• The big wall


    https://thebigwall.org/en

    An ActionAid investigation into how Italy tried to stop migration from Africa, using EU funds, and how much money it spent.

    There are satellites, drones, ships, cooperation projects, police posts, repatriation flights, training centers. They are the bricks of an invisible but tangible and often violent wall. Erected starting in 2015 onwards, thanks to over one billion euros of public money. With one goal: to eliminate those movements by sea, from North Africa to Italy, which in 2015 caused an outcry over a “refugee crisis”. Here we tell you about the (fragile) foundations and the (dramatic) impacts of this project. Which must be changed, urgently.

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    Ready, Set, Go

    Imagine a board game, Risk style. The board is a huge geographical map, which descends south from Italy, including the Mediterranean Sea and North Africa and almost reaching the equator, in Cameroon, South Sudan, Rwanda. Places we know little about and read rarely about.

    Each player distributes activity cards and objects between countries and along borders. In Ethiopia there is a camera crew shooting TV series called ‘Miraj’ [mirage], which recounts the misadventures of naive youth who rely on shady characters to reach Europe. There is military equipment, distributed almost everywhere: off-road vehicles for the Tunisian border police, ambulances and tank trucks for the army in Niger, patrol boats for Libya, surveillance drones taking off from Sicily.

    There is technology: satellite systems on ships in the Mediterranean, software for recording fingerprints in Egypt, laptops for the Nigerian police. And still: coming and going of flights between Libya and Nigeria, Guinea, Gambia. Maritime coordination centers, police posts in the middle of the Sahara, job orientation offices in Tunisia or Ethiopia, clinics in Uganda, facilities for minors in Eritrea, and refugee camps in Sudan.

    Hold your breath for a moment longer, because we still haven’t mentioned the training courses. And there are many: to produce yogurt in Ivory Coast, open a farm in Senegal or a beauty salon in Nigeria, to learn about the rights of refugees, or how to use a radar station.

    Crazed pawns, overlapping cards and unclear rules. Except for one: from these African countries, more than 25 of them, not one person should make it to Italy. There is only one exception allowed: leaving with a visa. Embassy officials, however, have precise instructions: anyone who doesn’t have something to return to should not be accepted. Relationships, family, and friends don’t count, but only incomes, properties, businesses, and titles do.

    For a young professional, a worker, a student, an activist, anyone looking for safety, future and adventure beyond the borders of the continent, for people like me writing and perhaps like you reading, the only allies become the facilitators, those who Europe calls traffickers and who, from friends, can turn into worst enemies.

    We called it The Big Wall. It could be one of those strategy games that keeps going throughout the night, for fans of geopolitics, conflicts, finance. But this is real life, and it’s the result of years of investments, experiments, documents and meetings. At first disorderly, sporadic, then systematized and increased since 2015, when United Nations agencies, echoed by the international media, sounded an alarm: there is a migrant crisis happening and Europe must intervene. Immediately.

    Italy was at the forefront, and all those agreements, projects, and programs from previous years suddenly converged and multiplied, becoming bricks of a wall that, from an increasingly militarized Mediterranean, moved south, to the travelers’ countries of origin.

    The basic idea, which bounced around chancelleries and European institutions, was to use multiple tools: development cooperation, support for security forces, on-site protection of refugees, repatriation, information campaigns on the risks of irregular migration. This, in the language of Brussels, was a “comprehensive approach”.

    We talked to some of the protagonists of this story — those who built the wall, who tried to jump it, and who would like to demolish it — and we looked through thousands of pages of reports, minutes, resolutions, decrees, calls for tenders, contracts, newspaper articles, research, to understand how much money Italy has spent, where, and what impacts it has had. Months of work to discover not only that this wall has dramatic consequences, but that the European – and Italian – approach to international migration stems from erroneous premises, from an emergency stance that has disastrous results for everyone, including European citizens.
    Libya: the tip of the iceberg

    It was the start of the 2017/2018 academic year and Omer Shatz, professor of international law, offered his Sciences Po students the opportunity to work alongside him on the preparation of a dossier. For the students of the faculty, this was nothing new. In the classrooms of the austere building on the Rive Gauche of Paris, which European and African heads of state have passed though, not least Emmanuel Macron, it’s normal to work on real life materials: peace agreements in Colombia, trials against dictators and foreign fighters. Those who walk on those marble floors already know that they will be able to speak with confidence in circles that matter, in politics as well as diplomacy.

    Shatz, who as a criminal lawyer in Israel is familiar with abuses and rights violations, launched his students a new challenge: to bring Europe to the International Criminal Court for the first time. “Since it was created, the court has only condemned African citizens – dictators, militia leaders – but showing European responsibility was urgent,” he explains.

    One year after first proposing the plan, Shatz sent an envelope to the Court’s headquarters, in the Dutch town of The Hague. With his colleague Juan Branco and eight of his students he recounted, in 245 pages, cases of “widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population”, linked to “crimes against humanity consciously committed by European actors, in the central Mediterranean and in Libya, in line with Italian and European Union policies”.

    The civilian population to which they refer comprises migrants and refugees, swallowed by the waves or intercepted in the central Mediterranean and brought back to shore by Libyan assets, to be placed in a seemingly endless cycle of detention. Among them are the 13.000 dead recorded since 2015, in the stretch of sea between North Africa and Italy, out of 523.000 people who survived the crossing, but also the many African and Asian citizens, who are rarely counted, who were tortured in Libya and died in any of the dozens of detention centers for foreigners, often run by militias.

    “At first we thought that the EU and Italy were outsourcing dirty work to Libya to block people, which in jargon is called ‘aiding and abetting’ in the commission of a crime, then we realized that the Europeans were actually the conductors of these operations, while the Libyans performed”, says Shatz, who, at the end of 2020, was preparing a second document for the International Criminal Court to include more names, those of the “anonymous officials of the European and Italian bureaucracy who participated in this criminal enterprise”, which was centered around the “reinvention of the Libyan Coast Guard, conceived by Italian actors”.

    Identifying heads of department, office directors, and institution executives in democratic countries as alleged criminals might seem excessive. For Shatz, however, “this is the first time, after the Nuremberg trials, after Eichmann, that Europe has committed crimes of this magnitude, outside of an armed conflict”. The court, which routinely rejects at least 95 percent of the cases presented, did not do so with Shatz and his students’ case. “Encouraging news, but that does not mean that the start of proceedings is around the corner”, explains the lawyer.

    At the basis of the alleged crimes, he continues, are “regulations, memoranda of understanding, maritime cooperation, detention centers, patrols and drones” created and financed by the European Union and Italy. Here Shatz is speaking about the Memorandum of Understanding between Italy and Libya to “reduce the flow of illegal migrants”, as the text of the document states. An objective to be achieved through training and support for the two maritime patrol forces of the very fragile Libyan national unity government, by “adapting” the existing detention centers, and supporting local development initiatives.

    Signed in Rome on February 2, 2017 and in force until 2023, the text is grafted onto the Treaty of Friendship, Partnership and Cooperation signed by Silvio Berlusconi and Muammar Gaddafi in 2008, but is tied to a specific budget: that of the so-called Africa Fund, established in 2016 as the “Fund for extraordinary interventions to relaunch dialogue and cooperation with African countries of priority importance for migration routes” and extended in 2020 — as the Migration Fund — to non-African countries too.

    310 million euros were allocated in total between the end of 2016 and November 2020, and 252 of those were disbursed, according to our reconstruction.

    A multiplication of tools and funds that, explains Mario Giro, “was born after the summit between the European Union and African leaders in Malta, in November 2015”. According to the former undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from 2013, and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs between 2016 and 2018, that summit in Malta “sanctioned the triumph of a European obsession, that of reducing migration from Africa at all costs: in exchange of this containment, there was a willingness to spend, invest”. For Giro, the one in Malta was an “attempt to come together, but not a real partnership”.

    Libya, where more than 90 percent of those attempting to cross the central Mediterranean departed from in those years, was the heart of a project in which Italian funds and interests support and integrate with programs by the European Union and other member states. It was an all-European dialogue, from which powerful Africans — political leaders but also policemen, militiamen, and the traffickers themselves — tried to obtain something: legitimacy, funds, equipment.

    Fragmented and torn apart by a decade-long conflict, Libya was however not alone. In October 2015, just before the handshakes and the usual photographs at the Malta meeting, the European Commission established an Emergency Trust Fund to “address the root causes of migration in Africa”.

    To do so, as Dutch researcher Thomas Spijkerboer will reconstruct years later, the EU executive declared a state of emergency in the 26 African countries that benefit from the Fund, thus justifying the choice to circumvent European competition rules in favor of direct award procedures. However “it’s implausible – Spijkerboeker will go on to argue – that there is a crisis in all 26 African countries where the Trust Fund operates through the duration of the Trust Fund”, now extended until the end of 2021.

    However, the imperative, as an advisor to the Budget Commission of the European Parliament explains, was to act immediately: “not within a few weeks, but days, hours“.

    Faced with a Libya still ineffective at stopping flows to the north, it was in fact necessary to intervene further south, traveling backwards along the routes that converge from dozens of African countries and go towards Tripolitania. And — like dominoes in reverse — raising borders and convincing, or forcing, potential travelers to stop in their countries of origin or in others along the way, before they arrived on the shores of the Mediterranean.

    For the first time since decolonization, human mobility in Africa became the keystone of Italian policies on the continent, so much so that analysts began speaking of migration diplomacy. Factors such as the number of migrants leaving from a given country and the number of border posts or repatriations all became part of the political game, on the same level as profits from oil extraction, promises of investment, arms sales, or trade agreements.

    Comprising projects, funds, and programs, this migration diplomacy comes at a cost. For the period between January 2015 and November 2020, we tracked down 317 funding lines managed by Italy with its own funds and partially co-financed by the European Union. A total of 1.337 billion euros, spent over five years and destined to eight different items of expenditure. Here Libya is in first place, but it is not alone.

    A long story, in short

    For simplicity’s sake, we can say that it all started in the hot summer of 2002, with an almost surrealist lightning war over a barren rock on the edge of the Mediterranean: the Isla de Persejil, the island of parsley. A little island in the Strait of Gibraltar, disputed for decades between Morocco and Spain, which had its ephemeral moment of glory when in July of that year the Moroccan monarchy sent six soldiers, some tents and a flag. Jose-Maria Aznar’s government quickly responded with a reconquista to the sound of fighter-bombers, frigates, and helicopters.

    Peace was signed only a few weeks later and the island went back to being a land of shepherds and military patrols. Which from then on, however, were joint ones.

    “There was talk of combating drug trafficking and illegal fishing, but the reality was different: these were the first anti-immigration operations co-managed by Spanish and Moroccan soldiers”, explains Sebastian Cobarrubias, professor of geography at the University of Zaragoza. The model, he says, was the one of Franco-Spanish counter-terrorism operations in the Basque Country, exported from the Pyrenees to the sea border.

    A process of externalization of Spanish and European migration policy was born following those events in 2002, and culminating years later with the crisis de los cayucos, the pirogue crisis: the arrival of tens of thousands of people – 31,000 in 2006 alone – in the Canary Islands, following extremely dangerous crossings from Senegal, Mauritania and Morocco.

    In close dialogue with the European Commission, which saw the Spanish border as the most porous one of the fragile Schengen area, the government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero reacted quickly. “Within a few months, cooperation and repatriation agreements were signed with nine African countries,” says Cobarrubias, who fought for years, with little success, to obtain the texts of the agreements.

    The events of the late 2000s look terribly similar to what Italy will try to implement a decade later with its Mediterranean neighbors, Libya first of all. So much so that in 2016 it was the Spanish Minister of the Interior himself, Jorge Fernández Díaz, who recalled that “the Spanish one is a European management model, reproducible in other contexts”. A vision confirmed by the European Commission officials with whom we spoke.

    At the heart of the Spanish strategy, which over a few short years led to a drastic decrease of arrivals by sea, was the opening of new diplomatic offices in Africa, the launch of local development projects, and above all the support given to the security forces of partner countries.

    Cobarrubias recounts at least four characteristic elements of the Madrid approach: the construction of new patrol forces “such as the Mauritanian Coast Guard, which did not exist and was created by Spain thanks to European funds, with the support of the newly created Frontex agency”; direct and indirect support for detention centers, such as the infamous ‘Guantanamito’, or little Guantanamo, denounced by civil society organizations in Mauritania; the real-time collection of border data and information, carried out by the SIVE satellite system, a prototype of Eurosur, an incredibly expensive intelligence center on the EU’s external borders launched in 2013, based on drones, satellites, airplanes, and sensors; and finally, the strategy of working backwards along migration routes, to seal borders, from the sea to the Sahara desert, and investing locally with development and governance programs, which Spain did during the two phases of the so-called Plan Africa, between 2006 and 2012.

    Replace “Spain” with “Italy”, and “Mauritania” with “Libya”, and you’ll have an idea of what happened years later, in an attempt to seal another European border.

    The main legacy of the Spanish model, according to the Italian sociologist Lorenzo Gabrielli, however, is the negative conditionality, which is the fact of conditioning the disbursement of these loans – for security forces, ministries, trade agreements – at the level of the African partners’ cooperation in the management of migration, constantly threatening to reduce investments if there are not enough repatriations being carried out, or if controls and pushbacks fail. An idea that is reminiscent both of the enlargement process of the European Union, with all the access restrictions placed on candidate countries, and of the Schengen Treaty, the attempt to break down internal European borders, which, as a consequence, created the need to protect a new common border, the external one.
    La externalización europea del control migratorio: ¿La acción española como modelo? Read more

    At the end of 2015, when almost 150,000 people had reached the Italian coast and over 850,000 had crossed Turkey and the Balkans to enter the European Union, the story of the maritime migration to Spain had almost faded from memory.

    But something remained of it: a management model. Based, once again, on an idea of crisis.

    “We tried to apply it to post-Gaddafi Libya – explains Stefano Manservisi, who over the past decade has chaired two key departments for migration policies in the EU Commission, Home Affairs and Development Cooperation – but in 2013 we soon realized that things had blown up, that that there was no government to talk to: the whole strategy had to be reformulated”.

    Going backwards, through routes and processes

    The six-month presidency of the European Council, in 2014, was the perfect opportunity for Italy.

    In November of that year, Matteo Renzi’s government hosted a conference in Rome to launch the Khartoum Process, the brand new initiative for the migration route between the EU and the Horn of Africa, modeled on the Rabat Process, born in 2006, at the apex of the crisis de los cayucos, after pressure from Spain. It’s a regional cooperation platform between EU countries and nine African countries, based on the exchange of information and coordination between governments, to manage migration.
    Il processo di Khartoum: l’Italia e l’Europa contro le migrazioni Read more

    Warning: if you start to find terms such as ‘process’ and ‘coordination platform’ nebulous, don’t worry. The backbone of European policies is made of these structures: meetings, committees, negotiating tables with unattractive names, whose roles elude most of us. It’s a tendency towards the multiplication of dialogue and decision spaces, that the migration policies of recent years have, if possible, accentuated, in the name of flexibility, of being ready for any eventuality. Of continuous crisis.

    Let’s go back to that inter-ministerial meeting in Rome that gave life to the Khartoum Process and in which Libya, where the civil war had resumed violently a few months earlier, was not present.

    Italy thus began looking beyond Libya, to the so-called countries of origin and transit. Such as Ethiopia, a historic beneficiary of Italian development cooperation, and Sudan. Indeed, both nations host refugees from Eritrea and Somalia, two of the main countries of origin of those who cross the central Mediterranean between 2013 and 2015. Improving their living conditions was urgent, to prevent them from traveling again, from dreaming of Europe. In Niger, on the other hand, which is an access corridor to Libya for those traveling from countries such as Nigeria, Gambia, Senegal, and Mali, Italy co-financed a study for a new law against migrant smuggling, then adopted in 2015, which became the cornerstone of a radical attempt to reduce movement across the Sahara desert, which you will read about later.

    A year later, with the Malta summit and the birth of the EU Trust Fund for Africa, Italy was therefore ready to act. With a 123 million euro contribution, allocated from 2017 through the Africa Fund and the Migration Fund, Italy became the second donor country, and one of the most active in trying to manage those over 4 billion euros allocated for five years. [If you are curious about the financing mechanisms of the Trust Fund, read here: https://thebigwall.org/en/trust-fund/].

    Through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), born in 2014 as an operational branch of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Italy immediately made itself available to manage European Fund projects, and one idea seemed to be the driving one: using classic development programs, but implemented in record time, to offer on-site alternatives to young people eager to leave, while improving access to basic services.

    Local development, therefore, became the intervention to address the so-called root causes of migration. For the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the newborn AICS, it seemed a winning approach. Unsurprisingly, the first project approved through the Trust Fund for Africa was managed by the Italian agency in Ethiopia.

    “Stemming irregular migration in Northern and Central Ethiopia” received 19.8 million euros in funding, a rare sum for local development interventions. The goal was to create job opportunities and open career guidance centers for young people in four Ethiopian regions. Or at least that’s how it seemed. In the first place, among the objectives listed in the project sheet, there is in fact another one: to reduce irregular migration.

    In the logical matrix of the project, which insiders know is the presentation – through data, indicators and figures – of the expected results, there is no indicator that appears next to the “reduction of irregular migration” objective. There is no way, it’s implicitly admitted, to verify that that goal has been achieved. That the young person trained to start a micro-enterprise in the Wollo area, for example, is one less migrant.

    Bizarre, not to mention wrong. But indicative of the problems of an approach of which, an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs explains to us, “Italy had made itself the spokesperson in Europe”.

    “The mantra was that more development would stop migration, and at a certain point that worked for everyone: for AICS, which justified its funds in the face of political landscape that was scared by the issue of landings, and for many NGOs, which immediately understood that migrations were the parsley to be sprinkled on the funding requests that were presented”, explains the official, who, like so many in this story, prefers to remain anonymous.

    This idea of the root causes was reproduced, as in an echo chamber, “without programmatic documents, without guidelines, but on the wave of a vague idea of political consensus around the goal of containing migration”, he adds. This makes it almost impossible to talk about, so much so that a proposal for new guidelines on immigration and development, drawn up during 2020 by AICS, was set aside for months.

    Indeed, if someone were to say, as evidenced by scholars such as Michael Clemens, that development can also increase migration, and that migration itself is a source of development, the whole ‘root causes’ idea would collapse and the already tight cooperation budgets would risk being cut, in the name of the same absolute imperative as always: reducing arrivals to Italy and Europe.

    Maintaining a vague, costly and unverifiable approach is equally damaging.

    Bram Frouws, director of the Mixed Migration Center, a think-tank that studies international mobility, points out, for example, how the ‘root cause’ approach arises from a vision of migration as a problem to be eradicated rather than managed, and that paradoxically, the definition of these deep causes always remains superficial. In fact, there is never talk of how international fishing agreements damage local communities, nor of land grabbing by speculators, major construction work, or corruption and arms sales. There is only talk of generic economic vulnerability, of a country’s lack of stability. An almost abstract phenomenon, in which European actors are exempt from any responsibility.

    There is another problem: in the name of the fight against irregular migration, interventions have shifted from poorer and truly vulnerable countries and populations to regions with ‘high migratory rates’, a term repeated in dozens of project descriptions funded over the past few years, distorting one of the cardinal principles of development aid, codified in regulations and agreements: that of responding to the most urgent needs of a given population, and of not imposing external priorities, even more so if it is countries considered richer are the ones doing it.

    The Nigerien experiment

    While Ethiopia and Sudan absorb the most substantial share of funds destined to tackle the root causes of migration — respectively 47 and 32 million euros out of a total expenditure of 195 million euros — Niger, which for years has been contending for the podium of least developed country on the planet with Central African Republic according to the United Nations Human Development Index — benefits from just over 10 million euros.

    Here in fact it’s more urgent, for Italy and the EU, to intervene on border control rather than root causes, to stop the flow of people that cross the country until they arrive in Agadez, to then disappear in the Sahara and emerge, days later — if all goes well — in southern Libya. In 2016, the International Organization for Migration counted nearly 300,000 people passing through a single checkpoint along the road to Libya. The figure bounced between the offices of the European Commission, and from there to the Farnesina, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: faced with an uncontrollable Libya, intervening in Niger became a priority.

    Italy did it in great style, even before opening an embassy in the country, in February 2017: with a contribution to the state budget of Niger of 50 million euros, part of the Africa Fund, included as part of a maxi-program managed by the EU in the country and paid out in several installments.

    While the project documents list a number of conditions for the continuation of the funding, including increased monitoring along the routes to Libya and the adoption of regulations and strategies for border control, some local and European officials with whom we have spoken think that the assessments were made with one eye closed: the important thing was in fact to provide those funds to be spent in a country that for Italy, until then, had been synonymous only with tourism in the Sahara dunes and development in rural areas.

    Having become a priority in the New Partnership Framework on Migration, yet another EU operational program, launched in 2016, Niger seemed thus exempt from controls on the management of funds to which beneficiaries of European funds are normally subject to.

    “Our control mechanisms, the Court of Auditors, the Parliament and the anti-corruption Authority, do not work, and yet the European partners have injected millions of euros into state coffers, without imposing transparency mechanisms”, reports then Ali Idrissa Nani , president of the Réseau des Organizations pour la Transparence et l’Analyse du Budget (ROTAB), a network of associations that seeks to monitor state spending in Niger.

    “It leaves me embittered, but for some years we we’ve had the impression that civil liberties, human rights, and participation are no longer a European priority“, continues Nani, who —- at the end of 2020 — has just filed a complaint with the Court of Niamey, to ask the Prosecutor to open an investigation into the possible disappearance of at least 120 million euros in funds from the Ministry of Defense, a Pandora’s box uncovered by local and international journalists.

    For Nani, who like other Nigerien activists spent most of 2018 in prison for encouraging demonstrations against high living costs, this explosion of European and Italian cooperation didn’t do the country any good, and in fact favoured authoritarian tendencies, and limited even more the independence of the judiciary.

    For their part, the Nigerien rulers have more than others seized the opportunity offered by European donors to obtain legitimacy and support. Right after the Valletta summit, they were the first to present an action plan to reduce migration to Libya, which they abruptly implemented in mid-2016, applying the anti-trafficking law whose preliminary study was financed by Italy, with the aim of emptying the city of #Agadez of migrants from other countries.

    The transport of people to the Libyan border, an activity that until that point happened in the light of day and was sanctioned at least informally by the local authorities, thus became illegal from one day to the next. Hundreds of drivers, intermediaries, and facilitators were arrested, and an entire economy crashed

    But did the movement of people really decrease? Almost impossible to tell. The only data available are those of the International Organization for Migration, which continues to record the number of transits at certain police posts. But drivers and foreign travelers no longer pass through them, fearing they will be arrested or stopped. Routes and journeys, as always happens, are remodeled, only to reappear elsewhere. Over the border with Chad, or in Algeria, or in a risky zigzagging of small tracks, to avoid patrols.

    For Hamidou Manou Nabara, a Nigerien sociologist and researcher, the problems with this type of cooperation are manifold.

    On the one hand, it restricted the free movement guaranteed within the Economic Community of West African States, a sort of ‘Schengen area’ between 15 countries in the region, making half of Niger, from Agadez to the north, a no-go areas for foreign citizens, even though they still had the right to move throughout the national territory.

    Finally, those traveling north were made even more vulnerable. “The control of borders and migratory movements was justified on humanitarian grounds, to contrast human trafficking, but in reality very few victims of trafficking were ever identified: the center of this cooperation is repression”, explains Nabara.

    Increasing controls, through military and police operations, actually exposes travelers to greater violations of human rights, both by state agents and passeurs, making the Sahara crossings longer and riskier.

    The fight against human trafficking, a slogan repeated by European and African leaders and a central expenditure item of the Italian intervention between Africa and the Mediterranean — 142 million euros in five years —- actually risks having the opposite effect. Because a trafiicker’s bread and butter, in addition to people’s desire to travel, is closed borders and denied visas.

    A reinvented frontier

    Galvanized by the activism of the European Commission after the launch of the Trust Fund but under pressure internally, faced with a discourse on migration that seemed to invade every public space — from the front pages of newspapers to television talk-shows — and unable to agree on how to manage migration within the Schengen area, European rulers thus found an agreement outside the continent: to add more bricks to that wall that must reduce movements through the Mediterranean.

    Between 2015 and 2016, Italian, Dutch, German, French and European Union ministers, presidents and senior officials travel relentlessly between countries considered priorities for migration, and increasingly for security, and invite their colleagues to the European capitals. A coming and going of flights to Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tunisia, Senegal, Chad, Guinea, to make agreements, negotiate.

    “Niamey had become a crossroads for European diplomats”, remembers Ali Idrissa Nani, “but few understood the reasons”.

    However, unlike the border with Turkey, where the agreement signed with the EU at the beginning of 2016 in no time reduced the arrival of Syrian, Afghan, and Iraqi citizens in Greece, the continent’s other ‘hot’ border, promises of speed and effectiveness by the Trust Fund for Africa did not seem to materialize. Departures from Libya, in particular, remained constant. And in the meantime, in the upcoming election in a divided Italy, the issue of migration seemed to be tipping the balance, capable of shifting votes and alliances.

    It is at that point that the Italian Ministry of the Interior, newly led by Marco Minniti, put its foot on the accelerator. The Viminale, the Italian Ministry of the Interior, became the orchestrator of a new intervention plan, refined between Rome and Brussels, with German support, which went back to focusing everything on Libya and on that stretch of sea that separates it from Italy.

    “In those months the phones were hot, everyone was looking for Marco“, says an official of the Interior Ministry, who admits that “the Ministry of the Interior had snatched the Libyan dossier from Foreign Affairs, but only because up until then the Foreign Ministry hadn’t obtained anything” .

    Minniti’s first move was the signing of the new Memorandum with Libya, which gave way to a tripartite plan.

    At the top of the agenda was the creation of a maritime interception device for boats departing from the Libyan coast, through the reconstruction of the Coast Guard and the General Administration for Coastal Security (GACS), the two patrol forces belonging to the Ministry of Defense and that of the Interior, and the establishment of a rescue coordination center, prerequisites for Libya to declare to the International Maritime Organization that it had a Search and Rescue Area, so that the Italian Coast Guard could ask Libyan colleagues to intervene if there were boats in trouble.

    Accompanying this work in Libya is a jungle of Italian and EU missions, surveillance systems and military operations — from the European Frontex, Eunavfor Med and Eubam Libya, to the Italian military mission “Safe Waters” — equipped with drones, planes, patrol boats, whose task is to monitor the Libyan Sea, which is increasingly emptied by the European humanitarian ships that started operating in 2014 (whose maneuvering spaces are in the meantime reduced to the bone due to various strategies) to support Libyan interception operations.

    The second point of the ‘Minniti agenda’ was to progressively empty Libya of migrants and refugees, so that an escape by sea would become increasingly difficult. Between 2017 and 2020, the Libyan assets, which are in large part composed of patrol boats donated by Italy, intercepted and returned to shore about 56,000 people according to data released by UN agencies. The Italian-European plan envisages two solutions: for economic migrants, the return to the country of origin; for refugees, the possibility of obtaining protection.

    There is one part of this plan that worked better, at least in terms of European wishes: repatriation, presented as ‘assisted voluntary return’. This vision was propelled by images, released in October 2017 by CNN as part of a report on the abuse of foreigners in Libya, of what appears to be a slave auction. The images reopened the unhealed wounds of the slave trade through Atlantic and Sahara, and helped the creation of a Joint Initiative between the International Organization for Migration, the European Union, and the African Union, aimed at returning and reintegrating people in the countries of origin.

    Part of the Italian funding for IOM was injected into this complex system of repatriation by air, from Tripoli to more than 20 countries, which has contributed to the repatriation of 87,000 people over three years. 33,000 from Libya, and 37,000 from Niger.

    A similar program for refugees, which envisages transit through other African countries (Niger and Rwanda gave their availability) and from there resettlement to Europe or North America, recorded much lower numbers: 3,300 evacuations between the end of 2017 and the end of 2020. For the 47,000 people registered as refugees in Libya, leaving the country without returning to their home country, to the starting point, is almost impossible.

    Finally, there is a third, lesser-known point of the Italian plan: even in Libya, Italy wants to intervene on the root causes of migration, or rather on the economies linked to the transit and smuggling of migrants. The scheme is simple: support basic services and local authorities in migrant transit areas, in exchange for this transit being controlled and reduced. The transit of people brings with it the circulation of currency, a more valuable asset than usual in a country at war, and this above all in the south of Libya, in the immense Saharan region of Fezzan, the gateway to the country, bordering Algeria, Niger, and Chad and almost inaccessible to international humanitarian agencies.

    A game in which intelligence plays central role (as also revealed by the journalist Lorenzo D’Agostino on Foreign Policy), as indeed it did in another negotiation and exchange of money: those 5 million euros destined — according to various journalistic reconstructions — to a Sabratha militia, the Anas Al-Dabbashi Brigade, to stop departures from the coastal city.

    A year later, its leader, Ahmed Al-Dabbashi, will be sanctioned by the UN Security Council, as leader for criminal activities related to human trafficking.

    The one built in record time by the ministry led by Marco Minniti is therefore a complicated and expensive puzzle. To finance it, there are above all the Trust Fund for Africa of the EU, and the Italian Africa Fund, initially headed only by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and unpacked among several ministries for the occasion, but also the Internal Security Fund of the EU, which funds military equipment for all Italian security forces, as well as funds and activities from the Ministry of Defense.

    A significant part of those 666 million euros dedicated to border control, but also of funds to support governance and fight traffickers, converges and enters this plan: a machine that was built too quickly, among whose wheels human rights and Libya’s peace process are sacrificed.

    “We were looking for an immediate result and we lost sight of the big picture, sacrificing peace on the altar of the fight against migration, when Libya was in pieces, in the hands of militias who were holding us hostage”. This is how former Deputy Minister Mario Giro describes the troubled handling of the Libyan dossier.

    For Marwa Mohamed, a Libyan activist, all these funds and interventions were “provided without any real clause of respect for human rights, and have fragmented the country even more, because they were intercepted by the militias, which are the same ones that manage both the smuggling of migrants that detention centers, such as that of Abd el-Rahman al-Milad, known as ‘al-Bija’ ”.

    Projects aimed at Libyan municipalities, included in the interventions on the root causes of migration — such as the whole detention system, invigorated by the introduction of people intercepted at sea (and ‘improved’ through millions of euros of Italian funds) — offer legitimacy, when they do not finance it directly, to the ramified and violent system of local powers that the German political scientist Wolfram Lacher defines as the ‘Tripoli militia cartel‘. [for more details on the many Italian funds in Libya, read here].
    Fondi italiani in Libia Read more

    “Bringing migrants back to shore, perpetuating a detention system, does not only mean subjecting people to new abuses, but also enriching the militias, fueling the conflict”, continues Mohamed, who is now based in London, where she is a spokesman of the Libyan Lawyers for Justice organization.

    The last few years of Italian cooperation, she argues, have been “a sequence of lost opportunities”. And to those who tell you — Italian and European officials especially — that reforming justice, putting an end to that absolute impunity that strengthens the militias, is too difficult, Mohamed replies without hesitation: “to sign the Memorandum of Understanding, the authorities contacted the militias close to the Tripoli government one by one and in the meantime built a non-existent structure from scratch, the Libyan Coast Guard: and you’re telling me that you can’t put the judicial system back on its feet and protect refugees? ”

    The only thing that mattered, however, in that summer of 2017, were the numbers. Which, for the first time since 2013, were falling again, and quickly. In the month of August there were 80 percent fewer landings than the year before. And so it would be for the following months and years.

    “Since then, we have continued to allocate, renewing programs and projects, without asking for any guarantee in exchange for the treatment of migrants”, explains Matteo De Bellis, researcher at Amnesty International, remembering that the Italian promise to modify the Memorandum of Understanding, introducing clauses of protection, has been on stop since the controversial renewal of the document, in February 2020.

    Repatriations, evacuations, promises

    We are 1500 kilometers of road, and sand, south of Tripoli. Here Salah* spends his days escaping a merciless sun. The last three years of the life of the thirty-year-old Sudanese have not offered much else and now, like many fellow sufferers, he does not hide his fatigue.

    We are in a camp 15 kilometers from Agadez, in Niger, in the middle of the Sahara desert, where Salah lives with a thousand people, mostly Sudanese from the Darfur region, the epicenter of one of the most dramatic and lethal conflicts of recent decades.

    Like almost all the inhabitants of this temporary Saharan settlement, managed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and — at the end of 2020 — undergoing rehabilitation also thanks to Italian funds, he passed through Libya and since 2017, after three years of interceptions at sea and detention, he’s been desperately searching for a way out, for a future.

    Salah fled Darfur in 2016, after receiving threats from pro-government armed militias, and reached Tripoli after a series of vicissitudes and violence. In late spring 2017, he sailed from nearby Zawiya with 115 other people. They were intercepted, brought back to shore and imprisoned in a detention center, formally headed by the government but in fact controlled by the Al-Nasr militia, linked to the trafficker Al-Bija.

    “They beat us everywhere, for days, raped some women in front of us, and asked everyone to call families to get money sent,” Salah recalls. Months later, after paying some money and escaping, he crossed the Sahara again, up to Agadez. UNHCR had just opened a facility and from there, as rumour had it, you could ask to be resettled to Europe.

    Faced with sealed maritime borders, and after experiencing torture and abuse, that faint hope set in motion almost two thousand people, who, hoping to reach Italy, found themselves on the edges of the Sahara, along what many, by virtue of investments and negotiations, had started to call the ‘new European frontier’.

    Three years later, a little over a thousand people remain of that initial group. Only a few dozen of them had access to resettlement, while many returned to Libya, and to all of its abuses.

    Something similar is also happening in Tunisia, where since 2017, the number of migrants and refugees entering the country has increased. They are fleeing by land and sometimes by sea from Libya, going to crowd UN structures. Then, faced with a lack of real prospects, they return to Libya.

    For Romdhane Ben Amor, spokesman for the Tunisian Federation for Economic and Social Rights, “in Tunisia European partners have financed a non-reception: overcrowded centers in unworthy conditions, which have become recruitment areas for traffickers, because in fact there are two options offered there: go home or try to get back to the sea “.

    In short, even the interventions for the protection of migrants and refugees must be read in a broader context, of a contraction of mobility and human rights. “The refugee management itself has submitted to the goal of containment, which is the true original sin of the Italian and European strategy,” admits a UNHCR official.

    This dogma of containment, at any cost, affects everyone — people who travel, humanitarian actors, civil society, local governments — by distorting priorities, diverting funds, and undermining future relationships and prospects. The same ones that European officials call partnerships and which in the case of Africa, as reiterated in 2020 by President Ursula Von Der Leyen, should be “between equals”.

    Let’s take another example: the Egypt of President Abdel Fetah Al-Sisi. Since 2016, it has been increasingly isolated on the international level, also due to violent internal repression, which Italy knows something about. Among the thousands of people who have been disappeared or killed in recent years, is researcher Giulio Regeni, whose body was thrown on the side of a road north of Cairo in February 2016.

    Around the time of the murder, in which the complicity and cover-ups by the Egyptian security forces were immediately evident, the Italian Ministry of the Interior restarted its dialogue with the country. “It’s absurd, but Italy started to support Egypt in negotiations with the European Union,” explains lawyer Muhammed Al-Kashef, a member of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Right and now a refugee in Germany.

    By inserting itself on an already existing cooperation project that saw italy, for example, finance the use of fingerprint-recording software used by the Egyptian police, the Italian Ministry of the Interior was able to create a police academy in Cairo, inaugurated in 2018 with European funds, to train the border guards of over 20 African countries. Italy also backed Egyptian requests within the Khartoum Process and, on a different front, sells weapons and conducts joint naval exercises.

    “Rome could have played a role in Egypt, supporting the democratic process after the 2011 revolution, but it preferred to fall into the migration trap, fearing a wave of migration that would never happen,” says Al-Kashef.

    With one result: “they have helped transform Egypt into a country that kills dreams, and often dreamers too, and from which all young people today want to escape”. Much more so than in 2015 or that hopeful 2011.

    Cracks in the wall, and how to widen them

    If you have read this far, following personal stories and routes of people and funds, you will have understood one thing, above all: that the beating heart of this strategy, set up by Italy with the participation of the European Union and vice versa, is the reduction of migrations across the Mediterranean. The wall, in fact.

    Now try to add other European countries to this picture. Since 2015 many have fully adopted — or returned to — this process of ‘externalization’ of migration policies. Spain, where the Canary Islands route reopened in 2019, demonstrating the fragility of the model you read about above; France, with its strategic network in the former colonies, the so-called Françafrique. And then Germany, Belgium, Holland, United Kingdom, Austria.

    Complicated, isn’t it? This great wall’s bricks and builders keep multiplying. Even more strategies, meetings, committees, funds and documents. And often, the same lack of transparency, which makes reconstructing these loans – understanding which cement, sand, and lime mixture was used, i.e. who really benefited from the expense, what equipment was provided, how the results were monitored – a long process, when it’s not impossible.

    The Pact on Migration and Asylum of the European Union, presented in September 2020, seems to confirm this: cooperation with third countries and relaunching repatriations are at its core.

    Even the European Union budget for the seven-year period 2021-2027, approved in December 2020, continues to focus on this expenditure, for example by earmarking for migration projects 10 percent of the new Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument, equipped with 70 billion euros, but also diverting a large part of the Immigration and Asylum Fund (8.7 billion) towards support for repatriation, and foreseeing 12.1 billion euros for border control.

    While now, with the new US presidency, some have called into question the future of the wall on the border with Mexico, perhaps the most famous of the anti-migrant barriers in the world, the wall built in the Mediterranean and further south, up to the equator, has seemingly never been so strong.

    But economists, sociologists, human rights defenders, analysts and travelers all demonstrate the problems with this model. “It’s a completely flawed approach, and there are no quick fixes to change it,” says David Kipp, a researcher at the German Institute for International Affairs, a government-funded think-tank.

    For Kipp, however, we must begin to deflate this migration bubble, and go back to addressing migration as a human phenomenon, to be understood and managed. “I dream of the moment when this issue will be normalized, and will become something boring,” he admits timidly.

    To do this, cracks must be opened in the wall and in a model that seems solid but really isn’t, that has undesirable effects, violates human rights, and isolates Europe and Italy.

    Anna Knoll, researcher at the European Center for Development Policy Management, explains for example that European policies have tried to limit movements even within Africa, while the future of the continent is the freedom of movement of goods and people, and “for Europe, it is an excellent time to support this, also given the pressure from other international players, China first of all”.

    For Sabelo Mbokazi, who heads the Labor and Migration department of the Social Affairs Commission of the African Union (AU), there is one issue on which the two continental blocs have divergent positions: legal entry channels. “For the EU, they are something residual, we have a much broader vision,” he explains. And this will be one of the themes of the next EU-AU summit, which was postponed several times in 2020.

    It’s a completely flawed approach, and there are no quick fixes to change it
    David Kipp - researcher at the German Institute for International Affairs

    Indeed, the issue of legal access channels to the Italian and European territory is one of the most important, and so far almost imperceptible, cracks in this Big Wall. In the last five years, Italy has spent just 15 million euros on it, 1.1 percent of the total expenditure dedicated to external dimensions of migration.

    The European Union hasn’t done any better. “Legal migration, which was one of the pillars of the strategy born in Valletta in 2015, has remained a dead letter, but if we limit ourselves to closing the borders, we will not go far”, says Stefano Manservisi, who as a senior official of the EU Commission worked on all the migration dossiers during those years.

    Yet we all know that a trafficker’s worst enemy are passport stamps, visas, and airline tickets.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=HmR96ySikkY

    Helen Dempster, who’s an economist at the Center for Global Development, spends her days studying how to do this: how to open legal channels of entry, and how to get states to think about it. And there is an effective example: we must not end up like Japan.

    “For decades, Japan has had very restrictive migration policies, it hasn’t allowed anyone in”, explains Dempster, “but in recent years it has realized that, with its aging population, it soon won’t have enough people to do basic jobs, pay taxes, and finance pensions”. And so, in April 2019, the Asian country began accepting work visa applications, hoping to attract 500,000 foreign workers.

    In Europe, however, “the hysteria surrounding migration in 2015 and 2016 stopped all debate“. Slowly, things are starting to move again. On the other hand, several European states, Italy and Germany especially, have one thing in common with Japan: an increasingly aging population.

    “All European labor ministries know that they must act quickly, but there are two preconceptions: that it is difficult to develop adequate projects, and that public opinion is against it.” For Dempster, who helped design an access program to the Belgian IT sector for Moroccan workers, these are false problems. “If we want to look at it from the point of view of the security of the receiving countries, bringing a person with a passport allows us to have a lot more information about who they are, which we do not have if we force them to arrive by sea”, she explains.

    Let’s look at some figures to make it easier: in 2007, Italy made 340,000 entry visas available, half of them seasonal, for non-EU workers, as part of the Flows Decree, Italy’s main legal entry channel adopted annually by the government. Few people cried “invasion” back then. Ten years later, in 2017, those 119,000 people who reached Italy through the Mediterranean seemed a disproportionate number. In the same year, the quotas of the Flow decree were just 30,000.

    Perhaps these numbers aren’t comparable, and building legal entry programs is certainly long, expensive, and apparently impractical, if we think of the economic and social effects of the coronavirus pandemic in which we are immersed. For Dempster, however, “it is important to be ready, to launch pilot programs, to create infrastructures and relationships”. So that we don’t end up like Japan, “which has urgently launched an access program for workers, without really knowing how to manage them”.

    The Spanish case, as already mentioned, shows how a model born twenty years ago, and then adopted along all the borders between Europe and Africa, does not really work.

    As international mobility declined, aided by the pandemic, at least 41,000 people landed in Spain in 2020, almost all of them in the Canary Islands. Numbers that take us back to 2006 and remind us how, after all, this ‘outsourcing’ offers costly and ineffective solutions.

    It’s reminiscent of so-called planned obsolescence, the production model for which a technological object isn’t built to last, inducing the consumer to replace it after a few years. But continually renewing and re-financing these walls can be convenient for multinational security companies, shipyards, political speculators, authoritarian regimes, and international traffickers. Certainly not for citizens, who — from the Italian and European institutions — would expect better products. May they think of what the world will be like in 10, 30, 50 years, and avoid trampling human rights and canceling democratic processes in the name of a goal that — history seems to teach — is short-lived. The ideas are not lacking. [At this link you’ll find the recommendations developed by ActionAid: https://thebigwall.org/en/recommendations/].

    https://thebigwall.org/en
    #Italie #externalisation #complexe_militaro-industriel #migrations #frontières #business #Afrique #budget #Afrique_du_Nord #Libye #chiffres #Niger #Soudan #Ethiopie #Sénégal #root_causes #causes_profondes #contrôles_frontaliers #EU_Trust_Fund_for_Africa #Trust_Fund #propagande #campagne #dissuasion

    –—

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749
    Et plus précisément :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765328

    ping @isskein @karine4 @rhoumour @_kg_

  • Lettre d’un Tigréen à son pays en guerre

    Alors que la guerre se poursuit au Tigré, ce professeur d’université, originaire de la région, explique comment les divisions ethniques ont eu raison de son sentiment d’appartenance nationale.

    Dans les années 1980, quand j’étais enfant, à Asmara, ville alors éthiopienne [et actuelle capitale de l’Eythrée voisine], mes parents me demandaient souvent ce que je voudrais faire quand je serais grand. Invariablement, je leur répondais que je voulais être pilote de chasse ou général de l’armée de terre. La raison était simple : mon père était soldat dans l’armée éthiopienne sous le régime du Derg [régime socialiste autoritaire à la tête de l’Ethiopie à partir de 1974] et, moi aussi, je voulais tuer les « ennemis » de la nation.

    J’avais grandi en temps de guerre, le bruit des roquettes et des balles constituait la bande-son de ma vie et les médias d’Etat fournissaient le scénario. On m’a appris à voir le conflit de façon manichéenne, avec d’un côté les bons Ethiopiens patriotes et de l’autre les rebelles haineux. En 1991, dans les derniers jours du régime sanglant du Derg, je me revois en train de pleurer, tout en brandissant notre drapeau vert, jaune et rouge.

    Ce que je ne savais pas, c’est que parmi les « ennemis » combattus par mon père, il y avait des cousins à lui et les enfants de nos voisins. La #guerre_civile a rompu les liens sociaux et culturels qu’avaient tissés de nombreux groupes ethniques, dressant souvent les membres de mêmes familles les uns contre les autres. Mon père, de la région du Tigré, avait combattu des membres de sa propre ethnie appartenant au #Front_de_libération_du_peuple_du_Tigré (#TPLF). Pour ma famille, il ne faisait pas bon être à la fois tigréen et éthiopien. Parmi les partisans du régime du #Derg, on se méfiait de nous en raison de notre appartenance ethnique : on nous soupçonnait d’être des agents du TPLF. Parmi les Tigréens, nous étions perçus comme ayant trahi notre peuple en prenant parti pour le gouvernement. Comme des milliers d’autres familles, nous essuyions des insultes de différents camps.

    En 1991, le régime répressif du Derg a été vaincu et le TPLF a pris la tête de l’Ethiopie. Ma famille a quitté Asmara pour Addis Abeba [la capitale éthiopienne], où nous avons vécu dans un camp de réfugiés pendant dix ans.

    Durant les vingt-sept années qui ont suivi, la coalition menée par le TPLF a gouverné le pays. Elle a mis en oeuvre une sorte de #fédéralisme_ethnique qui a favorisé la #conscience_ethnique, au détriment de l’#identité panéthiopienne. Toutefois, avec le temps, la #résistance populaire à la domination tigréenne et à ses pratiques non démocratiques a fait tomber le régime, à la suite de manifestations monstres. En 2018, la coalition au pouvoir a choisi un nouveau dirigeant. #Abiy_Ahmed a promis lors de son investiture de promouvoir la paix, l’espoir et l’unité. Cela n’a pas duré longtemps. Le 4 novembre 2020, Abiy déclarait la guerre au Tigré.

    Le conflit a fait naître une conscience nouvelle de ce que signifie être Tigréen dans la société éthiopienne au sens large. Le gouvernement qualifie sa propre action d’" #opération_de_police " , et non de guerre contre le peuple du Tigré. Pourtant, c’est ainsi que la vivent beaucoup de gens. De nombreux Tigréens soutiennent le TPLF. En outre, dans le cadre de l’actuelle « opération de police » destinée à capturer les principaux dirigeants du parti, des milliers de citoyens lambda ont été tués ou déplacés. Entre-temps, de nombreux « non-Tigréens » ont salué la prise de #Mekele, la capitale du Tigré, et ont gardé le silence quand le gouvernement a empêché des convois d’aide de parvenir à leurs compatriotes. Le #fichage_ethnique et le #harcèlement des Tigréens s’accentuent.

    Devant l’émergence d’une #crise_humanitaire qui touche les Tigréens ordinaires, la volonté délibérée du gouvernement de refuser l’envoi d’aide, le #silence et le soutien de la majorité des Ethiopiens, sapent mon sentiment d’appartenance à l’Ethiopie. Pour moi, l’un des pires aspects de cette situation est que mon père, qui a toujours été fier d’être éthiopien, a une fois de plus été condamné à la souffrance et à l’isolement. Personnellement, il me paraît impossible d’être à la fois tigréen et éthiopien dans le contexte actuel. Le lien que je gardais avec l’Ethiopie semble définitivement rompu.

    https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/recit-lettre-dun-tigreen-son-pays-en-guerre

    #Tigré #guerre #lettre #Soudan

  • L’oriflamme russe au Soudan : un enracinement stratégique sur la mer Rouge et au-delà - REGARD SUR L’EST
    https://regard-est.com/loriflamme-russe-au-soudan-un-enracinement-strategique-sur-la-mer-rouge-

    L’éclosion prochaine d’une base russe au Soudan marque une étape tant dans le rapprochement entre les deux pays que pour la présence de la Russie en Afrique. Cette base revêt une importance particulière pour la protection des intérêts russes et aura de multiples effets stratégiques.

    #russafrique #rusie #soudan #armement #bases_militaires #armée #géopolitique #déploiment_miliatrie

  • Infiltration dans les écoles où on enchaîne les élèves
    BBC News Afrique : https://www.bbc.com/afrique/monde-55230483

    Quand je rencontre Ahmed, il est enchaîné dans une pièce, tout seul. Son corps porte les marques des coups qu’il a reçus. Il ne sait pas quel âge il a, mais il doit avoir environ 10 ans.

    L’école dans laquelle je le trouve est l’un des 23 établissements d’enseignement islamique du #Soudan, connus sous le nom de #khalwas, que j’ai filmé de façon secrète sur une période de deux ans, à partir de début 2018.

    J’ai vu et filmé de nombreux enfants, dont certains n’avaient que cinq ans, sévèrement battus, régulièrement enchaînés et emprisonnés sans nourriture ni eau par les cheikhs, ou les religieux, responsables de ces écoles. Certains des enfants qui n’apparaissent pas dans notre documentaire m’ont dit qu’ils avaient été violés ou avaient subi d’autres formes d’abus sexuels.

    Il y a près de 30 000 khalwas dans tout le pays, selon le gouvernement soudanais. Ils reçoivent de l’argent du gouvernement et de donateurs privés, provenant tant du Soudan que du monde entier.

  • Sudan declares full control of border territory settled by Ethiopians

    Sudan said on Thursday its forces had taken control of all of Sudanese territory in a border area settled by Ethiopian farmers, after weeks of clashes.

    Ethiopia, for its part, accused its neighbour of sending forces into its territory for attacks.

    Border tensions have reignited since the outbreak of a conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region in early November, which sent more than 50,000 mainly Tigrayan refugees fleeing into eastern Sudan.

    Clashes have occurred in recent weeks over agricultural land in the #al-Fashqa area, which lies within Sudan’s international boundaries but has been settled by Ethiopian farmers for years.

    On Saturday, Sudan said it had taken control of most, but not all, of the territory. Acting Foreign Minister Omar Gamareldin told a news conference on Thursday it had now taken the rest.

    Talks between the two countries over the border broke down last week. Sudanese officials say Ethiopia has not formally disputed the border, which was demarcated decades ago. But comments from Ethiopian officials suggest disagreement.

    At a news conference on Tuesday, Ethiopia’s foreign ministry spokesman Dina Mufti accused Sudan of sending troops onto its land.

    “The condition has reached a point where some (Sudanese) political leaders were saying it was their land, and they controlled their own land and they are not going to leave the land,” he said.

    In an Independence Day address late on Thursday, the head of Sudan’s sovereign council said its troops had not left Sudan.

    “Sudan has not and will not cross international borders or violate our neighbour Ethiopia,” General Abdelfattah al-Burhan said late on Thursday. He said Sudan was looking to solve the issue of trespassing farmers through dialogue.

    Ethiopia has accused Sudan of carrying out attacks on the farmers starting in early November. Sudan has said the forces it has engaged with are trained and armed like regular troops.

    Ethiopian spokesman Mufti also blamed Sudan’s behaviour on an unnamed third country, which he said was seeking instability in the region and occupying Sudanese land. That appeared to be a reference to Egypt, which summoned the Ethiopian charge d’affairs to demand an explanation for Mufti’s remarks.

    Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have so far failed to end a three-way dispute over the filling and operation of the billion-dollar Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Egypt sees as a threat to its agricultural economy, and which began filling in July.

    https://in.reuters.com/article/sudan-ethiopia-idINKBN2951BG?taid=5fee51e8e9b1eb00011de63a
    #Soudan #guerre #conflit #frontières #différend_frontalier
    #Ethiopie #Egypte #agriculture #eau #barrage_hydroélectrique #Nil #Tigré

    ping @reka @fil

  • Financement des frontieres : fonds et stratégies pour arrêter l’immigration
    Funding the border : funds and strategies to stop migration
    Financement des frontieres : fonds et stratégies pour arrêter l’immigration

    Dans la première partie de ce document, nous analysons les dépenses pour l’externalisation de la gestion migratoire prévues dans le prochain budget de l’UE ; nous sommes actuellement dans la phase finale des #négociations et le rapport donne un aperçu des négociations jusqu’à présent.
    Dans la deuxième partie, nous nous concentrons sur l’évolution des politiques d’externalisation concernant la route migratoire qui intéresse le plus l’Italie : l’article de Sara Prestianni (EuroMed Rights) présente un panorama sur la situation dangereuse de violations continues des droits de l’Homme en Méditerranée centrale. Dans les deux chapitres suivants, les chercheurs Jérôme Tubiana et Clotilde Warin décrivent l’évolution de l’externalisation des frontières au Soudan et dans la région du #Sahel.

    Pour télécharger les rapports (en français, anglais et italien) :
    FR : https://www.arci.it/app/uploads/2020/12/FR_ARCI-report_Financement-de-Frontie%CC%80res.pdf
    EN : https://www.arci.it/app/uploads/2020/12/ENG_ARCI-report_Funding-the-Border.pdf
    IT : https://www.arci.it/app/uploads/2020/12/Quarto-Rapporto-di-esternalizzazione.pdf

    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #externalisation #frontières #financement #budget #Mali #Méditerranée_centrale #mer_Méditerranée #Soudan #fonds #rapport #ARCI

    –-

    ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749

    ping @_kg_ @karine4 @rhoumour @isskein

  • Du 7 janvier au 6 février 2021 au Carré de Baudoin : L’expo “D’un confinement à l’autre” présentée par l’atelier des artistes en exil, des artistes originaires d’#Iran, de #Palestine, de #Syrie, d’#Ukraine, du #Venezuela, de #Guinée, de la #République_démocratique_du_Congo, du #Soudan et du #Pakistan, nous livrent leur vision de ce moment inédit à travers des dessins, des peintures, des installations, des décors et des films)
    https://www.pavilloncarredebaudouin.fr/evenement/d-un-confinement-a-l-autre

    Visite virtuelle sous forme d’un film de 25 minutes :
    https://vimeo.com/479120278

    #exposition #artistes #confinement #coronavirus

  • #Soudan : divisions entre les acteurs du soulèvement de 2019
    https://www.cetri.be/Soudan-divisions-entre-les-acteurs

    Apparus dans la foulée des manifestations de 2013, les comités de quartier ont joué un rôle clé dans la vaste mobilisation qui a conduit à la chute d’Omar el-Bashir en 2019. Mais la transition a fait apparaître des lignes de fracture politique, sociale et générationnelle entre ces comités, et entre eux et les nouveaux dirigeants. Marginalisée ou instrumentalisée, la voix des quartiers populaires de Khartoum peine toujours à se faire (...) #Alternatives_Sud_-_extraits

    / Soudan, #Mouvements_sociaux, Relations entre mouvements sociaux & gouvernements, #Contestation

    #Relations_entre_mouvements_sociaux_&_gouvernements

  • Soulèvements populaires
    https://www.cetri.be/Soulevements-populaires

    La simultanéité, l’ampleur et la radicalité des soulèvements populaires de l’automne 2019 au #Chili, en Équateur et au #Liban surprennent. Elles obligent à réévaluer d’autres mouvements, débutés plus tôt et toujours en cours – en #Haïti, au #Soudan, en #Algérie, à Hongkong… –, et à porter un regard plus attentif sur la conflictualité sociale dans le monde. Au-delà des affinités relevées, la coïncidence dans le temps et la diffusion dans l’espace marquent-elles un nouveau « printemps des peuples » ? Si les (...) #Alternatives_Sud

    / #Alternatives_Sud, #Homepage_-_Publications_à_la_une, Homepage - Menu « Découvrez », #Publications_en_vente_-_> ;_Shop, #Mouvements_sociaux, Relations entre mouvements sociaux & gouvernements, #Inde, #Indonésie, Liban, #Irak, #Iran, Algérie, Soudan, Haïti, Chili, Amérique latine & (...)

    #Homepage_-_Menu_« Découvrez » #Relations_entre_mouvements_sociaux_&_gouvernements #Amérique_latine_&_Caraïbes
    https://www.cetri.be/IMG/pdf/as_pdf_complet_ultime_as_soule_vements_populaires.pdf
    https://www.cetri.be/IMG/epub/as_epub_as_soulpop.epub

  • Soulèvements populaires : « révoltes logiques » ?
    https://www.cetri.be/Soulevements-populaires-revoltes

    La démultiplication et simultanéité des révoltes à l’automne 2019 ont mis au-devant de la scène les soulèvements populaires. Ces mouvements massifs de #Contestation posent nombre de questions quant à leur dynamique, leur temporalité, leur composition et leurs significations. Ancrés localement, tenant à distance les acteurs politiques institutionnels, ouvrent-ils la voie à des transformations en profondeur, voire à un changement de « système » ? En octobre 2019, à quelques jours d’intervalle, l’Équateur, (...) #Alternatives_Sud_-_extraits

    / #Le_Sud_en_mouvement, #Le_regard_du_CETRI, Relations entre #Mouvements_sociaux & gouvernements, Mouvements sociaux, Contestation, #Crises, #Coronavirus, #Inde, #Indonésie, #Liban, #Irak, #Iran, #Algérie, #Soudan, #Haïti, #Chili, Amérique latine & (...)

    #Relations_entre_mouvements_sociaux_&_gouvernements #Amérique_latine_&_Caraïbes

  • Au #Tigré_éthiopien, la #guerre « sans pitié » du prix Nobel de la paix

    Le premier ministre éthiopien #Abyi_Ahmed oppose une fin de non-recevoir aux offres de médiation de ses pairs africains, alors que les combats entre l’armée fédérale et les forces de la province du Tigré ne cessent de prendre de l’ampleur.

    Le gouvernement d’Addis Abéba continue de parler d’une simple opération de police contre une province récalcitrante ; mais c’est une véritable guerre, avec blindés, aviation, et des dizaines de milliers de combattants, qui oppose l’armée fédérale éthiopienne aux forces de la province du Tigré, dans le nord du pays.

    Trois semaines de combats ont déjà provoqué l’afflux de 30 000 #réfugiés au #Soudan voisin, et ce nombre pourrait rapidement grimper après l’ultimatum lancé hier soir par le gouvernement aux rebelles : 72 heures pour se rendre. L’#armée demande aussi à la population de la capitale tigréenne, #Makelle, de se « libérer » des dirigeants du #Front_de_libération_du_peuple_du_Tigré, au pouvoir dans la province ; en cas contraire, a-t-elle prévenu, « il n’y aura aucune pitié ».

    Cette escalade rapide et, en effet, sans pitié, s’accompagne d’une position inflexible du premier ministre éthiopien, Abyi Ahmed, vis-à-vis de toute médiation, y compris celle de ses pairs africains. Addis Abéba a opposé une fin de non-recevoir aux tentatives de médiation, celle des voisins de l’Éthiopie, ou celle du Président en exercice de l’Union africaine, le sud-africain Cyril Ramaphosa. Ils seront poliment reçus à Addis Abéba, mais pas question de les laisser aller au Tigré ou de rencontrer les leaders du #TPLF, le front tigréen considéré comme des « bandits ».

    Pourquoi cette position inflexible ? La réponse se trouve à la fois dans l’histoire particulièrement violente de l’Éthiopie depuis des décennies, et dans la personnalité ambivalente d’Abyi Ahmed, le chef du gouvernement et, ne l’oublions pas, prix Nobel de la paix l’an dernier.

    L’histoire nous donne des clés. Le Tigré ne représente que 6% des 100 millions d’habitants de l’Éthiopie, mais il a joué un rôle historique déterminant. C’est du Tigré qu’est partie la résistance à la sanglante dictature de Mengistu Haile Mariam, qui avait renversé l’empire d’Haile Selassie en 1974. Victorieux en 1991, le TPLF a été au pouvoir pendant 17 ans, avec à sa tête un homme fort, Meles Zenawi, réformateur d’une main de fer, qui introduira notamment le fédéralisme en Éthiopie. Sa mort subite en 2012 a marqué le début des problèmes pour les Tigréens, marginalisés après l’élection d’Abyi Ahmed en 2018, et qui l’ont très mal vécu.

    La personnalité d’Abyi Ahmed est aussi au cœur de la crise actuelle. Encensé pour ses mesures libérales, le premier ministre éthiopien est également un ancien militaire inflexible, déterminé à s’opposer aux forces centrifuges qui menacent l’unité de l’ex-empire.

    Ce contexte laisse envisager un #conflit prolongé, car le pouvoir fédéral ne renoncera pas à son offensive jusqu’à ce qu’il ait, au minimum, repris Mekelle, la capitale du Tigré. Or cette ville est à 2500 mètres d’altitude, dans une région montagneuse où les avancées d’une armée régulière sont difficiles.

    Quant au front tigréen, il a vraisemblablement envisagé une position de repli dans la guerrilla, avec des forces aguerries, dans une région qui lui est acquise.

    Reste l’attitude des pays de la région, qui risquent d’être entrainés dans cette #guerre_civile, à commencer par l’Érythrée voisine, déjà touchée par les hostilités.

    C’est une tragédie pour l’Éthiopie, mais aussi pour l’Afrique, car c’est le deuxième pays le plus peuplé du continent, siège de l’Union africaine, l’une des locomotives d’une introuvable renaissance africaine. L’Afrique doit tout faire pour mettre fin à cette guerre fratricide, aux conséquences dévastatrices.

    https://www.franceinter.fr/emissions/geopolitique/geopolitique-23-novembre-2020

    #Ethiopie #Tigré #Corne_de_l'Afrique #Tigray

    • Conflict between Tigray and Eritrea – the long standing faultline in Ethiopian politics

      The missile attack by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front on Eritrea in mid-November transformed an internal Ethiopian crisis into a transnational one. In the midst of escalating internal conflict between Ethiopia’s northernmost province, Tigray, and the federal government, it was a stark reminder of a historical rivalry that continues to shape and reshape Ethiopia.

      The rivalry between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and the movement which has governed Eritrea in all but name for the past 30 years – the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front – goes back several decades.

      The histories of Eritrea and Ethiopia have long been closely intertwined. This is especially true of Tigray and central Eritrea. These territories occupy the central massif of the Horn of Africa. Tigrinya-speakers are the predominant ethnic group in both Tigray and in the adjacent Eritrean highlands.

      The enmity between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front dates to the mid-1970s, when the Tigrayan front was founded in the midst of political turmoil in Ethiopia. The authoritarian Marxist regime – known as the Derg (Amharic for ‘committee’) – inflicted violence upon millions of its own citizens. It was soon confronted with a range of armed insurgencies and socio-political movements. These included Tigray and Eritrea, where the resistance was most ferocious.

      The Tigrayan front was at first close to the Eritrean front, which had been founded in 1970 to fight for independence from Ethiopia. Indeed, the Eritreans helped train some of the first Tigrayan recruits in 1975-6, in their shared struggle against Ethiopian government forces for social revolution and the right to self-determination.

      But in the midst of the war against the Derg regime, the relationship quickly soured over ethnic and national identity. There were also differences over the demarcation of borders, military tactics and ideology. The Tigrayan front eventually recognised the Eritreans’ right to self-determination, if grudgingly, and resolved to fight for the liberation of all Ethiopian peoples from the tyranny of the Derg regime.

      Each achieved seminal victories in the late 1980s. Together the Tigrayan-led Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front and the Eritrean front overthrew the Derg in May 1991. The Tigrayan-led front formed government in Addis Ababa while the Eritrean front liberated Eritrea which became an independent state.

      But this was just the start of a new phase of a deep-rooted rivalry. This continued between the governments until the recent entry of prime minister Abiy Ahmed.

      If there’s any lesson to be learnt from years of military and political manoeuvrings, it is that conflict in Tigray is unavoidably a matter of intense interest to the Eritrean leadership. And Abiy would do well to remember that conflict between Eritrea and Tigray has long represented a destabilising fault line for Ethiopia as well as for the wider region.
      Reconciliation and new beginnings

      In the early 1990s, there was much talk of reconciliation and new beginnings between Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and Isaias Afeworki of Eritrea. The two governments signed a range of agreements on economic cooperation, defence and citizenship. It seemed as though the enmity of the liberation war was behind them.

      Meles declared as much at the 1993 Eritrean independence celebrations, at which he was a notable guest.

      But deep-rooted tensions soon resurfaced. In the course of 1997, unresolved border disputes were exacerbated by Eritrea’s introduction of a new currency. This had been anticipated in a 1993 economic agreement. But in the event Tigrayan traders often refused to recognise it, and it caused a collapse in commerce.

      Full-scale war erupted over the contested border hamlet of Badme in May 1998. The fighting swiftly spread to other stretches of the shared, 1,000 km long frontier. Air strikes were launched on both sides.

      It was quickly clear, too, that this was only superficially about borders. It was more substantively about regional power and long standing antagonisms that ran along ethnic lines.

      The Eritrean government’s indignant anti-Tigray front rhetoric had its echo in the popular contempt for so-called Agame, the term Eritreans used for Tigrayan migrant labourers.

      For the Tigray front, the Eritrean front was the clearest expression of perceived Eritrean arrogance.

      As for Isaias himself, regarded as a crazed warlord who had led Eritrea down a path which defied economic and political logic, it was hubris personified.

      Ethiopia deported tens of thousands of Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean descent.

      Ethiopia’s decisive final offensive in May 2000 forced the Eritrean army to fall back deep into their own territory. Although the Ethiopians were halted, and a ceasefire put in place after bitter fighting on a number of fronts, Eritrea had been devastated by the conflict.

      The Algiers Agreement of December 2000 was followed by years of standoff, occasional skirmishes, and the periodic exchange of insults.

      During this period Ethiopia consolidated its position as a dominant power in the region. And Meles as one of the continent’s representatives on the global stage.

      For its part Eritrea retreated into a militaristic, authoritarian solipsism. Its domestic policy centred on open-ended national service for the young. Its foreign policy was largely concerned with undermining the Ethiopian government across the region. This was most obvious in Somalia, where its alleged support for al-Shabaab led to the imposition of sanctions on Asmara.

      The ‘no war-no peace’ scenario continued even after Meles’s sudden death in 2012. The situation only began to shift with the resignation of Hailemariam Desalegn against a backdrop of mounting protest across Ethiopia, especially among the Oromo and the Amhara, and the rise to power of Abiy.

      What followed was the effective overthrow of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front which had been the dominant force in the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front coalition since 1991.

      This provided Isaias with a clear incentive to respond to Abiy’s overtures.
      Tigray’s loss, Eritrea’s gain

      A peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, was signed in July 2018 by Abiy and Eritrean President Isaias Afeworki. It formally ended their 1998-2000 war. It also sealed the marginalisation of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. Many in the Tigray People’s Liberation Front were unenthusiastic about allowing Isaias in from the cold.

      Since the 1998-2000 war, in large part thanks to the astute manoeuvres of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Eritrea had been exactly where the Tigray People’s Liberation Front wanted it: an isolated pariah state with little diplomatic clout. Indeed, it is unlikely that Isaias would have been as receptive to the deal had it not involved the further sidelining of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, something which Abiy presumably understood.

      Isaias had eschewed the possibility of talks with Abiy’s predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn. But Abiy was a different matter. A political reformer, and a member of the largest but long-subjugated ethnic group in Ethiopia, the Oromo, he was determined to end the Tigray People’s Liberation Front’s domination of Ethiopian politics.

      This was effectively achieved in December 2019 when he abolished the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front and replaced it with the Prosperity Party.

      The Tigray People’s Liberation Front declined to join with the visible results of the current conflict.

      À lire aussi : Residual anger driven by the politics of power has boiled over into conflict in Ethiopia

      Every effort to engage with the Tigrayan leadership – including the Tigray People’s Liberation Front – in pursuit of a peaceful resolution must also mean keeping Eritrea out of the conflict.

      Unless Isaias is willing to play a constructive role – he does not have a good track record anywhere in the region in this regard – he must be kept at arm’s length, not least to protect the 2018 peace agreement itself.

      https://theconversation.com/conflict-between-tigray-and-eritrea-the-long-standing-faultline-in-

      #Derg #histoire #frontières #démarcation_des_frontières #monnaie #Badme #Agame #travailleurs_étrangers #Oromo #Ethiopian_People’s_Revolutionary_Democratic_Front #Prosperity_Party

      –—

      #Agame , the term Eritreans used for Tigrayan migrant labourers.

      –-> #terminologie #vocabulaire #mots
      ping @sinehebdo

    • Satellite Images Show Ethiopia Carnage as Conflict Continues
      – United Nations facility, school, clinic and homes burned down
      – UN refugee agency has had no access to the two camps

      Satellite images show the destruction of United Nations’ facilities, a health-care unit, a high school and houses at two camps sheltering Eritrean refugees in Tigray, northern Ethiopia, belying government claims that the conflict in the dissident region is largely over.

      The eight Planet Labs Inc images are of Hitsats and the Shimelba camps. The camps hosted about 25,000 and 8,000 refugees respectively before a conflict broke out in the region two months ago, according to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

      “Recent satellite imagery indicates that structures in both camps are being intentionally targeted,” said Isaac Baker, an analyst at DX Open Network, a U.K. based human security research and analysis non-profit. “The systematic and widespread fires are consistent with an intentional campaign to deny the use of the camp.”

      DX Open Network has been following the conflict and analyzing satellite image data since Nov. 7, three days after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared war against a dissident group in the Tigray region, which dominated Ethiopian politics before Abiy came to power.

      Ethiopia’s government announced victory against the dissidents on Nov. 28 after federal forces captured the regional capital of Mekelle. Abiy spoke of the need to rebuild and return normalcy to Tigray at the time.

      Calls and messages to Redwan Hussein, spokesman for the government’s emergency task force on Tigray and the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Spokeswoman Billene Seyoum were not answered.

      In #Shimelba, images show scorched earth from apparent attacks in January. A World Food Programme storage facility and a secondary school run by the Development and Inter-Aid Church Commission have also been burned down, according to DX Open Network’s analysis. In addition, a health facility run by the Ethiopian Agency for Refugees and Returnees Affairs situated next to the WFP compound was also attacked between Jan. 5 and Jan. 8.

      In #Hitsats camp, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) away, there were at least 14 actively burning structures and 55 others were damaged or destroyed by Jan. 5. There were new fires by Jan. 8, according to DX Open Network’s analysis.

      The UN refugee agency has not had access to the camps since fighting started in early November, according to Chris Melzer, a communications officer for the agency. UNHCR has been able to reach its two other camps, Mai-Aini and Adi Harush, which are to the south, he said.

      “We also have no reliable, first-hand information about the situation in the camps or the wellbeing of the refugees,” Melzer said in reference to Hitsats and Shimelba.

      Eritrean troops have also been involved in the fighting and are accused of looting businesses and abducting refugees, according to aid workers and diplomats briefed on the situation. The governments of both Ethiopia and Eritrea have denied that Eritrean troops are involved in the conflict.

      The UN says fighting is still going on in several Tigray areas and 2.2 million people have been displaced in the past two months. Access to the region for journalists and independent analysts remains constrained, making it difficult to verify events.

      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-01-09/satellite-images-show-destruction-of-refugee-camps-in-ethiopia?srnd=premi

      #images_satellitaires #camps_de_réfugiés #réfugiés

    • Ethiopia’s government appears to be wielding hunger as a weapon

      A rebel region is being starved into submission

      ETHIOPIA HAS suffered famines in the past. Many foreigners know this; in 1985 about one-third of the world’s population watched a pop concert to raise money for starving Ethiopians. What is less well understood is that poor harvests lead to famine only when malign rulers allow it. It was not the weather that killed perhaps 1m people in 1983-85. It was the policies of a Marxist dictator, Mengistu Haile Mariam, who forced peasants at gunpoint onto collective farms. Mengistu also tried to crush an insurgency in the northern region of Tigray by burning crops, destroying grain stores and slaughtering livestock. When the head of his own government’s humanitarian agency begged him for cash to feed the starving, he dismissed him with a memorably callous phrase: “Don’t let these petty human problems...consume you.”

      https://www.economist.com/leaders/2021/01/23/ethiopias-government-appears-to-be-wielding-hunger-as-a-weapon

      #famine #faim
      #paywall

    • Amnesty International accuses Eritrean troops of killing hundreds of civilians in the holy city of #Axum

      Amnesty International has released a comprehensive, compelling report detailing the killing of hundreds of civilians in the Tigrayan city of Axum.

      This story has been carried several times by Eritrea Hub, most recently on 20th February. On 12 January this year the Axum massacre was raised in the British Parliament, by Lord David Alton.

      Gradually the picture emerging has been clarified and is now unambiguous.

      The Amnesty report makes grim reading: the details are horrifying.

      Human Rights Watch are finalising their own report, which will be published next week. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission is also publishing a report on the Axum massacre.

      The Ethiopian government appointed interim administration of Tigray is attempting to distance itself from the actions of Eritrean troops. Alula Habteab, who heads the interim administration’s construction, road and transport department, appeared to openly criticise soldiers from Eritrea, as well as the neighbouring Amhara region, for their actions during the conflict.

      “There were armies from a neighbouring country and a neighbouring region who wanted to take advantage of the war’s objective of law enforcement,” he told state media. “These forces have inflicted more damage than the war itself.”

      The full report can be found here: The Massacre in Axum – AFR 25.3730.2021. Below is the summary (https://eritreahub.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/The-Massacre-in-Axum-AFR-25.3730.2021.pdf)

      https://eritreahub.org/amnesty-international-accuses-eritrean-troops-of-killing-hundreds-of-civ

      #rapport #massacre

    • Ethiopia’s Tigray crisis: How a massacre in the sacred city of #Aksum unfolded

      Eritrean troops fighting in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray killed hundreds of people in Aksum mainly over two days in November, witnesses say.

      The mass killings on 28 and 29 November may amount to a crime against humanity, Amnesty International says in a report.

      An eyewitness told the BBC how bodies remained unburied on the streets for days, with many being eaten by hyenas.

      Ethiopia and Eritrea, which both officially deny Eritrean soldiers are in Tigray, have not commented.

      The Ethiopian Human Rights commission says it is investigating the allegations.

      The conflict erupted on 4 November 2020 when Ethiopia’s government launched an offensive to oust the region’s ruling TPLF party after its fighters captured federal military bases in Tigray.

      Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, told parliament on 30 November that “not a single civilian was killed” during the operation.

      But witnesses have recounted how on that day they began burying some of the bodies of unarmed civilians killed by Eritrean soldiers - many of them boys and men shot on the streets or during house-to-house raids.

      Amnesty’s report has high-resolution satellite imagery from 13 December showing disturbed earth consistent with recent graves at two churches in Aksum, an ancient city considered sacred by Ethiopia’s Orthodox Christians.

      A communications blackout and restricted access to Tigray has meant reports of what has gone on in the conflict have been slow to emerge.

      In Aksum, electricity and phone networks reportedly stopped working on the first day of the conflict.
      How was Aksum captured?

      Shelling by Ethiopian and Eritrea forces to the west of Aksum began on Thursday 19 November, according to people in the city.

      “This attack continued for five hours, and was non-stop. People who were at churches, cafes, hotels and their residence died. There was no retaliation from any armed force in the city - it literally targeted civilians,” a civil servant in Aksum told the BBC.
      1px transparent line

      Amnesty has gathered similar and multiple testimonies describing the continuous shelling that evening of civilians.

      Once in control of the city, soldiers, generally identified as Eritrean, searched for TPLF soldiers and militias or “anyone with a gun”, Amnesty said.

      “There were a lot of... house-to-house killings,” one woman told the rights group.

      There is compelling evidence that Ethiopian and Eritrean troops carried out “multiple war crimes in their offensive to take control of Aksum”, Amnesty’s Deprose Muchena says.
      What sparked the killings?

      For the next week, the testimonies say Ethiopia troops were mainly in Aksum - the Eritreans had pushed on east to the town of Adwa.

      A witness told the BBC how the Ethiopian military looted banks in the city in that time.

      he Eritrean forces reportedly returned a week later. The fighting on Sunday 28 November was triggered by an assault of poorly armed pro-TPLF fighters, according to Amnesty’s report.

      Between 50 and 80 men from Aksum targeted an Eritrean position on a hill overlooking the city in the morning.

      A 26-year-old man who participated in the attack told Amnesty: “We wanted to protect our city so we attempted to defend it especially from Eritrean soldiers... They knew how to shoot and they had radios, communications... I didn’t have a gun, just a stick.”
      How did Eritrean troops react?

      It is unclear how long the fighting lasted, but that afternoon Eritrean trucks and tanks drove into Aksum, Amnesty reports.

      Witnesses say Eritrean soldiers went on a rampage, shooting at unarmed civilian men and boys who were out on the streets - continuing until the evening.

      A man in his 20s told Amnesty about the killings on the city’s main street: “I was on the second floor of a building and I watched, through the window, the Eritreans killing the youth on the street.”

      The soldiers, identified as Eritrean not just because of their uniform and vehicle number plates but because of the languages they spoke (Arabic and an Eritrean dialect of Tigrinya), started house-to-house searches.

      “I would say it was in retaliation,” a young man told the BBC. “They killed every man they found. If you opened your door and they found a man they killed him, if you didn’t open, they shoot your gate by force.”

      He was hiding in a nightclub and witnessed a man who was found and killed by Eritrean soldiers begging for his life: “He was telling them: ’I am a civilian, I am a banker.’”

      Another man told Amnesty that he saw six men killed, execution-style, outside his house near the Abnet Hotel the following day on 29 November.

      “They lined them up and shot them in the back from behind. Two of them I knew. They’re from my neighbourhood… They asked: ’Where is your gun’ and they answered: ’We have no guns, we are civilians.’”
      How many people were killed?

      Witnesses say at first the Eritrean soldiers would not let anyone approach the bodies on the streets - and would shoot anyone who did so.

      One woman, whose nephews aged 29 and 14 had been killed, said the roads “were full of dead bodies”.

      Amnesty says after the intervention of elders and Ethiopian soldiers, burials began over several days, with most funerals taking place on 30 November after people brought the bodies to the churches - often 10 at a time loaded on horse- or donkey-drawn carts.

      At Abnet Hotel, the civil servant who spoke to the BBC said some bodies were not removed for four days.

      "The bodies that were lying around Abnet Hotel and Seattle Cinema were eaten by hyenas. We found only bones. We buried bones.

      “I can say around 800 civilians were killed in Aksum.”

      This account is echoed by a church deacon who told the Associated Press that many bodies had been fed on by hyenas.

      He gathered victims’ identity cards and assisted with burials in mass graves and also believes about 800 people were killed that weekend.

      The 41 survivors and witnesses Amnesty interviewed provided the names of more than 200 people they knew who were killed.
      What happened after the burials?

      Witnesses say the Eritrean soldiers participated in looting, which after the massacre and as many people fled the city, became widespread and systematic.

      The university, private houses, hotels, hospitals, grain stores, garages, banks, DIY stores, supermarkets, bakeries and other shops were reportedly targeted.

      One man told Amnesty how Ethiopian soldiers failed to stop Eritreans looting his brother’s house.

      “They took the TV, a jeep, the fridge, six mattresses, all the groceries and cooking oil, butter, teff flour [Ethiopia’s staple food], the kitchen cabinets, clothes, the beers in the fridge, the water pump, and the laptop.”

      The young man who spoke to the BBC said he knew of 15 vehicles that had been stolen belonging to businessmen in the city.

      This has had a devastating impact on those left in Aksum, leaving them with little food and medicine to survive, Amnesty says.

      Witnesses say the theft of water pumps left residents having to drink from the river.
      Why is Aksum sacred?

      It is said to be the birthplace of the biblical Queen of Sheba, who travelled to Jerusalem to visit King Solomon.

      They had a son - Menelik I - who is said to have brought to Aksum the Ark of the Covenant, believed to contain the 10 commandments handed down to Moses by God.

      It is constantly under guard at the city’s Our Lady Mary of Zion Church and no-one is allowed to see it.

      A major religious celebration is usually held at the church on 30 November, drawing pilgrims from across Ethiopia and around the world, but it was cancelled last year amid the conflict.

      The civil servant interviewed by the BBC said that Eritrean troops came to the church on 3 December “terrorising the priests and forcing them to give them the gold and silver cross”.

      But he said the deacons and other young people went to protect the ark.

      “It was a huge riot. Every man and woman fought them. They fired guns and killed some, but we are happy as we did not fail to protect our treasures.”

      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-56198469

  • #Jules_Grandin, cartographe du quotidien

    Oui, c’est possible de voir la carte de France dans une galette complète. La #géographie, c’était d’abord un truc d’explorateur. Puis c’est aussi devenu un truc d’artiste, et aujourd’hui c’est plutôt pour les analystes. Mais Jules Grandin, ce qui lui plait, c’est le côté #aventure.

    Cartographe presse, il a une mission : montrer au public que les #cartes c’est intéressant. Et c’est plutôt réussi, avec ses threads sur des parties du monde méconnues, ou avec ses #think-maps, il séduit les twitto·a·s qui lui envoient régulièrement leurs petites trouvailles. Il a récemment reçu une photo d’un caillou qui faisait une superbe carte de l’Afrique, et ça, c’est ses petits moments de joie de la journée.

    https://www.binge.audio/podcast/derriereletweet/jules-grandin-cartographe-du-quotidien

    #cartographie #podcast #audio

    compte twitter de Jules Grandin :
    https://twitter.com/JulesGrandin

    ping @reka @odilon

  • Le dépistage de la COVID-19 pour les chauffeurs routiers au port de Mombasa aide à redynamiser l’économie | Organisation internationale pour les migrations
    https://www.iom.int/fr/news/le-depistage-de-la-covid-19-pour-les-chauffeurs-routiers-au-port-de-mombasa-aid

    Des milliers de chauffeurs routiers à travers le Kenya ont été testés pour la COVID-19 par l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM) depuis juillet, dans le cadre d’un effort plus large visant à redynamiser les économies régionales touchées par la COVID-19.Ce sont plusieurs milliards de dollars de marchandises qui commencent la dernière étape de leur voyage par la route vers l’Ouganda, le Rwanda, le Burundi, le Soudan du Sud et la République démocratique du Congo, à bord de camions de transport provenant du port tentaculaire de Mombasa dans le sud-est du Kenya. Les chauffeurs ont été identifiés très tôt comme un groupe à haut risque de propagation et de transmission de la COVID-19. Cette situation, combinée à la fermeture des frontières et à d’autres restrictions de mobilité, paralyse une grande partie du commerce dans la région.
    L’OIM considère l’intégration du dépistage de la COVID-19 et d’autres mesures sanitaires dans les systèmes de gestion des frontières comme essentielle pour relancer les économies nationales et locales et atténuer les impacts socioéconomiques de la pandémie. En juillet 2020, l’OIM a effectué 2 570 tests aux points de contrôle unique de Malaba et Busia avec l’Ouganda, afin de faire avancer une file de camions s’étendant jusqu’à 90 km de la frontière. Avec le soutien de l’Agence danoise pour le développement international, au 23 octobre, l’OIM a testé plus de 14 200 chauffeurs transportant du fret en provenance du plus grand port d’Afrique de l’Est, à destination des pays d’Afrique de l’Est, d’Afrique centrale et de la Corne de l’Afrique.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#afrique#ouganda#rwanda#burundi#soudan#rdc#oim#frontiere#sante#chauffeurroutier#mesuresanitaire#test

  • La Belgique condamnée pour l’expulsion d’un demandeur d’asile soudanais

    La Belgique a été condamnée mardi par la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme pour avoir renvoyé au Soudan un demandeur d’asile de ce pays, sans avoir suffisamment évalué les risques réellement encourus par ce dernier, et malgré une décision judiciaire ordonnant la suspension de la procédure.

    « Les lacunes procédurales dont se sont rendues responsables les autorités belges (...) n’ont pas permis au requérant de poursuivre la démarche de demande d’asile qu’il avait soumise à la Belgique », affirme la Cour dans un arrêt.

    Ces lacunes « ont conduit les autorités belges à ne pas suffisamment évaluer les risques réellement encourus par le requérant au Soudan ». La CEDH estime aussi que la Belgique, en renvoyant ce demandeur d’asile au Soudan, a rendu « ineffectifs les recours » qu’il avait "initié avec succès. D’autant que l’Etat belge avait été interdit de rapatrier cet homme dans son pays.

    https://www.rtbf.be/info/belgique/detail_la-belgique-condamnee-pour-l-expulsion-d-un-demandeur-d-asile-soudanais?
    #réfugiés_soudanais #Soudan #renvois #expulsions #asile #migrations #réfugiés #justice #condamnation #Belgique #CEDH #cour_européenne_des_droits_de_l'homme

    ping @karine4 @isskein

    • L’État belge est condamné pour sa politique migratoire inhumaine

      Fin 2017, l’État belge concluait un accord avec la dictature du Soudan pour permettre l’identification d’exilés en transit vers l’Angleterre(1). Monsieur M.A., ressortissant soudanais arrêté et détenu en centre fermé, était alors identifié par la délégation soudanaise qui délivra un laissez-passer pour son expulsion. L’État a agi en violation des droits fondamentaux d’un bout à l’autre de cette affaire. D’abord, en ordonnant l’expulsion sans contrôle suffisant du risque encouru de subir torture et traitements inhumains et dégradants lors du retour au pays ; ensuite, en décidant de passer outre la décision de justice qui interdisait cette expulsion vers le Soudan ; enfin, en forçant le requérant à signer un retour “volontaire” qui n’avait de volontaire que le nom. Ce 27 octobre 2020, la Cour européenne des droits de l’Homme condamne la Belgique pour ces agissements graves et indignes d’un État de droit.

      Face au scandale de la collaboration entre la Belgique et le Soudan, État dictatorial, la Ligue des droits humains (LDH) avait introduit une action devant le Tribunal de 1ère instance de Liège, qui avait alors interdit les rapatriements vers le Soudan. La décision avait malheureusement été réformée en appel au motif que la LDH n’avait pas d’intérêt à agir au nom des personnes soudanaises. La LDH était par la suite intervenue devant la Cour européenne des droits de l’Homme dans l’affaire qui nous occupe aujourd’hui, M. A. c. Belgique.

      L’arrêt rendu ce jour est une belle victoire pour les droits fondamentaux : la Cour a décidé à l’unanimité que Monsieur M.A. a été expulsé vers le Soudan sans contrôle suffisant du risque de subir torture et traitements inhumains et dégradants, et en violation de son droit à un recours effectif. La Cour estime en outre que ce retour ne pouvait être qualifié de “volontaire”.

      Monsieur M.A., ressortissant soudanais, était arrêté en Belgique en septembre 2017 et détenu en centre fermé. Identifié par la délégation soudanaise qui délivre un laisser-passer, il introduit une requête de mise en liberté devant la Chambre du conseil de Bruxelles. Avant que cette demande ne soit examinée, il est averti qu’il doit partir le lendemain vers Khartoum. Suite à une requête unilatérale, le président du Tribunal de 1ère instance néerlandophone de Bruxelles interdit à l’État belge de rapatrier le requérant avant que les juridictions ne se soient prononcées sur la mesure de privation de liberté. Le renvoi par avion est annulé mais le requérant est malgré tout emmené à l’aéroport et placé, sous la menace, dans un avion. Un agent en uniforme le menaçant d’autres tentatives d’expulsion, il signe pour un renvoi qui n’aura de “volontaire” que le nom.

      “La Cour juge en particulier que les lacunes procédurales dont se sont rendues responsables les autorités belges préalablement à l’éloignement du requérant vers le Soudan n’ont pas permis au requérant de poursuivre la démarche de demande d’asile qu’il avait soumise à la Belgique et ont conduit les autorités belges à ne pas suffisamment évaluer les risques réellement encourus par le requérant au Soudan. D’autre part, en éloignant le requérant vers le Soudan en dépit de l’interdiction qui leur en était faite, les autorités ont rendu ineffectifs les recours que le requérant avait initiés avec succès.”

      La LDH se réjouit de cette victoire mais déplore le manque de considération du gouvernement de l’époque pour les droits fondamentaux et la séparation des pouvoirs. Elle espère que cet arrêt constituera un message fort vers le nouveau Secrétaire d’Etat à l’Asile et à la Migration. Il est urgent que la politique migratoire ne soit plus celle du retour à tout prix. Parce que le droit de demander l’asile doit être respecté, partout, tout le temps.

      (1) https://www.liguedh.be/belgique-soudan-une-intolerable-collaboration-technique

      https://www.liguedh.be/letat-belge-est-condamne-pour-sa-politique-migratoire-inhumaine

  • Le bien-être et la sécurité des travailleurs migrants au Liban se détériorent davantage depuis l’explosion de Beyrouth | Organisation internationale pour les migrations
    https://www.iom.int/fr/news/le-bien-etre-et-la-securite-des-travailleurs-migrants-au-liban-se-deteriorent-d

    Les communautés de travailleurs migrants étaient déjà aux prises avec les effets néfastes de l’aggravation de la crise économique et de la crise de la COVID-19 avant même que les explosions ne se produisent. À l’époque, l’OIM estimait que 24 500 travailleurs migrants avaient été directement touchés par l’explosion - ayant perdu leur emploi, leur maison ou leurs moyens de subsistance. Depuis, la situation s’est détériorée pour beaucoup d’entre eux.L’analyse d’une évaluation des besoins coordonnée par la Croix-Rouge libanaise avec le soutien de la DTM indique que les besoins post-explosion des familles de ressortissants étrangers - qui englobent les travailleurs migrants - divergent de ceux des ménages libanais.
    Les ressortissants étrangers ont déclaré que leurs besoins principaux sont l’argent et la nourriture, indiquant leur besoin urgent de services de base. En comparaison, le besoin le plus important des ménages libanais est la réparation des abris.
    Dans un autre sondage de la DTM ciblant uniquement les travailleurs migrants, 91 pour cent ont fait état de difficultés financières - beaucoup affirmant qu’ils ont besoin d’un soutien accru pour payer leur loyer et qu’ils ont du mal à trouver du travail dans un environnement économiquement de plus en plus précaire. Soixante-dix pour cent des personnes interrogées ont indiqué qu’elles souhaitaient retourner dans leur pays d’origine dans les trois prochains mois. « De plus en plus de travailleurs migrants se retrouvent à dormir dans la rue ou sont contraints de rester dans des lieux clos, souvent dans une seule et même pièce. Nous sommes très inquiets que la COVID-19 se répande parmi cette population », a déclaré Mme Godeau. Une évaluation de suivi - qui était centrée sur les migrants originaires du Bangladesh, d’Égypte, d’Éthiopie et du Soudan - a également révélé qu’un nombre croissant de migrants ne pouvaient pas accéder aux soins de santé, surtout par rapport aux Libanais qui sont également touchés.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#liban#bangladesh#egypte#soudan#ethiopie#sante#refugie#economie#vulnerabilite#travailleurmigrant#retour

  • HCR - Les vols humanitaires du HCR depuis la Libye reprennent après sept mois de suspension
    https://www.unhcr.org/fr/news/briefing/2020/10/5f896048a/vols-humanitaires-hcr-libye-reprennent-apres-mois-suspension.html

    Le HCR, l’Agence des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés, a évacué la nuit dernière de Libye un groupe de 153 réfugiés et demandeurs d’asile vulnérables vers ses installations de transit d’urgence au Niger. Ce vol affrété par le HCR marque la reprise des évacuations humanitaires depuis la Libye après sept mois de suspension. Les vols humanitaires ont dû être interrompus en mars en raison des préoccupations de santé publique liées à la pandémie de coronavirus, qui ont entraîné la suspension du trafic aérien dans de nombreux pays.
    Les personnes évacuées hier sont des ressortissants de l’Érythrée, de la Somalie, du Soudan et du Soudan du Sud, parmi lesquels 16 familles et 15 enfants de moins de 18 ans, dont beaucoup ne sont pas accompagnés ou sont séparés de leurs parents. Tous les passagers ont été testés négatifs avant le départ, alors que le nombre de cas de Covid-19 continue d’augmenter en Libye et que quelque 46 000 cas ont été confirmés dans tout le pays. Les passagers ont également bénéficié de conseils sur les moyens de se protéger et de rester en bonne santé. Le groupe est actuellement soumis à une mise en quarantaine de deux semaines au Niger et un nouveau test sera effectué, conformément aux mesures sanitaires visant à freiner la propagation du coronavirus.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#libye#niger#soudan#pandemie#humanitaire#santepublique#test#quarantaine#restrictionsanitaire#hcr

  • US push for Arab-Israel ties divides Sudanese leaders U.S. country Government israel ties
    Via AP news wire | 4 oct 2020 | The Independent
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/us-push-arabisrael-ties-divides-sudanese-leaders-us-government-ties-i

    While Sudan’s transitional government has been negotiating the terms of removing the country from the list for more than a year, U.S. officials introduced the linkage to normalization with Israel more recently.

    Top Sudanese military leaders who govern jointly with civilian technocrats in a Sovereign Council, have become increasingly vocal in their support for normalization with Israel as part of a quick deal with Washington ahead of the U.S. election.

    “Now, whether we like it or not, the removal (of Sudan from the terror list) is tied to (normalization) with Israel,” the deputy head of the council, Gen. Mohammed Dagalo, told a local television station on Friday.

    “We need Israel ... Israel is a developed country and the whole world is working with it,” he said. “We will have benefits from such relations ... We hope all look at Sudan’s interests.”

    Such comments would have been unthinkable until recently in a country where public hostility toward Israel remains strong. (...)

    #IsraelSoudan #Israfrique

  • Résistances
    Alain Gresh > 1er octobre 2020
    https://orientxxi.info/magazine/resistances,4171

    Herbert. R. McMaster, qui fut une année durant conseiller national à la sécurité du président américain Donald Trump, a expliqué le 20 septembre 2020 qu’Al-Qaida et l’organisation de l’État islamique (OEI) disposaient de plus de capacités aujourd’hui qu’avant le 11-Septembre et qu’elles avaient accès à des moyens de destruction bien plus dévastateurs. Cette déclaration coïncide avec les négociations qui se déroulent au Qatar sur l’Afghanistan et dont le résultat probable sera d’acter le retour des talibans au pouvoir, voire à tout le pouvoir. Près de vingt années de « guerre contre le terrorisme » pour en arriver là ? Tout ça pour ça ?
    (...)
    L’aveuglement occidental se manifeste aussi avec la « paix » signée entre Israël, les Émirats arabes unis et Bahreïn. Peut-on appeler « paix » un accord qui « oublie » les Palestiniens et leurs droits, et donne une prime à la colonisation des territoires palestiniens occupés au mépris du droit international ? Pour obtenir le ralliement du Soudan, les États-Unis ont soumis les nouvelles autorités à un chantage odieux : signer un accord avec Israël ou rester sur la liste américaine des États soutenant le terrorisme, ce qui prive de ressources vitales un des pays les plus pauvres de la planète. Imaginons le tollé que provoquerait un tel cynisme s’il venait de Moscou ou de Pékin. (...)

    #Soudan #USA #Israel
    #IsraelSoudan

  • « La situation est incontrôlable » : au #Soudan, les #sites_antiques à la merci des chercheurs d’#or
    https://www.francetvinfo.fr/culture/patrimoine/la-situation-est-incontrolable-au-soudan-les-sites-antiques-a-la-merci-

    « Sur le millier de #sites_archéologiques plus ou moins connus au Soudan, au moins une centaine ont été détruits ou endommagés par des #chercheurs_d'or », estime Hatem al-Nour, directeur des #Antiquités et des Musées soudanais.

    #patrimoine #pillage #archéologie

  • HCDH | Renewed violence and delayed implementation of the peace agreement severely threaten peace and stability in South Sudan, UN experts note
    https://www.ohchr.org/FR/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=26167&LangID=E

    The violence has also led to heightened levels of severe acute malnutrition among infants and children in the affected population. This at a time when the vast majority of civilians, particularly the 1.6 million internally displaced persons, continue to remain at risk because of COVID-19, and have limited access to basic services. These callous and brutal attacks have the potential to completely unravel the peace agreement," she added.

    #Covid_19#migrant#migration#soudandusud#deplaceinterne#violence#droitsfondamentaux

  • Un #rapport de l’ONU s’inquiète de l’augmentation des #violences_sexuelles liées aux #conflits

    Malgré une décennie de lutte, l’#ONU constate que les violences sexuelles restent une #arme_de_guerre dans de nombreux conflits et qu’elles continuent d’augmenter sur toute la planète. L’ONU analyse dans son dernier rapport (https://news.un.org/fr/story/2020/07/1073341) les violations constatées dans 19 pays, principalement contre des jeunes #filles et des #femmes.

    Les violences sexuelles augmentent dans la plupart des #conflits_armés. C’est ce qui ressort du dernier rapport de l’ONU sur les violences sexuelles liées aux conflits publié en juillet dernier.

    Le rapport insiste sur le fait que ce type de violence a un impact direct sur les déplacements en masse de populations, la montée de l’extrémisme, des inégalités et des discriminations entre les hommes et les femmes. Par ailleurs, selon l’ONU, les violences sexuelles sont particulièrement répandues dans des contextes de détention, de captivité et de migration.

    Fin 2019, plus de 79 millions de personnes se trouvaient déplacées dans le monde. Cela signifie que près d’un pourcent de la population mondiale a dû abandonner son domicile à cause d’un conflit ou de persécutiosn. L’an denier, le nombre de déplacés a augmenté, tout comme le niveau de violences sexuelles se produisant sur des sites accueillant des déplacés.

    Ces violences ont notamment lieu quand des femmes et des filles mineures fuient des attaques. Ce 11ème rapport du Secrétaire général de l’ONU (en anglais) sur ce sujet se penche particulièrement sur les violences sexuelles utilisées comme tactiques de guerre ou comme une arme utilisée par les réseaux terroristes.

    Il dresse la situation dans 19 pays, entre janvier et décembre 2019, et se base sur des cas documentés par les Nations unies.

    En tout, 2 838 cas de violences sexuelles ont été rapportés dans ces 19 pays. Dans 110 cas, soit environ 4 % des cas, les victimes sont des hommes ou des garçons.

    #Afghanistan

    En 2019, la Mission d’assistance des Nations unies en Afghanistan (MANUA) a documenté 102 cas de violences sexuelles : 27 étaient liées au conflit qui oppose le pouvoir aux rebelles Talibans, touchant 7 femmes, 7 filles et 13 garçons.

    Alors que la plupart des agressions sont attribuées aux Talibans, les forces de sécurité et des milices pro-gouvernementales ont également été impliquées.

    #Centrafrique

    La Mission des Nations unies en Centrafrique (MINUSCA) a confirmé 322 incidents de violences sexuelles liées aux conflits, affectant 187 femmes, 124 filles, 3 hommes, 2 garçons, et 6 femmes d’âge inconnu. Parmi ces cas, 174 sont des viols ou tentatives de viol et 15 cas sont des mariages forcés.

    Le gouvernement de Bangui a signé avec les groupes armés, en février 2019, un accord de paix qui appelle à la fin de toutes formes de violences liées au sexe. Mais les signataires continuent d’utiliser la violence sexuelle comme moyen de terroriser les civils, conclut le rapport de l’ONU.

    #Colombie

    En 2019, un organisme de l’État venant en aide aux victimes a recensé 356 victimes de violences sexuelles liées aux conflits dans un pays où sévissent de nombreux groupes criminels et armés. Dans quasiment 90 % des cas, il s’agissait de femmes et de filles. Près de la moitié des victimes avaient des origines africaines.

    51 cas d’abus ont été commis sur des enfants (31 filles et 20 garçons). Dans au moins une dizaine de cas, les agresseurs présumés appartenaient au groupe rebelle de l’Armée de libération nationale ou à d’autres groupes armés et organisations criminelles.

    #RDC

    En 2019, la mission de l’ONU en #République_démocratique_du_Congo (MONUSCO), a documenté 1 409 cas de violences sexuelles liées aux conflits, ce qui représente une hausse de 34 % depuis 2018.

    Parmi ces cas, 955 sont attribués à des groupes armés. Mais des membres de l’armée congolaise sont eux aussi impliqués dans 383 agressions. Enfin, la police nationale est responsable dans 62 cas.

    #Irak

    Au cours de l’année 2019, des civils qui étaient détenus par l’organisation de l’État islamique (OEI) en Syrie ont continué à retourner en Irak. Certains sont des survivants de violences sexuelles.

    En novembre dernier, le gouvernement régional du Kurdistan irakien a publié des statistiques sur les cas de disparition dans la communauté des Yazidis depuis 2014. Plus de 6 400 Yazidis ont ainsi été enlevés. Parmi eux près de 3 500 ont été libérés, en grande partie des femmes et des filles.

    Une commission crée en 2014 par les autorités régionales kurdes pour faire la lumière sur les crimes commis par l’OEI a enregistré plus de 1 000 cas de violences sexuelles liées aux conflits. Ces abus ont en grande partie touché les femmes et filles yazidies.

    #Libye

    La mission de l’ONU en Libye (MANUL) n’a pu vérifier que 7 cas de violences sexuelles qui ont touché 4 femmes, deux filles et un homme activiste pour les droits des LGBTQ.

    D’après le rapport, les femmes retenues dans le centre de détention très controversé de #Mitiga n’ont aucune possibilité de contester la légalité de leur détention. Ce centre est contrôlé par la « Force de dissuasion » qui est placée sous la responsabilité du ministère libyen de l’Intérieur.

    Quatre prisonnières ont été violées et forcées de se montrer nues. L’activiste pour les droits des LGBTQ a été victime d’un viol en groupe perpétré par des gardiens de la Force de dissuasion.

    La MANUL a aussi rapporté des schémas de violences et d’exploitation sexuelles, d’extorsion et de trafic de migrants dans des centres de détention de #Zaouïa, #Tadjourah, #Garian, #Tariq_al_Sikka à #Tripoli et #Khoms qui sont liés aux autorités chargées de la lutte contre la migration illégale.

    Certaines femmes et filles migrants sont exposées au risque d’être vendues pour des travaux forcés ou être exploitées sexuellement dans des réseaux criminels internationaux, dont certains sont liés aux groupes armées présents en Libye. A Tariq al-Sikka, deux filles, frappées en public, ont été victimes d’abus sexuels.

    #Mali

    En 2019, la force onusienne au Mali (MINUSMA) a enquêté sur 27 cas de violences sexuelles liées aux conflits, commis contre 15 femmes, 11 filles et un homme. Des accusations d’esclavage sexuel, de mariages forcés, de castration et de grossesses forcées ont également été rapportées.

    #Birmanie (#Myanmar)

    L’absence de responsabilité pour des violences sexuelles perpétrées contre la minorité musulmane #Rohingyas reste de mise.

    Une mission d’enquête sur les violences sexuelles en Birmanie a montré que ce genre d’agressions étaient une marque de fabrique de l’armée birmane lors des opérations qu’elle a menées en 2016 et 2017.

    De plus, comme le rappelle le rapport de l’ONU, les abus sexuels commis contre les femmes et filles Rohingyas étaient une #tactique_de_guerre qui avait pour objectif d’intimider, de terroriser et de punir les populations civiles.

    #Somalie

    La mission de l’ONU en Somalie (ONUSOM) a confirmé près de 240 cas de violences sexuelles liées aux conflits, dont l’immense majorité contre des mineures. Elles sont en majorité attribuées à des hommes armés non identifiés, au groupe des #Shebabs somaliens, mais aussi à des forces de #police locales et à l’armée somalienne. Près de la moitié de ces abus ont été commis dans l’État de #Jubaland, dans le sud-ouest du pays.

    #Soudan_du_Sud

    La mission onusienne de maintien de la paix au Soudan du Sud (MINUSS) a documenté 224 cas de violences sexuelles liées aux conflits, touchant 133 femmes, 66 filles, 19 hommes et 6 garçons.
    Soudan

    En 2019, l’opération de l’ONU au #Darfour (MINUAD) a constaté 191 cas de violences sexuelles contre des femmes et des filles. Les viols et tentatives de viol ont constitué près de 80 % des cas.

    Les agressions ont été attribuées à des nomades armés, des membres de l’#Armée_de_libération_du_Soudan et à des miliciens. Les forces de sécurité du gouvernement, dont les forces armés soudanaises et la police ont également été impliquées.

    #Nigeria

    En 2019, l’ONU a recensé 826 allégations de violences sexuelles liées aux conflits, dont des viols et des #mariages_forcés.

    La quasi-totalité de ces cas sont attribués à des #groupes_armés, dont #Boko_Haram et la #Civilian_Joint_Task_Force, une #milice d’autodéfense. Les forces de sécurité de l’État sont impliquées dans 12% des cas.

    Les efforts de l’ONU restent vains

    En avril 2019, une résolution (https://www.un.org/press/fr/2019/cs13790.doc.htm) adoptée par le Conseil de sécurité des Nations unies reconnait le besoin d’une approche centrée sur les survivants pour informer et mettre en place des mesures pour lutter contre les violences sexuelles liées aux conflits.

    La #résolution ne peut que constater que « malgré le condamnation répétées des violences, dont les violences sexuelles contre des femmes et des enfants dans des situations de conflit, et malgré l’appel à toutes les parties prenantes dans les conflits armés pour qu’elles cessent ce genre d’actes, ces derniers continuent de se produire. »

    Le rapport conclut en rappelant que l’#impunité accompagne souvent les #abus et que les efforts des parties impliquées dans un conflit à suivre les résolutions de l’ONU restent très faibles.

    https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/26635/un-rapport-de-l-onu-s-inquiete-de-l-augmentation-des-violences-sexuell
    #guerres #guerre #viols

    ping @odilon

    • Violence sexuelle liée aux conflits : l’ONU plaide pour une nouvelle décennie d’action

      Il faut continuer à garder les crimes de violence sexuelle dans les conflits et leurs auteurs sous les projecteurs de la communauté internationale, a plaidé vendredi Pramilla Patten, la Représentante spéciale du Secrétaire général de l’ONU sur la violence sexuelle dans les conflits.

      « Comme le dit la célèbre maxime juridique : justice doit être rendue et être vue comme étant rendue. Les survivantes doivent être considérées par leur société comme les détentrices de droits qui seront, en fin de compte, respectés et appliqués », a déclaré Mme Patten lors d’un débat du Conseil de sécurité sur ce thème.

      Outre Mme Patten, l’Envoyée spéciale du Haut-Commissaire des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés, Angelina Jolie et deux responsables d’ONG, Khin Omar, fondatrice et présidente de Progressive Voice s’exprimant au nom du groupe de travail des ONG sur les femmes, la paix et la sécurité, et Nadia Carine Thérèse Fornel-Poutou, présidente de l’Association des femmes juristes de la République centrafricaine, ont pris la parole devant le Conseil.

      Selon la Représentante spéciale, le débat au Conseil de sécurité ouvre la voie à une nouvelle décennie d’action décisive, selon trois axes :

      Premièrement, l’autonomisation des survivantes et des personnes à risque grâce à des ressources accrues et à une prestation de services de qualité, afin de favoriser et de créer un environnement propice dans lequel elles peuvent signaler les violations en toute sécurité et demander réparation.

      Deuxièmement, agir sur la base des rapports et des informations reçus pour faire en sorte que les parties prenantes respectent les normes internationales.

      Troisièmement, le renforcement de la responsabilité en tant que pilier essentiel de la prévention et de la dissuasion, garantissant que lorsque les parties prenantes ne respectent pas leurs engagements, elles sont dûment tenues de rendre des comptes.

      « La prévention est la meilleure réponse. Pourtant, nous avons du mal à mesurer - ou même à définir - les progrès du pilier prévention de ce programme. Le respect est un exemple concret : la violence sexuelle persiste non pas parce que les cadres et obligations existants sont inadéquats, mais parce qu’ils sont mal appliqués », a souligné Mme Patten.

      « La résolution 1820 de 2008 ne demandait rien de moins que ‘la cessation immédiate et complète par toutes les parties aux conflits armés de tous les actes de violence sexuelle contre les civils’. Cette résolution a écrit une nouvelle norme et a tracé une ligne rouge. Maintenant, nous devons démontrer clairement quelles sont les conséquences quand elle est franchie », a-t-elle ajouté.
      Aller au-delà de la rhétorique

      De son côté, Angelina Jolie a rappelé la résolution 2467 adoptée par le Conseil de sécurité l’an dernier.

      « C’était la première à placer les survivantes, leurs besoins et leurs droits au centre de toutes les mesures. Mais les résolutions, les mots sur papier, ne sont que des promesses. Ce qui compte, c’est de savoir si les promesses sont tenues », a dit l’actrice américaine devant les membres du Conseil de sécurité.

      Celle qui est également réalisatrice de films a noté que la résolution 2467 a promis des sanctions, la justice et des réparations pour les victimes et la reconnaissance des enfants nés de viol.

      « Ce sont toutes des promesses qui doivent être tenues. Je vous exhorte donc tous à vous réengager aujourd’hui à tenir ces promesses : aller au-delà de la rhétorique et mettre en œuvre vos décisions », a dit Angelina Jolie.

      « Je vous prie de demander des comptes aux auteurs, d’aborder les causes profondes et structurelles de la violence et de la discrimination sexistes dans vos pays. Et s’il vous plaît, augmentez d’urgence le financement des programmes qui répondent aux besoins de tous les survivants, et en particulier des victimes invisibles - les enfants », a ajouté la star du cinéma qui a fait preuve ces 20 dernière années d’un engagement pour les causes humanitaires, notamment en faveur des réfugiés et des droits des femmes et enfants.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/26635/un-rapport-de-l-onu-s-inquiete-de-l-augmentation-des-violences-sexuell

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    Que vont faire les très nombreux artistes et intellos arabes qui bénéficiaient des aides généreuses de leurs très nombreuses institutions culturelles maintenant que les Emirats arabes unis ont « normalisé » leurs relations avec Israël ? Je crains que le #boycott fasse long feu...

    #émirats #normalisation

  • Coronavirus: Malta says 65 rescued migrants test positive - BBC News
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-53576765

    More than two thirds of a group of 94 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean by the Maltese coastguard have tested positive for coronavirus. In tests carried out on arrival, 65 were found to have Covid-19.
    Twenty tested negative, and a further nine will receive their results later.
    The migrants - thought to be from Eritrea, Morocco and Sudan - were reported to have been at sea for 30 hours before being picked up when their vessel started taking on water. They will remain in quarantine at a reception centre. “Migrants arriving by boat are immediately quarantined for 14 days and tested. The migrants who are positive will continue to be isolated and the rest will remain in quarantine and followed up,” the health ministry said.

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