRC.

      A diverse range of skill sets is required to navigate support to cities affected by epidemics, including COVID-19. Some cities may need accounting assistance and expertise in budgeting to help them rapidly procure essential services. Other cities may require epidemiological and engineering capabilities to help develop rapid detection and surveillance, as well as “surge” capacity including emergency hospitals, clinics, and treatment centres. A robust communications and public outreach strategy is essential, particularly since uncertainty can contribute to social unease and even disorder. Moreover, rapid resource injections to help cities provide safety nets to the most vulnerable populations are critical, particularly as existing resources will be redirected to shoring up critical infrastructure and recurrent expenses will be difficult to cover owing to reduced tax revenue.

      TNH: Name three things aid agencies need to do quickly to get to grips with this?

      Muggah: There are a vast array of priorities for aid agencies in the context of pandemics. At a minimum, they must rapidly coordinate with public, private, and non-governmental partners to ensure they are effectively contributing rather than creating redundancy or unintentionally undermining local responses. Humanitarian organisations must also act rapidly, especially in the face of an exponential crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Agencies cannot let perfection be the enemy of the good, and focus on delivering with speed and efficiency, albeit while being mindful of the coordination challenges above. Aid agencies must also be attentive to the health, safety, and wellbeing of their own personnel and partners – they must avoid at all costs becoming a burden to hospital systems that are already overwhelmed by the crisis.

      The first thing aid agencies can do is reach out to frontline cities and assess basic needs and their organizational potential to contribute. A range of priorities are likely, including the importance of ensuring there are adequate tests kits and testing capacities, sufficient trained health professionals, medical supplies (including ICU and ventilation capacities), and related equipment for frontline workers. Providing supplementary capacity as needed is essential. Consider that in South Sudan there are believed to be just two ventilators, and in Liberia there are reportedly only three. Other critical priorities are ensuring the integrity of the local food supply and attention to critical infrastructure. This may involve deploying a surveillance system for monitoring critical supplies, providing supplementary cash and food assistance without disrupting local prices, and ensuring a capability to rapidly address distribution disruption as they arise. Aid agencies can also help leverage resources to settings that are neglected, helping mobilise funds and/or in-kind support for over-taxed public services.
      TNH: Cities like Singapore and Taipei, Hangzhou in China – to an extent Seoul – have had some success in containing COVID-19. What can other cities learn from their approaches?

      Muggah: Cities that are open, transparent, collaborative, and adopt comprehensive responses tend to be better equipped to manage infectious disease outbreaks than those that are not. While still too early to declare a success, the early response of South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan to the COVID-19 pandemic stands out. Both Taipei and Singapore applied the lessons from past pandemics and had the investigative capacities, testing and detection services, health systems and, importantly, the right kind of leadership in place to rapidly take decisive action. They were able to flatten the pandemic curve through early detection thus keeping their health systems from becoming rapidly overwhelmed.

      Not surprisingly, cities that have robust governance and health infrastructure in place are in a better position to manage pandemics and lower case fatality rates (CFR) and excess mortality than those that do not. Adopting a combination of proactive surveillance, routine communication, rapid isolation, and personal and community protection (e.g. social distancing) measures is critical. Many of these very same measures were adopted by the Chinese city of Hangzhou within days of the discovery of the virus. Likewise, the number, quality, and accessibility (and surge capacity) of hospitals, internal care units, hospital beds, IV solution and respirators can determine whether a city effectively manages a pandemic, or not. The SecDev Group is exploring the development of an urban pandemic preparedness index to help assess health capacities as well as social and economic determinants of health. A digital tool that provides rapid insights on vulnerabilities will be key not just to planning for the current pandemic, but also the next one.
      TNH: You’ve spoken in the past about the need to develop a pandemic preparedness index. INFORM has one and Georgetown Uni has a health security assessment tool. Are these useful? What is missing?

      Muggah: The extent of a city’s preparedness depends on its capacity to prevent, detect, respond, and care for patients. This means having action plans, staff, and budgets in place for rapid response. It also requires having access to laboratories to test for infectious disease and real-time monitoring and reporting of infectious clusters as they occur. The ability to communicate and implement emergency response plans is also essential, as is the availability, quality and accessibility of hospitals, clinics, care facilities, and essential equipment.

      To this end, the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University has created an evaluation tool – the Rapid Urban Health Security Assessment (RUHSA) – as a resource for assessing local-level public health preparedness and response capacities. The RUHSA draws from multiple guidance and evaluation tools. It was designed precisely to help city decision-makers prioritise, strengthen, and deploy strategies that promote urban health security. These kinds of platforms need to be scaled, and quickly.

      There is widespread recognition that a preparedness index would be useful. In November of 2019, the Global Parliament of Mayors issued a call for such a platform. It called for funding from national governments to develop crucial public health capacities and to develop networks to disseminate trusted information. The mayors also committed to achieving at least 80 percent vaccination coverage, reducing the spread of misinformation, improving health literacy, and sharing information on how to prevent and reduce the spread of infectious disease. A recent article published with Rebecca Katz provides some insights into what this might look like.
      TNH: All cities are not equal in this. Without a global rundown, do you have particular concerns for certain places – because they are transmission hubs that might be hit worse, or due to existing insecurity and instability?

      Cities are vulnerable both to the direct and indirect effects of COVID-19. For example, cities with a higher proportion of elderly and inter-generational mingling are especially at risk of higher infection, hospitalisation, and case fatality rates. This explains why the pandemic has been so destructive in certain Italian, Spanish, and certain US cities in Florida and New York where there is a higher proportion of elderly and frequent travel and interaction between older and younger populations. By contrast, early detection, prevention, and containment measures such as those undertaken in Japanese, South Korean, and Taiwanese cities helped flatten the curve. Yet even when health services have been overwhelmed in wealthier cities, they tend to have more capable governments and more extensive safety nets and supply chains to lessen the secondary effects on the economy and market.

      Many cities in Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Latin America are facing much greater direct and indirect threats from the COVID-19 pandemic than their counterparts in North America, Western Europe, or East Asia. Among the most at-risk are large and secondary cities in fragile and conflict-affected countries such as Afghanistan, Colombia, DRC, Iraq, Myanmar, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, and Venezuela. There, health surveillance and treatment capacities are already overburdened and under-resourced. While the populations tend to be younger, many are facing households that are already under- or malnourished and the danger of comorbidity is significant. Consider the case of Uganda, which has one ICU bed for every one million people (compared to the United States, which has one ICU bed for every 2,800 people). Specific categories of people – especially those living in protracted refugee or internal displacement camps – are among the most vulnerable. There are also major risks in large densely populated cities and slums such as Lagos, Dhaka, Jakarta, Karachi, Kolkata, Manila, Nairobi, or Rio de Janeiro where the secondary effects, including price shocks and repressive police responses, as well as explosive protests from jails, could lead to social and political unrest.
      TNH: The coronavirus itself is the immediate risk, but what greater risks do you see coming down the track for poorer people in urban settings?

      Muggah: The most significant threat of the COVID-19 pandemic may not be from the mortality and morbidity from infections, but the political and economic fallout from the crisis. While not as infectious or lethal as other diseases, the virus is obviously devastating for population health. It is not just people dying from respiratory illnesses and organ failures linked to the virus, but also the excess deaths from people who are unable to access treatment and care for existing diseases. We can expect several times more excess deaths than the actual caseload of people killed by the coronavirus itself. The lost economic productivity from these premature deaths and the associated toll on health systems and care-givers will be immense.

      “The most significant threat of the COVID-19 pandemic may not be from the mortality and morbidity from infections, but the political and economic fallout from the crisis.”

      COVID-19 is affecting urban populations in different ways and at different speeds. The most hard-hit groups are the urban poor, undocumented migrants, and displaced people who lack basic protections such as regular income or healthcare. Many of these people are already living in public or informal housing in under-serviced neighbourhoods experiencing concentrated disadvantage. The middle class will also experience severe impacts as the service economy grinds to a halt, schools and other services are shuttered, and mobility is constrained. Wealthier residents can more easily self-isolate either in cities or outside of them, and usually have greater access to private health alternatives. But all populations will face vulnerabilities if critical infrastructure – including health, electricity, water, and sanitation services – start to fail. Cut-backs in service provision will generate first discomfort and then outright protest.

      Most dangerous of all is the impact of COVID-19 on political and economic stability. The pandemic is generating both supply and demand shocks that are devastating for producers, retailers, and consumers. Wealthier governments will step in to enact quantitative easing and basic income where they can, but many will lack the resources to do so. As income declines and supply chains dry up, panic, unrest, and instability are real possibilities. The extent of these risks depend on how long the pandemic endures and when vaccinations or effective antivirals are developed and distributed. Governments are reluctant to tell their populations about the likely duration, not just because of uncertainties, but because the truth could provoke civil disturbance. These risks are compounded by the fact that many societies already exhibit a low level of trust and confidence in their governments.

      https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/interview/2020/04/01/coronavirus-cities-urban-poor

    • Les enjeux économiques de la #résilience_urbaine

      La notion de #résilience pour qualifier la capacité d’une ville à affronter un #choc, y compris économique, n’est pas nouvelle, mais elle revêt, en pleine crise du coronavirus, une dimension toute particulière.

      Les villes, en tant que #systèmes_urbains, ont toujours été au cœur des bouleversements que les sociétés ont connus. Pour autant, les fondements du paradigme économique qui gouverne les villes sont restés les mêmes. L’essor des capacités productives exportatrices et l’accroissement des valeurs ajoutées guident encore l’action locale en matière d’#économie.
      Corollaire d’un monde globalisé qui atteint ses limites, la crise sanitaire ébranle ces fondamentaux et en demande une révision profonde. Ainsi, au cœur de la crise, les ambitions de #relocalisation_industrielle, de #souveraineté_économique, d’#autonomie_alimentaire semblent avoir remplacé (au moins temporairement) celles liées à la #croissance et à la #compétitivité.

      https://www.pug.fr/produit/1798/9782706148668/les-enjeux-economiques-de-la-resilience-urbaine
      #livre #Magali_Talandier

    • #Eurasian_Geography_and_Economics is publishing a series of critical commentaries on the covid-19 pandemic, with some urban dimensions.

      These will be collated in issue 61(4) of the journal but will appear online first.

      The first two are currently OA on the journal webpage at: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rege20/current?nav=tocList

      Xiaoling Chen (2020) Spaces of care and resistance in China: public engagement during the COVID-19 outbreak, Eurasian Geography and Economics, DOI: 10.1080/15387216.2020.1762690

      As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, the approach of the Chinese government remains under the spotlight, obscuring the complex landscape of responses to the outbreak within the country. Drawing upon the author’s social media experiences as well as textual analysis of a wide range of sources, this paper explores how the Chinese public responded to the outbreak in complex and nuanced ways through social media. The findings challenge conventional views of Chinese social media as simply sites of self-censorship and surveillance. On the contrary, during the COVID-19 outbreak, social media became spaces of active public engagement, in which Chinese citizens expressed care and solidarity, engaged in claim-making and resistance, and negotiated with authorities. This paper situates this public engagement within a broader context of China’s health-care reforms, calling attention to persistent structural and political issues, as well as the precarious positionalities of health-care workers within the health system.

      Xuefei Ren (2020) Pandemic and lockdown: a territorial approach to COVID-19 in China, Italy and the United States, Eurasian Geography and Economics, DOI: 10.1080/15387216.2020.1762103

      Three months into the Covid-19 crisis, lockdown has become a global response to the pandemic. Why have so many countries resorted to lockdown? How is it being implemented in different places? Why have some places had more success with lockdowns and others not? What does the effectiveness of lockdowns tell us about the local institutions entrusted with enforcing them? This paper compares how lockdown orders have been implemented in China, Italy, and the U.S. The analysis points to two major factors that have shaped the enforcement: tensions between national and local governments, and the strength of local territorial institutions.

    • Pourquoi Bergame ? Le virus au bout du territoire

      La région de #Bergame en Italie a été l’un des foyers les plus actifs du coronavirus en Europe. Marco Cremaschi remet en cause les lectures opposant de manière dualiste villes et campagnes et souligne la nécessité de repenser la gouvernance de ces territoires d’entre-deux.

      L’urbanisme a de longue date et durablement été influencé par les épidémies. Depuis le Moyen Âge, la peste et le choléra ont contribué à sédimenter un ensemble de critiques dirigées contre la densité et la promiscuité caractéristiques du mode de vie urbain. Particulièrement prégnante aux débuts de la recherche urbaine au XIXe siècle, sous l’influence du mouvement hygiéniste (Barles 1999), cette hypothèse anti-urbaine a régulièrement refait surface au gré des crises sanitaires. C’est ainsi presque naturellement qu’elle a été réactivée en lien avec la diffusion mondiale du Covid-19, y compris au cœur des sciences sociales.

      Selon certains géographes, la cause de la pandémie serait ainsi à chercher dans la « métropolisation du monde » (Faburel 2020), concept catch-all qui désigne à la fois la densification, le surpeuplement, la promiscuité des modes de vie uniformisés et la surmodernité ; en somme, tout ce qui nous aurait éloignés de la « nature ». Pourtant, si l’on exclut les situations de surpeuplement extrême de quelques mégapoles des pays en développement, rien n’indique que la densité de population soit un bon indicateur des relations humaines et en dernière analyse de la propagation des maladies. En effet, comme l’a déjà amplement montré la critique faite à la thèse « écologique » (Offner 2020), les caractéristiques de l’environnement physique ne reflètent que marginalement la culture et les modes de vie. Ce n’est qu’au niveau de la coprésence physique, telle qu’on la trouve dans les transports en commun, que la densité de la population conduit directement à une intensification des contacts humains.

      Cet article ne prétend pas avancer d’hypothèses épidémiologiques relatives aux modes socio-spatiaux de transmission du Covid-19 : en la matière, la prudence est de mise en raison de la modestie des éléments empiriques disponibles. Son objet est plutôt de proposer une description du territoire bergamasque à l’aune des grilles de lecture contemporaines de l’urbain et des grands modèles interprétatifs mobilisés actuellement dans le débat public – et d’en souligner ainsi les limites. Ni métropole, ni campagne, la région de Bergame en Italie a en effet été l’un des foyers les plus actifs du virus en Europe, et les conséquences de l’épidémie y ont été dramatiques.

      Cette description montre les limites des modèles interprétatifs binaires et suggère d’analyser, au-delà des causes de la pandémie, l’influence indirecte de la « formation socio-territoriale » (Bagnasco 1994), c’est-à-dire de la manière dont une société évolue et change dans les structures de la longue durée, bien plus probante que la densité ou la présumée uniformisation métropolitaine.
      Un entre-deux territorial

      La crise a commencé officiellement le dimanche 23 février à l’hôpital d’Alzano, à six kilomètres de Bergame : deux cas de Covid-19 sont identifiés. En dix jours, la situation s’est dégradée au-delà des prévisions les plus alarmistes. Au mois de mars, 5 400 décès ont été répertoriés dans la province, contre 900 en moyenne les trois années précédentes (Invernizzi 2020). La mortalité a donc été multipliée par six ; dans certaines municipalités, comme Alzano et Nembro, elle est même dix fois supérieure à la moyenne.

      Située au cœur de la Lombardie, région la plus riche et la plus urbanisée d’Italie (et l’une des plus riches d’Europe), à cinquante kilomètres au nord-est de Milan, la province de Bergame rassemble en 2020 un peu plus d’un million d’habitants (dont 120 000 seulement dans la ville-centre). Elle est marquée par une situation d’entre-deux territorial : ce n’est ni une métropole ni une simple ville moyenne environnée d’un pays rural ; ce n’est ni une centralité ni une périphérie marginale ; son économie prospère est fortement industrielle, à la fois ancrée localement et insérée dans les réseaux économiques mondiaux.

      Le modèle de développement bergamasque résiste aux grilles de lecture opposant de manière dualiste villes et campagnes, métropoles mondialisées et ancrage local, densité et dispersion. Il ne peut être qualifié de « périurbain », en raison de la vitalité de ses centres secondaires ; il est sensiblement plus dense que la città diffusa du nord-est de l’Italie, vaste région sans centre dominant parsemée de maisons individuelles et de petites entreprises (Indovina 1990) ; et son industrialisation est bien plus ancienne et ses entreprises plus grandes et plus robustes que ceux des « districts industriels » de l’Italie centrale (Rivière et Weber 2006).

      La population, en faible croissance depuis trois décennies, est moins âgée que la moyenne de la région. Un fort attachement territorial s’adosse à une faible mobilité géographique : environ trois quarts des habitants sont nés dans des municipalités voisines ou dans la région. Mais depuis l’après-guerre, le développement économique fulgurant a suscité une immigration de main-d’œuvre, notamment depuis l’étranger (environ 7 % de la population est d’origine étrangère en 2016). L’émergence de nouveaux besoins, liés notamment au vieillissement de la population (aides à domicile, soignants), a entraîné plus récemment une diversification des origines nationales des habitants.

      Une urbanisation par bandes linéaires

      Dans les communes de Alzano et Nembro, et en général dans la vallée Seriana, le bâti est dense [1], à peu près cinquante habitants par hectare (Lameri et al. 2016), mais entrecoupé de nombreux espaces ouverts, souvent des jardins avec des potagers, tandis que les champs interstitiels encore cultivés au début des années 2000 ont presque complètement disparu. Sur la bande d’en haut, les flancs des collines, les anciens pâturages, cèdent la place aux bois en expansion. À l’exception des centres-villes anciens, où les maisons sont adossées les unes aux autres tout au long d’une rue principale, les bâtiments sont presque toujours érigés sur des parcelles individuelles et organisées selon des bandes parallèles au fond de la vallée, dans un espace particulièrement étroit.

      L’urbanisation du territoire bergamasque témoigne d’un mélange de connaissances anciennes et de techniques récentes qui permettent de mettre en valeur chaque centimètre carré. Chaque maison exploite ainsi les plis des règles de construction et la pente de la vallée, sur la base d’un savoir local difficile à standardiser : un garage accessible depuis la rue du bas, la cour depuis celle située au-dessus, un étage supplémentaire sous les combles.

      Après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, de nombreuses personnes ont restauré la cabane de leurs grands-parents dans la bande urbanisée près des pâturages et ont construit la maison de leurs enfants dans la bande inférieure, en investissant les fruits du travail industriel : c’est la génération qui était jeune pendant les trente glorieuses qui est aujourd’hui décimée par le virus, avec les conséquences dramatiques en matière de mémoire et de perte culturelle que l’on peut imaginer (Barcella 2020).

      Il ne s’agit donc pas d’une ville linéaire, mais d’une organisation urbaine par bandes linéaires. Les rues sont les repères de ce ruban urbain, qui fait l’effet d’un code-barres vu d’en haut : si vous le « coupez » perpendiculairement, vous y rencontrez en premier la zone habitée la plus ancienne, disposée tout le long de ce qui était autrefois la route romaine puis vénitienne ; en parallèle, se trouvent l’ancienne et la nouvelle route départementales, en alternance avec les fossés industriels du XIXe siècle.

      De la première mondialisation à la métropole régionale

      L’industrialisation commence au milieu du XIXe siècle : des protestants suisses et des industriels milanais trouvent dans la vallée des ressources en eau bon marché et s’approprient et complètent le réseau médiéval de canaux (Honegger fit l’histoire du textile, l’Italcementi celle du béton ; les usines de papier de Pigna, aujourd’hui propriété du groupe Buffetti, y ont déménagé en 1919 en provenance de Milan). Ces industries s’installent dans le lit majeur du fleuve et occupent l’autre rive, souvent inondée jusqu’au milieu du XXe siècle. Le coût environnemental de ce développement est considérable : destruction de terres agricoles, pollution croissante, exploitation de la nappe phréatique.

      Entre Nembro et Albino, on peut observer le cœur du système productif bergamasque : des centaines de petites et moyennes entreprises se juxtaposent et font travailler près de 4 000 employés. C’est un système totalement intégré dans les réseaux de production mondiaux : l’entreprise Acerbis, par exemple, transforme la matière plastique en réservoirs et composants pour motos ; Persico produit les coques des bateaux de la Coupe de l’America ; Polini Motori est spécialisée dans les kits de mise à niveau pour les cycles et les motos.

      Ces entreprises génèrent un trafic incessant de voitures et de camions qui encombrent l’ancienne route nationale de Val Seriana, l’autoroute qui relie Cene à Nembro et atteint Seriate, et l’autoroute qui relie Venise à Milan. Depuis 2009, un tramway relie la vallée à la gare de Bergame et transporte environ 13 000 passagers par jour.

      Le mode de vie y dépend donc autant du réseau familial organisé dans le voisinage, autour du palier ou de l’autre côté de la rue, que de l’enchevêtrement des autoroutes et des lignes aériennes qui traversent la région et mènent presque partout en quelques heures : Bergamo Orio al Serio est en effet le siège du hub italien de Ryanair et le troisième aéroport du pays, 17 millions de passagers par an et des liaisons avec le monde entier.
      Le système territorial bergamasque face au Covid-19

      L’hypermobilité (Verdeil 2020) est une des clés pour comprendre l’effet de la pandémie sur ces municipalités qui sont en même temps villageoises et métropolitaines : un exemple tragique est l’itinéraire de vacances d’un couple, elle d’Alzano, lui de Nembro, parti en vacances à La Havane le 29 février et terrassé par la maladie à Madrid le 19 mars (Nava 2020).

      Mais les contacts humains dépendent de nombreux autres facteurs, comme l’interdépendance (Baratier 2020) liée aux formes sociales et culturelles. En effet, la forme des établissements humains (la sociabilité, l’organisation spatiale, les institutions) a une influence importante, et la densité n’est plus la bonne mesure. Il semble que la sociabilité augmente les contacts sociaux qui répandent le virus, tandis que les nœuds infrastructuraux les démultiplient sur des échelles territoriales variées. Toutefois, les institutions de ces territoires n’ont aucune capacité de gouverner les effets croisés de ces différents facteurs. Du point de vue territorial, cette pandémie est une nouvelle manifestation de la discontinuité entre le politique et le territoire, qui s’était déjà manifestée bien avant le coronavirus.

      On pourrait même émettre l’hypothèse contraire, selon laquelle le modèle métropolitain est plus efficace dans la gestion de distances sociales et sa gouvernance plus résiliente face au risque de propagation liée à la sociabilité de province : les distances physiques sont mieux respectées, les institutions ont un accès privilégié aux réseaux mondiaux, et si les nœuds de transports y sont plus fréquentés, la mobilité des habitants des campagnes s’étale sur des échelles bien plus vastes.

      Comme nous ne disposons pas de données stabilisées, nous ne savons pas si la crise du virus s’ajoute à la déconnexion entre la sociabilité individualiste, les réseaux technologiques indifférents à l’environnement et les institutions, ou si elle est générée par cette déconnexion. Ce qui est certain, c’est que la région de Bergame additionne et multiplie les risques et les limites qui sont propres à la sociabilité paysanne, aux nœuds infrastructuraux urbains et aux institutions métropolitaines.

      Une fois l’urgence passée, cette crise devrait conduire à ouvrir une réflexion critique sur la gouvernance de ces territoires intermédiaires. L’examen des éléments proposés ci-dessus montre que la densité, la concentration, la promiscuité ne sont pas des indicateurs suffisants de l’uniformité du modèle de développement ; il indique également le rôle à multiples facettes des formations socio-territoriales.

      Si on doit reconnaître que le monde est urbain, comme l’a montré Henri Lefebvre, on peut sans doute questionner la métropole sans ignorer la variété de projets de métropolisation ou de rapprochement de la nature dans les différentes régions du monde. On n’a pas encore une explication exhaustive des causes de l’origine du virus, et encore moins de sa propagation : les hypothèses sous examen considèrent les déséquilibres environnementaux, les maladies pulmonaires, la capacité de réponse, les modèles de santé autant que la proximité et la distance physique. Tout résumer sous l’étiquette de métropolisation risque de ressusciter la mythologie des grandes explications, quand les spécificités des territoires réclament l’accompagnement des sociétés locales par l’étude et la compréhension de leur diversité.

      Bibliographie

      Angel, S., Parent, J., Civco D. L. et Blei, A. M. 2012. Atlas of Urban Expansion, Cambridge : Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.
      Bagnasco, A. 1994. Fatti sociali formati nello spazio : cinque lezioni di sociologia urbana e regionale, Milan : Franco Angeli.
      Baratier, J. 2020. « Pandémie, résilience, villes : deux ou trois choses que nous savons d’elles », Linkedin [en ligne], 29 mars.
      Barcella, P. 2020. « Cartolina da Bergamo. Perché proprio qui ? », La Rivista del Mulino, 2 mars.
      Barles, S. 1999. La Ville délétère, Ceyzérieu : Champ Vallon.
      Faburel, G. 2020. « La métropolisation du monde est une cause de la pandémie », Reporterre [en ligne], 28 mars.
      Indovina, F. 1990. La città diffusa, Venise : Quaderno Iuav-DAEST.
      Invernizzi, I. 2020. « Coronavirus, il numero reale dei decessi : in Bergamasca 4.500 in un mese », L’Eco di Bergamo, 1er avril.
      Lameri, M. et al. 2016. Trampiù : studio delle esternalita’ territoriali generate dall’ipotesi di prolungamento della linea tranviaria T1 da Albino a Vertova, Bergame : TEB.
      Nava, F. 2020. « Mancata zona rossa nella bergamasca : storia di un contagio intercontinentale, da Alzano Lombardo a Cuba, passando per Madrid », TPI, The Post International, 31 mars.
      Offner, J.-M. 2020. Anachronismes urbains, Paris : Presses de Sciences Po.
      Rivière, D. et Weber, S. 2006. « Le modèle du district italien en question : bilan et perspectives à l’heure de l’Europe élargie », Méditerranée, n° 106, p. 57-64.
      Verdeil, E. 2020. « La métropolisation, coupable idéale de la pandémie ? », The Conversation [en ligne], 9 avril.

      https://www.metropolitiques.eu/Pourquoi-Bergame-Le-virus-au-bout-du-territoire.html

    • Rethinking the city: urban experience and the Covid-19 pandemic

      Whilst the full effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are yet to be seen, the near-global lockdown of urban centres has been a jarring experience for city-dwellers. But how does the rapid spreading of the virus change our perception of the city? Here, Ravi Ghosh argues that these conditions prompts us to see the city differently, and sets us the urgent task of extending the right to the city to all its inhabitants.

      Whilst the full effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are yet to be seen, the near-global lockdown of urban centres has been a jarring experience for city-dwellers. The optimisation narrative has been stopped in its tracks. The speed, number, and efficiency of available urban experiences are now fixed somewhere close to zero. And even the things we do to escape this logic of urban gratification — to calm the pace of everyday life — are now increasingly unavailable; without culture, community, and recreation, people are beginning to wonder what they’re actually doing here, squashed into crowded cities across the world. But, as the peak of the pandemic approaches in many countries, there are more profound forces at play beyond just the individual’s loss of activity and communication.

      To be isolating in the city is to embody an agonising contemporary paradox: that, although the coronavirus is now moving rapidly through regions like New York State and London, the connectivity, medical resources, and infrastructure in these centres means that local health prospects may actually be higher than in less infected areas. Having already spread along the avenues of globalisation — holidaying, business travel, and international supply chains — the virus is now recreating a familiar Western narrative: that of the city under siege. Whether via cabinet-war-room style depictions of central government, or makeshift hospitals in the triangle of London, Birmingham, and Manchester, cities will inevitably emerge as defiant symbols of human endeavour and resilience, irrespective of the harm their cramped organisation may also have caused.

      But what of this desire for an active city? In Urban Revolution (1970), Henri Lefebvre uses a rough axis (marked from 0 to 100% urbanisation) to imagine the city space. It starts with the political city — marked by bureaucratic power — before progressing through mercantile and industrial phases. Postindustrial society is termed ‘urban’, at which point the city undergoes a process of ‘implosion-explosion’ as it approaches the end of the axis. This rampant expansion of the ‘urban fabric’ which Lefebvre describes will evoke nostalgia to anyone living in a major hub, but unable to enjoy it:

      the tremendous concentration (of people, activities, wealth, goods, objects, instruments, means, and thought) of urban reality and the immense explosion, the projection of numerous disjunct fragments (peripheries, suburbs, vacation homes, satellite towns) into space.

      For Lefebvre, these ideas were both a loose historical commentary and a starting point for his own socialist reimagining of ‘complete urbanisation’. This is apt given the current lockdown; the current pandemic may well be an acid test for society’s infrastructure and economic model. Watching from behind closed doors as they mobilise in tandem offers an historically unique, often painful perspective. Flaws are revealed gradually, and with great cost to human life. However painful these may be now, in time they could offer a unique opportunity to remake society with the lessons learned.

      Perhaps most relevant to our current situation is Lefebvre’s broad understanding of the urban fabric; he includes vacation homes, motorways, suburbs, and even countryside supermarkets in his definition. In normal circumstances, these structures are self-sustaining and peripheral, but what we see in the current crisis is the power of individuals to balloon the city by flocking to its fringes — often at the expense of fellow citizens. When movement is coded with infection, urbanisation suddenly becomes a form of domination. Under this kind of siege, it’s better to sit tight than to flee.

      It’s interesting to see this being acknowledged by some sections of the media, even if the socio-cultural consequences remain largely unexplored. The New York Times states that to make meaningful per capita comparisons for Covid-19 cases, its data focuses upon ‘metropolitan areas’ rather than cities or countries, as they more accurately account for ‘the regions where the virus might spread quickly among families, co-workers or commuters’. The statistics for the New York area therefore include nearby suburbs in Westchester, Long Island, and northern New Jersey. And although there’s no immediate way of determining whether people are moving out of necessity or choice, a fairly obvious distinction can be made between displaced workers moving from Delhi, for example, and those in prosperous Western centres — where movement is contingent on financial stability. The pushback against needless migration is mostly anecdotal, seen through viral images of angry placards in British seaside towns, and local news stories of overwhelmed health services. The pandemic has caused a retreat into the familiarity of nation states: not just in the literal sense of repatriation, but also as a means of civic organisation, internal governance, and statistical monitoring. What some call ‘de-globalisation’ reveals what we already know: that not all nations, governments, or health services are created equal — and that this applies to sub-national groupings too. Spatial inequality will play a huge role in determining the eventual death map of the pandemic.

      In such strangely out-of-time situations, what constitutes the normal is thrown into sharp relief. Activities normally taken for granted are judged by how easily they can be replicated while upholding their essential values — which in our current time usually means a relocation to the internet. What emerges is a familiar gulf between the professional and the social. Whereas for most office-based employees, work can continue with the assistance of specialised software, communications, and adaptable management structures, the integrity of social relationships suffers far more when human contact is removed.

      We feel an acute yearning for companionship, not just because we miss our friends more than we miss our bosses, but because for the most part, the means of reproducing social intimacy online are far inferior to those which ensure the fulfilment of economic roles. That video calling is the go-to for both spheres demonstrates this; it’s somehow the optimal social medium, but exists alongside far more complex tools within the work of work, especially in highly adapted corporate industries. The overlap is somewhat inevitable given that work needs a social element to function, but it’s still grimly remarkable that to evoke all the tenderness and multiplicity of friendships, the best we’ve come up with is drinking a beer while watching someone else do the same on our phones.

      It’s tempting to read the digitalisation of work as a direct transposition of the relations of production. This may be roughly the case, but in reality, there are obvious (and often welcome) differences between urban work culture and the current isolation, which speak to Lefebvre’s earlier ideas on ‘everyday life’ (not to mention that work has been at least partially online for decades). By theorising new forms of alienation within modernity — the unpaid labour of the daily commute, for example — Lefebvre in many ways anticipated common qualms about 21st century work life. These are familiar to us, now mostly expressed in the pithy, resigned idiom of being ‘chained to the desk’, ‘meetings that could be an email’, and the general exhaustion of 24/7 communications. The lockdown has stripped back many of these rituals, revealing that much of face-to-face professional life is made up of parade, gesture, formality, and convention — even if there is enjoyment to be found in the structure and atmosphere of the office. Doing more online, and crucially, from not-the-office may be a lasting result from the current changes.

      As William Davies has recently suggested, rather than viewing the pandemic as a crisis of capitalism, ‘it might better be understood as the sort of work-making event that allows for new economic and intellectual beginnings’. While this is not the dawning of Lefebvre’s ‘urban utopia’, conceiving of digitalisation as a form of urban progression does point to potential improvements in everyday life, even if the existing internet hierarchy hardly favours citizens. As Joe Shaw and Mark Graham from Oxford Internet Institute argue in a 2017 paper, in order to democratise the city space, we need to understand contemporary urbanisation “as a period where the city is increasingly reproduced through digital information’. They focus on Google’s ability to control the reproduction of urban space through features like maps and email: ‘this is a power to choose how a city is reduced to information, and to control the manner in which it is translated into knowledge and reintroduced to material everyday reality’. Companies are utterly dominant in this area, though the relocation of work and social relations to the digital space — coupled with an overdue revaluation of critical work, a recognition of the service industry’s precarity, and an increase in corporate responsibility — could provide a turning point for some urban hierarchies. The case for universal low-cost internet will be made with renewed urgency after the pandemic; access to accurate information has suddenly become a matter of life and death. If the oft-mentioned global solidarity outlasts the pandemic, then meaningful progress could be made against tech monopolies, resource inequality, and climate breakdown.

      For all the difficulties of the lockdown, it does refine our appreciation of what came before. Social existence is naturally incidental and unpredictable — there’s a kind of randomised joy borne of living amongst others. In the city, this effect is amplified. As Lefebvre says of the city’s streets, they are ‘a place to play and learn….a form of spontaneous theatre, I become spectacle and spectator, and sometimes an actor’. There’s certainly a romantic optimism here, but as isolation brings longing, the words feel ever sincerer. A recent Financial Times article contained an amusing vignette on an empty London:

      The bankers have disappeared and new tribes with different uniforms have taken over: builders in black trousers and dusty boots; security guards in high-vis jackets pacing outside empty lobbies; and trim young men and women in lycra running or cycling through the empty streets.

      The reality, of course, is that these people were always there; it’s just that not everyone notices them. The task beyond the pandemic will be extending this right to the city to all: remaking the structures of everyday life so that they empower all citizens, and harnessing digital urbanisation rather than existing at its mercy. Extending our current social contract — which shows we are prepared to live differently to protect the vulnerable — will be a powerful first step.

      https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4648-rethinking-the-city-urban-experience-and-the-covid-19-pandemic

    • In Dense Cities Like Boston, Coronavirus Epidemics Last Longer, Northeastern Study Finds

      An analysis by Northeastern University researchers and colleagues finds that in crowded cities — like Boston — coronavirus epidemics not only grow bigger, they also tend to last longer.

      The paper, based on data from Italy and China, looks at how quickly an epidemic peaks depending on how crowded a location is.

      “In urban areas, we tend to see long, broad epidemics — for example, Boston,” says lead co-author Samuel Scarpino from the Network Science Institute at Northeastern. “And in comparatively more suburban or rural areas we tend to see sharp, quick, burst-y epidemics.”

      Scarpino says it’s key for Massachusetts to have uniform rules across the state, because movement from one area to another — say, from a town where restaurants are closed to one where they’re open — can help spread the virus. Here are some edited excerpts of our conversation, beginning with how he sums up the research just out in the journal Nature Medicine:

      Scarpino: What we report in the paper is that the structure of communities affects both the height and the duration of COVID-19 epidemics.

      Carey Goldberg: So more dense areas will have not just more cases, but a more prolonged course?

      Right. In urban areas, we’re likely to have larger outbreaks — in terms of total number, even in terms of percentage of the population — and they will be much longer, lasting weeks and weeks or months, as we’ve seen in Boston, New York City, London and many places around the world.

      However, in rural areas, or areas that have population structures that are much more tightly knit — as opposed to a looser collection of households in neighborhoods, as we have spread out across Boston — you get sharp, intense outbreaks. They can be overwhelming in terms of the resources available for caring for patients, and quite dramatic in terms of their effects on the population.

      Think about the outbreak in rural Maine that was sparked by a super-spreading event at a wedding, and how it quickly swept through the population.

      Why do these insights about community structure and its effect on transmission matter?

      In many rural areas that are at risk of these intense outbreaks, there’s much lower health care coverage and often, especially in the United States, a lot more complacency around mask-wearing and physical distancing. These areas are largely protected because they’re isolated. However, if cases show up — as we’ve seen in places like rural Maine — the outbreaks can be quite severe and rapid.

      Also, in the more dense areas, you’re going to have cases that move around throughout the population, throughout the different neighborhoods of the city. You’re going to have outbreaks go quiet in some areas, and then become louder in other areas.

      And this process can be very, very prolonged, and can make the types of intervention measures that you need to deploy either quite severe or quite complicated, because they have to be very specifically tailored to what’s happening at the really local level within the larger cities.

      So what does this mean for policy?

      Well, in related work we show that having policies that are different across a city can lead people to move out of their neighborhoods, to go to parks or to go to restaurants with different dining restrictions, or to go to venues with different limits on capacity. And that interacts with the structure of the city to spread the outbreak much more rapidly, kind of accelerating the pace and tempo of cases.

      So that really suggests that because the outbreak is going to be so long-lasting, you really either need to focus on driving it completely out or you need to have policies that will protect all of the places with lower rates of cases while intervening in a targeted way in the places with much higher rates of cases.

      So what you don’t want to do is put in tougher measures in hot-spots, because then you’re just going to drive people out to other places where they’re going to spread it even more.

      Exactly. In the state of Massachusetts, where we have the governor relaxing measures in a fairly extreme fashion in some areas and not in other areas, you are likely to have a situation where you’re just moving the infection around and putting other communities at risk.

      So having a more intermediate level of control that’s more uniformly distributed across space is much better epidemiologically.

      But that’s not what the state is doing.

      The state in many ways is really doing almost the opposite of what our paper suggests in terms of the ways in which you need to focus on controlling COVID-19, and also related work that shows this sort of patchwork of different policies really creates quite a bit of risk.

      It seems incredibly important to have hyper-local information, because in the structure you describe, the spread happens at the level of households or neighborhoods, and then you have just a bit of crossover to other places, and that’s how it just keeps going.

      That is the implication of our work and many other studies that show that COVID-19, from an epidemiological perspective, is an amalgamation of local transmission that’s happening in households, in restaurants, in occasional longer-distance transmission that moves it into new areas. So you need to have really hyper-localized information around where the cases are occurring and to find out where the cases are coming from.

      And that, unfortunately, is one of the things that we’re still not getting clear guidance on from the state: Where are the cases coming from? So that we can understand how we need to intervene.

      Without that data, we really aren’t armed with the right kinds of information to both stop the spread and to try and implement measures that will maximally control COVID-19 while having the least possible effects on our economic health, mental health and societal health.

      https://www.wbur.org/commonhealth/2020/10/06/coronavirus-lasts-longer-cities-boston

  • Vidéo hotspots

    #Migreurop lance aujourd’hui une vidéo pour dénoncer les politiques migratoires européennes mortifères, et en particulier les #hotspots en Grèce et en Italie. Au vu de la situation sanitaire actuelle, cette vidéo est accompagnée d’un communiqué (FR/EN/ES), auquel les membres du réseau ont eu l’occasion de contribuer, pour exiger que tous les camps d’étranger.e.s soient vidés et que ces dernier.e.s aient également le droit d’être protégé.e.s.

    La vidéo :
    https://vimeo.com/402154419


    (elle existe en français, anglais et espagnol)

    #vidéo #migrations #réfugiés #asile #hotspot #Grèce #Italie #militarisation_des_frontières #fermeture_des_frontières #Règlement_Dublin #Dublin #approche_hotspot #tri #catégorisation #migrants_économiques #relocalisation #ressources_pédagogiques #renvois #expulsions #renvois_forcés #décès #morts #indifférence #politiques_migratoires

    Le communiqué :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/838573

    ping @karine4 @_kg_

  • Varsovie, Budapest et Prague ont manqué à leurs obligations sur l’accueil des réfugiés, décide la justice européenne

    Fin 2017, la Commission européenne avait saisi la #CJUE, car les trois pays avaient refusé leurs #quotas d’#accueil de réfugiés décidés dans le cadre du programme de #répartition par Etat membre de dizaines de milliers de demandeurs d’asile lancé en 2015 et qui a pris fin en septembre 2017.

    C’est un #arrêt essentiellement symbolique. La justice européenne a considéré jeudi 2 avril que la #Pologne, la #Hongrie et la #République_tchèque n’ont pas respecté le droit de l’Union européenne en refusant d’accueillir en 2015, au plus fort des arrivées de migrants, des demandeurs d’asile relocalisés depuis l’Italie ou la Grèce.

    Dans son arrêt, la Cour de justice de l’UE (CJUE) considère que les trois pays ont « manqué à leurs obligations » en ne respectant pas la décision prise collectivement par l’UE d’accueillir un #quota de réfugiés par Etat membre.

    La Cour estime que les trois capitales « ne peuvent invoquer ni leurs responsabilités en matière de maintien de l’ordre public et de sauvegarde de la sécurité intérieure, ni le prétendu dysfonctionnement du mécanisme de relocalisation, pour se soustraire à la mise en œuvre de ce mécanisme ».

    Fin 2017, la Commission européenne avait saisi la CJUE, constatant que les trois pays avaient refusé leurs quotas d’accueil de réfugiés décidés dans le cadre du programme de répartition par Etat membre de dizaines de milliers de demandeurs d’asile depuis l’#Italie et la #Grèce, lancé en 2015 et qui a pris fin en septembre 2017.

    Décision « sans conséquence » pour la Hongrie

    Cela rend impossible l’idée de forcer désormais ces pays à accueillir des migrants. « Cette décision n’aura aucune conséquence. La politique de quotas étant depuis longtemps caduque, nous n’avons aucune obligation de prendre des demandeurs d’asile », a réagi la ministre de la justice hongroise, Judit Varga. « Nous avons perdu le différend, mais ce n’est pas important. Ce qui est important, c’est que nous n’avons rien à payer », a abondé le premier ministre tchèque, Andrej Babis. « Le fait est que nous n’accepterons aucun migrant car les quotas ont expiré entre-temps ». La Commission peut désormais seulement demander des amendes contre les trois pays.

    La Cour a repoussé l’argument selon lequel le recours de la Commission n’était pas valable étant donné que, le programme ayant expiré, les trois pays ne pouvaient plus s’y conformer, estimant qu’il suffisait à la Commission de constater le manquement allégué.

    La Pologne et la Hongrie n’ont accueilli aucun réfugié, la République tchèque se contentant d’en recevoir une douzaine avant de se désengager du programme. Varsovie et Budapest estimaient avoir le droit de se soustraire à leurs #obligations en vertu de leur #responsabilité de « #maintien_de_l’ordre_public » et de la « #sauvegarde_de_la_sécurité_intérieure ». Or, pour que l’argument soit recevable, les deux pays auraient dû « pouvoir prouver la nécessité de recourir à (cette) #dérogation ».

    Pour cela, les « autorités devaient s’appuyer, au terme d’un examen au cas par cas, sur des éléments concordants, objectifs et précis, permettant de soupçonner que le demandeur en cause représente un danger actuel ou potentiel ». La Cour a jugé que la décision prise par Varsovie et Budapest avait un caractère « général », et ne se prévalait d’aucun « rapport direct avec un cas individuel ».

    De son côté, Prague a avancé que le dispositif n’était pas efficace pour justifier de ne pas l’appliquer. Une « appréciation unilatérale » qui ne peut servir d’argument pour ne pas appliquer une décision de l’UE, a souligné la Cour.

    Le #plan_de_relocalisation découlait de deux décisions successives du Conseil européen, qui concernaient potentiellement jusqu’à 40 000 et 120 000 demandeurs de protection internationale. Au total, 12 706 personnes ont été relocalisées d’Italie et 21 199 de Grèce vers les autres Etats membres, soit « quasiment toutes les personnes qui rentraient dans les critères ».

    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2020/04/02/varsovie-budapest-et-prague-ont-manque-a-leurs-obligations-sur-l-accueil-des

    #relocalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #justice #hotspots

  • Berlin ready to airlift Greek island refugees

    German activists have collected funds to start airlifting refugees and asylum seekers from the Greek islands to Berlin.

    “If the governments say yes, we can start immediately. It is a matter of organisation with a flight broker, which means it could take two days,” Axel Steier of the German NGO #Mission_Lifeline, told EUobserver on Tuesday (31 March).

    Steier, who co-founded the NGO, says they collected €55,000 in donations following plans by city of Berlin state politicians to relocate 1,500 people or possibly more stuck on the Greek islands to the German capital.

    He says German church affiliated charity organisations like #Diakonie and #Stadtmission_Berlin have agreed to help when it comes to housing the new arrivals.

    The money collected covers two flights but the NGO is seeking more donations to continue future airlifts.

    “We try to finance more now so we can make an airlift between #Lesbos and Berlin and if there is more money and more willing local governments we can bring more,” said Steier.

    Some 42,000 refugees, asylum seekers and migrants are spread out across five Greek Aegean islands. Of those, around 20,000 are crammed into Moria, a camp on the island of Lesbos, and whose facilities are designed to accommodate 3,000.

    Faced with deplorable conditions described as among the worst in the world when it comes to refugee camps, fears are mounting of a looming Covid-19 outbreak amid reports by Human Rights Watch that Greece is also arbitrarily detaining nearly 2,000 people on the mainland.

    The urgency of the efforts to decongest the islands has since led to a new proposal by the Berlin state government to bring in the most vulnerable.

    In an interview with German media outlet Der Tagesspiegel, Berlin’s justice minister Dirk Behrendt said the idea had received cross party support at the state level and that the city is ready to take in people.

    “The red-red-green state government is completely on the same page,” he said, in reference to party coalition colours spanning the Social Democratic Party, Left Party, and the Greens.

    “If something doesn’t happen very quickly at the federal level - and for me this is more a question of hours than days - then Berlin is also prepared to take its own steps together with civil society organisations and fly people out of Lesbos,” he said.

    He noted while Germany was able to repatriate 170,000 holiday-makers around the world in a matter of days due to the pandemic, the federal government is still dithering about on earlier pledges to relocate unaccompanied minors from Greece.

    “There is apparently a reluctance in Germany because there are fears of playing into the hands of the AfD [Alternative for German, a far-right political party] with a large-scale evacuation operation,” he told Tagesspiegel.

    The EU had earlier this year cobbled together a plan to evacuate 1,600 unaccompanied minors in the aftermath of Turkey’s failed efforts to force political concessions after opening its borders for migrants to cross into Greece.

    Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and Portugal were among the first to agree to take in the minors but the proposal stalled following the outbreak of Covid-19. Some states, such as the Netherlands, have flat out refused.

    “We are not willing to take over children,” said Dutch migration minister Ankie Broekers-Knol earlier this month.

    https://euobserver.com/coronavirus/147944
    #Allemagne #asile #migrations #réfugiés #pont_aérien #Grèce #îles #évacuation #relocalisation #société_civile #Berlin #solidarité #accueil #hébergement #coronavirus #vulnérabilité

    ping @thomas_lacroix @isskein

    –----------

    @karine4 en lien avec la question des #villes-refuges, quelques citations :

    Berlin’s justice minister Dirk Behrendt said the idea had received cross party support at the state level and that the city is ready to take in people.

    “If something doesn’t happen very quickly at the federal level - and for me this is more a question of hours than days - then Berlin is also prepared to take its own steps together with civil society organisations and fly people out of Lesbos,” he said.

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur les villes-refuge