#route_des_balkans

  • Exils sans fin - Chantages anti-migratoires le long de la route des Balkans

    Depuis plus de 20 ans, l’UE développe une coopération avec des pays non-membres (dits « tiers ») pour externaliser le contrôle de ses frontières. Identifiés comme des pays de départ puis comme des pays de transit des migrations à destination de l’UE, les pays des Balkans ont été rapidement intégrés au cœur de cette stratégie d’externalisation. Ce, particulièrement depuis la malnommée « crise migratoire » de l’année 2015 lors de laquelle près d’un million de personnes venues principalement du Moyen-Orient ont été compatibilisées le long de la route des Balkans, itinéraire reliant la Grèce à des pays de l’UE situés plus à l’Ouest, et notamment l’Allemagne.

    Prétendant résoudre une crise que l’UE a elle-même engendrée, les politiques migratoires européennes dans la région sont celles de pompiers pyromanes. Zone tampon ou zone de « sécurité migratoire », cela fait plusieurs décennies que la région des Balkans est utilisée par l’UE pour la sous-traitance du contrôle de ses frontières, au détriment tant de la population locale que des personnes exilées. Sommés de s’ériger en gardes-frontières et en véritables « #hotspots » au service de l’UE, les pays des Balkans sont aujourd’hui le théâtre d’une multitude de violations de droits et de #violences exercées à l’encontre des personnes exilées.

    Fruit d’un travail in situ réalisé entre janvier et avril 2021 pour le réseau Migreurop, le présent rapport documente ce processus d’externalisation des frontières européennes dans la région des Balkans. Il s’appuie sur des observations de terrain et plus d’une centaine d’entretiens réalisés avec des personnes exilées, des représentant·e·s d’ONG locales et internationales, des chercheurs et des chercheuses, des militant·e·s, des avocat·e·s, des journalistes, ainsi que des actrices et acteurs institutionnels.

    Le rapport se décompose en trois parties. La première examine la manière dont les dirigeant·e·s européen·ne·s instrumentalisent le processus d’adhésion des pays des Balkans à des fins de contrôle migratoire. La deuxième s’intéresse à la transformation de ces pays en véritables « chiens de garde » des frontières de l’UE, en accordant une attention particulière aux pratiques de #refoulements et aux violences comme outils normalisés de gestion des frontières. La troisième partie documente la mise en place de « l’approche hotspot » dans la région.

    https://migreurop.org/article3069.html
    #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #contrôles_frontaliers #zone_tampon #pays_tiers #push-backs #rapport #Migreurop #refoulements #violence

  • Borderline | The Wire

    Harsh living conditions have always brought people together in the Kupa-region on the Croatian-Slovenian border, but today the stream of life is cut in two by a razor wire to keep refugees from entering Slovenia.

    https://player.vimeo.com/video/532174343

    http://www.offworld.be/index.php/film-borderline-wire

    #film #film_documentaire #documentaire #Tiha_Gudac
    #frontières #barbelé #Croatie #Slovénie #Kupa #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #migrations #asile #réfugiés #rivière #clôture #fermeture_des_frontières #frontière_sud-alpine

    ping @isskein

    • Slovenia, Croazia : filo spinato

      «Mi chiedono ’sei pro o contro l’immigrazione?’, ma la domanda non ha senso, non c’è da essere pro o contro, l’immigrazione esiste. Piuttosto, bisogna scegliere come gestirla». Un’intervista a Tiha K. Gudac, regista del documentario Žica, filo spinato

      «Žica », letteralmente “filo spinato”, è il secondo documentario della regista croata Tiha K. Gudac (classe 1982). Dopo aver esordito nel 2014 con «Goli», che ripercorre la storia del nonno internato a Goli Otok, Gudac si occupa questa volte del filo spinato che il governo sloveno ha posizionato sul confine tra Croazia e Slovenia e sull’impatto che questo nuovo muro ha sulle comunità locali. Il film è parte del progetto «Borderline» prodotto da Off World e dedicato a diversi confini europei, raccontati attraverso sei documentari. Žica, uscito nel 2021, ha vinto il premio “Menzione speciale” al RAFF – Rab Film Festival.

      Com’è nata l’idea di un film sul filo spinato tra Slovenia e Croazia?

      Tutto è iniziato nel 2016, quando si è sviluppato il progetto «Borderline», con l’obiettivo di realizzare una serie di documentari sulle frontiere dell’Unione europea. Io ho proposto il confine croato-sloveno e realizzato un primo trailer. Allora c’era qualcosa di davvero macabro nel paesaggio: le autorità slovene avevano posto a terra dei rotoli di «nastro spinato» (razor wire), che è molto più tagliente del normale filo spinato e può incidere la carne fino all’osso. Per questo, si trovavano molti animali morti lungo il confine. La mia idea è stata selezionata e le riprese sono iniziate nel 2019.

      Qual è la situazione al confine croato-sloveno oggi?

      I rotoli di nastro spinato sono stati sostituiti con una recinzione sulla quale è stato collocato il filo spinato. La barriera è più lunga e più resistente, ma perlomeno meno pericolosa per chi ci cammina vicino.

      Nel tuo documentario ti concentri sulle conseguenze che il filo spinato ha nella vita quotidiana di chi ci vive vicino. Da dove sei partita?

      Mi sono concentrata sull’area attorno al fiume Kupa (Kolpa, in sloveno) che divide i due paesi, in particolare, la zona di Petrina (Slovenia) e Brod na Kupi (Croazia). Si tratta di una regione che in Croazia è nota con il nome di Gorski Kotar e dove si registrano gli inverni più rigidi, secondi solo a quelli del monte Velebit. Date queste difficili condizioni di vita, la popolazione locale si è unita, da un lato all’altro del confine, e oggi rappresenta un’unica comunità in cui si parla sia sloveno che croato, e anche una terza lingua dialettale, che è un miscuglio delle prime due.

      L’impressione che si ha, guardando il tuo film, è che l’armonia locale sia stata distrutta da un’agente esterno...

      È così, non si tratta di un’esagerazione. Penso alla storia di Zlatko, uno dei protagonisti del documentario. Lui vive sul lato croato del fiume, ma siccome in quel punto non c’è una strada, lui attraversa la Kupa con una piccola barca per fare la spesa o cercare ciò che gli serve dal lato sloveno del fiume. Tanti altri, invece, hanno la casa da un lato e i campi dall’altro e quindi utilizzano i piccoli ponti per andare dall’altra parte. Ecco, con l’arrivo del filo spinato sono stati chiusi tutti i valichi minori e ora le persone devono fare a volte un giro di 40 km per arrivare dall’altra parte.

      C’è una bella scena nel film, in cui si vede la polizia locale mentre cerca di convincere gli abitanti della necessità del filo spinato...

      Tutti i protagonisti del film si trovano in una situazione in cui non vorrebbero essere. I poliziotti sono persone del luogo che hanno trovato un lavoro sicuro e stabile in un’area in cui non ci sono fabbriche o grandi imprese. Ora si ritrovano a dover posizionare filo spinato e fare respingimenti illegali. La popolazione locale, naturalmente, non ne vuole sapere del filo spinato, perché separa le comunità, impedisce agli animali di raggiungere il fiume ecc. I migranti, infine, arrivano dall’altro capo del mondo e cercano di sopravvivere e di attraversare il confine.

      Il film segue anche le vicende di Omar e Mohammed, due migranti che dalla Bosnia Erzegovina cercano di raggiungere l’Italia. La loro testimonianza dei respingimenti è molto forte...

      Mi ricordo un giorno, durante le riprese, quando ci siamo messi a chiacchierare a Velika Kladuša (Bosnia Erzegovina), facendo finta di avere una conversazione normale. Uno di loro mi ha chiesto quali fossero i miei hobby e quand’è venuto il suo turno ha detto: “Io cammino per la Croazia finché non mi riportano di qua”. Hanno provato ad arrivare in Slovenia 10–15 volte e ogni volta sono stati picchiati e respinti. Il comportamento violento della polizia croata non è solo inaccettabile perché viola i diritti umani di queste persone ma, se vogliamo, è anche irresponsabile nei confronti dei cittadini europei, perché traumatizza delle persone che poi arriveranno in Europa, cariche di paura e di rabbia.

      Che idea ti sei fatta del modo in cui i governi europei stanno rispondendo alla questione migratoria?

      Ho l’impressione che non si voglia vedere la realtà. Si parla di “crisi”, quando in verità le migrazioni non sono un fenomeno passeggero, ma che anzi durerà e, temo, peggiorerà nei prossimi anni. Il focus del mio film era il filo spinato ma inevitabilmente si è allargato all’immigrazione e mi sono resa conto che sul tema la gente ha una visione in bianco e nero. Mi chiedono “sei pro o contro l’immigrazione?”, ma la domanda non ha senso, non c’è da essere pro o contro, l’immigrazione esiste. Piuttosto, bisogna scegliere come gestirla. E siccome si tratta di un fenomeno complicato, serve una risposta articolata e non semplice come un muro o una barriera di filo spinato, che in ultima istanza non serve a nulla.

      Il tuo film è già stato presentato in diversi festival in Germania e nei Balcani. Quali sono state le reazioni finora?

      Il pubblico ne è stupito, perché si parla di luoghi familiari, molto vicini. In Slovenia, tuttavia, il film non è ancora stato proiettato, lo sarà a breve al festival del cinema di Portorose. Ma per quanto riguarda i respingimenti o la violenza sui migranti in generale, non mi sembra che ci sia un vero dibattito pubblico. Ci sono tante inchieste, pubblicazioni, ma quando si guarda alle dichiarazioni dei responsabili politici, c’è solo negazione. E mi dispiace, vorrei che la società reagisse di più, perché altrimenti finisce che ci si abitua pian piano a tutto, come al filo spinato davanti alla propria casa. E se guardiamo agli ultimi dieci anni in Europa, con la scusa del male minore o del male necessario, ci siamo in realtà abituati all’avanzata del fascismo.

      https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/aree/Croazia/Slovenia-Croazia-filo-spinato-212734

  • Immigration : La police hongroise a exécuté 40 000 « #pushbacks » depuis le début de l’année

    Aux frontières de l’espace Schengen, la police hongroise empêche l’accès à son territoire aux migrants et les expulse manu militari lorsqu’ils parviennent à y pénétrer, en contravention des règles internationales, juge la Cour européenne de Justice.

    Sur les 37 premières semaines de l’année, la police hongroise a empêché 32 872 entrées sur le territoire hongrois ; de plus, elle a expulsé immédiatement après leur arrestation 40 781 personnes qui avaient réussi à pénétrer sur le territoire illégalement ; 1 566 personnes ont été arrêtées et traduites en justice.

    Autrement dit, la Hongrie empêche les migrants d’accéder au territoire hongrois et de déposer une demande d’asile, ce qui contrevient aux règles internationales. Lorsque ceux-ci parviennent tout de même à entrer sur le sol hongrois, ils sont renvoyés immédiatement de l’autre côté de la frontière.

    L’écrasante majorité de ces statistiques concernent la frontière entre la Hongrie et la #Serbie, séparées par une #clôture grillagée surmontée de #fils_barbelés. L’activité de la #police a augmenté de façon significative à partir du mois d’août, ce qui pourrait signifier que le flux migratoire observé sur la « route des Balkans » a pris de l’ampleur.

    Le 17 décembre 2020, la Cour européenne de justice (CJUE) a jugé que la politique d’asile pratiqué par la Hongrie « a manqué à son obligation d’assurer un accès effectif à la procédure d’octroi de la protection internationale », rappelle le site Info Migrants.

    Après avoir fermé les yeux pendant plusieurs années sur les pratiques illégales de la police hongroise, #Frontex, mise en cause par l’ONG Comité Helsinki, a annoncé au mois de janvier qu’elle suspendait ses opérations de #surveillance_des_frontières de l’Union européenne en Hongrie.

    « Depuis 2016, les preuves de violations graves et systémiques des droits fondamentaux aux frontières extérieures de l’espace Schengen ont été présentées, soulevant également la responsabilité de l’Agence Frontex », a affirmé le Comité Helsinki.

    https://courrierdeuropecentrale.fr/immigration-la-police-hongroise-a-realise-40-000-pushbacks-d

    #refoulement #Hongrie #route_des_Balkans #Balkans #droits_fondamentaux #droits_humains #frontières_extérieures #statistiques #chiffres #2021#asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières

  • En septembre 2021... la #barrière_frontalière entre la #Slovénie et la #Croatie s’allonge...


    The news coming from Slovenia confirms that the EU member states will indeed start with additional securitization of their borders in order to prevent access to refugees from Afghanistan. Namely, the Slovenian Minister of the Interior announced the additional installation of barbed wire on the border with Croatia.

    Slovenija produžuje bodljikavu žicu na granici s Hrvatskom

    SLOVENIJA će produžiti ogradu na granici s Hrvatskom namijenjenu onemogućavanju ilegalnih migracija, najavio je ministar unutarnjih poslova Aleš Hojs.

    Prilikom posjeta Savinjskoj regiji (centar Celje), koja se proteže od hrvatske do austrijske granice, Hojs je pogledao stanje na granici s Hrvatskom i kako se ona kontrolira te najavio postavljanje još nekoliko desetaka kilometara protumigrantske ograde. Ona se od velike migracijske krize 2015.-2016., kad je Slovenija počela postavljati bodljikavu žicu, do sada već protegnula na više od polovice dužine međusobne granice dviju država.
    Ministar: Europa će pomagati samo onima koji doista trebaju pomoć

    Vlada je u zaključnoj fazi potpisivanja ugovora o postavljanju više desetaka kilometara nove granične zapreke na južnoj granici, kazao je tom prilikom novinarima Hojs dodavši da bi radovi mogli započeti za dva do tri tjedna. Prema riječima Hojsa, člana stranke premijera Janeza Janše, trenutno obavještajni podaci ne govore o mogućem većem migrantskom valu iz Afganistana nakon što su tu zemlju preuzeli talibani. Kako je dodao, to je zasluga i činjenice što europski ministri unutarnjih poslova nedavno nisu dopustili da se nakon pada Afganistana u ruke talibana za moguće izbjeglice i migrante širom otvore vrata Europske unije, kao što je to bilo u krizi 2015./2016.

    “To znači da će Europa pomagati samo onima kojima je pomoć doista potrebna, a to su ranjive skupine, žene i djeca”, kazao je Hojs.

    Slovenija se nalazi na takozvanoj balkanskoj izbjegličkoj ruti prema zapadnoj i središnjoj Europi, no za razliku od prije nekoliko godina, njena policija bilježi sve manje pokušaja ilegalnog ulaska izbjeglica i migranata. Prema službenim podacima, u prvih sedam mjeseci ove godine bilo je 4495 nezakonitih ulazaka, što je za preko 70 posto manje nego u istom razdoblju lani, kad ih je zabilježeno 7577. Među zatečenim ilegalnim migrantima najviše je onih iz Afganistana, Pakistana i Bangladeša, koji čine polovicu svih ilegalnih ulazaka, a jako je smanjen broj Pakistanaca, Marokanaca i Alžiraca.

    Vlada Janeza Janše zaoštrila je ove godine propise koji omogućuju dobivanje azila, a Slovenija se kao predsjedateljica Vijeća Europske unije u ovom semestru usprotivila uspostavljanju tzv. humanitarnih koridora za moguće izbjeglice iz Afganistana. Žičanu ogradu na granici s Hrvatskom, na početku velikog migrantskog vala iz Sirije 2015.-2016., počela je postavljati nekadašnja vlada Mire Cerara, a do sada se žica nalazi na više od 200 kilometara njene dužine.

    https://www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/slovenija-produzuje-bodljikavu-zicu-na-granici-s-hrvatskom/2304076.aspx

    #murs #frontières #migrations #réfugiés #asile #route_des_balkans #frontière_sud-alpine #barbelés #clôture

    –—

    En 2020:
    La #Slovénie érige de nouvelles barrières à sa frontière avec la #Croatie
    https://seenthis.net/messages/843468

  • #Midnight_Traveler

    Lorsque les talibans mettent sa tête à prix, le réalisateur afghan Hassan Fazili est forcé de prendre la fuite avec sa femme et ses deux jeunes filles. Saisissant leur parcours incertain à l’aide de trois smartphones, Fazili montre à la fois le danger et le désespoir auxquels sont confrontés les réfugiés demandeurs d’asile mais aussi l’immense amour qui le lie à sa famille.

    « Lorsque les talibans mettent sa tête à prix, le réalisateur afghan Hassan Fazili, sa femme et leurs deux filles sont contraints de fuir leur pays. Leur crime ? Avoir ouvert un café proposant des activités culturelles. D’abord réfugiés au Tadjikistan, l’impossibilité d’obtenir l’asile les pousse à prendre à nouveau la route, cette fois pour l’Europe. Commence alors un périple incertain et dangereux qui les met à la merci des passeurs. Pendant trois ans, Hassan Fazili filme sa famille et leur vie d’attente, de peur, d’ennui. Cinéaste sans autre caméra que son téléphone portable, il filme la lutte quotidienne qu’est devenue leur existence, ses filles qui grandissent dans des camps de transit, et l’amour qui les unit. Il filme pour ne pas être oublié. Il filme pour ne pas devenir fou. Ce désir impérieux de créer, même dans les pires conditions, Midnight Traveler nous le fait partager avec une intensité rare. Pour nos yeux tristement accoutumés aux images des migrants, le film est non seulement une odyssée familiale bouleversante, mais aussi une réflexion sur la nature et le pouvoir de ces images. »

    http://www.film-documentaire.fr/4DACTION/w_actualite_film/55325

    –-> film réalisé avec un téléphone portable

    #film #film_documentaire #documentaire

    #Tadjikistan #migrations #talibans #Afghanistan #Hassan_Fazili #asile #réfugiés #réfugiés_afghans #Iran #Qom #frontière_Iran-Turquie #Iran #Turquie #Istanbul #Bulgarie #Sofia #passeurs #camps_de_réfugiés #Ovcha_Kupel #Dimitrovgrad #forêt #Belgrade #Serbie #route_des_Balkans #Krnjaca #Hongrie #Röszke #centre_de_transit

  • #Refoulements_en_chaîne depuis l’#Autriche (2021)

    In a recent finding, the Styria Regional Administrative Court in Graz ruled that pushbacks are “partially methodically applied” in Austria, and that in the process, the 21-year-old complainant was subject to degrading treatment, violating his human dignity. The ruling further shed light on the practices of chain pushbacks happening from Italy and Austria, through Slovenia and Croatia, to BiH. The last chain pushback from Austria all the way to BiH was recorded by PRAB partners in early April 2021, while in 2020, 20 persons reported experiencing chain pushbacks from Austria and an additional 76 from Italy.

    Source: rapport “#Doors_Wide_Shut – Quarterly report on push-backs on the Western Balkan Route” (juin 2021)

    #push-backs #refoulements #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #Slovénie #Croatie #frontière_sud-alpine #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Alpes

    • MEPs slam Slovenian Presidency for their role in chain-pushbacks

      In the first week of September (2. 8. 2021), MEPs in the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs confronted Slovenian Interior Minister Aleš Hojs as he presented the priorities for Slovenian presidency of the Council of the European Union in Brussels. With evidence provided by BVMN and network members InfoKolpa and Are You Syrious, representatives of The Left in the European Parliament took the Presidency to task for its systemic policy of chain-pushbacks and flagrant abuse of the rule of law. Members also shamed the Slovenian Ministry of Interior for continuing to ignore a Supreme Court ruling which established Slovenia had violated the rights of a Cameroonian plaintiff and are obligated to allow him access to the Slovenian asylum system and to stop returning people to Croatia as there is overwhelming evidence of chain-refoulement and degrading treatment often amounting to tortute.

      Presenting the evidence

      Malin Björk, whose fact-finding trip to Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia was facilitated by Are You Syrious and Infokolpa, then handed over the Black Book of Pushbacks to Minister Hojs, a dossier of cases recorded by the Border Violence Monitoring Network which collates pushback violations from across the Balkans since 2017. The book has a concerningly large section on Slovenian chain pushbacks, sharing the voices of 1266 people documented by BVMN who had either been chain pushed back (via Croatia) to Bosnia-Herzegovina or Serbia. The cases speak of systemic gatekeeping of asylum, misuse of translation, the registering of minors as adults, and fast-tracked returns to Croatian police who would then carry out brutal pushbacks. All point to a high level of complicity by the Slovenian authorities in the brutalisation of people-on-the-move, a fact reinforced by the April ruling of the Slovenian Supreme Court.

      Yet this first hand evidence is in reality just the tip of the iceberg, and a recent open letter on the matter revealed how according to officially available data, over 27,000 returns of potential asylum seekers were carried out by Slovenian authorities in the recent years, resulting in chain refoulement via Croatia to non-EU countries such as Bosnia-Herzegovina.

      “I expect you as a responsible Minister, not only for your country, but for the EU Presidency to take part of this document and tell us what you will do to stop the illegality, impunity and the brutality.”

      More weak denials

      Interior Minister Hojs doubled down on his stance that Slovenia was managing its borders according to the Rule of Law, even despite his own national court ruling the complete opposite. In an unsurprising move, reminiscent of many Interior Ministers across the EU, Hojs levied accusations of fake news and dismissed the Black Book set before him as a fabrication. Referring to his short attempt to actually look at the evidence presented in the book Hojs stated: “How many lies can be concentrated on one half page, I immediately closed the book and did not touch it again”. With the Minister unwilling to leaf through the 244 pages dedicated to crimes carried out by Slovenia, the network welcome him to view the visual reconstruction of a pushback published last year which vividly captured the experience of those denied asylum access in Slovenia and then brutalised while being collectively expelled from Croatia.

      “I have read the Black Book already in parliament and have seen what they write about me and the Slovenian police. All lies.”

      – Minister Hojs Speaking to Slovenian TV

      The fact is that Minister Hojs is personally not mentioned in the Black Book, though his actions are documented on countless pages, implies that someone is indeed lying. Court judgements, the testimony of thousands of pushback victims, and hard video evidence all highlight the fragility of the Slovenian government’s “fake news” line. While already deeply concerning at a national level, the fact that this administration is also spearheading the EU Presidency shows the extent to which perpetrators of pushbacks have been enabled and empowered at the highest level in Brussels. As a recent webinar event hosted by InfoKolpa and BVMN asked: Can a country responsible for mass violations of Human Rights be an honest broker in the preparations of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum? Until the ruling by the Supreme Court is implemented and people-on-the-move have their mandated right to request asylum in Slovenia, this question will continue to be answered firmly with a “no”.

      Today, our MEPs talked to @aleshojs 🇸🇮 Minister of Home Affairs about the thousands of men, women and children who have been denied over the past years the right to seek asylum in Slovenia, and forcefully handed over to Croatian. @Border_Violence #StopPushbacks pic.twitter.com/XvNLvoCLhY

      — The Left in the European Parliament (@Left_EU) September 2, 2021

      MEP statement

      “I was in Velika Kladusa in Bosnia, I was astonished to meet many migrants and refugees that had been to Slovenia, but they had been told that the right to seek asylum did not exist in you country. One of the persons that I met there was from Cameroon and had escaped political persecution. Once he thought he was in safety in Slovenia he called the police himself to ask to be able to claim asylum. Instead he was as so many others, as thousand of others, handed over to the Croatian police who brutalised him and sent him back to Bosnia.

      This case is a little bit special, compared to the many thousands of others, because on 9th April this year the Slovenian Supreme Court itself ruled that Slovenian police had violated the principle of non-refoulement, the prohibition of collective expulsion and denied the him the right to seek international protection.

      You (Minister Hojs) have had meetings with Commissioner Johansson and you have said you will stand up for the right to seek asylum for asylum seekers. Now your own court has found that you fail in this case. So my questions are: Will you stand by your words and provide a humanitarian visa for this person so that he can come back to Slovenia to apply for asylum as he was supposed to have been granted two years ago? And the second is more structural of course, how will you ensure that people have the right to apply for asylum in Slovenia, that they are not brutally pushed back to Croatian police, who are then illegally pushing them back to Bosnia in a kind of chain pushback situation which is a shame, a shame, at European borders?”

      – Malin Björk MEP

      The case referred to is part of strategic litigation efforts led by network member InfoKolpa, which resulted in a landmark judgement issued on 16 July 2020 by the Slovenian Administrative Court. The findings prove that the Slovenian police force in August 2019 carried out an illegal collective expulsion of a member of a persecuted English-speaking minority from Cameroon who wanted to apply for asylum in the country. The verdict was confirmed on 9th April 2021 by the Slovenian Supreme Court, which ruled the following: the Slovenian police violated the principle of non-refoulement, the prohibition of collective expulsions and denied the asylum seeker access to the right to international protection. The state was ordered to ensure that the plaintiff is allowed to re-enter the country and ask for international protection, but no effort has been made by the authorities to respect the ruling of the court. The case is thus another confirmation of the Slovenian misconduct that persistently undermines the foundations of the rule of law, specifically international refugee law and international human rights law.

      We fear for Slovenia.

      https://www.borderviolence.eu/meps-slam-slovenian-presidency-for-their-role-in-chain-pushbacks

    • Briefly reviewing the topic of pushbacks at European borders, it is important to report on the case of a young refugee from Somalia who was prevented from seeking asylum in Austria and was expulsed, or more precisely, pushed back to Slovenia, contrary to international and European law. His case will soon be reviewed at the Provincial Administrative Court of Styria (https://www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/migrant-tuzio-austriju-slucaj-bi-mogao-imati-posljedice-i-za-hrvatsku-policiju/2302310.aspx), and if he wins the case, it will be the second verdict that indicates systematic and sometimes chained pushbacks of refugees through Austria, Slovenia, and thus Croatia all the way to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

      Reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodosli, du 16.09.2021

    • Violenze e respingimenti: la “stretta” della Slovenia sui migranti. Con l’aiuto dell’Italia

      Solo a settembre oltre 100 persone in transito sono state respinte a catena in Bosnia ed Erzegovina. Molte di loro sono state fermate a pochi chilometri dal confine italiano. I pattugliamenti misti della polizia italiana e slovena potrebbero spiegare l’aumento delle persone rintracciate. La denuncia del Border violence monitoring network

      Otto casi di respingimenti a catena dalla Slovenia alla Bosnia ed Erzegovina nel mese di settembre 2021. Più di cento persone coinvolte, in prevalenza cittadini afghani e pakistani, che denunciano violenze da parte della polizia slovena. Molte di loro (almeno 34) sono state fermate a “un passo” dal confine italiano: la “stretta” del governo di Lubiana sul controllo del territorio, in collaborazione con la polizia italiana, sembra dare i primi risultati.

      La denuncia arriva dalla rete Border violence monitoring network (Bvmn) che monitora il rispetto dei diritti delle persone in transito nei Paesi balcanici: “Non si hanno testimonianze dirette di poliziotti italiani coinvolti ma si presume che l’aumento nella sorveglianza del territorio e l’alto numero di persone arrestate nel nord della Slovenia sia una conseguenza dell’accordo tra Roma e Lubiana” spiega Simon Campbell, coordinatore delle attività della rete. Il ruolo dell’Italia resta così di primo piano nonostante le riammissioni al confine siano formalmente interrotte dal gennaio 2021.

      Nel report di Bvmn di settembre 2021 vengono ricostruite dettagliatamente numerose operazioni di respingimento che “partono” dal territorio sloveno. Intorno alle sette e trenta di sera del 7 settembre 2021 un gruppo di quattro cittadini afghani, tra cui un minore, viene fermato vicino alla città di Rodik, nel Nord-Ovest della Slovenia a circa cinque chilometri dal confine con l’Italia. Il gruppo di persone in transito viene bloccato da due agenti della polizia di frontiera slovena e trasferito in un centro per richiedenti asilo. Ma è solo un’illusione. Quarantotto ore dopo, il 9 settembre verso le 17, i quattro si ritroveranno a Gradina, nel Nord della Bosnia ed Erzegovina: nonostante abbiano espresso più volte la volontà di richiedere asilo le forze di polizia slovena le hanno consegnate a quelle croate che hanno provveduto a portarle nuovamente al di fuori dell’Ue. Una decina di giorni dopo, il 19 settembre, un gruppo di otto persone, di età compresa tra i 16 e i 21 anni, riesce a raggiungere la zona confinaria tra Slovenia e Italia ma durante l’attraversamento dell’autostrada A1, all’uscita di una zona boscosa, interviene la polizia. All’appello “mancano” due persone che camminavano più avanti e sono riuscite a raggiungere Trieste: le guardie di frontiera lo sanno. L’intervistato, un cittadino afghano di 21 anni, sospetta che “una sorta di videocamera con sensori li aveva ha individuati mentre camminavano nella foresta”. O forse uno dei 55 droni acquistati dal ministro dell’Interno sloveno per controllare il territorio di confine. A quel punto le forze speciali slovene chiedono rinforzi per rintracciare i “fuggitivi” e nel frattempo sequestrano scarpe, telefoni cellulari, power bank e soldi ai membri del gruppo identificati che dopo circa mezz’ora sono costretti a entrare nel retro di un furgone. “Non c’era ossigeno perché era sovraffollato e la polizia ha acceso l’aria condizionata a temperature elevate. Due persone sono svenute durante il viaggio” spiega il 21enne. Verso le 12 la polizia croata prende il controllo del furgone: il gruppo resta prigioniero nel veicolo, con le porte chiuse e senza cibo e acqua, per il resto della giornata. Alle due del mattino verranno rilasciati vicino a Bihać, nel cantone bosniaco di Una Sana.

      Sono solo due esempi delle numerose testimonianze raccolte dal Border violence. I numeri dei respingimenti a catena sono in forte aumento: da gennaio a agosto 2021 in totale erano state 143 le persone coinvolte, solo nel mese di settembre 104. Un dato importante che coinvolge anche l’Italia. Le operazioni di riammissione dall’Italia alla Slovenia sono formalmente interrotte -anche se la rete segnala due casi, uno a marzo e uno a maggio, di persone che nonostante avessero già raggiunto il territorio italiano sono state respinte a catena fino in Bosnia- ma il governo italiano fornisce supporto tecnico e operativo al governo sloveno per il controllo del territorio grazie a un’intesa di polizia tra Roma e Lubiana di cui non si conoscono i contenuti.

      Sono ripresi infatti nel mese di luglio 2021 i pattugliamenti misti al confine nelle zone di Gorizia e Trieste. “Al momento dobbiamo approfondire l’effettivo funzionamento dell’accordo: non abbiamo testimonianze dirette di poliziotti italiani coinvolti -continua Campbell-. Presumiamo però che l’alto livello di sorveglianza del territorio e il numero di persone che vengono catturate in quella zona dimostra che l’intesa sui pattugliamenti assume un ruolo importante nei respingimenti a catena verso la Bosnia”. Paese in cui la “malagestione” del fenomeno migratorio da parte del governo di Sarajevo si traduce in una sistematica violazione dei diritti delle persone in transito e in cui le forze di polizia sotto accusa del Consiglio d’Europa per i metodi violenti che utilizza. Elementi che il Viminale non può considerare solo come “collaterali” delle politiche con cui tenta di esternalizzare i confini.

      La particolarità dei respingimenti da parte delle autorità slovene è che sono realizzati alla luce del sole. “La caratteristica di queste operazioni consiste nel fatto che i migranti vengono consegnati ‘ufficialmente’ alle autorità croate dagli ufficiali sloveni ai valichi di frontiera sia stradali che ferroviari -spiegano gli attivisti-. Prendendo come esempio la Croazia la maggior parte dei gruppi vengono allontanati da agenti che eseguono le operazioni con maschere, in zone di confine remote”. In Slovenia, invece, spesso vengono rilasciate tracce di documenti firmati per giustificare l’attività di riammissione. “Nonostante questa procedura sia la Corte amministrativa che la Corte suprema slovena hanno ritenuto che queste pratiche violano la legge sull’asilo perché espongono le persone al rischio di tortura in Croazia”.

      Una violenza denunciata, a inizio ottobre 2021, da un’importate inchiesta giornalistica di cui abbiamo parlato anche su Altreconomia. I pushaback sloveni, a differenza di quelli “diretti” che si verificano in Croazia e in Bosnia ed Erzegovina, sono più elaborati perché “richiedono più passaggi e quindi possono durare più giorni”. “Siamo rimasti tre giorni in prigione. Non abbiamo potuto contattare nessun avvocato, non ci hanno fornito un traduttore. Ci hanno dato solo una bottiglia di acqua al giorno e del pane” racconta uno dei cittadini afghani intervistati. Oltre al cattivo trattamento in detenzione, diverse testimonianze parlano di “violenze e maltrattamenti anche all’interno delle stazioni di polizia slovene” e anche al di fuori, con perquisizioni violente: in una testimonianza raccolta dalla Ong No name kitchen, un cittadino afghano ha denunciato una “perquisizione intensiva dei genitali”. I maggiori controlli sul territorio sloveno, possibili anche grazie alla polizia italiana, rischiano così di far ricadere le persone in transito in una spirale di violenza e negazione dei diritti fondamentali.

      https://altreconomia.it/violenze-e-respingimenti-la-stretta-della-slovenia-sui-migranti-con-lai

    • “They were told by the officers that they would be taken to Serbia.... at 12am they were dropped at the Bosnia-Croatia border, near the town of Velika Kladuša”

      Date and time: September 24, 2021 00:00
      Location: Velika Kladuša, Bosnia and Herzegovina
      Coordinates: 45.1778695699, 16.025619131638
      Pushback from: Croatia, Slovenia
      Pushback to: Bosnia, Croatia
      Demographics: 11 person(s), age: 17-22 , from: Afghanistan, Pakistan
      Minors involved? No
      Violence used: kicking, insulting, theft of personal belongings
      Police involved: 2 Slovenian officers wearing blue uniforms, 2 Croatian officers wearing light blue uniforms, 2 police vans
      Taken to a police station?: yes
      Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, personal information taken, papers signed, denial of food/water, forced to pay fee
      Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
      Reported by: No Name Kitchen

      Original Report

      On 20th September 2021, 6 Afghan males between the ages of 17 and 22 attempted to cross the border from Slovenia into Italy near the city of Trieste. They had been traveling for 3 days from Serbia before reaching this point. They walked for 4 hours to the border with another group, but the weather was cold and raining so they decided to try taking a taxi instead. As they were hidden in the taxi they did not have enough space for their bags, and so during this ride they had no water or food.

      The two groups set off in two different taxis. The first made it across the border, but as the second one was approaching it after a 40-minute journey, a police car began chasing them. The driver of the taxi stopped on a small bridge and escaped on foot, but the men in the car were arrested by two Slovenian police officers. The officers have been described as one young man and one old man, both wearing blue short-sleeved tops. The men were then taken to a police station near the Italian border. Here they spent 1 night. The respondents remarked that they were treated well, that the police cooperated and did not try to scare them, and that they were given food, water, and blankets. However, it was cold, and a few of the group became ill. The police tried to interview them about their attempt across the border, but after receiving no response told them to rest and take their food.

      On the morning of 21 September, the group was all given a COVID test and taken to a quarantine facility. Here they spent 3 nights. Again, the respondent stated that they were treated well. They were allowed to use their mobile phones for 2 hours per day and were given good quality food and medical care from a nurse/doctor. The group stated that they intended to claim asylum except for one that was going to Germany because he had a brother there. They also filled out a form stating that they faced threat in Afghanistan. Communication was initially made in English, but a Pashtu-speaking interpreter from Pakistan was provided for the interview. One of the group, the 6th member, was allowed to stay in Slovenia as he was 17.

      On the morning of 24 September the group of 5, all Afghan males between the age of 18 and 22, were given all of their belongings and driven to a small checkpoint on the Croatian border. The checkpoint was described as a two-sided road with a container on each side. Here they were handed over to two Croatian officers, which the Slovenian officers spoke with. The Croatian officers have been described as one woman around 40-45 years old and one man around 50, with both wearing light blue short-sleeved shirts consistent with the uniform of the Croatian Granicna Policija (border police), and one wearing a jacket. Here the respondents remarked that the good treatment ended and that the Croatian officers began acting “insane”. They were driven to a police station near the Croatia-Slovenia border. Here their sim cards were all taken, meaning the group could not access their phones or location services anymore. In the station, there was also a group of 7 Pakistani men. Initially, the two groups were held in separate rooms, but when another detainee arrived at the station all 11 men were put in the same room. The respondents described the room as 2x2m, designed for 1 person, and smelling very bad.

      The two groups were kept in these conditions from 10 am-7 pm, with no food or water. They asked for these repeatedly and were eventually given something to eat after paying with their own money. One of the group of 5 was kicked twice for no apparent reason. The group stated their intention to claim asylum, and again filled out a form stating that they faced threat in Afghanistan. In response, the woman officer asked: “why did you leave Afghanistan? If there was war you should fight not leave”. The group remarked that they refused to engage, stating that “she doesn’t know politics, doesn’t know when someone should stay or leave, there is different reasons”.

      At around 8 pm all 11 men were given their belongings back, minus their sim cards. As the belongings were jumbled and all given at once, some things were lost or potentially stolen. They were then ordered to get in a van which was driven by the same two officers. The group of 5 asked to be returned to Serbia as they had contacts there and had spent time there. They also had Serbian refugee camp ID cards. They were told by the officers that they would be taken to Serbia. The officers then began driving slowly, stopping often and parking to pass the time. The groups asked for something to drink and gave money in return for cola and water. At 12am they were dropped at the Bosnia-Croatia border, near the town of Velika Kladuša.

      The group walked into Velika Kladuša. They spent all night outside with no blankets, sleeping bags, or comfortable places to sleep. The weather was freezing. They tried to enter a restaurant at 7am but were not allowed in. After 2 nights in the cold weather, the group of 5 decided to return to Serbia. The return cost between €500-600. They crossed the border into Serbia at a bridge, where the group remarked that there was no police in sight.

      https://www.borderviolence.eu/violence-reports/september-24-2021-0000-velika-kladusa-bosnia-and-herzegovina

  • #Doors_Wide_Shut – Quarterly report on push-backs on the Western Balkan Route

    As part of the #Protecting_Rights_at_Borders initiative funded by the European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM), the second quarterly report on unlawful push-backs carried out by authorities in Greece, North Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hungary, and Italy was published: https://helsinki.hu/en/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/07/PRAB-Report-April-to-June-2021.pdf

    A key finding is that the informal cooperation between states has prevented thousands of women, men and children from seeking protection in Europe this year, in often extremely violent and humiliating ways. Rights violations at borders are not an isolated issue. There is an overall trend, a so–called race to the bottom, with regards to respect for the fundamental rights of migrants, asylum–seekers and refugees. While governments deliberately do not respect and often directly violate migrants’, refugees’, and asylum seekers’ rights under human rights law, humanitarian organizations are often prevented from providing assistance in line with their humanitarian mandates.

    Country chapters were written by Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione (ASGI), Diaconia Valdese (DV) and Danish Refugee Council (DRC) regarding Italy; the Hungarian Helsinki Committee regarding Hungary; DRC BiH for Bosnia-Herzegovina; Humanitarian Center for Integration and Tolerance (HCIT) regarding Serbia; Macedonian Young Lawyers Association (MYLA) regarding North-Macedonia, and the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) and DRC Greece regarding Greece.

    The previous quarterly report is also available here: https://helsinki.hu/en/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/05/prab-report-january-may-2021-_final_10052021.pdf

    https://helsinki.hu/en/doors-wide-shut-quarterly-report-on-push-backs-on-the-western-balkan-route

    Dans le rapport on trouve une carte avec le nombre de refoulements entre janvier et juin 2021 :

    #push-backs #refoulements #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Grèce #Macédoine_du_Nord #Serbie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Hongrie #Italie
    #rapport

  • Chantage dans les Balkans : comment l’UE externalise ses politiques d’asile

    Le développement d’un système de collecte de données des personnes exilées dans les Balkans illustre l’orientation globale des politiques migratoires de l’Union européenne (UE) : externaliser la gestion des migrations à tout prix, au détriment de l’accueil. Pour tenir à distance celles et ceux qu’elle considère comme « indésirables », l’UE irait-elle jusqu’à étendre le mécanisme Dublin (déterminant l’Etat responsable de la demande d’asile) au-delà de ses frontières, au risque d’aggraver encore un peu plus les violations de droits le long de la route des Balkans ?

    Dublin : l’échec de la solidarité européenne

    « Nous allons abolir le règlement de Dublin et le remplacer par un nouveau système européen de gouvernance de la migration (…). Il y aura un nouveau mécanisme fort de solidarité » . Ainsi s’exprimait la cheffe de l’exécutif européen Ursula von der Leyen en septembre 2020, une semaine avant la présentation par la Commission européenne de son nouveau pacte sur la migration et l’asile.

    Abolir le règlement Dublin et davantage de solidarité : deux promesses a priori bienvenues dans une Europe en pleine crise de l’accueil. De fait, le règlement Dublin essuie depuis plusieurs années d’âpres critiques. Prévoyant que, sauf critères familiaux, le pays responsable de l’examen de la demande d’asile soit le premier État membre européen foulé, et dans lequel les empreintes digitales ont été collectées, Dublin fait peser de manière inéquitable l’accueil des personnes en besoin de protection sur les États membres situés aux frontières extérieures de l’Union européenne.

    Après l’arrivée de plus d’un million de personnes exilées sur le territoire européen en 2015, principalement en Grèce et en Italie, la Commission mettait alors en œuvre « l’approche hotspot » destinée à soutenir ces deux pays « en première ligne », en renforçant conjointement leurs capacités en matière de traitement de la demande d’asile et d’expulsion . Mais alors que cette approche devait s’accompagner d’un plan de relocalisation destiné à mieux répartir l’accueil des exilé·e·s à l’échelle européenne, celui-ci a échoué , faute de volonté politique des États membres. Surnommés « les camps de la honte », les hotspots des îles grecques, où s’entassent des milliers de personnes dans des conditions indignes, sont ainsi devenus l’emblème de la faillite de la solidarité européenne, tant à l’égard des exilé·e·s qu’entre les États membres.

    Le nouveau pacte européen : un mécanisme de « solidarité » pour les expulsions et l’externalisation des politiques migratoires

    Dans le nouveau pacte sur la migration et l’asile rendu public le 23 septembre 2020, la solidarité promise par Ursula von der Leyen sonne de manière étrange. De la solidarité, il n’y en aurait qu’entre les États membres, et non pas vis-à-vis des personnes exilées pour les accueillir équitablement et dignement, mais avant tout pour mieux les expulser. Le « mécanisme de solidarité obligatoire » inscrit dans le nouveau pacte ouvre la possibilité pour les États membres qui refusent le mécanisme de relocalisation de « parrainer » l’expulsion d’une personne en situation administrative irrégulière sur le territoire européen.

    Les États peuvent également choisir de se dérober à leurs responsabilités en matière d’accueil en soutenant un autre État membre pour renforcer les capacités de contrôles aux frontières de celui-ci, ainsi que sa coopération avec des pays tiers (non-membres de l’UE) en la matière. Comme le note le réseau Euromed Droits, « [c]e point manque de clarté dans le Pacte et suscite des inquiétudes car les États membres pourraient facilement l’interpréter au sens large […]. Par exemple, un pays comme la Hongrie pourrait choisir de soutenir l’Espagne dans ses relations bilatérales avec le Maroc sur des projets spécifiquement liés à la gestion des frontières et à l’augmentation de la capacité d’interception » . Cette seconde option s’inscrit ainsi au cœur de la stratégie d’externalisation de l’UE par laquelle cette dernière, depuis le début des années 2000, sous-traite à des pays non-européens non seulement le contrôle de ses propres frontières, mais également la gestion des personnes migrantes qu’elle juge « indésirables ».

    Solidarité entre les États membres pour augmenter la cadence des expulsions, pour renforcer des frontières déjà meurtrières et sous-traiter la gestion des migrations à des pays tiers qui n’ont rien de « sûrs » pour les personnes exilées… A défaut d’une Europe solidaire dans l’accueil, la Commission mise ainsi sur une Europe « solidaire » dans la mise à distance des personnes exilées, au mépris de leurs droits fondamentaux. Aussi, le nouveau pacte fait-il du renforcement de la coopération avec les pays tiers l’une de ses priorités.

    Les pays des Balkans, au cœur des chantages migratoires européens

    Dans le processus d’externalisation des frontières de l’Union européenne, les pays des Balkans occupent une place centrale. D’une part, parce que ladite « route des Balkans » continue d’être une voie d’entrée sur le territoire européen. En juin 2020, Frontex estimait qu’elle était devenue « la route migratoire la plus active » avec plus de 2 000 détections de « franchissements illégaux » de frontières, soit trois fois plus que l’année précédente à la même période . Malgré la diminution drastique des arrivées depuis 2016, les documents officiels de l’UE continuent de mentionner un « niveau de pression migratoire » élevé sur cette « route », alimentant la rhétorique d’une « crise » perpétuelle face à laquelle les pays des Balkans sont sommés d’endosser le rôle de garde-frontières au service de l’UE. La plupart des personnes qui empruntent cet itinéraire viennent de Syrie, d’Afghanistan, d’Irak ou encore du Pakistan , fuyant aussi bien des guerres, des persécutions politiques que des situations économiques devenues invivables.

    Les États des Balkans sont d’autre part au cœur du dispositif de sous-traitance migratoire de l’Union européenne, en vertu de leur statut particulier. Depuis le Sommet de Thessalonique de juin 2003, tous ont été identifiés comme des candidats potentiels à l’adhésion à l’Union. À ce titre, ils bénéficient d’une assistance financière et technique de l’UE (notamment via l’Instrument d’aide de préadhésion – IPA), pour renforcer leurs capacités dans divers domaines, tels que la démocratie, l’État de droit, le respect des droits fondamentaux, le but étant à terme d’aider ces États à répondre aux critères d’adhésion. Particulièrement depuis l’année 2015, le renforcement des capacités en matière de gestion des migrations et de contrôle des frontières n’a cessé de prendre de l’importance , mettant les États des Balkans face à un véritable chantage migratoire dans le cadre de leur processus d’adhésion. L’UE ne laisse aucun doute sur le fait que le soutien des pays des Balkans dans ce domaine est essentiel s’ils veulent poursuivre le processus.

    Entre 2007 et 2019, plus de 216 millions d’euros du fonds IPA ont ainsi été alloués à ces pays des Balkans dans le domaine des migrations . Cela comprend, entre autres, le soutien à la construction de nouveaux postes frontières, la formation et la fourniture d’équipements modernes aux autorités en charge de la protection des frontières, ou encore l’ouverture de centres de rétention et d’expulsion. Depuis 2015, 141 millions d’euros supplémentaires d’aides européennes ont été débloqués pour les aider à faire face à l’arrivée de plusieurs centaines de milliers d’exilé.e.s. Conjointement à sa tentative d’imperméabiliser ses frontières extérieures, l’UE a ainsi financé la construction de dizaines de camps le long de la « route des Balkans » pour y « stocker » les personnes qu’elle refuse d’accueillir.

    « Partenariat » UE-Balkans : priorité à l’échange de données

    Ces dernières années, l’UE a notamment concentré ses efforts sur le renforcement des capacités des pays des Balkans en matière de collecte et d’échange des données. Dans un document publié en janvier 2020 , Frontex, EASO (Bureau européen d’appui en matière d’asile) et Europol appelaient ainsi au développement d’un nouveau « mécanisme de surveillance des réseaux sociaux », invoquant la nécessité de lutter contre les réseaux de passeurs et l’immigration « irrégulière » dans la région des Balkans. Opérée pendant un temps par EASO, cette surveillance avait finalement été condamnée par le Contrôleur européen de la protection des données, lequel avait jugé qu’il n’existait pas de base légale permettant à EASO de collecter des données personnelles . D’où le besoin pressant de confier cette tâche à un nouvel acteur.

    Dans ses conclusions du 5 janvier 2020, le Conseil européen affirme sa volonté de « réfléchir à la mise en place, par les partenaires des Balkans occidentaux, de systèmes nationaux interopérables d’enregistrement biométrique et de partage des données sur les demandeurs d’asile et les migrants en situation irrégulière, et de soutenir cette démarche ». Le Conseil mentionne en outre que les systèmes de collecte et de partage des données devraient « être calqués sur les principes techniques et de protection des données d’Eurodac, permettant ainsi un échange régulier d’informations au niveau régional et garantissant leur interopérabilité et leur compatibilité futures avec les systèmes de l’UE ». Dotée d’un système automatisé de reconnaissance d’empreintes digitales, la base de données Eurodac contient les empreintes des personnes ressortissantes de pays tiers ayant déposé une demande d’asile ou ayant été interceptées à l’occasion du franchissement « irrégulier » d’une frontière extérieure. Elle est utilisée par l’Union européenne dans le cadre de l’application du règlement Dublin pour déterminer l’État membre responsable d’une demande d’asile. A noter que la base de données a vocation à être considérablement étendue dans le cadre du nouveau pacte européen sur la migration et l’asile.

    On retrouve cette volonté de renforcer les États des Balkans en matière de collecte et d’échange de données dans le programme IPA financé par l’UE intitulé « Regional support to protection-sensitive migration management in the Western Balkans and Turkey Phase II » . Si les documents publiés par la Commission européenne sur ce programme manquent de transparence concernant le type de données échangées, divers témoignages confirment la mise en place dans ce cadre d’une base de données régionale construite sur le modèle de la base de données Eurodac et compatible avec cette dernière. Un document à accès limité résumant les échanges tenus lors d’une réunion du Conseil JAI avec les pays des Balkans vient également confirmer cette initiative de l’UE : « Les partenaires des Balkans occidentaux se sont déclarés favorables à l’amélioration de l’échange d’informations avec l’UE et dans la région grâce à la mise en place de systèmes d’information nationaux interopérables, inspirés des normes Eurodac, pour enregistrer les données relatives aux migrants. L’UE s’est déclarée prête à fournir un soutien technique ».

    D’après les diverses délégations de l’Union européenne présentes dans les pays des Balkans, c’est l’agence Frontex qui serait en charge d’évaluer pour chaque pays les travaux nécessaires pour assurer l‘interconnectivité à l’échelle régionale des bases de données nationales et leur compatibilité avec les bases européennes. Dans la région, Frontex est déjà en charge de développer des centres de coordination nationaux pour la collecte et l’échanges de données liées à la gestion des migrations et au contrôle des frontières . Ces centres sont construits sur le modèle de ceux des États membres en vue de leur future interconnexion.

    Des millions d’euros investis pour des technologies de pointe, en pleine « crise humanitaire »

    Aussi, les pays des Balkans sont-ils progressivement dotés par l’Union européenne de systèmes de collecte et d’échange de données à la pointe de la technologie. Après la Serbie , c’est maintenant au tour de la Bosnie-Herzégovine d’être outillée avec la technologie AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System), laquelle permet la reconnaissance automatique des empreintes digitales, préalable à la mise en place de la base de données Eurodac. Pour améliorer ses capacités en matière de collecte de données liées aux migrations, celle-ci a reçu 17 millions d’euros du fonds IPA entre 2015 et 2020 , l’objectif étant à terme de mettre en œuvre une base de données opérationnelle, un outil analytique et un système de contrôle des données biométriques des migrants. A noter que la Suisse apporte également un soutien important dans cette entreprise.

    En Bosnie-Herzégovine, pour accéder à la plupart des camps et aux différents services humanitaires de base, les personnes exilées doivent désormais donner les empreintes digitales de leurs dix doigts, sans toutefois être informées de l’utilisation qui en sera faite. Dans le camp de containeurs de Blazuj, surpeuplé et insalubre, où s’entassent plus de 3 000 personnes et où l’on manque de tout, le degré de sophistication des technologies de collectes de données tranche avec l’archaïsme des conditions de vie auxquelles les personnes exilées sont soumises. « Dans les camps de l’OIM, on souffre de la gale et on meurt encore de la pneumonie. Qui à notre époque meurt encore de la pneumonie ? » s’interroge la journaliste de Sarajevo Nidzara Ahmetasevic, faisant référence à un jeune garçon décédé faute de soins. Pas d’accès aux services médicaux, pas de toit pour des milliers de personnes obligées de dormir dehors par des températures glaciales, pas de mesures protection sérieuses contre la COVID 19 …

    Dans ce petit pays, qui se remet à peine d’une guerre encore récente, qui est décrit comme étant en pleine « crise humanitaire » et où les quelques 10 000 personnes exilées qui y sont bloquées survivent péniblement, l’ampleur des fonds européens alloués à ces technologies de pointe relève de l’indécence.

    Connecter les pays des Balkans à la base de données Eurodac avant même leur adhésion à l’Union européenne ?

    La Commission européenne ne cache pas que l’ambition est à terme d’intégrer les pays des Balkans dans la base de données Eurodac. Mais, précise-t-elle, cette connexion ne saurait être possible avant leur adhésion à l’Union européenne . Le développement actuel de systèmes de collecte de données biométriques pour les personnes migrantes dans les pays des Balkans ne viserait donc qu’à préparer ces derniers à leur adhésion future.

    Pourtant, l’absence de perspectives d’adhésion à court-terme et même à moyen-terme de la plupart des pays des Balkans pose question : pourquoi dépenser des millions pour aider des États à mettre en place des systèmes de collecte et d’échange de données qu’ils ne pourront pas utiliser d’ici plusieurs années, voire décennies, au risque que les technologies employées ne deviennent entre temps obsolètes ? De fait, cela fait longtemps que le processus d’adhésion semble au point mort, tant pour des raisons propres à l’UE (défiance envers tout élargissement, notamment depuis la crise du Brexit) que pour des raisons propres aux pays candidats, comme l’absence de volonté politique, les blocages institutionnels ou diplomatiques, ou la dégradation de la situation économique…. Davantage encore que celle des autres pays des Balkans, l’adhésion de la Bosnie-Herzégovine est plus qu’hypothétique, cette dernière n’ayant, pour l’heure, pas même le statut de candidat officiel.

    De quoi éveiller encore un peu plus les soupçons : la Serbie a indiqué qu’elle mettrait en œuvre les règlements Dublin et Eurodac deux ans avant de rejoindre l’UE . Comme le remarque l’ONG Klikaktiv basée à Belgrade, « il s’agirait d’un cas unique de pays signant les règlements de Dublin et d’EURODAC avant de devenir un État membre de l’UE » . Dans son rapport 2020 sur l’état du processus d’adhésion de la Serbie à l’UE , la Commission européenne dévoile par ailleurs que le ministère de l’Intérieur serbe utilise désormais une base de données unique pour identifier et enregistrer les demandeur·euse·s d’asile et que « les préparatifs de la connexion à la base de données d’empreintes digitales des demandeurs d’asile de l’UE (Eurodac) sont dans leur phase initiale » . Mais comme le dénonce Klikaktiv, cette connexion serait illégale, la loi serbe ne permettant pas l’échange de ce type de données avec les pays de l’UE.

    L’interconnexion d’Eurodac et des bases de données des pays des Balkans avant l’achèvement du processus d’adhésion constituerait également une violation flagrante des standards européens en matière de protection des données personnelles. Or, dans ce domaine, il semble que l’Union européenne n’est plus à une illégalité près . Comme on peut le lire dans un document du Conseil européen résumant les positions des pays des Balkans sur la perspective d’une interconnexion : « l’affirmation selon laquelle [la connexion à la base de données Eurodac] ne peut se faire en raison de la législation sur la protection des données ne tient pas, car les pays des Balkans occidentaux ont déjà signé un accord de coopération opérationnelle avec Europol, alors qu’en la matière les législations nationales ne sont qu’approximativement alignées sur les standards de l’Union européenne » . Que l’interconnexion des bases de données soit légale ou non, l’UE pourrait envisager la possibilité d’intégrer les pays des Balkans dans le système Eurodac, sans que ceux-ci ne fassent partie du club européen.

    Frontex : le maillon pour connecter les bases de données des pays des Balkans à Eurodac ?

    Pour permettre une interconnexion précoce des bases de données, l’Union européenne semble compter sur l’agence Frontex. De fait, alors qu’en 2019, le mandat de Frontex a été élargi pour accroître sa capacité à agir dans des pays tiers, l’agence est, de plus, présente dans les États des Balkans. Des accords de coopération autorisant son déploiement opérationnel ont été négociés avec l’Albanie, le Monténégro, la Serbie, la Bosnie-Herzégovine et la Macédoine du Nord. En mai 2019, Frontex a ainsi lancé sa première opération conjointe officielle sur un territoire non européen, à la frontière de l’Albanie avec la Grèce , suivie par deux opérations lancées au Monténégro en juillet et octobre 2020. Alors que l’accord avec la Serbie est entré en vigueur le 10 mars 2021 après avoir été adopté l’unanimité par le Parlement serbe, la Bosnie-Herzégovine s’apprête également à donner son feu vert au déploiement de Frontex.

    Or, les accords que Frontex signe avec les États des Balkans donnent à l’agence certains droits en matière de consultation des bases de données nationales. Comme le note Statewatch, « les accords avec l’Albanie et le Monténégro permettent à l’État hôte d’autoriser les membres de l’équipe [de Frontex] à consulter les bases de données nationales si cela est nécessaire pour les objectifs opérationnels ou pour les opérations de retour » . Parallèlement, l’adoption du règlement « interopérabilité » en 2019 facilite l’accès de l’agence Frontex aux différentes bases de données européennes, et notamment à Eurodac. Grâce à ce double accès, l’agence pourrait ainsi être en mesure de comparer les données collectées par les autorités nationales des pays des Balkans dans la base de données Eurodac.

    Cette possibilité semble être exploitée en Albanie, où des officiers de Frontex sont déployés à la frontière grecque. Depuis le début de l’opération lancée en 2019, l’agence veille à ce que les personnes interceptées à la frontière par la police albanaise soient emmenées dans des camps de containeurs , où celles-ci sont enregistrées avant d’être généralement refoulées en toute illégalité vers la Grèce. Selon divers témoignages , les officiers de Frontex compareraient les données collectées à l’occasion de cette procédure d’enregistrement dans diverses bases de données européennes (SIS, Europol, Eurodac…). En janvier 2020, le Conseil avait d’ailleurs déjà évoqué cette possibilité . Selon le cadre juridique actuel et jusqu’à ce que les nouveaux amendements aient été adoptés, il s’agirait d’une pratique illégale concernant Eurodac. Interrogé à ce sujet, le service de presse de Frontex nie, contrairement aux informations reçues sur le terrain, effectuer de tels recoupements de données dans le cadre de ses opérations dans les Balkans

    Frontex pourrait ainsi servir de maillon intermédiaire permettant à l’UE d’accéder aux bases de données des États des Balkans . N’autorisant qu’une consultation à sens unique (les pays des Balkans n’ayant pas d’accès direct à Eurodac), cette stratégie présente l’avantage de contourner les différentes restrictions en matière de protection des données personnelles et de maintenir ces pays dans une relation de centre à périphérie, dans laquelle l’UE peut continuer à servir ses propres intérêts en matière de gestion migratoire.

    Des hotspots pour l’UE, hors UE

    L’intérêt que pourrait avoir l’Union européenne à étendre le système Eurodac aux pays des Balkans est évident. Préalable à l’instauration d’un « Dublin hors UE », cette entreprise viendrait parachever la mise en œuvre de l’« approche hotspot » de l’UE dans la région. Pour toute personne exilée qui serait appréhendée en train de franchir « irrégulièrement » une frontière ou déposerait une demande d’asile dans un État membre européen, il serait possible, grâce à la base de données Eurodac élargie à cette région, de savoir quels pays ont été préalablement traversés au cours du parcours migratoire. Ces pays seraient dès lors en charge de l’examen de la demande d’asile de la personne, ou, dans le cas où cette dernière serait déboutée, de son expulsion vers son pays d’origine. Une personne arrivant en Italie mais dont les empreintes auraient été collectées dans un camp à Sarajevo pourrait ainsi être renvoyée vers la Bosnie.

    Lors d’une réunion du groupe de travail interinstitutionnel chargé de préparer l’intégration de la Macédoine du Nord à l’Union européenne, le représentant du ministère de l’Intérieur macédonien s’inquiétait ainsi que Bruxelles « impose l’idée d’établir ce qu’on appelle BALKANDAC, suivant le modèle d’EURODAC, une base de données d’empreintes digitales dans l’UE. Cette base de données est acceptée par les pays de la région, mais elle ne nous offre pas la possibilité d’y accéder. C’est un piège pour nous car les pays de l’UE sauront quels migrants ont été enregistrés ici et les renverront, et nous ne serons pas en mesure de les renvoyer en Grèce. Il n’y a pas de mauvaise intention dans tout cela, mais il est évident que l’UE nous traite de manière paternaliste » .

    Alors que la possibilité pour un État membre de renvoyer une personne ressortissante d’un pays tiers dont il est prouvé qu’elle a transité par l’un des pays des Balkans est déjà prévue dans les accords de réadmission que l’UE a signé avec ces derniers , la mise en œuvre d’un système de collecte de données spécifique pourrait donc dans le futur faire du rêve d’un « Dublin extra-européen » une réalité. Cela fait déjà plusieurs décennies que l’UE exprime clairement sa volonté de transformer la région des Balkans en lieux de stockage des migrant·e·s qui tentent de rejoindre son territoire . Dans un document daté du 12 mai 2020, la Présidence croate regrettait ainsi que les pays des Balkans occidentaux continuent de se percevoir comme des pays de transit et rappelait la nécessité d’encourager ces derniers à « renforcer leurs capacités globales en matière de migration - y compris le système d’asile, les conditions d’accueil et les capacités de retour » .

    L’UE assigne de fait à cette région un triple objectif : stocker les personnes exilées bloquées aux frontières européennes, réadmettre celles dont l’UE ne veut pas sur son territoire et les renvoyer dans leur pays d’origine. Aussi l’UE soutient-elle depuis plusieurs années le renforcement des capacités des pays des Balkans en matière d’expulsion, notamment en coopération avec Frontex et l’OIM . Augmentation des capacités des centres d’enfermement et d’expulsion, formation d’escortes pour accompagner les expulsions, renforcement des programmes de retours « volontaires », incitations à signer des accords de réadmission avec les pays d’origine des personnes exilées … Tout est ainsi fait pour transformer les pays des Balkans en lieux de stockage et de pré-expulsion des « indésirables ».

    Faire passer les États des Balkans pour des « pays tiers sûrs »

    Pour faciliter l’externalisation de la gestion migratoire aux pays des Balkans, l’Union européenne les présente comme étant « sûrs ». Inscrit dans la Directive « Procédures » (2013), le concept de « pays tiers sûrs » permet de faciliter le renvoi de demandeur·euse·s d’asile dans des pays tiers sans examen approfondi de leur demande (application d’une procédure accélérée). Mais alors que la Commission européenne dépense des millions pour tenter de renforcer les législations et les capacités de ces pays en matière de traitement de la demande d’asile en vue de les faire passer pour des pays « sûrs », les organisations de la société civile constatent sur le terrain la persistance et parfois même l’aggravation des violations de droits des personnes exilées. Que ce soit au Kosovo, en Albanie, en Macédoine du Nord, en Serbie, en Bosnie-Herzégovine ou au Monténégro, l’accès à la demande d’asile est souvent impossible et les refoulements sont à certaines frontières systématiques.

    Malgré les violations de droits incessamment rapportées par la société civile dans la région, la Commission européenne prévoit dans son nouveau pacte d’inscrire les pays des Balkans sur une liste européenne de « pays tiers sûrs » . Et alors que ce concept est pour l’heure d’application facultative pour les États membres, la Commission prévoit de rendre son application obligatoire. Ainsi serait achevée la stratégie d’externalisation consistant à sous-traiter la demande d’asile européenne à des pays dont les standards en matière de protection et de respect des droits fondamentaux sont pourtant bien inférieurs à ceux de l’Union européenne.
    Reste que pour renvoyer à tout prix les personnes migrantes dans les pays des Balkans, les États membres n’ont pas attendu l’achèvement de la machine à expulser bien huilée que l’Union européenne semble être en train de mettre en place. Depuis 2016, les pratiques de refoulement des pays européens vers les pays des Balkans se multiplient, au mépris des droits fondamentaux des personnes venues chercher une protection dans l’Union européenne. Toujours plus violentes et systématiques, ces pratiques se poursuivent sous l’œil complaisant de l’UE, lorsque celle-ci n’y apporte pas directement son soutien.

    Dénoncer ces violations de droits flagrantes est essentiel et urgent. Combattre le régime frontalier européen qui les rend possible et les encourage l’est tout autant. Que les personnes exilées soient tenues à distance des frontières européennes par la force d’une matraque ou par une base de données biométriques à grande échelle est dans tous les cas inacceptable.

    http://www.migreurop.org/article3040

    Rapport Migreurop, disponible aussi en anglais :
    http://www.migreurop.org/article3041

    #données #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #frontières #UE #EU #Union_européenne #Dublin #pacte #chantage

    –—

    sur le nouveau pacte européen :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/876752

    ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières (work in progress) :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749

    Et plus précisément ici, en lien avec les Balkans :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message782649

  • Exhibition “#Prijelaz” (“The Passage”) at Živi Atelje in Zagreb (Croaia)


    https://www.facebook.com/ziviateljedk

    –-> commemorating the people on the move who lost their lives on Croatian borders

    Uskoro u Živi Atelje DK pogledajte izložbu “Prijelaz” koja progovara o smrtima ljudi u pokretu na hrvatskim granicama, koje čuvaju Tvrđavu Europu.
    Izgubljen život je bol i patnja za obitelj i prijatelje, ali i za nas kao članove društva u kojima su ti životi odneseni. Smrt na hrvatskim granicama odnijela je živote i lica ljudi i upravo o tim licima je posvećena izložba “Prijelaz”. Izložba progovara o svijesti hrvatskog društva koje uslijed procesa pristupanja Schengenskoj zoni i europskoj eliti krši ljudska prava i zatvara oči pred smrtima.
    Ove prakse događaju se u našoj neposrednoj blizini i važno je da im se suprotstavimo.

    –—

    Traduction automatique:

    Bientôt, dans le Living Atelje DK, jetez un œil à l’exposition "Crossing", qui parle de la mort de personnes en déplacement aux frontières croates, qui gardent la forteresse Europe.
    Une vie perdue est une douleur et une souffrance pour la famille et les amis, mais aussi pour nous en tant que membres de la société dans laquelle ces vies ont été enlevées. La mort aux frontières croates a emporté la vie et le visage de personnes, et l’exposition « Traverser » est dédiée à ces personnes. L’exposition parle de la conscience de la société croate qui, en raison du processus d’adhésion à l’espace Schengen et à l’élite européenne, viole les droits de l’homme et ferme les yeux sur la mort.
    Ces pratiques se produisent dans notre voisinage immédiat et il est important que nous nous y opposions.

    https://www.facebook.com/CentarzaMirovneStudije/posts/3955498717878068

    #exposition #art_et_politique #Croatie #mourir_aux_frontières #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #The_Passage #commémoration

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Annual Torture Report 2020

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

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

    The violations profiled include:

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

    –-

    Key Findings from Croatia:

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

    Key Findings from Greece:

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

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

    ping @isskein

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Anatomy of a pushback: from Italy to Bosnia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Border violence and the fear of contagion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Torture at Europe’s doorstep

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Back to square one…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Rückführung illegaler MigrantenNGOs üben scharfe Kritik an Nehammers Balkan-Plänen

    Österreich hat mit Bosnien die Rückführung illegaler Migranten vereinbart, Nehammer sagte Unterstützung zu. Laut NGOs mache sich Österreich damit „zum Komplizen eines Völkerrechtsbruches“.

    Innenminister #Karl_Nehammer (ÖVP) hat am Mittwoch seine Westbalkanreise fortgesetzt und mit Bosnien einen Rückführungsplan für irreguläre Migranten vereinbart. Mit dem Sicherheitsminister von Bosnien und Herzegowina, #Selmo_Cikotić, unterzeichnete er eine Absichtserklärung. Scharfe Kritik äußerten mehrere Initiativen in Österreich. Außerdem kündigte Nehammer an, dass Österreich für das abgebrannte Camp #Lipa 500.000 Euro bereitstellt, damit dieses winterfest gemacht wird.

    Die Arbeiten dazu haben laut dem Innenministerium bereits begonnen, mit dem Geld sollen ein Wasser- und Abwassernetz sowie Stromanschlüsse errichtet werden. Im Dezember war die Lage in Bihać eskaliert, nachdem das Camp Lipa im Nordwesten des Landes kurz vor Weihnachten von der Internationalen Organisation für Migration (IOM) geräumt worden war – mit der Begründung, dass es die bosnischen Behörden nicht winterfest gemacht hätten. Kurz darauf brannten die Zelte aus, den damaligen Berichten zufolge hatten Bewohner das Feuer selbst gelegt. Beobachter gehen davon aus, dass auch die Einheimischen das Feuer aus Wut auf die Flüchtenden gelegt haben könnten.

    Charterflüge für Migranten ohne Bleibechancen

    Zentrales Ziel der Balkanreise von Innenminister Nehammer ist die Erarbeitung von Rückführungsplänen mit den besuchten Ländern. Migranten ohne Bleibewahrscheinlichkeit, die laut Nehammer auch ein Sicherheitsproblem sind, sollen bereits von den Balkanländern in die Herkunftsländer zurückgebracht werden. Mit Bosnien wurde bereits ein Charterflug vereinbart. Damit zeige man den Menschen, dass es nicht sinnvoll sei, Tausende Euro in die Hände von Schleppern zu legen, ohne die Aussicht auf eine Bleibeberechtigung in der EU zu haben, betonte Nehammer.

    Die geplanten Rückführungen sollen über die im vergangenen Sommer bei der Ministerkonferenz in Wien angekündigte „Plattform gegen illegale Migration“ operativ organisiert werden. In die Koordinierungsplattform für Migrationspolitik mehrerer EU-Länder – darunter Deutschland – sowie der Westbalkanstaaten wird auch die EU-Kommission miteinbezogen.
    Beamte sollen im „Eskortentraining“ geschult werden

    Bosnien hat bereits auch konkrete Anliegen für Unterstützung vorgebracht. So sollen 50 sogenannte „Rückführungsspezialisten“ in Österreich trainiert werden. Diese sind bei Abschiebungen und freiwilligen Ausreisen für die Sicherheit in den Flugzeugen zuständig. Bei diesem sogenannten Eskortentraining werden die bosnischen Beamten theoretisch und praktisch geschult, in Absprache mit Frontex und unter Miteinbeziehung der Cobra, berichtete Berndt Körner, stellvertretender Exekutivdirektor von Frontex.

    „Wir helfen bei der Ausbildung, vermitteln Standards, das ändert aber nichts an der Verantwortlichkeit, die bleibt in den jeweiligen Ländern“, sagte er im Gespräch mit der APA. Es gehe darum, dass „alle internationalen Standards eingehalten werden“, betonte der österreichische Spitzenbeamte.
    NGOs sehen „falsches Zeichen“

    Scharfe Kritik an dem von Nehammer geplanten „Rückführungsplan“ übten unterdessen zahlreiche Initiativen aus der Zivilgesellschaft. „Wenn Österreich den Westbalkanländern helfen will, dann soll es diese Länder beim Aufbau von rechtsstaatlichen Asylverfahren unterstützen. Wenn allerdings Menschen, die in diesen Ländern keine fairen Verfahren erwarten können, einfach abgeschoben werden sollen und Österreich dabei hilft, macht es sich zum Komplizen eines Völkerrechtsbruches“, kritisierte etwa Maria Katharina Moser, Direktorin der Diakonie Österreich, in einer Aussendung.

    „Die Vertiefung der Zusammenarbeit mit der EU-Agentur Frontex ist ein falsches Zeichen“, erklärte Lukas Gahleitner-Gertz, Sprecher der NGO Asylkoordination Österreich. „Die Vorwürfe gegen Frontex umfassen inzwischen unterschiedlichste Bereiche von unterlassener Hilfeleistung über Beteiligung an illegalen Push-backs bis zur Verschwendung von Steuergeldern bei ausufernden Betriebsfeiern. Statt auf die strikte Einhaltung der völker- und menschenrechtlichen Verpflichtungen zu pochen, stärkt Österreich der umstrittenen Grenztruppe den Rücken.“

    „Im Flüchtlingsschutz müssen wir immer die Menschen im Auge haben, die Schutz suchen. Ich habe bei meiner Reise nach Bosnien selbst gesehen, unter welchen Bedingungen Geflüchtete leben müssen. Für mich ist klar: Diejenigen, die Schutz vor Verfolgung brauchen, müssen durch faire Asylverfahren zu ihrem Recht kommen“, sagte Erich Fenninger, Direktor der Volkshilfe Österreich und Sprecher der Plattform für eine menschliche Asylpolitik.

    https://www.kleinezeitung.at/politik/innenpolitik/5972469/Rueckfuehrung-illegaler-Migranten_NGOs-ueben-scharfe-Kritik-an

    #Autriche #Bosnie #accord #accord_bilatéral #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Balkans #renvois #route_des_Balkans #expulsions #Nehammer #Selmo_Cikotic #externalisation #camp_de_réfugiés #encampement #IOM #OIM #vols #charter #dissuasion #Plattform_gegen_illegale_Migration #machine_à_expulsion #Rückführungsspezialisten #spécialistes_du_renvoi (tentative de traduction de „Rückführungsspezialisten“) #avions #Eskortentraining #Frontex #Cobra #Berndt_Körner

  • Réfugiés : contourner la #Croatie par le « #triangle » #Serbie - #Roumanie - #Hongrie

    Une nouvelle route migratoire s’est ouverte dans les Balkans : en Serbie, de plus en plus d’exilés tentent de contourner les barbelés barrant la #Hongrie en faisant un crochet par la Roumanie, avant d’espérer rejoindre les pays riches de l’Union européenne. Un chemin plus long et pas moins risqué, conséquence des politiques sécuritaires imposées par les 27.

    Il est 18h30, le jour commence à baisser sur la plaine de #Voïvodine. Un groupe d’une cinquantaine de jeunes hommes, sacs sur le dos et duvets en bandoulière, marche d’un pas décidé le long de la petite route de campagne qui relie les villages serbes de #Majdan et de #Rabe. Deux frontières de l’Union européenne (UE) se trouvent à quelques kilomètres de là : celle de la Hongrie, barrée depuis la fin 2015 d’une immense clôture barbelée, et celle de la Roumanie, moins surveillée pour le moment.

    Tous s’apprêtent à tenter le « #game », ce « jeu » qui consiste à échapper à la police et à pénétrer dans l’UE, en passant par « le triangle ». Le triangle, c’est cette nouvelle route migratoire à trois côtés qui permet de rejoindre la Hongrie, l’entrée de l’espace Schengen, depuis la Serbie, en faisant un crochet par la Roumanie. « Nous avons été contraints de prendre de nouvelles dispositions devant les signes clairs de l’augmentation du nombre de personnes traversant illégalement depuis la Serbie », explique #Frontex, l’Agence européenne de protection des frontières. Aujourd’hui, 87 de ses fonctionnaires patrouillent au côté de la police roumaine.

    Depuis l’automne 2020, le nombre de passages par cet itinéraire, plus long, est en effet en forte hausse. Les #statistiques des passages illégaux étant impossibles à tenir, l’indicateur le plus parlant reste l’analyse des demandes d’asiles, qui ont explosé en Roumanie l’année dernière, passant de 2626 à 6156, soit une hausse de 137%, avec un pic brutal à partir du mois d’octobre. Selon les chiffres de l’Inspectoratul General pentru Imigrări, les services d’immigrations roumains, 92% de ces demandeurs d’asile étaient entrés depuis la Serbie.

    “La Roumanie et la Hongrie, c’est mieux que la Croatie.”

    Beaucoup de ceux qui espèrent passer par le « triangle » ont d’abord tenté leur chance via la Bosnie-Herzégovine et la Croatie avant de rebrousser chemin. « C’est difficile là-bas », raconte Ahmed, un Algérien d’une trentaine d’années, qui squatte une maison abandonnée de Majdan avec cinq de ses compatriotes. « Il y a des policiers qui patrouillent cagoulés. Ils te frappent et te prennent tout : ton argent, ton téléphone et tes vêtements. Je connais des gens qui ont dû être emmenés à l’hôpital. » Pour lui, pas de doutes, « la Roumanie et la Hongrie, c’est mieux ».

    La route du « triangle » a commencé à devenir plus fréquentée dès la fin de l’été 2020, au moment où la situation virait au chaos dans le canton bosnien d’#Una_Sana et que les violences de la police croate s’exacerbaient encore un peu plus. Quelques semaines plus tard, les multiples alertes des organisations humanitaires ont fini par faire réagir la Commission européenne. Ylva Johansson, la Commissaire suédoise en charge des affaires intérieures a même dénoncé des « traitements inhumains et dégradants » commis contre les exilés à la frontière croato-bosnienne, promettant une « discussion approfondie » avec les autorités de Zagreb. De son côté, le Conseil de l’Europe appelait les autorités croates à mettre fin aux actes de tortures contre les migrants et à punir les policiers responsables. Depuis, sur le terrain, rien n’a changé.

    Pire, l’incendie du camp de #Lipa, près de #Bihać, fin décembre, a encore aggravé la crise. Pendant que les autorités bosniennes se renvoyaient la balle et que des centaines de personnes grelottaient sans toit sous la neige, les arrivées se sont multipliées dans le Nord de la Serbie. « Rien que dans les villages de Majdan et Rabe, il y avait en permanence plus de 300 personnes cet hiver », estime Jeremy Ristord, le coordinateur de Médecins sans frontières (MSF) en Serbie. La plupart squattent les nombreuses maisons abandonnées. Dans cette zone frontalière, beaucoup d’habitants appartiennent aux minorités hongroise et roumaine, et Budapest comme Bucarest leur ont généreusement délivré des passeports après leur intégration dans l’UE. Munis de ces précieux sésames européens, les plus jeunes sont massivement partis chercher fortune ailleurs dès la fin des années 2000.

    Siri, un Palestinien dont la famille était réfugiée dans un camp de Syrie depuis les années 1960, squatte une masure défoncée à l’entrée de Rabe. En tout, ils sont neuf, dont trois filles. Cela fait de longs mois que le jeune homme de 27 ans est coincé en Serbie. Keffieh sur la tête, il tente de garder le sourire en racontant son interminable odyssée entamée voilà bientôt dix ans. Dès les premiers combats en 2011, il a fui avec sa famille vers la Jordanie, puis le Liban avant de se retrouver en Turquie. Finalement, il a pris la route des Balkans l’an dernier, avec l’espoir de rejoindre une partie des siens, installés en Allemagne, près de Stuttgart.

    “La police m’a arrêté, tabassé et on m’a renvoyé ici. Sans rien.”

    Il y a quelques jours, Siri à réussi à arriver jusqu’à #Szeged, dans le sud de la Hongrie, via la Roumanie. « La #police m’a arrêté, tabassé et on m’a renvoyé ici. Sans rien », souffle-t-il. À côté de lui, un téléphone crachote la mélodie de Get up, Stand up, l’hymne reggae de Bob Marley appelant les opprimés à se battre pour leurs droits. « On a de quoi s’acheter un peu de vivres et des cigarettes. On remplit des bidons d’eau pour nous laver dans ce qui reste de la salle de bains », raconte une des filles, assise sur un des matelas qui recouvrent le sol de la seule petite pièce habitable, chauffée par un poêle à bois décati.

    De rares organisations humanitaires viennent en aide à ces exilés massés aux portes de l’Union européennes. Basé à Belgrade, le petit collectif #Klikaktiv y passe chaque semaine, pour de l’assistance juridique et du soutien psychosocial. « Ils préfèrent être ici, tout près de la #frontière, plutôt que de rester dans les camps officiels du gouvernement serbe », explique Milica Švabić, la juriste de l’organisation. Malgré la précarité et l’#hostilité grandissante des populations locales. « Le discours a changé ces dernières années en Serbie. On ne parle plus de ’réfugiés’, mais de ’migrants’ venus islamiser la Serbie et l’Europe », regrette son collègue Vuk Vučković. Des #milices d’extrême-droite patrouillent même depuis un an pour « nettoyer » le pays de ces « détritus ».

    « La centaine d’habitants qui restent dans les villages de Rabe et de Majdan sont méfiants et plutôt rudes avec les réfugiés », confirme Abraham Rudolf. Ce sexagénaire à la retraite habite une modeste bâtisse à l’entrée de Majdan, adossée à une ruine squattée par des candidats à l’exil. « C’est vrai qu’ils ont fait beaucoup de #dégâts et qu’il n’y a personne pour dédommager. Ils brûlent les charpentes des toits pour se chauffer. Leurs conditions d’hygiène sont terribles. » Tant pis si de temps en temps, ils lui volent quelques légumes dans son potager. « Je me mets à leur place, il fait froid et ils ont faim. Au vrai, ils ne font de mal à personne et ils font même vivre l’épicerie du village. »

    Si le « triangle » reste a priori moins dangereux que l’itinéraire via la Croatie, les #violences_policières contre les sans papiers y sont pourtant monnaie courante. « Plus de 13 000 témoignages de #refoulements irréguliers depuis la Roumanie ont été recueillis durant l’année 2020 », avance l’ONG Save the Children.

    “C’est dur, mais on n’a pas le choix. Mon mari a déserté l’armée de Bachar. S’il rentre, il sera condamné à mort.”

    Ces violences répétées ont d’ailleurs conduit MSF à réévaluer sa mission en Serbie et à la concentrer sur une assistance à ces victimes. « Plus de 30% de nos consultations concernent des #traumatismes physiques », précise Jérémy Ristor. « Une moitié sont liés à des violences intentionnelles, dont l’immense majorité sont perpétrées lors des #push-backs. L’autre moitié sont liés à des #accidents : fractures, entorses ou plaies ouvertes. Ce sont les conséquences directes de la sécurisation des frontières de l’UE. »

    Hanan est tombée sur le dos en sautant de la clôture hongroise et n’a jamais été soignée. Depuis, cette Syrienne de 33 ans souffre dès qu’elle marche. Mais pas question pour elle de renoncer à son objectif : gagner l’Allemagne, avec son mari et leur neveu, dont les parents ont été tués dans les combats à Alep. « On a essayé toutes les routes », raconte l’ancienne étudiante en littérature anglaise, dans un français impeccable. « On a traversé deux fois le Danube vers la Roumanie. Ici, par le triangle, on a tenté douze fois et par les frontières de la Croatie et de la Hongrie, sept fois. » Cette fois encore, la police roumaine les a expulsés vers le poste-frontière de Rabe, officiellement fermé à cause du coronavirus. « C’est dur, mais on n’a pas le choix. Mon mari a déserté l’armée de Bachar avec son arme. S’il rentre, il sera condamné à mort. »

    Qu’importe la hauteur des murs placés sur leur route et la terrible #répression_policière, les exilés du nord de la Serbie finiront tôt ou tard par passer. Comme le déplore les humanitaires, la politique ultra-sécuritaire de l’UE ne fait qu’exacerber leur #vulnérabilité face aux trafiquants et leur précarité, tant pécuniaire que sanitaire. La seule question est celle du prix qu’ils auront à paieront pour réussir le « game ». Ces derniers mois, les prix se sont remis à flamber : entrer dans l’Union européenne via la Serbie se monnaierait jusqu’à 2000 euros.

    https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Refugies-contourner-la-Croatie-par-le-triangle-Serbie-Roumanie-Ho
    #routes_migratoires #migrations #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #contournement #Bihac #frontières #the_game

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • Slovenia is planning to set up mixed patrols along the border with Croatia, where police officers from other EU member states would also patrol the border together with the Slovenian ones.

    –-> info reçue (avec lien ci-dessous) via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodosli, mail du 07.04.2021

    Slovenija planira mješovite policijske patrole na granici s Hrvatskom

    Još nema službene hrvatske reakcije na slovensku najavu da će zbog pojačanih nelegalnih prijelaza migranata na granicu sa Hrvatskom postaviti mješovite patrole u kojima bi uz slovenske bili i policajci drugih država članica EU.

    Kako su naveli u slovenskoj Vladi, Slovenija se opet našla pred migracijskim pritiskom i nezakonitim prijelazima državne granice koji se ne smanjuje unatoč naporima slovenske policije i njenog djelovanja na granici s Hrvatskom, koja je i vanjska granica Schengena, i mješovite policijske patrole odgovor su na to.

    Mješovitim patrolama zapovijedali bi slovenski policajci, a ne navodi se koje bi druge države članice Europske unije slale svoje ljude u te patrole.

    Iz hrvatskog Ministarstva unutarnjih poslova do objavljivanja ovog teksta nisu odgovorili na upit Radija Slobodna Europa (RSE) o stanju na granici.
    U Hrvatskoj tvrde drugačije

    Međutim, zapovjednik policijske Antiterorističke jedinice “Lučko”, koja je također raspoređena na granici, Mate Bilobrk kazao je kako nema pojačanog pritiska migranata.

    “Mislim da je pritisak puno manji nego prošlih godina”, izjavio je Bilobrk 31. ožujka u razgovoru za Hrvatsku radio-televiziju (HTV).

    Nevladine udruge također nemaju informacije o nekom pojačanom pritisku migranata na hrvatsku granicu, ali podsjećaju da se ne mijenjaju uzroci prisilnih migracija, pa se ne može očekivati da se one same od sebe zaustave.

    “Jedina je promjena u većem broju obitelji koje su nakon požara pobjegle iz izbjegličkog kampa Moria u Grčkoj, koje se sada nalaze u Bosni i pokušavaju doći do Hrvatske i zatražiti azil, ali posljednjih tjedana nema nekog povećanja ukupnih brojeva”, kaže za RSE Sara Kekuš iz zagrebačke nevladine udruge Centar za mirovne studije (CMS).

    “Očito je ova odluka slovenske Vlade smišljena s ciljem da se zaustave migracije prema Sloveniji, tako da ta odluka ne čudi. Međutim, slovenska Vlada mora biti svjesna vlastite odgovornosti u međunarodnom kontekstu i toga da nikome ne može ograničiti pravo na traženje međunarodne zaštite, pa makar to bilo i na samoj granici. A znamo da – dok god ne uspostavimo neke sigurne i legalne putove - da će ljudi i dalje prelaziti granice nezakonitim putevima u potrazi za sigurnošću”, poručuje Sara Kekuš.

    Ona je podsjetila da se već godinama svjedoči lančanim protjerivanjima migranata iz Slovenije u Hrvatsku pa onda dalje u BiH, gdje to protjerivanje nužno ne staje.

    “Znamo i da su slovenske vlasti dugo vremena koristile readmisijske ugovore kao izgovor za zakonito protjerivanje ljudi u Hrvatsku, iako su im zapravo istovremeno onemogućavali pristup azilu i na taj način kršili njihova prava”, podsjeća Sara Kekuš.
    Reagiranje u pandemiji

    Sigurnosni analitičar Branimir Vidmarović sa Sveučilišta “Juraj Dobrila” u Puli kaže za RSE kako ovaj slovenski potez valja razumjeti kao legitimnu brigu za vlastitu sigurnost u kontekstu krize uzrokovane pandemijom.

    “Ako su slovenski obavještajci u suradnji sa drugim sigurnosnim službama dobili dojavu da se možda očekuje pojačani val migranata ili nova najava, onda je ovakva reakcija prevencijska i sasvim razumljiva, budući da nijedna zemlja sada, u osjetljivoj fazi procedure cijepljenja, ne bi htjela pritok ljudi iz područja za koje se apriori zna da su ranjivija, osjetljiva, u smislu pandemije nezaštićenija i da predstavljaju rizik”, procjenjuje Vidmarović.

    U slovenskoj Vladi kažu kako takvu suradnju policija omogućuje zaključak Vijeća EU iz 2008. o produbljivanju prekogranične suradnje, osobito na području borbe protiv terorizma i prekograničnog kriminala.

    Prema članku 17. te europske direktive mogu se formirati zajedničke ophodnje i poduzeti druge mjere djelovanja radi očuvanja javnog reda i sigurnosti, te zbog suzbijanja kaznenih djela, pojasnilo je slovensko Ministarstvo unutarnjih poslova.

    Slovenija i Hrvatska nalaze se na tzv “balkanskoj”migrantskoj ruti od Grčke preko Srbije, Crne Gore i Bosne i Hercegovine do zapadnoeuropskih zemalja, nakon što je Mađarska na svoje granice prema Srbiji i Hrvatskoj postavila visoke žičane ograde.

    Nevladine udruge opetovano su upozoravale da slovenska i pogotovo hrvatska policija pribjegavaju ilegalnim “push-backovima” migranata, odnosno njihovom prisilnom vraćanju u državu za koju vjeruju da su iz nje došli – Hrvatsku, odnosno BiH.

    Nevladine udruge smještene u izbjegličkim kampovima u sjeverozapadnom dijelu BiH dostavile su medijima u više navrata i video zapise za koje tvrde da prikazuju migrante koje je zaustavila, istukla i vratila u BiH hrvatska policija, nakon što su pokušalno ilegalno ući u Hrvatsku.

    Hrvatska policija odbija ove optužbe.

    https://www.slobodnaevropa.org/a/slovenija-planira-mje%C5%A1ovite-policijske-patrole-na-granici-s-hrvatskom/31182152.html

    #patrouilles_mixtes #Slovénie #Croatie #frontière_sud-alpine #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers

  • Le #Kosovo va-t-il rejoindre les normes européennes ?

    3 avril - 18h30 : #Frontex a récemment conduit une #évaluation des systèmes #IT au Kosovo, pour préparer la mise en place d’un système compatible avec #Eurodac dans le cadre du projet « #Regional_Support_to _Protection-Sensitive_Migration_Management in the WB and Turkey ». En effet, le Kosovo a déjà des systèmes de collectes de #données efficaces mais qui ont été mis en place par les Américains et qui ne respectent pas les normes européennes. Par ailleurs, Le Bureau européen d’appui en matière d’asile (#EASO) a préparé un plan pour la mise en place d’un #système_d’asile au Kosovo aligné sur les #normes_européennes.

    Enfin, du fait de son statut particulier, le Kosovo n’a que peu d’#accords_de_réadmission pour expulser les ressortissant.e.s de pays tiers sur son territoire. L’idée de l’UE serait de mutualiser les retours à l’échelle des Balkans pour contourner cette difficulté.

    https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/refugies-balkans-les-dernieres-infos

    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #réadmission #retours #renvois

    –-

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

  • ‘They can see us in the dark’: migrants grapple with hi-tech fortress EU

    A powerful battery of drones, thermal cameras and heartbeat detectors are being deployed to exclude asylum seekers

    Khaled has been playing “the game” for a year now. A former law student, he left Afghanistan in 2018, driven by precarious economic circumstances and fear for his security, as the Taliban were increasingly targeting Kabul.

    But when he reached Europe, he realised the chances at winning the game were stacked against him. Getting to Europe’s borders was easy compared with actually crossing into the EU, he says, and there were more than physical obstacles preventing him from getting to Germany, where his uncle and girlfriend live.

    On a cold December evening in the Serbian village of Horgoš, near the Hungarian border, where he had spent a month squatting in an abandoned farm building, he and six other Afghan asylum seekers were having dinner together – a raw onion and a loaf of bread they passed around – their faces lit up by the glow of a fire.

    The previous night, they had all had another go at “the game” – the name migrants give to crossing attempts. But almost immediately the Hungarian border police stopped them and pushed them back into Serbia. They believe the speed of the response can be explained by the use of thermal cameras and surveillance drones, which they had seen during previous attempts to cross.

    “They can see us in the dark – you just walk, and they find you,” said Khaled, adding that drones had been seen flying over their squat. “Sometimes they send them in this area to watch who is here.”

    Drones, thermal-vision cameras and devices that can detect a heartbeat are among the new technological tools being increasingly used by European police to stop migrants from crossing borders, or to push them back when they do.

    The often violent removal of migrants without giving them the opportunity to apply for asylum is illegal under EU law, which obliges authorities to process asylum requests whether or not migrants possess identification documents or entered the country legally.

    “Routes are getting harder and harder to navigate. Corridors [in the Balkans are] really intensively surveyed by these technologies,” says Simon Campbell, field coordinator for the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN), a migrant rights group in the region.

    The militarisation of Europe’s borders has been increasing steadily since 2015, when the influx of migrants reached its peak. A populist turn in politics and fear whipped up around the issue have fuelled the use of new technologies. The EU has invested in fortifying borders, earmarking €34.9bn (£30bn) in funding for border and migration management for the 2021-27 budget, while sidelining the creation of safe passages and fair asylum processes.

    Osman, a Syrian refugee now living in Serbia, crossed several borders in the southern Balkans in 2014. “At the time, I didn’t see any type of technology,” he says, “but now there’s drones, thermal cameras and all sorts of other stuff.”

    When the Hungarian police caught him trying to cross the Serbian border before the pandemic hit last year, they boasted about the equipment they used – including what Osman recalls as “a huge drone with a big camera”. He says they told him: “We are watching you everywhere.”

    Upgrading of surveillance technology, as witnessed by Khaled and Osman, has coincided with increased funding for Frontex – the EU’s Border and Coast Guard Agency. Between 2005 and 2016, Frontex’s budget grew from €6.3m to €238.7m, and it now stands at €420.6m. Technology at the EU’s Balkan borders have been largely funded with EU money, with Frontex providing operational support.

    Between 2014 and 2017, with EU funding, Croatia bought 13 thermal-imaging devices for €117,338 that can detect people more than a mile away and vehicles from two miles away.

    In 2019, the Croatian interior ministry acquired four eRIS-III long-range drones for €2.3m. They identify people up to six miles away in daylight and just under two miles in darkness, they fly at 80mph and climb to an altitude of 3,500 metres (11,400ft), while transmitting real-time data. Croatia has infrared cameras that can detect people at up to six miles away and equipment that picks upheartbeats.

    Romania now has heartbeat detection devices, alongside 117 thermo-vision cameras. Last spring, it added 24 vehicles with thermo-vision capabilities to its border security force at a cost of more than €13m.

    Hungary’s investment in migration-management technology is shielded from public scrutiny by a 2017 legal amendment but its lack of transparency and practice of pushing migrants back have been criticised by other EU nations and the European court of justice, leading to Frontex suspending operations in Hungary in January.

    It means migrants can no longer use the cover of darkness for their crossing attempts. Around the fire in Horgoš, Khaled and his fellow asylum-seekers decide to try crossing instead in the early morning, when they believe thermal cameras are less effective.

    A 2021 report by BVMN claims that enhanced border control technologies have led to increased violence as police in the Balkans weaponise new equipment against people on the move. Technology used in pushing back migrants has “contributed to the ease with which racist and repressive procedures are carried out”, the report says.

    BVMN highlighted the 2019 case of an 18-year-old Algerian who reported being beaten and strangled with his own shirt by police while attempting a night crossing from Bosnia to Croatia. “You cannot cross the border during the night because when the police catch you in the night, they beat you a lot. They break you,” says the teenager, who reported seeing surveillance drones.

    Ali, 19, an Iranian asylum-seeker who lives in a migrant camp in Belgrade, says that the Croatian and Romanian police have been violent and ignored his appeals for asylum during his crossing attempts. “When they catch us, they don’t respect us, they insult us, they beat us,” says Ali. “We said ‘we want asylum’, but they weren’t listening.”

    BVMN’s website archives hundreds of reports of violence. In February last year, eight Romanian border officers beat two Iraqi families with batons, administering electric shocks to two men, one of whom was holding his 11-month-old child. They stole their money and destroyed their phones, before taking them back to Serbia, blasting ice-cold air in the police van until they reached their destination.

    “There’s been some very, very severe beatings lately,” says Campbell. “Since the spring of 2018, there has been excessive use of firearms, beatings with batons, Tasers and knives.”

    Responding to questions via email, Frontex denies any link between its increased funding of new technologies and the violent pushbacks in the Balkans. It attributes the rise in reports to other factors, such as increased illegal migration and the proliferation of mobile phones making it easier to record incidents.

    Petra Molnar, associate director of Refugee Law Lab, believes the over-emphasis on technologies can alienate and dehumanise migrants.

    “There’s this alluring solution to really complex problems,” she says. “It’s a lot easier to sell a bunch of drones or a lot of automated technology, instead of dealing with the drivers that force people to migrate … or making the process more humane.”

    Despite the increasingly sophisticated technologies that have been preventing them from crossing Europe’s borders, Khaled and his friends from the squat managed to cross into Hungary in late December. He is living in a camp in Germany and has begun the process of applying for asylum.

    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/mar/26/eu-borders-migrants-hitech-surveillance-asylum-seekers

    #Balkans #complexe_militaro-industriel #route_des_Balkans #technologie #asile #migrations #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #caméras_thermiques #militarisation_des_frontières #drones #détecteurs_de_battements_de_coeur #Horgos #Horgoš #Serbie #the_game #game #surveillance_frontalière #Hongrie #Frontex #Croatie #Roumanie #nuit #violence #refoulements #push-backs #déshumanisation

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • #Grèce : à #Idomeni, les migrants reviennent au grand désespoir des habitants

    A Idomeni, les migrants reviennent au grand désespoir des locaux. Depuis plusieurs années, ce petit village dans le nord de la Grèce est un lieu de transit : situé sur la route des Balkans, les migrants qui tentent de traverser vers la #Macédoine_du_Nord y restent coincés.

    « Ils viennent à Idomeni dans le seul but de pouvoir passer la frontière et aller en Europe, explique Xanthoula Soupli, la présidente du village. Leur but n’est pas de rester ici, c’est simplement le point à partir duquel ils essaient de passer la frontière. Les réfugiés et les migrants ont augmenté au cours du dernier mois ».

    Des bâtiments abandonnés dans la campagne servent de refuge aux migrants. Ils sont arrivés en trains depuis Thessalonique et ont sauté des wagons peu avant Idomeni, au péril de leur vie. Nous rencontrons un petit groupe d’Afghans, qui vient de se faire refouler par les gardes-frontières de Macédoine du Nord.

    « Maintenant, à la frontière du côté de la Macédoine du Nord, c’est dur. Il y a beaucoup de policiers. Maintenant nous sommes en Grèce sans papiers et sans argent », dit un jeune homme.

    Ils sont originaires d’Afghanistan, du Pakistan, d’Irak, de Syrie, d’Algérie, du Maroc.

    La grande majorité sont des hommes et dans certains cas, il y a aussi des mineurs.

    Sans argent, ils demandent de l’aide aux habitants, mais la cohabitation est tendue :

    « Comme ils ont faim, ils s’introduisent dans nos propriétés, font des dégâts, ce qui nous coûte cher, explique Christos Kovatsis, un apiculteur. Ils détruisent aussi nos cultures, et beaucoup d’autres choses . Ils entrent dans nos maisons ».

    La présence de la police dans le village aurait diminué à cause de la pandémie. La police affirme que tous ceux qui ne possèdent pas les documents requis sont transférés dans des centres de détention, et commence alors pour eux le processus d’expulsion.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JV4wcE5qcas&t=78s


    https://fr.euronews.com/2021/03/20/grece-a-idomeni-les-migrants-reviennent-au-grand-desespoir-des-habitant
    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    2021 started with more allegations and revelations.

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

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

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

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

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

    Policing Europe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Fortification of the borders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    EU accused of externalizing issues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Playing by whose rules?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    A question of standards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ‘Monitoring from the air’

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Pressed further, he declined to comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    –—

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

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • Migranti u šumi kod Saborskog stradali su od mine

    MIGRANTI koji su jučer stradali na šumskom predjelu općine Saborsko naišli su na mine postavljene u Domovinskom ratu na negdašnjoj crti razgraničenja, potvrdio je načelnik Saborskog Marko Bičanić. Policija je potvrdila da je jedan mrtav, a u bolnici u Ogulinu doznaje se da se u njoj liječe još dvojica ranjenih.

    Policijska uprava karlovačka potvrdila je jučer i danas ponovila da je jedan muškarac mrtav, ne i koliko je ranjenih. Glasnogovornica karlovačke Policijske uprave Andreja Lenard rekla je da će o ostalim okolnostima jučerašnjeg stradavanja izvijestiti javnost kada prikupe sve informacije.

    Ravnatelj ogulinske bolnice Davor Vukelja rekao je za Hinu da se kod njih liječe dvojica ranjenih Pakistanaca. Jedan je teže ranjen u trbuh, operiran je i odstranjeno mu je strano tijelo. Još je na odjelu intenzivnog liječenja, ali je stabilno. Drugi je ranjen u koljeno, operiran je i dobro se oporavlja.

    Načelnik Marko Bičanić rekao je za Hinu da policija danas iz zraka pretražuje šire područje Saborskog, tzv. migrantsku rutu. Dodao je da je područje općine razminirano svuda gdje se znalo da ima mina, ali sa šumama je mnogo teže jer se uglavnom radi o minski sumnjivom području.

    Ploče s oznakama mina postavljene su uz putove, a budući da ih migranti izbjegavaju kako ih se ne bi primijetilo, moguće je da oznake nisu ni vidjeli.

    “Žao mi je tih ljudi, nadam se da će se migrantski problemi uskoro riješiti jer, koliko god se mi žalili da nam nije lako s migrantima, njima je puno teže”, rekao je Bičanić.

    https://www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/migranti-u-sumi-kod-saborskog-stradali-su-od-mine/2258991.aspx

    #mines_anti-personnel #mort #décès #Balkans #Croatie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #route_des_Balkans #morts #mines #forêt #Saborsko

    Localisation:

  • Route des Balkans : les exilés passent de plus en plus par la Roumanie

    Systématiquement refoulés avec violence par la police croate, de plus en plus d’exilés passent de Serbie en Roumanie avant de tenter leur chance en Hongrie. #Timișoara est devenue un hub et les autorités de la ville se disent même dépassées.

    Du fait du féroce verrouillage de la frontière croate, de nombreux réfugiés parient de nouveau sur la #Hongrie dans leur périple vers l’Europe de l’Ouest. Et plutôt que de tenter le passage directement depuis la Serbie à cause de l’immense barrière de barbelés qui ceinture la zone frontalière, ils misent sur une étape intermédiaire, la Roumanie, pays membre de l’UE, mais pas de Schengen. Selon les données fournies par l’ONG de soutien aux exilés Logs, le nombre de demandeurs d’asile en Roumanie n’a jamais été aussi grand : de 4820 en 2017, il est passé à 6156 en 2020, dont 3000 rien que sur les trois derniers mois de l’année. Ils sont principalement Afghans, Syriens, Pakistanais et Irakiens.

    La grande majorité de ces candidats à l’exil arrivent de Serbie et ont passé la frontière illégalement. Beaucoup ont auparavant tenté leur chance à la frontière croate et se sont vus violemment refoulés. Les policiers serbes et roumains se comporteraient de façon plus humaine, selon les témoignages de réfugiés stationnant à Timișoara recueillis par Balkan Insight. Mais d’autres témoignages font néanmoins de état de violences de la police roumaine.

    Située à moins de 100 km de la frontière hongroise, la grande ville de Timișoara, à l’ouest de la Roumanie est devenu un nouveau hub sur la route migratoire. Un lieu pour se regrouper et se ressourcer avant de tenter un nouveau passage. Tant et si bien que la mairie commence à être dépassée par le phénomène : le nouveau maire Dominic Fritz a appelé Bucarest à l’aide, arguant qu’il s’agit d’un « problème national ».

    À leur arrivée dans la région de Timișoara, la police aux frontières prend les empreintes digitales des exilés et leur propose de déposer une demande d’asile. Tous acceptent, car l’alternative est un renvoi en Serbie. Ils sont entre temps envoyés dans des centres d’accueil à travers le pays. Puis après leurs deux semaines de quarantaine, pandémie oblige, beaucoup s’enfuient pour se rapprocher de la frontière qu’ils veulent traverser.

    Ces derniers jours, la police roumaine multiplie les interceptions de migrants irréguliers. Le 25 janvier, dix Afghans âgés de 14 à 23 ans ont été appréhendés dans un véhicule conduits par deux Roumains. Ces derniers ont dit à la police avoir touché 500 euros pour ce voyage. Le même jour, la police roumaine découvrait 31 Afghans, Syriens et Pakistanais cachés dans trois camions sur le point de passer la frontière hongroise. Le 5 février, c’était 40 Afghans, Turcs, Syriens et Pakistanais dans trois véhicules conduits par des Roumains et des Bulgares qui ont été arrêtés à la frontière hongroise.

    https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Route-des-Balkans-de-plus-en-plus-de-refugies-passent-par-la-Roum

    #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Roumanie

    • PRACTICES AT THE ROMANIAN BORDER

      As described in previous publications, many
      people-on-the-move are now choosing to
      take the route through Romania from Serbia
      (and sometimes Bulgaria). With the
      continuous securitisation of the Hungarian
      border and reports of excessive use of force
      by Croatian border officials, this
      development on the easterly route is far from
      surprising. But this shift has also been
      matched with increased pushbacks, and
      UNHCR reported on an uptick in expulsions
      from Romania after the end of the first
      COVID-19 lockdown.
      Since the beginning of 2020, BVMN has
      documented 16 pushbacks from Romania,
      affecting a total of 223 people-on-the-move,
      mostly directly into Serbia. All but one of
      these testimonies involved reports of
      violence inflicted by Romanian border
      officials. Most of the pushbacks from
      Romania to Serbia seem to follow a similar
      pattern. Transit groups, once apprehended,
      are usually subjected to theft or destruction
      of their personal belongings, such as power
      banks, phones and money. Several
      testimonies include reports of Romanian
      officials burning personal belongings.
      Additionally, physical aggression at the
      hands of Romanian police is frequently
      reported, especially beatings with batons and
      kicking.
      But the violations do not end at physical
      assault. A report from December even saw
      Romanian officers forcing people-on-themove
      to do physical exercise while standing
      on their backs. This new form of abuse was
      repeated in an incident from January (see
      2.1), which included a horrific level of abuse.
      Alongside the push-up exercises, members
      of the transit group were forced to eat pork,
      while officers mocked them for their religious
      beliefs. This, among other cases, points to a
      deeply concerning trend in torture, cruel,
      inhuman or degrading treatment at the
      Romanian border.
      "A little guy started shouting, so two
      police officers started jumping on his
      legs. We all felt pain, but we couldnʼt
      shout, if we shouted, if we cried, they
      started torturing us more.”
      One other notable trend that can be seen
      throughout several testimonies is alleged
      cooperation between Romanian and Serbian
      authorities. Out of the 16 testimonies
      gathered, 12 include reports of Romanian
      border officials notifying Serbian authorities
      and handing over apprehended transit
      groups to them at the border. One report
      from June 2020, even involves Romanian
      border guards entering Serbian territory
      ordering people-on-the-move to enter
      Romania to then push them back. Other
      groups have repeatedly shared similar
      stories, suggesting that this may not be an
      isolated event.

      https://www.borderviolence.eu/balkan-region-report-january-2021

    • ’When you enter Romania, you are a dead man walking’: Adama recounts the violence perpetrated by Romanian police officers

      Adama* contacted InfoMigrants to talk about what he experienced on arrival in Romania. Beaten and humiliated by Romanian police after crossing the border from Serbia, the 36-year-old Malian is still traumatized by the violence he suffered.

      Adama*, originally from Mali, arrived in Morocco in 2018 on a tourist visa. Two years later, with the help of a friend, he obtained a new visa for Serbia. On November 2, 2020, the 36-year-old boarded a plane and landed in Belgrade in the hope of reaching France by road.

      He failed to get across the border to either Hungary or Romania many times. Each time, Adama was stopped by police and sent back to Serbia, without being able to file for asylum. On January 13, he tried his luck again with two other people he met in a Serbian migrant camp.

      “Around midnight, I climbed over the barbed wire fence and crossed the Romanian border. I tried to hide in the nearby forest with my friends, to avoid police checks. But we had already been spotted and border guards were looking for us in the trees. When they found us, they immediately started hitting us on the head with their truncheons. They hit me very hard, it hurt.

      They ordered us to put our hands up and walk out of the forest. When we reached the hill where their vehicle was parked, they told us to stop. They made us stand in front of their car with the headlights on us and their torches shining in our faces. A few minutes, later their chief arrived.
      ’They started hitting us again’

      Acting on orders from him, the other policemen brought us to our knees and hit us again with their truncheons. Then they searched our bags and patted down our bodies to make sure we weren’t hiding anything. They took all our money, I had 100 euros on me. They ordered me to take off my jacket, my shoes and socks.

      It was very cold that night, the road was snowy. I was left barefoot and wearing just my jumper, I was shivering.

      They made a fire and put all our things on it to burn: our clothes, our gloves, our hats, all our documents, our wallets, our phones, everything.
      ’I was crying’

      I got back down on my knees, I was crying. I apologized and asked them to forgive me. I was so cold. They finally took my jacket out of the fire and gave it to me, but part of it was burnt.

      Afterwards, the policemen told us to lie on the ground, face down. They started hitting us all over our bodies again for about an hour. One of my friends had his finger dislocated.

      They finally picked us up and told us to walk back towards Serbia, which was only a few meters away. The chief called the Serbian police to come and pick us up. But we had to wait another hour, still in the freezing cold. It must have been around 3am.
      ’If I see you again I’ll kill you, I’ll dig a hole and put your body inside.’

      In the meantime, the chief ordered us to do push-ups. The ground was frozen, I didn’t have gloves on. With the exhaustion and the cold, I couldn’t hold myself up and kept falling over, so the chief hit me again. He then made us do other exercises: we had to crouch down and get up as quickly as possible. Then he said to us, ’Don’t ever come back here again. If I see you again, I’ll kill you, dig a hole and put your body inside.’

      The Serbian police didn’t arrive, so the Romanian chief told us to cross the border alone. He and his team watched us for a long time with their torches fixed on us to make sure we were really leaving Romanian territory.

      We walked for several hours into Serbia until we found an abandoned building beside the road. We stayed there for a while to regain our strength. We took a bus in the early morning to Belgrade and we reached the migrants’ center.
      ’I am still traumatized’

      I am still traumatized by this story, I often think about it. I was sore from the beating whenever I moved for several days. Now I know that when you enter Romania, you are a dead man walking.

      I couldn’t sleep for several nights. I had nothing left: no more clothes, no more money, they took everything.

      I will never forget the faces of those policemen, especially the chief. How can a human being hurt another human being so much, without any reason? They could have sent us away without mistreating us.”

      *The first name has been changed.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/en/story/30105/when-you-enter-romania-you-are-a-dead-man-walking-adama-recounts-the-v

    • "On pensait qu’en Roumanie, on serait arrivés... Mais en fait, non" : à #Timisoara, les migrants portés par le rêve d’une autre Europe

      Dans cette ville de l’ouest de la Roumanie, à une petite cinquantaine de kilomètres de la frontière serbe, des dizaines de migrants, arrivés de Serbie, attendent d’avoir rassemblé assez d’argent pour reprendre la route et passer en Hongrie.

      Sur la pelouse proche du Auchan de Timisoara, la moyenne d’âge, en ce début de soirée, est celle d’une sortie de lycée. Mustapha, 17 ans, Daryab, 17 ans, Emran, 16 ans et leurs amis sont venus acheter de la nourriture au supermarché et repartent les bras chargés de yaourts, poulets et pain de mie.

      Ces jeunes Afghans, comme la très grande majorité des demandeurs d’asile dans le pays, sont arrivés à Timisoara après avoir traversé la frontière serbe, il y a quelques semaines. Cette ville à l’ouest de la Roumanie est devenue, depuis octobre 2020, une nouvelle étape sur la route migratoire des Balkans en raison de la fermeture des frontière hongroises et croates.

      Les jeunes Afghans ont le sourire malgré la présence de membres de la police aux frontières venus contrôler leur carte d’enregistrement au centre régional de réception de Timisoara.

      Leurs corps eux racontent un autre état. Leurs bras sont couverts de piqûres d’insectes qu’ils grattent en permanence. Ceux qui portent des bermudas ont les jambes recouvertes de bandages pour tenter de laisser se refermer les plaies qu’ils se sont faites lors de la traversée de la frontière.
      « En Serbie, des gens disaient que la Roumanie était un bon pays »

      Depuis la Serbie, la solution la moins chère est de passer à pieds mais il faut traverser des champs et bois qui vous lacèrent les mollets sur des kilomètres. Ceux qui ont plus de moyens tentent de passer en voiture ou bien en bateau, en traversant le Danube.

      C’est ce qu’a fait Sawda. Cette Somalienne de 18 ans est hébergée, avec une dizaine d’autres femmes de Somalie dans le centre de l’association Aid Rom (Association œcuménique des églises de Roumanie), à Timisoara. Le visage entouré d’un foulard bleu et rouge, elle raconte avoir pris un vol pour la Turquie depuis la Somalie. De là, elle s’est rendue en Grèce puis en Serbie. « J’y ai passé deux mois. Là-bas, j’ai entendu des gens dire que la Roumanie était un bon pays », raconte-t-elle dans le jardin du centre.

      https://gw.infomigrants.net/media/resize/my_image_big/b26ea9e101d130560c8024295d86114ae7e79841.jpeg

      Selon la jeune femme, sa grand-mère a payé 900 euros à des passeurs pour lui permettre de passer le Danube. « Nous étions une dizaine de personnes sur le bateau et nous avons franchi le fleuve en pleine nuit. C’était terrifiant parce que de l’eau rentrait de tous les côtés dans le canot », se souvient-elle.

      « Après notre arrivée, nous avons été arrêtés par la police roumaine, nos empreintes ont été prises et nous avons été placés en quarantaine pour 10 jours. Ensuite, on m’a amenée au centre d’Aid Rom », ajoute-t-elle.
      Pays de passage

      Pour le groupe de jeunes Afghans rencontrés devant le Auchan et partis de Serbie, entrer en Roumanie était synonyme d’arrivée dans l’Union européenne (UE). Le pays en est effectivement membre depuis 2007 mais il ne correspond pas à l’image que les jeunes Afghans se font de l’Europe. « En Serbie, on plaisantait en se disant qu’une fois en Roumanie, on serait arrivés en Europe, mais en fait non », raconte en souriant Mustapha, un tatouage visible sur la poitrine, sous sa tenue traditionnelle afghane marron.

      Si pour certains, la Roumanie est la fin de l’exil, pour la plupart des migrants à Timisoara, il ne s’agit que d’une étape dans leur parcours vers l’Europe de l’ouest. « Les gens ne veulent pas rester ici car il voit bien que la Roumanie n’est pas un pays très développé économiquement. Ils ont aussi souvent des amis ou de la famille dans un autre pays », souligne Gabriel Ilias, assistant de projet pour l’association JRS Roumanie.

      Quatorze ans après son entrée dans l’UE, la Roumanie est aujourd’hui candidate pour intégrer l’espace Schengen. À ce titre, les autorités roumaines ont à cœur de prouver leur bonne gestion des flux de migrants.
      Six centres de réception

      Eleodor Pirvu, à la tête de la Direction roumaine de l’asile et de l’intégration, assure à InfoMigrants que tous les exilés présents en Roumanie sont enregistrés dans l’un des six centres régionaux de réception (situés à Bucarest, Timisoara, Somcuta Mare, Giurgiu, Radauti et Galati). Les demandeurs d’asile hébergés dans ces centres ouverts peuvent en sortir la journée mais ont l’obligation d’y revenir le soir et ne doivent pas quitter la ville (sauf autorisation particulière).

      https://gw.infomigrants.net/media/resize/my_image_big/bd3f27f7350b9a178f24439d559aac5dbcc8a2fa.png

      Le centre de Timisoara, qu’InfoMigrants a été exceptionnellement autorisé à visiter, accueillait 65 demandeurs d’asile à la mi-juillet mais dispose d’une capacité de 250 places. Et bientôt 100 de plus. De nouveaux bâtiments sont en construction au milieu de la cour centrale. « Ils serviront à accueillir plus de demandeurs d’asile mais aussi à abriter de nouveaux bureaux, des locaux pour les ONG avec lesquelles nous travaillons et un espace réservé aux mineurs », détaille Eleodor Pirvu.

      https://gw.infomigrants.net/media/resize/my_image_big/616620240dc7e0aad1010d6dd03b7426d54ea145.jpeg

      InfoMigrants n’a pas été autorisé à visiter les espaces de vie des demandeurs d’asile qui « doivent être rénovés prochainement », selon le directeur de la structure. Les migrants interrogés à l’extérieur du centre décrivent des dortoirs sales et infestés par des insectes.

      Par ailleurs, dans ce centre, comme dans les autres, des mineurs côtoient des majeurs. Faute de moyens, les autorités roumaines ne placent dans des structures dédiées que les mineurs de moins de 16 ans. Mustapha, Daryab et Emran sont donc logés avec des hommes majeurs.
      Contrôles de police renforcés et refoulement parfois violents

      Malgré l’interdiction de quitter la ville où ils sont inscrits, certains migrants vivent à Timisoara bien qu’ils soient inscrits ailleurs. C’est le cas de Sahel, 14 ans, et Fahrad, 25 ans. Ces Afghans ont été enregistrés dans le centre de Galati mais dorment dans l’ancienne école de mécanique abandonnée, au milieu des déchets et dans une odeur pestilentielle.

      https://gw.infomigrants.net/media/resize/my_image_big/58f95aaab3260b15bb70d76b80d4f7672d37fba6.jpeg

      Il y a encore quelques semaines, ils étaient des dizaines à dormir dans différents bâtiments abandonnés de la ville. Mais après l’assassinat, le 19 avril dernier, d’un jeune Afghan par un de ses compatriotes, les opérations de police ont été renforcées dans la ville et la plupart des squats sont désormais vides.

      Dans les villages frontaliers aussi, la police est de plus en plus présente et les migrants de plus en plus discrets. Il n’y a qu’à Gotlob, à deux pas de la frontière que des habitants ont vu quelques jours plus tôt quelques « jeunes étrangers » sur le terrain de football. « Ce n’est pas moi qui vais appeler la police pour les dénoncer, assure en souriant un homme rencontré devant le club sportif. J’ai moi-même fui la Roumanie pour aller me réfugier en Serbie [sous la dictature de Nicolae Ceaucescu (de 1974 à 1989), des milliers de Roumains ont fui le pays ndlr]. »

      Sur la frontière elle-même, nombre de migrants affirment avoir subi des refoulements, parfois violents. Sur la pelouse près du Auchan, Mustapha, le jeune Afghan en tenue traditionnelle, raconte qu’il a tenté de passer la frontière serbo-roumaine sept fois avant de parvenir à entrer dans le pays. Il assure qu’on lui a pris à chaque fois son téléphone.

      En janvier dernier, InfoMigrants avait recueilli le témoignage d’un Malien qui affirmait avoir été violemment refoulé par des policiers roumains. En mai, un rapport réalisé par le Danish refugee council et dix autres organisations avait totalisé au moins 331 cas de refoulements effectués entre la Roumanie et la Serbie.

      Les informations sur la frontière hongroise sont plus difficiles à obtenir. À Timisoara, les demandeurs d’asile ne souhaitent pas s’étendre sur le sujet. À peine disent-ils que la traversée se fait en camion, depuis des parkings proches de la frontière. Le passage est-il facile ? Les refoulements sont-ils fréquents ? Personne n’est revenu à Timisoara après une tentative manquée pour le raconter.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/33761/on-pensait-qu-en-roumanie-on-serait-arrives-mais-en-fait-non-a-timisoa

  • Hungary: 4,903 pushbacks after EU Court declared them illegal

    The Hungarian Helsinki Committee, along with various other human rights advocacy groups, have been busy collecting evidence documenting Hungary’s continual flouting of EU law with regards to pushbacks. Since the EU Court of Justice declared Hungary’s pushbacks illegal in December 2020, a recorded 4,903 people have been pushed back to Serbia.

    András Léderer is pleased. On Wednesday, January 27, Frontex, the European border agency, announced that it would suspend its operations in Hungary.

    Léderer is senior advocacy officer with the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC), a human rights NGO based in Budapest. He feels Frontex’ decision is partly due to his painstaking work gathering evidence to show that Hungary has continued with pushbacks, despite the European Court of Justice (ECJ) declaring those pushbacks illegal on December 17, 2020.

    On January 26, Léderer posted a google map documenting nearly 600 pushbacks involving 4,504 people in the month following the court’s decision. On the map, the blue dots mark separate incidences, with attached links in Hungarian and a short summary in English. The map is updated daily. As of today (February 1), a total of 4,903 people have been pushed back, according to the organization’s daily count: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/11jlrJW-SbIa-tCkbfvOJ4x2e2bteCR0zHLs0fB9g_nw/edit#gid=0

    “You know, normally it is a difficult task to prove human rights violations of this magnitude, especially when it comes to collective expulsions,” comments Léderer in his Twitter post accompanying the map. “Then enters illiberal Hungary [which] proudly publishes hundreds of them on the police official website. We just had to put them on a map.”

    https://twitter.com/andraslederer/status/1354030019874590731

    “Just” putting them on the map took its time though. Léderer says that he scoured the information on the police website, carefully translating the summaries in English, as well as obtaining information from other human rights groups on the Hungarian and Serbian sides of the border.

    “Since 2016,” Léderer tells InfoMigrants by phone from Budapest, “Hungary has managed to push more than 50,000 people back to Serbia. I would never have the time to put all those on a map.”
    The Black Book of Pushbacks 2020

    Accounts of some of the pushbacks from 2020 feature in the “Black Book of Pushbacks,” (https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:3f809f15-bada-4d3f-adab-f14d9489275a) published by the Border Violence Monitoring Network, partially financed by the Left group in the European Parliament. Léderer wrote an introduction for the almost 100-page Hungarian section.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IbJdIu2fM4&feature=emb_logo

    What happens during the pushbacks varies, explains Léderer. The most violent incident, on June 1, 2016, resulted in the death of a young Syrian boy. HHC is helping represent his surviving brother who was also pushed back from Hungary at the time. The boy was forced to swim across the river back into Serbia, and drowned on the way, says Léderer. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported on the incident too.

    “Head injuries, broken limbs, broken hands, the use of batons, the use of dogs,” all are fairly commonplace during these pushbacks, says Léderer. “Humiliation” is another weapon used, says Léderer, explaining that sometimes those caught by Hungarian police are forced to strip to their underwear, even in the middle of winter and then asked to walk kilometers in the snow “nearly naked.”

    ’Inhumane and degrading treatment’

    There have also been reports of police throwing water on participants in the winter too, which makes them wet and cold. “I’ve listened to testimonies from a small group of people who were made to sit down in a circle and close their eyes and a dog, apparently on a leash, was released on them, just before the dog could bite them, he would be pulled back. One boy wet himself and they made the others look and mock him,” explains Léderer.

    When asked if that would amount to torture, Léderer says, “I would make the argument that that is at the very least inhumane and degrading treatment.” The problem for organizations like HHC though, is “how do you prove this? There is no way to prove this,” says Lederer. “Physical violence on the other hand can be proven.” HHC have taken some of these cases to Strasbourg after prosecutors in Hungary said there wasn’t enough evidence to press charges.

    Although the Hungarian police document lots of the pushbacks on their website, they “don’t take fingerprints or check the identities of any of these people.” Essentially, says Léderer, no one knows who these people are. Hungary also doesn’t know, for instance, if any of these people being pushed back are actually on an Interpol Red List, because they haven’t bothered to check their names, documents or fingerprints.
    Ensuring they ’don’t ask for asylum’

    The reason for this lack of documentation is to “ensure that they don’t ask for asylum,” which is, in itself, contravening EU and international human rights law, but not Hungarian domestic law, which has been altered several times since 2016 to allow for these pushbacks and these practices.

    In July 2016, Hungary passed a law allowing for anyone within eight kilometers of the Serbian border to be pushed back immediately. Then in March 2017, that zone was extended across the entire country, which is why the map now shows people having been picked up in the middle of the country, at the famous tourist site Lake Balaton, as well as on the Slovakian, Romanian and Austrian borders.

    “We have clients,” says Léderer, “who arrived directly in Budapest from a war-zone [Yemen] and immediately asked for asylum. But because they had fake passports, so of course their stay was ’illegal’ they were immediately removed during the night, a single mother with four small children. She has never been to Serbia before.”

    Hungary’s legislation, explains Léderer, covers all these types of cases in one sentence. “It’s not very complex. […] It reads ’Anyone found on the territory of Hungary without the right to stay; —which in practice means expired passport, fake passport, no passport, expired visa, no visa, are to be removed to the external side of the border fence;’ that’s it.”
    ’Nothing written down’

    Léderer says there is “no procedure, there is no hearing, people are not issued with a decision, this is just taken as a matter of fact. You cannot appeal against it, you can’t seek asylum. There is nothing written down or forwarded to the asylum authority so you can’t contest it.” The woman and her children are still in Serbia and HHC are still in touch with them, Léderer says.

    Another case, that of a Kurdish Iraqi boy called Karox, dating from 2017 was featured in an HHC short film on World Refugee Day 2020.

    Karox fled Iraq after his uncle wanted to send him to the army. He arrived in Austria as an unaccompanied minor and was told by police that he would be taken to a home for unaccompanied children. Instead, he says, he was pushed back to Hungary. There in this case he was fingerprinted by the police and they recorded his wish to seek asylum. They too told him via an interpreter that they would take him to a children’s home, instead, along with a few other men, he was pushed out and told to walk over the Serbian border.

    He had never been to Serbia before, but with the help of civil society groups and a lawyer employed by them, he managed to seek asylum in Serbia and after three years has been granted refugee stauts, is living, working and studying in Belgrade. Nevertheless, HHC has taken his case to the European court in Strasbourg where it is pending against both Austria and Hungary.
    Allegations of pushbacks from Austria to Hungary

    More recently, the Hungarian police appear to have alleged two further incidents of the Austrian authorities handing over migrants to the Hungarian police at or near the Nickelsdorf border crossing.

    The first is on December 23, and was recorded by the Hungarian police as “five people readmitted from Austria.” The second one, on January 21, was noted as: “Austrian authorities officially handed over three people.” In both cases, the eight people were taken over the Serbian border by the Hungarian authorities.

    InfoMigrants asked the Austrian Interior Ministry and the police authorities for a comment on this but so far we have received no reply.

    When someone is pushed back across several borders it essentially becomes a chain of pushbacks. It seems there are not just allegations of these chains going from Austria, to Hungary to Serbia but also via Slovakia. Léderer is aware of one “off the books” pushback from Slovakia to Hungary, and then on to Serbia.
    Unknown and unregistered

    Léderer says he would like the Austrian authorities to answer why they are handing people over to the Hungarian police. “The problem is we don’t know who these people are,” says Léderer. So looking into their case files and getting answers is difficult. “I don’t think we will ever know what happened there,” says Léderer.

    Frontex, according to their own legislation, have to ensure the respect of human rights as per their charter, including the right to seek asylum. So, since March 2017, if Frontex knew about any of these people in the country they were essentially complicit in pushbacks, says Léderer, if only by turning a blind eye to what was clearly going on and being documented on the police website every day.

    “The Hungarians, in order to ensure that these people do not have a chance to seek any remedy against what happens to them, they make sure there are no individual paper trails. That’s why I can’t tell you who these people are,” says Léderer.
    Frontex withdraws from Hungary

    #Frontex might not have literally carried the people from Hungary to Serbia, but by knowing what was happening, “they have been party to what is going on. That is why Frontex have had to suspend operations,” says Léderer.

    And that is also why Léderer is so pleased. He says they have been hoping since 2016 that Frontex would suspend operations in Hungary. He thinks that the Hungarian government would have put a lot of pressure on Frontex not to leave, because their departure puts Hungary in a more difficult position.

    “After the judgment delivered in December, the Hungarian policy was dragging the entire EU into a rights violation. So this is a unique situation. You have a judgment from the court of justice of the EU and at the same time you have an EU agency that participates in this policy after the judgment and that is a no-go. I think the EU realizes that if they had gone down that road, it would have been a very slippery slope,” explains Léderer.

    Léderer says that since Frontex’ announcement, the Hungarian government has not issued any kind of statement and the decision has not been reported in the pro-government media. Léderer thinks that the police might now stop reporting the pushbacks on its website, “we shall see,” he says, but adds that he will still find out what is going on keep reporting it.

    “I think what helps, however, clichéd that might sound, is knowing that we are doing the right thing,” says Léderer as he bids goodbye. “That is really what keeps us going. I have no doubt that what is happening here is very bad and we are trying to stop it, and that is the right thing to do.”

    https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/29944/hungary-4-903-pushbacks-after-eu-court-declared-them-illegal

    #chiffres #statistiques #push-backs #refoulements #refoulement #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Hongrie #Autriche #Balkans #route_des_Balkans

    ping @isskein @karine4

    • La Hongrie ignore la justice européenne en expulsant des migrants vers la Serbie

      La Cour de juste de l’Union européenne a jugé illégale l’expulsion de demandeurs d’asile de la Hongrie vers la Serbie. Mais le gouvernement national-conservateur de Viktor Orban ignore ce jugement.

      Le gouvernement hongrois ne fait aucun secret de son non respect de la loi européenne. Un site officiel fournit des chiffres précis et recense méticuleusement chaque cas d’expulsion par année et par catégorie.

      Ces cas concernent l’expulsion de demandeurs d’asile par les garde-frontières hongrois vers la Serbie. Selon les statistiques officielles, disponibles sur le site de la police hongroise, 2 824 réfugiés ont été appréhendés près de la clôture qui sépare les deux pays, rien que pour ce mois de janvier. Tous ont été contraints à retourner en Serbie.

      Par ailleurs, 184 sans papiers ont été appréhendés et doivent encore être jugés en Hongrie. Ils seront eux aussi très probablement renvoyés en Serbie.

      Ces « refoulements » ne sont pas seulement contraires aux traités internationaux comme la Convention de Genève, dont la Hongrie est signataire. Depuis décembre dernier, ils violent également un arrêt juridiquement contraignant de la plus haute juridiction de l’Union européenne, à savoir la Cour de justice de l’UE (CJUE).

      Le verdict a été rendu le 17 décembre dernier, mais pour le moment, les autorités hongroises l’ignorent vertement. Près de 5.000 demandeurs d’asile ont été expulsés vers la Serbie depuis le jour du verdict. Le premier ministre hongrois Viktor Orban et plusieurs membres de son gouvernement ont depuis confirmé à plusieurs reprises leur intention de vouloir poursuivre cette pratique.

      « Escortes »

      Andreas Lederer, expert en politique migratoire au Comité d’Helsinki hongrois, l’une des plus importantes ONG du pas, estime que ces renvois sont « un sérieux affront » aux arrêtés de la CJUE et aux lois européennes. « Dans le domaine juridique, il arrive rarement que les choses soient claires comme de l’eau de roche », note l’expert. « Mais dans le cas des verdicts de la CJUE, c’est le cas. Ils sont contraignants et la Hongrie se doit d’y obéir. Mais le gouvernement hongrois s’y refuse ».

      Dans le jargon des officiels hongrois, ces refoulements sont qualifiés « d’escortes de migrants illégaux appréhendés vers les portes de la barrière de sécurité frontalière provisoire ». Il s’agit de la clôture érigée le long de la frontière serbe. Celle-ci n’a cessé d’être modernisée depuis 2015 pour devenir une infrastructure de haute sécurité. Des portes y sont installées à intervalles réguliers. C’est par ces portes que les migrants sont renvoyés, généralement immédiatement après avoir été interceptés.

      Une « faille »

      Selon l’interprétation du gouvernement hongrois, une faille dans le système permettrait de justifier ces refoulements. La clôture le long de la frontière avec la Serbie est située sur le territoire hongrois, éloignée de quelques mètres de la frontière actuelle. Faire repasser des migrants de l’autre côté de la frontière ne constituerait donc pas une expulsion, puisque les personnes renvoyées se trouvent de fait toujours sur le territoire hongrois.

      Cet argument a été avancé à plusieurs reprises par les représentants du gouvernement hongrois.

      Mais dans son verdict de décembre, la CJUE a explicitement jugé que cette pratique était illégale, car les personnes renvoyées de l’autre côté de la clôture n’ont finalement pas d’autre choix que de quitter le territoire hongrois, ce qui équivaut à une expulsion. Par ailleurs, renvoyer des demandeurs d’asile sans leur donner la chance de présenter leur cas constitue une violation des directives de l’UE.
      Epuisement et privation de nourriture

      Ce n’est pas la première fois que la CJUE condamne le gouvernement hongrois pour sa politique migratoire. En mai 2020, elle a jugé que les conditions d’hébergement des demandeurs d’asile dans les zones dites de transit étaient illégales.

      Fin 2015, la Hongrie avait établi deux zones de transit près de la clôture frontalière dans lesquelles les migrants pouvaient faire une demande d’asile. Toutefois, ces dernières années, les conditions de séjour y étaient devenues de plus en plus difficiles. Les couples et les familles étaient séparés et seuls les bébés autorisés à rester avec leur mère. Une extrême promiscuité régnait dans ces zones ressemblant avant tout à des prisons de haute sécurité. Enfin, la distribution de nourriture se limitait au minimum, faisant dire aux militants de droits humains hongrois que les autorités pratiquaient une stratégie d’épuisement et de privation de nourriture.

      En face, le gouvernement soutenait que toute personnes était libre de quitter la zone de transit à tout moment pour faire des courses. Une réponse peu convaincante, car la loi hongroise prévoyait que le fait de quitter la zone de transit entraînait automatiquement la fin de la procédure d’asile et le réfugié se voyant interdit de présenter une nouvelle demande.

      Depuis le verdict de la CJUE, la Hongrie a fermé les deux zones de transit. Depuis, les migrants ne peuvent demander l’asile que dans les ambassades hongroises situées dans des pays non membres de l’UE, principalement la Serbie et l’Ukraine. L’automne dernier, la Commission européenne a réagi en engageant de nouvelles procédures contre Budapest.

      « Empêcher la formation de couloirs migratoires »

      Suite à notre demande, le porte-parole du gouvernement hongrois, Zoltan Kovacs, n’a pas voulu expliquer sur quelle base le gouvernement hongrois refusait d’appliquer l’arrêt de la CJIUE de décembre. Dans sa réponse, il reprend quasiment mot pour mot une publication sur Facebook de la ministre hongroise de la justice Jugit Varga en décembre dernier, affirmant que « le gouvernement continue à protéger les frontières de la Hongrie et de l’Europe et fera tout pour empêcher la formation de couloirs internationaux de migration. »

      Étant donné le refus du gouvernement hongrois d’appliquer l’arrêt de la CJUE de décembre 2020, Andras Lederer du Comité d’Helsinki appelle la Commission européenne à prendre des mesures. « Il serait possible d’imposer des sanctions financières à la Hongrie, sous la forme d’importantes amendes pour la non-exécution des décisions de la CJUE », selon l’expert en migration. « Malheureusement, il semble que la Commission européenne ne soit pas aussi résolue qu’elle devrait l’être lorsqu’un État membre viole des lois existantes. »

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/30345/la-hongrie-ignore-la-justice-europeenne-en-expulsant-des-migrants-vers

  • In Serbia, migrant children left to fend for themselves on Belgrade’s streets

    Unaccompanied migrant minors are living on the streets of Serbia’s capital, even in the middle of winter. Their fate is in the hands of an international smuggling ring.

    A freezing wind blows through the streets of Belgrade as the residents of the Serbian capital prepare for the Orthodox Christmas on January 7. The stores are open despite coronavirus pandemic restrictions. Wrapped in thick coats, people saunter along the shopping streets or the new promenade on the banks of the Sava River.

    Things are quite different by the long-distance bus terminal on Zeleznicka Street, on the edge of downtown Belgrade. A group of children and teenagers hang out in a small park opposite the terminal, all of them refugees, unaccompanied minors aged 11 to 17, and most of them from Afghanistan.

    Some of the youngsters huddle under white blankets. “I bought them at the market across the street,” Sherkat said, his feet in sneakers with short socks. Some of the young people shiver from the cold, and fatigue is written all over their faces. They are waiting for a chance to continue their journey, to the Hungarian or Croatian border.

    Sherkat managed to get out of Serbia once. The situation on the EU side of the border was bad, he said. “In Croatia, the police stole my cell phone and sent me back.” The situation in the refugee camps in Serbia was difficult, he said, adding that since he did not have a registration card from the Serbian authorities, he had no access at all to aid.

    Children stay away from government agencies

    It is a problem familiar to Bogdan Krasic, who works for nongovernmental organization Save the Children International. “These children are on their way to other countries, they don’t want to stay in Serbia,” he said. Some children live in the official camps for asylum-seekers, but many live outside the camps, he added. “It is not easy to help the young people because they do not want to register,” Krasic said. “They want to go to western Europe and avoid aid organizations and the police.”

    Sherkat and his friends bunk in a construction site opposite the park, next to the lavishly renovated river promenade where investment projects worth billions are being built — shopping centers, hotels and office buildings. The construction site is deserted, but empty bottles and cans, mattresses and thin polyester blankets mark the spot where the boys camp out. It turns out Sherkat and a few other migrants took a bus to the Serbian town of Backa Palanka on the Croatian border in yet another effort to move on.

    Destination: France

    Rizvanullah and Ekram also want to move on as quickly as possible. The teenagers from Afghanistan — who assure us they are 15 years old — and two other boys spend the nights on the river promenade, wrapped in jackets and sleeping bags, but cold nevertheless. They do not have mattresses, so they spread out a thin plastic trash bag on the rocky ground.

    Rizvanullah wants to go to France, where he has relatives. He previously spent three-and-a-half years working in Turkey, but was not paid, so he moved on to Greece. “The Greek police beat me up and sent me back to Turkey,” he said. He made it to Belgrade via North Macedonia.
    ’They didn’t believe I’m a minor’

    Rizvanullah and Ekram have been in the Serbian capital 10 days. Rizvanullah would prefer to live in a camp for underage migrants, but has run into problems. “I’m 15 years old and I’ve already been to the camps in Obrenovac, Sid and Adasevci. They didn’t believe that I am a minor, they said I had to go to a camp for adults. They didn’t give me a card or papers.”

    Their stories are not unusual. Many minors travel from Turkey via Greece to the Western Balkans. In 2015 and 2016, there was great public interest in the so-called Balkan route, with aid organizations offering food and medical supplies. There was also more transparency, the agencies knew approximately how many people were in what place at a certain time.
    International smuggling ring

    Those times are a thing of the past despite the fact that there still is significant traffic on the Balkan route. The conditions that refugees face in Turkey and in Greece have led to a significant increase in migration on the route from Greece to Croatia and Hungary.

    A study by Save the Children’s Balkan Migration and Displacement Hub found that although the children travel alone, they are controlled by smugglers throughout. “They speak of a ’kachakbar,’ a kind of chief smuggler based in Afghanistan who is in touch with local smugglers,” said Katarina Jovanovic, a psychologist and researcher who interviewed 40 underage and unaccompanied refugees on the streets of Belgrade with her team for the study.

    Parents try to stay in touch

    Usually the parents would approach the kachakbar to send their eldest son on the journey to western Europe, she said, adding the trip would put them in debt. “People think the parents just let their children go and then forget about it, but they don’t. They try to maintain a certain level of control,” Jovanovic said.

    On the journey west, local smugglers, informed by the kachakbar in Afghanistan, get in touch with the children. Access to cash is also in the hands of local smugglers. “Most children hardly have any cash, they know it’s dangerous. Depending on the arrangement the parents have made, the smugglers on the ground give them small amounts of cash,” said Jovanovic. The children are in touch with their parents at least some of the time — the smugglers give them money for phone cards, but they control what the young migrants tell their parents.

    Children hush up violence, abuse

    In many cases, the children experience violence and abuse, sometimes even sexual abuse. But they won’t mention any of that to their parents, Jovanovic said. “They don’t want to worry their parents, they feel they must be strong and grow up.”

    “There is a system that protects the children sometimes, but in most cases it doesn’t, and the children experience terrible things,” Jovanovic said, adding there is no official aid for the young migrants. The coronavirus pandemic spelled the end for whatever aid groups were looking after unaccompanied minors on the Balkan route.

    No reliable data on migration

    In addition, there are no reliable figures on the current state of migration. “We see big discrepancies in the figures the UNHCR publishes at the national and regional levels,” Krasic said “We see children coming from Greece, so we suspect that their numbers are similar in the other countries on the Balkan route. But the UNHCR figures do not reflect that.” Save the Children does not know how many children were actually traveling in 2020, he said.

    Less reliable data on migration is part of the Balkan route countries’ refugee policy, Jovanovic argued, adding that only once did the authorities let her and her team talk to children, and that was back in 2018 for the study.

    Currently no one bothers, she said — not UNICEF nor the UNHCR or the International Red Cross. “We don’t really have access to data anymore, or it comes sporadically and is not translated into English. You can clearly see that the information policy has changed,” she said.

    https://www.dw.com/en/in-serbia-migrant-children-left-to-fend-for-themselves-on-belgrades-streets/a-56089115
    #réfugiés #mineurs #enfants #enfance #Belgrade #Serbie #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #SDF #sans-abri #MNA

  • IOM run camps in Bosnia: Structural violence is not an incident

    We demand transparency in the work of international organizations and an immediate switch to the practices of care and justice!

    Since 2018, when the first “temporary reception center” run by the IOM and financed by large from the EU, was established in Bosnia and Herzegovina, people placed in camps have been trying to draw the attention of the public. They have been united in saying that living conditions have been below any standards. At the same time, IOM representatives, as well as the EU, have been repeating that the centers have been built in accordance with the “European standards”. However, they have never told us what these standards are.

    At the moment, camp Blažuj near Sarajevo is the biggest concentration camp in BiH with over 3.200 people ‘housed’ inside. The conditions are precarious. No hot water, food is only basic, it is overcrowded, no heating, many people have scabies, every illness is treated with paracetamol and brufen (DRC responsibility). A similar precarious situation is in another camp near Sarajevo, Ušivak.

    People in Sarajevo are receiving everyday pleas for help from the people in the camps. They ask for food, clothes, hygiene supplies, even baby diapers. Tensions are high and occur in daily conflicts. Additionally, the part of the staff in centers is rude, unprofessional, abusive, and often disrespectful towards the people. Local police enter the camps, and the surrounding area, often using methods that should be scrutinized.

    Therefore, we must ask: Do mass, overcrowded camps represent the “European standard” of living? Is the absence of basic living conditions like hot water and heating, the absence of medical care and treatment, the absence of regular diet and widespread hunger, the absence of human care and compassion the “European standard”? Are mass camps soon becoming new mass graves, as a result of the European living standard in question?

    The atmosphere of tension culminated in Blažuj on the evening of January 20th, when a huge fight broke inside the camp. Another one. Each time it is bigger and bigger. IOM cannot negate this as we all saw the fire a few nights ago, which was the result of one such fight. Those who are running camp do not have the knowledge, or willingness, to deal with tensions, meaning to provide more psychological support than security, better conditions, and activities that would make people at least feel human. Instead of that, the IOM and others have decided to limit media access, and to monitor contacts ‘residents’ have with people outside of the camp and the media, often punishing those who are found to communicate with people outside and accused of sending true information about the conditions in the camp (that should be public anyway). Those who do that are often punished with retaliation, expulsion, or even detention inside the special area in the camps, but also in official detention centers in Bosnia, where with no trials or delivered sentences people are kept sometimes for months.

    In the end, the media, IOM, and authorities put the perpetual blame on people on the move, demonizing and criminalizing them in order to justify their own (wrong) doings and (mis)handlings.

    We ask for transparency in the work of international organizations, and an immediate switch to the practices of care and justice. People in Bosnia, but also many other countries in a similar situation, have been asking for this for decades, with little success, while witnessing what could be described as very problematic behaviour of the personnel and leaders of the international organizations (e.g. during the war, especially in so called “safe zones”, or after the war when the UN personnel was involved in human trafficking).

    - unlimited media access to the camps

    – freedom of speech for people inside the camps

    - utter protection from all kinds of violence

    – access to nutritive food, hot and drinking water, hygienic care, medical treatments, mental health support

    – end to the police, military, and security guards’ violence.

    No more structural violence.

    No more mass camps.

    No more (mass) graves.

    Transbalkan Solidarity

    https://transbalkanskasolidarnost.home.blog/iom-run-camps-in-bosnia-structural-violence-is-not-

    #violence_structurelle #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Bosnie #OIM #IOM #camps_de_réfugiés #Blažuj #Blazuj #Balkans #route_des_Balkans

    ping @isskein @karine4

    • Bosnia: Fight in migrant camp leaves three officials injured

      Two police officers and an IOM employee suffered minor injuries in clashes at the Blazuj migrant reception center near Sarajevo on Wednesday, police said. More than 3,000 migrants are currently housed at the former military barracks.

      Police were called late Wednesday night to intervene in a fight that had broken out between migrants at the center outside Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

      “During the intervention, migrants attacked police officers and damaged several police and International Organization for Migration (IOM) cars, as well as IOM offices,” police spokesperson Mirza Hadziabdic told the news agency AFP.

      Hadziabdic confirmed that two police officers and an IOM employee were slightly injured, and that the property damaged in the clash included computers and other equipment.

      According to a statement by the IOM, “a skirmish between two migrants … quickly escalated into a bigger fight.” It was not immediately clear if anyone was arrested, AP reports.

      In Bosnian media, the incident was described as a major clash. The news platform Klix.ba published images of smashed cars and reported that police brought in members of special units with dogs. According to Klix.ba, around 2,000 migrants clashed with police and threw stones.

      Klix.ba reported on Friday that six persons involved in the scuffles had received deportation orders from the foreigners’ office and local authorities in the Sarajevo Canton. One Iranian national reportedly also received an an entry ban of three years and is due to be deported.
      Tense situation for migrants in Bosnia

      Bosnia is a transit country for migrants, mainly from Asia, Africa and the Middle East, who travel along the Balkan route in hopes of reaching Western Europe. Many however remain stranded in Bosnia and fail to cross into EU member state Croatia — their attempts are thwarted by Croatian border police who are regularly accused of applying force to push migrants back into Bosnia.

      Bosnia has struggled to manage a growing number of migrant arrivals since 2018 and most recently, the EU called upon Bosnia to provide adequate housing for migrants who are stranded in the country and face harsh winter conditions.

      According to estimates from EU and IOM officials, there are currently between 8,000 and 9,000 migrants in Bosnia.

      Around 6,000 migrants are living in five centers run by the IOM.

      Roughly 900 migrants are living in heated tents at Lipa camp, which the Bosnian army set up after weeks of criticism from the international community over the conditions at the camp.

      Roughly 2,000 migrants are camping out in the woods and in abandoned buildings in northwestern Bosnia, and their situation is becoming increasingly dangerous.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/29826/bosnia-fight-in-migrant-camp-leaves-three-officials-injured

    • Twenty Police Cars damaged by Migrants in Blazuj

      In last night’s riots in the migrant center in Blazuj near Sarajevo, 20 vehicles of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Sarajevo Canton and several IOM vehicles were damaged. This information was confirmed for Klix.ba by the Minister of the Interior of Canton Sarajevo, Admir Katica.

      Two injured police officers and one International Organization for Migrations employee is the epilogue of the chaos that happened last night in the migrant camp in Blazuj. This information was confirmed for “Avaz” by Mirza Hadziabdic, spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior of the Sarajevo Canton, and added that 2,000 migrants took part in the riots.

      The situation calmed down last night at 10:50 p.m. The police are still on the spot, an investigation is being carried out, and no one has been detained so far – Hadziabdic added.

      Recall, the workers of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) tried to move to another camp a migrant who disturbed the order and who is the leader of one of the groups in this camp. Migrants tried to release him by force, after which there was a conflict.

      https://www.sarajevotimes.com/around-2000-migrants-participated-in-riots-in-blazuj