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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Anatomy of a pushback: from Italy to Bosnia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Border violence and the fear of contagion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Torture at Europe’s doorstep

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Back to square one…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ping @isskein @karine4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • ’I’m certain that people have died here’ – German doctor talks about his experience treating migrants in Bosnia

    Aid workers are increasingly alarmed about the worsening situation of the some 1,500 migrants stuck in northwest Bosnia, hundreds of whom are staying in abandoned buildings and makeshift forest settlements with little access to aid. InfoMigrants spoke with German streetwork doctor Gerhard Trabert about his patients’ physical and mental health, a lack of cooperation at the expense of the migrants and what ought to happen next.

    Over the past 20 years, Gerhard Trabert has done no fewer than 34 medical aid missions abroad in countries and hotspots including Afghanistan, Syria, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Lesbos.

    In 1998, the German doctor and social worker founded the aid organization “Armut und Gesundheit in Deutschland” ("Poverty and Health in Germany"), whose medical streetwork approach is to seek out homeless people so they get access to health care. For his accomplishments and services, he received Germany’s Federal Cross of Merit in 2004 and was named professor of the year in 2020, among other awards.

    Trabert’s latest mission took him to northwest Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the living conditions of the some 1,500 migrants stranded in the Una-Sana canton are becoming increasingly miserable and dangerous. For months, they have been staying there without access to the most basic necessities.

    Despite not receiving an official permit to deliver medical care, Trabert and his team managed to treat some 170 people in Bihać, the administrative center of the Una-Sana canton, and several other hotspots in the region over the course of eight days.

    InfoMigrants spoke to the 64-year-old in mid-January, three days after he returned from his trip to Bosnia. The interview, which has been edited and condensed for clarity, was conducted by InfoMigrants’ Benjamin Bathke.

    ************************

    InfoMigrants: The experiences you had in Bosnia must still be very present. What is going through your mind now that you’re back in Germany?

    Gerhard Trabert: Seeing people living in ruins without access to food, water and medical care at freezing temperatures in shabby blankets and mattresses, who make open fire to somehow keep warm; seeing the migrant camp Lipa that’s still not functioning — all this makes (you) melancholic, sad and angry because these conditions shouldn’t, they mustn’t exist; and Europe is failing to act.

    It’s bizarre that only a ten-hour car drive away from my home, it almost feels like being almost in another world. It also feels bizarre how different and incommensurate priorities can be: While protective measures against COVID-19 are being discussed in Germany, none of these measures exist for migrants and refugees in Bosnia. People complain about not being able to go skiing this winter while migrants live in cold and damp huts full of snow and mud.

    All week long we had sub-zero temperatures. After spending three hours in one of the dwellings, we were chilled to the bone. Of course we were able to go where it’s warm afterwards, but the notion that these people are living in these conditions 24/7 is unfathomable. It’s hard to convey these things if you haven’t seen them with your own eyes or sensed it with your own body, if only temporarily.


    https://twitter.com/InfoMigrants/status/1351220558529224704

    Can you tell us why you decided to go to Bosnia and what your mission looked like, broadly speaking?

    It was a very spontaneous decision after watching all the media reports. We drove down there with two mobile clinics and had contact with our Bosnian partner organization SOS Bihać upfront. We tried to get a permit but decided we could no longer wait and must give it a try. Our vehicles are rolling consulting rooms equipped with an examination couch, medical equipment, medicine, dressing material, and so on. After waiting at the Croatian-Bosnian border for six hours, we were allowed to cross the border, but without our vehicles. A few hours later, we were told we couldn’t go anywhere because of the curfew in Bosnia, so they brought us to a nearby accommodation. The next day, it took another five hours to finally enter Bosnia with our vehicles and drive to Bihać.

    Our team of five consisted of two nurses, two social workers and myself in the role of a physician. We had brought high-quality, suitable material including sleeping bags usable for down to -15°C, sleeping pads, hygiene articles like diapers and toilet paper and warm underwear. We weren’t able to use our mobile clinics, especially in the first few days, because SOS Bihać told us police would come immediately if we show up at a hotspot with the vehicles. So we put as much as we could in our backpacks and walked to the hotspots.

    One of those hotspots you described on Facebook is the run-down four-story building in Bihać of what you say used to be an elderly care facility. What did you experience there?

    We saw more than 100 Pakistani and Afghan men staying there in the freezing cold, most of them between the ages of 20 and 40. We went from floor to floor, introduced ourselves and offered help. It was so dark we had to use flash lights and headlamps at all times. There was this biting smoke everywhere from the open fireplaces they used to keep somewhat warm and cook food.

    Around one in three people had some kind of injury that required medical attention. We treated lots of cases of scabies, which causes bacteria to enter the wound through itching. Fortunately, we had brought special salves and medication needed to treat scabies, which a local pharmacy didn’t have. Many people had respiratory diseases and problems with their digestive organs like gastritis due to the cold and their general living conditions. We also saw skin wounds and severe open wounds as well as typical stress disorders like high blood pressure. During our second visit, we changed the bandages.

    Experiencing people forced to live like this was very intense. Some people told us they had been staying in the building for over a year, one even said it’s been three years. They occasionally try to cross the border, get pushed back and return to the ruin.

    https://gw.infomigrants.net/media/resize/my_image_big/5a72f32860f584ddd9f1aa6e8c805ff8e535fd37.jpeg

    What do the surroundings of the ruin look like?

    It’s a hotspot in the middle of the city, next to a river. The distance to our apartment in Bihać, which has a population of around 50,000, was only 200 meters. During the day, people were out and about in the city for a while and received some food at kiosks. I saw some shovel snow, so perhaps they received some money in exchange. But a regular care concept for these people doesn’t exist. Drinking water, groceries, sanitary facilities — the migrants are more or less dependent on themselves.

    I also noticed protests by locals, but we were told those Bosnians weren’t against refugees and migrants per se but against illegal hotspots. They called for accommodating and providing for them instead of living in the middle of Bihać by the hundreds. But it seems that nobody on the Bosnian side feels responsible for providing for them.

    What about the NGOs — to what extent can they alleviate the suffering?

    My impression after a week on the ground is that there was no real cooperation, interconnectedness or communication between the NGOs. We even sensed some competition. It’s a scrap for power and competence, and many things happened in a very uncoordinated way.

    Regarding Bosnian authorities, there are conflicts between the Una-Sana canton and the capital Sarajevo. Overall, the different players didn’t look at who has which resources, who can take on which task, and so on. I perceived the situation as absolute bleak. And I do have to say that this imbroglio was wanted from the side of Bosnian authorities, which didn’t surprise me as I know it from my time on Lesbos, where the Greek, but also the EU authorities acted similarly: Signaling time and again to the people that they were not welcome there. So I assume chaos is part of the strategy.

    How does the group dynamics among the migrants staying in the hotspots look like? Are there hierarchies and tensions?

    From my experience on the ground in Bosnia, but also from missions in other countries, I must say that there is a hierarchy among the different nationalities. Syrians usually hold the top spot, followed by Afghans, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and northern African countries like Morocco. Why? Because Syrians have the best shot at receiving asylum. Migrants there know exactly how Europe reacts. This hierarchy sometimes manifests in violent confrontations — we treated stab wounds, for instance. Moroccans and Algerians told us they couldn’t go to groups from other countries without getting sent away. There are some mixed groups, including people from Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as Moroccans and Algerians.

    What can you tell us about people’s mental health?

    Please allow me to make a short scientific digression. There are three forms of traumatization, primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary and secondary cases occur when people suffer from violence directly or observe others becoming the victim of violence, respectively. My point is about the tertiary form of traumatization, or sequential traumatization. It means that a person with a primary or secondary trauma — and that includes all the 1,500 people in northwest Bosnia — who isn’t received with respect, who isn’t able to share their experiences with others, who isn’t listened to or shown empathy, also suffers from tertiary traumatization. The tragic thing about this third form is that it is graver than the first two because only then does the trauma become chronic; only then they have flashbacks, anxieties, sleep disorders, depressions, panic attacks and heightened risk of suicide. All this means that the way we treat those people leads to another, active traumatization. And you can feel it when you talk to talk to them.

    Speaking of suicides, you said in a recent interview that you “wouldn’t be surprised if people died here”. What made you arrive at this conclusion?

    We were told there were bears and wolves in the woods in the Una-Sana canton that have attacked and killed migrants in the past, as well as many wild dogs that have bitten many of them. We treated one person with a bite wound from a dog, which is extremely dangerous because of the certain kind of germs in that wound. If such a wound isn’t treated with antibiotics, his life is in danger. We gave him a special antibiotics. He also had a swollen, infected hand. I cannot imagine that nobody has died yet — and dies — in these conditions. The question is how deaths are dealt with, and I believe they are swept under the rug. If you look at the living conditions as well as the diseases and illnesses of these people with a bit of common sense, I’m certain that people have died.

    On your Facebook page, you also wrote about treating small children.

    In Bosanska Bojna, a small village north of Bihać directly on the border with Croatia, a contact who was shooting a film there had met 20 families who lived in ramshackle houses and ruins with their infants and toddlers. We were able to drive there with our mobile clinics because there were no controls. We treated infections, inflammations of the middle ear, which unless it is treated can lead to meningitis. It seemed that the children there were well cared for by and large, but it’s always difficult to tell because children being able to suppress many things fairly well means it’s not easy to see the scars and wounds on their souls.

    Many had stomach aches and nausea, which could stem from the hygienic conditions, but could also be an indicator for a psychosomatic component. Children can also get depression, but the symptoms are different from those in adults: Most of the time, children are very nervous or hyperactive. Oftentimes, this is interpreted as attention deficit disorder, when it is in fact a depression. One sees that time and again among migrant children: Being hyperactive or reclusive, which I also saw in Bosanska Bojna. Partly no talking and no eye contact, nothing. Symptoms like these are always signs for psychic traumatization.

    What did you hear about violent push backs at the hand of Croatian police?

    We have seen many wounds on arms and legs that might well have been caused by beatings. Many call trying to cross the borders “Game” — they go back time and again in the hope to eventually encounter Croatians who allow them into the country.

    Calling it “Game” — is that some kind of coping strategy or black humor?

    I think it speaks to an optimism bias that’s especially prevalent in situations of extreme stress like the one migrants in northwest Bosnia are in. They perceive and describe their situation much more positive than it objectively is. This also manifests in their language, so “Game” is a trivialization to suppress the brutality of the experience a bit. Optimism bias also applies to their general situation and their health conditions, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to act in their situation or survive. It’s astounding what the body and the psyche do in order to deal with such life-threatening situations.

    Why do so many people choose to live outside of the camp in Lipa?

    Lipa is located at 750 meters in an area hostile to life. It is surrounded by wood, and it’s cold and windy there. There is no infrastructure nearby. The village of Lipa is hours away by foot, and you have to use a dirt road for two kilometers to reach the camp. It’s obvious that the location of the camp emphasizes to the people: “You are not welcome here, and we kind of don’t care what happens to you.”

    That’s why people look for opportunities elsewhere like in Bihać, where they might get some kind of assistance or earn some money by working somewhere. So they use former factories, the ruins of the said elderly care facility or the so-called jungle camp in Velika Kladuša, where we also treated people. These hotspots are everywhere because there is no real care concept, like I said before. So people try to create a certain amount of ’free space’ for themselves they can shape more actively — notwithstanding all the other deprivations, because hardly anybody goes to those spaces and brings food and water.

    From your perspective, what needs to happen now to help migrants in northwestern Bosnia?

    My principal claim is to evacuate all of the people there and distribute them among EU member states. It’s possible, we can achieve it and it needs to happen. Their living conditions are not in keeping with human rights and are inhumane. We cannot wait for all of Europe to go along with this. There’s a shift to the right across Europe, toward nationalism and racism, which I also see in this debate. We have to take a stand, and German needs to lead the way.

    Right this moment we need to conceptually organize how medical care can be provided. This needs to happen immediately. The EU alongside Bosnia needs to show where money is invested in a transparent way. At Lipa, we need tents that protect people from all kinds of weather. We also need a hygiene concept and sanitary facilities. All of this is possible — the containers can be brought there and be installed quickly. Moreover, we need a real interconnectedness and cooperation between the different organizations, and ideally a UN organization like UNHCR at the helm that brings together all the different players and decides who does what and where. My impression is that the Bosnian authorities are overburdened and ill-suited, which has something to do with the old wounds and still existent power struggles and rivalries from the Bosnian war.

    Will you go back to Bosnia and Herzegovina in case you receive the permission from the Bosnian authorities to deliver medical aid?

    Yes, in that case we would go back there, at least with one mobile clinic. We would then deliver medical aid in cooperation with others and might leave the vehicle in Bosnia long-term, perhaps by lending it to a different NGO to use free of charge like we’re doing right now in Sicily with an Italian NGO.

    https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/29741/i-m-certain-that-people-have-died-here-german-doctor-talks-about-his-e
    #route_des_Balkans #Bosnie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Balkans #santé_mentale #violence #Gerhard_Trabert #Lipa #hiver #froid #neige #Bihać #hotspot #hotspots #traumatisme #the_game #game #camp_de_réfugiés

  • La via della vergogna Sulla rotta balcanica delle migrazioni

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ping @isskein @karine4

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

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

      Original Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      “Translator plays a big role. Maybe 80%”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Pubblicato il dossier di RiVolti ai Balcani

    L’obiettivo: rompere il silenzio sulla rotta balcanica, denunciando quanto sta avvenendo in quei luoghi e lanciando chiaro il messaggio che i soggetti vulnerabili del #game” non sono più soli.

    Il report “Rotta Balcanica: i migranti senza diritti nel cuore dell’Europa” della neonata rete “RiVolti ai Balcani” è composta da oltre 36 realtà e singoli impegnati nella difesa dei diritti delle persone e dei principi fondamentali sui quali si basano la Costituzione italiana e le norme europee e internazionali.

    Il report è la prima selezione e analisi ragionata delle principali fonti internazionali sulle violenze nei Balcani che viene pubblicata in Italia. Un capitolo esamina la gravissima situazione dei respingimenti alla frontiera italo-slovena.

    http://www.icsufficiorifugiati.org/la-rotta-balcanica-i-migranti-senza-diritti-nel-cuore-delleurop

    #rapport #rivolti_ai_balcani #ICS #Trieste #Italie #frontière_sud-alpine #Slovénie #push-backs #refoulement #refoulements #réfugiés #asile #migrations #Balkans #route_des_balkans #the_game

    –—

    Fil de discussion commencé en 2018 sur les réadmissions entre Italie et Slovénie :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/733273

    • Riammissioni tra Italia e Slovenia : 32 migranti rimandati di nuovo sulla Rotta

      „Tante sono le persone che il Dipartimento di polizia di #Capodistria ha ricevuto da parte delle autorità italiane. Nel giro di qualche settimana tenteranno nuovamente di passare“

      Continua il fenomeno delle riammissioni di migranti che le autorità italiane riconsegnano alla polizia slovena in base agli accordi firmati tra Roma e Lubiana nel 1996. Nelle ultime 24 ore sono 32 le persone rimandate nel territorio della vicina repubblica. Nel dettaglio, sono 31 cittadini di origine pakistana e una persona proveniente invece dal Marocco. La Rotta balcanica alle spalle di Trieste ha ripreso vigore nelle ultime settimane, con la conferma che arriva dai dati diffusi dal Dipartimento di polizia di Capodistria negli ultimi 10 giorni e dal corposo rintraccio avvenuto due giorni fa nella zona della #val_Rosandra, in comune di #San_Dorligo_della_Valle/Dolina.

      I dati dell’ultimo periodo

      Ai circa 150 migranti rintriaccati dalle autorità slovene negli ultimi giorni, vanno agigunti altri 13 cittadini afghani e quattro nepalesi. Dai campi profughi della Bosnia è iniziata la fase che vede i migranti tentare di passare i confini prima dell’arrivo delle rigide temperature che caratterizzano l’inverno sulla frontiera con la Croazia. Riuscire a farcela prima che cominicino le forti nevicate signfiica non dover aspettare fino a primavera. Nel frattempo, gli addetti ai lavori sono convinti che non passeranno troppe settimane prima che gli stessi migranti riammessi in Slovenia vengano nuovamente rintracciati in territorio italiano.

      https://www.triesteprima.it/cronaca/rotta-balcanica-migranti-slovenia-italia-riammissioni.html

      #accord_de_réadmission #accord_bilatéral #frontières #expulsions #renvois #refoulement #migrations #asile #réfugiés #réadmission

      –—

      ajouté à cette liste sur les accords de réadmission entre pays européens :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/736091

    • "Le riammissioni dei migranti in Slovenia sono illegali", il Tribunale di Roma condanna il Viminale

      Per la prima volta un giudice si pronuncia sulla prassi di riportare indietro i richiedenti asilo in base a un vecchio accordo bilaterale. «Stanno violando la Costituzione e la Carta europea dei diritti fondamentali». L’ordinanza nasce dal ricorso di un 27 enne pakistano

      «La prassi adottata dal ministero dell’Interno in attuazione dell’accordo bilaterale con la Slovenia è illlegittima sotto molteplici profili». Non sono le parole di un’associazione che tutela i diritti dei migranti o di una delle tante ong che denuncia da mesi violenze e soprusi sulla rotta balcanica. Questa volta a dirlo, o meglio, a scriverlo in un’ordinanza a suo modo storica e che farà giurisprudenza, è una giudice della Repubblica. E’ il primo pronunciamento di questo tipo. Un durissimo atto d’accusa che porta l’intestazione del «Tribunale ordinario di Roma - Sezione diritti della persona e immigrazione» e la data del 18 gennaio 2021. Con le riammissioni informali sul confine italo-sloveno, che si tramutano - come documentato di recente anche da Repubblica - in un respingimento a catena fino alla Bosnia, il governo italiano sta violando contemporaneamente la legge italiana, la Costituzione, la Carta dei diritti fondamentali dell’Unione Europea e persino lo stesso accordo bilaterale.

      La storia di Mahmood

      L’ordinanza emessa dalla giudice Silvia Albano è l’esito di un procedimento cautelare d’urgenza. Il pakistano Mahmood contro il ministero dell’Interno. Nel ricorso presentato ad ottobre dagli avvocati dell’Associazione studi giuridici sull’immigrazione (Asgi) si chiedeva al Tribunale «di accertare il diritto del signor Mahmood a presentare domanda di protezione internazionale in Italia». La storia di questo 27 enne non è diversa da quella di migliaia di migranti che partecipano al Game, come nei campi profughi della Bosnia è stata beffardamente ribattezzata la pericolosa traversata dei boschi croati e sloveni. A metà del luglio scorso Mahmood raggiunge la frontiera di Trieste dopo il viaggio lungo rotta balcanica durante il quale ha subito violenze e trattamenti inumani, provati da una serie di fotografie che ha messo a disposizione del magistrato. E’ fuggito dal Pakistan «per le persecuzioni a causa del mio orientamento sessuale». Giunto in Italia insieme a un gruppo di connazionali, è rintracciato dagli agenti di frontiera e portato in una stazione di polizia italiana.

      «Minacciato coi bastoni dalla polizia italiana»

      Nel suo ricorso Mahmood sostiene di aver chiesto esplicitamente ai poliziotti l’intenzione di presentare la domanda di protezione internazionale. Richiesta del tutto ignorata. La sua testimonianza, evidentemente ritenuta attendibile dalla giudice Albano, prosegue col racconto di quanto accaduto all’interno e nelle vicinanze della stazione di frontiera. Si legge nell’ordinanza: «Gli erano stati fatti firmare alcuni documenti in italiano, gli erano stati sequestrati i telefoni ed erano stati ammanettati. Poi sono stati caricati su un furgone e portati in una zona collinare e intimati, sotto la minaccia di bastoni, di correre dritti davanti a loro, dando il tempo della conta fino a 5. Dopo circa un chilometro erano stati fermati dagli spari della polizia slovena che li aveva arrestati e caricati su un furgone». Da lì in poi il suo destino del pakistano è segnato: riportato nell’affollato campo bosniaco di Lipa, ha dormito alcune notti in campagna, infine ha trovato rifugio in un rudere a Sarajevo.

      Il Viminale non poteva non sapere

      Secondo il Tribunale di Roma ci sono tre solide ragioni per ritenere illegali le riammissioni in Slovenia. La prima. Avvengono senza che sia rilasciato alcun pezzo di carta legalmente valido. «Il riaccompagnamento forzato - scrive Albano - incide sulla sfera giuridica degli interessati quindi deve essere disposto con un provvedimento amministrativo motivato impugnabile innanzi all’autorità giudiziaria». La seconda attiene al rispetto della Carta dei diritti fondamentali, che impone la necessità di esame individuale delle singole posizioni e vieta espulsioni collettive. E’ uno dei passaggi più significativi dell’ordinanza. «Lo Stato italiano non avrebbe dovuto dare corso ai respingimenti informali. Il ministero era in condizioni di sapere, alla luce dei report delle Ong, delle risoluzioni dell’Alto Commissariato Onu per i rifugiati e delle inchieste dei più importanti organi di stampa internazioanale, che la riammissione in Slovenia avrebbe comportato a sua volta il respingimento in Bosnia nonché che i migranti sarebbero stati soggetti a trattamenti inumani».

      Infine la terza ragione, che sbriciola la posizione ufficiale del Viminale, rappresentata al Parlamento dal sottosegretario Achille Variati durante un question time in cui è stato affermato che le riammissioni si applicano a tutti, anche a chi vuol presentare domanda di asilo. Scrive invece la giudice: «Non si può mai applicare nei confronti di un richiedente asilo senza nemmeno provvedere a raccogliere la sua domanda, con una prassi che viola la normativa interna e sovranazionale e lo stesso contenuto dell’Accordo bilaterale con la Slovenia».

      La condanna

      Per queste tre ragioni, il Viminale è condannato a prendere in esame la domanda di asilo di Mahmood, consentendogli l’immediato ingresso nel territorio italiano, e a pagare le spese legali. E’ la vittoria di Gianfranco Schiavone, componente del direttivo Asgi e presidente del Consorzio italiano di Solidarietà, che da mesi denuncia quanto sta accadendo sul confine italo-sloveno. Nel 2020 le riammissioni informali sono state circa 1.300. E’ la vittoria soprattutto delle due legali che hanno presentato il ricorso e sostenuto la causa, Anna Brambilla e Caterina Bove. «Siamo molto soddisfatte della pronuncia», commenta Brambilla. «Alla luce di questa ordinanza si devono interrompere subito le riammissioni informali in Slovenia perché sia garantito l’accesso al diritto di asilo».

      https://www.repubblica.it/cronaca/2021/01/21/news/viminale_condannato_riammissioni_illegali_respingimenti_slovenia_migranti

      #condamnation #justice

    • I respingimenti italiani in Slovenia sono illegittimi. Condannato il ministero dell’Interno

      Per il Tribunale di Roma le “riammissioni” del Viminale a danno dei migranti hanno esposto consapevolmente le persone, tra cui richiedenti asilo, a “trattamenti inumani e degradanti” lungo la rotta balcanica e a “torture” in Croazia. Il caso di un cittadino pachistano respinto a catena in Bosnia. L’avvocata Caterina Bove, co-autrice del ricorso, ricostruisce la vicenda e spiega perché l’ordinanza è importantissima

      I respingimenti voluti dal ministero dell’Interno italiano e praticati con sempre maggior intensità dalla primavera 2020 al confine con la Slovenia sono “illegittimi”, violano obblighi costituzionali e del diritto internazionale, e hanno esposto consapevolmente i migranti in transito lungo la “rotta balcanica”, inclusi i richiedenti asilo, a “trattamenti inumani e degradanti” oltreché a “vere e proprie torture inflitte dalla polizia croata”.

      A cristallizzarlo, demolendo la prassi governativa delle “riammissioni informali” alla frontiera orientale, è il Tribunale ordinario di Roma (Sezione diritti della persona e immigrazione) con un’ordinanza datata 18 gennaio 2021 e giunta a seguito di un ricorso presentato dalle avvocate Caterina Bove e Anna Brambilla (foro di Trieste e Milano, socie Asgi) nell’interesse di un richiedente asilo originario del Pakistan respinto dall’Italia nell’estate 2020 una volta giunto a Trieste e ritrovatosi a Sarajevo a vivere di stenti.

      Le 13 pagine firmate dalla giudice designata Silvia Albano tolgono ogni alibi al Viminale, che nemmeno si era costituito in giudizio, e riconoscono in capo alle “riammissioni informali” attuate in forza di un accordo bilaterale Italia-Slovenia del 1996 la palese violazione, tra le altre fonti, della Costituzione, della Convenzione europea dei diritti dell’uomo e della Carta dei diritti fondamentali dell’Unione europea. E non solo quando colpiscono i richiedenti asilo ma tutte le persone giunte al confine italiano.

      Abbiamo chiesto all’avvocata Caterina Bove, co-autrice del ricorso insieme a Brambilla, di spiegarci perché questa ordinanza segna un punto di svolta.

      Avvocata, facciamo un passo indietro e torniamo al luglio 2020. Che cosa è successo a Trieste?
      CB Dopo aver attraversato la “rotta balcanica” con grande sofferenza e aver tentato almeno dieci volte di oltrepassare il confine croato, il nostro assistito, originario del Pakistan, Paese dal quale era fuggito a seguito delle persecuzioni subite a causa del proprio orientamento sessuale e dell’essersi professato ateo, ha raggiunto Trieste nell’estate 2020. Lì, è stato intercettato dalla polizia italiana che lo ha accompagnato in un luogo gestito dalle autorità di frontiera.

      E poi?
      CB Presso quella che noi ipotizziamo si trattasse di una caserma (probabilmente la Fernetti, ndr) il ricorrente ha espresso più volte la volontà di accedere alla procedura di asilo. Invece di indirizzarlo presso le autorità competenti a ricevere la domanda di asilo, è stato fotosegnalato, trattenuto insieme ad altri in maniera informale e senza alcun provvedimento dell’autorità giudiziaria. Gli hanno fatto solo firmare dei documenti scritti in italiano e sequestrato il telefono. Dopodiché lo hanno ammanettato, caricato bruscamente su una camionetta e poi rilasciato su una zona collinare al confine con la Slovenia.

      In Slovenia, scrivete nel ricorso, hanno trascorso una notte senza possibilità di avere accesso ai servizi igienici, cibo o acqua. Quando chiedevano di usare il bagno “gli agenti ridevano e li ignoravano”.
      CB Confermo. Veniamo ora al respingimento a catena in Croazia. Il ricorrente e i suoi compagni vengono scaricati dalla polizia al confine e “accolti” da agenti croati che indossavano magliette blu scuro con pantaloni e stivali neri. I profughi vengono fatti sdraiare a terra e ammanettati dietro la schiena con delle fascette. Vengono presi a calci sulla schiena, colpiti con manganelli avvolti con filo spinato, spruzzati con spray al peperoncino, fatti rincorrere dai cani dopo un conto alla rovescia cadenzato da spari in aria.

      Queste circostanze sono ritenute provate dal Tribunale. In meno di 48 ore dalla riammissione a Trieste il vostro assistito si ritrova in Bosnia.
      CB Il ricorrente ha raggiunto il campo di Lipa, a pochi chilometri da Bihać, che però era saturo. Così ha raggiunto Sarajevo, dove vive attualmente spostandosi tra edifici abbandonati della città. La polizia bosniaca lo sgombera di continuo.

      Come avete fatto a entrare in contatto con lui?
      CB La sua testimonianza è stata prima raccolta dal Border Violence Monitoring Network e poi dal giornalista danese Martin Gottzske per il periodico Informatiòn.

      “La prassi adottata dal ministero dell’Interno in attuazione dell’accordo bilaterale con la Slovenia e anche in danno dell’odierno ricorrente è illegittima sotto molteplici profili”, si legge nell’ordinanza. Possiamo esaminarne alcuni?
      CB Il punto di partenza del giudice è che l’accordo bilaterale firmato nel settembre 1996 non è mai stato ratificato dal Parlamento italiano e ciò comporta che non può prevedere modifiche o derogare alle leggi vigenti in Italia o alle norme dell’Unione europea o derivanti da fonti di diritto internazionale.

      “Sono invece numerose le norme di legge che vengono violate dall’autorità italiana con la prassi dei cosiddetti ‘respingimenti informali in Slovenia’”, continua il Tribunale.
      CB Infatti. La riammissione avviene senza che venga emesso alcun provvedimento amministrativo. Le persone respinte non vengono informate di cosa sta avvenendo nei loro confronti, non ricevono alcun provvedimento amministrativo scritto e motivato e dunque non hanno possibilità di contestare le ragioni della procedura che subiscono, tantomeno di provarla direttamente. Questo viola il loro diritto di difesa e a un ricorso effettivo, diritti tutelati dall’articolo 24 della Costituzione, dall’art. 13 della Convenzione europea dei diritti dell’uomo e dall’art. 47 della Carta dei diritti fondamentali dell’Unione europea.

      Dunque è una violazione che non dipende dalla condizione di richiedente asilo.
      CB Esatto, anche qui sta l’importanza del provvedimento e la sua ampia portata. Poi c’è la questione della libertà personale: la persona sottoposta a riammissione si vede ristretta la propria libertà personale senza alcun provvedimento dell’autorità giudiziaria, come invece previsto dall’art. 13 della nostra Costituzione.

      Arriviamo al cuore della decisione. La giudice scrive che “Lo Stato italiano non avrebbe dovuto dare corso ai respingimenti informali in mancanza di garanzie sull’effettivo trattamento che gli stranieri avrebbero ricevuto [in Croazia, ndr] in ordine al rispetto dei loro diritti fondamentali, primi fra tutti il diritto a non subire trattamenti inumani e degradanti e quello di proporre domanda di protezione internazionale”. E aggiunge che il ministero “era in condizioni di sapere” delle “vere e proprie torture inflitte dalla polizia croata”.
      CB È accolta la nostra tesi, fondata su numerosi report, inchieste giornalistiche, denunce circostanziate di autorevoli organizzazioni per i diritti umani.
      La riammissione, anche a prescindere dalla richiesta di asilo, viola l’art. 3 della Convenzione europea dei diritti dell’uomo che reca il divieto di trattamenti inumani e degradanti e l’obbligo di non respingimento in caso lo straniero possa correre il rischio di subire tali trattamenti. Ogni Stato è cioè responsabile anche se non impedisce che questi trattamenti avvengano nel luogo dove la persona è stata allontanata.
      In questo senso è un passaggio molto importante perché allarga la portata della decisione a tutte le persone che arrivano in Italia e che vengono rimandate indietro secondo la procedura descritta.
      È noto il meccanismo di riammissione a catena ed è nota la situazione in Croazia.

      La ministra dell’Interno Luciana Lamorgese, il 13 gennaio 2021, ha ribadito però che Slovenia e Croazia sarebbero “Paesi sicuri”.
      CB Il Tribunale descrive una situazione diversa e ribadisce che la riammissione non può mai essere applicata nei confronti dei richiedenti asilo e di coloro che rischiano di essere sottoposti a trattamenti inumani e degradanti.

      Che cosa succede ora?
      CB Considerato il comportamento illecito delle autorità italiane, il Tribunale fa diretta applicazione dell’art. 10 comma 3 della Costituzione consentendo l’ingresso sul territorio nazionale al ricorrente al fine di presentare la domanda di protezione internazionale, possibilità negatagli al suo arrivo. Non c’è un diritto di accedere al territorio italiano per chiedere asilo “da fuori” però, in base a questa norma come declinata dalla Corte di Cassazione, esiste tale diritto di ingresso se il diritto d’asilo sul territorio è stato negato per un comportamento illecito dell’autorità.
      Quindi il ricorrente dovrà poter fare ingresso il prima possibile per fare domanda di asilo. Spero che possa essergli rilasciato al più presto un visto d’ingresso.

      E per chi è stato respinto in questi mesi? Penso anche ai richiedenti asilo respinti, pratica confermata dal Viminale nell’estate 2020 e recentemente, a parole, “rivista”.
      CB Purtroppo per il passato non sarà facilissimo tutelare le persone respinte attraverso simili ricorsi perché le persone subiscono lungo la rotta la sistematica distruzione dei loro documenti di identità, dei telefonini e delle foto e, anche tenuto conto di come vivono poi in Bosnia, diventa per loro difficile provare quanto subito ma anche provare la propria identità. Per il futuro questa decisione chiarisce l’illegalità delle procedure di riammissione sia nei confronti dei richiedenti asilo sia dei non richiedenti protezione. Deve essere assicurato l’esame individuale delle singole posizioni.

      https://altreconomia.it/i-respingimenti-italiani-in-slovenia-sono-illegittimi-condannato-il-min

    • Tratto dal rapporto “#Doors_Wide_Shut – Quarterly report on push-backs on the Western Balkan Route” (Juin 2021):

      Pushbacks from Italy to Slovenia have been virtually suspended, following the visibility and advocacy pursued by national civil society actors on chain pushbacks and potentially reinforced by the January Court of Rome ruling. However, at least two reports on chain pushbacks from Italy through Slovenia and Croatia to BiH have been recorded in May 2021, by the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN). As irregular movements continue, the question remains whether Italy will ensure access to individual formal procedures for those entering its territory from Slovenia and seeking asylum.

      https://helsinki.hu/en/doors-wide-shut-quarterly-report-on-push-backs-on-the-western-balkan-route
      https://seenthis.net/messages/927293

  • Ce jour-là à #Vintimille. Retour d’un lieu d’exil sans cesse confiné

    Chaque nuit, des dizaines de personnes en situation d’exil dorment dans les rues de Vintimille. Laissées à l’abandon par les pouvoirs publics depuis la fermeture du principal camp d’hébergement, elles sont repoussées du centre-ville par les forces de police. De retour de cette frontière, nous publions ce texte de témoignage afin d’alerter sur la mise en danger institutionnelle des personnes en migration.

    Chaque nuit, des dizaines de personnes en situation d’exil dorment dans les rues de Vintimille. Laissées à l’abandon par les pouvoirs publics depuis la fermeture du principal camp d’hébergement, elles sont repoussées du centre-ville par les forces de police alors que la municipalité prépare la reprise des activités touristiques au lendemain du confinement. De retour de cette frontière franco-italienne, nous publions ce texte de témoignage afin d’alerter sur la mise en danger institutionnelle des personnes en migration.

    Depuis la fin du confinement en Italie, on peut estimer que 200 personnes en migration sont quotidiennement livrées à elles-mêmes à Vintimille. La plupart sont originaires d’Afghanistan, d’Iran, du Pakistan, dans une moindre mesure de pays africains. Nous avons également rencontré une famille kurde accompagnant une femme enceinte. "Bonjour, ça va ?". Suivant les mots que nous adressons à leur rencontre, les discussions s’ouvrent sur les projets passés et présents. La principale destination évoquée à cette étape des parcours est la France. Marseille, Porte de la Chapelle... Certains ont passé plusieurs années dans le pays d’où nous venons, avant de se faire renvoyer vers l’Italie. "Ništa !" : au détour d’une conversation en Pachtoune, on reconnait une expression ramenée des routes balkaniques, qui signifie qu’il n’y a rien à trouver ici. "Racist", "police", "violent" sont d’autres mots transparents que nous glanons en parcourant les rues de Vintimille, ce jeudi 11 juin.

    Surimpressions

    À la veille de la reprise officielle de la saison touristique, plusieurs réalités se superposent. Les arrivées de touristes tant attendues par la municipalité coïncident avec celles de groupes considérés comme irréguliers. Les usagers des terrasses à nouveau animées côtoient les déambulations quotidiennes des personnes exilées pour trouver une stratégie de passage. Les camions de nettoyage sillonnent les rues ; les fourgons des marchands du célèbre marché de Vintimille reprennent place. Cette soudaine effervescence économique est traversée par le ballet des forces de l’ordre : militaires, police municipale, guardia di finanza et carabinieri quadrillent la ville. Nous nous étonnons de voir la police nationale française stationnée devant la gare. La stratégie des autorités italiennes semble moins correspondre à une logique de contrôle de l’immigration qu’à un impératif de tenir à l’écart du centre-ville les migrant-tes indésirables. C’est-à-dire celles et ceux qu’il ne faut pas voir dans ce paysage renaissant de la consommation.

    Ce jour-là, le 12 juin, alors que les interdictions liées aux rassemblements dans les centres commerciaux et lieux de restauration sont progressivement levées, le maire a explicitement interdit aux ONG présentes à la frontière de fournir toute aide matérielle aux personnes exilées.

    Invisibilisations

    Sur cette portion du territoire transalpin, le confinement décidé en mars 2020 a signifié l’arrêt des activités humanitaires, en raison de la fermeture officielle de la frontière et des interdictions de rassemblement en Italie. Les volontaires du collectif Kesha Niya et de Roya Citoyenne ont dû mettre fin aux distributions alimentaires groupées — une activité essentielle pour les personnes exilées en transit dans les rues de Vintimille, assurée quotidiennement depuis trois ans. Alors que de nouvelles arrivées ont été constatées depuis la fin du confinement, les distributions doivent s’effectuer en discrétion.

    Les paquets alimentaires, kits d’hygiène et masques sont fournis aléatoirement, en fonction du nombre de personnes exilées rencontrées au cours des maraudes. Cette situation délétère n’est pas sans rappeler le contexte de l’année 2016, alors qu’un arrêté municipal de la commune de Vintimille interdisait les distributions de repas pour cause de risques sanitaires[I]. Inique autant que cynique, l’argument de la salubrité publique est à nouveau le levier d’une mise en danger des personnes exilées. Bien que l’ONG Médecins du Monde ait constaté en juin des besoins médicaux auprès des personnes en errance dans la ville (tels que des problématiques respiratoires connues pour leur propension à entrainer une forme grave de COVID-19), aucun accès aux soins n’est organisé par les institutions locales ou nationales. Sur la seule après-midi du 18 juin 2020, deux patients ont été admis en hospitalisation d’urgence suite à des signalements de l’ONG (urgence obstétricale et détresse cardiaque).

    Cette nuit-là, le vent est levé. Venus pour assurer une distribution de sacs de couchage et de masques, mis en difficulté dans cet acte simple, nous ressentons l’hypocrisie d’une frontière qui crée ses propres marges. Avec quelques autres volontaires qui tentent d’assurer un relai social et médical, nous devons nous aussi nous cacher, nous rendre invisibles.

    Épuisements

    Il y a quelques semaines, le camp de la Croix-Rouge assurait encore la mise à l’abri d’individus sans papiers. Institué comme bras humanitaire de la Préfecture d’Imperia en 2016, cet établissement situé à 4 kilomètres du centre-ville centralisait l’hébergement des personnes en transit, autant que leur contrôle[II]. Depuis la détection d’un cas de coronavirus le 18 avril, le campo a été fermé aux nouvelles arrivées[III]. Seuls les petits-déjeuners et un service de douche délivrés par Caritas sont assurés aux personnes recalées, ainsi qu’une assistance juridique répartie entre plusieurs associations locales[IV].

    Désormais, pour celles et ceux qui arrivent sur ce territoire, les rares lieux de répit se situent à l’abri des regards, dans quelques marges urbaines tolérées. Corollaire du droit à la mobilité, le droit à la ville est mis à mal dans les interstices urbains de Vintimille. Ces rues sont le théâtre d’un nouveau « game », selon le nom donné dans les Balkans aux tentatives répétées de traversée des frontières, suivies de refoulements violents[V].

    À cette étape des parcours, la France demeure le seul horizon envisageable : tous et toutes parviennent finalement à passer, mais au prix d’épuisements multiples et de nouveaux dangers.

    Ce jour-là, sous le pont de Vintimille, une laie ballade ses marcassins à la recherche de nourriture, à proximité immédiate d’un lieu de campement régulièrement sujet aux déguerpissements policiers. Les voyages nous sont contés avec des mots et des blessures, souvent ramenées de la traversée des Balkans. À cette frontière intérieure de l’Europe, aucun moyen médical institutionnel n’est disponible pour les soigner.

    Des corps confinés

    Confiner, c’est aussi étymologiquement toucher une limite. Bloquées à la frontière italo-française, les personnes exilées se heurtent à des confins au cœur de l’espace Schengen dit « de libre circulation ». Seuls les chiffres de l’activité policière communiqués par la Préfecture des Alpes-Maritimes permettent d’évaluer numériquement l’évolution des arrivées ces derniers mois : alors que 107 refus d’entrée[VI] ont été enregistrés côté français entre le 15 mars et le 15 avril, ce sont environ cinquante personnes qui seraient refoulées chaque jour de la France vers l’Italie, depuis la fin du confinement officiel. Toutefois, ces statistiques n’intègrent ni les tentatives de traversées répétées par une même personne, ni les refoulements non enregistrés par la police française, en dépit des lois en vigueur[VII]. C’est pourquoi le regard d’acteurs non étatiques s’avère nécessaire dans cette phase de déconfinement. Salariée humanitaire, universitaire ou volontaire bénévole, notre présence à Vintimille tient à des raisons diverses, mais nos mots dessinent une même idée : « impératif de mise à l’abri », « inégalité des vies »[VIII], « acharnement dissuasif » …

    Ces deux derniers mois ont fourni l’opportunité de comprendre le caractère essentiel du droit à la mobilité — en particulier pour les personnes qui ont pu se confiner dans des conditions dignes et qui retrouvent depuis le mois de mai les délices de la liberté de circulation[IX]. Que reste-t-il de cette expérience collective ?

    La période post-confinement signale plutôt le renforcement des inégalités à la mobilité. Non seulement la « crise sanitaire » n’a pas amené de véritable réflexion sur la précarité des personnes bloquées aux frontières, mais elle a de plus permis la poursuite des activités de contrôle mortifères à l’écart de l’attention médiatique. C’est le cas en Libye et en Méditerranée[X], mais aussi au cœur de l’Union européenne, à cette frontière franco-italienne.

    Ce jour-là, le train de voyageurs internationaux Vintimille-Cannes fait à nouveau vibrer les rails, à côté du campement improvisé pour la nuit par les exilé-e-s. Le lendemain, nous rejoindrons le bivouac de notre choix sans le moindre contrôle, reconnus à nouveau aptes à circuler, contrairement à ces corps confinés.

    https://blogs.mediapart.fr/mdmonde/blog/240620/ce-jour-la-vintimille-retour-d-un-lieu-d-exil-sans-cesse-confine
    #campement #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Italie #France #frontière_sud-alpine #SDF #sans-abrisme #in/visibilité #invisibilisation #écart #solidarité #Kesha_Niya #Roya_Citoyenne #distributions_alimentaires #salubrité_publique #accès_aux_soins #hypocrisie #Croix-Rouge #camp #campement #mise_à_l'abri #hébergement #campo #marges #droit_à_l'abri #interstices_urbains #game #the_game #épuisement #droit_à_la_mobilité #libre_circulation #liberté_de_mouvement #liberté_de_circulation #post-covid-19 #post-confinement

  • La rotta balcanica. I migranti senza diritti nel cuore dell’Europa

    Lungo la “rotta balcanica” arriva in Italia e in Europa una parte rilevante dei rifugiati del nostro continente. Sono principalmente siriani, afghani, iracheni, iraniani, pakistani che fuggono da persecuzioni e conflitti pluriennali. Lungo tutta la rotta continuano a verificarsi misure che mettono a rischio le persone migranti come violenze, torture, respingimenti e restrizioni arbitrarie.

    Questo dossier rompe il silenzio sulla “rotta balcanica”, denunciando quanto sta avvenendo in quei luoghi e lanciando chiaro il messaggio che i soggetti vulnerabili del “game” non sono più soli.

    Lo ha curato la neonata rete “#RiVolti_ai_Balcani”, composta da oltre 36 realtà, tra cui Altreconomia, e singoli impegnati nella difesa dei diritti delle persone e dei principi fondamentali sui quali si basano la Costituzione italiana e le norme europee e internazionali.

    https://altreconomia.it/prodotto/la-rotta-balcanica
    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Balkans #route_des_balkans #game #the_game #rapport

    ping @isskein

  • Report on illegal practice of collective expulsion on Slovene-Croatian border

    Last year Slovenian police officially deported 4653 people to Croatia under the regulation of the readmission agreement. This is means that more than half of 9149 people who were processed for illegally crossing the border were handed over to Croatian police and in further expelled to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Large majority of people who were processed under the readmission agreement were denied their right to asylum procedure by Slovenian police who is still conducting systematic expulsions to Croatia under the guise of the readmission. This practice of denial of right to seek asylum has become systematic with the issue of general police instructions on end of May 2018 when official number of readmission increased dramatically. For example, in police station Črnomelj which the closest in walking distance from Velika Kladuša in May out of 379 people who were processed for illegally crossing the border 371 applied for asylum, but after the issue of police commands in June out of 412 people who crossed the border illegally only 13 officially asked for asylum. Threats, violence, abuse of power and denial of basic rights has became a common practice in other border police stations, collective expulsions to Croatia are happening daily with the knowledge and support of high police and government officials despite high risk of further violence and theft done by police in Croatia.

    In this article is attached a report on collective expuslion from Slovenia and Croatia and work of civil iniciative Info Kolpa which operated a phone line to act as mediator between police and migrants in asylum procedurees. The phone line was used when migrants who contacted the phone number were on the territory of the Republic of Slovenia with the intention to seek asylum and would express a desire for the volunteers to inform the police about their location. In such cases the nearest was informed. The phone line volunteers would send the geographical location, information on people seeking asylum and a clear statement that people are in dire need of help and wish to apply for international protection in Slovenia to the regional police station. This was done via phone or an email sent to the police station in jurisdiction. Also the Office of Ombudsman in Slovenia and different NGOs involved with protection of human rights were informed. This report contains 20 such recorded cases (106 persons); in 6 cases, persons were admitted to the asylum procedure in Slovenia (27 persons); in 7 cases they were pushbacked to Croatia and then illegally expelled to Bosnia and Herzegovina (39 persons); only one person was able to initiate the procedure for international protection after extradition to Croatia and was not expelled to Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 7 cases (39 people) there is no information of what had happened with the people, as they haven’t made any contact after they were apprehended by Slovenian police.

    You can find the full report in attachments along with censored police instructions and documents from Ombudsman office.


    https://push-forward.org/porocilo/report-illegal-practice-collective-expulsion-slovene-croatian-border
    #push-back #refoulement #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Slovénie #Croatie #rapport

    Pour télécharger le rapport:


    https://push-forward.org/sites/default/files/2019-05/Report%20on%20illegal%20practice%20of%20collective%20expulsion%20on%20

    • Balkan Region – Report June 2019

      No Name Kitchen and Border Violence Monitoring have published a common report summarizing current developments in pushbacks and police violence in the Western Balkans, mainly in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and along the Serbian borders with Croatia and Hungary.

      As such, this report contains analysis and a review of the situation in these areas as well. This report covers 41 reports of push-backs involving 237 people in transit. 21 of these were incidents of push-backs to BiH, 4 of these were incidents of push-backs to Serbia, and 4 of these were incidents of push-backs from BiH to Montenegro. The reports were conducted with a wide demographic variety of respondents ranging from families to single men to unaccompanied minors. The respondents to these reports also originate from a wide variety of countries such as Tunisia, Kurdistan Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Algeria to name a few.
      The report details, among other things:

      Push-backs to the Sturlic area of the Una-Sana Canton
      The use of balaclava masks as an accessory to push-back violence
      The Croatian Ministry of the Interior’s June media event in Grabovac
      The trend of reverse flows along the Balkan Route
      The publication of an open letter by a hiker in Croatia who witnessed the apprehension of a transit group by the country’s Special Police
      The situation in northern Serbia related to border violence

      https://www.borderviolence.eu/balkan-region-report-june-2019

      Plus précisément pour les refoulements depuis la Slovénie :


      –-> les précisions sur les différents cas :
      https://www.borderviolence.eu/violence-reports/may-28-2019-0400-smarje-sap-slovenia
      https://www.borderviolence.eu/violence-reports/may-29-2019-0800-kortino-slovenia
      https://www.borderviolence.eu/violence-reports/may-31-2019-0300-bogovolja-croatia
      https://www.borderviolence.eu/violence-reports/may-31-2019-0100-near-sturlic-bosnia-herzegovina
      https://www.borderviolence.eu/violence-reports/june-5-2019-0400-croatian-bosnian-border-next-to-poljana
      https://www.borderviolence.eu/violence-reports/june-7-2019-0700-kocevje-slovenia

    • Bosnia-Croatia border: Needs grow for migrants losing EU entry ‘#game’

      It’s referred to by everyone here as “The Game”, but there are few winners and a humanitarian crisis is brewing on the Bosnia-Croatia border as thousands of migrants and asylum seekers trying to reach the EU find themselves stuck with limited access to food, shelter, or healthcare.

      They are caught between two poles: EU policies designed to reduce irregular crossings and keep people out, and political stalemate in Bosnia, which aid groups say is preventing local authorities from providing those in limbo with adequate protection or living conditions.

      Since the closing of the old migrant route through the Balkans in 2016, Bosnia has emerged as a new way station for those trying to reach Croatia and head on to other nations like France and Germany in the EU’s Schengen free movement zone.

      Migrants and asylum seekers bide their time in northwest Bosnia before attempting “The Game” – the cat-and-mouse evasion of Croatian police as they cross the highly securitised border and try to navigate dense woodland further into EU territory. The majority making this trip are pushed back by Croatian police, who are supported financially in their border operations by the EU.

      Bosnia’s northwestern canton of Una-Sana has become the locus of the ensuing crisis, especially around its main city and administrative centre of Bihać.

      As of June 2019, the UN’s migration agency, IOM, runs four migrant centres in Una-Sana, housing more than 3,100 migrants and asylum seekers. However, with an estimated 6,000 migrants in the canton, it’s not enough and thousands are sleeping rough.

      Faced with sustained protests from local residents about the pressure this has placed on their communities, authorities have scrambled to find solutions.

      In April, Una-Sana police increased measures that were introduced in October 2018 to prevent migrants and asylum seekers from entering the canton. In June, Bihać City Council began to clear the urban centre, with police rounding up and relocating groups of people to a new location at Vučjak, eight kilometres from the city centre.

      The UN has refused to operate at Vučjak, citing concerns about its close proximity to minefields and situation on top of a former landfill site, referring to it as “unsuitable for human habitation”.

      Opening additional accommodation centres would ease the pressure, but politicians have failed to create a national plan to share the burden. Milorad Dodik, Bosnian Serb member of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s tripartite presidency, has notably refused to host migrants and asylum seekers in Bosnia’s mainly Serb entity of Republika Srpska.

      “The Ministry of Security doesn’t have a strategy,” Šuhret Fazlić, mayor of Bihać, told The New Humanitarian. “The only strategy they have is to try and close the border between Bosnia and Serbia, and to let migrants go to Croatia. But it doesn’t work because Croatia is pushing migrants back, and because Dodik won’t allow police from the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina or the army on the border with Serbia.”

      Decision-making is complicated by the fact that the outgoing government has been acting in a caretaker capacity since October 2018 elections.

      “If you look at who is currently the Minister of Security, his party and he as a person will definitely not be part of the new government,” said Peter Van der Auweraert, IOM’s chief of mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “The parties that will eventually form the government have no incentive to collaborate with him.”

      With weak central leadership, IOM must navigate Bosnia’s local politics to open additional centres for migrants and asylum seekers who currently fall outside of the system.

      “We have identified six alternative locations and now need a political decision at the canton level on which one of those is acceptable,” Van der Auweraert said. “In Bosnia it is so decentralised that canton authorities can really block that from happening. It takes a level of political courage to explain to people on the ground that there are actually economic benefits attached to opening a migrant centre. Unfortunately this has not happened, for example, in Una-Sana canton.”

      As winter nears and thousands of migrants and asylum seekers continue to live in squalid conditions, the urgency of agreeing on the location of a new centre will only grow.

      “Somebody has to find a solution,” said Fazlić. “The only thing that is up to the city is to propose new locations. We are ready for this, but we have only land and somebody has to find a way to build and prepare conditions for them.”

      Journalist and photojournalist Nick Newsom spent 10 days in July talking to aid workers, migrants, and asylum seekers in northwestern Bosnia. Their testimonies and photos follow.
      “We’re scared that the police will catch us”

      “We don’t go into the city centre because we’re scared that the police will catch us. You should see how we were when we lived in Turkey – I looked nothing like this," said Sufyan Al Sheikh Ahmad, 23, from Syria. “The circumstances here are very hard. Last time, we walked for six days in Croatia and reached Slovenia, but the Slovenian police caught us after two days. They handed us over to Croatian police, who took our money and bag, and broke our telephones. They took us to the border and we had to walk about 30 kilometres to Bihać. That was the fifth attempt. Inshallah, I will try again. I don’t have 3,000 euros to pay a smuggler, so I’m trying to walk. Wallah, I feel very tired.”

      View from the road towards #Šturlić

      Many migrants and asylum seekers set off into Croatia from the Bosnian village of Šturlić, which lies just a few hundred metres from the border. The landscape on the Bosnian side is mountainous, densely forested, and becomes more so once one enters Croatian territory. Croatian authorities, funded to the tune of 131 million euros by the EU, deploy a wide range of technologies to detect and apprehend migrants on their territory. By contrast, the EU has provided 24 million euros to Bosnia since 2018 to help the country manage the migration crisis, on top of 24.6 million euros of assistance in the area of asylum, migration, and border management since 2007.

      “I didn’t even have a t-shirt or shoes”

      “I’ve been in Bosnia four months,” said Zuhaib Arif, 18, from Pakistan. "I got here by train but got off about 70 kilometres from here, at Banja Luca, and walked the rest. The police told me to get off the train there, and anyone who this happens to has to come here by foot. Police tell us to go back and not go to Bihać. I went to Jungle Camp [Vučjak] but I didn’t have a blanket – I didn’t even have a t-shirt or shoes – they were stolen from me whilst I was sleeping.”

      “They didn’t let me inside because they told me there is no space”

      “They didn’t let me inside the [Bira] camp because they told me there is no space. When the police came, they told us, ‘do not run – if you have no ID card, no problem,’ but when we stopped for them, they arrested us and took us to Jungle Camp. We walked for one and a half hours there. More than 200 people were walking. I think 30 to 40 percent came back here from Jungle Camp. If we don’t find a way to jump over the fence [into Bira], we will stay here tonight.”

      “We urgently need more support”

      With the EU and UN having refused to support operations at Vučjak, the City of Bihać Red Cross is the only humanitarian organisation providing assistance to migrants at the camp, providing two meals a day for up to 700 people and first aid. “We are extremely stretched, both financially and in terms of human resources,” Rajko Lazic, secretary-general of the Red Cross Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina, told TNH. “Our volunteers and staff are exhausted. Our funds are running out. We urgently need more support.”

      “We don’t want problems with the #police

      Independent groups providing support to migrants and asylum seekers have been forced to operate more covertly as the political context in Una-Sana has changed and patience has begun to wear thin. No Name Kitchen, an NGO of volunteers from several countries that predominantly helps migrants and asylum seekers in Bosnia, runs a free clothes shop and carries out a distribution of food and non-food items to about 30 people a day in the town of Velika Kladuša, about 50 kilometres north of Bihać. “The way that we do that is low profile, hidden… because we don’t want problems with the police,” a No Name Kitchen volunteer told TNH. “As the political will to keep people contained within camps outside of cities has become more salient, there has been an effort to control independent organisations.”

      “The conditions are always violent with the Croatian police”

      “I’ve made six trips from Bosnia,” said Rachid Boudalli, 35, from Morocco. Each time the Slovenian police have caught me and handed me over to the Croatian police. The conditions are always violent with the Croatian police, they hit us, take our stuff from us: our money, our telephones, anything we have. They’ve taken eight power banks from me and four mobiles. I ask the responsible European parties to look into our situation.”

      “They are shameless beyond belief”

      “The Croatian police steal our money, our personal papers – everything that we need," said Eman Muhammad Al Ahmad, a 30-year-old Palestinian refugee from Syria. “As an already persecuted people escaping war, we now suffer from bandits in European countries. When I asked for my Syrian ID card back, they shouted in my face ‘shut up’ and threatened to hit me in the head with their truncheon. They are shameless beyond belief, searching us in a filthy way that doesn’t fit the police of a developed European state. They persecute women by removing her hijab under the guise that she’s got something hidden in there. What does a refugee want to hide? As refugees, we just want to cross peacefully into a European state to be with our families and children – no more and no less.”

      “I told them that I want asylum in Slovenia, but they didn’t reply”


      “I see all kinds of animals in the forest,” Yassin Nowar, 24, from Algeria told TNH. “After eight days of walking, we found this bear in Croatia. Four days later the police caught us.”

      For some, the circumstances are too much to endure any longer. “I want to go back to my country because the situation here is very difficult,” Amjad Al Ghanem, a 24-year-old from the Occupied Palestinian Territories told TNH. “I’ve tried ‘the game’ six times. Three times I reached Slovenia and I told them that I want asylum in Slovenia, but they didn’t reply and returned us to Croatia. At least in Palestine I can take care of myself. I had a dream, but it’s gone: I’ve had enough.”

      https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/photo-feature/2019/08/05/bosnia-croatia-border-needs-grow-migrants-losing-eu-entry-game
      #The_game #Sturlic #police #violences_policières

    • More and more different voices are speaking out loud: not only local and international journalists try to investigate and raise awareness on the illegal behavior by Croatian authorities: the same policemen keep on talking and contributing with pieces of evidence in support of what Welcome! Initiatives write about in the last three years: systematic push backs and illegal practices, among others the denial of access to asylum for people in search for safety, perpetrated by Croatian police officers. “Action corridor” is the way in which it has been called - “Our interlocutor warns that the intervention and special police, in particular, are encouraged to be as “harsh” as possible in deterring migrants (https://net.hr/danas/hrvatska/zastrasujuca-devijacija-akcije-koridor-policija-sve-dogovara-na-whatsappu-a-pose). Because they are thought to be so discouraged that they later won’t try to cross the border again. The Ogulin area is allegedly also used with dogs to attack, which is actually illegal and extremely inhumane in dealing with migrants, an anonymous police officer told Net.hr”.In the article, you can see picture of people, including migrants, kept in cages at Croatian border crossing areas. This is not the first time that policemen speak publicly about the illegal behavior of Ministry of Interior - this has been addressed by the Ombudswoman (https://www.telegram.hr/politika-kriminal/pucka-pravobraniteljica-primila-anonimno-pismo-policajca-tvrdi-kako-je-isti), and by an anonymous police source that decided to speak with the journalist Barbara Matejcic (https://welcome.cms.hr/index.php/en/2019/07/26/new-evidence-of-violent-pushbacks-executed-by-croatian-police-and-the-eu). Unfortunately, still we do not have any information about any investigation or sanctioning the responsibles of these actions.

      If you want to read more about police abuses in the whole region, read the report for November period published by the Network “Border Violence Monitoring” (https://www.borderviolence.eu/balkan-region-report-november-2019/#more-14026). The reports analyse the situation in Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, giving an overview of the whole situation in the region. Violence has no nationality - once again, authorities are abusing their power and their force against people who are looking for safety in Europe.

      The failure EU approach toward the migration phenomenon and the situation at the Croatian borders are well explained in this article (https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/12/06/croatia-is-abusing-migrants-while-the-eu-turns-a-blind-eye), which well explains the hypocritical behavior of European Union institutions. The evidence of Croatian police violence toward migrants is overwhelming, but Brussels continues to praise and fund Zagreb for patrolling the European Union’s longest external land border.

      Reçu via Inicijativa dobrodosli, mail du 17.12.2019.

  • #The_game’: vanuit Bosnië naar de EU, het hoogste level

    Via de nieuwe Balkanroute proberen migranten de EU te bereiken door vanuit Bosnië de Kroatische grens over te steken. Ze noemen het ‘the game’ en ze spelen het vaak zonder succes.


    https://www.volkskrant.nl/kijkverder/v/2019/the-game-vanuit-bosnie-naar-de-eu-het-hoogste-level
    #terminologie #mots #vocabulaire
    #game #jeu #Game over #next_level
    #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #Bosnie #Velika_Kladusa #Slovénie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #IOM #OIM #frontières #violences_policières
    ping @reka signalé par @Virginie_Mamadouh

  • VIOLENCE REPORTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Lien pour télécharger le rapport :


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

    • Garaža za mučenje migranata

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Commentaire reçu par email de Inicijativa Dobrodosli, le 22.05.2019 :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Ahmed: ‘Nobody hears you’

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

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

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

      Ali: ‘Police have no heart’

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

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

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

      Nue: ‘I don’t have a country’

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

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

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

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

      Nue said he was now sleeping in the street.

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

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

      Muhamed: Old and new injuries

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

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

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

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

      Khalid: It was necessary

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

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

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

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

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

      Activist: ‘It’s worse and worse’

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

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

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

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

      Beaten around the legs

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Injuries

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

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

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

      Police denial

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

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

      Most complaints concerned Croatian and Hungarian police.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Déni d’asile

      L.K.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Dans le canton de Bihać, les autorités sont inquiètes

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

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

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

      Les migrants ont le même objectif que les Bosniens

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

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

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

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

  • The #Smuggling Game. Playing with life and death to reach Europe

    Millions of people fleeing conflict and poverty are gambling their futures and life savings with people smugglers – strangers who play with their lives in dangerous cat-and-mouse chases with border authorities known as “The Game”.
    But who wins and who loses as rising numbers risk everything to reach safety?


    http://news.trust.org/shorthand/the-smuggling-game
    #passeurs #the_game #smugglers #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #balkans #route_des_balkans #prix #coût #business