• If you felt cooped up in lockdown, think of refugees confined in camps | Moulid Hujale | Global development | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/aug/24/if-you-felt-cooped-up-in-lockdown-think-of-refugees-confined-indefinite
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/4bdc7ce5879b796b49e1d95a53d7b45d1a3b0d9e/0_337_5156_3094/master/5156.jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=85&auto=format&fit=crop&overlay-ali

    Covid-19 has transformed the world beyond imagination, affecting almost everyone in some way.Yet for me the changes have felt familiar – from movement restrictions to quarantines, every measure taken to prevent the spread of the virus reminds me of what it means to live as a refugee in a camp.I was once one of them. After my family fled Somalia, we settled in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp, where I lived for many years. As soon as we crossed the border we were registered, put in an isolated camp and basically quarantined from the rest of the Kenyan society.
    This is how refugees are treated when they end up in displacement camps. They are not allowed to leave their designated settlements. They live in prison-like conditions indefinitely, where their movement is controlled by local authorities. I’m one of the lucky ones who got resettled in a third country. I currently live in the UK and have been confined to north-west London.The coronavirus lockdown brought back stark memories of life in the camp. It first started when people were panic buying in March. I had to wake up very early to join a long queue at the local Sainsbury’s. The lines of people holding carrier bags and trolleys to carry as much food and toilet paper as possible reminded me of queues in the camps where refugees wait for the monthly UN food distributions. As no one respected physical distancing rules, I would hear people standing close to me complain about the lack of food in the supermarket, and wondering how they would survive with so little. I would think to myself: “Imagine if these people were in refugee camps where they would receive food only once a month? Imagine if they were forced to skip meals, sleep hungry until the next cycle of distribution?”

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#refugie#grandebretagne#kenya#somalie#sante#mémoire#trauma#santementale#asile

  • « Je suis passée tout près de la mort » : après le traumatisme de la #réanimation, la longue reconstruction psychologique des patients Covid-19
    https://www.francetvinfo.fr/sante/maladie/coronavirus/je-suis-passee-tout-pres-de-la-mort-apres-le-traumatisme-de-la-reanimat

    Les rescapés partagent la même incompréhension. Les patients de Marisa Denos se demandent comment et pourquoi une telle épreuve est arrivée, si les #séquelles vont rester, si le virus va revenir. « L’anxiété est d’autant plus forte que l’on parle d’un #traumatisme collectif, à une échelle immense », poursuit Marilyne Baranes. Cette docteure en psychologie clinique et psychopathologie, spécialiste du stress post-traumatique, suit cinq patients post-réanimation, âgés de 28 à 40 ans. « D’habitude, des patients sortis de réanimation ont, plus ou moins rapidement, le sentiment d’avoir échappé à la mort, d’être tiré d’affaire. Là, les gens ne comprennent pas pourquoi cette maladie a fait tant de dégâts, pourquoi on n’a pas prévenu les gens plus tôt. Et avec la possibilité d’une deuxième vague, ils sont pétris de peur. »

    L’angoisse est d’autant plus forte pour des jeunes qui n’avaient jamais connu l’hôpital. A 22 ans, Hugues Mignot voit son état physique revenir « quasiment comme avant », même si tout effort sportif reste interdit. Ses cheveux et poils de barbe blanchissent et tombent. « C’est lié au stress post-traumatique », dit calmement ce Parisien passé dix jours en réanimation en mai. À l’hôpital Foch de Suresnes (Hauts-de-Seine), Hugues Mignot était l’un des rares patients conscients dans le service. Si les médecins étaient « très humains », les souvenirs restent violents, comme cette vue sur la chambre d’un homme très âgé, placé sous respirateur et dans le coma. Ou ces trois jours critiques « où je me suis rendu compte que c’était peut-être la fin ».

    #coronavirus

  • #Santé_mentale des #migrants : des #blessures invisibles

    Une prévalence élevée du trouble de stress post-traumatique et de la #dépression

    Les #migrations, les migrants et leur #santé ne peuvent être compris indépendamment du contexte historique et politique dans lequel les mouvements de population se déroulent, et, ces dernières décennies, les migrations vers l’#Europe ont changé. L’#immigration de travail s’est restreinte, et la majorité des étrangers qui arrivent en #France doivent surmonter des obstacles de plus en plus difficiles, semés de #violence et de #mort, au fur et à mesure que les #frontières de l’Europe se ferment. Ils arrivent dans des pays où l’#hostilité envers les migrants croît et doivent s’engager dans un processus hasardeux de #demande_d’asile. Ce contexte a de lourds effets sur la santé mentale des migrants. Ces migrants peuvent être des adultes ou des enfants, accompagnés ou non d’un parent – on parle dans ce dernier cas de mineur non accompagné*. S’il n’existe pas de pathologie psychiatrique spécifique de la migration1 et que tous les troubles mentaux peuvent être rencontrés, il n’en reste pas moins que certaines pathologies sont d’une grande fréquence comme le trouble de stress post-traumatique et la dépression.

    Facteurs de risque

    Pour approcher la vie psychique des migrants et les difficultés auxquelles ils font face, nous distinguerons quatre facteurs à l’origine de difficultés : le vécu prémigratoire, le voyage, le vécu post-migratoire, et les aspects transculturels.

    Vécu prémigratoire

    Avant le départ, de nombreux migrants ont vécu des événements adverses et traumatiques : #persécution, #guerre, #violence_physique, #torture, violence liée au #genre (#mutilations, #viols), #deuils de proches dans des contextes de #meurtre ou de guerre, #emprisonnement, famine, exposition à des scènes horribles, etc. Les violences ont fréquemment été dirigées contre un groupe, amenant une dislocation des liens communautaires, en même temps que des liens familiaux. Ces traumatismes ont un caractère interhumain et intentionnel, et une dimension collective, témoignant d’une situation de violence organisée, c’est-à-dire d’une relation de violence exercée par un groupe sur un autre.2, 3 Cette situation de traumatismes multiples et intentionnels est fréquemment à l’origine d’une forme particulière de troubles appelée trouble de stress post-traumatique complexe. Les nombreuses pertes, deuils et pertes symboliques fragilisent vis-à-vis du risque dépressif.

    Départ et #voyage

    La migration est en elle-même un événement de vie particulièrement intense, obligeant à des renoncements parfois douloureux, déstabilisante par tous les remaniements qu’elle implique. Ce risque est pris par ceux qui partent avec un #projet_migratoire élaboré. En revanche, l’exil dans une situation critique est plus souvent une fuite, sans projet, sans espoir de retour, bien plus difficile à élaborer.1 Vers une Europe dont les frontières se sont fermées, les routes migratoires sont d’une dangerosité extrême. Nous connaissons tous le drame de la Méditerranée, ses morts en mer innombrables.4 Les adolescents venant seuls d’Afghanistan, par exemple, peuvent mettre plusieurs années à arriver en Europe, après des avancées, des retours en arrière, des phases d’incarcération ou de #prostitution. Durant ce long voyage, tous sont exposés à de nouvelles violences, de nouveaux traumatismes et à la traite des êtres humains, surtout les femmes et les enfants.

    Vécu post-migratoire

    Une fois dans le pays hôte, les migrants se retrouvent coincés entre un discours idéal sur l’asile, la réalité d’une opinion publique souvent hostile et des politiques migratoires contraignantes qui les forcent sans cesse à prouver qu’ils ne sont pas des fraudeurs ou des criminels.5 Les réfugiés qui ont vécu un traumatisme dans le pays d’origine vivent donc un nouveau traumatisme : le déni de leur vécu par le pays d’accueil. Ce déni, qui est pathogène, prend de multiples aspects, mais il s’agit d’être cru : par les agents de l’Office de protection des réfugiés et des apatrides (Ofpra) qui délivre le statut de réfugié, par les conseils départementaux, qui décident, avec un certain arbitraire, de la crédibilité de la minorité des jeunes non accompagnés. L’obtention d’un statut protecteur dans un cas, l’obligation de quitter le territoire dans l’autre. Mais raconter en détail des événements traumatiques que l’on n’a parfois jamais pu verbaliser est difficile, parfois impossible. Lorsque des troubles de la mémoire ou des reviviscences traumatiques les empêchent de donner des détails précis, on leur répond...

    #migration #mental_health #trauma #depression #violence

    https://www.larevuedupraticien.fr/article/sante-mentale-des-migrants-des-blessures-invisibles

  • #Santé_mentale des #migrants : une #étude sonne l’alarme

    Une étude réalisée par le Comité pour la santé des exilés (Comede), portant sur la violence, la vulnérabilité sociale et les troubles psychiques chez les migrants, souligne l’importance d’une meilleure prise en compte des questions de santé mentale des exilés et de leur accompagnement.

    « La santé mentale des migrants/exilés constitue un enjeu important de santé publique », alerte le Comede. Dans son étude publiée ce mardi 5 septembre dans le #Bulletin_épidémiologique_hebdomadaire, le Comité pour la santé des exilés analyse les violences qu’ont subies les exilés, leurs conditions de vulnérabilité sociale et les troubles psychiques graves dont ils sont atteints. Et montre à quel point ces trois phénomènes sont étroitement liés. La question est rarement évoquée ; elle constitue pourtant un problème majeur dans les conditions de vie des migrants et leur intégration.

    Hébergé au sein de l’hôpital du Kremlin-Bicêtre, en banlieue parisienne, voilà près de 40 ans que le Comede vient en aide aux personnes exilées, en leur proposant des soins et un accompagnement dans leurs démarches administratives. Le traitement des troubles psychologiques et psychiatriques représente une part non négligeable de son activité. L’étude rapporte ainsi que sur les 16 095 personnes reçues entre 2007 et 2016 pour un bilan de santé, 16,6% affichaient des troubles psychiques graves. Il s’agissait pour les deux tiers de syndromes psychotraumatiques et de traumas complexes, mais aussi de troubles anxieux et de psychoses. Des pathologies lourdes qui se manifestent par des troubles du sommeil, de la mémoire et de la concentration, des idées suicidaires, et qui nécessitent souvent plusieurs mois de suivi thérapeutique.

    Ces troubles psychiques graves constituent ainsi « la première maladie qui affecte les exilés passés par le Comede, bien loin devant le VIH et la tuberculose », indique Arnaud Veïsse, l’un des auteurs de l’étude.

    Violences

    « Chez les exilés récemment arrivés en France, les psychotraumatismes résultent en premier lieu des causes ayant provoqué leur départ, ainsi que des conséquences immédiates de l’exil », remarquent les auteurs de l’étude. Or, 62% des quelque 5 000 personnes reçues en consultation médicale au Comede entre 2012 et 2016, originaires pour la grande majorité d’Afrique et d’Asie du Sud, ont dit avoir été victimes de violence, 14 % de torture et 13 % de violences liées au genre et à l’orientation sexuelle (viols, mariages forcés, excisions…).

    Au-delà des souffrances physiques immédiates, ces violences peuvent provoquer à long terme une vulnérabilité sociale. Selon l’étude du Comede, 98% des personnes interrogées n’avaient pas de logement personnel, 81% étaient dépourvus de protection maladie, 38% ne pouvaient pas communiquer en français, 23% ne pouvaient pas manger à leur faim. Une vulnérabilité sociale elle-même susceptible de renforcer les troubles psychiques. « C’est un cercle vicieux, analyse Arnaud Veïsse : les violences subies sont susceptibles de générer des psychotraumatismes qui peuvent conduire à un isolement social, qui accroît le risque d’être exposé à des violences… » L’étude observe ainsi que les traumatismes complexes, les idées suicidaires, les troubles de la mémoire et de la concentration ainsi que les troubles dépressifs sont plus nombreux chez les personnes en situation de détresse sociale.

    Le cercle vicieux des procédures administratives

    La situation administrative des exilés est également pointée comme pouvant constituer un facteur aggravant. « Les psychothérapeutes témoignent fréquemment de décompensations, de syndromes psychotraumatiques et de dépressions lors de la détérioration de la situation socio-administrative des patients », rapportent ainsi les auteurs de l’étude. Et de préciser : « Les structures de soins spécialisés constatent que les thérapies des personnes déboutées de l’asile sont plus longues. Le rejet de la demande d’asile, qui représente pour certains exilés un déni de reconnaissance des violences subies, provoque la peur d’être reconduit dans le pays d’origine et entraîne le plus souvent une précarisation des conditions de vie (perte d’hébergement, absence de ressources, impossibilité d’exercer un emploi). »

    Or le rejet de la demande d’asile peut être lui-même la conséquence de ces troubles psychiques et de l’incapacité de ceux qui en souffrent à se présenter aux convocations de l’administration, ou à raconter en détail les raisons qui les ont poussés à fuir leur pays. Comment en effet répondre à un interrogatoire ultra pointilleux sur les violences subies lorsqu’on souffre de pertes de mémoire ? Se profile alors le risque d’un autre cercle vicieux : incapables de tenir un récit solide et cohérent, les exilés voient leur demande d’asile rejetée, ce qui provoque une aggravation des symptômes.

    Apparemment conscient de l’ampleur du phénomène et de ses enjeux, l’Office français de protection des réfugiés et apatrides (Ofpra), qui statue sur les demandes d’asile, affirme avoir pris des mesures pour y répondre. Des mesures qui passent notamment par la formation de son personnel et des interprètes.

    Face à un constat alarmant, Arnaud Veïsse du Comede juge donc indispensable d’améliorer l’accueil des exilés en France, et plus spécifiquement l’accès à la santé mentale et à l’interprétariat. Et de déconstruire les idées reçues. « Souvent, les structures de santé publique nous renvoient des patients en disant qu’elles ne sont pas spécialisées dans le soin aux exilés. En réalité, elles manquent de temps et de moyens. »

    #mental_health #migration #France #rapport #Comede #violence #vulnerability #trauma #public_health #BEH

    Rapport : http://beh.santepubliquefrance.fr/beh/2017/19-20/index.html

    https://www.rfi.fr/fr/france/20170905-sante-mentale-migrants-une-etude-sonne-alarme

  • Coronavirus in Iraq adds to Yazidi community’s trauma - Middle East Eye
    Weighed down by years of suffering, one in four Yazidis in Iraq’s IDP camps may require psychological support after pandemic recedes

    #Covid-19#Iraq#Sinjar#Yezidis#Camp#Guerre#Quarantaine#Pandémie#Traumatisme#migrant#migration

    https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/coronavirus-iraq-yazidi-trauma-mental-health

  • Coronavirus : à Canton, la « Petite Afrique » stigmatisée
    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2020/05/16/a-canton-la-petite-afrique-stigmatisee_6039869_3210.html

    A Xiaobei, le Tianxiu Building, qui abrite un marché connu dans toute l’Afrique, est désert. Plus de 90 % de ses boutiques sont fermées. Quelques commerçants chinois se contentent de laisser un numéro de portable sur leur porte close.Les cheveux « 100 % brésiliens » ou « 100 % indiens », les tissus traditionnels africains, les faux sacs à main de luxe et les téléviseurs Samsung probablement tout aussi faux, attendent en vain les chalands africains qui, d’ordinaire, alimentent les boutiques de Bamako, Lagos, Nairobi ou Johannesburg. Même spectacle dans les rues de Sanyuanli où seule une poignée de Chinois vend à même le trottoir et devant des dizaines de boutiques fermées des jeans de mauvaise qualité à de très rares acheteurs venus de Lagos ou de Conakry en mars et ne pouvant plus repartir. C’est que depuis plus de deux mois, les dizaines de milliers d’Africains qui résident à Canton ou viennent y faire des affaires font figure de pestiférés. Après la découverte, fin mars, que la patronne d’un restaurant fréquenté par des Africains était porteuse du Covid-19, la rumeur s’est propagée comme une traînée de poudre : tous les Noirs ont le Covid ! Début avril, plusieurs dizaines d’Africains – 200 affirment certains – sont expulsés manu militari de leurs logements par leurs propriétaires effrayés. Egalement refoulés par les hôteliers, ces commerçants au portefeuille pourtant bien garni dorment plusieurs jours à même le trottoir. Sur les réseaux sociaux, leurs vidéos deviennent virales en Afrique.

    #Covid-19#migration#migrant#Chine#Canton#Afrique#stigmatisation#pestiférés#expulsion#virus#test#racisme#santé-mentale#traumatisme#quarantaine#test

  • « Ce sont les plus vulnérables des vulnérables » : les familles de prisonniers syriens face au virus du silence
    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2020/05/15/en-syrie-les-familles-de-prisonniers-face-au-virus-du-silence_6039713_3210.h

    Alors qu’il est impossible de connaître le bilan réel de l’épidémie de Covid-19 dans le pays, de nombreuses familles en exil s’inquiètent pour leurs proches qu’elles pensent retenus dans les prisons secrètes du régime.
    Elles sont syriennes, réfugiées en Turquie, en Jordanie, au Liban, en Grèce, en Allemagne ou au Royaume-Uni. Elles ont subi la guerre et tous ses maux : la terreur et les bombes, les destructions, les déchirures, la traque, l’exil. Elles ont vu mourir des voisins, des amis, de la famille. Elles ont quitté leur maison, les lieux de leur enfance ; laissé parfois derrière elles de vieux parents qui ne pouvaient les suivre ; subi dans leur fuite humiliations, harcèlements, chantages. Leurs nuits ne sont jamais tranquilles ; depuis longtemps, les rêves ont déserté. Ne restent que des souvenirs, de l’amertume, les traumatismes. Et pour toutes celles qui ont souhaité nous parler, une obsession qui les maintient en vie et les empêche de vivre : un mari, un père, un fils, un oncle, arrêtés par la police du régime syrien et disparus dans ses geôles sans qu’on ne sache plus rien.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#exil#réfugiés#traumatismes#santé#santé-mentale#Syrie

  • Call for probe after man found dead in Covid-19 asylum seeker hotel

    Refugee activists have called for an independent inquiry into the decision to move asylum seekers from their flats in Glasgow into hotels, after a man died suddenly at a guest house.

    Adnan, a 30-year-old Syrian, who had been in the city for about six months and was claiming asylum, was found dead in his room at #McLay’s_Guest_House on Tuesday 5 May.

    He had been living in the hotel for about a month, after accommodation provider, #Mears_Group, moved him from the flat where he had been living alone as part of its Covid-19 response.

    It is understood he may have died after a drug overdose. A postmortem will be carried out to confirm the cause of death.

    Hundreds of asylum seekers across the city have been moved to hotels by #Mears since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak. Their asylum support of £35 per week has stopped and instead they are provided with three meals per day in communal dining rooms, where it is claimed social distancing is difficult.

    They have no money for essentials such as toiletries, phone top-ups or snacks. After The Ferret reported that shared coffee and tea facilities put people at risk of being infected by Covid-19, they were taken away in at least one dining room. No in-room alternatives have been offered.

    Those supporting asylum seekers in hotels have said the situation is having a toll on their emotional well-being and are concerned about the risks that the situation poses to their physical health during the pandemic.

    The Ferret spoke to a friend of Adnan, who is also staying at McLay’s Guest House. He said his friend had addiction issues, was taking street Valium, and had become increasingly distressed during his time at the hotel.

    It is claimed that he had experienced past #trauma including abuse in jail and his friend said he had been expressing suicidal thoughts in the weeks leading up to his death.

    The day before he died, his friend said he was having flashbacks and had asked to see a GP.

    Pinar Aksu, an activist who also works for Maryhill Integration Network, said: “There needs to be an independent inquiry into this death. If people don’t get the help they need then we risk more people dying.

    “We also need to stop moving people into hotels. It seems very clear to me that this is being done so that Mears and the Home Office can protect profit. If they care about people’s welfare then why are they moving people out of their flats in the midst of a pandemic to places where they have to eat meals in shared areas and share bathrooms?

    “This tragedy is evidence of the damage caused by the asylum system. Moving people to hotels like this is only causing more stress and isolation. It has to stop.”

    A spokesperson from the No Evictions Network said: “We are deeply saddened and utterly outraged by the lack of humanity, dignity, or consideration shown to asylum seekers by Mears, the Home Office, and the UK government. They have failed to comply with basic duties and to treat human life with respect.

    “Individuals, racist policies and systems are directly to blame for this man’s death. This situation was entirely avoidable. Despite this, pleas for change made by both individuals and organisations have been ignored and a young life has now been lost.”

    At oral evidence given to the Home Affairs Committee inquiry into Home Office work on Covid-19, Mears Group said it had taken the decision “on balance” to move people in flats into hotels with meals provided because it meant staff would not need to deliver cash to them. It was also claimed they would have better access to health services.

    Mears, along with Clearsprings Real Homes and Serco who have accommodation contracts elsewhere in the UK, said it was “concerning” that asylum seekers had had their support stopped.

    A spokesman for Mears Group said: “We are deeply sad to confirm the death of an asylum-seeker who had been in Mears supported accommodation. The cause of death has not been determined.”

    A Police Scotland spokesperson said the death is being treated as “unexplained” and that a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

    The Ferret tried to contact McLay’s Guest House for comment but was not able to speak to management. The Home Office has also been contacted.

    https://theferret.scot/covid-19-syrian-man-dies-asylum-seeker-hotel
    #décès #mort #mourir_dans_un_hôtel #Glasgow #Ecosse #UK #asile #migrations #réfugiés #hôtel #covid-19 #coronavirus #hébergement #logement #santé_mentale #suicide (?) #traumatisme #privatisation

    ping @karine4 @isskein @thomas_lacroix

    • Fury after Syrian asylum seeker found dead in Scottish hotel

      CAMPAIGNERS have slammed the UK Government after a Syrian man was found dead in a Scottish hotel.

      Initially named by friends as Adnan Olpi, that can today be confirmed as Adnan Olbeh.

      The 30-year-old was amongst scores of asylum seekers placed in a private guest house by Home Office housing contractor Mears Group.

      Emergency services were called to the 81-bedroom McLays Hotel in Glasgow on Tuesday afternoon but were unable to save him.

      Police Scotland said his death is being treated as unexplained, and friends told The National that he had sought support for mental health struggles and had developed drug problems while in the UK asylum system.

      However, despite some reports on social media that he had taken his own life, it is not known whether or not his death was intentional.

      Friends living alongside Mr Olbeh at the city site were afraid to speak out on the record, for fear of harming their claims for sanctuary in the UK.

      However, speaking on condition of anonymity, one fellow Syrian told how he had accompanied Mr Olbeh to appointments in which he had asked for mental health support. The friend said: “He had suicidal thoughts and told the Home Office that. I went to the hospital with him, he was seeking help. He tried many times. They would ask, ‘can you wait a few days?’”

      However, it is claimed that the move into the hotel exacerbated Mr Olbeh’s distress due to the inability to carry out basic independent tasks, like cooking his own meals. The friend went on: “I’m in shock. It’s really tough for me because I was so close with him.

      “He was under more pressure. I wonder if there was any small thing I could have done to save him.

      “He had a dream, he wanted his life to become better. He wanted to work and send money back to his family. He wanted to improve himself and he was learning the language. He wanted to get married and start a family.”

      The No Evictions Network held an online vigil yesterday evening. A spokesperson said: “We are deeply saddened by the situation, and utterly outraged by the lack of humanity, dignity or consideration shown to asylum seekers by Mears, the Home Office, and the UK Government.

      “They have failed to comply with basic duties and to treat human life with respect. This situation was entirely avoidable. Despite this, pleas for change made by both individuals and organisations have been ignored. We have lost a young life.”

      It is understood that around 500 asylum seekers in total are now being housed in Glasgow hotels, including some brought in from elsewhere in the UK. Mears Group claims it had to move people out of the short-term let accommodation used for new applicants but has been unable to find new provision due to coronavirus restrictions on the property market.

      Advocacy groups have raised fears about welfare, safety and social distancing but Mears Group insists all movement is being undertaken in accordance with health authority guidance on social distancing.

      Last night, a Mears Group spokesperson said: “We are deeply sad to confirm the death of an asylum seeker who had been in Mears supported accommodation. Mears are working with the Home Office to contact the asylum seeker’s family before disclosing more information.”

      The Home Office said: "We are aware of an incident resulting in an individual sadly losing his life.

      “It would be inappropriate to comment before all of the facts have been established and his family have been notified.”

      https://www.thenational.scot/news/18439256.fury-syrian-asylum-seeker-found-dead-scottish-hotel

    • Syrian man dies in Glasgow amid fears over refugees’ mental health

      Concerns raised over hundreds of asylum seekers moved en masse into hotels for lockdown.

      A Syrian man has been found dead in a Glasgow guesthouse after outreach workers raised significant concerns about the spiralling mental distress of hundreds of asylum seekers who were moved en masse into hotels at the beginning of lockdown.

      The man, who was 30 and had been living in Glasgow for the past six months while he completed his asylum application, was found dead in his room at McLay’s Guest House in the city centre on 5 May. A postmortem will take place to establish the cause of death, but a friend said the man had been experiencing suicidal thoughts for several weeks.

      Last month the Guardian reported that more than 300 asylum seekers housed in the city – the UK’s largest dispersal area – had been given less than an hour’s notice to pack up their flats before being moved into city centre hotels, where they claimed physical distancing was “impossible”. In a move condemned by campaigners, they also had all financial support withdrawn.

      The private housing provider Mears, which is subcontracted by the Home Office, moved them from mainly self-contained apartments into hotels where residents and campaigners describe continuing difficulties with maintaining physical distancing.

      Mears said people were being “safely and appropriately” housed in accordance with health authority guidance, while a Home Office spokesperson said it was “totally incorrect” to suggest that there were problems with physical distancing.
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      Since then, outreach workers have identified increasing fear, stress and anxiety among this vulnerable population, who have no information about future housing arrangements and no money to top up their phones to continue communication with lawyers, or buy extra food, hand sanitiser or period products for women.

      A friend of the dead man said that since the move into the guesthouse, he had spoken of worsening flashbacks to torture he had experienced on his journey through Libya to the UK.

      Ako Zada, the director of Community InfoSource, an asylum housing charity, has been visiting hotel residents regularly. He said: “I’ve been shocked to see people so mentally unwell. They are worried about cleaning of shared areas, and they don’t know when they will be moving again because they keep getting told different stories.”

      Hotel residents have complained about the quality of food provided, the fact that windows cannot be opened, as well as the psychological isolation. A number of hotel workers have also contacted the Guardian to raise concerns about large numbers of asylum seekers congregating in enclosed areas.

      Robina Qureshi of Positive Action in Housing said the “hotel asylum seekers” were being treated as “less than human”. “Many people, men and women are suffering from severe mental health conditions. The fact that Mears and the Home Office see fit to dump hundreds of people in hotels where there is no social distancing, people cannot keep their personal environment aired or hygienic, and have had their meagre card payment of £35 a week cut to £0 deserves further investigation.”

      Sabir Zazai, the chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, said: “This tragic death must be a chilling reminder of the chronic vulnerabilities of those going through the complexities of the asylum system.”

      A Mears spokesperson said: “We are deeply sad to confirm the death of an asylum – seeker who had been in Mears-supported accommodation. Mears are working with the Home Office to contact the asylum seeker’s family before disclosing more information.”

      A home office spokesperson said: “We are aware of an incident resulting in an individual sadly losing his life. It would be inappropriate to comment before all of the facts have been established and his family have been notified.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/may/11/syrian-man-dies-glasgow-fears-refugees-mental-health

    • Mears Group 2020 update: scandal-ridden landlord under fire from Glasgow to Gloucester

      At the start of 2019 we published a profile on Mears Group. The #Gloucester based housing repairs outsourcer had just won a £1.15 billion contract to run the refugee accommodation system in Scotland, Northern Ireland and much of the north of England.

      In the last year, refugee and housing campaigners have been keeping a close eye on Mears, with local resistance to its slum landlord practices emerging across the UK. This report just gives a quick update on some recent news on the company.

      Unless you live in one of the properties it manages, you may well not have heard of Mears. But it has quietly built up a small empire across the UK, primarily by taking over privatised housing services from local councils. Along the way it’s already clocked up a list of scandals from Glasgow down to Brighton, involving accusations of local government corruption and numerous alleged overcharging scams.

      The death of Adnan Olbeh

      Adnan Olbeh was found dead on 5 May 2020 in a Glasgow hotel where he had been placed by Mears Group under its management of the UK’s “asylum dispersal” scheme. He was 30 years old, from Syria. The cause of death is unclear, with any postmortem examination delayed by the corona crisis.

      What is known is that Adnan was one of hundreds of refugees recently evicted from their flats by Mears and other asylum landlords.

      The mass evictions were part of the Home Office’s coronavirus strategy. Often with just an hour’s notice, people were told to pack and leave their flats and moved into hotels. The logic behind this is not entirely clear, but it seems in line with other aspects of the government’s shambolic covid-19 response. “Social distancing” measures included people being transported four or five to a small van, stripped of cash support and facilities to cook for themselves, and instead being made to eat close together in hotel canteens — with food including the likes of undercooked chicken and mouldy bread.

      According to Smina Akhtar, interviewed by John Grayson for the Institute for Race Relations:

      “We have had lots of reports from people in the hotels about really awful food and poor conditions there. Adnan’s friend told me that his mental health really deteriorated in the hotel. A week before he died his friend asked the hotel to call an emergency ambulance because Adnan was in a terrible state. His friend went with him to the hospital but said that the staff there did nothing, they offered him no medication, and sent him back to his hotel.”

      According to Mears, in evidence to the House of Commons Home Affairs select committee, it was acting on a directive from the Home Office.

      Mears’ Home Office contracts so far

      Adnan Olbeh’s death is one visible tragedy linked to the misery of the UK asylum system. Thousands more people live with the everyday effects of a housing system which “disperses” people into run-down slum housing in the country’s most impoverished communities.

      For Mears, this means a ten year profit stream. For Mears’ new tenants – rat infestations, broken boilers, collapsed ceilings, piles of rubbish, and environmental hazards of all kinds seem the norm.

      John Grayson of South Yorkshire Asylum Action Group (Symaag) has been documenting the “chaotic” and “failed” Mears contract in Yorkshire. In the past he reported on similar conditions under the last contract holder, G4S.

      So have Mears even managed to underperform the shambles of G4S’ housing management? It’s maybe too early to make a full comparison. But it doesn’t look like things have got off to a good start.

      G4S and others had complained bitterly about making losses on the former round of asylum housing contracts. To drive profits up, Mears started their own tenure by trying to slash the amounts they pay to the smaller landlords they rent from. In South Yorkshire, Mears offered landlords new contracts paying up to 20% less than G4S had done. Many refused to sign up in what John Grayson calls a “virtual landlords strike” which left Mears struggling to place the asylum seekers it was contracted to house.

      In the North East, Mears had similar problems negotiating with G4S’ main sub-contractor Jomast – development company headed by Teesside multi-millionaire Stuart Monk. According to Grayson, this left over 1000 people stuck in hotels across West Yorkshire and Humberside in Wakefield’s “Urban House” temporary asylum accommodation over the winter. And, as he explained to us, the problem is by no means solved.

      “When Covid-19 arrived the whole asylum housing system was frozen in the Mears contract areas with around 400 people still in hotels and 270 in Urban House. Many people have now spent four months in Urban House, when they are only meant to stay there a few weeks. Urban House has appalling conditions which have been extensively documented in pictures and videos sent out from people resisting inside.”

      One thing Mears has achieved in Yorkshire is provoking a major local authority to come out against the contract. In January, as well as launching inspections of 240 Mears properties, Sheffield Council called on the Home Office to terminate the Mears contract and transfer asylum housing in the city directly to the council. This is only really a token gesture – the council has no say in national asylum policy. But it could be one move in a shift against the outsourced asylum housing system, if followed up elsewhere in the country.

      In Scotland, there is a strong solidarity network in support of refugee housing rights – including the Glasgow No Evictions campaign and groups such as the Unity Centre, Living Rent tenants union, and charity Positive Action in Housing. The main rallying point in 2019 was previous contractor Serco’s threatened “lock change evictions” of 300 of its tenants. Well aware of the opposition, Mears has so far tried to tread more carefully. It has promised not to carry out similar evictions, and set up a so-called “independent scrutiny board” to deflect criticism.

      In the North of Ireland, the PPR Project is one association monitoring and exposing conditions in Mears’ housing there.

      Milton Keynes mystery

      Before it turned asylum landlord, Mears’ big profit hope was getting more involved in the very lucrative business of housing development. One of its potential jackpots was a 50/50 joint venture with Milton Keynes council to redevelop seven major estates. The deal was valued at £1 billion, and branded as “YourMK”.

      But as of last year, the scheme was dead in the water. In July 2018, the council said it was putting the regeneration deal “on hold”. In October 2018, whistleblower allegations emerged that Mears had been overcharging Milton Keynes for repairs by up to £80,000 a month, with overall some £15 million “unaccounted for”. When we looked at Mears last February, the YourMK website had gone dead, with a page announcing that further information would be coming soon.

      The MK scandal still seems to be quietly brewing. In July 2019, the MK Citizen reported first of all that the regeneration scheme was definitively “scrapped”. But a couple of weeks later a second Citizen report corrected that YourMK was “not dead but dormant”, with the council and Mears “in discussions about whether it will remain the right partnership structure in future”.

      In May 2020, we haven’t seen any new announcements. The YourMK website is still down, and there is no official word on that supposedly missing 15 million. Where are the budding investigative journalists of Milton Keynes to get to the bottom of this?

      Booted out of Brighton

      Mears’ ten year housing maintenance contract with Brighton and Hove council finally came to an end on 31 May. Again, customer complaints came together with whistleblower revelations – and, yet again, the apparent disappearance of large sums of money.

      A council investigation found it had been overcharged by £500,000 by a plastering subcontractor hired by Mears. A second investigation was later opened into overcharging for electrical work.

      Mears will not be missed in #Brighton. And just before they left, in February 2020 their workers were balloting for strike action over pay and Mears’ plan to combine holiday and sick pay.

      Newham: Mears Cats

      In East London, Mears run 250 homes which are set for demolition as part of Newham Council’s “Regeneration Zone” in Canning Town and Custom House, E16.

      Like Milton Keynes, this is another overlong saga of a failing regeneration project leaving people stuck in poor housing. Back in 2011, Newham handed the properties to a private management company called Omega to let out on short term commercial tenancies. This was supposed to be a “temporary” arrangement before the bulldozers came in. Mears bought out the contract in 2014, and six years later are still in place. While the buildings are still owned by the council, Mears collect the rent and do the repairs – in theory.

      In reality, Custom House tenants speak of conditions that would be very familiar to anyone in Mears’ asylum accommodation in Sheffield or Glasgow. Months overdue repairs, water leaks, exposed asbestos, rat infestations and a “war” to get anything done – all whilst paying average rents twice as high as in directly run Newham council properties.

      Tenants have set up a vocal campaign group called Mears Cats, part of the Peoples Empowerment Alliance of Custom House, pushing to get their repairs done and for Newham Council to take direct responsibility. Boglarka Filler, one of the Mears Cats, told Corporate Watch:

      “Schemes such as the partnership between Mears and Newham Council have brought further misery to people already on the receiving end of austerity and insecure employment. Mears Cats are campaigning for better quality, cheaper housing for Mears tenants struggling to cope with disrepair and debts caused by high rents. We will take action to ensure that the Mears contract will not be renewed in Newham when it runs out in 2021, and that we get a fair deal next time.”

      Steady profits, feisty shareholders

      On a business front, Mears continues to turn a decent profit and pay out to its shareholders. Its last year (2018) annual results clocked operating profits up 4.7% (though revenue was 3% down), and shareholders pocketed a dividend up 3% on the year before.

      Mears has kept up its strategy of honing in on its “core” housing maintenance business. After buying up Mitie’s property division last year, it sold off its own home care wing.

      Most recently, Mears has said that it only expects a modest impact from the covid crisis. Housing is what is called “non-discretionary” spending – unlike foreign holidays or consumer fads, there is still demand for essential repairs in a downturn. The bulk of Mears’ income is locked in from long term contracts, largely with the public sector. As the company explained, 90% of its order book comes from public bodies and “the government has made a clear commitment that invoices will be settled quickly”.

      Through the lockdown, Mears has said it is only carrying out only emergency repairs. Although workers complain they are still being sent on unnecessary jobs without “social distancing” in place, or called in just to sit in company offices.

      Less positive for management, there are new rumbles from rebellious shareholders. Back in 2018 one of the two biggest shareholders, a German investment manager called Shareholder Value Management (SVM) successfully pushed out the company’s long-term chairman. At the latest AGM in June 2019, the other big investor also threw its weight around.

      PrimeStone Capital, a Mayfair based investor which owns over 13% of Mears’ shares, tried to get two new nominees on the board of directors against management’s wishes. The shareholder rebellion was narrowly defeated. In a statement, PrimeStone explained it was unhappy that “the company’s revenues and profit have remained flat despite its strong market position and growth prospects [while] average net debt has doubled”.

      It argued that:

      “Mears’ underperformance is predominantly due to a lack of strategic, commercial and financial experience on the board. The current board has a strong concentration of directors with a background in social housing, health & safety and charities.”

      Mears’ profit-hungry management guarantee shareholder payoffs by squeezing their repair costs to the bone. The outcome is the lived experience of their tenants across the UK. But, for some shareholders, they’re still not doing enough.

      Students and shirts

      Despite its well documented failings, Mears continues to win new contracts – for example, a new housing development project in North Lanarkshire, and a housing maintenance and repairs contract with Crawley council.

      Another sideline is its student housing offshoot Mears Student Life, so far with just two complexes in Dundee and Salford.

      Mears also likes a bit of football. In May 2019 the League One side Rotherham United confirmed it had extended its contract to emblazon the company’s classy red and black logo on its away kits for the 2019/20 season.

      Flowers left for Adnan Olbeh

      https://corporatewatch.org/mears-group-2020-update-scandal-ridden-landlord-under-fire-from-glas

    • From Sudan to the #Park_Inn: the tragic story of a migrant’s killing

      A mass stabbing in Glasgow in June revealed the plight of asylum seekers crammed into hotels during lockdown

      On the last Friday of June, at about midday, Badreddin Abadlla Adam left his room at the Park Inn hotel in Glasgow, walked down to reception, and stabbed six people. The 28-year-old, an asylum seeker from Sudan who had been placed in the hotel as part of the UK government’s emergency response to the coronavirus pandemic, stabbed and seriously injured three other residents, two staff members and a policeman who arrived on the scene. Adam was shot dead by armed officers shortly afterwards.

      The incident, which took place as Scotland was still under stringent lockdown, was initially reported by some media outlets as a potential terrorist attack, although police later dismissed this explanation. It was immediately seized on by rightwing activists, to claim that the country was threatened by an influx of “illegal” immigrants.

      Instead, the Park Inn incident has highlighted the increasingly precarious situation of people who seek a safe haven in the UK, even as the government proposes more severe measures to deter them. Adam is one of three asylum seekers who have died in Glasgow since the start of the pandemic, a series of events that has shocked the city, and left campaigners and politicians calling for a public inquiry.

      At the end of March, B, a 30-year-old Syrian who spoke to the Observer on condition of anonymity, was one of several hundred asylum seekers in Glasgow who unexpectedly received a knock on the door. He had been sent to Scotland’s largest city after arriving in the UK the previous autumn. Glasgow hosts about 10% of the 35,000 people who claim asylum in the UK each year, under a policy known as dispersal. Like other recent arrivals, B was living in his own small apartment; a two-room space in a hostel. He had his own bathroom, and he had privacy.

      At the door, however, was an employee of Mears Group, the Home Office contractor that manages asylum accommodation in Glasgow. “They said, ‘you need to get ready,’” B told the Observer, “‘you’re being moved to a hotel because of coronavirus.’” Across the city, hundreds of others were receiving the same call, as Mears abruptly moved about 350 asylum seekers – for the most part, recent arrivals who were living in temporary accommodation – into six hotels. Parliament heard in June that many received little or no notice, and that among them were pregnant women and survivors of trafficking and torture.

      In theory, this was a decision taken to ensure people’s safety during the pandemic. But, B said, when he arrived at his new accommodation, a bed and breakfast in the city centre, he found a “horrible situation”. More than 100 people had suddenly been thrust into communal living, sharing washing facilities and queueing for meals. Before, most had been receiving the standard asylum support payment of £37.50 a week, but because food was being provided, this was halted by the Home Office.

      “We didn’t have freedom,” B said. “We had no money, we couldn’t choose when to eat or what to eat, and nobody could tell us how long we would be there.” B was also concerned that social distancing was more difficult than in his previous home.

      Throughout April, the hotel population grew to more than 500 as asylum seekers continued to be sent to Glasgow. J, a young Iranian who arrived in the city that month, told the Observer – also on condition of anonymity – that while at first he found it a relief to be somewhere safe after a “painful” journey to the UK, the accommodation soon came to feel like a “stylish prison”. Both interviewees said that food sometimes arrived undercooked, and that this led to protests by residents.

      “We had so many people ask us, ‘when will this change?’” said Selina Hales, director of Refuweegee, one of several local charities that provided additional food parcels to hotel residents. “People were in a totally controlled environment and one of the main frustrations was the isolation.” A spokesperson for Mears told the Observer that meals were in line with NHS nutrition guidelines, and rated “good” in a survey of residents. They added that there were no recorded cases of Covid-19 in hotels during lockdown.

      According to the two asylum seekers, however, the fear and uncertainty prompted by this new situation began to take its toll on people’s mental health; B said that some of his friends were reminded of their experiences of being detained, either in the countries they had fled or on their journeys to the UK. “You could see people starting to unravel,” said Jack Macleod, 21, who worked for several months serving food to residents of the six hotels. Housing and welfare managers, employed by Mears, were available on site, but according to Macleod, many asylum seekers he spoke to felt abandoned.

      “People would come and talk to me,” said Macleod, “they would say ‘this place is making me really depressed’. The only thing I could say, because I’m not a counsellor, is ‘just try and hold on’.” Eventually, Macleod said, he left the job – a minimum-wage role he applied for via an agency when he lost his previous job at the start of the pandemic – because he felt he was being forced into the role of ad hoc social worker.

      Many asylum seekers suffer abuse before they reach the UK, and the Observer spoke to several people who work with refugees in Glasgow who described how the hotel conditions exacerbated some people’s existing psychological trauma. “We got used to hearing people express suicidal thoughts,” said Dylan Fotoohi, a Glasgow-based activist who helped organise food distribution during lockdown, and has since co-founded the campaign group Refugees for Justice. The spokesperson for Mears said all residents had access to mental health support through a dedicated NHS team. During lockdown, however, this team was stretched as members were seconded to hospital coronavirus wards.

      On 5 May, Adnan Olbeh, a 30-year-old Syrian, was found dead in his room at McLays guest house, one of the six hotels. According to friends, Olbeh had been detained and tortured in Libya, on his journey to Europe, and was complaining of flashbacks. In response, the Scottish Refugee Council – the country’s leading refugee charity – sent a letter to the UK home secretary asking for urgent action to “lessen the risk of further tragedies” in the hotels. There was no reply. The Observer has seen a copy of this letter, dated 14 May, but a spokesperson for the Home Office said they did not receive it.

      It was not until the stabbings in June – six weeks after Olbeh’s death – that some people began to be moved out of the hotels: the Park Inn was evacuated soon after the incident, and many of the residents were later rehoused in apartments. But why did the Home Office and its contractor find it necessary to put so many there in the first place? In public statements, Mears has said that it was partly for health and safety reasons: housing people together reduced the number of trips across Glasgow that staff had to make during lockdown, and made it easier for health workers to visit asylum seekers.

      Another possible reason is that it was running out of places to house people. Since 2012, asylum accommodation has been outsourced to a set of private contractors, but the system has been beset with problems: a report by the National Audit Office in July found that “providers had struggled to establish their supply chains, resulting in poor performance, delays and additional costs”.

      One particular pressure point is in the provision of what’s known as “initial accommodation” – the temporary housing that people who have no means to support themselves are placed in when they arrive in the UK. Mears, one of the UK’s largest private social housing providers, took over the contract that covers Glasgow in September last year, from the outsourcing giant Serco. Within weeks, it was facing a shortage of accommodation.

      In response, the company began renting serviced apartments – short-term lets, normally used by tourists and visitors to the city – on the open market. On 22 April, a spokesperson for Mears Group told the Scottish news website the Ferret that it had been using these short-term lets, and that it had been forced to move people into hotels because of “restrictions on the property market” brought by the pandemic.

      The spokesperson stressed that this decision was taken to ensure the “safety and wellbeing” of the asylum seekers, but was such a move really in people’s best interests? A condition of the Home Office housing contract is that providers must be “proactive” in identifying the needs of vulnerable people in their care – yet Mears’s account of whether it carried out adequate checks before moving people into hotels has been inconsistent.

      During the summer, parliament’s home affairs committee held hearings on the UK government’s response to the pandemic. In written evidence supplied to the committee on 10 June, Mears Group stated that it “risk assessed which service users it was appropriate to move, taking into account health advice”. At a press conference on 25 June, however, the company’s chief operating officer John Taylor described the move as a “blanket decision”. Once people were in hotels, he said, “it became obvious that there were vulnerabilities and that the hotel setting isn’t appropriate for some people”. The company then backtracked a few hours later, saying it held “discussions” with asylum seekers prior to deciding whether to move them. The Home Office also says that Mears held a meeting with each person before deciding whether or not to move them.

      In its report, published on 28 July, the home affairs committee advised that asylum seekers “should not have been moved to new accommodation during the pandemic without justified and urgent reasons for doing so, or without a vulnerability assessment demonstrating that the move could be made safely”. A spokesperson for the Home Office told the Observer that the department was conducting an evaluation of asylum accommodation and support services in Glasgow during the pandemic. On 24 August, however, Glasgow’s seven MPs walked out of a meeting with the Home Office, in protest at what they said was a refusal to commit to publish the evaluation, or share its results with them. In an open letter, the MPs stressed their dismay and anger at the “mistreatment” of people who were “unceremoniously shunted, at very short notice, from safe, secure serviced accommodation into hotel rooms, for an indefinite period, with no money and no control”.

      Within hours of the stabbings at the Park Inn, the incident attracted the attention of rightwing activists. “Horrible tragedy in a Glasgow hotel housing illegal immigrants,” tweeted the Brexit party leader Nigel Farage. “All over the UK, hotels are filling up with young men who are coming across the Channel every day. It is a massive risk to our wellbeing.”

      Farage’s comments were immediately condemned by a range of politicians, including Scotland’s justice minister. But throughout the pandemic, Farage has used his platform to encourage a sense of crisis around asylum, describing the recent rise in boat journeys across the Channel as an “invasion” and publishing short films on social media in which he claims to “investigate” the use of hotels across the country to house migrants. Members of the fascist group Britain First have also tried to exploit the issue, forcing their way into several hotels in England, confronting and intimidating residents on camera.

      All this, combined with the government’s own tough talk on migration, gives the impression that the UK is experiencing an unprecedented influx of asylum seekers. Yet although there was a slight increase in asylum claims last year, they fell sharply in the first six months of 2020. While more than 2,000 people crossed the Channel in boats during this period – a phenomenon that has dominated the headlines – arrivals by other routes dropped from 8,455 to 4,850, according to the head of UK Visas and Immigration.

      Rather, the increased use of hotels is due to a combination of the pandemic and a housing system that was already struggling to cope. While many hotels were hired by local authorities and government housing contractors during lockdown – both for asylum seekers who had nowhere else to live, and rough sleepers, some of whom may also come from migrant backgrounds – their use as temporary asylum accommodation was already on the rise. According to a recent briefing by the House of Commons library, shortly before lockdown, about 1,200 asylum seekers were being housed in “contingency accommodation” such as hotels or short-term lets, because of shortages.

      At the same time, delays in processing asylum claims – which mean people spend more time in state-provided housing, putting further pressure on space – have soared: about 40,000 people currently wait more than six months for a decision on their claim, an increase of 75% compared with a year ago. In an attempt to deal with the backlog, the Home Office is now considering outsourcing the asylum interview process to private contractors. Today, about 9,500 asylum-seekers are being housed in 91 hotels across the UK. The government has also modified several disused military barracks to accommodate new arrivals, in conditions exposed in the Observer last week as “squalid”. A Home Office spokesperson said that the use of former military sites “will ease our reliance on hotels and save the taxpayer money”.

      Sabir Zazai, chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, is worried that the use of mass accommodation will become the norm. “We are deeply concerned about this shift in asylum housing policy,” he said. “People have come here for protection, and need to be supported to rebuild their lives, not pushed to the margins.”

      Alison Phipps, a professor at the University of Glasgow and an expert in refugee integration, shares Zazai’s concerns. “People are arriving from situations where they’ve lived in fear,” she said, “and the question should be, how do you put people as quickly as possible in a situation where they can live in safety and be able to integrate? You can’t do that when you put people in managed facilities that are separate from the population. It’s not far from a prison regime.”

      In Glasgow, several hundred people are still being housed in three city hotels, which Mears has said will continue until at least the beginning of next year. Some residents have now been there for more than five months. “Hotels are never a long-term solution,” the company acknowledged, explaining that it is still having difficulty finding alternative accommodation in the city. The hardship asylum seekers face was emphasised once again in August, when Mercy Baguma, 34, from Uganda, was found dead at home next to her severely malnourished child. The circumstances of her death are still unclear – Baguma was reportedly seeking asylum, although she was not being housed in one of the hotels – but on 20 September, Glasgow’s MPs called for a public inquiry into all three deaths.

      “We take the wellbeing of everyone in the asylum system extremely seriously,” said the Home Office spokesperson. “These deaths are deeply tragic and our thoughts are with the families of these individuals.”

      Currently, Scotland’s police complaints body is conducting an investigation into the use of firearms at the Park Inn. But this will not examine what caused Badreddin Abadlla Adam to attack people, or whether his actions could have been prevented. At the Park Inn, he was quiet and withdrawn until the night before the stabbings, when he threatened his neighbour for playing music too loudly. “He never came to anybody’s attention,” one witness told the Daily Record, explaining that Adam had become so frustrated at his situation that he’d asked to be allowed to return to Sudan. Residents of the Park Inn, several of whom were left traumatised by the attack, were offered counselling by Mears after being moved; a group of them handed a thank-you card to police officers a few days later.

      An inquiry, said Phipps, would be “about justice”. “The people of Glasgow, just like the people who were seriously injured in the attacks, and the hotel staff whose lives have changed radically over the last few months, deserve to know why it was that people were hothoused in this way, and why people are still living in accommodation that they have repeatedly said is bad for them.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/oct/18/from-sudan-to-the-park-inn-the-tragic-story-of-a-migrants-killing

  • « Pour les exilés, le confinement peut réveiller des images traumatiques »

    Si le suivi psychologique des exilés se poursuit notamment par téléphone, la psychologue Marie-Caroline Saglio-Yatzimirsky, qui reçoit ces patients, s’inquiète de l’aggravation de leur #solitude « déjà extrême ».

    https://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2020/04/27/pour-les-exiles-le-confinement-peut-reveiller-des-images-traumatiques_603790
    #traumatisme #trauma #santé_mentale #asile #migrations #réfugiés #coronavirus #confinement #covid-19
    ping @isskein @karine4 @thomas_lacroix

  • Juste Avant

    Dans « Juste Avant », un documentaire en 7 épisodes, sortie le 1er décembre 2019, Ovidie questionne la façon dont on éduque une adolescente quand on est mère et féministe, à travers une série de conversations avec sa fille de 14 ans. Les échanges mère-fille s’entrecroisent avec les témoignages des proches et les réflexions sur sa propre construction.

    Juste Avant (7/7) - Epilogue

    Juste Avant (6/7) - Sois belle et bats-toi !

    Juste Avant (5/7) - Toi, moi, et notre petit matriarcat

    Juste Avant (4/7) - Le temps de la capote à 1 franc

    Juste Avant (3/7) - « Tu sais ce que c’est le consentement ? »

    Juste Avant (2/7) - La maman ou la putain

    Juste Avant (1/7) - Moi à ton âge

    http://www.nouvellesecoutes.fr/podcasts/intime-politique

    #maculinity #paternalistic #nightmare #digital_penetration #consent #college #high_school #social_network #Instagram #Snapchat #pressure #toxic_relationship #rape #post_MeToo #safe_place #sexuality #equality #contraception #STI #AIDS #HIV #school #abortion #condom #morning-after_pill #practical_knowledge #theoretical_knowledge #political_reflexion #distance #third_party #vaccination #pregnant #youth #traumatism #mariage #couple #tradition #divorce #matriarchy #co_parent #food #internet #beauty #weight_watchers #epilation #awareness #body

  • Societal exit from lockdown/ Déconfinement sociétal /Maatschappelijke exit-strategie

    Apport d’expertises académiques / Inbreng van academische expertise / Contribution of academic expertise

    Preprint Version 1.1April 17, 2020

    https://07323a85-0336-4ddc-87e4-29e3b506f20c.filesusr.com/ugd/860626_731e3350ec1b4fcca4e9a3faedeca133.pdf

    cf. Coronavirus - Une centaine de chercheurs émettent dix recommandations pour le déconfinement
    https://www.lalibre.be/dernieres-depeches/belga/coronavirus-une-centaine-de-chercheurs-emettent-dix-recommandations-pour-le-

    #covid-19 #lockdown #belgique

  • A NOS CORPS DEFENDANTS - 2020 - 90 min - FR / ENG

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrHcc_rPacE

    Désarmons les
    –------------
    Durée : 90 min

    Année : 2019

    Réalisation : IanB

    Synopsis

    Ce film ne raconte pas une histoire. Il se veut une approche sensible et radicale des violences psychologiques et physiques infligées aux habitant·es des quartiers populaires par la police. Les récits prennent place dans la France des vingt dernières années, celle de l’après Sarkozy, et sont rapportés par les premier·e·s concerné·e·s : pas de sociologue, pas d’historien, pas de journalistes ni de storytelling. Juste la parole de celles et ceux qu’on voudrait voir silencieux·ses : Wassil Kraiker et ses parents Zohra et Abdelaziz, des jeunes d’Argenteuil, Amine Mansouri et son père Moustapha, Ali Alexis et son épouse, Ramata Dieng et Farid El Yamni…

    On y aborde la question de la domination, ou comment l’Etat traite les corps étrangers pour mieux les contrôler. Il est question de racisme, de torture et d’un combat vital pour la vérité. Les protagonistes de ce film n’avaient pas choisi de devenir un jour visibles, mais les violences systémiques en ont fait des combattant·e·s, à leurs corps défendants.

    Sur le réalisateur

    IanB est membre fondateur d’un collectif qui existe et se bat depuis 2012 contre les violences d’Etat, Désarmons-les ! Ce film, il l’a pensé à la fois comme une manière de clore un chapitre dans son combat personnel, une déclaration de guerre et un message sans concession à l’attention de celles et ceux qui oseraient encore nier le caractère systémique des violences policières.
    Contacts :

    Mail : ianb@riseup.net

    Twitter : @ianb_desarmons

    Site internet : https://volte-face.info/film-a-nos-corps-defendants

    • ‘We failed to reach Europe – now our families disown us’

      Most of the West African migrants who fail to reach Europe eventually return to their own countries, but it can be a bitter homecoming. In Sierra Leone, returnees are often rejected by relatives and friends. They’re seen as failures, and many stole from their families to pay for their journey.

      Some readers will find this story disturbing

      Fatmata breaks into sobs when she remembers the six months she spent in slavery as the “wife” of a Tuareg nomad who seized her in the Sahara desert.

      “They call him Ahmed. He was so huge and so wicked,” she says. “He said, ’You are a slave, you are black. You people are from hell.’ He told me when somebody has a slave, you can do whatever you want to do. Not only him. Sometimes he would tell his friend, ’You can have a taste of anything inside my house.’ They tortured me every day.”

      That was only the beginning of the horrors Fatmata, aged 28, from Freetown, Sierra Leone, experienced as she tried to cross West Africa to the Mediterranean. She eventually escaped from Ahmed, but was recaptured by traffickers who held her in their own private jail in Algeria.

      After she and other migrants broke out, Fatmata, deeply traumatised, decided to abandon her dreams of a new life in Europe - and go back to where she started. She applied to an intergovernmental agency, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), which pays the fares for migrants who want to return home.

      Last December, she arrived back in Freetown, by bus from Mali - after nearly two years away. But there were no emotional reunions, no welcomes, no embraces. Nearly a year later, Fatmata hasn’t even seen her mother - or the daughter, now eight, she left behind.

      “I was so happy to come back,” she says. “But I wish I had not.”

      When she got back, she called her brother. But his reaction terrified her. “He told me, ’You should not even have come home. You should just die where you went, because you didn’t bring anything back home.’”

      After that, she says, “I didn’t have the heart to go and see my mother.”

      Fatmata
      Image caption Fatmata thought she’d be able to pay back the money she stole

      But her family didn’t reject her just because she was a failure. It was also because of how she funded her journey.

      She stole 25 million leones - about US $2,600 at today’s exchange rate, but then worth a lot more - from her aunt. It was money her aunt had given her to buy clothes, that could then be resold as part of her trading business. Her aunt regularly trusted her in that way.

      “I was only thinking how to get the money and go,” Fatmata says, though she adds that she’s not a selfish person. “If I had succeeded in going to Europe, I decided that I would triple the money, I would take good care of my aunt and my mum.”

      But Fatmata’s aunt’s business never recovered from the loss of the money. And - to make things even worse - the theft has caused a rift between the aunt and her sister, Fatmata’s mother, whom she falsely accuses of being in on Fatmata’s plan.

      “I’m in pain, serious pain!” her mother says, when I visit her. “The day I set eyes on Fatmata, she will end up in the police station - and I will die.”

      It’s a story that’s repeated in the families of many of the 3,000 or so Sierra Leoneans who have returned in the last two years after failing to reach Europe.

      At one time, relatives often raised the money to send someone, but there’s less willingness to do that now that stories of imprisonment and death along the route have multiplied. Now, many would-be migrants keep their plans secret, and take whatever money they can, sometimes even selling the title deeds to the family land.

      Jamilatu
      Image caption Jamilatu stole money which had been lent to her mother

      At the headquarters of the Advocacy Network Against Irregular Migration, a voluntary group that helps returned migrants rebuild their lives, all the returnees I meet have stolen from their families.

      Jamilatu, aged 21, who escaped with Fatmata from the traffickers’ prison in Algeria, took a plastic bag of cash worth $3,500 from her mother’s room when she was out of the house. The money didn’t even belong to her mother. It had all been lent to her by neighbours, as part of a microcredit scheme.

      After Jamilatu left, the furious creditors besieged her mother’s house, threatening to kill her if she didn’t return the money. She was forced to flee Freetown for Bo, three hours away in the south of the country, leaving her three other children behind with their father.

      “My mum doesn’t want to talk to me, because of the money,” Jamilatu says. “So since I came back, I haven’t seen her. And I want to see my mum - it’s over two years now that I’m not seeing her.”

      Jamilatu and her mother
      Image caption Jamilatu has been estranged from her mother for more than two years

      I visit her mother, Maryatu, at her new home in Bo, and after a long conversation she says she would like to see Jamilatu again, despite the suffering she’s caused.

      But when they meet, soon afterwards, it’s a short, awkward and almost silent reunion. They embrace stiffly. Then Jamilatu kneels in front of her, asking for forgiveness. Neither looks the other in the eye.

      Afterwards, Jamilatu goes straight back to Freetown.

      “I am the happiest woman on Earth today because I have seen my mum,” she says. But she doesn’t look happy. Her mother has told her they can’t live under the same roof again until Jamilatu has raised the money to repay the creditors.

      It’s hard to see how that will be possible. Jamilatu, like Fatmata, has no job. They both depend on support from Advocacy Network Against Irregular Migration. The group was founded by Sheku Bangura, himself a returned migrant, who lobbies the Sierra Leonean government to do more for returnees - currently there’s very little official support - and tries to give practical help himself. He finds accommodation for those who are homeless, intervenes with the police if returnees get into trouble, and organises basic psychological counselling.

      Sheku Bangura
      Image caption Sheku Bangura has personal experience of the challenges faced by returnees

      “I have had a lot of migrants who have mental problems,” he says. “These young people, they are on the streets, they don’t have place to sleep. It’s not really easy for them.”

      One of those helping out at the Advocacy Network is 31-year-old Alimamy, who set out across the Sahara three years ago, after stealing and selling an expensive water-packaging machine belonging to his uncle.

      One of his two travelling companions died of starvation in the desert. The second drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean in a dinghy. Alimamy ended up in a Libyan detention camp. He was only rescued in November 2017 when the IOM began organising flights from Tripoli to West Africa for those who wanted to go home.

      Emaciated and exhausted, he accepted the offer of a ticket, but he was terrified of the reception he would get. “I was thinking I should not come back to Sierra Leone, because I know my uncle has a very high temper,” he says.

      Alimamy
      Image caption Alimamy’s attempt to reach Europe ended in a Libyan migration detention centre

      Since returning, Alimamy has lived with friends. His elder brother, Sheik Umar, a former professional footballer, says: “We are hearing he is in Freetown, he is suffering. And yet he hasn’t got the guts to face any of us in the family.”

      Sheik Umar says he used to be close to his brother, but if he sees him now, he will ensure he is “arrested, prosecuted and convicted”.

      “If he dies in prison, I will not have any regrets, I am sure no family members will have regret, because of the shame he has put on all of us.”

      He says the water-packaging business Alimamy had been entrusted to run by his uncle could have generated enough money to support the whole family.

      “But he misused that opportunity and all of us are in this mess now… Wherever I go now, people taunt me. Our mother is sick, she has moved to a village. That (business) was the beginning of our hopes. But Alimamy has shattered all of that.”

      Alimamy himself is angry and frustrated. “I have come back home, no impact, just like I’m zero,” he says. “The place where I am living, it’s like a hell for me. The way people look at me, I don’t feel happy. They’re looking at me like I’m not human.”

      Sheik Umar
      Image caption Sheik Umar says his family has suffered as a result of Alimamy’s actions

      The IOM offers migrants who return voluntarily to their home countries in Africa “re-integration allowances” worth up to 1,500 euros (£1,270). The money comes from a 347m-euro fund financed mainly by the European Union. But the allowances aren’t paid in cash. If they were, most people would just use them to repay their relatives. So the IOM pays for goods or services that applicants can prove they need to set up a specific business.

      Alimamy got an allowance to buy a motorcycle to rent out to other drivers to use as a taxi. But after just four months, one of the drivers went off with it and never came back. Alimamy himself had become a victim of theft.

      As for Fatmata and Jamilatu, they never received an allowance because they returned from Mali at a time when some other Sierra Leoneans were abusing the system by catching a bus to Mali, pretending they’d returned from across the Sahara, and claiming the allowance. So everyone returning from Mali lost out, including Fatmata and Jamilatu.

      Awareness raising event organised by the Advocacy Network

      Now, all three returnees take part in “awareness-raising” events organised by the Advocacy Network. They go out on the streets with placards and loudspeakers to warn other young people of the dangers of illegal migration, and urge them to stay in “sweet Sierra Leone”.

      But for them, home is no longer sweet. All three are consumed by feelings of worthlessness.

      Fatmata says: “I have nothing to offer, I have nothing to show. I can’t even go and see my daughter, I only see the pictures, because I have nothing to give her when I get there, so I can’t.”

      Alimamy says the “stigmatisation” he suffers is forcing him to do the opposite of what he says on the streets. He wants to make another attempt to reach Europe.

      “Staying here is like a hell for me,” he says. I remind him of the horrors he experienced on his first attempt, being enslaved, imprisoned, and seeing friends die.

      “Well,” he says, “I have been through that, and I’m sure I could cope.”

      https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-50391297

      #return_migration #Sierra_Leone #Advocacy_Network_Against_Irregular_Migration #Sheku_Bangura #awareness-raising [sic] #stigmatisation #mental_health #trauma #IOM #re-integration_allowances

  • Im Flüchtlingslager auf #Lesbos grassiert eine sonderbare Krankheit. Augenscheinlich gesunde Kinder verfallen plötzlich in totale Apathie. Hilfe ist nicht in Sicht.
    https://www.zeit.de/2020/09/lesbos-fluechtlingslager-kinder-krankheit-apathie-griechenland

    Augenscheinlich gesunde Kinder verfallen in Apathie. Mediziner erkennen ein bestimmtes Krankheitsbild, wenn Kinder in mindestens drei der folgenden Bereiche passiv werden: Sprechen, Essen, Mobilität, Sozialleben, Körperpflege und -hygiene, Ansprache auf Fürsorge- und Ermutigungsmaßnahmen. Es beginnt in der Regel schrittweise, im schlimmsten Fall steigert sich der apathisch-depressive Zustand bis in eine Art Katatonie, einen Starrezustand.

    Naheliegend wäre es, vom sogenannten #Resignation_Syndrome zu sprechen. Die Bezeichnung tauchte zuerst in den Neunzigerjahren in Schweden auf und machte mit steigenden Zahlen Schlagzeilen. Auch damals wiesen Flüchtlingskinder die Symptome auf. „Die Resignierten“, „Sweden’s mystery illness“, „Only in Sweden: Hundreds of refugee children gave up on life“, hieß es in den Medien.

    Bis heute gibt es keine eindeutige Bezeichnung für die Erkrankung. Verschiedene Begriffe kursieren: Resignation Syndrome (RS), #Pervasive_Refusal_Syndrome (PRS), #depressive_Devitalisierung (DD), #Traumatic_Withdrawal_Syndrome (TWS), #Giving-up-Syndrome oder einfach apathische Flüchtlingskinder. Und obwohl die Beeinträchtigung der Kinder offensichtlich ist, gibt es nicht mal den Konsens, dass es sich um eine Krankheit handelt. Das könnte auch daran liegen, dass das Resignation Syndrome nicht nur ein medizinisches Phänomen ist, sondern ein Politikum: Bis heute treten die Symptome fast ausschließlich in einer spezifischen Bevölkerungsgruppe auf, nämlich in Familien, die aus ihren Heimatländern vor Gewalt geflohen sind und nun in der Schwebe leben, in Angst vor der Rückkehr.

    #réfugiés #enfants #maladie #dépression #Grèce

  • mai 2018, Infokiosque sur la #ZaD #NDDL : « Premiers secours émotionnels dans nos luttes »
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/valkphotos/49528343537

    Flickr

    « Premiers secours émotionnels dans nos luttes »
    –> texte complet : https://nantes.indymedia.org/articles/41154
    [archive : http://archive.is/G0Tkc ]

    Lire aussi les témoignages ultérieurs sur les traumatismes post-manif :

    « Des blessures qu’on ne saurait nommer »
    https://paris-luttes.info/des-blessures-qu-on-ne-saurait-13461
    [archive : http://archive.is/9jgan ]

    « Blessures invisibles, les impensées de la répression »
    https://www.lemediatv.fr/articles/enquetes/blessures-invisibles-les-impensees-de-la-repression-1d50ABMoRdSbuJTotFd9Pw
    [archive : http://archive.is/4eqUx ]

    ValK. a posté une photo : « > » />

    Zone a Defendre de Notre-Dame-des-Landes, le 28 mai 2018.
    + plus d’infos : https://zad.nadir.org
    + plus de photos : https://www.flickr.com/photos/valkphotos/collections/72157632092797423
    .
    #Photo : ValK.
    En voir +> https://frama.link/valk
    Soutenir +> https://liberapay.com/ValK

    #traumatismes #soins #syndromes_post-traumatiques #violences_policieres #maintien_de_l'ordre

  • Wie Europa geflüchtete Kinder einsperrt

    Zehntausende werden an den EU-Grenzen festgehalten: in Gefängnissen, die nicht so heißen dürfen. Kinder einzusperren, verstößt gegen internationale Abkommen.

    Unweit der Landebahn des Flughafens Schönefeld endet die Bundesrepublik. Ein Gitterzaun umgibt das Haus, das zwar in Brandenburg steht, sich aber rechtlich außerhalb Deutschlands befindet. Zwei Sicherheitskräfte bewachen die Räume, in denen dicht an dicht einfache Betten stehen. Wenn Familien ohne gültige Papiere die Ankunftshalle erreichen und um Asyl bitten, bringen die Grenzer sie hierher und halten sie so lange fest, bis die Behörden über ihren Antrag entscheiden.

    Im vergangenen Jahr wurde laut Innenministerium neun Menschen die Einreise verweigert, darunter ein Kind, im Jahr 2018 waren es 13 Personen, darunter eine Mutter aus Armenien mit ihrer achtjährigen Tochter sowie ihrem zehnjährigen und ihrem zwölfjährigen Sohn, gibt die Zentrale Ausländerbehörde Brandenburg an. Mit Buntstiften haben sie Herzen und Blumen an die Wand eines Aufenthaltsraums gemalt. Die Zeichnungen blieben, die Familie wurde nach drei Wochen abgeschoben. Anwälte kritisieren diese Zustände als unzulässige Haft für Kinder.

    Neben Berlin-Schönefeld findet das sogenannte Flughafenverfahren in Düsseldorf, Hamburg, München und Frankfurt am Main statt. Auch dort müssen Menschen im Transitbereich bleiben, auch dort soll binnen zwei Tagen über ihren Asylantrag entschieden werden. Wird dem stattgegeben oder brauchen die Behörden mehr Zeit, dürfen die Menschen einreisen. Lehnen die Mitarbeiter des Bundesamts für Migration und Flüchtlinge (Bamf) den Antrag hingegen als „offensichtlich unbegründet“ ab, können die Menschen klagen. So werden aus diesen zwei Tagen leicht Wochen oder Monate, erklärt der Hannoveraner Anwalt Peter Fahlbusch, der seit Langem Menschen betreut, die sich im Flughafenverfahren befinden.
    Abgeschottet von der Öffentlichkeit: das Flughafenverfahren

    Mitte der 90er Jahre entschied das Bundesverfassungsgericht, dass es sich bei dem Festhalten von Menschen im Transit nicht um Freiheitsentziehung im Sinne des Grundgesetzes handelt. Pro-Asyl-Sprecher Bernd Mesovic hält das für irreführend: „Der Gesetzgeber sagt, auf dem Luftweg können die Betroffenen jederzeit das Land verlassen. Wir meinen, das ist eine haftähnliche Situation, und die ist für Kinder sehr belastend.“ Rechtsanwalt Fahlbusch beschreibt die Situation ebenfalls als bedrückend: „Kinder im Frankfurter Transitbereich mussten erleben, wie ein Mitgefangener versuchte, sich im Innenhof zu erhängen.“

    Das Flughafenverfahren findet abgeschottet von der Öffentlichkeit statt. Mitarbeiter der Caritas und Diakonie, die Menschen am Frankfurter Drehkreuz betreuen, sagen zunächst ein Gespräch zu, verweigern es dann aber doch.

    „Das örtliche Amtsgericht meint, die Unterkunft ist jugendgerecht. Nichts davon ist jugendgerecht“, sagt Anwalt Fahlbusch. „Minderjährige dort einzusperren, ist der Wahnsinn.“ In den vergangenen zehn Jahren hat es mehr als 6000 solcher Verfahren in Deutschland gegeben, jedes vierte betraf ein Kind.

    Während das Flughafenverfahren im Transitbereich von Flughäfen durchgeführt wird und sowohl Asylantrag als auch Rückführung umfasst, findet die Abschiebehaft auf deutschem Staatsgebiet statt. Hier werden Menschen eingesperrt, deren Asylantrag abgelehnt wurde und die in ihr Herkunftsland oder in den Staat, in dem sie zuerst Asyl beantragten, zurückgeführt werden.
    Viele Regierungen sammeln wenige Daten

    Fast überall in der EU wurden in den vergangenen Jahren mehrere Tausend Kinder in Haft oder haftähnlichen Zuständen festgehalten. Ob in Polen oder Portugal, in Ungarn oder Deutschland, in Italien oder Griechenland: Wenn Kinder allein oder in Begleitung Asyl brauchen und beantragen oder es ihnen nicht gewährt wird, dann sperren die Behörden sie ein oder halten sie in Lagern fest.

    Das Team von „Investigate Europe“ konnte in den vergangenen Monaten recherchieren, dass die Regierungen damit jedes Jahr vielfach die Kinderrechtskonvention der Vereinten Nationen brechen, in denen es heißt: „Festnahme, Freiheitsentziehung oder Freiheitsstrafe darf bei einem Kind im Einklang mit dem Gesetz nur als letztes Mittel“ verwendet werden.

    Um einen Überblick über das Problem zu bekommen, beauftragte der damalige UN-Generalsekretär Ban Ki Moon einen Bericht, für den eine Arbeitsgruppe um den österreichischen Soziologen Manfred Nowak mehrere Jahre forschte. Das fertige, 789 Seiten umfassende Werk mit dem Titel „UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty“ wurde vergangenes Jahr präsentiert. Die Studie basiert auf lückenhaftem Zahlenmaterial, denn viele Regierungen sammeln nur unzureichende oder gar keine Daten.
    „Ausreisesammelstelle“ am Flughafen Schönefeld.Foto: picture alliance/dpa

    Wie viele Kinder exakt betroffen sind, lässt sich daher nicht verlässlich sagen. Allein in Frankreich waren im Jahr 2017 laut mehreren Nichtregierungsorganisationen mehr als 2500 Flüchtlingskinder in Haft. In Deutschland haben zwischen 2009 und 2019 nach Angaben der Bundesregierung fast 400 Kinder in Abschiebehaft gesessen. Dabei käme natürlich keine europäische Regierung auf die Idee, Kinder unter 14 Jahren der eigenen Nationalität einzusperren.

    Migrationshaft für Kinder sei ein politisch sehr sensibles Thema, sagt Nowak, dessen Arbeitsgruppe feststellte, dass Migrationshaft „nie eine letzte Maßnahme und nie im besten Interesse der Kinder“ sein könne. Fast alle Experten stimmen ihm zu. Nowak fordert, dass jede Form der Migrationshaft für Kinder verboten werden müsse.

    Bei der Namenswahl für die De-facto-Gefängnisse wählen die Behörden Begriffe wie Transitzone, Familieneinheit oder Safe Zone. Als Reporter von „Investigate Europe“ Zugang bekommen wollten, wurden ihre Anfragen in vielen Ländern abgelehnt.
    Minderjährig oder nicht?

    Überall auf der Welt fliehen Menschen vor Bürgerkriegen oder Hunger, viele von ihnen nach Europa. Nicht immer ist klar, ob die Menschen, die kommen, wirklich minderjährig sind oder nicht. Dann müssen sie sich häufig einer Altersprüfung unterziehen. Zum Beispiel Jallow B. aus Gambia. Seit mehr als einem Monat sitzt er in Gießen in Abschiebehaft. Am Telefon klingt seine Stimme hoffnungsvoll. Im Jahr 2018 hatte B. alleine Italien erreicht. Dahin wollen ihn die deutschen Behörden nun zurückbringen. Doch ist das nur möglich, wenn er volljährig ist. „Ich bin im Jahr 2002 geboren, aber niemand glaubt mir“, sagt B. am Telefon. Laut seiner Anwältin setzte das Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge nach einer Inaugenscheinnahme B.s Geburtsdatum auf den 31. Dezember 2000 fest.

    Während sich das Alter des Gambiers nicht zweifelsfrei klären lässt, musste in einem anderen Fall kürzlich ein Jugendlicher aus der Abschiebehaft im nordrhein-westfälischen Büren entlassen werden. Er konnte nachweisen, dass er noch nicht 18 Jahre alt war.

    Im vergangenen Jahr nahmen Polizisten in Passau die 30-jährige hochschwangere Palästinenserin Samah C. fest. Die Behörden wollten sie, ihren Mann und ihren sechs Jahre alten Sohn nach Litauen abschieben, wo sie erstmals Asyl beantragt hatten. Um das zu verhindern, tauchte der Mann unter. Die Beamten trennten Samah C. und ihren Sohn Hahmudi, der in ein Kinderheim gebracht wurde. Auf Nachfrage teilte die Zentrale Ausländerbehörde Niederbayern damals mit: „Die Verantwortung für die vorübergehende Trennung von Eltern und Kind liegt ausschließlich bei den Eltern.“

    Nach zwei Wochen wurde die Mutter vorübergehend aus der Abschiebehaft entlassen. Mit ihrem Sohn und ihrem inzwischen fünf Monate alten Baby lebt sie in Passau. Doch zuletzt zitierte die „Passauer Neue Presse“ eine Beamtin der Zentralen Ausländerbehörde, die nahelegte, dass die Mutter und ihre Kinder bald abgeschoben werden sollen.
    Europa kritisiert die US-Einwanderungspolitik

    2018 dokumentierten US-Medien, wie entlang der mexikanischen Grenze Kinder unter der Anti-Einwanderungspolitik von Präsident Donald Trump litten. Der ließ die Minderjährigen von ihren Eltern trennen. Europäische Regierungen kritisierten die drastischen Zustände. „Wir haben nicht das gleiche Gesellschaftsmodell“, sagte ein Sprecher der französischen Regierung. „Wir teilen nicht die gleichen Werte.“ Auch der deutsche Regierungssprecher Steffen Seibert mahnte damals zur „Beachtung des Rechts“ und der „Beachtung der Würde jedes einzelnen Menschen“. Das müsste ebenso für die deutschen Behörden gelten. Doch auch hierzulande wird die Würde der Menschen nicht immer geachtet.

    Die Bundesregierung gibt an, dass im Jahr 2018 nur ein Minderjähriger in Abschiebehaft genommen wurde. Dabei handelte es sich um den 17-jährigen Afghanen K., den die Behörden als volljährig beurteilt hatten. Erst nachdem K.s Eltern Dokumente aus Afghanistan übermittelten, wurde er freigelassen. Im Jahr 2009 hatte die Bundesregierung noch 147 Fälle aufgelistet.

    2014 hatte der Europäische Gerichtshof die deutsche Haftpraxis verurteilt und die Bundesregierung aufgefordert, ihr System für die Abschiebung unerwünschter Migranten zu reformieren. Menschen in Abschiebehaft dürfen nicht länger gemeinsam mit Strafgefangenen untergebracht werden. Doch vor allem für minderjährige Geflüchtete gab es in Deutschland keine speziellen Hafteinrichtungen, deshalb „war ein Großteil der bisherigen Abschiebehaft Geschichte, vor allem für Minderjährige“, erklärt der Geschäftsführer des Hessischen Flüchtlingsrates, Timmo Scherenberg. In Hessen waren zuvor nach Bayern die zweitmeisten Jugendlichen festgehalten worden.
    Hinter Gittern und Stacheldraht. Geflüchtete Familien auf Lesbos.Foto: picture alliance/dpa

    Doch auch, wenn es sich nach offizieller Definition nicht um Haft handelt, kann das Kindeswohl bedroht sein. Im vergangenen Sommer stimmten im Bundestag die Abgeordneten dem Migrationspaket der Regierung zu. Seitdem können Familien bis zu sechs Monate in einer Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung bleiben. Die dürfen sie zwar tagsüber verlassen, doch meist befinden sich die Einrichtungen fern der Innenstädte mit ihrer Infrastruktur. Zudem leben Eltern und Kinder hier mit Menschen zusammen, deren Asylanträge abgelehnt wurden und die nun vor ihren Augen aus den Unterkünften abgeschoben werden.

    Ein solches Leben sei eine schlimme Belastung für Kinder, berichten Ärzte. „Wer nicht schon traumatisiert ist, wird hier traumatisiert“, sagt etwa die Psychiaterin Ute Merkel, die Menschen in der Dresdner Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung betreut. Merkel behandelte unter anderem ein elfjähriges Mädchen aus Eritrea, das in Dresden aufgehört habe zu sprechen. Auf der Flucht durch die Wüste sei der kleine Bruder des Mädchens verdurstet. Sie habe begonnen zu schweigen, um sich zu schützen, sagt Merkel. „Das Mädchen hat ihre traumatisierte Mutter nicht mehr ausgehalten, die mit einer Kinderleiche durch die Wüste gelaufen ist.“

    Eine Kollegin Merkels berichtet von dem Fall eines 16-jährigen Tschetschenen, dessen Vater von Milizen erschossen worden sei. Als er in der Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung, die eine „gefängnisähnliche Situation“ darstelle, Sicherheitsmitarbeiter in Trainingsanzügen gesehen habe, sei der Junge wieder mit dem konfrontiert worden, was ihn traumatisiert hatte.

    „Was Kinder brauchen, sind Schutz und Eltern, die sie vor der bösen Welt schützen“, sagt Merkel. Doch in den Erstaufnahmeeinrichtungen neuen Typs, den sogenannten Ankerzentren, würden die Kinder erleben, dass dies nicht möglich sei. „Es gibt keine Privatsphäre, alle müssen gemeinsam essen und duschen. Die Zimmer können nicht abgeschlossen werden.“
    Ankerzentren können sich nicht durchsetzen

    Nahe der Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung in Dresden befinden sich die Büros mehrerer Behörden, darunter das Bamf und die Zentrale Ausländerbehörde, gemeinsam bilden sie als Teil einer Testphase des Bundesinnenministeriums diese neue Form der Unterkunft, das Ankerzentrum. Auf die hatten sich CDU und SPD in ihrem Koalitionsvertrag geeinigt. In Ankerzentren arbeiten mehrere Behörden zusammen, so sollen Menschen in den Unterkünften ankommen, und wenn ihr Asylantrag abgelehnt wird, umgehend abgeschoben werden. Neben Sachsen beteiligen sich auch Bayern und das Saarland an dem Test, nach dem, so hatte es das Bundesinnenministerium gehofft, bundesweit Ankerzentren eröffnet werden sollen.

    Doch Recherchen von „Investigate Europe“ zeigen, dass dieser Plan offenbar scheitert. Lediglich Brandenburg und Mecklenburg-Vorpommern planen ähnliche Zentren. Alle anderen Bundesländer wollen keine solchen Einrichtungen eröffnen – auch aus humanitären Gründen. Aus dem Thüringer Innenministerium heißt es: „Die Landesregierung hält es für inhuman und nicht zielführend, geflüchtete Menschen zentral an einem Ort unterzubringen.“ Die Bremer Senatorin für Integration teilt mit, dass Erwachsene ohne Kinder und Familien weiterhin getrennt werden sollen. „Wichtiger Beweggrund ist das Interesse an der Sicherung des Kindeswohls in der Jugendhilfe.“ Im Klartext: Diese Bundesländer finden die Pläne des Bundesinnenministeriums unmenschlich und falsch.

    Sachsens neue Landesregierung will nun die Unterbringung etwas menschlicher regeln. Im Koalitionsvertrag vereinbarten CDU, Grüne und SPD im Dezember, dass Familien nur noch drei Monate in den Unterkünften bleiben sollten. Doch Kinder- und Jugendpsychiaterin Merkel hält diesen Schritt nicht für ausreichend. „Es ist nicht ratsam, dort Kinder auch nur für drei Monate unterzubringen.“ Denn es bleibe dabei, die Grundbedürfnisse für eine gesunde Entwicklung seien nicht erfüllt.
    Experten: Die Lage an den EU-Außengrenzen ist furchtbar

    In Deutschland ist die Situation besorgniserregend, an den Außengrenzen der Europäischen Union ist sie noch schlimmer.

    Kurz vor Weihnachten in Marseille unweit des Hafens, der Frankreich mit der Welt verbindet, erzählt der 16-jährige Ahmad*, wie er aus Nordafrika hierherkam. „Meine Eltern starben vor sechs Jahren. Meine Tante misshandelte mich. Sie ließ mich nicht schlafen, nicht essen. Ich musste weg.“ Versteckt an Bord eines Containerschiffes reiste er nach Marseille. Doch statt in Sicherheit kam er ins Gefängnis. Das heißt hier Wartezone. Ahmad, so erzählt er es, habe dort mehr als zwei Wochen bleiben müssen. „Das kam mir vor wie 15 Jahre. Ich wusste nicht mehr, welcher Wochentag war.“ Das Gebäude habe er nicht verlassen können. „Die Polizei sprach nicht mit mir, keiner kümmerte sich um mich.“ Dann sei er freigekommen: „Wenn du das Gefängnis verlässt, fühlt sich das an, als ob du endlich Licht siehst.“
    Griechische Inseln mit großen Flüchtlingslagern.Grafik: Fabian Bartel

    Wenige Tage später, Anfang Januar, beging der 17-jährige Iraner Reza* ein trauriges Jubiläum: Seit einem Jahr darf er die Transitzone in Röszke nahe der Grenze zu Serbien nicht in Richtung Ungarn verlassen. Zäune samt Stacheldraht umziehen das Containerdorf, an dessen Ein- und Ausgang bewaffnete Sicherheitskräfte patrouillieren. Sie wachen auch darüber, dass niemand in das Lager kommt. Reporter von „Investigate Europe“ sprachen Reza am Telefon. Der junge Iraner floh mit seinem Onkel über Serbien hierher, um Asyl zu beantragen. Warum sie flohen, will Reza nicht sagen, aus Angst um seine restliche Familie, die noch im Iran lebt. Ungarische Beamte trennten ihn und seinen Onkel, dieser bekam einen Schutzstatus zugesprochen, Rezas Asylantrag wurde kürzlich ein zweites Mal abgelehnt. „Es ist schwer für mich hier“, sagt der Teenager am Telefon. „Jeden Morgen wache ich auf und sehe dasselbe.“

    Nachts liege er wach, nur am Morgen könne er etwas dösen. Die Wachleute hätten ihn in einen Bereich für unbegleitete Minderjährige gesperrt, seit Monaten sei er dort der einzige Insasse. Jeden Tag dürfe er für wenige Stunden zu den Familien gehen, die in dem Lager leben. „Aber wenn ich zurückkomme, habe ich nichts zu tun. Dann denke ich wieder nach, und zu viel nachzudenken ist wie eine Bombe im Kopf.“
    Provisorische Unterkunft im Camp Moria.Foto: REUTERS

    Die Nichtregierungsorganisation Helsinki Commission schätzt, dass sich in den beiden ungarischen Transitlagern an der serbischen Grenze derzeit zwischen 300 und 360 Menschen aufhalten. Genau weiß das kaum jemand. Zugang haben nur wenige. Darunter ungarische Parlamentsabgeordnete wie Bernadett Szél. Sie sagt: „Es ist sehr schlimm für die Kinder da drin.“ Manche seien krank und bräuchten medizinische Hilfe, die sie nicht bekämen. „Es ist wie in einem Gefängnis.“

    Für ihre Praxis in den Transitlagern hat der Europäische Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte (EGMR) die ungarische Regierung wiederholt verurteilt. Allein seit November 2018 entschieden die EGMR-Richter in 17 Fällen, die ungarische Regierung habe Menschen unrechtmäßig hungern lassen, nachdem diese gegen die Ablehnung ihrer Asylbescheide geklagt hatten. Gewinnen die Kläger ihren Prozess vor dem EGMR, erhalten sie wieder Lebensmittel. Wer nicht klagt, muss weiter hungern.

    Auch im 1000 Kilometer südlich gelegenen Flüchtlingslager Moria müssen Minderjährige leiden. Im Winter klingt hier, auf der griechischen Insel Lesbos, aus den dicht gedrängten Zelten das Husten kleiner Kinder. Sie schlafen meist auf Matten, die vom Boden nur mit Paletten erhöht sind. Auch hier umziehen zweieinhalb Meter hohe Zäune das Lager. An die hat jemand große Plakate gehängt, die wohl den tristen Lageralltag aufhellen sollen. Auf einem davon stolziert ein Löwe, der vorgibt: „Ich bin stark.“ Doch so fühlt sich hier kaum jemand mehr. Die Neurologin Jules Montague, die für Ärzte ohne Grenzen auf der Insel arbeitete, berichtet von Fällen, in denen Kinder wie in Dresden nicht mehr sprechen und ihre Augen kaum öffnen.
    Das Camp fasst 2840 Menschen ausgelegt. Momentan leben dort 19000

    Die Kinder dürfen die griechischen Inseln nicht verlassen. Dabei sind dort die Lager längst überfüllt. Das Camp Moria ist für 2840 Menschen ausgelegt. Doch den Jahreswechsel erlebten dort rund 19 000 Menschen, jeder Dritte ein Kind. Für deren Sicherheit kann kaum garantiert werden.
    Grafik: Fabian Bartel

    In der sogenannten Safe Zone des Lagers, in der unbegleitete Minderjährige leben, erstach im vergangenen August laut UNHCR ein 15-jähriger Afghane einen Gleichaltrigen. Einen Monat später, im September, überrollte ein Lkw einen fünfjährigen Afghanen, berichteten Reuters und der griechische Rundfunk. Und Ärzte ohne Grenzen meldete, dass im November ein neun Monate altes Baby aus der Republik Kongo an den Folgen einer Dehydrierung starb.

    Die Zustände an den EU-Außengrenzen haben offenbar System. Im Jahr 2015 waren mehr als 1,2 Millionen Asylanträge in Europa gestellt worden, mehr als doppelt so viele wie noch im Jahr 2014. Um zu verhindern, dass weiter viele Menschen nach Europa fliehen, unterzeichnete die EU im März 2016 einen Pakt mit der Türkei. Der half in den folgenden Jahren allerdings vor allem den Staaten im Zentrum Europas. Hatten im März 2016 in Deutschland 58 000 Menschen ihren Asylerstantrag gestellt, waren es drei Jahre später nur noch 11 000. Im selben Zeitraum verdoppelte sich in Griechenland die Zahl der Asylerstanträge auf 5300. Für die zentraleuropäischen Staaten ergibt sich so eine komfortable Lage: Wo weniger Menschen ankommen, können diese besser behandelt werden. Für die Staaten an der Außengrenze gilt dies nicht.
    Experte: Zustände in den Flüchtlingslagern dienen der Abschreckung

    Nun übt der Vordenker des Türkei-Deals, der Migrationsforscher Gerald Knaus, offen Kritik an dem Pakt. Er sagte „Investigate Europe“: „Was auch immer die Motivation der EU und Griechenlands ist, sie betreiben eine Politik, die unmenschlich und illegal ist und trotzdem niemanden abschreckt.“ Der migrationspolitische Sprecher der Grünen im EU-Parlament, Erik Marquardt, sagt: „Wir stehen vor der Situation, dass die EU-Kommission und der Europarat von einer erfolgreichen Asylpolitik sprechen, wenn die Zahl der Menschen sinkt, die nach Europa fliehen. Dabei nimmt man dann Zustände wie auf den griechischen Inseln in Kauf, auf diese Weise will man bessere Statistiken erreichen.“

    So sei das Abkommen mit der Türkei längst nicht die einzige Maßnahme, um Flüchtlinge davon abzuhalten, nach Europa zu kommen, sagt Marquardt. „Die europäische Politik versucht, die Situation an den Außengrenzen so schlecht wie möglich zu gestalten, damit die Menschen lieber in Kriegsgebieten bleiben, als zu kommen.“ Alle Staaten Europas seien verantwortlich für die Situation an den Außengrenzen, weil sie diese finanzieren, sagt der frühere UN-Berichterstatter für Willkürliche Inhaftierung, Mads Andenæs und fügt hinzu: „In ein paar Jahren können Taten, die heute als politische Notwendigkeiten betrachtet werden, als willkürliche Haft und grobe Verletzung des Rechts und der Menschlichkeit beurteilt werden.“

    Dass Migrationshaft für Kinder unumgänglich sei, gibt EU-Migrationskommissar Dimitris Avramopoulos indirekt auch zu. So sagte er „Investigate Europe“ zwar, dass sich die EU-Mitgliedsstaaten um Haftalternativen kümmern sollten. Wo es diese aber noch nicht gebe, sei es notwendig, Kinder in Gewahrsam zu nehmen, „um die Verpflichtung zu erfüllen, alle notwendigen Maßnahmen zu ergreifen, eine Rückführung zu ermöglichen“.
    Geflüchtete Kinder auf Lesbos.Foto: Sebastian Wells/Ostkreuz

    An einem Herbsttag an der ungarisch-serbischen Grenze im Flüchtlingslager Röszke schlägt der zehnjährige Armin mit den Armen, als wolle er fliegen. Sein Vater, der iranische Regisseur Abouzar Soltani, filmt seinen Jungen dabei. Es wäre eine Szene voller Leichtigkeit, wäre da nicht der Stacheldraht, der hinter beiden in den Himmel ragt. „Ich wollte die Träume meines Sohnes wahr werden lassen“, sagt Soltani über die Aufnahmen später.

    Der Vater und sein zehnjähriger Sohn leben in dem eingezäunten Containerdorf, das sie nicht verlassen dürfen. Wie den 17-jährigen Iraner Reza hält die ungarische Regierung die beiden fest – und das inzwischen seit über einem Jahr. Kontaktleuten gelang es, Soltanis Aufnahmen aus dem Lager zu bringen. Sie zeigen auch, wie Armin im kargen Bett auf einer dünnen Matratze liegt, wie er Fische ans Fenster malt. Einfach wegfliegen, das ist für ihn nur ein Spiel.

    Für die Hilfsorganisation Ärzte ohne Grenzen betreut die Psychologin Danae Papadopoulou Kinder, die in Moria leben. „Das Camp ist nicht sicher für Kinder und die Situation wird immer schlimmer“, sagt sie. Viele Kinder könnten das Leben im Lager zwischen den dicht gedrängten Zelten, die Kälte und die Hoffnungslosigkeit nicht mehr ertragen. „Wir hatten zuletzt einige Notfälle, in denen Kinder und Heranwachsende versucht haben, sich aus Schock und Panik zu töten.“

    * Die vollständigen Namen sind der Redaktion bekannt.

    https://www.tagesspiegel.de/gesellschaft/ich-wusste-nicht-mehr-welcher-wochentag-war-wie-europa-gefluechtete-kinder-einsperrt/25406306.html

    #migration #asylum #children #minors #detention #Europe #Germany #BAMF #Berlin #Schönfeld #Düsseldorf #Hamburg #München #Frankfurt #deportation #trauma #traumatization #retraumatization #mental_health

    #Flughafenverahren (= term for detention procedure at German airports)

    German terms for child/minor/family airport detention zone : #Transitzone #Familieneinheit #Safe_Zone [sic]

    @cdb_77 , y a-t-il un fil sur la détation des personnen mineures ?

    • Children Deprived of Liberty - The United Nations Global Study

      Children deprived of liberty remain an invisible and forgotten group in society notwithstanding the increasing evidence of these children being in fact victims of further human rights violations. Countless children are placed in inhuman conditions and in adult facilities – in clear violation of their human rights - where they are at high risk of violence, rape and sexual assault, including acts of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

      Children are being detained at a younger and younger age and held for longer periods of time. The personal cost to these children is immeasurable in terms of the destructive impact on their physical and mental development, and on their ability to lead healthy and constructive lives in society.

      The associated financial costs to governments can also have a negative impact on national budgets and can become a financial drain when their human rights obligations are not upheld with regard children deprived of liberty.

      To address this situation, in December 2014 the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted its Child Rights Resolution (A/RES/69/157), inviting the United Nations Secretary-General (SG) to commission an in-depth global study on children deprived of liberty (§ 52.d). On 25 October 2016, the Secretary General welcomed the appointment of Professor Manfred Nowak as Independent Expert to lead the Study. By Resolution 72/245, the UNGA invited the Independent Expert to submit a final report on the Study during its seventy-fourth session in September 2019.

      Based on the over-all mandate established by the UNGA Resolution, the following core objectives of the Global Study have been identified:

      Assess the magnitude of the phenomenon of children being deprived of liberty, including the number of children deprived of liberty (disaggregated by age, gender and nationality), as well as the reasons invoked, the root-causes, type and length of deprivation of liberty and places of detention;

      Document promising practices and capture the view and experiences of children to inform the recommendations that the Global Study will present;

      Promote a change in stigmatizing attitudes and behaviour towards children at risk of being, or who are, deprived of liberty;

      Provide recommendations for law, policy and practice to safeguard the human rights of the children concerned, and significantly reduce the number of children deprived of liberty through effective non-custodial alternatives, guided by the international human rights framework.

      –-> Full study here:
      https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRC/StudyChildrenDeprivedLiberty/Pages/Index.aspx

    • How Europe detains minor migrants

      Under international and European law, migrant children should be given protection and humanitarian assistance. Detention must only be used as a last resort. But how do European governments really treat this most vulnerable group? Our new investigation shows that migrant children are detained en masse, with seemingly little regard for their well-being.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_Tyey4aFEk&


      feature=youtu.be

  • L’#or_vert ou la stupéfiante odyssée du #khat

    Le khat est consommé dans de nombreux pays d’#Afrique_de_l'Est. Vendue sous la forme de feuilles et de tiges, cette plante psychotrope provoque une sensation stimulante d’#euphorie impulsée par une accélération du rythme cardiaque. Mais le khat crée aussi des effets d’accoutumance et de manque, doublés de déprime, de léthargie, et chez certains, notamment les enfants, de troubles mentaux. Ancien dépendant au khat, #Abukar_Awalé, membre de la diaspora somalienne en Grande-Bretagne, a alerté les autorités britanniques et milité pour la fin de la tolérance. Ce film suit son combat courageux, remonte la filière du khat à travers le monde et en expose les ravages et les enjeux économiques.


    https://www.programme.tv/l-or-vert-ou-la-stupefiante-odyssee-du-khat-156617631
    #film #documentaire #film_documentaire
    #drogue #UK #interdiction #Corne_de_l'Afrique #Ethiopie #Awaday #Londres #café #traumatisme #guerre #conflit #santé_mentale #Somalie #Somaliland #argent #revenu #prix_du_café #accord_international_sur_le_café #Dadaab #Kenya #réfugiés #camps_de_réfugiés #toxicomanie #dépendance #femmes #hommes #oubli #alternative #Angleterre #genre #qat