• Data et nouvelles technologies, la face cachée du contrôle des mobilités

    Dans un rapport de juillet 2020, l’#Agence_européenne_pour_la_gestion_opérationnelle_des_systèmes_d’information_à_grande_échelle (#EU-Lisa) présente l’#intelligence_artificielle (#IA) comme l’une des « #technologies prioritaires » à développer. Le rapport souligne les avantages de l’IA en matière migratoire et aux frontières, grâce, entre autres, à la technologie de #reconnaissance_faciale.

    L’intelligence artificielle est de plus en plus privilégiée par les acteurs publics, les institutions de l’UE et les acteurs privés, mais aussi par le #HCR et l’#OIM. Les agences de l’UE, comme #Frontex ou EU-Lisa, ont été particulièrement actives dans l’expérimentation des nouvelles technologies, brouillant parfois la distinction entre essais et mise en oeuvre. En plus des outils traditionnels de #surveillance, une panoplie de technologies est désormais déployée aux frontières de l’Europe et au-delà, qu’il s’agisse de l’ajout de nouvelles #bases_de_données, de technologies financières innovantes, ou plus simplement de la récupération par les #GAFAM des données laissées volontairement ou pas par les migrant·e·s et réfugié∙e∙s durant le parcours migratoire.

    La pandémie #Covid-19 est arrivée à point nommé pour dynamiser les orientations déjà prises, en permettant de tester ou de généraliser des technologies utilisées pour le contrôle des mobilités sans que l’ensemble des droits des exilé·e·s ne soit pris en considération. L’OIM, par exemple, a mis à disposition des Etats sa #Matrice_de_suivi_des_déplacements (#DTM) durant cette période afin de contrôler les « flux migratoires ». De nouvelles technologies au service de vieilles obsessions…

    http://migreurop.org/article3021.html

    Pour télécharger la note :
    migreurop.org/IMG/pdf/note_12_fr.pdf

    #migrations #réfugiés #asile #frontières #mobilité #mobilités #données #technologie #nouvelles_technologies #coronavirus #covid #IOM
    #migreurop

    ping @etraces

    voir aussi :
    Migreurop | Data : la face cachée du contrôle des mobilités
    https://seenthis.net/messages/900232

    • European funds for African IDs: migration regulation tool or privacy risk?

      The first person you meet after you land at Blaise Diagne Airport in Dakar is a border guard with a digital scanner.

      The official will scan your travel document and photograph and take a digital print of your index fingers.

      It’s the most visible sign of the new state-of-the-art digital biometrics system that is being deployed in the airport with the help of EU funding.

      The aim is to combat the increasingly sophisticated fake passports sold by traffickers to refugees.

      But it also helps Senegal’s government learn more about its own citizens.

      And it’s not just here: countries across West Africa are adopting travel documentation that has long been familiar to Europeans.

      Passports, ID cards and visas are all becoming biometric, and a national enrolment scheme is underway.

      In Europe too, there are proposals to create a biometric database of over 400 million foreign nationals, including fingerprints and photographs of their faces.

      The new systems are part of efforts to battle illegal migration from West Africa to the EU.

      ‘Fool-proof’ EU passport online

      Many are still plying the dangerous route across the Sahara and the Mediterranean to reach Europe, but a growing number are turning to the criminal gangs selling forged passports to avoid the treacherous journey over desert and sea.

      There’s a burgeoning market in travel documents advertised as ‘fake but real”.

      Prices vary according to the paperwork: an EU Schengen transit visa costs €5,000, while a longer-stay visa can be twice as high.

      Some forgers have even mastered the ability to incorporate holograms and hack the biometric chips.

      “Morphing” is an image processing technique that merges two people’s photographs into a single new face that appears to contain entirely new biometric data.

      Frontex, the EU’s border guard agency, says 7,000 people were caught trying to enter the Schengen area in 2019 carrying such documents — but it admits the true figure could be much higher.

      Sending migrants back

      Last year, the largest number of travellers with fake documents arrived via Turkish and Moroccan international airports.

      Many were caught in Italy, having arrived via Casablanca from sub-Saharan countries like Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal.

      A Frontex team responsible for deporting migrants without the correct paperwork was deployed this year at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport.

      It’s the first sign of a new European Commission regulation expanding the agency’s role, which includes access to biometric data held by member states, according to Jane Kilpatrick, a researcher at the civil liberties think-tank Statewatch.

      “The agency’s growing role in the collection of data, it links overtly to the agency’s role in deporting individuals from the EU,” she said.

      Over 490,000 return decisions were issued by member states last year, but only a third were actually sent back to a country outside the EU.

      There are multiple reasons why: some countries, for example, refuse to accept responsibility for people whose identity documents were lost, destroyed or stolen.

      Legally binding readmission agreements are now in place between the EU and 18 other countries to make that process easier.
      There are no records

      But a bigger problem is the fact that many African countries know very little about their own citizens.

      The World Bank estimates the continent is home to roughly half of the estimated one billion people on the planet who are unable to prove their identities.

      An absence of digitisation means that dusty registers are piling up in storage rooms.

      The same goes for many borders: unlike the scene at Dakar’s airport, many are still without internet access, servers, scanners and cameras.

      That, the Commission says, is why EU aid funds are being used to develop biometric identity systems in West African countries.

      The EU Trust Fund for Africa has allotted €60 million to support governments in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire in modernising their registry systems and creating a national biometric identity database.

      Much of the funding comes through Civipol, a consulting firm attached to France’s interior ministry and part-owned by Milipol, one of the most important arms trade fairs in the world.

      It describes the objective of the programme in Côte d’Ivoire as identifying “people genuinely of Ivorian nationality and organising their return more easily”.
      Data security concerns

      European sources told Euronews that the EU-funded projects in West Africa were not designed to identify potential migrants or deport existing ones.

      A Commission spokesperson insisted no European entity — neither Frontex, nor member states, nor their partners — had access to the databases set up by West African countries.

      But the systems they are funding are intimately connected to anti-migration initiatives.

      One is the Migrant Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS), a migration database that can send automatic queries to Interpol watchlists to detect travel documents and people possibly linked to organised crime, including human trafficking.

      Connections like these, and the role of French arms giants like Thales in the growing biometric market, has led data protection experts to become worried about possible abuses of privacy.
      World’s newest biometric market

      As Africa becomes the coveted market for biometric identification providers, the watchdog Privacy International has warned it risks becoming a mere testing ground for technologies later deployed elsewhere.

      So far 24 countries on the continent out of 53 have adopted laws and regulations to protect personal data.

      A letter by Privacy International, seen by Euronews, says EU must “ensure they are protecting rights before proceeding with allocating resources and technologies which, in absence of proper oversight, will likely result in fundamental rights abuses.”

      It has published internal documents tracking the development of Senegal’s system that suggest no privacy or data protection impact assessments have been carried out.

      Civipol, the French partner, denies this: it told Euronews that the Senegalese Personal Data Commission took part in the programme and Senegalese law was respected at every stage.

      Yet members of Senegal’s independent Commission of Personal Data (CDP), which is responsible for ensuring personal data is processed correctly, admit implementation and enforcement remained a challenge — even though they are proud of their country’s pioneering role in data governance in Africa.

      For the Senegalese cyber activist Cheick Fall, the charge is more serious: “Senegal has sinned by entrusting the processing of these data to foreign companies.”

      https://www.euronews.com/2021/07/30/european-funds-for-african-ids-migration-regulation-tool-or-privacy-risk

      #biométrie #aéroport #Afrique #étrangers #base_de_données_biométrique #empreintes_digitales #passeports #visas #hologramme #Morphing #image #photographie #Frontex #EU_Trust_Fund_for_Africa #Trust_Fund #Civipol #Milipol #armes #commerce_d'armes #Côte_d’Ivoire #Afrique_de_l'Ouest #Migrant_Information_and_Data_Analysis_System (#MIDAS) #Interpol #Thales #Sénégal #Senegalese_Personal_Data_Commission #Commission_of_Personal_Data (#CDP)

  • Mediterranean carcerality and acts of escape

    In recent years, migrants seeking refuge in Europe have faced capture and containment in the Mediterranean – the result of experimentation by EU institutions and member states.

    About two years ago, in June 2019, a group of 75 people found themselves stranded in the central Mediterranean Sea. The migrant group had tried to escape from Libya in order to reach Europe but was adrift at sea after running out of fuel. Monitored by European aerial assets, they saw a vessel on the horizon slowly moving toward them. When they were eventually rescued by the Maridive 601, an offshore supply vessel, they did not know that it would become their floating prison for nearly three weeks. Malta and Italy refused to allocate a port of safety in Europe, and, at first, the Tunisian authorities were equally unwilling to allow them to land.

    Over 19 days, the supply vessel turned from a floating refuge into an offshore carceral space in which the situation for the rescued deteriorated over time. Food and water were scarce, untreated injuries worsened, scabies spread, as did the desperation on board. The 75 people, among them 64 Bangladeshi migrants and dozens of minors, staged a protest on board, chanting: “We don’t need food, we don’t want to stay here, we want to go to Europe.”

    Reaching Europe, however, seemed increasingly unlikely, with Italy and Malta rejecting any responsibility for their disembarkation. Instead, the Tunisian authorities, the Bangladeshi embassy, and the #International_Organisation_for_Migration (#IOM) arranged not only their landing in Tunisia, but also the removal of most of them to their countries of origin. Shortly after disembarkation in the harbour of Zarzis, dozens of the migrants were taken to the runways of Tunis airport and flown out.

    In a recently published article in the journal Political Geography, I have traced the story of this particular migrant group and their zig-zagging trajectories that led many from remote Bangladeshi villages, via Dubai, Istanbul or Alexandria, to Libya, and eventually onto a supply vessel off the Tunisian coast. Although their situation was certainly unique, it also exemplified the ways in which the Mediterranean has turned into a ‘carceral seascape’, a space where people precariously on the move are to be captured and contained in order to prevent them from reaching European shores.

    While forms of migrant capture and containment have, of course, a much longer history in the European context, the past ten years have seen particularly dramatic transformations in the central Mediterranean Sea. When the Arab Uprisings ‘re-opened’ this maritime corridor in and after 2011, crossings started to increase significantly – about 156,000 people crossed to Europe on average every year between 2014 and 2017. Since then, crossings have dropped sharply. The annual average between 2018 and 2020 was around 25,000 people – a figure resembling annual arrivals in the period before the Arab Uprisings.

    One significant reason for this steep decrease in arrivals is the refoulement industry that EU institutions and member states have created, together with third-country allies. The capture of people seeking to escape to Europe has become a cruel trade, of which a range of actors profit. Although ‘refouling’ people on the move – thus returning them to places where they are at risk of facing torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment – violates international human rights laws and refugee conventions, these practices have become systemic and largely normalised, not least as the COVID pandemic has come to serve as a suitable justification to deter potential ‘Corona-spreaders’ and keep them contained elsewhere.

    That migrants face capture and containment in the Mediterranean is the result of years of experimentation on part of EU institutions and member states. Especially since 2018, Europe has largely withdrawn maritime assets from the deadliest areas but reinforced its aerial presence instead, including through the recent deployment of drones. In this way, European assets do not face the ‘risk’ of being forced into rescue operations any longer but can still monitor the sea from above and guide North African, in particular Libyan, speed boats to chase after escaping migrant boats. In consequence, tens of thousands have faced violent returns to places they sought to flee from.

    Just in 2021 alone, about 16,000 people have been caught at sea and forcibly returned to Libya in this way, already more than in the whole of 2020. In mid-June, a ‘push-back by proxy’ occurred, when the merchant vessel Vos Triton handed over 170 migrants to a Libyan coastguard vessel that then returned them to Tripoli, where they were imprisoned in a camp known for its horrendous conditions.

    The refoulment industry, and Mediterranean carcerality more generally, are underpinned by a constant flow of finances, technologies, equipment, discourses, and know-how, which entangles European and Libyan actors to a degree that it might make more sense to think of them as a collective Euro-Libyan border force.

    To legitimise war-torn and politically divided Libya as a ‘competent’ sovereign actor, able to govern the maritime expanse outside its territorial waters, the European Commission funded, and the Italian coastguard implemented, a feasibility study in 2017 to assess “the Libyan capacity in the area of Search and Rescue” (SAR). Shortly after, the Libyan ‘unity government’ declared its extensive Libyan SAR zone, a zone over which it would hold ‘geographical competence’. When the Libyan authorities briefly suspended the establishment of its SAR zone, given its inability to operate a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), an Italian navy vessel was stationed within Tripoli harbour, carrying out the functions of the Libyan MRCC.

    Since 2017, €57.2m from the EU Trust Fund for Africa has funded Libya’s ‘integrated border management’, on top of which hundreds of millions of euros were transferred by EU member states to Libyan authorities through bilateral agreements. Besides such financial support, EU member states have donated speed boats and surveillance technologies to control the Libyan SAR zone while officers from EU military project Operation Sophia and from European Border Agency Frontex have repeatedly provided training to the Libyan coastguards. When out to search for escaping migrants, the Libyan speed boats have relied on Europe’s ‘eyes in the sky’, the aerial assets of Frontex and EU member states. Migrant sightings from the sky would then be relayed to the Libyan assets at sea, also via WhatsApp chats in which Frontex personnel and Libyan officers exchange.

    Thinking of the Mediterranean as a carceral space highlights these myriad Euro-Libyan entanglements that often take place with impunity and little public scrutiny. It also shows how maritime carcerality is “often underscored by mobilities”. Indeed, systematic forms of migrant capture depend on the collaboration of a range of mobile actors at sea, on land, and in the sky. Despite their incessant movements and the fact that surveillance and interception operations are predominantly characterised as rescue operations, thousands of people have lost their lives at sea over recent years. Many have been left abandoned even in situations where their whereabouts were long known to European and North African authorities, often in cases when migrant boats were already adrift and thus unable to reach Europe on their own accord.

    At the same time, even in the violent and carceral Mediterranean Sea, a range of interventions have occurred that have prevented both deaths at sea and the smooth operation of the refoulment industry. NGO rescuers, activists, fishermen and, at times, merchant vessel crews have conducted mass rescues over recent years, despite being harassed, threatened and criminalised by Euro-Libyan authorities at every turn. Through their presence, they have documented and repeatedly ruptured the operations of the Euro-Libyan border force, shedding light on what is meant to remain hidden.

    Maybe most importantly, the Mediterranean’s carceral condition has not erased the possibility of migratory acts of escape. Indeed, tactics of border subversion adapt to changing carceral techniques, with many migrant boats seeking to cross the sea without being detected and to reach European coasts autonomously. As the UNHCR notes in reference to the maritime arrival of 34,000 people in Italy and Malta in 2020: “Only approximately 4,500 of those arriving by sea in 2020 had been rescued by authorities or NGOs on the high seas: the others were intercepted by the authorities close to shore or arrived undetected.”

    While most of those stuck on the Maridive supply vessel off Tunisia’s coast in 2019 were returned to countries of origin, some tried to cross again and eventually escaped Mediterranean carcerality. Despite Euro-North African attempts to capture and contain them, they moved on stubbornly, and landed their boats in Lampedusa.

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/can-europe-make-it/mediterranean-carcerality-and-acts-escape

    #enfermement #Méditerranée #mer_Méditerranée #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières #expérimentation #OIM #Tunisie #Zarzis #externalisation #migrerrance #carcéralité #refoulement #push-backs #Libye #Vos_Triton #EU_Trust_Fund_for_Africa #Trust_Fund #carceral_space

    via @isskein

  • The big wall


    https://thebigwall.org/en

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

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

    –---

    Ready, Set, Go

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    A long story, in short

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Going backwards, through routes and processes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Nigerien experiment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    A reinvented frontier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Repatriations, evacuations, promises

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Cracks in the wall, and how to widen them

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    –—

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

    ping @isskein @karine4 @rhoumour @_kg_

  • EU pays for surveillance in Gulf of Tunis

    A new monitoring system for Tunisian coasts should counter irregular migration across the Mediterranean. The German Ministry of the Interior is also active in the country. A similar project in Libya has now been completed. Human rights organisations see it as an aid to „#pull_backs“ contrary to international law.

    In order to control and prevent migration, the European Union is supporting North African states in border surveillance. The central Mediterranean Sea off Malta and Italy, through which asylum seekers from Libya and Tunisia want to reach Europe, plays a special role. The EU conducts various operations in and off these countries, including the military mission „#Irini“ and the #Frontex mission „#Themis“. It is becoming increasingly rare for shipwrecked refugees to be rescued by EU Member States. Instead, they assist the coast guards in Libya and Tunisia to bring the people back. Human rights groups, rescue organisations and lawyers consider this assistance for „pull backs“ to be in violation of international law.

    With several measures, the EU and its member states want to improve the surveillance off North Africa. Together with Switzerland, the EU Commission has financed a two-part „#Integrated_Border_Management Project“ in Tunisia. It is part of the reform of the security sector which was begun a few years after the fall of former head of state Ben Ali in 2011. With one pillar of this this programme, the EU wants to „prevent criminal networks from operating“ and enable the authorities in the Gulf of Tunis to „save lives at sea“.

    System for military and border police

    The new installation is entitled „#Integrated_System_for_Maritime_Surveillance“ (#ISMariS) and, according to the Commission (https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2020-000891-ASW_EN.html), is intended to bring together as much information as possible from all authorities involved in maritime and coastal security tasks. These include the Ministry of Defence with the Navy, the Coast Guard under the Ministry of the Interior, the National Guard, and IT management and telecommunications authorities. The money comes from the #EU_Emergency_Trust_Fund_for_Africa, which was established at the Valletta Migration Summit in 2015. „ISMariS“ is implemented by the Italian Ministry of the Interior and follows on from an earlier Italian initiative. The EU is financing similar projects with „#EU4BorderSecurity“ not only in Tunisia but also for other Mediterranean countries.

    An institute based in Vienna is responsible for border control projects in Tunisia. Although this #International_Centre_for_Migration_Policy_Development (ICMPD) was founded in 1993 by Austria and Switzerland, it is not a governmental organisation. The German Foreign Office has also supported projects in Tunisia within the framework of the #ICMPD, including the establishment of border stations and the training of border guards. Last month German finally joined the Institute itself (https://www.andrej-hunko.de/start/download/dokumente/1493-deutscher-beitritt-zum-international-centre-for-migration-policy-development/file). For an annual contribution of 210,000 euro, the Ministry of the Interior not only obtains decision-making privileges for organizing ICMPD projects, but also gives German police authorities the right to evaluate any of the Institute’s analyses for their own purposes.

    It is possible that in the future bilateral German projects for monitoring Tunisian maritime borders will also be carried out via the ICMPD. Last year, the German government supplied the local coast guard with equipment for a boat workshop. In the fourth quarter of 2019 alone (http://dipbt.bundestag.de/doc/btd/19/194/1919467.pdf), the Federal Police carried out 14 trainings for the national guard, border police and coast guard, including instruction in operating „control boats“. Tunisia previously received patrol boats from Italy and the USA (https://migration-control.info/en/wiki/tunisia).

    Vessel tracking and coastal surveillance

    It is unclear which company produced and installed the „ISMariS“ surveillance system for Tunisia on behalf of the ICPMD. Similar facilities for tracking and displaying ship movements (#Vessel_Tracking_System) are marketed by all major European defence companies, including #Airbus, #Leonardo in Italy, #Thales in France and #Indra in Spain. However, Italian project management will probably prefer local companies such as Leonardo. The company and its spin-off #e-GEOS have a broad portfolio of maritime surveillance systems (https://www.leonardocompany.com/en/sea/maritime-domain-awareness/coastal-surveillance-systems).

    It is also possible to integrate satellite reconnaissance, but for this the governments must conclude further contracts with the companies. However, „ISMariS“ will not only be installed as a Vessel Tracking System, it should also enable monitoring of the entire coast. Manufacturers promote such #Coastal_Surveillance_Systems as a technology against irregular migration, piracy, terrorism and smuggling. The government in Tunisia has defined „priority coastal areas“ for this purpose, which will be integrated into the maritime surveillance framework.

    Maritime „#Big_Data

    „ISMariS“ is intended to be compatible with the components already in place at the Tunisian authorities, including coastguard command and control systems, #radar, position transponders and receivers, night vision equipment and thermal and optical sensors. Part of the project is a three-year maintenance contract with the company installing the „ISMariS“.

    Perhaps the most important component of „ISMariS“ for the EU is a communication system, which is also included. It is designed to improve „operational cooperation“ between the Tunisian Coast Guard and Navy with Italy and other EU Member States. The project description mentions Frontex and EUROSUR, the pan-European surveillance system of the EU Border Agency, as possible participants. Frontex already monitors the coastal regions off Libya and Tunisia (https://insitu.copernicus.eu/FactSheets/CSS_Border_Surveillance) using #satellites (https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-8-2018-003212-ASW_EN.html) and an aerial service (https://digit.site36.net/2020/06/26/frontex-air-service-reconnaissance-for-the-so-called-libyan-coast-guar).

    #EUROSUR is now also being upgraded, Frontex is spending 2.6 million Euro (https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:109760-2020:TEXT:EN:HTML) on a new application based on artificial intelligence. It is to process so-called „Big Data“, including not only ship movements but also data from ship and port registers, information on ship owners and shipping companies, a multi-year record of previous routes of large ships and other maritime information from public sources on the Internet. The contract is initially concluded for one year and can be extended up to three times.

    Cooperation with Libya

    To connect North African coastguards to EU systems, the EU Commission had started the „#Seahorse_Mediterranean“ project two years after the fall of North African despots. To combat irregular migration, from 2013 onwards Spain, Italy and Malta have trained a total of 141 members of the Libyan coast guard for sea rescue. In this way, „Seahorse Mediterranean“ has complemented similar training measures that Frontex is conducting for the Coastal Police within the framework of the EU mission #EUBAM_Libya and the military mission #EUNAVFOR_MED for the Coast Guard of the Tripolis government.

    The budget for „#Seahorse_Mediterranean“ is indicated by the Commission as 5.5 million Euro (https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2020-000892-ASW_EN.html), the project was completed in January 2019. According to the German Foreign Office (http://dipbt.bundestag.de/doc/btd/19/196/1919625.pdf), Libya has signed a partnership declaration for participation in a future common communication platform for surveillance of the Mediterranean. Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt are also to be persuaded to participate. So far, however, the governments have preferred unilateral EU support for equipping and training their coastguards and navies, without having to make commitments in projects like „Seahorse“, such as stopping migration and smuggling on the high seas.

    https://digit.site36.net/2020/06/28/eu-pays-for-surveillance-in-gulf-of-tunis

    #Golfe_de_Tunis #surveillance #Méditerranée #asile #migrations #réfugiés #militarisation_des_frontières #surveillance_des_frontières #Tunisie #externalisation #complexe_militaro-industriel #Algérie #Egypte #Suisse #EU #UE #Union_européenne #Trust_Fund #Emergency_Trust_Fund_for_Africa #Allemagne #Italie #gardes-côtes #gardes-côtes_tunisiens #intelligence_artificielle #IA #données #Espagne #Malte #business

    ping @reka @isskein @_kg_ @rhoumour @karine4

    –—

    Ajouté à cette métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765330

    Et celle-ci sur le lien entre développement et contrôles frontaliers :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/733358#message768701

  • #EU #Development #Cooperation with #Sub-Saharan #Africa 2013-2018: Policies, funding, results

    How have EU overall development policies and the EU’s overall policies vis-à-vis Sub-Saharan Africa in particular evolved in the period 2013-2018 and what explains the developments that have taken place?2. How has EU development spending in Sub-Saharan Africa developed in the period 2013-2018 and what explains these developments?3.What is known of the results accomplished by EU development aid in Sub-Saharan Africa and what explains these accomplishments?

    This study analyses these questions on the basis of a comprehensive desk review of key EU policy documents, data on EU development cooperation as well as available evaluation material of the EU institutionson EU external assistance. While broad in coverage, the study pays particular attention to EU policies and development spending in specific areas that are priority themes for the Dutch government as communicated to the parliament.

    Authors: Alexei Jones, Niels Keijzer, Ina Friesen and Pauline Veron, study for the evaluation department (IOB) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, May 2020

    = https://ecdpm.org/publications/eu-development-cooperation-sub-saharan-africa-2013-2018-policies-funding-resu

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Pour télécharger le rapport:


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

    ping @isskein

  • Outrage over reports EU-funding linked to forced labour in Eritrea

    Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticised the European Union over its funding of an infrastructure project in the brutal dictatorship of Eritrea.

    The scheme, which received €20 million from Brussels, was partially built by forced labour, according to the New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/08/world/europe/conscription-eritrea-eu.html).

    The newspaper also claimed the EU had no way of monitoring the project.

    “For the EU to rely on the government to do its monitoring, I think it is incredibly problematic, especially when obviously some of the issues the EU will be discussing with the government are around labour force,” said Laetitia Bader from HRW.

    “And as we know the government has quite bluntly said that it will continue to rely on national service conscripts.”

    The funding of the road project in Eritrea is part of the EU Trust Fund for Africa, created to address the #root_causes of migration.

    Yet Eritrea has an elaborate system of indefinite forced “national service” that makes people try to flee, especially youngsters.

    For the EU, democratic reforms are no longer a condition for financial aid.

    “The EU has made support for democracy a more prominent objective in its relations with African countries since the early 2000s, I would say,” said Christine Hackenesch from the German Development Institute.

    “And the EU has put more emphasis on developing its instruments to support democratic reforms. But the context now for democracy support in Africa and globally is a very different one because there is more of a competition of political models with China and other actors.”

    The EU Commission said that it was aware that conscripts were used for the road project - but that Brussels funded only material and equipment, not labour.

    https://www.euronews.com/2020/01/10/outrage-over-reports-eu-funding-linked-to-forced-labour-in-eritrea
    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Trust_Fund #Erythrée #EU #UE #Trust_Fund_for_Africa #dictatures #travail_forcé #aide_au_développement #développement

    Ajouté à la métaliste externalisation :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765340

    Et à la métaliste migrations/développement :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/733358#message768702

    ping @isskein @karine4

    @simplicissimus : j’ai fait un petit tour sur internet à la recherche du communiqué/rapport de HRW concernant cette histoire, mais j’ai pas trouvé... pas le temps de chercher plus... si jamais tu as un peu de temps pour voir ça serait très bienvenu... merci !

    • Sur la page officielle du Trust Fund for Africa... voici ce qui est marqué pour l’Erythrée...

      Eritrea is a major source of asylum seekers, who either remain in neighbouring countries of the region or move onwards towards Europe and elsewhere. Our main aim in the country is to create an enabling environment that improves economic opportunities available to young people, including through education, incentives for private entrepreneurship, vocational training or apprenticeship programmes.

      https://ec.europa.eu/trustfundforafrica/region/horn-africa/eritrea_en

    • Érythrée : une #plainte contre l’UE, complice de « travail forcé »

      Une plainte a été déposée ce mercredi, par un collectif d’Érythréens en exil, contre plusieurs institutions de l’Union européenne. En cause : le financement par l’UE, depuis l’année dernière, de la construction en Érythrée de routes pour lesquels sont employés, en toute connaissance de cause, des appelés du très controversé service militaire obligatoire.

      Les avocats de la Fondation droits de l’homme pour les Erythréens, basée aux Pays-Bas, avaient mis en garde l’Union européenne l’année dernière. Cette fois, face à l’indifférence des institutions de Bruxelles envers leurs arguments, ils sont passés à l’acte. Selon nos informations, une plainte d’une trentaine de pages a été déposée ce mercredi matin auprès du tribunal de grande instance d’Amsterdam. Cette plainte demande deux choses au tribunal : d’abord qu’il déclare le financement européen des chantiers de routes soutenus en Érythrée comme « illégal » ; ensuite, qu’il enjoigne l’Union européenne de le stopper.

      Dans leur plainte contre la Commission européenne et son Service d’action extérieure, les avocats Emil Jurjens et Tamilla Abdul-Alyeva s’appuient évidemment sur le droit international, qui sanctionne l’usage du travail forcé. Mais aussi sur les textes de l’UE elle-même, qui s’est engagée à refuser tout soutien à d’éventuelles « violations des droits de l’homme » dans sa coopération internationale. Et ce alors même que, dans son projet d’appui aux chantiers érythréens rendu public en 2018, elle a reconnu, noir sur blanc, que des conscrits du « service national » seraient bien employés sur les chantiers qu’elle finance, à hauteur de 20 millions d’euros en 2019 et de 60 millions d’euros en 2020.

      Pour sa défense, l’UE avait répondu par lettre, l’année dernière, à la mise en demeure des plaignants. Pour elle, d’une part l’Érythrée refuse toute « condition » préalable à sa coopération. Et d’autre part, elle fait valoir que ses financements ne sont pas destinés au gouvernement d’Asmara, mais à des sous-traitants, en l’occurrence des sociétés de construction érythréennes chargées de la mise en œuvre des travaux. Et elle assure qu’une « rémunération » est bel et bien versée aux employés.

      Les terribles conditions d’emploi des conscrits de l’armée érythréenne

      Mais pour prouver sa bonne foi, soulignent les plaignants, elle s’appuie sur la communication du gouvernement érythréen. Les avocats de la Fondation droits de l’homme pour les Erythréens ajoutent enfin que les sous-traitants érythréens sont des sociétés appartenant au parti unique érythréen, le Front populaire pour la démocratie et la justice (FPDJ) ou, tout simplement, au ministère de la Défense.

      Or, les terribles conditions d’emploi des conscrits de l’armée érythréenne ont été abondamment documentées par plusieurs enquêtes, journalistiques, universitaires ou d’institutions comme le Bureau international du travail (BIT). Mais aussi par la Rapporteure spéciale de l’ONU sur les droits de l’homme en Érythrée et, surtout, la Commission d’enquête du Conseil des droits de l’homme de l’ONU en 2015, qui les a inscrit sur une liste de « possibles crimes contre l’humanité ».

      Les appelés sur « service national » érythréens sont en effet soumis à la vie, la discipline et la hiérarchie militaire. Après avoir été enrôlés avant leur dernière année de lycée, ils sont envoyés pendant 18 mois dans l’académie militaire de Sawa, dans le désert près de la frontière soudanaise, où ils sont soumis à des mauvais traitements, surtout les jeunes filles. Les réfractaires sont enrôlés de force au cours de giffas, ces rafles organisées par l’armée dans les campagnes et dans les villes pour capturer les jeunes qui se seraient soustraits à l’appel obligatoire sous les drapeaux ou qui auraient profité d’une permission pour déserter. Officiellement, il n’existe pas de limite à ce service, maintenant tous les Érythréens entre 18 ans et la cinquantaine à la disposition de l’armée, y compris lorsqu’ils sont nommés à des emploi civils.

      Hasard du calendrier : jeudi, le Parlement européen doit également se prononcer sur le sujet. Une résolution est proposée au vote par la députée française Michèle Rivasi (Verts), appelant la Commission européenne à « reporter » tout financement de tels projets, jusqu’à ce qu’une mission d’information du Parlement puisse se rendre en Érythrée. Mission parlementaire dont le principe avait été accepté en novembre, mais qui n’a pas encore eu lieu.

      http://www.rfi.fr/fr/afrique/20200513-erythr%C3%A9e-une-plainte-contre-l-ue-complice-travail-forc%C3%A9
      #justice

    • Eritrean organisation summons the EU for use of forced labour

      A case is being launched today in the court of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, that demands a halt to the European Union (EU) aid worth 80 million EUR being sent to Eritrea. The Foundation Human Rights for Eritreans has observed that the aid project financed by the EU aid relies on forced labour. The EU acknowledges this. This contradicts the most fundamental principles of international law and is unlawful towards the Foundation, which defends the fundamental rights of Eritreans in Eritrea and in the diaspora.

      The Foundation issued a summons to the European Union in April 2019 and asked the EU to end the project, which looks to rehabilitate the roads between Eritrea and Ethiopia. However, the EU refused to stop the project, even as it recognises that forced labour was (and is) used in the context of this project. At the end of 2019, the EU announced that it would provide further funding to the project. The EU funding goes to Eritrean state companies, which use it to procure materials.

      The Eritrean regime makes use of labourers in the Eritrean national service to construct the roads under the project. The circumstances under which the Eritrean population is forced to work in the national service have been described by the United Nations Human Rights Commission in detail: “Thousands of conscripts are subjected to forced labour that effectively abuses, exploits and enslaves them for years.”

      This form of national service has been described as “enslavement” and a “crime against humanity” by the United Nations. The European Parliament has denounced it as “forced labour” and “a form of slavery”. The EU was asked by the European Parliament in January 2020 to “avoid situations where the EU could indirectly finance projects that violate human rights” with specific reference to the Eritrean road building project.

      The EU claims that it has no responsibility for the forced labourers, as it “does not pay for labor under this project”, according to the European Commission. “The project only covers the procurement of material and equipment to support the rehabilitation of roads.”

      The Foundation states that the support to a project which uses forced labour is clearly in contradiction to international law and asks the Amsterdam court that the project is stopped.

      Documents relating to this case

      Press release EN
      https://kvdl.com/uploads/PRESS-RELEASE_KennedyvdLaan_FIN_13May2020.pdf

      Case summary EN
      https://kvdl.com/uploads/Case-Summary_Eritrea-Road-building_FIN_13May2020.pdf

      Writ of summons (‘dagvaarding’) EN
      https://kvdl.com/uploads/Writ-of-Summons-Foundation-HRfE-EU.pdf

      https://kvdl.com/en/articles/eritrean-organisation-summons-the-eu-for-use-of-forced-labour

    • Érythrée | L’Europe accusée de financer le travail forcé

      La Fondation des droits de l’homme pour les Érythréens, basée aux Pays-Bas, a déposé une plainte contre l’Union européenne (UE) en mai 2020, l’incriminant de financer le travail forcé en Érythrée. En cause : les investissements du Fonds fiduciaire d’urgence de l’UE pour l’Afrique dans des chantiers majoritairement menés par des personnes enrôlées de force pour un service militaire indéfini, avec des salaires quasi inexistants. La Suisse est associée à ce fonds d’urgence pour l’Afrique, qui a comme but premier de freiner la migration africaine vers l’Europe. Or, le règlement de l’UE interdit « tout soutien à d’éventuelles violations des droits humains ». La plainte demande aux organes concernés de l’UE de reconnaître ces financements comme illégaux et de les stopper. Les justifications, que les dirigeants européens invoquent en réponse aux critiques déjà émises, semblent jusqu’ici hasardeuses.

      Depuis quelques années l’Érythrée a entamé un mouvement d’ouverture vis-à-vis des soutiens extérieurs au sein de ce pays africain en main du même régime dictatorial depuis son indépendance. Des délégations européennes se sont rendues sur place pour négocier et contempler dans des circuits très contrôlés par les autorités l’état actuel des choses. L’Union européenne soutient financièrement des projets sur place à travers l’utilisation du Fonds fiduciaire d’urgence de l’UE pour l’Afrique, doté de 4,6 milliards. Conçu en 2015 lors d’une augmentation du nombre de demandes d’asile en Europe, ce fonds a comme finalité une réduction des migrations vers l’Europe. Selon Radio France International (RFI), concernant l’Érythrée spécifiquement, les chantiers dévoilés en 2018 sont financés à hauteur de 20 millions de francs en 2019, et 60 millions en 2020.

      Une sommation en 2019, puis une plainte contre l’UE en 2020

      Or pour la Fondation des droits de l’homme pour les Érythréens, cette aide finance des chantiers où travailleraient des conscrits enrôlés de force et mal (ou non) rémunérés. Malgré les changements récents, le régime autoritaire d’Issayas Afewerki ne donne pas de signe de relâchement envers sa population. Le rapport 2019 de Human Rights Watch énumère encore de nombreuses exactions contre les droits humains et dénonce également le financement de ces chantiers par l’UE. En particulier à travers ce système de milice forcé qui enrôle hommes et femmes dès leur majorité, et parfois plus jeunes, pour des travaux nationaux sans véritable compensation financière ni limite de temps formelle. Les figures opposantes au régime sont muselées, emprisonnées ou trouvent comme seule échappatoire la fuite du territoire. Un reportage auprès de l’énorme diaspora érythréenne vivant de l’autre côté de la frontière en Éthiopie, paru dans Mondiaal Niews (01.11.2019) estime que « l’argent européen maintient simplement la dictature en place ». Autrement dit : « l’Europe n’arrête pas la migration d’Érythrée, elle [en] prépare le terrain ».

      Selon la Fondation, ce sont précisément des personnes enrôlées contre leur gré qui travaillent sur des chantiers titanesques, cofinancés par l’Union européenne dans le cadre de ce fonds fiduciaire d’urgence de l’UE pour l’Afrique. Elle s’était déjà adressée aux autorités européennes en avril 2019 pour dénoncer ces faits (RFI). L’UE s’était alors défendue de toute responsabilité. Reconnaissant « que l’Érythrée n’accepte aucune condition sur l’octroi des fonds », elle estimait que les salaires étaient versés, vu que l’argent était touché par des entreprises érythréennes directement. Or, ces arguments ont comme source directe le gouvernement érythréen. Selon les informations invoquées par la Fondation, les sous-traitants érythréens en charge des chantiers sont des sociétés appartenant au parti unique érythréen. Ce qui permet de mettre en doute leur indépendance.
      Restés lettre morte, les arguments de la Fondation ont cette fois été formulés sous forme de plainte déposée le 13 mai 2020 auprès du tribunal de grande instance d’Amsterdam. Un dossier de 30 pages demande à l’UE de reconnaître ce soutien comme illégal et de le stopper.

      La Suisse y est associée

      Un article paru dans Le Temps le 22 janvier 2020 révélait que la Suisse était associée à ce fonds. Si les autorités helvétiques disent avoir émis des critiques sur le programme érythréen, insistant sur la nécessité d’une surveillance étroite, leur contribution participe dans les faits à ces chantiers ayant potentiellement recours au travail forcé. L’article évoque celui nommé « de la route de la paix » permettant d’améliorer l’accès à la mer pour la très enclavée Érythrée. Le responsable de ce fonds pour la Suisse affirmait ne « financer que le matériel ».
      Une assurance peu fiable, si l’on en croit l’UNOPS, un bureau onusien chargé par l’UE de contrôler l’utilisation du fonds, pour qui il n’est pas possible d’effectuer la surveillance de manière indépendante. Selon l’article du Temps, des membres de la Commission européenne avaient finalement rétorqué : « Le gouvernement a indiqué qu’il était prêt à démobiliser les conscrits une fois que les conditions le permettront. Il faut que la création d’emplois soit suffisante. Cela ne peut se produire du jour au lendemain. Se retirer serait contre-productif […] »
      On le voit, les arguments avancés par les représentant-e-s de la Suisse ou de l’Union européenne ne tiennent pas la route. Et leur responsabilité reste entière. Pensaient-ils, pensaient-elles, que la crainte de l’arrivée de nouveaux ressortissant-e-s érythréen-ne-s en quête de protection suffirait à faire tolérer des alliances et financements inavouables ? C’était faire fi d’une diaspora érythréenne intimement soudée et organisée pour faire front face à un régime totalitaire qui rend exsangue tout un peuple encore à sa merci. Cette plainte vient rappeler leur présence essentielle et leur ténacité exemplaire.

      –—

      Documents clés
      • 13.05.2020 Communiqué de presse relatif au dépôt de la plainte par Foundation Human Rights for Erythreans : « Eritrean organisation summons the EU for use of forced labour » (https://asile.ch/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/PRESS-RELEASE_KennedyvdLaan_FIN_13May2020.pdf)
      • 14.01.2020 Rapport publié par Human Rights Watch « Eritrea : Events of 2019 » (https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2020/country-chapters/eritrea)
      • 01.04.2019 Lettre de sommation envoyée à l’Union européenne « Foundation Human Rights for Eritreans / European Union » (https://asile.ch/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Letter-of-Summons-EU-Emergency-Trust-Fund-for-Africa-1.pdf)

      https://asile.ch/2020/08/24/erythree-leurope-accusee-de-financer-le-travail-force

  • Europe spends billions stopping migration. Good luck figuring out where the money actually goes

    How much money exactly does Europe spend trying to curb migration from Nigeria? And what’s it used for? We tried to find out, but Europe certainly doesn’t make it easy. These flashy graphics show you just how complicated the funding is.
    In a shiny new factory in the Benin forest, a woman named Blessing slices pineapples into rings. Hundreds of miles away, at a remote border post in the Sahara, Abubakar scans travellers’ fingerprints. And in village squares across Nigeria, Usman performs his theatre show about the dangers of travelling to Europe.

    What do all these people have in common?

    All their lives are touched by the billions of euros European governments spend in an effort to curb migration from Africa.

    Since the summer of 2015,
    Read more about the influx of refugees to Europe in 2015 on the UNHCR website.
    when countless boats full of migrants began arriving on the shores of Greece and Italy, Europe has increased migration spending by billions.
    Read my guide to EU migration policy here.
    And much of this money is being spent in Africa.

    Within Europe, the political left and right have very different ways of framing the potential benefits of that funding. Those on the left say migration spending not only provides Africans with better opportunities in their home countries but also reduces migrant deaths in the Mediterranean. Those on the right say migration spending discourages Africans from making the perilous journey to Europe.

    However they spin it, the end result is the same: both left and right have embraced funding designed to reduce migration from Africa. In fact, the European Union (EU) plans to double migration spending under the new 2021-2027 budget, while quadrupling spending on border control.

    The three of us – journalists from Nigeria, Italy and the Netherlands – began asking ourselves: just how much money are we talking here?

    At first glance, it seems like a perfectly straightforward question. Just add up the migration budgets of the EU and the individual member states and you’ve got your answer, right? But after months of research, it turns out that things are nowhere near that simple.

    In fact, we discovered that European migration spending resembles nothing so much as a gigantic plate of spaghetti.

    If you try to tease out a single strand, at least three more will cling to it. Try to find where one strand begins, and you’ll find yourself tangled up in dozens of others.

    This is deeply concerning. Though Europe maintains a pretence of transparency, in practice it’s virtually impossible to hold the EU and its member states accountable for their migration expenditures, let alone assess how effective they are. If a team of journalists who have devoted months to the issue can’t manage it, then how could EU parliament members juggling multiple portfolios ever hope to?

    This lack of oversight is particularly problematic in the case of migration, an issue that ranks high on European political agendas. The subject of migration fuels a great deal of political grandstanding, populist opportunism, and social unrest. And the debate surrounding the issue is rife with misinformation.

    For an issue of this magnitude, it’s crucial to have a clear view of existing policies and to examine whether these policies make sense. But to be able to do that, we need to understand the funding streams: how much money is being spent and what is it being spent on?

    While working on this article, we spoke to researchers and officials who characterised EU migration spending as “opaque”, “unclear” and “chaotic”. We combed through countless websites, official documents, annual reports and budgets, and we submitted freedom of information requests
    in a number of European countries, in Nigeria, and to the European commission. And we discovered that the subject of migration, while not exactly cloak-and-dagger stuff, is apparently sensitive enough that most people preferred to speak off the record.

    Above all, we were troubled by the fact that no one seems to have a clear overview of European migration budgets – and by how painfully characteristic this is of European migration policy as a whole.
    Nigeria – ‘a tough cookie’

    It wasn’t long before we realised that mapping out all European cash flows to all African countries would take us years. Instead, we decided to focus on Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and the continent’s strongest economy, as well as the country of origin of the largest group of African asylum seekers in the EU. “A tough cookie” in the words of one senior EU official, but also “our most important migration partner in the coming years”.

    But Nigeria wasn’t exactly eager to embrace the role of “most important migration partner”. After all, migration has been a lifeline for Nigeria’s economy: last year, Nigerian migrants living abroad sent home $25bn – roughly 6% of the country’s GNP.

    It took a major European charm offensive to get Nigeria on board – a “long saga” with “more than one tense meeting”, according to a high-ranking EU diplomat we spoke to.

    The European parliament invited Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian president, to Strasbourg in 2016. Over the next several years, one European dignitary after another visited Nigeria: from Angela Merkel,
    the German chancellor, to Matteo Renzi,
    the Italian prime minister, to Emmanuel Macron,
    the French president, to Mark Rutte,

    the Dutch prime minister.

    Three guesses as to what they all wanted to talk about.
    ‘No data available’

    But let’s get back to those funding streams.

    The EU would have you believe that everything fits neatly into a flowchart. When asked to respond to this article, the European commission told us: “We take transparency very seriously.” One spokesperson after another, all from various EU agencies, informed us that the information was “freely available online”.

    But as Wilma Haan, director of the Open State Foundation, notes: “Just throwing a bunch of stuff online doesn’t make you transparent. People have to be able to find the information and verify it.”

    Yet that’s exactly what the EU did. The EU foundations and agencies we contacted referred us to dozens of different websites. In some cases, the information was relatively easy to find,
    but in others the data was fragmented or missing entirely. All too often, our searches turned up results such as “data soon available”
    or “no data available”.

    The website of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) – worth around €3.1bn – is typical of the problems we faced. While we were able to find a list of projects funded by AMIF online,

    the list only contains the names of the projects – not the countries in which they’re carried out. As a result, there’s only one way to find out what’s going on where: by Googling each of the project names individually.

    This lack of a clear overview has major consequences for the democratic process, says Tineke Strik, member of the European parliament (Green party). Under the guise of “flexibility”, the European parliament has “no oversight over the funds whatsoever”. Strik says: “In the best-case scenario, we’ll discover them listed on the European commission’s website.”

    At the EU’s Nigerian headquarters, one official explained that she does try to keep track of European countries’ migration-related projects to identify “gaps and overlaps”. When asked why this information wasn’t published online, she responded: “It’s something I do alongside my daily work.”
    Getting a feel for Europe’s migration spaghetti

    “There’s no way you’re going to get anywhere with this.”

    This was the response from a Correspondent member who researches government funding when we announced this project several months ago. Not exactly the most encouraging words to start our journey. Still, over the past few months, we’ve done our best to make as much progress as we could.

    Let’s start in the Netherlands, Maite’s home country. When we tried to find out how much Dutch tax money is spent in Nigeria on migration-related issues, we soon found ourselves down yet another rabbit hole.

    The Dutch ministry of foreign affairs, which controls all funding for Dutch foreign policy, seemed like a good starting point. The ministry divides its budget into centralised and decentralised funds. The centralised funds are managed in the Netherlands administrative capital, The Hague, while the decentralised funds are distributed by Dutch embassies abroad.

    Exactly how much money goes to the Dutch embassy in the Nigerian capital Abuja is unclear – no information is available online. When we contacted the embassy, they weren’t able to provide us with any figures, either. According to their press officer, these budgets are “fragmented”, and the total can only be determined at the end of the year.

    The ministry of foreign affairs distributes centralised funds through its departments. But migration is a topic that spans a number of different departments: the department for stabilisation and humanitarian aid (DSH), the security policy department (DVB), the sub-Saharan Africa department (DAF), and the migration policy bureau (BMB), to name just a few. There’s no way of knowing whether each department spends money on migration, let alone how much of it goes to Nigeria.

    Not to mention the fact that other ministries, such as the ministry of economic affairs and the ministry of justice and security, also deal with migration-related issues.

    Next, we decided to check out the Dutch development aid budget
    in the hope it would clear things up a bit. Unfortunately, the budget isn’t organised by country, but by theme. And since migration isn’t one of the main themes, it’s scattered over several different sections. Luckily, the document does contain an annex (https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/begrotingen/2019/09/17/hgis---nota-homogene-groep-internationale-samenwerking-rijksbegroting-) that goes into more detail about migration.

    In this annex, we found that the Netherlands spends a substantial chunk of money on “migration cooperation”, “reception in the region” and humanitarian aid for refugees.

    And then there’s the ministry of foreign affairs’ Stability Fund,
    the ministry of justice and security’s budget for the processing and repatriation of asylum seekers, and the ministry of education, culture and science’s budget for providing asylum seekers with an education.

    But again, it’s impossible to determine just how much of this funding finds its way to Nigeria. This is partly due to the fact that many migration projects operate in multiple countries simultaneously (in Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon, for example). Regional projects such as this generally don’t share details of how funding is divided up among the participating countries.

    Using data from the Dutch embassy and an NGO that monitors Dutch projects in Nigeria, we found that €6m in aid goes specifically to Nigeria, with another €19m for the region as a whole. Dutch law enforcement also provides in-kind support to help strengthen Nigeria’s border control.

    But hold on, there’s more. We need to factor in the money that the Netherlands spends on migration through its contributions to the EU.

    The Netherlands pays hundreds of millions into the European Development Fund (EDF), which is partly used to finance migration projects. Part of that money also gets transferred to another EU migration fund: the EUTF for Africa.
    The Netherlands also contributes directly to this fund.

    But that’s not all. The Netherlands also gives (either directly or through the EU) to a variety of other EU funds and agencies that finance migration projects in Nigeria. And just as in the Netherlands, these EU funds and agencies are scattered over many different offices. There’s no single “EU ministry of migration”.

    To give you a taste of just how convoluted things can get: the AMIF falls under the EU’s home affairs “ministry”

    (DG HOME), the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) falls under the “ministry” for international cooperation and development (DG DEVCO), and the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) falls under the European External Action Service (EEAS). The EU border agency, Frontex, is its own separate entity, and there’s also a “ministry” for humanitarian aid (DG ECHO).

    Still with me?

    Because this was just the Netherlands.

    Now let’s take a look at Giacomo’s country of origin, Italy, which is also home to one of Europe’s largest Nigerian communities (surpassed only by the UK).

    Italy’s ministry of foreign affairs funds the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), which provides humanitarian aid in north-eastern Nigeria, where tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency. AICS also finances a wide range of projects aimed at raising awareness of the risks of illegal migration. It’s impossible to say how much of this money ends up in Nigeria, though, since the awareness campaigns target multiple countries at once.

    This data is all available online – though you’ll have to do some digging to find it. But when it comes to the funds managed by Italy’s ministry of the interior, things start to get a bit murkier. Despite the ministry having signed numerous agreements on migration with African countries in recent years, there’s little trace of the money online. Reference to a €92,000 donation for new computers for Nigeria’s law enforcement and immigration services was all we could find.

    Things get even more complicated when we look at Italy’s “Africa Fund”, which was launched in 2017 to foster cooperation with “priority countries along major migration routes”. The fund is jointly managed by the ministry of foreign affairs and the ministry of the interior.

    Part of the money goes to the EUTF for Africa, but the fund also contributes to United Nations (UN) organisations, such as the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), as well as to the Italian ministry of defence and the ministry of economy and finance.

    Like most European governments, Italy also contributes to EU funds and agencies concerned with migration, such as Frontex, Europol, and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).

    And then there are the contributions to UN agencies that deal with migration: UNHCR, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), IOM, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), to name just a few.

    Now multiply all of this by the number of European countries currently active in Nigeria. Oh, and let’s not forget the World Bank,

    which has only recently waded into the waters of the migration industry.

    And then there are the European development banks. And the EU’s External Investment Plan, which was launched in 2016 with the ambitious goal of generating €44bn in private investments in developing countries, with a particular focus on migrants’ countries of origin. Not to mention the regional “migration dialogues”
    organised in west Africa under the Rabat Process and the Cotonou Agreement.

    This is the European migration spaghetti.
    How we managed to compile a list nonetheless

    By now, one thing should be clear: there are a staggering number of ministries, funds and departments involved in European migration spending. It’s no wonder that no one in Europe seems to have a clear overview of the situation. But we thought that maybe, just maybe, there was one party that might have the overview we seek: Nigeria. After all, the Nigerian government has to be involved in all the projects that take place there, right?

    We decided to ask around in Nigeria’s corridors of power. Was anyone keeping track of European migration funding? The Ministry of Finance? Or maybe the Ministry of the Interior, or the Ministry of Labour and Employment?

    Nope.

    We then tried asking Nigeria’s anti-trafficking agency (NAPTIP), the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, and the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI).

    No luck there, either. When it comes to migration, things are just as fragmented under the Nigerian government as they are in Europe.

    In the meantime, we contacted each of the European embassies in Nigeria.
    This proved to be the most fruitful approach and yielded the most complete lists of projects. The database of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI)
    was particularly useful in fleshing out our overview.

    So does that mean our list is now complete? Probably not.

    More to the point: the whole undertaking is highly subjective, since there’s no official definition of what qualifies as a migration project and what doesn’t.

    For example, consider initiatives to create jobs for young people in Nigeria. Would those be development projects or trade projects? Or are they actually migration projects (the idea being that young people wouldn’t migrate if they could find work)?

    What about efforts to improve border control in northern Nigeria? Would they fall under counterterrorism? Security? Institutional development? Or is this actually a migration-related issue?

    Each country has its own way of categorising projects.

    There’s no single, unified standard within the EU.

    When choosing what to include in our own overview, we limited ourselves to projects that European countries themselves designated as being migration related.

    While it’s certainly not perfect, this overview allows us to draw at least some meaningful conclusions about three key issues: where the money is going, where it isn’t going, and what this means for Nigeria.
    1) Where is the money going?

    In Nigeria, we found

    If you’d like to work with the data yourself, feel free to download the full overview here.
    50 migration projects being funded by 11 different European countries, as well as 32 migration projects that rely on EU funding. Together, they amount to more than €770m in funding.

    Most of the money from Brussels is spent on improving Nigerian border control:
    more than €378m. For example, the European Investment Bank has launched a €250m initiative

    to provide all Nigerians with biometric identity cards.

    The funding provided by individual countries largely goes to projects aimed at creating employment opportunities

    in Nigeria: at least €92m.

    Significantly, only €300,000 is spent on creating more legal opportunities to migrate – less than 0.09% of all funding.

    We also found 47 “regional” projects that are not limited to Nigeria, but also include other countries.
    Together, they amount to more than €775m in funding.
    Regional migration spending is mainly focused on migrants who have become stranded in transit and is used to return them home and help them to reintegrate when they get there. Campaigns designed to raise awareness of the dangers of travelling to Europe also receive a relatively large proportion of funding in the region.

    2) Where isn’t the money going?

    When we look at the list of institutions – or “implementing agencies”, as they’re known in policy speak – that receive money from Europe, one thing immediately stands out: virtually none of them are Nigerian organisations.

    “The EU funds projects in Nigeria, but that money doesn’t go directly to Nigerian organisations,” says Charles Nwanelo, head of migration at the NCFRMI.

    See their website here.
    “Instead, it goes to international organisations, such as the IOM, which use the money to carry out projects here. This means we actually have no idea how much money the EU is spending in Nigeria.”

    We hear the same story again and again from Nigerian government officials: they never see a cent of European funding, as it’s controlled by EU and UN organisations. This is partially a response to corruption within Nigerian institutions – Europe feels it can keep closer tabs on its money by channelling it through international organisations. As a result, these organisations are growing rapidly in Nigeria. To get an idea of just how rapidly: the number of people working for the IOM in Nigeria has more than quadrupled over the past two years.

    Of course, this doesn’t mean that Nigerian organisations are going unfunded. Implementing agencies are free to pass funding along to Nigerian groups. For example, the IOM hires Nigerian NGOs to provide training for returning migrants and sponsors a project that provides training and new software to the Nigerian immigration service.

    Nevertheless, the system has inevitably led to the emergence of a parallel aid universe in which the Nigerian government plays only a supporting role. “The Nigerian parliament should demand to see an overview of all current and upcoming projects being carried out in their country every three months,” says Bob van Dillen, migration expert at development organisation Cordaid.

    But that would be “difficult”, according to one German official we spoke to, because “this isn’t a priority for the Nigerian government. This is at the top of Europe’s agenda, not Nigeria’s.”

    Most Nigerian migrants to Europe come from Edo state, where the governor has been doing his absolute best to compile an overview of all migration projects. He set up a task force that aims to coordinate migration activities in his state. The task force has been largely unsuccessful because the EU doesn’t provide it with any direct funding and doesn’t require member states to cooperate with it.

    3) What are the real-world consequences for Nigeria?

    We’ve established that the Nigerian government isn’t involved in allocating migration spending and that local officials are struggling to keep tabs on things. So who is coordinating all those billions in funding?

    Each month, the European donors and implementing agencies mentioned above meet at the EU delegation to discuss their migration projects. However, diplomats from multiple European countries have told us that no real coordination takes place at these meetings. No one checks to see whether projects conflict or overlap. Instead, the meetings are “more on the basis of letting each other know”, as one diplomat put it.

    One German official noted: “What we should do is look together at what works, what doesn’t, and which lessons we can learn from each other. Not to mention how to prevent people from shopping around from project to project.”

    Other diplomats consider this too utopian and feel that there are far too many players to make that level of coordination feasible. In practice, then, it seems that chaotic funding streams inevitably lead to one thing: more chaos.
    And we’ve only looked at one country ...

    That giant plate of spaghetti we just sifted through only represents a single serving – other countries have their own versions of Nigeria’s migration spaghetti. Alongside Nigeria, the EU has also designated Mali, Senegal, Ethiopia and Niger as “priority countries”. The EU’s largest migration fund, the EUTF, finances projects in 26 different African countries. And the sums of money involved are only going to increase.

    When we first started this project, our aim was to chart a path through the new European zeal for funding. We wanted to track the flow of migration money to find answers to some crucial questions: will this funding help Nigerians make better lives for themselves in their own country? Will it help reduce the trafficking of women? Will it provide more safe, legal ways for Nigerians to travel to Europe?

    Or will it primarily go towards maintaining the international aid industry? Does it encourage corruption? Does it make migrants even more vulnerable to exploitation along the way?

    But we’re still far from answering these questions. Recently, a new study by the UNDP

    called into question “the notion that migration can be prevented or significantly reduced through programmatic and policy responses”.

    Nevertheless, European programming and policy responses will only increase in scope in the coming years.

    But the more Europe spends on migration, the more tangled the spaghetti becomes and the harder it gets to check whether funds are being spent wisely. With the erosion of transparency comes the erosion of democratic oversight.

    So to anyone who can figure out how to untangle the spaghetti, we say: be our guest.

    https://thecorrespondent.com/154/europe-spends-billions-stopping-migration-good-luck-figuring-out-where-the-money-actually-goes/171168048128-fac42704
    #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Nigeria #EU #EU #Union_européenne #externalisation #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #Frontex #Trust_fund #Pays-Bas #argent #transparence (manque de - ) #budget #remittances #AMIF #développement #aide_au_développement #European_Development_Fund (#EDF) #EUTF_for_Africa #European_Neighbourhood_Instrument (#ENI) #Development_Cooperation_Instrument (#DCI) #Italie #Banque_mondiale #External_Investment_Plan #processus_de_rabat #accords_de_Cotonou #biométrie #carte_d'identité_biométrique #travail #développement #aide_au_développement #coopération_au_développement #emploi #réintégration #campagnes #IOM #OIM

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749
    Et ajouté à la métaliste développement/migrations :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/733358

    ping @isskein @isskein @pascaline @_kg_

    • Résumé en français par Jasmine Caye (@forumasile) :

      Pour freiner la migration en provenance d’Afrique les dépenses européennes explosent

      Maite Vermeulen est une journaliste hollandaise, cofondatrice du site d’information The Correspondent et spécialisée dans les questions migratoires. Avec deux autres journalistes, l’italien Giacomo Zandonini (Italie) et le nigérian Ajibola Amzat, elle a tenté de comprendre les raisons derrières la flambée des dépenses européennes sensées freiner la migration en provenance du continent africain.

      Depuis le Nigéria, Maite Vermeulen s’est intéressée aux causes de la migration nigériane vers l’Europe et sur les milliards d’euros déversés dans les programmes humanitaires et sécuritaires dans ce pays. Selon elle, la politique sécuritaire européenne n’empêchera pas les personnes motivées de tenter leur chance pour rejoindre l’Europe. Elle constate que les fonds destinés à freiner la migration sont toujours attribués aux mêmes grandes organisations gouvernementales ou non-gouvernementales. Les financements européens échappent aussi aux évaluations d’impact permettant de mesurer les effets des aides sur le terrain.

      Le travail de recherche des journalistes a duré six mois et se poursuit. Il est financé par Money Trail un projet qui soutient des journalistes africains, asiatiques et européens pour enquêter en réseau sur les flux financiers illicites et la corruption en Afrique, en Asie et en Europe.

      Les Nigérians ne viennent pas en Europe pour obtenir l’asile

      L’équipe a d’abord tenté d’élucider cette énigme : pourquoi tant de nigérians choisissent de migrer vers l’Europe alors qu’ils n’obtiennent quasiment jamais l’asile. Le Nigéria est un pays de plus de 190 millions d’habitants et l’économie la plus riche d’Afrique. Sa population représente le plus grand groupe de migrants africains qui arrivent en Europe de manière irrégulière. Sur les 180 000 migrants qui ont atteint les côtes italiennes en 2016, 21% étaient nigérians. Le Nigéria figure aussi régulièrement parmi les cinq premiers pays d’origine des demandeurs d’asile de l’Union européenne. Près de 60% des requérants nigérians proviennent de l’Etat d’Edo dont la capitale est Bénin City. Pourtant leurs chance d’obtenir un statut de protection sont minimes. En effet, seuls 9% des demandeurs d’asile nigérians reçoivent l’asile dans l’UE. Les 91% restants sont renvoyés chez eux ou disparaissent dans la nature.

      Dans l’article Want to make sense of migration ? Ask the people who stayed behind, Maite Vermeulen explique que Bénin City a été construite grâce aux nigérians travaillant illégalement en Italie. Et les femmes sont peut-être bien à l’origine d’un immense trafic de prostituées. Elle nous explique ceci :

      “Pour comprendre le présent, il faut revenir aux années 80. À cette époque, des entreprises italiennes étaient établies dans l’État d’Edo. Certains hommes d’affaires italiens ont épousé des femmes de Benin City, qui sont retournées en Italie avec leur conjoint. Ils ont commencé à exercer des activités commerciales, à commercialiser des textiles, de la dentelle et du cuir, de l’or et des bijoux. Ces femmes ont été les premières à faire venir d’autres femmes de leur famille en Italie – souvent légalement, car l’agriculture italienne avait cruellement besoin de travailleurs pour cueillir des tomates et des raisins. Mais lorsque, à la fin des années 80, la chute des prix du pétrole a plongé l’économie nigériane à l’arrêt, beaucoup de ces femmes d’affaires ont fait faillite. Les femmes travaillant dans l’agriculture ont également connu une période difficile : leur emploi est allé à des ouvriers d’Europe de l’Est. Ainsi, de nombreuses femmes Edo en Italie n’avaient qu’une seule alternative : la prostitution. Ce dernier recours s’est avéré être lucratif. En peu de temps, les femmes ont gagné plus que jamais auparavant. Elles sont donc retournées à Benin City dans les années 1990 avec beaucoup de devises européennes – avec plus d’argent, en fait, que beaucoup de gens de leur ville n’en avaient jamais vu. Elles ont construit des appartements pour gagner des revenus locatifs. Ces femmes étaient appelées « talos », ou mammas italiennes. Tout le monde les admirait. Les jeunes femmes les considéraient comme des modèles et voulaient également aller en Europe. Certains chercheurs appellent ce phénomène la « théorie de la causalité cumulative » : chaque migrant qui réussit entraîne plus de personnes de sa communauté à vouloir migrer. A cette époque, presque personne à Benin City ne savait d’où venait exactement l’argent. Les talos ont commencé à prêter de l’argent aux filles de leur famille afin qu’elles puissent également se rendre en Italie. Ce n’est que lorsque ces femmes sont arrivées qu’on leur a dit comment elles devaient rembourser le prêt. Certaines ont accepté, d’autres ont été forcées. Toutes gagnaient de l’argent. Dans les premières années, le secret des mammas italiennes était gardé au sein de la famille. Mais de plus en plus de femmes ont payé leurs dettes – à cette époque, cela prenait environ un an ou deux – et elles ont ensuite décidé d’aller chercher de l’argent elles-mêmes. En tant que « Mamas », elles ont commencé à recruter d’autres femmes dans leur ville natale. Puis, lentement, l’argent a commencé à manquer à Benin City : un grand nombre de leurs femmes travaillaient dans l’industrie du sexe en Italie.”

      Aujourd’hui, l’Union européenne considère le Nigéria comme son plus important “partenaire migratoire”et depuis quelques années les euros s’y déversent à flots afin de financer des programmes des sécurisation des frontières, de création d’emploi, de lutte contre la traite d’être humains et des programmes de sensibilisation sur les dangers de la migration vers l’Europe.
      Le “cartel migratoire” ou comment peu d’organisation monopolisent les projets sur le terrain

      Dans un autre article intitulé A breakdown of Europe’s € 1.5 billion migration spending in Nigeria, les journalistes se demandent comment les fonds européens sont alloués au Nigéria. Encore une fois on parle ici des projets destinés à freiner la migration. En tout ce sont 770 millions d’euros investis dans ces “projets migration”. En plus, le Nigéria bénéficie d’autres fonds supplémentaires à travers les “projets régionaux” qui s’élèvent à 775 millions d’euros destinés principalement à coordonner et organiser les retours vers les pays d’origines. Mais contrairement aux engagements de l’Union européenne les fonds alloués aux projets en faveur de la migration légale sont très inférieurs aux promesses et représentent 0.09% des aides allouées au Nigéria.

      A qui profitent ces fonds ? Au “cartel migratoire” constitué du Haut Commissariat des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés (HCR), de l’Organisation internationale des migrations (OIM), de l’UNICEF, de l’Organisation internationale du travail (OIL), de l’Organisation internationale des Nations Unies contre la drogue et le crime (UNODC). Ces organisations récoltent près de 60% des fonds alloués par l’Union européenne aux “projets migration” au Nigéria et dans la région. Les ONG et les consultants privés récupèrent 13% du total des fonds alloués, soit 89 millions d’euros, le double de ce qu’elles reçoivent en Europe.
      Les montants explosent, la transparence diminue

      Où va vraiment l’argent et comment mesurer les effets réels sur les populations ciblées. Quels sont les impacts de ces projets ? Depuis 2015, l’Europe a augmenté ses dépenses allouées à la migration qui s’élèvent désormais à plusieurs milliards.

      La plus grande partie de ces fonds est attribuée à l’Afrique. Dans l’article Europe spends billions stopping migration. Good luck figuring out where the money actually goes, Maite Vermeulen, Ajibola Amzat et Giacomo Zandonini expliquent que l’UE prévoit de doubler ces dépenses dans le budget 2021-2027 et quadrupler les dépenses sur le contrôle des frontières.

      Des mois de recherche n’ont pas permis de comprendre comment étaient alloués les fonds pour la migration. Les sites internet sont flous et de nombreux bureaucrates européens se disent incapables concilier les dépenses car la transparence fait défaut. Difficile de comprendre l’allocation précise des fonds de l’Union européenne et celle des fonds des Etats européens. Le tout ressemble, selon les chercheurs, à un immense plat de spaghettis. Ils se posent une question importante : si eux n’y arrivent pas après des mois de recherche comment les députés européens pourraient s’y retrouver ? D’autres chercheurs et fonctionnaires européens qualifient les dépenses de migration de l’UE d’opaques. La consultation de nombreux sites internet, documents officiels, rapports annuels et budgets, et les nombreuses demandes d’accès à l’information auprès de plusieurs pays européens actifs au Nigéria ainsi que les demandes d’explications adressées à la Commission européenne n’ont pas permis d’arriver à une vision globale et précise des budgets attribués à la politique migratoire européenne. Selon Tineke Strik, député vert au parlement européen, ce manque de clarté a des conséquences importantes sur le processus démocratique, car sans vision globale précise, il n’y a pas vraiment de surveillance possible sur les dépenses réelles ni sur l’impact réel des programmes sur le terrain.

      https://thecorrespondent.com/154/europe-spends-billions-stopping-migration-good-luck-figuring-out-where-the-money-actually-goes/102663569008-2e2c2159

  • Why return from Europe is causing problems for The Gambia

    Roughly 38,500 Gambians left the country through ‘irregular’ means between 2013 and 2017. Today, almost every family has ties abroad. The influx of immigrants to Europe and elsewhere was caused by political oppression under the long-serving former president Yahya Jammeh. His oppressive politics also severely affected the economic prospects of The Gambia’s young population.

    As a result, a large number of citizens, mostly young men, sought asylum in Europe. But very few have been allowed to stay. Even more were turned away when Jammeh was toppled after elections in 2017 and the country returned to democracy. More recently, there has been a big push from European Union (EU) member states to return failed asylum seekers back home to The Gambia.

    The question of returns is particularly volatile in the west African nation of 2 million people, reflected in the country’s and European press.

    A slight increase in Gambian deportations began in November 2018 after the EU and the government agreed on a ‘good practice’ agreement for efficient return procedures.

    This intensified cooperation became possible due to the governmental change in 2017, with President Adama Barrow becoming President after the elections, as we found in our research on the political economy of migration governance in The Gambia.

    Despite initial cooperation with the EU on returns, in March 2019 Barrow’s government imposed a moratorium on any further deportations of its nationals from the EU. After a standoff of several months, the moratorium has now been lifted. Though only temporary, the moratorium was an important tool for the government to manage problems with its domestic legitimacy.
    Relationship challenges

    Jammeh’s ousting ended years of severe repression and corruption that had discouraged donor countries from cooperating with The Gambia. When he left, the country quickly established positive relations with the EU which has become its most important development partner. It provides €55 million in budgetary support and runs three projects to address the root causes of destabilisation, forced displacement and irregular migration. But the moratorium was a stress test for this new relationship.

    Before the moratorium was imposed in March 2019, the government had started to tentatively cooperate with the EU on return matters. For example, it sent regular missions to Europe to issue nationals with identification documents to facilitate their return.

    Relations began to sour when European governments increased returns in a way that authorities in The Gambia viewed as inconsistent with the ‘good practice’ agreement. The agreement stipulates that return numbers should not overstretch the country’s capacity to receive returnees. It also states that adequate notice must be given before asylum seekers are returned. Both of these provisions were allegedly breached.
    Problems at home

    The incoming returns quickly led to heated debates among the population and on social media. The rumblings peaked in February 2019 with one particular return flight from Germany. Authorities in Banjul claimed they had not been well informed about it and initially refused entry. Public demonstrations followed in March. The moratorium, which European partners had already been notified about, was declared shortly afterwards.

    The moratorium can be linked to diplomatic and technical inefficiencies, but it is also based on a more fundamental problem for Barrow’s government. By cooperating with the EU on returns, they risk their domestic legitimacy because by and large, most Gambians in Europe do not want to return home.

    The initial euphoria that surrounded the democratic transition is wearing off. Many reform processes such as in the security sector and in the media environment are dragging. The economic situation of many has not improved. Allowing more deportations from the EU is perceived as betrayal by many migrants and their families.

    The government is frequently suspected to play an active role in returns and is accused of witholding information about their dealings with the EU and member states like Germany. Incidentally, President Barrow is currently seeking to extend his rule beyond the three-year transition period originally agreed upon, ending in January 2020. Opposition to these plans is widespread.

    In these politically tense times, pressing a pause button on returns fulfilled a symbolic function by defending Gambians against foreign national interests. The recent lifting of the moratorium is politically very risky. It paves the way for more of the deeply unpopular chartered return operations.

    What next?

    On the whole, The Gambia has little room to manoeuvre. It is highly dependent on the EU’s goodwill and financial support for its reforms process. In line with the development focus of the EU, the position of the government is to prepare the ground for more “humane” repatriations, which will need more time and joint efforts.

    This would include better and more comprehensive reintegration opportunities for returned migrants. Reintegration is already the focus of various projects funded by the European Union Trust Fund. Programmes like the International Organisation for Migration’s ‘Post-Arrival Reintegration Assistance’ for returnees from Europe are up and running. However, they only serve a limited number of returnees and cannot meet all their needs.

    It is important to note that the role of the Gambian state in providing reintegration support has been marginal.

    With the lifting of the moratorium EU-Gambia cooperation stands at a crossroads. If EU member states maintain their hardline returnee approach The Gambia’s new government will continue to struggle with its legitimacy challenges. This could potentially jeopardise democratisation efforts.

    In the alternative, the EU could take a more cooperative stance by working on more holistic, development-oriented solutions. A starting point would be to move away from plans to return high numbers of failed asylum seekers. Sending back large numbers of migrants has never been feasible.

    The Gambian government will be more honest about its migration dealings with the EU if the agreements are fair and practical. Most importantly, if Gambians had access to fair and practical migration pathways this would lessen cases of irregular migration, which continue to remain high.

    Without a greater share of legal migration, the issue of return will continue to be particularly contentious.

    https://theconversation.com/why-return-from-europe-is-causing-problems-for-the-gambia-124036
    #Gambie #retour #renvois #expulsions #réfugiés_gambiens #développement #coopération_au_développement #aide_au_développement #conditionnalité_de_l'aide #Allemagne #moratoire #réintégration #European_Union_Trust_Fund #Trust_Fund #Post-Arrival_Reintegration_Assistance #OIM #IOM
    ping @karine4 @_kg_

    J’ai ajouté « #deportees » dans la liste des #mots autour de la migration :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/414225
    Et plus précisément ici : https://seenthis.net/messages/414225#message812066
    #terminologie #vocabulaire
    ping @sinehebdo

    Ajouté à la métaliste développement-migrations, autour de la conditionnalité de l’aide :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/733358#message768701

  • The business of building walls

    Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Europe is once again known for its border walls. This time Europe is divided not so much by ideology as by perceived fear of refugees and migrants, some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

    Who killed the dream of a more open Europe? What gave rise to this new era of walls? There are clearly many reasons – the increasing displacement of people by conflict, repression and impoverishment, the rise of security politics in the wake of 9/11, the economic and social insecurity felt across Europe after the 2008 financial crisis – to name a few. But one group has by far the most to gain from the rise of new walls – the businesses that build them. Their influence in shaping a world of walls needs much deeper examination.

    This report explores the business of building walls, which has both fuelled and benefited from a massive expansion of public spending on border security by the European Union (EU) and its member states. Some of the corporate beneficiaries are also global players, tapping into a global market for border security estimated to be worth approximately €17.5 billion in 2018, with annual growth of at least 8% expected in coming years.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAuv1QyP8l0&feature=emb_logo

    It is important to look both beyond and behind Europe’s walls and fencing, because the real barriers to contemporary migration are not so much the fencing, but the vast array of technology that underpins it, from the radar systems to the drones to the surveillance cameras to the biometric fingerprinting systems. Similarly, some of Europe’s most dangerous walls are not even physical or on land. The ships, aircrafts and drones used to patrol the Mediterranean have created a maritime wall and a graveyard for the thousands of migrants and refugees who have no legal passage to safety or to exercise their right to seek asylum.

    This renders meaningless the European Commission’s publicized statements that it does not fund walls and fences. Commission spokesperson Alexander Winterstein, for example, rejecting Hungary’s request to reimburse half the costs of the fences built on its borders with Croatia and Serbia, said: ‘We do support border management measures at external borders. These can be surveillance measures. They can be border control equipment...But fences, we do not finance’. In other words, the Commission is willing to pay for anything that fortifies a border as long as it is not seen to be building the walls themselves.

    This report is a sequel to Building Walls – Fear and securitization in the European Union, co-published in 2018 with Centre Delàs and Stop Wapenhandel, which first measured and identified the walls that criss-cross Europe. This new report focuses on the businesses that have profited from three different kinds of wall in Europe:

    The construction companies contracted to build the land walls built by EU member states and the Schengen Area together with the security and technology companies that provide the necessary accompanying technology, equipment and services;

    The shipping and arms companies that provide the ships, aircraft, helicopters, drones that underpin Europe’s maritime walls seeking to control migratory flows in the Mediterranean, including Frontex operations, Operation Sophia and Italian operation Mare Nostrum;
    And the IT and security companies contracted to develop, run, expand and maintain EU’s systems that monitor the movement of people – such as SIS II (Schengen Information System) and EES (Entry/Exit Scheme) – which underpin Europe’s virtual walls.

    Booming budgets

    The flow of money from taxpayers to wall-builders has been highly lucrative and constantly growing. The report finds that companies have reaped the profits from at least €900 million spent by EU countries on land walls and fences since the end of the Cold War. The partial data (in scope and years) means actual costs will be at least €1 billion. In addition, companies that provide technology and services that accompany walls have also benefited from some of the steady stream of funding from the EU – in particular the External Borders Fund (€1.7 billion, 2007-2013) and the Internal Security Fund – Borders Fund (€2.76 billion, 2014-2020).

    EU spending on maritime walls has totalled at least €676.4 million between 2006 to 2017 (including €534 million spent by Frontex, €28.4 million spent by the EU on Operation Sophia and €114 million spent by Italy on Operation Mare Nostrum) and would be much more if you include all the operations by Mediterranean country coastguards. Total spending on Europe’s virtual wall equalled at least €999.4m between 2000 and 2019. (All these estimates are partial ones because walls are funded by many different funding mechanisms and due to lack of data transparency).

    This boom in border budgets is set to grow. Under its budget for the next EU budget cycle (2021–2027) the European Commission has earmarked €8.02 billion to its Integrated Border Management Fund (2021-2027), €11.27bn to Frontex (of which €2.2 billion will be used for acquiring, maintaining and operating air, sea and land assets) and at least €1.9 billion total spending (2000-2027) on its identity databases and Eurosur (the European Border Surveillance System).
    The big arm industry players

    Three giant European military and security companies in particular play a critical role in Europe’s many types of borders. These are Thales, Leonardo and Airbus.

    Thales is a French arms and security company, with a significant presence in the Netherlands, that produces radar and sensor systems, used by many ships in border security. Thales systems, were used, for example, by Dutch and Portuguese ships deployed in Frontex operations. Thales also produces maritime surveillance systems for drones and is working on developing border surveillance infrastructure for Eurosur, researching how to track and control refugees before they reach Europe by using smartphone apps, as well as exploring the use of High Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS) for border security, for the European Space Agency and Frontex. Thales currently provides the security system for the highly militarised port in Calais. Its acquisition in 2019 of Gemalto, a large (biometric) identity security company, makes it a significant player in the development and maintenance of EU’s virtual walls. It has participated in 27 EU research projects on border security.
    Italian arms company Leonardo (formerly Finmeccanica or Leonardo-Finmeccanica) is a leading supplier of helicopters for border security, used by Italy in the Mare Nostrum, Hera and Sophia operations. It has also been one of the main providers of UAVs (or drones) for Europe’s borders, awarded a €67.1 million contract in 2017 by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to supply them for EU coast-guard agencies. Leonardo was also a member of a consortium, awarded €142.1 million in 2019 to implement and maintain EU’s virtual walls, namely its EES. It jointly owns Telespazio with Thales, involved in EU satellite observation projects (REACT and Copernicus) used for border surveillance. Leonardo has participated in 24 EU research projects on border security and control, including the development of Eurosur.
    Pan-European arms giant Airbus is a key supplier of helicopters used in patrolling maritime and some land borders, deployed by Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania and Spain, including in maritime Operations Sophia, Poseidon and Triton. Airbus and its subsidiaries have participated in at least 13 EU-funded border security research projects including OCEAN2020, PERSEUS and LOBOS.
    The significant role of these arms companies is not surprising. As Border Wars (2016), showed these companies through their membership of the lobby groups – European Organisation for Security (EOS) and the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD) – have played a significant role in influencing the direction of EU border policy. Perversely, these firms are also among the top four biggest European arms dealers to the Middle East and North Africa, thus contributing to the conflicts that cause forced migration.

    Indra has been another significant corporate player in border control in Spain and the Mediterranean. It won a series of contracts to fortify Ceuta and Melilla (Spanish enclaves in northern Morocco). Indra also developed the SIVE border control system (with radar, sensors and vision systems), which is in place on most of Spain’s borders, as well as in Portugal and Romania. In July 2018 it won a €10 million contract to manage SIVE at several locations for two years. Indra is very active in lobbying the EU and is a major beneficiary of EU research funding, coordinating the PERSEUS project to further develop Eurosur and the Seahorse Network, a network between police forces in Mediterranean countries (both in Europe and Africa) to stop migration.

    Israeli arms firms are also notable winners of EU border contracts. In 2018, Frontex selected the Heron drone from Israel Aerospace Industries for pilot-testing surveillance flights in the Mediterranean. In 2015, Israeli firm Elbit sold six of its Hermes UAVs to the Switzerland’s Border Guard, in a controversial €230 million deal. It has since signed a UAV contract with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), as a subcontractor for the Portuguese company CEIIA (2018), as well as contracts to supply technology for three patrol vessels for the Hellenic Coast Guard (2019).
    Land wall contractors

    Most of the walls and fences that have been rapidly erected across Europe have been built by national construction companies, but one European company has dominated the field: European Security Fencing, a Spanish producer of razor wire, in particular a coiled wire known as concertinas. It is most known for the razor wire on the fences around Ceuta and Melilla. It also delivered the razor wire for the fence on the border between Hungary and Serbia, and its concertinas were installed on the borders between Bulgaria and Turkey and Austria and Slovenia, as well as at Calais, and for a few days on the border between Hungary and Slovenia before being removed. Given its long-term market monopoly, its concertinas are very likely used at other borders in Europe.

    Other contractors providing both walls and associated technology include DAT-CON (Croatia, Cyprus, Macedonia, Moldova, Slovenia and Ukraine), Geo Alpinbau (Austria/Slovenia), Indra, Dragados, Ferrovial, Proyectos Y Tecnología Sallén and Eulen (Spain/Morocco), Patstroy Bourgas, Infra Expert, Patengineeringstroy, Geostroy Engineering, Metallic-Ivan Mihaylov and Indra (Bulgaria/Turkey), Nordecon and Defendec (Estonia/Russia), DAK Acélszerkezeti Kft and SIA Ceļu būvniecības sabiedrība IGATE (Latvia/Russia), Gintrėja (Lithuania/Russia), Minis and Legi-SGS(Slovenia/Croatia), Groupe CW, Jackson’s Fencing, Sorhea, Vinci/Eurovia and Zaun Ltd (France/UK).

    In many cases, the actual costs of the walls and associated technologies exceed original estimates. There have also been many allegations and legal charges of corruption, in some cases because projects were given to corporate friends of government officials. In Slovenia, for example, accusations of corruption concerning the border wall contract have led to a continuing three-year legal battle for access to documents that has reached the Supreme Court. Despite this, the EU’s External Borders Fund has been a critical financial supporter of technological infrastructure and services in many of the member states’ border operations. In Macedonia, for example, the EU has provided €9 million for patrol vehicles, night-vision cameras, heartbeat detectors and technical support for border guards to help it manage its southern border.
    Maritime wall profiteers

    The data about which ships, helicopters and aircraft are used in Europe’s maritime operations is not transparent and therefore it is difficult to get a full picture. Our research shows, however, that the key corporations involved include the European arms giants Airbus and Leonardo, as well as large shipbuilding companies including Dutch Damen and Italian Fincantieri.

    Damen’s patrol vessels have been used for border operations by Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Portugal, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden and the UK as well as in key Frontex operations (Poseidon, Triton and Themis), Operation Sophia and in supporting NATO’s role in Operation Poseidon. Outside Europe, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey use Damen vessels for border security, often in cooperation with the EU or its member states. Turkey’s €20 million purchase of six Damen vessels for its coast guard in 2006, for example, was financed through the EU Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), intended for peace-building and conflict prevention.

    The sale of Damen vessels to Libya unveils the potential troubling human costs of this corporate trade. In 2012, Damen supplied four patrol vessels to the Libyan Coast Guard, sold as civil equipment in order to avoid a Dutch arms export license. Researchers have since found out, however, that the ships were not only sold with mounting points for weapons, but were then armed and used to stop refugee boats. Several incidents involving these ships have been reported, including one where some 20 or 30 refugees drowned. Damen has refused to comment, saying it had agreed with the Libyan government not to disclose information about the ships.

    In addition to Damen, many national shipbuilders play a significant role in maritime operations as they were invariably prioritised by the countries contributing to each Frontex or other Mediterranean operation. Hence, all the ships Italy contributed to Operation Sophia were built by Fincantieri, while all Spanish ships come from Navantia and its predecessors. Similarly, France purchases from DCN/DCNS, now Naval Group, and all German ships were built by several German shipyards (Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, HDW, Lürssen Gruppe). Other companies in Frontex operations have included Greek company, Motomarine Shipyards, which produced the Panther 57 Fast Patrol Boats used by the Hellenic Coast Guard, Hellenic Shipyards and Israel Shipyards.

    Austrian company Schiebel is a significant player in maritime aerial surveillance through its supply of S-100 drones. In November 2018, EMSA selected the company for a €24 million maritime surveillance contract for a range of operations including border security. Since 2017, Schiebel has also won contracts from Croatia, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The company has a controversial record, with its drones sold to a number of countries experiencing armed conflict or governed by repressive regimes such as Libya, Myanmar, the UAE and Yemen.

    Finland and the Netherlands deployed Dornier aircraft to Operation Hermes and Operation Poseidon respectively, and to Operation Triton. Dornier is now part of the US subsidiary of the Israeli arms company Elbit Systems. CAE Aviation (Luxembourg), DEA Aviation (UK) and EASP Air (Netherlands) have all received contracts for aircraft surveillance work for Frontex. Airbus, French Dassault Aviation, Leonardo and US Lockheed Martin were the most important suppliers of aircraft used in Operation Sophia.

    The EU and its member states defend their maritime operations by publicising their role in rescuing refugees at sea, but this is not their primary goal, as Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri made clear in April 2015, saying that Frontex has no mandate for ‘proactive search-and-rescue action[s]’ and that saving lives should not be a priority. The thwarting and criminalisation of NGO rescue operations in the Mediterranean and the frequent reports of violence and illegal refoulement of refugees, also demonstrates why these maritime operations should be considered more like walls than humanitarian missions.
    Virtual walls

    The major EU contracts for the virtual walls have largely gone to two companies, sometimes as leaders of a consortium. Sopra Steria is the main contractor for the development and maintenance of the Visa Information System (VIS), Schengen Information System (SIS II) and European Dactyloscopy (Eurodac), while GMV has secured a string of contracts for Eurosur. The systems they build help control, monitor and surveil people’s movements across Europe and increasingly beyond.

    Sopra Steria is a French technology consultancy firm that has to date won EU contracts worth a total value of over €150 million. For some of these large contracts Sopra Steria joined consortiums with HP Belgium, Bull and 3M Belgium. Despite considerable business, Sopra Steria has faced considerable criticism for its poor record on delivering projects on time and on budget. Its launch of SIS II was constantly delayed, forcing the Commission to extend contracts and increase budgets. Similarly, Sopra Steria was involved in another consortium, the Trusted Borders consortium, contracted to deliver the UK e-Borders programme, which was eventually terminated in 2010 after constant delays and failure to deliver. Yet it continues to win contracts, in part because it has secured a near-monopoly of knowledge and access to EU officials. The central role that Sopra Steria plays in developing these EU biometric systems has also had a spin-off effect in securing other national contracts, including with Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Romania and Slovenia GMV, a Spanish technology company, has received a succession of large contracts for Eurosur, ever since its testing phase in 2010, worth at least €25 million. It also provides technology to the Spanish Guardia Civil, such as control centres for its Integrated System of External Vigilance (SIVE) border security system as well as software development services to Frontex. It has participated in at least ten EU-funded research projects on border security.

    Most of the large contracts for the virtual walls that did not go to consortia including Sopra Steria were awarded by eu-LISA (European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice) to consortia comprising computer and technology companies including Accenture, Atos Belgium and Morpho (later renamed Idema).
    Lobbying

    As research in our Border Wars series has consistently shown, through effective lobbying, the military and security industry has been very influential in shaping the discourse of EU security and military policies. The industry has succeeded in positioning itself as the experts on border security, pushing the underlying narrative that migration is first and foremost a security threat, to be combatted by security and military means. With this premise, it creates a continuous demand for the ever-expanding catalogue of equipment and services the industry supplies for border security and control.

    Many of the companies listed here, particularly the large arms companies, are involved in the European Organisation for Security (EOS), the most important lobby group on border security. Many of the IT security firms that build EU’s virtual walls are members of the European Biometrics Association (EAB). EOS has an ‘Integrated Border Security Working Group’ to ‘facilitate the development and uptake of better technology solutions for border security both at border checkpoints, and along maritime and land borders’. The working group is chaired by Giorgio Gulienetti of the Italian arms company Leonardo, with Isto Mattila (Laurea University of Applied Science) and Peter Smallridge of Gemalto, a digital security company recently acquired by Thales.

    Company lobbyists and representatives of these lobby organisations regularly meet with EU institutions, including the European Commission, are part of official advisory committees, publish influential proposals, organise meetings between industry, policy-makers and executives and also meet at the plethora of military and security fairs, conferences and seminars. Airbus, Leonardo and Thales together with EOS held 226 registered lobbying meetings with the European Commission between 2014 and 2019. In these meetings representatives of the industry position themselves as the experts on border security, presenting their goods and services as the solution for ‘security threats’ caused by immigration. In 2017, the same group of companies and EOS spent up to €2.65 million on lobbying.

    A similar close relationship can be seen on virtual walls, with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission arguing openly for public policy to foster the ‘emergence of a vibrant European biometrics industry’.
    A deadly trade and a choice

    The conclusion of this survey of the business of building walls is clear. A Europe full of walls has proved to be very good for the bottom line of a wide range of corporations including arms, security, IT, shipping and construction companies. The EU’s planned budgets for border security for the next decade show it is also a business that will continue to boom.

    This is also a deadly business. The heavy militarisation of Europe’s borders on land and at sea has led refugees and migrants to follow far more hazardous routes and has trapped others in desperate conditions in neighbouring countries like Libya. Many deaths are not recorded, but those that are tracked in the Mediterranean show that the proportion of those who drown trying to reach Europe continues to increase each year.

    This is not an inevitable state of affairs. It is both the result of policy decisions made by the EU and its member states, and corporate decisions to profit from these policies. In a rare principled stand, German razor wire manufacturer Mutanox in 2015 stated it would not sell its product to the Hungarian government arguing: ‘Razor wire is designed to prevent criminal acts, like a burglary. Fleeing children and adults are not criminals’. It is time for other European politicians and business leaders to recognise the same truth: that building walls against the world’s most vulnerable people violates human rights and is an immoral act that history will judge harshly. Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is time for Europe to bring down its new walls.

    https://www.tni.org/en/businessbuildingwalls

    #business #murs #barrières_frontalières #militarisation_des_frontières #visualisation #Europe #UE #EU #complexe_militaro-industriel #Airbus #Leonardo #Thales #Indra #Israel_Aerospace_Industries #Elbit #European_Security_Fencing #DAT-CON #Geo_Alpinbau #Dragados #Ferrovial, #Proyectos_Y_Tecnología_Sallén #Eulen #Patstroy_Bourgas #Infra_Expert #Patengineeringstroy #Geostroy_Engineering #Metallic-Ivan_Mihaylov #Nordecon #Defendec #DAK_Acélszerkezeti_Kft #SIA_Ceļu_būvniecības_sabiedrība_IGATE #Gintrėja #Minis #Legi-SGS #Groupe_CW #Jackson’s_Fencing #Sorhea #Vinci #Eurovia #Zaun_Ltd #Damen #Fincantieri #Frontex #Damen #Turquie #Instrument_contributing_to_Stability_and_Peace (#IcSP) #Libye #exernalisation #Operation_Sophia #Navantia #Naval_Group #Flensburger_Schiffbau-Gesellschaft #HDW #Lürssen_Gruppe #Motomarine_Shipyards #Panther_57 #Hellenic_Shipyards #Israel_Shipyards #Schiebel #Dornier #Operation_Hermes #CAE_Aviation #DEA_Aviation #EASP_Air #French_Dassault_Aviation #US_Lockheed_Martin #murs_virtuels #Sopra_Steria #Visa_Information_System (#VIS) #données #Schengen_Information_System (#SIS_II) #European_Dactyloscopy (#Eurodac) #GMV #Eurosur #HP_Belgium #Bull #3M_Belgium #Trusted_Borders_consortium #économie #biométrie #Integrated_System_of_External_Vigilance (#SIVE) #eu-LISA #Accenture #Atos_Belgium #Morpho #Idema #lobby #European_Organisation_for_Security (#EOS) #European_Biometrics_Association (#EAB) #Integrated_Border_Security_Working_Group #Giorgio_Gulienetti #Isto_Mattila #Peter_Smallridge #Gemalto #murs_terrestres #murs_maritimes #coût #chiffres #statistiques #Joint_Research_Centre_of_the_European_Commission #Mutanox

    Pour télécharger le #rapport :


    https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/business_of_building_walls_-_full_report.pdf

    déjà signalé par @odilon ici :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/809783
    Je le remets ici avec des mots clé de plus

    ping @daphne @marty @isskein @karine4

    • La costruzione di muri: un business

      Trent’anni dopo la caduta del Muro di Berlino, l’Europa fa parlare di sé ancora una volta per i suoi muri di frontiera. Questa volta non è tanto l’ideologia che la divide, quanto la paura di rifugiati e migranti, alcune tra le persone più vulnerabili al mondo.

      Riassunto del rapporto «The Business of Building Walls» [1]:

      Chi ha ucciso il sogno di un’Europa più aperta? Cosa ha dato inizio a questa nuova era dei muri?
      Ci sono evidentemente molte ragioni: il crescente spostamento di persone a causa di conflitti, repressione e impoverimento, l’ascesa di politiche securitarie sulla scia dell’11 settembre, l’insicurezza economica e sociale percepita in Europa dopo la crisi finanziaria del 2008, solo per nominarne alcune. Tuttavia, c’è un gruppo che ha di gran lunga da guadagnare da questo innalzamento di nuovi muri: le imprese che li costruiscono. La loro influenza nel dare forma ad un mondo di muri necessita di un esame più profondo.

      Questo rapporto esplora il business della costruzione di muri, che è stato alimentato e ha beneficiato di un aumento considerevole della spesa pubblica dedicata alla sicurezza delle frontiere dall’Unione Europea (EU) e dai suoi Stati membri. Alcune imprese beneficiarie sono delle multinazionali che approfittano di un mercato globale per la sicurezza delle frontiere che si stima valere approssimativamente 17,5 miliardi di euro nel 2018, con una crescita annuale prevista almeno dell’8% nei prossimi anni.

      È importante guardare sia oltre che dietro i muri e le barriere d’Europa, perché i reali ostacoli alla migrazione contemporanea non sono tanto le recinzioni, quanto la vasta gamma di tecnologie che vi è alla base, dai sistemi radar ai droni, dalle telecamere di sorveglianza ai sistemi biometrici di rilevamento delle impronte digitali. Allo stesso modo, alcuni tra i più pericolosi muri d’Europa non sono nemmeno fisici o sulla terraferma. Le navi, gli aerei e i droni usati per pattugliare il Mediterraneo hanno creato un muro marittimo e un cimitero per i migliaia di migranti e di rifugiati che non hanno un passaggio legale verso la salvezza o per esercitare il loro diritto di asilo.

      Tutto ciò rende insignificanti le dichiarazioni della Commissione Europea secondo le quali essa non finanzierebbe i muri e le recinzioni. Il portavoce della Commissione, Alexander Winterstein, per esempio, nel rifiutare la richiesta dell’Ungheria di rimborsare la metà dei costi delle recinzioni costruite sul suo confine con la Croazia e la Serbia, ha affermato: “Noi sosteniamo le misure di gestione delle frontiere presso i confini esterni. Queste possono consistere in misure di sorveglianza o in equipaggiamento di controllo delle frontiere... . Ma le recinzioni, quelle non le finanziamo”. In altre parole, la Commissione è disposta a pagare per qualunque cosa che fortifichi un confine fintanto che ciò non sia visto come propriamente costruire dei muri.

      Questo rapporto è il seguito di “Building Walls - Fear and securitizazion in the Euopean Union”, co-pubblicato nel 2018 con Centre Delàs e Stop Wapenhandel, che per primi hanno misurato e identificato i muri che attraversano l’Europa.

      Questo nuovo rapporto si focalizza sulle imprese che hanno tratto profitto dai tre differenti tipi di muro in Europa:
      – Le imprese di costruzione ingaggiate per costruire i muri fisici costruiti dagli Stati membri UE e dall’Area Schengen in collaborazione con le imprese esperte in sicurezza e tecnologia che provvedono le tecnologie, l’equipaggiamento e i servizi associati;
      – le imprese di trasporto marittimo e di armamenti che forniscono le navi, gli aerei, gli elicotteri e i droni che costituiscono i muri marittimi dell’Europa per tentare di controllare i flussi migratori nel Mediterraneo, in particolare le operazioni di Frontex, l’operazione Sophia e l’operazione italiana Mare Nostrum;
      – e le imprese specializzate in informatica e in sicurezza incaricate di sviluppare, eseguire, estendere e mantenere i sistemi dell’UE che controllano i movimento delle persone, quali SIS II (Schengen Information System) e EES (Entry/Exii Scheme), che costituiscono i muri virtuali dell’Europa.
      Dei budget fiorenti

      Il flusso di denaro dai contribuenti ai costruttori di muri è stato estremamente lucrativo e non cessa di aumentare. Il report rivela che dalla fine della guerra fredda, le imprese hanno raccolto i profitti di almeno 900 milioni di euro di spese dei paesi dell’UE per i muri fisici e per le recinzioni. Con i dati parziali (sia nella portata e che negli anni), i costi reali raggiungerebbero almeno 1 miliardo di euro. Inoltre, le imprese che forniscono la tecnologia e i servizi che accompagnano i muri hanno ugualmente beneficiato di un flusso costante di finanziamenti da parte dell’UE, in particolare i Fondi per le frontiere esterne (1,7 miliardi di euro, 2007-2013) e i Fondi per la sicurezza interna - Fondi per le Frontiere (2,76 miliardi di euro, 2014-2020).

      Le spese dell’UE per i muri marittimi hanno raggiunto almeno 676,4 milioni di euro tra il 2006 e il 2017 (di cui 534 milioni sono stati spesi da Frontex, 28 milioni dall’UE nell’operazione Sophia e 114 milioni dall’Italia nell’operazione Mare Nostrum) e sarebbero molto superiori se si includessero tutte le operazioni delle guardie costiera nazionali nel Mediterraneo.

      Questa esplosione dei budget per le frontiere ha le condizioni per proseguire. Nel quadro del suo budget per il prossimo ciclo di bilancio dell’Unione Europea (2021-2027), la Commissione europea ha attribuito 8,02 miliardi di euro al suo fondo di gestione integrata delle frontiere (2021-2027), 11,27 miliardi a Frontex (dei quali 2,2 miliardi saranno utilizzati per l’acquisizione, il mantenimento e l’utilizzo di mezzi aerei, marittimi e terrestri) e almeno 1,9 miliardi di euro di spese totali (2000-2027) alle sue banche dati di identificazione e a Eurosur (il sistemo europeo di sorveglianza delle frontiere).
      I principali attori del settore degli armamenti

      Tre giganti europei del settore della difesa e della sicurezza giocano un ruolo cruciale nei differenti tipi di frontiere d’Europa: Thales, Leonardo e Airbus.

      – Thales è un’impresa francese specializzata negli armamenti e nella sicurezza, con una presenza significativa nei Paesi Bassi, che produce sistemi radar e sensori utilizzati da numerose navi della sicurezza frontaliera. I sistemi Thales, per esempio, sono stati utilizzati dalle navi olandesi e portoghesi impiegate nelle operazioni di Frontex.
      Thales produce ugualmente sistemi di sorveglianza marittima per droni e lavora attualmente per sviluppare una infrastruttura di sorveglianza delle frontiere per Eurosus, che permetta di seguire e controllare i rifugiati prima che raggiungano l’Europa con l’aiuto di applicazioni per Smartphone, e studia ugualmente l’utilizzo di “High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites - HAPS” per la sicurezza delle frontiere, per l’Agenzia spaziale europea e Frontex. Thales fornisce attualmente il sistema di sicurezza del porto altamente militarizzato di Calais.
      Con l’acquisto nel 2019 di Gemalto, multinazionale specializzata nella sicurezza e identità (biometrica), Thales diventa un attore importante nello sviluppo e nel mantenimento dei muri virtuali dell’UE. L’impresa ha partecipato a 27 progetti di ricerca dell’UE sulla sicurezza delle frontiere.

      – La società di armamenti italiana Leonardo (originariamente Finmeccanica o Leonardo-Finmeccanica) è uno dei principali fornitori di elicotteri per la sicurezza delle frontiere, utilizzati dalle operazioni Mare Nostrum, Hera e Sophia in Italia. Ha ugualmente fatto parte dei principali fornitori di UAV (o droni), ottenendo un contratto di 67,1 milioni di euro nel 2017 con l’EMSA (Agenzia europea per la sicurezza marittima) per fornire le agenzie di guardia costiera dell’UE.
      Leonardo faceva ugualmente parte di un consorzio che si è visto attribuire un contratto di 142,1 milioni di euro nel 2019 per attuare e assicurare il mantenimento dei muri virtuali dell’UE, ossia il Sistema di entrata/uscita (EES). La società detiene, con Thales, Telespazio, che partecipa ai progetti di osservazione dai satelliti dell’UE (React e Copernicus) utilizzati per controllare le frontiere. Leonardo ha partecipato a 24 progetti di ricerca dell’UE sulla sicurezza e il controllo delle frontiere, tra cui lo sviluppo di Eurosur.

      – Il gigante degli armamenti pan-europei Airbus è un importante fornitore di elicotteri utilizzati nella sorveglianza delle frontiere marittime e di alcune frontiere terrestri, impiegati da Belgio, Francia, Germania, Grecia, Italia, Lituania e Spagna, in particolare nelle operazioni marittime Sophia, Poseidon e Triton. Airbus e le sue filiali hanno partecipato almeno a 13 progetti di ricerca sulla sicurezza delle frontiere finanziati dall’UE, tra cui OCEAN2020, PERSEUS e LOBOS.

      Il ruolo chiave di queste società di armamenti in realtà non è sorprendente. Come è stato dimostrato da “Border Wars” (2016), queste imprese, in quanto appartenenti a lobby come EOS (Organizzazione europea per la sicurezza) e ASD (Associazione delle industrie aerospaziali e della difesa in Europa), hanno ampiamente contribuito a influenzare l’orientamento della politica delle frontiere dell’UE. Paradossalmente, questi stessi marchi fanno ugualmente parte dei quattro più grandi venditori europei di armi al Medio Oriente e all’Africa del Nord, contribuendo così ad alimentare i conflitti all’origine di queste migrazioni forzate.

      Allo stesso modo Indra gioca un ruolo non indifferente nel controllo delle frontiere in Spagna e nel Mediterraneo. L’impresa ha ottenuto una serie di contratti per fortificare Ceuta e Melilla (enclavi spagnole nel Nord del Marocco). Indra ha ugualmente sviluppato il sistema di controllo delle frontiere SIVE (con sistemi radar, di sensori e visivi) che è installato nella maggior parte delle frontiere della Spagna, così come in Portogallo e in Romania. Nel luglio 2018, Indra ha ottenuto un contratto di 10 milioni di euro per assicurare la gestione di SIVE su più siti per due anni. L’impresa è molto attiva nel fare lobby presso l’UE. È ugualmente una dei grandi beneficiari dei finanziamenti per la ricerca dell’UE, che assicurano il coordinamento del progetto PERSEUS per lo sviluppo di Eurosur e il Seahorse Network, la rete di scambio di informazioni tra le forze di polizia dei paesi mediterranei (in Europa e in Africa) per fermare le migrazioni.

      Le società di armamenti israeliane hanno anch’esse ottenuto numerosi contratti nel quadro della sicurezza delle frontiere in UE. Nel 2018, Frontex ha selezionato il drone Heron delle Israel Aerospace Industries per i voli di sorveglianza degli esperimenti pilota nel Mediterraneo. Nel 2015, la società israeliana Elbit Systems ha venduto sei dei suoi droni Hermes al Corpo di guardie di frontiera svizzero, nel quadro di un contratto controverso di 230 milioni di euro. Ha anche firmato in seguito un contratto per droni con l’EMSA (Agenzia europea per la sicurezza marittima), in quanto subappaltatore della società portoghese CEIIA (2018), così come dei contratti per equipaggiare tre navi di pattugliamento per la Hellenic Coast Guard (2019).
      Gli appaltatori dei muri fisici

      La maggioranza di muri e recinzioni che sono stati rapidamente eretti attraverso l’Europa, sono stati costruiti da società di BTP nazionali/società nazionali di costruzioni, ma un’impresa europea ha dominato nel mercato: la European Security Fencing, un produttore spagnolo di filo spinato, in particolare di un filo a spirale chiamato “concertina”. È famosa per aver fornito i fili spinati delle recinzioni che circondano Ceuta e Melilla. L’impresa ha ugualmente dotato di fili spinati le frontiere tra l’Ungheria e la Serbia, e i suoi fili spinati “concertina” sono stati installati alle frontiere tra Bulgaria e Turchia e tra l’Austria e la Slovenia, così come a Calais e, per qualche giorno, alla frontiera tra Ungheria e Slovenia, prima di essere ritirati. Dato che essi detengono il monopolio sul mercato da un po’ di tempo a questa parte, è probabile che i fili spinati “concertina” siano stati utilizzati presso altre frontiere in Europa.

      Tra le altre imprese che hanno fornito i muri e le tecnologie ad essi associate, si trova DAT-CON (Croazia, Cipro, Macedonia, Moldavia, Slovenia e Ucraina), Geo Alpinbau (Austria/Slovenia), Indra, Dragados, Ferrovial, Proyectos Y Tecnología Sallén e Eulen (Spagna/Marocco), Patstroy Bourgas, Infra Expert, Patengineeringstroy, Geostroy Engineering, Metallic-Ivan Mihaylov et Indra (Bulgaria/Turchia), Nordecon e Defendec (Estonia/Russia), DAK Acélszerkezeti Kft e SIA Ceļu būvniecības sabiedrība IGATE (Lettonia/Russia), Gintrėja (Lituania/Russi), Minis e Legi-SGS (Slovenia/Croazia), Groupe CW, Jackson’s Fencing, Sorhea, Vinci/Eurovia e Zaun Ltd (Francia/Regno Unito).

      I costi reali dei muri e delle tecnologie associate superano spesso le stime originali. Numerose accuse e denunce per corruzione sono state allo stesso modo formulate, in certi casi perché i progetti erano stati attribuiti a delle imprese che appartenevano ad amici di alti funzionari. In Slovenia, per esempio, accuse di corruzione riguardanti un contratto per la costruzione di muri alle frontiere hanno portato a tre anni di battaglie legali per avere accesso ai documenti; la questione è passata poi alla Corte suprema.

      Malgrado tutto ciò, il Fondo europeo per le frontiere esterne ha sostenuto finanziariamente le infrastrutture e i servizi tecnologici di numerose operazioni alle frontiere degli Stati membri. In Macedonia, per esempio, l’UE ha versato 9 milioni di euro per finanziare dei veicoli di pattugliamento, delle telecamere a visione notturna, dei rivelatori di battito cardiaco e sostegno tecnico alle guardie di frontiera nell’aiuto della gestione della sua frontiera meridionale.
      Gli speculatori dei muri marittimi

      I dati che permettono di determinare quali imbarcazioni, elicotteri e aerei sono utilizzati nelle operazioni marittime in Europa mancano di trasparenza. È dunque difficile recuperare tutte le informazioni. Le nostre ricerche mostrano comunque che tra le principali società implicate figurano i giganti europei degli armamenti Airbus e Leonardo, così come grandi imprese di costruzione navale come l’olandese Damen e l’italiana Fincantieri.

      Le imbarcazioni di pattugliamento di Damen sono servite per delle operazioni frontaliere portate avanti da Albania, Belgio, Bulgaria, Portogallo, Paesi Bassi, Romania, Svezia e Regno Unito, così come per le vaste operazioni di Frontex (Poseidon, Triton e Themis), per l’operazione Sophia e hanno ugualmente sostento la NATO nell’operazione Poseidon.

      Al di fuori dell’Europa, la Libia, il Marocco, la Tunisia e la Turchia utilizzano delle imbarcazioni Damen per la sicurezza delle frontiere, spesso in collaborazione con l’UE o i suoi Stati membri. Per esempio, le sei navi Damen che la Turchia ha comprato per la sua guardia costiera nel 2006, per un totale di 20 milioni di euro, sono state finanziate attraverso lo strumento europeo che contribuirebbe alla stabilità e alla pace (IcSP), destinato a mantenere la pace e a prevenire i conflitti.

      La vendita di imbarcazioni Damen alla Libia mette in evidenza l’inquietante costo umano di questo commercio. Nel 2012, Damen ha fornito quattro imbarcazioni di pattugliamento alla guardia costiera libica, che sono state vendute come equipaggiamento civile col fine di evitare la licenza di esportazione di armi nei Paesi Bassi. I ricercatori hanno poi scoperto che non solo le imbarcazioni erano state vendute con dei punti di fissaggio per le armi, ma che erano state in seguito armate ed utilizzate per fermare le imbarcazioni di rifugiati. Numerosi incidenti che hanno implicato queste imbarcazioni sono stati segnalati, tra i quali l’annegamento di 20 o 30 rifugiati. Damen si è rifiutata di commentare, dichiarando di aver convenuto col governo libico di non divulgare alcuna informazione riguardante le imbarcazioni.

      Numerosi costruttori navali nazionali, oltre a Damen, giocano un ruolo determinante nelle operizioni marittime poiché sono sistematicamente scelti con priorità dai paesi partecipanti a ogni operazione di Frontex o ad altre operazioni nel Mediterraneo. Tutte le imbarcazioni fornite dall’Italia all’operazione Sophia sono state costruite da Fincantieri e tutte quelle spagnole sono fornite da Navantia e dai suoi predecessori. Allo stesso modo, la Francia si rifornisce da DCN/DCNS, ormai Naval Group, e tutte le imbarcazioni tedesche sono state costruite da diversi cantieri navali tedeschi (Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, HDW, Lürssen Gruppe). Altre imprese hanno partecipato alle operazioni di Frontex, tra cui la società greca Motomarine Shipyards, che ha prodotto i pattugliatori rapidi Panther 57 utilizzati dalla guardia costiera greca, così come la Hellenic Shipyards e la Israel Shipyards.

      La società austriaca Schiebel, che fornisce i droni S-100, gioca un ruolo importante nella sorveglianza aerea delle attività marittime. Nel novembre 2018, è stata selezionata dall’EMSA per un contratto di sorveglianza marittima di 24 milioni di euro riguardante differenti operazioni che includevano la sicurezza delle frontiere. Dal 2017, Schiebel ha ugualmente ottenuto dei contratti con la Croazia, la Danimarca, l’Islanda, l’Italia, il Portogallo e la Spagna. L’impresa ha un passato controverso: ha venduto dei droni a numerosi paesi in conflitto armato o governati da regimi repressivi come la Libia, il Myanmar, gli Emirati Arabi Uniti e lo Yemen.

      La Finlandia e i Paesi Bassi hanno impiegato degli aerei Dornier rispettivamente nel quadro delle operazioni Hermès, Poseidon e Triton. Dornier appartiene ormai alla filiale americana della società di armamenti israeliana Elbit Systems.
      CAE Aviation (Lussemburgo), DEA Aviation (Regno Unito) e EASP Air (Paesi Bassi) hanno tutte ottenuto dei contratti di sorveglianza aerea per Frontex.
      Airbus, Dassault Aviation, Leonardo e l’americana Lockheed Martin hanno fornito il più grande numero di aerei utilizzati per l’operazione Sophia.

      L’UE e i suoi Stati membri difendono le loro operazioni marittime pubblicizzando il loro ruolo nel salvataggio dei rifugiati in mare. Ma non è questo il loro obiettivo principale, come sottolinea il direttore di Frontex Fabrice Leggeri nell’aprile 2015, dichiarando che “le azioni volontarie di ricerca e salvataggio” non fanno parte del mandato affidato a Frontex, e che salvare delle vite non dovrebbe essere una priorità. La criminalizzazione delle operazioni di salvataggio da parte delle ONG, gli ostacoli che esse incontrano, così come la violenza e i respingimenti illegali dei rifugiati, spesso denunciati, illustrano bene il fatto che queste operazioni marittime sono volte soprattutto a costituire muri piuttosto che missioni umanitarie.
      I muri virtuali

      I principali contratti dell’UE legati ai muri virtuali sono stati affidati a due imprese, a volte in quanto leader di un consorzio.
      Sopra Steria è il partner principale per lo sviluppo e il mantenimento del Sistema d’informazione dei visti (SIV), del Sistema di informazione Schengen (SIS II) e di Eurodac (European Dactyloscopy) e GMV ha firmato una serie di contratti per Eurosur. I sistemi che essi concepiscono permettono di controllare e di sorvegliare i movimenti delle persone attraverso l’Europa e, sempre più spesso, al di là delle sue frontiere.

      Sopra Steria è un’impresa francese di servizi per consultazioni in tecnologia che ha, ad oggi, ottenuto dei contratti con l’UE per un valore totale di più di 150 milioni di euro. Nel quadro di alcuni di questi grossi contratti, Sopra Steria ha formato dei consorzi con HP Belgio, Bull e 3M Belgio.

      Malgrado l’ampiezza di questi mercati, Sopra Steria ha ricevuto importanti critiche per la sua mancanza di rigore nel rispetto delle tempistiche e dei budget. Il lancio di SIS II è stato costantemente ritardato, costringendo la Commissione a prolungare i contratti e ad aumentare i budget. Sopra Steria aveva ugualmente fatto parte di un altro consorzio, Trusted Borders, impegnato nello sviluppo del programma e-Borders nel Regno Unito. Quest’ultimo è terminato nel 2010 dopo un accumulo di ritardi e di mancate consegne. Tuttavia, la società ha continuato a ottenere contratti, a causa del suo quasi monopolio di conoscenze e di relazioni con i rappresentanti dell’UE. Il ruolo centrale di Sopra Steria nello sviluppo dei sistemi biometrici dell’UE ha ugualmente portato alla firma di altri contratti nazionali con, tra gli altri, il Belgio, la Bulgaria, la Repubblica ceca, la Finlandia, la Francia, la Germania, la Romania e la Slovenia.

      GMV, un’impresa tecnologica spagnola, ha concluso una serie di grossi contratti per Eurosur, dopo la sua fase sperimentale nel 2010, per almeno 25 milioni di euro. Essa rifornisce ugualmente di tecnologie la Guardia Civil spagnola, tecnologie quali, ad esempio, i centri di controllo del suo Sistema integrato di sorveglianza esterna (SIVE), sistema di sicurezza delle frontiere, così come rifornisce di servizi di sviluppo logistico Frontex. L’impresa ha partecipato ad almeno dieci progetti di ricerca finanziati dall’UE sulla sicurezza delle frontiere.

      La maggior parte dei grossi contratti riguardanti i muri virtuali che non sono stati conclusi con consorzi di cui facesse parte Sopra Steria, sono stati attribuiti da eu-LISA (l’Agenzia europea per la gestione operazionale dei sistemi di informazione su vasta scale in seno allo spazio di libertà, di sicurezza e di giustizia) a dei consorzi di imprese specializzate nell’informazione e nelle nuove tecnologie, tra questi: Accenture, Atos Belgium e Morpho (rinominato Idemia).
      Lobby

      Come testimonia il nostro report “Border Wars”, il settore della difesa e della sicurezza, grazie ad una lobbying efficace, ha un’influenza considerabile nell’elaborazione delle politiche di difesa e di sicurezza dell’UE. Le imprese di questo settore industriale sono riuscite a posizionarsi come esperti della sicurezza delle frontiere, portando avanti il loro discorso secondo il quale la migrazione è prima di tutto una minaccia per la sicurezza che deve essere combattuta tramite mezzi militari e securitari. Questo crea così una domanda continua del catalogo sempre più fornito di equipaggiamenti e servizi che esse forniscono per la sicurezza e il controllo delle frontiere.

      Un numero alto di imprese che abbiamo nominato, in particolare le grandi società di armamenti, fanno parte dell’EOS (Organizzazione europea per la sicurezza), il più importante gruppo di pressione sulla sicurezza delle frontiere.

      Molte imprese informatiche che hanno concepito i muri virtuali dell’UE sono membri dell’EAB (Associazione Europea per la Biometria). L’EOS ha un “Gruppo di lavoro sulla sicurezza integrata delle frontiere” per “permettere lo sviluppo e l’adozione delle migliori soluzioni tecnologiche per la sicurezza delle frontiere sia ai checkpoint che lungo le frontiere marittime e terrestri”.
      Il gruppo di lavoro è presieduto da Giorgio Gulienetti, della società di armi italiana Leonardo, Isto Mattila (diplomato all’università di scienze applicate) e Peter Smallridge di Gemalto, multinazionale specializzata nella sicurezza numerica, recentemente acquisita da Thales.

      I lobbisti di imprese e i rappresentanti di questi gruppi di pressione incontrano regolarmente le istituzioni dell’UE, tra cui la Commissione europea, nel quadro di comitati di consiglio ufficiali, pubblicano proposte influenti, organizzano incontri tra il settore industriale, i policy-makers e i dirigenti e si ritrovano allo stesso modo in tutti i saloni, le conferenze e i seminari sulla difesa e la sicurezza.

      Airbus, Leonardo e Thales e l’EOS hanno anche assistito a 226 riunioni ufficiali di lobby con la Commissione europea tra il 2014 e il 2019. In queste riunioni, i rappresentanti del settore si presentano come esperti della sicurezza delle frontiere, e propongono i loro prodotti e servizi come soluzione alle “minacce alla sicurezza” costituite dall’immigrazione. Nel 2017, queste stesse imprese e l’EOS hanno speso fino a 2,56 milioni di euro in lobbying.

      Si constata una relazione simile per quanto riguarda i muri virtuali: il Centro comune della ricerca della Commissione europea domanda apertamente che le politiche pubbliche favoriscano “l’emergenza di una industria biometrica europea dinamica”.
      Un business mortale, una scelta

      La conclusione di questa inchiesta sul business dell’innalzamento di muri è chiara: la presenza di un’Europa piena di muri si rivela molto fruttuosa per una larga fetta di imprese del settore degli armamenti, della difesa, dell’informatica, del trasporto marittimo e delle imprese di costruzioni. I budget che l’UE ha pianificato per la sicurezza delle frontiere nei prossimi dieci anni mostrano che si tratta di un commercio che continua a prosperare.

      Si tratta altresì di un commercio mortale. A causa della vasta militarizzazione delle frontiere dell’Europa sulla terraferma e in mare, i rifugiati e i migranti intraprendono dei percorsi molto più pericolosi e alcuni si trovano anche intrappolati in terribili condizioni in paesi limitrofi come la Libia. Non vengono registrate tutte le morti, ma quelle che sono registrate nel Mediterraneo mostrano che il numero di migranti che annegano provando a raggiungere l’Europa continua ad aumentare ogni anno.

      Questo stato di cose non è inevitabile. È il risultato sia di decisioni politiche prese dall’UE e dai suoi Stati membri, sia dalle decisioni delle imprese di trarre profitto da queste politiche. Sono rare le imprese che prendono posizione, come il produttore tedesco di filo spinato Mutinox che ha dichiarato nel 2015 che non avrebbe venduto i suoi prodotti al governo ungherese per il seguente motivo: “I fili spinati sono concepiti per impedire atti criminali, come il furto. Dei rifugiati, bambini e adulti, non sono dei criminali”.

      È tempo che altri politici e capi d’impresa riconoscano questa stessa verità: erigere muri contro le popolazioni più vulnerabili viola i diritti umani e costituisce un atto immorale che sarà evidentemente condannato dalla storia.

      Trent’anni dopo la caduta del muro di Berlino, è tempo che l’Europa abbatta i suoi nuovi muri.

      https://www.meltingpot.org/La-costruzione-di-muri-un-business.html

    • How the arms industry drives Fortress Europe’s expansion

      In recent years, rising calls for deterrence have intensified the physical violence migrants face at the EU border. The externalization of the border through deals with sending and transit countries signals the expansion of this securitization process. Financial gains by international arms firms in this militarization trend form an obstacle for policy change.

      In March, April, and May of this year, multiple European countries deployed military forces to their national borders. This was done to assist with controls and patrols in the wake of border closures and other movement restrictions due to the Covid-19 crisis. Poland deployed 1,460 soldiers to the border to support the Border Guard and police as part of a larger military operation in reaction to Covid-19. And the Portuguese police used military drones as a complement to their land border checks. According to overviews from NATO, the Czech Republic, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands (military police), Slovakia, and Slovenia all stationed armed forces at their national borders.

      While some of these deployments have been or will be rolled back as the Corona crisis dies down, they are not exceptional developments. Rather, using armed forces for border security and control has been a common occurrence at EU external borders since the so-called refugee crisis of 2015. They are part of the continuing militarisation of European border and migration policies, which is known to put refugees at risk but is increasingly being expanded to third party countries. Successful lobbying from the military and security industry has been an important driver for these policies, from which large European arms companies have benefited.

      The militarization of borders happens when EU member states send armies to border regions, as they did in Operation Sophia off the Libyan coast. This was the first outright EU military mission to stop migration. But border militarization also includes the use of military equipment for migration control, such as helicopters and patrol vessels, as well as the the EU-wide surveillance system Eurosur, which connects surveillance data from all individual member states. Furthermore, EU countries now have over 1,000 kilometers of walls and fences on their borders. These are rigged with surveillance, monitoring, and detection technologies, and accompanied by an increasing use of drones and other autonomous systems. The EU also funds a constant stream of Research & Technology (R&T) projects to develop new technologies and services to monitor and manage migration.

      This process has been going on for decades. The Schengen Agreement of 1985, and the subsequent creation of the Schengen Area, which coupled the opening of the internal EU borders with robust control at the external borders, can be seen as a starting point for these developments. After 2011, when the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ led to fears of mass migration to Europe, and especially since the ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015, the EU accelerated the boosting and militarising of border security, enormously. Since then, stopping migration has been at the top of the EU agenda.

      An increasingly important part of the process of border militarization isn’t happening at the European borders, but far beyond them. The EU and its member states are incentivizing third party countries to help stop migrants long before they reach Europe. This externalising of borders has taken many forms, from expanding the goals of EUCAP missions in Mali and Niger to include the prevention of irregular migration, to funding and training the Libyan Coast Guard to return refugees back to torture and starvation in the infamous detention centers in Libya. It also includes the donation of border security equipment, for example from Germany to Tunisia, and funding for purchases, such as Turkey’s acquisition of coast guard vessels to strengthen its operational capacities.

      Next to the direct consequences of European border externalisation efforts, these policies cause and worsen problems in the third party countries concerned: diverting development funds and priorities, ruining migration-based economies, and strengthening authoritarian regimes such as those in Chad, Belarus, Eritrea, and Sudan by providing funding, training and equipment to their military and security forces. Precisely these state organs are most responsible for repression and abuses of human rights. All this feeds drivers of migration, including violence, repression, and unemployment. As such, it is almost a guarantee for more refugees in the future.

      EU border security agency Frontex has also extended its operations into non-EU-countries. Ongoing negotiations and conclusions of agreements with Balkan countries resulted in the first operation in Albania having started in May 2019. And this is only a small part of Frontex’ expanding role in recent years. In response to the ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015, the European Commission launched a series of proposals that saw large increases in the powers of the agency, including giving member states binding advice to boost their border security, and giving Frontex the right to intervene in member states’ affairs (even without their consent) by decision of the Commission or Council.

      These proposals also included the creation of a 10,000 person strong standing corps of border guards and a budget to buy or lease its own equipment. Concretely, Frontex started with a budget of €6 million in 2005, which grew to €143 million in 2015. This was then quickly increased again from €239 million in 2016 to €460 million in 2020. The enormous expansion of EU border security and control has been accompanied by rapidly increasing budgets in general. In recent years, billions of euros have been spent on fortifying borders, setting up biometric databases, increasing surveillance capacities, and paying non-EU-countries to play their parts in this expansion process.

      Negotiations about the next seven-year-budget for the EU, the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, are still ongoing. In the European Commission’s latest proposal, which is clearly positioned as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the fund for strengthening member states’ border security, the Integrated Border Management Fund, has been allotted €12.5 billion. Its predecessors, the External Borders Fund (2007-2013) and the Internal Security Fund – Borders (2014-2020), had much smaller budgets: €1.76 billion and €2.70 billion, respectively. For Frontex, €7.5 billion is reserved, with €2.2 billion earmarked for purchasing or leasing equipment such as helicopters, drones, and patrol vessels. These huge budget increases are exemplary of the priority the EU attaches to stopping migration.

      The narrative underlying these policies and budget growths is the perception of migration as a threat; a security problem. As researcher, Ainhoa Ruiz (Centre Delàs) writes, “the securitisation process also includes militarisation,” because “the prevailing paradigm for providing security is based on military principles: the use of force and coercion, more weapons equating to more security, and the achievement of security by eliminating threats.”

      This narrative hasn’t come out of the blue. It is pushed by right wing politicians and often followed by centrist and leftist parties afraid of losing voters. Importantly, it is also promoted by an extensive and successful industrial lobby. According to Martin Lemberg-Pedersen (Assistant Professor in Global Refugee Studies, Aalborg University), arms companies “establish themselves as experts on border security, and use this position to frame immigration to Europe as leading to evermore security threats in need of evermore advanced [security] products.” The narrative of migration as a security problem thus sets the stage for militaries, and the security companies behind the commercial arms lobby, to offer their goods and services as the solution. The range of militarization policies mentioned so far reflects the broad adoption of this narrative.

      The lobby organizations of large European military and security companies regularly interact with the European Commission and EU border agencies. They have meetings, organise roundtables, and see each other at military and security fairs and conferences. Industry representatives also take part in official advisory groups, are invited to present new arms and technologies, and write policy proposals. These proposals can sometimes be so influential that they are adopted as policy, almost unamended.

      This happened, for instance, when the the Commission decided to open up the Instrument contributing to Security and Peace, a fund meant for peace-building and conflict prevention. The fund’s terms were expanded to cover provision of third party countries with non-lethal security equipment, for example, for border security purposes. The new policy document for this turned out to be a step-by-step reproduction of an earlier proposal from lobby organisation, Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD). Yet, perhaps the most far-reaching success of this kind is the expansion of Frontex, itself, into a European Border Guard. Years before it actually happened, the industry had already been pushing for this outcome.

      The same companies that are at the forefront of the border security and control lobby are, not surprisingly, also the big winners of EU and member states’ contracts in these areas. These include three of the largest European (and global) arms companies, namely, Airbus (Paneuropean), Leonardo (Italy) and Thales (France). These companies are active in many aspects of the border security and control market. Airbus’ and Leonardo’s main product in this field are helicopters, with EU funds paying for many purchases by EU and third countries. Thales provides radar, for example, for border patrol vessels, and is heavily involved in biometric and digital identification, especially after having acquired market leader, Gemalto, last year.

      These three companies are the main beneficiaries of the European anti-migration obsession. At the same time, these very three companies also contribute to new migration streams to Europe’s shores through their trade in arms. They are responsible for significant parts of Europe’s arms exports to countries at war, and they provide the arms used by parties in internal armed conflicts, by human rights violators, and by repressive regimes. These are the forces fueling the reasons for which people are forced to flee in the first place.

      Many other military and security companies also earn up to hundreds of millions of euros from large border security and control projects oriented around logistics and transport. Dutch shipbuilder Damen provided not only many southern European countries with border patrol vessels, but also controversially sold those to Libya and Turkey, among others. Its ships have also been used in Frontex operations, in Operation Sophia, and on the Channel between Calais and Dover.

      The Spanish company, European Security Fencing, provided razor wire for the fences around the Spanish enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla, in Morocco, as well as the fence at Calais and the fences on the borders of Austria, Bulgaria, and Hungary. Frontex, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), and Greece leased border surveillance drones from Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). These are Israeli military companies that routinely promote their products as ‘combat-proven’ or ‘battlefield tested’ against Palestinians.

      Civipol, a French public-private company owned by the state, and several large arms producers (including Thales, Airbus, and Safran), run a string of EU-/member state-funded border security projects in third party countries. This includes setting up fingerprint databases of the whole populations of Mali and Senegal, which facilitates identification and deportation of their nationals from Europe. These are just a few examples of the companies that benefit from the billions of euros that the EU and its member states spend on a broad range of purchases and projects in their bid to stop migration.

      The numbers of forcibly displaced people in the world grew to a staggering 79.5 million by the end of last year. Instead of helping to eliminate the root causes of migration, EU border and migration policies, as well as its arms exports to the rest of the world, are bound to lead to more refugees in the future. The consequences of these policies have already been devastating. As experts in the field of migration have repeatedly warned, the militarisation of borders primarily pushes migrants to take alternative migration routes that are often more dangerous and involve the risks of relying on criminal smuggling networks. The Mediterranean Sea has become a sad witness of this, turning into a graveyard for a growing percentage of refugees trying to cross it.

      The EU approach to border security doesn’t stand on its own. Many other countries, in particular Western ones and those with authoritarian leaders, follow the same narrative and policies. Governments all over the world, but particularly those in the US, Australia, and Europe, continue to spend billions of euros on border security and control equipment and services. And they plan to increase budgets even more in the coming years. For military and security companies, this is good news; the global border security market is expected to grow by over 7% annually for the next five years to a total of $65 billion in 2025. It looks like they will belong to the very few winners of increasingly restrictive policies targeting vulnerable people on the run.

      https://crisismag.net/2020/06/27/how-the-arms-industry-drives-fortress-europes-expansion
      #industrie_militaire #covid-19 #coronavirus #frontières_extérieures #Operation_Sophia #Eurosur #surveillance #drones #technologie #EUCAP #externalisation #Albanie #budget #Integrated_Border_Management_Fund #menace #lobby_industriel #Instrument_contributing_to_Security_and_Peace #conflits #paix #prévention_de_conflits #Aerospace_and_Defence_Industries_Association_of_Europe (#ASD) #Airbus #Leonardo #Thales #hélicoptères #radar #biométrie #identification_digitale #Gemalto #commerce_d'armes #armement #Damen #European_Security_Fencing #barbelé #European_Maritime_Safety_Agency (#EMSA) #Elbit #Israel_Aerospace_Industries (#IAI) #Civipol #Safran #base_de_données

      –—

      Pour @etraces :

      Civipol, a French public-private company owned by the state, and several large arms producers (including Thales, Airbus, and Safran), run a string of EU-/member state-funded border security projects in third party countries. This includes setting up fingerprint databases of the whole populations of Mali and Senegal, which facilitates identification and deportation of their nationals from Europe

    • GUARDING THE FORTRESS. The role of Frontex in the militarisation and securitisation of migration flows in the European Union

      The report focuses on 19 Frontex operations run by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (hereafter Frontex) to explore how the agency is militarising borders and criminalising migrants, undermining fundamental rights to freedom of movement and the right to asylum.

      This report is set in a wider context in which more than 70.8 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced, according to the 2018 figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (UNHCR, 2019). Some of these have reached the borders of the European Union (EU), seeking protection and asylum, but instead have encountered policy responses that mostly aim to halt and intercept migration flows, against the background of securitisation policies in which the governments of EU Member States see migration as a threat. One of the responses to address migration flows is the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (hereafter Frontex), established in 2004 as the EU body in charge of guarding what many have called ‘Fortress Europe’, and whose practices have helped to consolidate the criminalisation of migrants and the securitisation of their movements.

      The report focuses on analysing the tools deployed by Fortress Europe, in this case through Frontex, to prevent the freedom of movement and the right to asylum, from its creation in 2004 to the present day.

      The sources used to write this report were from the EU and Frontex, based on its budgets and annual reports. The analysis focused on the Frontex regulations, the language used and its meaning, as well as the budgetary trends, identifying the most significant items – namely, the joint operations and migrant-return operations.

      A table was compiled of all the joint operations mentioned in the annual reports since the Agency was established in 2005 up to 2018 (see annexes). The joint operations were found on government websites but were not mentioned in the Frontex annual reports. Of these operations, we analysed those of the longest duration, or that have showed recent signs of becoming long-term operations. The joint operations are analysed in terms of their objectives, area of action, the mandates of the personnel deployed, and their most noteworthy characteristics.

      Basically, the research sought to answer the following questions: What policies are being implemented in border areas and in what context? How does Frontex act in response to migration movements? A second objective was to analyse how Frontex securitises the movement of refugees and other migrants, with the aim of contributing to the analysis of the process of border militarisation and the security policies applied to non-EU migrants by the EU and its Member States.

      https://www.tni.org/en/guarding-the-fortress

      Pour télécharger le rapport_
      https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/informe40_eng_ok.pdf

      #rapport #TNI #Transnational_institute

    • #Frontex aircraft : Below the radar against international law

      For three years, Frontex has been chartering small aircraft for the surveillance of the EU’s external borders. First Italy was thus supported, then Croatia followed. Frontex keeps the planes details secret, and the companies also switch off the transponders for position display during operations.

      The European Commission does not want to make public which private surveillance planes Frontex uses in the Mediterranean. In the non-public answer to a parliamentary question, the EU border agency writes that the information on the aircraft is „commercially confidential“ as it contains „personal data and sensitive operational information“.

      Frontex offers EU member states the option of monitoring their external borders using aircraft. For this „Frontex Aerial Surveillance Service“ (FASS), Frontex charters twin-engined airplanes from European companies. Italy first made use of the service in 2017, followed a year later by Croatia. In 2018, Frontex carried out at least 1,800 flight hours under the FASS, no figures are yet available for 2019.

      Air service to be supplemented with #drones

      The FASS flights are carried out under the umbrella of „Multipurpose Aerial Surveillance“, which includes satellite surveillance as well as drones. Before the end of this year, the border agency plans to station large drones in the Mediterranean for up to four years. The situation pictures of the European Union’s „pre-frontier area“ are fed into the surveillance system EUROSUR, whose headquarter is located at Frontex in Warsaw. The national EUROSUR contact points, for example in Spain, Portugal and Italy, also receive this information.

      In addition to private charter planes, Frontex also uses aircraft and helicopters provided by EU Member States, in the central Mediterranean via the „Themis“ mission. The EU Commission also keeps the call signs of the state aircraft operating there secret. They would be considered „sensitive operational information“ and could not be disclosed to MEPs.

      Previously, the FOIA platform „Frag den Staat“ („Ask the State“) had also tried to find out details about the sea and air capacities of the member states in „Themis“. Frontex refused to provide any information on this matter. „Frag den Staat“ lost a case against Frontex before the European Court of Justice and is now to pay 23,700 Euros to the agency for legal fees.

      Real-time tracking with FlightAware

      The confidentiality of Frontex comes as a surprise, because companies that monitor the Mediterranean for the agency are known through a tender. Frontex has signed framework contracts with the Spanish arms group Indra as well as the charter companies CAE Aviation (Canada), Diamond-Executive Aviation (Great Britain) and EASP Air (Netherlands). Frontex is spending up to 14.5 million euros each on the contracts.

      Finally, online service providers such as FlightAware can also be used to draw conclusions about which private and state airplanes are flying for Frontex in the Mediterranean. For real-time positioning, the providers use data from ADS-B transponders, which all larger aircraft must have installed. A worldwide community of non-commercial trackers receives this geodata and feeds it into the Internet. In this way, for example, Italian journalist Sergio Scandura documents practically all movements of Frontex aerial assets in the central Mediterranean.

      Among the aircraft tracked this way are the twin-engined „DA-42“, „DA-62“ and „Beech 350“ of Diamond-Executive Aviation, which patrol the Mediterranean Sea on behalf of Frontex as „Osprey1“, „Osprey3“ and „Tasty“, in former times also „Osprey2“ and „Eagle1“. They are all operated by Diamond-Executive Aviation and take off and land at airports in Malta and Sicily.

      „Push-backs“ become „pull-backs“

      In accordance with the Geneva Convention on Refugees, the EU Border Agency may not return people to states where they are at risk of torture or other serious human rights violations. Libya is not a safe haven; this assessment has been reiterated on several occasions by the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees, among others.

      Because these „push-backs“ are prohibited, Frontex has since 2017 been helping with so-called „pull-backs“ by bringing refugees back to Libya by the Libyan coast guard rather than by EU units. With the „Multipurpose Aerial Surveillance“, Frontex is de facto conducting air reconnaissance for Libya. By November 2019, the EU border agency had notified Libyan authorities about refugee boats on the high seas in at least 42 cases.

      Many international law experts consider this practice illegal. Since Libya would not be able to track down the refugees without the help of Frontex, the agency must take responsibility for the refoulements. The lawyers Omer Shatz and Juan Branco therefore want to sue responsibles of the European Union before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

      Frontex watches refugees drown

      This is probably the reason why Frontex disguises the exact location of its air surveillance. Private maritime rescue organisations have repeatedly pointed out that Frontex aircrafts occasionally switch off their transponders so that they cannot be tracked via ADS-B. In the answer now available, this is confirmed by the EU Commission. According to this, the visibility of the aircraft would disclose „sensitive operational information“ and, in combination with other kinds of information, „undermine“ the operational objectives.

      The German Ministry of the Interior had already made similar comments on the Federal Police’s assets in Frontex missions, according to which „general tracking“ of their routes in real time would „endanger the success of the mission“.

      However, Frontex claims it did not issue instructions to online service providers to block the real-time position display of its planes, as journalist Scandura described. Nonetheless, the existing concealment of the operations only allows the conclusion that Frontex does not want to be controlled when the deployed aircraft watch refugees drown and Italy and Malta, as neighbouring EU member states, do not provide any assistance.

      https://digit.site36.net/2020/06/11/frontex-aircraft-blind-flight-against-international-law
      #avions #Italie #Croatie #confidentialité #transparence #Frontex_Aerial_Surveillance_Service (#FASS) #Multipurpose_Aerial_Surveillance #satellites #Méditerranée #Thermis #information_sensible #Indra #CAE_Aviation #Diamond-Executive_Aviation #EASP_Air #FlightAware #ADS-B #DA-42 #DA-62 #Beech_350 #Osprey1 #Osprey3 #Tasty #Osprey2 #Eagle1 #Malte #Sicile #pull-back #push-back #refoulement #Sergio_Scandura

    • Walls Must Fall: Ending the deadly politics of border militarisation - webinar recording
      This webinar explored the trajectory and globalization of border militarization and anti-migrant racism across the world, the history, ideologies and actors that have shaped it, the pillars and policies that underpin the border industrial complex, the resistance of migrants, refugees and activists, and the shifting dynamics within this pandemic.

      - #Harsha_Walia, author of Undoing Border Imperialism (2013)
      - #Jille_Belisario, Transnational Migrant Platform-Europe (TMP-E)
      - #Todd_Miller, author of Empire of Borders (2020), Storming the Wall (2019) and TNI’s report More than A Wall (2019)
      - #Kavita_Krishnan, All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA).
      https://www.tni.org/en/article/walls-must-fall
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8B-cJ2bTi8&feature=emb_logo

      #conférence #webinar

    • Le business meurtrier des frontières

      Le 21ème siècle sera-t-il celui des barrières ? Probable, au rythme où les frontières nationales se renforcent. Dans un livre riche et documenté, publié aux éditions Syllepse, le géographe Stéphane Rosière dresse un indispensable état des lieux.

      Une nuit du mois de juin, dans un centre de rétention de l’île de Rhodes, la police grecque vient chercher une vingtaine de migrant·e·s, dont deux bébés. Après un trajet en bus, elle abandonne le groupe dans un canot de sauvetage sans moteur, au milieu des eaux territoriales turques. En août, le New York Times publie une enquête révélant que cette pratique, avec la combinaison de l’arrivée aux affaires du premier ministre conservateur Kyriakos Mitsotakis et de la diffusion de la pandémie de Covid-19, est devenue courante depuis mars.

      Illégales au regard du droit international, ces expulsions illustrent surtout le durcissement constant de la politique migratoire de l’Europe depuis 20 ans. Elles témoignent aussi d’un processus mondial de « pixellisation » des frontières : celles-ci ne se réduisent pas à des lignes mais à un ensemble de points plus ou moins en amont ou en aval (ports, aéroports, eaux territoriales…), où opèrent les polices frontalières.
      La fin de la fin des frontières

      Plus largement, le récent ouvrage de Stéphane Rosière, Frontières de fer, le cloisonnement du monde, permet de prendre la mesure d’un processus en cours de « rebordering » à travers le monde. À la fois synthèse des recherches récentes sur les frontières et résultats des travaux de l’auteur sur la résurgence de barrières frontalières, le livre est une lecture incontournable sur l’évolution contemporaine des frontières nationales.

      D’autant qu’il n’y a pas si longtemps, la mondialisation semblait promettre l’affaissement des frontières, dans la foulée de la disparition de l’Union soviétique et, corollairement, de la généralisation de l’économie de marché. La Guerre froide terminée annonçait la « fin de l’histoire » et, avec elle, la disparition des limites territoriales héritées de l’époque moderne. Au point de ringardiser, rappelle Stéphane Rosière, les études sur les frontières au sein de la géographie des années 1990, parallèlement au succès d’une valorisation tous azimuts de la mobilité dans le discours politique dominant comme dans les sciences sociales.

      Trente ans après, le monde se réveille avec 25 000 kilomètres de barrières frontalières – record pour l’Inde, avec plus de 3 000 kilomètres de clôtures pour prévenir l’immigration depuis le Bangladesh. Barbelés, murs de briques, caméras, détecteurs de mouvements, grilles électrifiées, les dispositifs de contrôle frontalier fleurissent en continu sur les cinq continents.
      L’âge des « murs anti-pauvres »

      La contradiction n’est qu’apparente. Les barrières du 21e siècle ne ferment pas les frontières mais les cloisonnent – d’où le titre du livre. C’est-à-dire que l’objectif n’est pas de supprimer les flux mondialisés – de personnes et encore moins de marchandises ni de capitaux – mais de les contrôler. Les « teichopolitiques », terme qui recouvre, pour Stéphane Rosière, les politiques de cloisonnement de l’espace, matérialisent un « ordre mondial asymétrique et coercitif », dans lequel on valorise la mobilité des plus riches tout en assignant les populations pauvres à résidence.

      De fait, on observe que les barrières frontalières redoublent des discontinuités économiques majeures. Derrière l’argument de la sécurité, elles visent à contenir les mouvements migratoires des régions les plus pauvres vers des pays mieux lotis économiquement : du Mexique vers les États-Unis, bien sûr, ou de l’Afrique vers l’Europe, mais aussi de l’Irak vers l’Arabie Saoudite ou du Pakistan vers l’Iran.

      Les dispositifs de contrôle frontalier sont des outils parmi d’autres d’une « implacable hiérarchisation » des individus en fonction de leur nationalité. Comme l’a montré le géographe Matthew Sparke à propos de la politique migratoire nord-américaine, la population mondiale se trouve divisée entre une classe hypermobile de citoyen·ne·s « business-class » et une masse entravée de citoyen·ne·s « low-cost ». C’est le sens du « passport index » publié chaque année par le cabinet Henley : alors qu’un passeport japonais ou allemand donne accès à plus de 150 pays, ce chiffre descend en-dessous de 30 avec un passeport afghan ou syrien.
      Le business des barrières

      Si les frontières revêtent une dimension économique, c’est aussi parce qu’elles sont un marché juteux. À l’heure où les pays européens ferment des lits d’hôpital faute de moyens, on retiendra ce chiffre ahurissant : entre 2005 et 2016, le budget de Frontex, l’agence en charge du contrôle des frontières de l’Union européenne, est passé de 6,3 à 238,7 millions d’euros. À quoi s’ajoutent les budgets colossaux débloqués pour construire et entretenir les barrières – budgets entourés d’opacité et sur lesquels, témoigne l’auteur, il est particulièrement difficile d’enquêter, faute d’obtenir… des fonds publics.

      L’argent public alimente ainsi une « teichoéconomie » dont les principaux bénéficiaires sont des entreprises du BTP et de la sécurité européennes, nord-américaines, israéliennes et, de plus en plus, indiennes ou saoudiennes. Ce complexe sécuritaro-industriel, identifié par Julien Saada, commercialise des dispositifs de surveillance toujours plus sophistiqués et prospère au rythme de l’inflation de barrières entre pays, mais aussi entre quartiers urbains.

      Un business d’autant plus florissant qu’il s’auto-entretient, dès lors que les mêmes entreprises vendent des armes. On sait que les ventes d’armes, alimentant les guerres, stimulent les migrations : un « cercle vertueux » s’enclenche pour les entreprises du secteur, appelées à la rescousse pour contenir des mouvements de population qu’elles participent à encourager.
      « Mourir aux frontières »

      Bénéfices juteux, profits politiques, les barrières font des heureux. Elles tuent aussi et l’ouvrage de Stéphane Rosière se termine sur un décompte macabre. C’est, dit-il, une « guerre migratoire » qui est en cours. Guerre asymétrique, elle oppose la police armée des puissances économiques à des groupes le plus souvent désarmés, venant de périphéries dominées économiquement et dont on entend contrôler la mobilité. Au nom de la souveraineté des États, cette guerre fait plusieurs milliers de victimes par an et la moindre des choses est de « prendre la pleine mesure de la létalité contemporaine aux frontières ».

      Sur le blog :

      – Une synthèse sur les murs frontaliers : http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2019/01/28/lamour-des-murs

      – Le compte rendu d’un autre livre incontournable sur les frontières : http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2019/08/03/frontieres-en-mouvement

      – Une synthèse sur les barricades à l’échelle intraurbaine : http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2020/10/21/gated-communities-le-paradis-entre-quatre-murs

      http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2020/11/05/le-business-meurtrier-des-frontieres

    • How Private Security Firms Profit Off the Refugee Crisis

      The UK has pumped money to corporations turning #Calais into a bleak fortress.

      Tall white fences lined with barbed wire – welcome to Calais. The city in northern France is an obligatory stop for anyone trying to reach the UK across the channel. But some travellers are more welcome than others, and in recent decades, a slew of private security companies have profited millions of pounds off a very expensive – an unattractive – operation to keep migrants from crossing.

      Every year, thousands of passengers and lorries take the ferry at the Port of Calais-Fréthun, a trading route heavily relied upon by the UK for imports. But the entrance to the port looks more like a maximum-security prison than your typical EU border. Even before Brexit, the UK was never part of the Schengen area, which allows EU residents to move freely across 26 countries. For decades, Britain has strictly controlled its southern border in an attempt to stop migrants and asylum seekers from entering.

      As early as 2000, the Port of Calais was surrounded by a 2.8 metre-high fence to prevent people from jumping into lorries waiting at the ferry departure point. In 1999, the Red Cross set up a refugee camp in the nearby town of Sangatte which quickly became overcrowded. The UK pushed for it to be closed in 2002 and then negotiated a treaty with France to regulate migration between the two countries.

      The 2003 Le Toquet Treaty allowed the UK to check travellers on French soil before their arrival, and France to do the same on UK soil. Although the deal looks fair on paper, in practice it unduly burdens French authorities, as there are more unauthorised migrants trying to reach the UK from France than vice versa.

      The treaty effectively moved the UK border onto French territory, but people still need to cross the channel to request asylum. That’s why thousands of refugees from conflict zones like Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia have found themselves stranded in Calais, waiting for a chance to cross illegally – often in search of family members who’ve already made it to the UK. Many end up paying people smugglers to hide them in lorries or help them cross by boat.

      These underlying issues came to a head during the Syrian crisis, when refugees began camping out near Calais in 2014. The so-called Calais Jungle became infamous for its squalid conditions, and at its peak, hosted more than 7,000 people. They were all relocated to other centres in France before the camp was bulldozed in 2016. That same year, the UK also decided to build a €2.7 million border wall in Calais to block access to the port from the camp, but the project wasn’t completed until after the camp was cleared, attracting a fair deal of criticism. Between 2015 and 2018, the UK spent over €110 million on border security in France, only to top it up with over €56 million more in 2018.

      But much of this public money actually flows into the accounts of private corporations, hired to build and maintain the high-tech fences and conduct security checks. According to a 2020 report by the NGO Care4Calais, there are more than 40 private security companies working in the city. One of the biggest, Eamus Cork Solutions (ECS), was founded by a former Calais police officer in 2004 and is reported to have benefited at least €30 million from various contracts as of 2016.

      Stéphane Rosière, a geography professor at the University of Reims, wrote his book Iron Borders (only available in French) about the many border walls erected around the world. Rosière calls this the “security-industrial” complex – private firms that have largely replaced the traditional military-industrial sector in Europe since WW2.

      “These companies are getting rich by making security systems adaptable to all types of customers – individuals, companies or states,” he said. According to Rosière, three-quarters of the world’s border security barriers were built in the 21st century.

      Brigitte, a pensioner living close to the former site of the Calais Jungle, has seen her town change drastically over the past two decades. “Everything is cordoned off with wire mesh," she said. "I have the before and after photos, and it’s not a pretty sight. It’s just wire, wire, wire.” For the past 15 years, Brigitte has been opening her garage door for asylum seekers to stop by for a cup of tea and charge their phones and laptops, earning her the nickname "Mama Charge”.

      “For a while, the purpose of these fences and barriers was to stop people from crossing,” said François Guennoc, president of L’Auberge des Migrants, an NGO helping displaced migrants in Calais.

      Migrants have still been desperate enough to try their luck. “They risked a lot to get into the port area, and many of them came back bruised and battered,” Guennoc said. Today, walls and fences are mainly being built to deter people from settling in new camps near Calais after being evicted.

      In the city centre, all public squares have been fenced off. The city’s bridges have been fitted with blue lights and even with randomly-placed bike racks, so people won’t sleep under them.

      “They’ve also been cutting down trees for some time now,” said Brigitte, pointing to a patch near her home that was once woods. Guennoc said the authorities are now placing large rocks in areas where NGOs distribute meals and warm clothes, to prevent displaced people from receiving the donations. “The objective of the measures now is also to make the NGOs’ work more difficult,” he said.

      According to the NGO Refugee Rights Europe, about 1,500 men, women and minors were living in makeshift camps in and around Calais as of April 2020. In July 2020, French police raided a camp of over 500 people, destroying residents’ tents and belongings, in the largest operation since the Calais Jungle was cleared. An investigation by Slate found that smaller camps are cleared almost every day by the French police, even in the middle of winter. NGOs keep providing new tents and basic necessities to displaced residents, but they are frustrated by the waste of resources. The organisations are also concerned about COVID-19 outbreaks in the camps.

      As VICE World News has previously reported, the crackdown is only pushing people to take more desperate measures to get into the UK. Boat crossings reached record-highs in 2020, and four people have died since August 2020 while trying to cross, by land and sea. “When you create an obstacle, people find a way to get around it,” Guennoc said. “If they build a wall all the way along the coast to prevent boat departures, people will go to Normandy – and that has already started.” Crossing the open sea puts migrants at even greater risk.

      Rosière agrees security measures are only further endangering migrants.“All locks eventually open, no matter how complex they may be. It’s just a matter of time.”

      He believes the only parties who stand to profit from the status quo are criminal organisations and private security firms: “At the end of the day, this a messed-up use of public money.”

      https://www.vice.com/en/article/wx8yax/how-private-security-firms-profit-off-the-refugee-crisis

      En français:
      À Calais, la ville s’emmure
      https://www.vice.com/fr/article/wx8yax/a-calais-la-ville-semmure

    • Financing Border Wars. The border industry, its financiers and human rights

      This report seeks to explore and highlight the extent of today’s global border security industry, by focusing on the most important geographical markets—Australia, Europe, USA—listing the human rights violations and risks involved in each sector of the industry, profiling important corporate players and putting a spotlight on the key investors in each company.

      Executive summary

      Migration will be one of the defining human rights issues of the 21st century. The growing pressures to migrate combined with the increasingly militarised state security response will only exacerbate an already desperate situation for refugees and migrants. Refugees already live in a world where human rights are systematically denied. So as the climate crisis deepens and intersects with other economic and political crises, forcing more people from their homes, and as states retreat to ever more authoritarian security-based responses, the situation for upholding and supporting migrants’ rights looks ever bleaker.

      States, most of all those in the richest countries, bear the ultimate responsibility to uphold the human rights of refugees and migrants recognised under International Human Rights Law. Yet corporations are also deeply implicated. It is their finance, their products, their services, their infrastructure that underpins the structures of state migration and border control. In some cases, they are directly involved in human rights violations themselves; in other cases they are indirectly involved as they facilitate the system that systematically denies refugees and migrants their rights. Most of all, through their lobbying, involvement in government ‘expert’ groups, revolving doors with state agencies, it becomes clear that corporations are not just accidental beneficiaries of the militarisation of borders. Rather they actively shape the policies from which they profit and therefore share responsibility for the human rights violations that result.

      This state-corporate fusion is best described as a Border Industrial Complex, drawing on former US President Eisenhower’s warning of the dangers of a Military-Industrial Complex. Indeed it is noticeable that many of the leading border industries today are also military companies, seeking to diversify their security products to a rapidly expanding new market.

      This report seeks to explore and highlight the extent of today’s global border security industry, by focusing on the most important geographical markets—Australia, Europe, USA—listing the human rights violations and risks involved in each sector of the industry, profiling important corporate players and putting a spotlight on the key investors in each company.
      A booming industry

      The border industry is experiencing spectacular growth, seemingly immune to austerity or economic downturns. Market research agencies predict annual growth of the border security market of between 7.2% and 8.6%, reaching a total of $65–68 billion by 2025. The largest expansion is in the global Biometrics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) markets. Markets and Markets forecasts the biometric systems market to double from $33 billion in 2019 to $65.3 billion by 2024—of which biometrics for migration purposes will be a significant sector. It says that the AI market will equal US$190.61 billion by 2025.

      The report investigates five key sectors of the expanding industry: border security (including monitoring, surveillance, walls and fences), biometrics and smart borders, migrant detention, deportation, and audit and consultancy services. From these sectors, it profiles 23 corporations as significant actors: Accenture, Airbus, Booz Allen Hamilton, Classic Air Charter, Cobham, CoreCivic, Deloitte, Elbit, Eurasylum, G4S, GEO Group, IBM, IDEMIA, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, Mitie, Palantir, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Serco, Sopra Steria, Thales, Thomson Reuters, Unisys.

      – The border security and control field, the technological infrastructure of security and surveillance at the border, is led by US, Australian, European and Israeli firms including Airbus, Elbit, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Leonardo and Thales— all of which are among the world’s major arms sellers. They benefit not only from border contracts within the EU, US, and Australia but also increasingly from border externalisation programmes funded by these same countries. Jean Pierre Talamoni, head of sales and marketing at Airbus Defence and Space (ADS), said in 2016 that he estimates that two thirds of new military market opportunities over the next 10 years will be in Asia and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Companies are also trying to muscle in on providing the personnel to staff these walls, including border guards.

      - The Smart Borders sector encompasses the use of a broad range of (newer) technologies, including biometrics (such as fingerprints and iris-scans), AI and phone and social media tracking. The goal is to speed up processes for national citizens and other acceptable travellers and stop or deport unwanted migrants through the use of more sophisticated IT and biometric systems. Key corporations include large IT companies, such as IBM and Unisys, and multinational services company Accenture for whom migration is part of their extensive portfolio, as well as small firms, such as IDEMIA and Palantir Technologies, for whom migration-related work is central. The French public–private company Civipol, co-owned by the state and several large French arms companies, is another key player, selected to set up fingerprint databases of the whole population of Mali and Senegal.

      – Deportation. With the exception of the UK and the US, it is uncommon to privatise deportation. The UK has hired British company Mitie for its whole deportation process, while Classic Air Charter dominates in the US. Almost all major commercial airlines, however, are also involved in deportations. Newsweek reported, for example, that in the US, 93% of the 1,386 ICE deportation flights to Latin American countries on commercial airlines in 2019 were facilitated by United Airlines (677), American Airlines (345) and Delta Airlines (266).

      - Detention. The Global Detention Project lists over 1,350 migrant detention centres worldwide, of which over 400 are located in Europe, almost 200 in the US and nine in Australia. In many EU countries, the state manages detention centres, while in other countries (e.g. Australia, UK, USA) there are completely privatised prisons. Many other countries have a mix of public and private involvement, such as state facilities with private guards. Australia outsourced refugee detention to camps outside its territories. Australian service companies Broadspectrum and Canstruct International managed the detention centres, while the private security companies G4S, Paladin Solutions and Wilson Security were contracted for security services, including providing guards. Migrant detention in third countries is also an increasingly important part of EU migration policy, with the EU funding construction of migrant detention centres in ten non-EU countries.

      - Advisory and audit services are a more hidden part of public policies and practices, but can be influential in shaping new policies. A striking example is Civipol, which in 2003 wrote a study on maritime borders for the European Commission, which adopted its key policy recommendations in October 2003 and in later policy documents despite its derogatory language against refugees. Civipol’s study also laid foundations for later measures on border externalisation, including elements of the migration deal with Turkey and the EU’s Operation Sophia. Since 2003 Civipol has received funding for a large number of migration-related projects, especially in African countries. Between 2015 and 2017, it was the fourth most-funded organisation under the EU Trust Fund. Other prominent corporations in this sector include Eurasylum, as well as major international consultancy firms, particularly Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers, for which migration-related work is part of their expansive portfolio.

      Financing the industry

      The markets for military and border control procurement are characterized by massively capital intensive investments and contracts, which would not be possible without the involvement of financial actors. Using data from marketscreener.com, the report shows that the world’s largest investment companies are also among the major shareholders in the border industry.

      – The Vanguard Group owns shares in 15 of the 17 companies, including over 15% of the shares of CoreCivic and GEO Group that manage private prisons and detention facilities.

      - Other important investors are Blackrock, which is a major shareholder in 11 companies, Capital Research and Management (part of the Capital Group), with shares in arms giants Airbus and Lockheed Martin, and State Street Global Advisors (SsgA), which owns over 15% of Lockheed Martin shares and is also a major shareholder in six other companies.

      - Although these giant asset management firms dominate, two of the profiled companies, Cobham and IDEMIA, are currently owned by the private equity firm Advent International. Advent specialises in buyouts and restructuring, and it seems likely that it will attempt to split up Cobham in the hope of making a profit by selling on the component companies to other owners.

      - In addition, three large European arms companies, Airbus, Thales and Leonardo, active in the border security market, are partly owned by the governments of the countries where they are headquartered.

      In all cases, therefore, the financing depends on our money. In the case of state ownership, through our taxes, and in terms of asset management funds, through the way individual savings, pension funds, insurance companies and university endowments are directly invested in these companies via the giant Asset Management Funds. This financing means that the border industry survives on at least the tacit approved use of the public’s funds which makes it vulnerable to social pressure as the human rights costs of the industry become ever more clear.
      Human rights and the border industry

      Universal human rights apply to every single human being, including refugees and migrants. While the International Bill of Human Rights provides the foundation, including defining universal rights that are important in the context of migration, such as the right to life, liberty and security of person, the right to freedom from torture or cruel or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, and freedom from discrimination, there are other instruments such as the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention or Geneva Convention) of 1951 that are also relevant. There are also regional agreements, including the Organisation of African Unity Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) that play a role relevant to the countries that have ratified them.

      Yet despite these important and legally binding human rights agreements, the human rights situation for refugees and migrants has become ever more desperate. States frequently deny their rights under international law, such as the right to seek asylum or non-refoulement principles, or more general rights such as the freedom from torture, cruel or inhumane treatment. There is a gap with regard to effective legal means or grievance mechanisms to counter this or to legally enforce or hold to account states that fail to implement instruments such as the UDHR and the Refugee Convention of 1951. A Permanent Peoples Tribunal in 2019 even concluded that ‘taken together, the immigration and asylum policies and practices of the EU and its Member States constitute a total denial of the fundamental rights of people and migrants, and are veritable crimes against humanity’. A similar conclusion can be made of the US and Australian border and immigration regime.

      The increased militarisation of border security worldwide and state-sanctioned hostility toward migrants has had a deeply detrimental impact on the human rights of refugees and migrants.

      – Increased border security has led to direct violence against refugees, pushbacks with the risk of returning people to unsafe countries and inhumane circumstances (contravening the principle of non-refoulement), and a disturbing rise in avoidable deaths, as countries close off certain migration routes, forcing migrants to look for other, often more dangerous, alternatives and pushing them into the arms of criminal smuggling networks.

      – The increased use of autonomous systems of border security such as drones threaten new dangers related to human rights. There is already evidence that they push migrants to take more dangerous routes, but there is also concern that there is a gradual trend towards weaponized systems that will further threaten migrants’ lives.

      – The rise in deportations has threatened fundamental human rights including the right to family unity, the right to seek asylum, the right to humane treatment in detention, the right to due process, and the rights of children’. There have been many instances of violence in the course of deportations, sometimes resulting in death or permanent harm, against desperate people who try to do everything to prevent being deported. Moreover, deportations often return refugees to unsafe countries, where they face violence, persecution, discrimination and poverty.

      - The widespread detention of migrants also fundamentally undermines their human rights . There have been many reports of violence and neglect by guards and prison authorities, limited access to adequate legal and medical support, a lack of decent food, overcrowding and poor and unhealthy conditions. Privatisation of detention exacerbates these problems, because companies benefit from locking up a growing number of migrants and minimising costs.

      – The building of major migration databases such as EU’s Eurodac and SIS II, VIS gives rise to a range of human rights concerns, including issues of privacy, civil liberties, bias leading to discrimination—worsened by AI processes -, and misuse of collected information. Migrants are already subject to unprecedented levels of surveillance, and are often now treated as guinea pigs where even more intrusive technologies such as facial recognition and social media tracking are tried out without migrants consent.

      The trend towards externalisation of migration policies raises new concerns as it seeks to put the human costs of border militarisation beyond the border and out of public sight. This has led to the EU, US and Australia all cooperating with authoritarian regimes to try and prevent migrants from even getting close to their borders. Moreover as countries donate money, equipment or training to security forces in authoritarian regimes, they end up expanding and strengthening their capacities which leads to a rise in human rights violations more broadly. Nowhere are the human rights consequences of border externalisation policies clearer than in the case of Libya, where the EU and individual member states (in particular Italy and Malta) funding, training and cooperation with security forces and militias have led to violence at the borders, murder, disappearances, rape, enslavement and abuse of migrants in the country and torture in detention centres.

      The 23 corporations profiled in this report have all been involved in or connected to policies and practices that have come under fire because of violations of the human rights of refugees and migrants. As mentioned earlier, sometimes the companies are directly responsible for human rights violations or concerns. In other cases, they are indirectly responsible through their contribution to a border infrastructure that denies human rights and through lobbying to influence policy-making to prioritize militarized responses to migration. 11 of the companies profiled publicly proclaim their commitment to human rights as signatories to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), but as these are weak voluntary codes this has not led to noticeable changes in their business operations related to migration.

      The most prominent examples of direct human rights abuses come from the corporations involved in detention and deportation. Classic Air Charter, Cobham, CoreCivic, Eurasylum, G4S, GEO Group, Mitie and Serco all have faced allegations of violence and abuse by their staff towards migrants. G4S has been one of the companies most often in the spotlight. In 2017, not only were assaults by its staff on migrants at the Brook House immigration removal centre in the UK broadcast by the BBC, but it was also hit with a class suit in Australia by almost 2,000 people who are or were detained at the externalised detention centre on Manus Island, because of physical and psychological injuries as a result of harsh treatment and dangerous conditions. The company eventually settled the case for A$70 million (about $53 million) in the largest-ever human rights class-action settlement. G4S has also faced allegations related to its involvement in deportations.

      The other companies listed all play a pivotal role in the border infrastructure that denies refugees’ human rights. Airbus P-3 Orion surveillance planes of the Australian Air Force, for example, play a part in the highly controversial maritime wall that prevents migrants arriving by boat and leads to their detention in terrible conditions offshore. Lockheed Martin is a leading supplier of border security on the US-Mexico border. Leonardo is one of the main suppliers of drones for Europe’s borders. Thales produces the radar and sensor systems, critical to patrolling the Mediterrean. Elbit Systems provides surveillance technologies to both the EU and US, marketed on their success as technologies used in the separation wall in the Palestinian occupied territories. Accenture, IDEMIA and Sopra Steria manage many border biometric projects. Deloitte has been one of the key consulting companies to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency since 2003, while PriceWaterhouseCoopers provides similar consultancy services to Frontex and the Australian border forces. IBM, Palantir and UNISYS provide the IT infrastructure that underpins the border and immigration apparatus.
      Time to divest

      The report concludes by calling for campaigns to divest from the border industry. There is a long history of campaigns and movements that call for divestment from industries that support human rights violations—from the campaigns to divest from Apartheid South Africa to more recent campaigns to divest from the fossil fuel industry. The border industry has become an equally morally toxic asset for any financial institution, given the litany of human rights abuses tied to it and the likelihood they will intensify in years to come.

      There are already examples of existing campaigns targeting particular border industries that have borne fruit. A spotlight on US migrant detention, as part of former President Trump’s anti- immigration policies, contributed to six large US banks (Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Fifth Third Bancorp, JPMorgan Chase, SunTrust, and Wells Fargo) publicly announcing that they would not provide new financing to the private prison industry. The two largest public US pension funds, CalSTRS and CalPERS, also decided to divest from the same two companies. Geo Group acknowledged that these acts of ‘public resistance’ hit the company financially, criticising the banks as ‘clearly bow[ing] down to a small group of activists protesting and conducting targeted social media campaigns’.

      Every company involved or accused of human rights violations either denies them or says that they are atypical exceptions to corporate behavior. This report shows however that a militarised border regime built on exclusion will always be a violent apparatus that perpetuates human rights violations. It is a regime that every day locks up refugees in intolerable conditions, separates families causing untold trauma and heartbreak, and causes a devastating death toll as refugees are forced to take unimaginable dangerous journeys because the alternatives are worse. However well-intentioned, any industry that provides services and products for this border regime will bear responsibility for its human consequences and its human rights violations, and over time will suffer their own serious reputational costs for their involvement in this immoral industry. On the other hand, a widespread exodus of the leading corporations on which the border regime depends could force states to change course, and to embrace a politics that protects and upholds the rights of refugees and migrants. Worldwide, social movements and the public are starting to wake up to the human costs of border militarisation and demanding a fundamental change. It is time now for the border industry and their financiers to make a choice.

      https://www.tni.org/en/financingborderwars

      #TNI #rapport
      #industrie_frontalière #militarisation_des_frontières #biométrie #Intelligence_artificielle #AI #IA

      #Accenture #Airbus #Booz_Allen_Hamilton #Classic_Air_Charter #Cobham #CoreCivic #Deloitte #Elbit #Eurasylum #G4S #GEO_Group #IBM #IDEMIA #Leonardo #Lockheed_Martin #Mitie #Palantir #PricewaterhouseCoopers #Serco #Sopra_Steria #Thales #Thomson_Reuters #Unisys
      #contrôles_frontaliers #surveillance #technologie #Jean-Pierre_Talamoni #Airbus_Defence_and_Space (#ADS) #smart_borders #frontières_intelligentes #iris #empreintes_digitales #réseaux_sociaux #IT #Civipol #Mali #Sénégal #renvois #expulsions #déportations #Mitie #Classic_Air_Charter #compagnies_aériennes #United_Airlines #ICE #American_Airlines #Delta_Airlines #rétention #détention_administrative #privatisation #Broadspectrum #Canstruct_International #Paladin_Solutions #Wilson_Security #Operation_Sophia #EU_Trust_Fund #Trust_Fund #externalisation #Eurasylum #Deloitte #PricewaterhouseCoopers #Vanguard_Group #CoreCivic #Blackrock #investisseurs #investissement #Capital_Research_and_Management #Capital_Group #Lockheed_Martin #State_Street_Global_Advisors (#SsgA) #Cobham #IDEMIA #Advent_International #droits_humains #VIS #SIS_II #P-3_Orion #Accenture #Sopra_Steria #Frontex #Australie

    • Outsourcing oppression. How Europe externalises migrant detention beyond its shores

      This report seeks to address the gap and join the dots between Europe’s outsourcing of migrant detention to third countries and the notorious conditions within the migrant detention centres. In a nutshell, Europe calls the shots on migrant detention beyond its shores but is rarely held to account for the deeply oppressive consequences, including arbitrary detention, torture, forced disappearance, violence, sexual violence, and death.

      Key findings

      – The European Union (EU), and its member states, externalise detention to third countries as part of a strategy to keep migrants out at all costs. This leads to migrants being detained and subjected to gross human rights violations in transit countries in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, West Asia and Africa.

      – Candidate countries wishing to join the EU are obligated to detain migrants and stop them from crossing into the EU as a prerequisite for accession to the Union. Funding is made available through pre-accession agreements specifically for the purpose of detaining migrants.

      – Beyond EU candidate countries, this report identifies 22 countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, the Balkans and West Asia where the EU and its member states fund the construction of detention centres, detention related activities such as trainings, or advocate for detention in other ways such as through aggressively pushing for detention legislation or agreeing to relax visa requirements for nationals of these countries in exchange for increased migrant detention.

      - The main goal of detention externalisation is to pre-empt migrants from reaching the external borders of the EU by turning third countries into border outposts. In many cases this involves the EU and its member states propping up and maintaining authoritarian regimes.

      – Europe is in effect following the ‘Australian model’ that has been highly criticised by UN experts and human rights organisations for the torturous conditions inside detention centres. Nevertheless, Europe continues to advance a system that mirrors Australia’s outsourced model, focusing not on guaranteeing the rights of migrants, but instead on deterring and pushing back would-be asylum seekers at all costs.

      - Human rights are systematically violated in detention centres directly and indirectly funded by the EU and its member states, including cases of torture, arbitrary and prolonged detention, sexual violence, no access to legal recourse, humanitarian assistance, or asylum procedures, the detention of victims of trafficking, and many other serious violations in which Europe is implicated.

      - Particularly horrendous is the case of Libya, which continues to receive financial and political support from Europe despite mounting evidence of brutality, enslavement, torture, forced disappearance and death. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), implement EU policies in Libya and, according to aid officials, actively whitewash the consequences of European policies to safeguard substantial EU funding.

      - Not only does the EU deport and push back migrants to unsafe third countries, it actively finances and coercively pushes for their detention in these countries. Often they have no choice but to sign ‘voluntary’ agreements to be returned to their countries of origin as the only means of getting out of torturous detention facilities.

      - The EU implements a carrot and stick approach, in particular in its dealings with Africa, prolonging colonialist dynamics and uneven power structures – in Niger, for example, the EU pushed for legislation on detention, in exchange for development aid funding.

      – The EU envisages a greater role for migrant detention in third countries going forward, as was evidenced in the European Commission’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum.

      - The EU acts on the premise of containment and deterrence, namely, that if migrants seeking to reach Europe are intercepted and detained along that journey, they will be deterred from making the journey in the first place. This approach completely misses the point that people migrate to survive, often fleeing war and other forms of violence. The EU continues to overlook the structural reasons behind why people flee and the EU’s own role in provoking such migration.

      – The border industrial complex profits from the increased securitisation of borders. Far from being passive spectators, the military and security industry is actively involved in shaping EU border policies by positioning themselves as experts on the issue. We can already see a trend of privatising migrant detention, paralleling what is happening in prison systems worldwide.

      https://www.tni.org/en/outsourcingoppression

      pour télécharger le rapport :
      https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/outsourcingoppression-report-tni.pdf

      #externalisation #rétention #détention #détention_arbitraire #violence #disparitions #disparitions_forcées #violence #violence_sexuelle #morts #mort #décès #Afrique #Europe_de_l'Est #Balkans #Asie #modèle_australien #EU #UE #Union_européenne #torture #Libye #droits_humains #droits_fondamentaux #HCR #UNHCR #OIM #IOM #dissuasion #privatisation

  • Gli attivisti eritrei denunciano la Ue : “Finanzia il lavoro forzato”

    Grazie alle risorse del “#Trust_fund” per l’Africa, la Commissione europea ha stanziato 20 milioni di euro per la costruzione di una strada che collega i porti eritrei al confine etiope. Tra i lavoratori coinvolti nel progetto anche i giovani costretti alla leva obbligatoria a tempo indeterminato.

    L’Unione europea sta finanziando con un contributo di 20 milioni di euro il progetto per la costruzione di un’importante arteria stradale in Eritrea in cui la manodopera è formata in parte da giovani sottoposti al cosiddetto “National service”. Ovvero ragazzi e ragazze che vengono reclutati nell’ambito del servizio militare e civile obbligatorio, previsto nel Paese per tutti i cittadini dai 18 anni d’età (ma secondo molte denunce il reclutamento avviene anche prima). Oltre all’addestramento militare, i coscritti sono spesso costretti a lavorare come manodopera a bassissimo costo nella costruzione di infrastrutture (strade, ospedali, alberghi) o nelle miniere del Paese. Una prassi che diversi rapporti delle Nazioni Unite e di organizzazioni per i diritti umani come Human Rights Watch hanno definito un “crimine contro l’umanità” equiparandolo, di fatto, al lavoro forzato e alla riduzione in schiavitù. Il finanziamento europeo è stato erogato attraverso le risorse del “Trust Fund” per l’Africa.

    L’accusa alla Commissione europea arriva dalla “Foundation Human Rights for Eritreans” (FHRE), un’associazione con sede in Olanda che riunisce attivisti e rifugiati in fuga dal regime di Asmara. Il 1° aprile, tramite uno studio legale di Amsterdam, l’associazione ha inviato una lettera alla Commissione europea per denunciare questa situazione e chiedere un incontro. Se non ci sarà una risposta entro il 15 aprile o se l’offerta di incontro non verrà presa in considerazione, la federazione procederà con le azioni legali. “È inaccettabile che l’Unione europea finanzi un progetto che utilizza manodopera forzata -sottolinea Mulueberhan Temelso, direttore dell’FHRE-. L’Eritrea è una prigione a cielo aperto, chi è sottoposto alla coscrizione obbligatoria vive in condizioni molto dure e l’Europa è perfettamente a conoscenza di questa situazione”.

    Nella documentazione relativa al progetto (https://ec.europa.eu/trustfundforafrica/sites/euetfa/files/t05-eutf-hoa-er-66_-_eritrea_road_rehabilitation.pdf) per la costruzione della strada (che andrà a collegare i porti eritrei con l’Etiopia), pubblicata sul sito del “Trust fund” vengono identificate tre tipologie di lavoratori: “Professionisti del Governo, quelli del ‘National service’ e quelli mobilitati dalle comunità locali”. “Sorprendentemente, l’Europa è chiaramente a conoscenza di questa situazione e la accetta -scrive nella lettera Emiel Jurjens, l’avvocato che sta promuovendo la causa degli attivisti eritrei-. Il ‘Trust fund’ semplicemente accetta l’affermazione del governo eritreo secondo cui non vi saranno riforme a breve termine del servizio nazionale dal momento che le attuali realtà economiche lo escludono”. La sola preoccupazione espressa dal documento europeo riguarda i rischi legati alla “bassa qualità” del lavoro a causa dell’impiego di una manodopera non-qualificata o poco specializzata”.

    L’avvocato Jurjens inoltre evidenzia come non ci siano evidenze del fatto che il recente accordo di pace tra Eritrea ed Etiopia abbia avuto un impatto positivo sul miglioramento dei diritti umani in Eritrea. Il 16 marzo 2019, l’Alto commissario delle Nazioni Unite per i diritti umani, Kate Gillmore, ha chiesto all’Eritrea di mettere fine al servizio nazionale obbligatorio: “La durata della leva va ben al di là dei 18 mesi previsti dalla legge e, di fatto, è a tempo indeterminato. Inoltre spesso si svolge in condizioni estremamente lesive dei diritti umani, che possono includere il ricorso alla tortura, alle violenze sessuali e al lavoro forzato”. Il 28 marzo 2019, anche il Comitato delle Nazioni Unite per i diritti umani ha espresso la sua preoccupazione circa le accuse secondo cui i giovani sottoposti alla coscrizione obbligatoria “sono impiegati in varie attività lavorative, comprese le miniere o imprese di costruzione di proprietà privata ricevendo un salario estremamente basso o nullo”.

    “Finanziare progetti che fanno ricorso a manodopera forzata è una chiara violazione dei diritti umani -commenta l’avvocato Jurjens-. L’Europa deve cessare queste attività immediatamente e ripensare il suo approccio all’Eritrea. Chiediamo inoltre che la Commissione ci fornisca tutti i documenti relativi a questo progetto per indagare ulteriormente sulle modalità con cui sono state prese queste decisioni”.

    Il Fondo fiduciario europeo di emergenza per l’Africa (detto anche “Trust fund”) è stato lanciato nell’ottobre 2015 a La Valletta (Malta) con l’obiettivo di finanziare con rapidità iniziative e progetti per “affrontare le cause profonde delle migrazioni irregolari”. I destinatari di questi fondi sono 23 Paesi africani di origine e di transito dei flussi migratori. Dei circa 4 miliardi di euro destinati al “Trust fund”, circa 3,7 provengono dal Fondo sociale europeo di sviluppo e da altri strumenti finanziari dell’Unione per l’aiuto allo sviluppo nei Paesi terzi. Tuttavia, il Parlamento europeo, non ha modo di controllare né di verificare come vengono spesi questi soldi. Diverse inchieste giornalistiche e report pubblicati da organizzazioni non governative hanno messo in luce come i fondi del “Trust fund” siano stati spesso utilizzati per migliorare i controlli di polizia lungo le frontiere dei Paesi di transito.

    https://altreconomia.it/eritrea-ue-lavoro-forzato

    #travail_forcé #Erythrée #UE #EU #Europe #esclavage_moderne #trust_fund_for_africa #développement (sic) #route #infrastructure_routière #national_service

    La description de l’aide financière à l’Erythrée via le Trust fund :


    https://ec.europa.eu/trustfundforafrica/sites/euetfa/files/t05-eutf-hoa-er-66_-_eritrea_road_rehabilitation.pdf

    N’oublions pas que le but du Trust Fund est de "combattre la migration irrégulière" :

    The European Union Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa (EUTF for Africa) aims to foster stability and to contribute to better migration management, including by addressing the root causes of destabilisation, forced displacement and irregular migration.

    https://ec.europa.eu/trustfundforafrica/content/homepage_en

    ping @isskein

    • Eritrea: progetti finanziati con i soldi UE impiegano “lavoro forzato”

      Mentre prova a limitare i flussi di migranti africani e a favorire lo sviluppo in diversi Paesi del continente, l’Unione europea continua a spendere milioni di euro in Eritrea nella realizzazione di progetti in cui si utilizza “lavoro forzato”. L’anno scorso, come parte del Fondo fiduciario europeo di Emergenza per l’Africa, l’UE si è impegnata a spendere 20 milioni di euro in Eritrea per finanziare iniziative volte a limitare le migrazioni irregolari affrontandone le cause profonde. Il denaro, in particolare, è servito ad acquistare attrezzature e materiali per la costruzione e il miglioramento di strade necessarie a facilitare i trasporti di merci. Tuttavia, a partire da aprile 2019, diverse organizzazioni umanitarie, in particolare La Fondazione di difesa dei Diritti Umani per gli eritrei, con sede in Olanda, hanno cominciato a denunciare il fatto che molti lavoratori, impiegati nel cantiere, erano costretti al servizio militare obbligatorio. Ciò pare non abbia però impedito all’Unione di rivalutare l’invio di ulteriori fondi, decisi a dicembre 2019, da destinare all’Eritrea, continuando di fatto a finanziare un sistema di coscrizione forzata che le Nazioni Unite hanno descritto come “equivalente alla schiavitù”.

      L’aiuto aggiuntivo, pari a 95 milioni di euro, giunge nonostante l’Unione europea abbia ammesso di non avere una reale supervisione dei progetti che finanzia in Eritrea, una nazione chiusa fatta di circa 5 milioni di abitanti, ed è stato deciso con la clausola di non subordinare i finanziamenti alle garanzie di riforme democratiche. Il denaro fa parte del Fondo fiduciario dell’UE per l’Africa, pari a 4,6 miliardi di euro, creato al culmine della crisi migratoria del 2015 per affrontare il fenomeno alla radice. Sebbene tale piano sia supportato da un ampio consenso, la sua esecuzione ha offuscato quello che molti vedono come un obiettivo degno, sollevando persino dubbi sul fatto che stia diventando controproducente per il Paese stesso. Il flusso di richiedenti asilo provenienti dall’Eritrea rimane elevato. Almeno 5.000 l’anno hanno chiesto asilo in Europa negli ultimi dieci anni. Nel 2015 e nel 2016, il numero ha raggiunto il picco di oltre 30.000 e l’anno scorso è stato di circa 10.000. almeno l’80% delle richieste viene accolto, secondo i dati forniti dall’Eurostat. Ciò significa che, per la maggior parte dei Paesi europei, i richiedenti asilo eritrei sono considerati legittimi rifugiati.

      Nel caso dell’Eritrea, i funzionari europei adottano un approccio chiamato “a doppio binario”, che consiste nel dialogare con il governo fornendogli allo stesso tempo denaro indipendentemente dai risultati. Nel complesso, 200 milioni di euro del fondo sono destinati all’Eritrea. La speranza è che il denaro aiuti a risollevare l’economia locale, a creare posti di lavoro, a indurre gli eritrei a non lasciare le proprie case e a consolidare l’accordo di pace raggiunto con l’Etiopia nel luglio 2018. A prescindere dai risultati dell’iniziativa, secondo quanto riferiscono i critici del progetto, il fatto spaventoso è che il governo eritreo è considerato uno dei peggiori al mondo in termini di rispetto dei diritti umani.

      Il presidente di Asmara, Isaias Afwerki, mantiene lo stato d’emergenza nel Paese dal 2000. Come parte di questa condizione, il Servizio Nazionale è obbligatorio, universale e indefinito. “Nonostante l’accordo di pace con l’Etiopia, la situazione dei diritti umani in Eritrea rimane terribile”, ha dichiarato Laetitia Bader, che si occupa del Paese e della regione del Corno d’Africa all’interno di Human Rights Watch. “Il governo continua ad arruolare gran parte della sua popolazione nell’ambito del Servizio Nazionale obbligatorio e trattiene decine di detenuti politici in condizioni disumane”, ha aggiunto. Gli eritrei sono intrappolati all’interno di questo sistema e, più in generale, del Paese, perché per uscire è necessario un visto. Molti rimangono arruolati anche a 40 anni, facendo lavori civili o militari con salari minimi.

      Le Nazioni Unite e diversi gruppi per i diritti umani affermano che la leva obbligatoria in Eritrea equivale a lavoro forzato. Gli Stati Uniti hanno da tempo sospeso gli aiuti e i finanziamenti per lo sviluppo del Paese. La Commissione europea, in merito ai progetti finanziati nel Paese del Corno d’Africa, ha dichiarato di essere stata “informata” dal governo che i coscritti sarebbero stati utilizzati per i lavori stradali. Tuttavia, ha dichiarato: “L’Unione Europea non paga la manodopera nell’ambito di questo progetto. Il finanziamento riguarda solo l’approvvigionamento di materiali e attrezzature per affrontare la riabilitazione delle strade”.

      La Commissione, che ha incaricato l’Ufficio delle Nazioni Unite per i Servizi di Progetto di gestire il programma per suo conto, ha affermato che vige la massima attenzione per garantire che gli standard minimi di salute e sicurezza dei lavoratori siano rispettati. Tuttavia, l’agenzia dell’ONU non ha un ufficio in Eritrea e afferma che sta controllando la situazione attraverso visite organizzate dal governo di Asmara. In più, l’Ufficio ha ammesso: “Non siamo monitorando l’attuazione del progetto, perché questo è realizzato dal governo e i progressi vengono monitorati dal Ministero dei Lavori pubblici”. Interrogata dal New York Times sul fatto che con questo finanziamento rischia di favorire la pratica del lavoro forzato in Eritrea, un problema denunciato da molte altre agenzie delle Nazioni Unite, l’Ufficio per i Servizi di Progetto ha detto che “rispetta i principi fondamentali dell’ONU, inclusa l’eliminazione di tutte le forme di lavoro forzato o obbligatorio” ma che ha deciso di procedere ugualmente.

      https://sicurezzainternazionale.luiss.it/2020/01/08/eritrea-progetti-finanziati-soldi-ue-impiegano-lavoro-

  • Asylum seeker to sue UK for funding Libyan detention centres

    Ethiopian teenager says he experienced physical abuse, extortion and forced labour in centres part-funded by UK.

    A teenage asylum seeker from Ethiopia is planning to sue the government for its role in funding detention centres in Libya, where he says he experienced physical abuse, extortion and forced labour.

    The teenager, who turned 18 a few weeks ago, cannot be named. He lives in London and is waiting for the Home Office to determine his asylum claim. His legal action against the government’s Department for International Development (DfID) for its contribution to funding these overseas centres is thought to be the first of its kind.
    Separated at sea: a Sierra Leonean father’s desperate fear for his boy
    Read more

    The Guardian previously revealed the terrible conditions in a network of 26 detention centres across Libya. The EU’s Emergency Trust Fund for Africa provides some funding for the centres. DfID says that the funding it provides is used to improve conditions in the camps.

    Children have described being starved, beaten and abused by Libyan police and camp guards. One said the conditions were like “hell on Earth”.

    The government insists the funding is necessary as part of a humane effort to dissuade people from making the dangerous Mediterranean crossing. Arguing that migrant detention centres are the responsibility of the Libyan authorities, it is understood to have raised concerns over the treatment of detainees with the Libyan government.

    A spokeswoman previously told the Guardian: “We continue to help fund the European Union Trust Fund’s work to improve conditions for migrants in detention centres.”

    But critics see the Libyan camps as a way for European countries to prevent asylum seekers and other migrants from reaching Europe, and the UK’s involvement as another plank of the so called “hostile environment” to keep people out.

    Last year the UK government spent £10m in Libya on various initiatives, including the detention centres.

    The teenager who has begun the legal action against the government claims that officials are acting unlawfully in funding the detention centres and should stop doing so. He is also asking for compensation for the suffering he endured there.

    The boy’s legal team is calling on DfID to facilitate the relocation of the detention centres to the UK or other safe countries so that asylum claims can be safely processed. His lawyers have asked DfID to disclose the funding agreements between the UK and Libyan governments and any internal documents concerning the destination of UK funding in Libya as well as any untoward incidents in the centres.
    Inside the chaos and corruption of Tripoli, where militias rule the streets
    Read more

    The teenager fled persecution in Ethiopia because of his father’s political allegiances and finally reached the UK after a dangerous journey through Libya and across the Mediterranean.

    In Libya he suffered both at the hands of traffickers and in the detention centres, some of which are controlled by local militias.

    “The period I was detained and enslaved in Libya was a living hell,” he said. An expert medical report conducted in London identified 31 different lesions, including 10 on his face, which the doctor who examined him found provided “significant corroboration” of his account of repeated ill treatment.

    Many of those in the camps are from Eritrea but there are also asylum seekers from Ethiopia, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Syria.

    James Elliott of Wilsons Solicitors, who is bringing the legal action on the teenager’s behalf, said: “DfID acknowledges that conditions in the camps are appalling. We are bringing this legal challenge because it is vital that UK taxpayers’ money is not used to allow places where men, women and children are subjected to torture, rape and slavery to continue to exist.”

    DfID has been approached for comment.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/dec/20/asylum-seeker-to-sue-uk-for-funding-libyan-detention-centres
    #Libye #externalisation #UK #Angleterre #justice #centres_de_détention #asile #migrations #réfugiés #poursuite #viol #abus_sexuels #travail_forcé #Trust_fund #Trust_fund_for_Africa

  • Italy strengthens Libya accord, another four patrol boats

    Italy announced it is sending another four patrol boats to Libya in addition to others that were previously delivered to the North African country, in an effort to strengthen collaboration in fighting illegal immigration.

    Italy is strengthening its collaboration with Libya through a series of measures aimed at fighting illegal immigration. It will send four more patrol boats to Libya in addition to the ones that were previously delivered. It will also create a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), a naval shipyard to provide maintenance for the vessels, and systems for communication and controls along the coast. Italy is reinforcing its agreement with Libya in order to improve Tripoli’s ability to fight illegal immigration, provide migrant rescues, and control the borders.

    A total of 45 mn made available for interventions

    The measures were agreed upon during a meeting in Tripoli between the heads of the Libyan Navy and Coast Guard and representatives from the Italian Interior Ministry, Finance Police, Coast Guard, and Navy. There are 45 million euros available for interventions, 10 million from the EU and 35 million from the four Visegrad Group countries (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia). The plans also provide for a series of reforms involving Libyan authorities responsible for the borders, including those managing search and rescue (SAR) operations, and personnel training for every sector in the Libyan public administration.

    Protests in France over vessels for Libya

    Meanwhile, protests erupted in France over the government’s decision to follow the Italian example and provide six vessels to the Libyan Navy. Michael Neuman, director of studies at Doctors Without Borders/ Crash (Centre de Réflexion sur l’Action et les Savoirs Humanitaires), called the decision “a supplementary step in European cooperation with Libya to strengthen control of the borders, at the cost of despicable conditions of detention for migrants.” Neuman was cited on Monday in the French daily Le Monde in an article on the French government’s new and unexpected decision.

    https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/15395/italy-strengthens-libya-accord-another-four-patrol-boats

    #Libye #externalisation #France #gardes-côtes_libyens #asile #migrations #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #Italie

    • Appalti sulle frontiere: 30 mezzi di terra alla Libia dall’Italia per fermare i migranti

      Il ministero dell’Interno italiano si appresta a fornire alle autorità di Tripoli nuovi veicoli fuoristrada per il “contrasto del fenomeno dell’immigrazione irregolare”. Un appalto da 2,1 milioni di euro finanziato tramite il “Fondo Fiduciario per l’Africa”, nell’ambito del quale l’Italia accresce il proprio ruolo. Il tutto mentre l’immagine ostentata di una “Libia sicura” è offuscata dagli stessi atti di gara del Viminale

      Il ministero dell’Interno italiano si appresta a fornire alle autorità della Libia trenta nuovi veicoli fuoristrada per le “esigenze istituzionali legate al contrasto del fenomeno dell’immigrazione irregolare”. L’avviso esplorativo pubblicato dalla Direzione centrale dell’immigrazione e della Polizia delle frontiere, insediata presso il Viminale, risale al 5 marzo 2019 (scadenza per la presentazione della manifestazione d’interesse all’8 aprile di quest’anno).

      La fornitura riguarda 30 mezzi “Toyota Land Cruiser” (15 del modello GRJ76 Petrol e 15 del GRJ79 DC Petrol), in “versione tropicalizzata”, relativamente ai quali le autorità libiche, il 24 dicembre 2018, avrebbero esplicitato alla Direzione di Roma precise “specifiche tecniche”. Il Viminale la definisce una “richiesta di assistenza tecnica” proveniente da Tripoli per le “esigenze istituzionali legate al contrasto del fenomeno dell’immigrazione irregolare”. In forza di questa “strategia”, dunque, il governo italiano -in linea con i precedenti, come abbiamo raccontato a gennaio nell’inchiesta sugli “affari lungo le frontiere”– continua a equipaggiare le autorità del Paese Nord-africano per contrastare i flussi migratori. L’ammontare “massimo” degli ultimi due lotti (da 15 mezzi l’uno) è stimato in 2,1 milioni di euro.

      E così come è stato per la gara d’appalto da oltre 9,3 milioni di euro per la fornitura di 20 imbarcazioni destinate alla polizia libica, indetta dal Viminale a fine dicembre 2018, anche nel caso dei 30 mezzi Toyota le risorse arriveranno dal “Fondo Fiduciario per l’Africa” (EU Trust Fund), istituito dalla Commissione europea a fine 2015 con una dotazione di oltre 4 miliardi di euro. In particolare, dal progetto implementato dal Viminale e intitolato “Support to integrated Border and Migration Management in Libya – First Phase”, dal valore di oltre 46 milioni di euro e il cui “delegation agreement” risale a metà dicembre 2017 (governo Gentiloni, ministro competente Marco Minniti).

      Questo non è l’unico progetto finanziato tramite l’EU Trust Fund che vede il ministero dell’Interno italiano attivo nel continente africano. Alla citata “First Phase”, infatti, se ne sono affiancati nel tempo altri due. Uno è di stanza in Tunisia e Marocco (“Border Management Programme for the Maghreb region”), datato luglio 2018 e dal valore di 55 milioni di euro. L’altro progetto, di nuovo, ricade in Libia. Si tratta del “Support to Integrated border and migration management in Libya – Second Phase”, risalente al 13 dicembre 2018, per un ammontare di altri 45 milioni di euro. Le finalità dichiarate nell’”Action Document” della seconda fase in Libia sono -tra le altre- quelle di “intensificare gli sforzi fatti”, “sviluppare nuove aree d’intervento”, “rafforzare le capacità delle autorità competenti che sorvegliano i confini marittimi e terrestri”, “l’acquisto di altre navi”, “l’implementazione della rete di comunicazione del Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre” di Tripoli, “la progettazione specifica di programmi per la neocostituita polizia del deserto”.

      La strategia di contrasto paga, sostiene la Commissione europea. “Gli sforzi dell’Ue e dell’Italia nel sostenere la Guardia costiera libica per migliorare la sua capacità operativa hanno raggiunto risultati significativi e tangibili nel 2018”, afferma nel lancio della “seconda fase”. Di “significativo e tangibile” c’è il crollo degli sbarchi sulle coste italiane, in particolare dalla Libia. Dati del Viminale alla mano, infatti, nel periodo compreso tra l’1 gennaio e il 7 marzo 2017 giunsero 15.843 persone, scese a 5.457 lo scorso anno e arrivate a 335 quest’anno. La frontiera è praticamente sigillata. Un “successo” che nasconde la tragedia dei campi di detenzione e sequestro libici dove migliaia di persone sono costrette a rimanere.

      È in questa cornice che giunge il nuovo “avviso” del Viminale dei 30 veicoli, pubblicato come detto il 5 marzo. Quello stesso giorno il vice-presidente del Consiglio e ministro dell’Interno, Matteo Salvini, ha incontrato a Roma il vicepremier libico Ahmed Maiteeq. Un “cordiale colloquio”, come recita il comunicato ministeriale, che avrebbe visto sul tavolo “i rapporti tra i due Paesi, in particolare su sicurezza, lotta al terrorismo, immigrazione e stabilizzazione politica della Libia”.

      Ma l’immagine ostentata dal governo Conte di una “Libia sicura” è offuscata dagli stessi atti di gara del ministero dell’Interno. Tra i quesiti presentati al Viminale da parte dei potenziali concorrenti al bando dei 20 battelli da destinare alla polizia libica, infatti, si trovano richieste esplicite di “misure atte a garantire la sicurezza dei propri operatori”. “Laddove si rendesse strettamente necessario effettuare interventi di garanzia richiesti in loco (Libia)”, gli operatori di mercato hanno chiesto alla Direzione centrale dell’immigrazione e della Polizia delle frontiere “che tali prestazioni potranno essere organizzate a patto che le imbarcazioni si trovino in città (Tripoli, ndr) per garantire la sicurezza degli operatori inviati per tali prestazioni”. Il ministero dell’Interno conferma il quadro di instabilità del Paese: “Le condizioni di sicurezza in Libia devono essere attentamente valutate in ragione della contingenza al momento dell’esecuzione del contratto”, è la replica al quesito. “Appare di tutto evidenza che la sicurezza degli operatori non dovrà essere compromessa in relazione ai rischi antropici presenti all’interno dello Stato beneficiario della commessa”. Per gli operatori, non per i migranti in fuga.

      https://altreconomia.it/appalti-libia-frontiere-terra
      #fonds_fiduciaire_pour_l'Afrique #Trust_Fund

    • Italian journalist: We’ve invented an authority that doesn’t exist in Libya, Al-Sarraj is a feint

      Founder and director of Italian magazine Limes, Lucio Caracciolo, said during a media statement on Thursday that Italy invented an authority that does not exist in Libya, in a reference to the Tripoli-based #Government_of_National_Accord (#GNA), which Caracciolo described its Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj as a “feint”.

      http://www.addresslibya.com/en/archives/43168

    • Appalti del Viminale sulle frontiere: ecco chi è rimasto in gara per sei nuove navi alla Libia

      A fine 2018 il ministero dell’Interno ha indetto un bando di gara per la fornitura di 20 “battelli” da cedere alla polizia della Libia per contrastare il flusso dei migranti. In gara -per il lotto di sei navi- è rimasta oggi un’azienda di Cervia. I finanziamenti arrivano dall’Unione europea. Nel frattempo, il governo cerca un veicolo blindato per l’esperto immigrazione italiano a Tripoli. A proposito di “luogo sicuro”

      La gara d’appalto da oltre 9,3 milioni di euro indetta dal ministero dell’Interno italiano a fine 2018 per la fornitura di 20 nuove imbarcazioni da destinare alla polizia della Libia per contrastare il flusso dei migranti si sta definendo.
      Dopo l’ultima riunione della commissione giudicatrice del 27 settembre 2019, è rimasta infatti in gara una sola azienda -la “MED Spa” di Cervia (RA)- a seguito dell’esclusione della concorrente -la ditta individuale Marcelli- disposta a fine settembre dal Viminale per una “riscontrata difformità” rispetto alle “specifiche tecniche di gara” (un tubolare).
      La procedura di gara dei 20 “battelli pneumatici di tipo oceanico”, suddivisi in due lotti da 14 e 6 unità, è partita poco prima del Natale 2018, il 21 dicembre, tramite una “determina a contrarre” firmata della Direzione centrale dell’immigrazione e della Polizia delle frontiere, insediata proprio presso il Viminale.

      Come descritto a gennaio, in questo caso i finanziamenti arrivano dal “Fondo Fiduciario per l’Africa” (EU Trust Fund), istituito dalla Commissione europea a fine 2015 con una dotazione di oltre 4 miliardi di euro. Le risorse per i 20 “battelli” che l’Italia sta per cedere alla Libia arriveranno in particolare dal progetto “Support to integrated Border and Migration Management in Libya – First Phase”, del valore di oltre 46 milioni di euro e il cui “delegation agreement” risale a metà dicembre 2017 (governo Gentiloni, ministro dell’Interno Marco Minniti). “Nel Progetto è prevista una specifica voce di budget per la fornitura di battelli pneumatici da destinare allo Stato della Libia”, in particolare alla “polizia libica”, scrive negli atti di gara il ministero.

      Se l’Unione europea è il principale finanziatore, chi deve implementarne la prima fase in loco, dal luglio 2017, è appunto il nostro ministero dell’Interno. È un “pezzo” di quella strategia di dichiarato “contrasto all’immigrazione clandestina” che l’Italia conduce da tempo lungo le rotte africane, al fine di respingere per delega le persone. Nel gennaio di quest’anno abbiamo dedicato l’inchiesta di copertina di Altreconomia proprio a questi affari lungo le frontiere e agli appalti pubblici del Viminale, ricostruendone filiera, fonti di finanziamento, soggetti coinvolti e valore.

      Stando agli ultimi atti di gara, dunque, la “MED Spa” è rimasta senza contendenti per quanto riguarda il “Lotto 2”, dal valore massimo stimato in 2,4 milioni di euro. Si tratta di sei imbarcazioni da 9 metri “complete di motori fuoribordo da 250 HP 4 tempi” (per il primo lotto non sarebbero pervenute offerte). “Per ogni battello acquisito -riporta la specifica tecnica del ministero- la ditta contraente provvederà ad un corso di 30 ore per l’indottrinamento alla condotta, uso delle apparecchiature di bordo e manutenzione del battello a favore di almeno quattro operatori”. Mezzi e formazione.

      La MED è stata fondata nel 2014 e al 30 giugno di quest’anno conta 92 addetti e un fatturato di circa 12,5 milioni di euro (2018). Come già anticipato in primavera, il 98,93% del capitale della società (pari a 1,48 milioni di euro) è sotto sequestro preventivo disposto nel febbraio 2018 dal Tribunale di Perugia. La motivazione è esplicitata nel bilancio della stessa società: si tratta delle quote del suo principale azionista, “Feendom International FZE”, domiciliato negli Emirati Arabi Uniti. “Il provvedimento (di sequestro, ndr) -si legge nel bilancio 2018 di MED- fa rifermento a pregresse attività di natura illecita svolta da diversi soggetti ai quali farebbe verosimilmente riferimento la proprietà della FEENDOM INTERNATIONAL FZE, svolte in settori differenti da quello nel quale opera la MED SpA. Si evidenzia che la MED SpA è stata interessata dal succitato provvedimento di sequestro esclusivamente quale soggetto terzo”.

      La vicenda societaria della MED è già stata esaminata dal ministero dell’Interno che, anche a seguito di separate comunicazioni dell’amministratore giudiziario, non avrebbe rilevato alcun “motivo ostativo” alla sua partecipazione. MED ha scommesso sulle “gare pubbliche”. “La società non ha subito pesanti contraccolpi sul proprio business -si legge infatti nella relazione sulla gestione del bilancio 2018 di MED-, se non la perdita di alcuni marchi […] che però è stata controbilanciata dal settore gare pubbliche. A tale proposito questa linea di business sta contribuendo in maniera sempre più importante alla crescita di MED, basti pensare che a seguito dell’acquisizione di alcune gare con l’Arma dei Carabinieri, abbiamo un portafoglio di opzioni, esercitabili nei prossimi due anni, di circa 4 milioni di euro”.

      Mentre la fornitura dei battelli va verso una definizione, se ne è aperta un’altra, tra fine settembre e inizio ottobre 2019, dal valore più ridotto (90mila euro) ma legata sempre al progetto “Support to integrated Border and Migration Management in Libya – First Phase”. Stiamo parlando del “servizio di noleggio di un’autovettura blindata per la durata di un anno, da utilizzare nella città di Tripoli” che il ministero dell’Interno vorrebbe affidare direttamente per le “esigenze dell’esperto immigrazione” italiano nella capitale della Libia. Dovrebbe trattarsi di una Toyota Land Cruiser o di un “modello equivalente”. Il termine per la presentazione delle istanze è scaduto il 14 ottobre. A proposito di “luogo sicuro”.

      https://altreconomia.it/appalti-libia-navi

    • Libia, festa della Marina: l’Italia consegna dieci nuove motovedette

      Sabato scorso a Tripoli, nella base di #Sitta. Promesse dall’ex ministro Salvini a luglio scorso, i libici ne prendono possesso proprio nel giorno della scadenza del Memorandum
      La Marina libica ha festeggiato il 57esimo anniversario della sua fondazione prendendo possesso delle dieci nuove piccole motovedette fornite dall’Italia. La cerimonia e’ avvenuta nella base di Abu Sitta a Tripoli sabato scorso, il 2 novembre, proprio il giorno in cui scadeva il contestato Memorandum Italia-Libia che il governo italiano ha scelto di rinnovare per j prossimi tre anni chiedendo delle modifiche a garanzia del rispetto dei diritti umani delle migliaia di migranti intercettati dalla guardia costiera libica e riportati nei centri di detenzione in cui vengono tenuti in condizioni disumane e sottoposti ad ogni tipo di violenze.

      La consegna delle motovedette che va cosi’ ad arricchire la flotta della Guardia costiera fornita e addestrata dall’Italia era stata promessa e annunciata per la fine dell’estate dall’ex ministro dell’Interno Matteo Salvini in uno degli ultimi comitati nazionale ordine e sicurezza da lui presieduto. Negli ultimi due anni sono stati quasi 40.000 i migranti intercettati e riportati indietro dai libici con interventi nella zona Sar sotto il controllo di Tripoli ma che, dalle indagini dei pm di Agrigento, risulta di fatto gestita dalla Marina italiana. Le foto delle dieci nuove motovedette consegnate durante la cerimonia sono state diffuse dalla Lybian navy e rilanciate dal sito di osservazione Migrant Rescue watch

      Ieri il ministro degli Esteri libico Mohamed Taher Siala ha ricevuto l’ambasciatore italiano Giuseppe Buccino Grimaldi, latore della nota verbale con cui l’Italia ha chiesto l’insediamento del Comitato italo-libico presieduto dai ministri di Interno ed Esteri di entrambi i Paesi, e ha confermato che la Libia esaminera’ gli emendamenti proposti dall’Italia e «decidera’ se approvarli o meno in linea con gli interessi supremi del governo e del popolo libico». Sulle modifiche al Memorandum il ministro dell’Interno Luciana Lamorgese riferira’ alla Camera mercoledi pomeriggio.

      https://www.repubblica.it/cronaca/2019/11/04/news/libia_festa_della_marina_l_italia_consegna_dieci_nuove_motovedette-240197
      #bateau #bateaux

  • Document d’action pour le #fonds_fiduciaire de l’#UE à utiliser pour les décisions du comité de gestion


    https://ec.europa.eu/trustfundforafrica/sites/euetfa/files/t05-eutf-noa-ma-05_0.pdf
    #Maroc #Trust_Fund #frontières #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #gardes-côtes #contrôles_frontaliers #EU #trust_fund #EU_trust_fund

    –-> Commentaire reçu via la mailing-list Migreurop :

    Le document d’action du projet de 40 millions d’EUR approuvé par la Commission Européenne dans le cadre du Fond Fiduciaire pour le « Soutien à la gestion intégrée des frontières et de la migration au Maroc » fait référence explicitement à l’achat d’équipement pour renforcer des capacités du Maroc « à des fins de contrôle et de surveillance aux frontières, ainsi que des opérations de sauvetage en mer » (p.7) - donc oui, comme l’Italie avec la Libye. Le projet est mis en ouvre par la #FIIAPP - donc par l’#Espagne. A voir si c’est ça auquel le secrétaire d’Etat espagnol faisait référence.

  • Action fiche of the #EU_Trust_Fund to be used for the decisions of the Operational Committee

    Discussions have been ongoing for a number of months about possible support to the Libyan coastguards for better patrolling and rescuing at sea. The situation remains critical also at the Libyan southern border, where authorities have very limited capacity.The European Council of 22-23 June has called for action. It specifically mentioned that "training and equipping the Libyan Coast Guard is a key component of the EU approach and should be speeded up"and that “cooperation with countries of origin and transit shall be reinforced in order to stem the migratory pressure on Libya’s and other neighbouring countries’ land borders”.Italy has come forward in May 2017 with a major proposal for integrated border and migrationmanagement in Libya which responds to the above mentioned priorities.

    The dual objective of this action is to improve the Libyan capacity to control their borders and provide for lifesaving rescue at sea, in a manner fully compliant with international human rights obligations and standards. This #Action_Fiche covers the first phase of support. Additional funding should be envisaged in 2018 for its completion (for which the current estimate stands at EUR 38 million).

    https://ec.europa.eu/trustfundforafrica/sites/euetfa/files/t05-eutf-noa-ly-04_fin_11.pdf
    #Trust_Fund #Libye #frontières #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #gardes-côtes #gardes-côtes_libyens #contrôles_frontaliers

    La même chose, mais pour la #Maroc:
    https://seenthis.net/messages/763541

    • Support to Integrated border and migration management in Libya – First phase

      Summary

      The programme aims to strengthen the capacity of relevant Libyan authorities in the areas of border and migration management, including border control and surveillance, addressing smuggling and trafficking of human beings, search and rescue at sea and in the desert.
      Main objectives

      The specific objectives of the project are: 1) to enhance operational capacity of the competent Libyan authorities in maritime surveillance, tackling irregular border crossings, including the strengthening of SAR operations and related coast guard tasks; 2) to set up basic facilities in order to enable the Libyan guards to better organise their SAR, border surveillance and control operations; 3) to assist the concerned Libyan authorities in defining and declaring a Libyan SAR Region with adequate SAR Standard Operation Procedures, including finalising the studies for fully fledged operational rooms; and 4) to develop operational capacity of competent Libyan authorities in land border surveillance and control in the desert, focusing on the sections of southern borders most affected by illegal crossings.

      https://ec.europa.eu/trustfundforafrica/region/north-africa/libya/support-integrated-border-and-migration-management-libya-first-phase_en
      #integrated_border_management

    • Support to Integrated border and migration management in Libya - Second phase

      Summary

      The Overall Objective of the programme is to develop the overall capacity of the relevant Libyan authorities and strengthen institutional reform in the areas of land and sea border control and surveillance; addressing smuggling and trafficking of human beings; Search & Rescue at sea (SAR); and on land contributing to a human response of the migration crises in respect of international and human right laws.
      Main objectives

      The specific objectives of the project are as follows:
      1. Capacity development and institutional strengthening of the relevant authorities (including #LCGPS and #GACS) covering all sea and land borders including the development SOPs of land and sea based SAR operations;
      2. Further development of the capacity and the integration of the LCGPS and GACS fleets by supply of new SAR vessels as well as an accompanying maintenance programme;
      3. Development of the MRCC communication network along the coast through a step by step approach;
      4. Further development of the land border capacity of the relevant authorities and the engagement through community based engagement and cross border programs, particularly in the West and South.

      Additional cross-cutting objectives of the activities will be:
      – The improvement of the operational cooperation between the relevant Libyan agencies and bodies as well as the cooperating with UN agencies and their partners on coordination of activities, information sharing, processing and SOPs;
      – The improvement of the human rights situation for migrants and refugees, particularly for women and children, including through ensuring that the Libyan authorities targeted by this action comply with human rights standards in SOPs in SAR operations;
      – The concern for the environment, in particular for the hygienic and living environment for migrants in the detention centres and for the reutilisation of oil and the maintenance protocols of the ships.

      https://ec.europa.eu/trustfundforafrica/region/north-africa/libya/support-integrated-border-and-migration-management-libya-second-phase_en

  • Dai dati biometrici alle motovedette : ecco il #business della frontiera

    La gestione delle frontiere europee è sempre di più un affare per le aziende private. Dai Fondi per la difesa a quelli per la cooperazione e la ricerca: l’Ue implementa le risorse per fermare i flussi.

    Sono 33 i miliardi che l’Europa ha intenzione di destinare dal 2021 al 2027 alla gestione del fenomeno migratorio e, in particolare, al controllo dei confini. La cifra, inserita nel #Mff, il #Multiannual_Financial_Framework (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=COM%3A2018%3A321%3AFIN), (ed ora in discussione tra Commissione, Parlamento e Consiglio) rappresenta il budget complessivo Ue per la gestione delle frontiere esterne, dei flussi migratori e dei flussi di rifugiati. E viene notevolmente rafforzata rispetto al periodo precedente (2016-2020) quando i miliardi stanziati erano 12,4. Meno della metà.

    A questo capitolo di spesa contribuiscono strumenti finanziari diversi: dal fondo sulla sicurezza interna (che passa da 3,4 a 4,8 miliardi) a tutto il settore della cooperazione militare, che coincide sempre più con quello dell’esternalizzazione, come accade già per le due missioni italiane in Libia e in Niger. Anche una parte dei 23 miliardi del Fondo Europeo alla Difesa e di quello per la Pace saranno devoluti allo sviluppo di nuove tecnologie militari per fermare i flussi in mare e nel deserto. Stessa logica per il più conosciuto Fondo Fiduciario per l’Africa che, con fondi proveniente dal budget allo sviluppo, finanzia il progetto di blocco marittimo e terrestre nella rotta del Mediterraneo Centrale.

    Un grande business in cui rientrano anche i Fondi alla ricerca. La connessione tra gestione della migrazione, #lobby della sicurezza e il business delle imprese private è al centro di un’indagine di Arci nell’ambito del progetto #Externalisation_Policies_Watch, curato da Sara Prestianni. “Lo sforzo politico nella chiusura delle frontiere si traduce in un incremento del budget al capitolo della sicurezza, nella messa in produzione di sistemi biometrici di identificazione, nella moltiplicazione di forze di polizia europea ai nostri confini e nell’elaborazione di sistemi di sorveglianza - sottolinea Prestianni -. La dimensione europea della migrazione si allontana sempre più dal concetto di protezione in favore di un sistema volto esclusivamente alla sicurezza, che ha una logica repressiva. Chi ne fa le spese sono i migranti, obbligati a rotte sempre più pericolose e lunghe, a beneficio di imprese nazionali che del mercato della sicurezza hanno fatto un vero e propri o business”. Tra gli aspetti più interessanti c’è l’utilizzo del Fondo alla ricerca Orizon 20-20 per ideare strumenti di controllo. “Qui si entra nel campo della biometria: l’obiettivo è dotare i paesi africani di tutto un sistema di raccolta di dati biometrici per fermare i flussi ma anche per creare un’enorme banca dati che faciliti le politiche di espulsione - continua Prestianni -. Questo ha creato un mercato, ci sono diverse imprese che hanno iniziato ad occuparsi del tema. Tra le aziende europee leader in questi appalti c’è la francese #Civipol, che ha il monopolio in vari paesi di questo processo. Ma l’interconnessione tra politici e lobby della sicurezza è risultata ancor più evidente al #Sre, #Research_on_Security_event, un incontro che si è svolto a Bruxelles a dicembre, su proposta della presidenza austriaca: seduti negli stessi panel c’erano rappresentanti della commissione europea, dell’Agenzia #Frontex, dell’industria e della ricerca del biometrico e della sicurezza. Tutti annuivano sulla necessità di aprire un mercato europeo della frontiera, dove lotta alla sicurezza e controllo della migrazione si intrecciano pericolosamente”.

    In questo contesto, non è marginale il ruolo dell’Italia. “L’idea di combattere i traffici e tutelare i diritti nasce con #Tony_Blair, ma già allora l’obiettivo era impedire alle persone di arrivare in Europa - sottolinea Filippo Miraglia, vicepresidente di Arci -. Ed è quello a cui stiamo assistendo oggi in maniera sempre più sistematica. Un esempio è la vicenda delle #motovedette libiche, finanziate dall’Italia e su cui guadagnano aziende italianissime”. Il tema è anche al centro dell’inchiesta di Altreconomia di Gennaio (https://altreconomia.it/frontiera-buon-affare-inchiesta), curata da Duccio Facchini. “L’idea era dare un nome, un volto, una ragione sociale, al modo in cui il ministero degli Interni traduce le strategie di contrasto e di lotta ai flussi di persone” spiega il giornalista. E così si scopre che della rimessa in efficienza di sei pattugliatori, dati dall’Italia alla Tunisia, per il controllo della frontiera, si occupa in maniera esclusiva un’azienda di Rovigo, i #Cantieri_Navali_Vittoria: “Un soggetto senza concorrenti sul mercato, che riesce a vincere l’appalto anche per la rimessa in sicurezza delle motovedette fornite dal nostro paese alla Libia”, sottolinea Facchini.

    Motovedette fornite dall’Italia attraverso l’utilizzo del Fondo Africa: la questione è al centro di un ricorso al Tar presentato da Asgi (Associazione studi giuridici dell’immigrazione). “Il Fondo Africa di 200 milioni di euro viene istituito nel 2018 e il suo obiettivo è implementare le strategie di cooperazione con i maggiori paesi interessati dal fenomeno migratorio: dal #Niger alla LIbia, dalla Tunisia alla Costa d’Avorio - spiega l’avvocata Giulia Crescini -. Tra le attività finanziate con questo fondo c’è la dotazioni di strumentazioni per il controllo delle frontiere. Come Asgi abbiamo chiesto l’accesso agli atti del ministero degli Esteri per analizzare i provvedimenti e vedere come sono stati spesi questi soldi. In particolare, abbiamo notato l’utilizzo di due milioni di euro per la rimessa in efficienza delle motovedette fornite dall’Italia alla Libia - aggiunge -. Abbiamo quindi strutturato un ricorso, giuridicamente complicato, cercando di interloquire col giudice amministrativo, che deve verificare la legittimità dell’azione della Pubblica amministrazione. Qualche settimana fa abbiamo ricevuto la sentenza di rigetto in primo grado, e ora presenteremo l’appello. Ma studiando la sentenza ci siamo accorti che il giudice amministrativo è andato a verificare esattamente se fossero stati spesi bene o meno quei soldi - aggiunge Crescini -. Ed è andato così in profondità che ha scritto di fatto che non c’erano prove sufficienti che il soggetto destinatario stia facendo tortura e atti degradanti nei confronti dei migranti. Su questo punto lavoreremo per il ricorso. Per noi è chiaro che l’Italia oggi sta dando strumentazioni necessarie alla Libia per non sporcarsi le mani direttamente, ma c’è una responsabilità italiana anche se materialmente non è L’Italia a riportare indietro i migranti. Su questo punto stiamo agendo anche attraverso la Corte europea dei diritti dell’uomo”.

    http://www.redattoresociale.it/Notiziario/Articolo/620038/Dai-dati-biometrici-alle-motovedette-ecco-il-business-della-frontie

    #externalisation #frontières #UE #EU #Europe #Libye #Forteresse_européenne #asile #migrations #réfugiés #privatisation #argent #recherche #frontières_extérieures #coopération_militaire #sécurité_intérieure #fonds_fiduciaire_pour_l'Afrique #technologie #militarisation_des_frontières #fonds_fiduciaire #développement #Horizon_2020 #biométrie #données #données_biométriques #base_de_données #database #expulsions #renvois #marché #marché_européen_de_la_frontière #complexe_militaro-industriel #Tunisie #Côte_d'Ivoire #Italie
    ping @isskein @albertocampiphoto

    • Gli affari lungo le frontiere. Inchiesta sugli appalti pubblici per il contrasto all’immigrazione “clandestina”

      In Tunisia, Libia, Niger, Egitto e non solo. Così lo Stato italiano tramite il ministero dell’Interno finanzia imbarcazioni, veicoli, idranti per “ordine pubblico”, formazione delle polizie e sistemi automatizzati di identificazione. Ecco per chi la frontiera rappresenta un buon affare.

      Uno dei luoghi chiave del “contrasto all’immigrazione clandestina” che l’Italia conduce lungo le rotte africane non si trova a Tunisi, Niamey o Tripoli, ma è in un piccolo comune del Veneto, in provincia di Rovigo, affacciato sul Canal Bianco. È ad Adria, poco distante dal Po, che ha sede “Cantiere Navale Vittoria”, un’azienda nata nel 1927 per iniziativa della famiglia Duò -ancora oggi proprietaria- specializzata in cantieristica navale militare e paramilitare. Si tratta di uno dei partner strategici della Direzione centrale dell’immigrazione e della Polizia delle frontiere, insediata presso il ministero dell’Interno, per una serie di commesse in Libia e Tunisia.

      La Direzione è il braccio del Viminale in tema di “gestione” dei flussi provenienti da quei Paesi ritenuti di “eccezionale rilevanza nella gestione della rotta del Mediterraneo centrale” (parole della Farnesina). Quella “rotta” conduce alle coste italiane: Libia e Tunisia, appunto, ma anche Niger e non solo. E quel “pezzo” del Viminale si occupa di tradurre in pratica le strategie governative. Come? Appaltando a imprese italiane attività diversissime tra loro per valore, fonti di finanziamento, tipologia e territori coinvolti. Un principio è comune: quello di dar forma al “contrasto”, sul nostro territorio o di frontiera. E per questi affidamenti ricorre più volte una formula: “Il fine che si intende perseguire è quello di collaborare con i Paesi terzi ai fini di contrastare il fenomeno dell’immigrazione clandestina”. Tra gli ultimi appalti aggiudicati a “Cantiere Navale Vittoria” (ottobre 2018) spicca la rimessa in efficienza di sei pattugliatori “P350” da 34 metri, di proprietà della Guardia nazionale della Tunisia. Tramite gli atti della procedura di affidamento si possono ricostruire filiera e calendario.

      Facciamo un salto indietro al giugno 2017, quando i ministeri degli Esteri e dell’Interno italiani sottoscrivono un’“intesa tecnica” per prevedere azioni di “supporto tecnico” del Viminale stesso alle “competenti autorità tunisine”. Obiettivo: “Migliorare la gestione delle frontiere e dell’immigrazione”, inclusi la “lotta al traffico di migranti e le attività di ricerca e soccorso”. La spesa prevista -12 milioni di euro- dovrebbe essere coperta tramite il cosiddetto “Fondo Africa”, istituito sei mesi prima con legge di Stabilità e provvisto di una “dotazione finanziaria” di 200 milioni di euro. L’obiettivo dichiarato del Fondo è quello di “rilanciare il dialogo e la cooperazione con i Paesi africani d’importanza prioritaria per le rotte migratorie”. Le autorità di Tunisi hanno fretta, tanto che un mese dopo l’intesa tra i dicasteri chiedono all’Italia di provvedere subito alla “rimessa in efficienza” dei sei pattugliatori. Chi li ha costruiti, anni prima, è proprio l’azienda di Adria, e da Tunisi giunge la proposta di avvalersi proprio del suo “know how”. La richiesta è accolta. Trascorre poco più di un anno e nell’ottobre 2018 l’appalto viene aggiudicato al Cantiere per 6,3 milioni di euro. L’“attività di contrasto all’immigrazione clandestina”, scrive la Direzione immigrazione e frontiere, è di “primaria importanza per la sicurezza nazionale, anche alla luce dei recenti sbarchi sulle coste italiane di migranti provenienti dalle acque territoriali tunisine”. I pattugliatori da “consegnare” risistemati alla Tunisia servono quindi a impedire o limitare gli arrivi via mare nel nostro Paese, che da gennaio a metà dicembre di 2018 sono stati 23.122 (di cui 12.976 dalla Libia), in netto calo rispetto ai 118.019 (105.986 dalla Libia) dello stesso periodo del 2017.


      A quel Paese di frontiera l’Italia non fornisce (o rimette in sesto) solamente navi. Nel luglio 2018, infatti, la Direzione del Viminale ha stipulato un contratto con la #Totani Company Srl (sede a Roma) per la fornitura di 50 veicoli #Mitsubishi 4×4 Pajero da “consegnare presso il porto di Tunisi”. Il percorso è simile a quello dei sei pattugliatori: “Considerata” l’intesa del giugno 2017 tra i ministeri italiani, “visto” il Fondo Africa, “considerata” la richiesta dei 50 mezzi da parte delle autorità nordafricane formulata nel corso di una riunione del “Comitato Italo-Tunisino”, “vista” la necessità di “definire nel più breve tempo possibile le procedure di acquisizione” per “garantire un dispiegamento efficace dei servizi di prevenzione e di contrasto all’immigrazione clandestina”, eccetera. E così l’offerta economica di 1,6 milioni di euro della Totani è ritenuta congrua.

      Capita però che alcune gare vadano deserte. È successo per la fornitura di due “autoveicoli allestiti ‘idrante per ordine pubblico’” e per la relativa attività di formazione per 12 operatori della polizia tunisina (352mila euro la base d’asta). “Al fine di poter supportare il governo tunisino nell’ambito delle attività di contrasto all’immigrazione clandestina” è il passe-partout utilizzato anche per gli idranti, anche se sfugge l’impiego concreto. Seppur deserta, gli atti di questa gara sono interessanti per i passaggi elencati. Il tutto è partito da un incontro a Roma del febbraio 2018 tra l’allora ministro dell’Interno Marco Minniti e l’omologo tunisino. “Sulla base” di questa riunione, la Direzione del Viminale “richiede” di provvedere alla commessa attraverso un “appunto” datato 27 aprile dello stesso anno che viene “decretato favorevolmente” dal “Sig. Capo della Polizia”, Franco Gabrielli. Alla gara (poi non aggiudicata) si presenta un solo concorrente, la “Brescia Antincendi International Srl”, che all’appuntamento con il ministero delega come “collaboratore” un ex militare in pensione, il tenente colonnello Virgilio D’Amata, cavaliere al merito della Repubblica Italiana. Ma è un nulla di fatto.

      A Tunisi vengono quindi consegnati navi, pick-up, (mancati) idranti ma anche motori fuoribordo per quasi 600mila euro. È del settembre 2018, infatti, un nuovo “avviso esplorativo” sottoscritto dal direttore centrale dell’Immigrazione -Massimo Bontempi- per la fornitura di “10 coppie di motori Yamaha 4 tempi da 300 CV di potenza” e altri 25 da 150 CV. Il tutto al dichiarato fine di “garantire un dispiegamento efficace dei servizi di prevenzione e di contrasto all’immigrazione clandestina”.

      Come per la Tunisia, anche in Libia il ritmo è scandito da “intese tecniche” tra ministeri “per l’uso dei finanziamenti” previsti nel Fondo Africa. Parlamento non pervenuto

      Poi c’è la Libia, l’altro fronte strategico del “contrasto”. Come per la Tunisia, anche in questo contesto il ritmo è scandito da “intese tecniche” tra ministeri di Esteri e Interno -Parlamento non pervenuto- “per l’uso dei finanziamenti” previsti nel citato Fondo Africa. Una di queste, datata 4 agosto 2017, riguarda il “supporto tecnico del ministero dell’Interno italiano alle competenti autorità libiche per migliorare la gestione delle frontiere e dell’immigrazione, inclusi la lotta al traffico di migranti e le attività di ricerca e soccorso”. L’“eventuale spesa prevista” è di 2,5 milioni di euro. Nel novembre 2017 se n’è aggiunta un’altra, rivolta a “programmi di formazione” dei libici del valore di 615mila euro circa (sempre tratti dal Fondo Africa). Quindi si parte dalle intese e poi si passa ai contratti.

      Scorrendo quelli firmati dalla Direzione immigrazione e polizia delle frontiere del Viminale tra 2017 e 2018, e che riguardano specificamente commesse a beneficio di Tripoli, il “fornitore” è sempre lo stesso: Cantiere Navale Vittoria. È l’azienda di Adria -che non ha risposto alle nostre domande- a occuparsi della rimessa in efficienza di svariate imbarcazioni (tre da 14 metri, due da 35 e una da 22) custodite a Biserta (in Tunisia) e “da restituire allo Stato della Libia”. Ma anche della formazione di 21 “operatori della polizia libica” per la loro “conduzione” o del trasporto di un’altra nave di 18 metri da Tripoli a Biserta. La somma degli appalti sfiora complessivamente i 3 milioni di euro. In alcuni casi, il Viminale dichiara di non avere alternative al cantiere veneto. Lo ha riconosciuto la Direzione in un decreto di affidamento urgente per la formazione di 22 “operatori di polizia libica” e la riconsegna di tre motovedette a fine 2017. Poiché Cantiere Navale Vittoria avrebbe un “patrimonio informativo peculiare”, qualunque ricerca di “soluzioni alternative” sarebbe “irragionevole”. Ecco perché in diverse “riunioni bilaterali di esperti” per la cooperazione tra Italia e Libia “in materia migratoria”, oltre alla delegazione libica (i vertici dell’Amministrazione generale per la sicurezza costiera del ministero dell’Interno) e quella italiana (tra cui l’allora direttore del Servizio immigrazione del Viminale, Vittorio Pisani), c’erano anche i rappresentanti di Cantiere Navale Vittoria.
      Se i concorrenti sono pochi, la fretta è tanta. In più di un appalto verso la Libia, infatti, la Direzione ha argomentato le procedure di “estrema urgenza” segnalando come “ulteriori indugi”, ad esempio “nella riconsegna delle imbarcazioni”, non solo “verrebbero a gravare ingiustificatamente sugli oneri di custodia […] ma potrebbero determinare difficoltà anche di tipo diplomatico con l’interlocutore libico”. È successo nell’estate 2018 anche per l’ultimo “avviso esplorativo” da quasi 1 milione di euro collegato a quattro training (di quattro settimane) destinati a cinque equipaggi “a bordo di due unità navali da 35 metri, un’unità navale da 22 metri e un’unità navale da 28 metri di proprietà libica”, “al fine di aumentare l’efficienza di quel Paese per il contrasto dell’immigrazione illegale”. Lo scopo è fornire una “preparazione adeguata su ogni aspetto delle unità navali”. Della materia “diritti umani” non c’è traccia.

      Questa specifica iniziativa italiana deriva dal Memorandum d’Intesa con la Libia sottoscritto a Roma dal governo Gentiloni (Marco Minniti ministro dell’Interno), il 2 febbraio 2017. Il nostro Paese si era impegnato a “fornire supporto tecnico e tecnologico agli organismi libici incaricati della lotta contro l’immigrazione clandestina”. È da lì che i governi di Italia e Libia decidono di includere tra le attività di cooperazione anche l’erogazione dei corsi di addestramento sulle motovedette ancorate a Biserta.

      Ai primi di maggio del 2018, il Viminale decide di accelerare. C’è l’“urgenza di potenziare, attraverso la rimessa in efficienza delle imbarcazioni e l’erogazione di corsi di conduzione operativa, il capacity building della Guardia Costiera libica, al fine di aumentare l’efficienza di quel Paese per il contrasto dell’immigrazione illegale”. Anche perché, aggiunge il ministero, “alla luce degli ultimi eventi di partenze di migranti dalle coste libiche”, “appare strettamente necessario ed urgente favorire il pieno ripristino dell’efficienza delle competenti Autorità dello Stato della Libia nell’erogazione dei servizi istituzionali”. E così a fine giugno 2018 viene pubblicato il bando: i destinatari sono “operatori della polizia libica” e non invece le guardie costiere. Il ministero ha dovuto però “rimodulare” in corsa l’imposto a base d’asta della gara (da 763mila a 993mila euro). Perché? Il capitolato degli oneri e il verbale di stima relativi al valore complessivo dell’intera procedura sarebbero risultati “non remunerativi” per l’unico operatore interessato: Cantiere Navale Vittoria Spa, che avrebbe comunicato “di non poter sottoscrivere un’offerta adeguata”.

      Le risorse per quest’ultimo appalto non arrivano dal Fondo Africa ma da uno dei sei progetti finanziati in Libia dall’Unione europea tramite il “Fondo Fiduciario per l’Africa” (EU Trust Fund), istituito a fine 2015 con una dotazione di oltre 4 miliardi di euro. Quello che ci riguarda in particolare s’intitola “Support to integrated Border and Migration Management in Libya – First Phase”, del valore di oltre 46 milioni di euro. Mentre l’Ue è il principale finanziatore, chi deve implementarlo in loco, dal luglio 2017, è proprio il nostro ministero dell’Interno. Che è attivo in due aree della Libia: a Nord-Ovest, a Tripoli, a beneficio delle guardie costiere libiche (tramite la costituzione di un centro di coordinamento per le operazioni di ricerca e soccorso in mare e per la dichiarazione di un’area di ricerca e soccorso in mare autonoma), e una a Sud-Ovest, nella regione del Fezzan, nel distretto di Ghat, per incrementare la capacità di sorveglianza, “in particolare nelle aree di frontiera terrestre con il Niger, maggiormente colpita dall’attraversamento illegale”. È previsto inoltre un “progetto pilota” per istituire una sede operativa per circa 300 persone, ripristinando ed equipaggiando le esistenti strutture nella città di Talwawet, non lontano da Ghat, con tre avamposti da 20 persone l’uno.

      A un passo da lì c’è il Niger, l’altra tessera del mosaico. Alla metà di dicembre 2018, non risultano appalti in capo alla Direzione frontiere del Viminale, ma ciò non significa che il nostro Paese non sia attivo per supportare (anche) la gestione dei suoi confini. A metà 2017, infatti, l’Italia ha destinato 50 milioni di euro all’EU Trust Fund per “far fronte alle cause profonde della migrazione in Africa/Finestra Sahel e Lago Ciad”, con un’attenzione particolare al Niger. Si punta alla “creazione di nuove unità specializzate necessarie al controllo delle frontiere, di nuovi posti di frontiera fissa, o all’ammodernamento di quelli esistenti, di un nuovo centro di accoglienza per i migranti a Dirkou, nonché per la riattivazione della locale pista di atterraggio”. In più, dal 2018 è scesa sul campo la “Missione bilaterale di supporto nella Repubblica del Niger” (MISIN) che fa capo al ministero della Difesa e ha tra i suoi obiettivi quello di “concorrere alle attività di sorveglianza delle frontiere”. Il primo corso “per istruttori di ordine pubblico a favore della gendarmeria nigerina” si è concluso a metà ottobre 2018. Pochi mesi prima, a luglio, era stata sottoscritta un’altra “intesa tecnica” tra Esteri e Difesa per rimettere in efficienza e cedere dieci ambulanze e tre autobotti. Finalità? “Il controllo del territorio volto alla prevenzione e al contrasto ai traffici di esseri umani e al traffico di migranti, e per l’assistenza ai migranti nell’ambito delle attività di ricerca e soccorso”: 880mila euro circa. Il Niger è centrale: stando all’ultima programmazione dei Paesi e dei settori in cui sono previsti finanziamenti tramite il “Fondo Africa” (agosto 2018, fonte ministero degli Esteri), il Paese è davanti alla Libia (6 milioni contro 5 di importo massimo preventivato).

      Inabissatosi in Niger, il ministero dell’Interno riemerge in Egitto. Anche lì vigono “accordi internazionali diretti al contrasto dell’immigrazione clandestina” sostenuti dall’Italia. La loro traduzione interessa da vicino la succursale italiana della Hewlett-Packard (HP). Risale infatti a fine 2006 un contratto stipulato tra la multinazionale e la Direzione del Viminale “per la realizzazione di un Sistema automatizzato di identificazione delle impronte (AFIS) per lo Stato dell’Egitto”, finalizzato alle “esigenze di identificazione personale correlate alla immigrazione illegale”: oltre 5,2 milioni di euro per il periodo 2007-2012, cui se ne sono aggiunti ulteriori 1,8 milioni per la manutenzione ininterrotta fino al 2017 e quasi 500mila per l’ultima tranche, 2018-2019. HP non ha avversari -come riporta il Viminale- in forza di un “accordo in esclusiva” tra la Hewlett Packard Enterprise e la multinazionale della sicurezza informatica Gemalto “in relazione ai prodotti AFIS per lo Stato dell’Egitto”. Affari che non si possono discutere: “L’interruzione del citato servizio -sostiene la Direzione- è suscettibile di creare gravi problemi nell’attività di identificazione dei migranti e nel contrasto all’immigrazione clandestina, in un momento in cui tale attività è di primaria importanza per la sicurezza nazionale”. Oltre alla partnership con HP, il ministero dell’Interno si spende direttamente in Egitto. Di fronte alle “esigenze scaturenti dalle gravissimi crisi internazionali in vaste aree dell’Africa e dell’Asia” che avrebbero provocato “massicci esodi di persone e crescenti pressioni migratorie verso l’Europa”, la Direzione centrale immigrazione (i virgolettati sono suoi) si è fatta promotrice di una “proposta progettuale” chiamata “International Training at Egyptian Police Academy” (ITEPA). Questa prevede l’istituzione di un “centro di formazione internazionale” sui temi migratori per 360 funzionari di polizia e ufficiali di frontiera di ben 22 Paesi africani presso l’Accademia della polizia egiziana de Il Cairo. Il “protocollo tecnico” è stato siglato nel settembre 2017 tra il direttore dell’Accademia di polizia egiziana ed il direttore centrale dell’Immigrazione e della polizia delle frontiere. Nel marzo 2018, il capo della Polizia Gabrielli è volato a Il Cairo per il lancio del progetto. “Il rispetto dei diritti umani -ha dichiarato in quella sede- è uno degli asset fondamentali”.

      “La legittimità, la finalità e la consistenza di una parte dei finanziamenti citati con le norme di diritto nazionale e internazionale sono stati studiati e in alcuni casi anche portati davanti alle autorità giudiziarie dai legali dell’Associazione studi giuridici sull’immigrazione (Asgi, asgi.it)”, spiega l’avvocato Giulia Crescini, parte del collegio dell’associazione che si è occupato della vicenda. “Quando abbiamo chiesto lo stato di implementazione dell’accordo internazionale Italia-Libia del febbraio 2017, il ministero dell’Interno ha opposto generiche motivazioni di pericolo alla sicurezza interna e alle relazioni internazionali, pertanto il ricorso dopo essere stato rigettato dal Tar Lazio è ora pendente davanti al Consiglio di Stato”. La trasparenza insegue la frontiera.

      –-----------------------------

      “LEONARDO” (FINMECCANICA) E GLI INTERESSI SULLE FRONTIERE

      In Tunisia, Libia, Egitto e Niger, l’azienda Leonardo (Finmeccanica) avrebbe in corso “attività promozionali per tecnologie di sicurezza e controllo del territorio”. Alla richiesta di dettagli, la società ha risposto di voler “rivitalizzare i progetti in sospeso e proporne altri, fornendo ai Governi sistemi e tecnologie all’avanguardia per la sicurezza dei Paesi”. Leonardo è già autorizzata a esportare materiale d’armamento in quei contesti, ma non a Tripoli. Il Consiglio di Sicurezza delle Nazioni Unite, infatti, ha approvato la Risoluzione 2420 che estende l’embargo sulle armi nel Paese per un altro anno. “Nel prossimo futuro -fa sapere l’azienda di cui il ministero dell’Economia è principale azionista- il governo di accordo nazionale potrà richiedere delle esenzioni all’embargo ONU sulle armi, per combattere il terrorismo”. Alla domanda se Leonardo sia coinvolta o operativa nell’ambito di iniziative collegate al fondo fiduciario per l’Africa dell’Unione europea e in particolare al programma da 46 milioni di euro coordinato dal Viminale, in tema di frontiere libiche, l’azienda ha fatto sapere che “in passato” avrebbe “collaborato con le autorità libiche per lo sviluppo e implementazione di sistemi per il monitoraggio dei confini meridionali, nonché sistemi di sicurezza costiera per il controllo, la ricerca e il salvataggio in mare”. Attualmente la società starebbe “esplorando opportunità in ambito europeo volte allo sviluppo di un progetto per il controllo dei flussi migratori dall’Africa all’Europa, consistente in un sistema di sicurezza e sorveglianza costiero con centri di comando e controllo”.

      Export in Libia. Il “caso” Prodit

      Nei primi sei mesi del 2018, attraverso l’Autorità nazionale UAMA (Unità per le autorizzazioni dei materiali d’armamento), l’Italia ha autorizzato l’esportazione di “materiale d’armamento” verso la Libia per un valore di circa 4,8 milioni di euro. Nel 2017 questa cifra era zero. Si tratta, come impone la normativa in tema di embargo, di materiali “non letali”. L’ammontare è minimo se paragonato al totale delle licenze autorizzate a livello mondiale dall’Italia tra gennaio e giugno 2018 (3,2 miliardi di euro). Chi esporta è una singola azienda, l’unica iscritta al Registro Nazionale delle Imprese presso il Segretariato Generale del ministero della Difesa: Prodit Engineering Srl. In Libia non ha esportato armi ma un veicolo terrestre modificato come fuoristrada e materiali utilizzabili per sminamento.

      https://altreconomia.it/frontiera-buon-affare-inchiesta

      #Leonardo #Finmeccanica #Egypte #Tunisie #identification #P350 #Brescia_Antincendi_International #Virgilio_D’Amata #Massimo_Bontempi #Yamaha #Minniti #Marco_Minniti #EU_Trust_Fund #Trust_Fund #Missione_bilaterale_di_supporto_nella_Repubblica_del_Niger #MISIN #Hewlett-Packard #AFIS #International_Training_at_Egyptian_Police_Academy #ITEPA

    • "La frontiera è un buon affare": l’inchiesta sul contrasto del Viminale all’immigrazione «clandestina» a suon di appalti pubblici

      Dalla Tunisia alla Libia, dal Niger all’Egitto: così lo Stato italiano finanzia imbarcazioni, veicoli, formazione a suon di appalti pubblici. I documenti presentati a Roma dall’Arci.

      «Quando si parla di esternalizzazione della frontiera e di diritto di asilo bisogna innanzitutto individuare i Paesi maggiormente interessati da queste esternalizzazioni, capire quali sono i meccanismi che si vuole andare ad attaccare, creare un caso e prenderlo tempestivamente. Ma spesso per impugnare un atto ci vogliono 60 giorni, le tempistiche sono precise, e intraprendere azioni giudiziarie per tutelare i migranti diventa spesso molto difficile. Per questo ci appoggiamo all’Arci». A parlare è Giulia Crescini, avvocato dell’Associazione per gli studi giuridici sull’immigrazione, che insieme a Filippo Miraglia, responsabile immigrazione di ARCI, Sara Prestianni, coordinatrice del progetto #externalisationpolicieswatch, e Duccio Facchini, giornalista di Altreconomia, ha fatto il punto sugli appalti della Direzione centrale dell’immigrazione e della Polizia delle frontiere, insediata presso il ministero dell’Interno e più in generale dei fondi europei ed italiani stanzianti per implementare le politiche di esternalizzazione del controllo delle frontiere in Africa.

      L’inchiesta. Duccio Facchini, presentando i dati dell’inchiesta di Altreconomia «La frontiera è un buon affare», ha illustrato i meccanismi di una vera e propria strategia che ha uno dei suoi punti d’origine in un piccolo comune del Veneto, in provincia di Rovigo, affacciato sul Canal Bianco - dove ha sede una delle principale aziende specializzate in cantieristica navale militare e paramilitare - e arriva a toccare Tripoli, Niamey o Il Cairo. Il filo rosso che lega gli affidamenti milionari è uno solo: fermare il flusso di persone dirette in Italia e in Europa. Anche utilizzando fondi destinati alla cooperazione e senza alcun vaglio parlamentare.

      Il Fondo Africa, istituito con la legge di bilancio 2017, art. 1 comma 621 per l’anno 2018, è pari a 200 milioni di euro, cifra che serve per attivare forme di collaborazione e cooperazione con i Paesi maggiormente interessati dal fenomeno della migrazione, anche se l’espressione in sé significa tutto e niente. «Questo fondo - ha spiegato Facchini in conferenza nella sede Arci lo scorso 6 febbraio - viene dato al ministero degli Affari esteri internazionali che individua quali sono questi Paesi: nello specifico il ministero ha indicato una sfilza di Paesi africani, dal Niger alla Libia alla Tunisia, passando per l’Egitto la Costa d’Avorio, indicando anche una serie di attività che possono essere finanziate con questi soldi. Tra queste c’è la dotazione di strumentazioni utili per il controllo della frontiera». Gli autori dell’inchiesta hanno chiesto al ministero l’elenco dei provvedimenti che sono stati messi in campo e per attivare questa protezione alla frontiera. «Siamo alla fine del 2017 e notiamo che tra questi ce n’è uno che stanzia 2 milioni e mezzo per la messa in opera di quattro motovedette. Da lì cominciamo a domandarci se in base alla normativa italiana è legittimo dare una strumentazione così specifica a delle autorità così notoriamente coinvolte nella tortura e nella violenza dei migranti. Quindi abbiamo strutturato un ricorso giuridicamente molto complicato per cercare di interloquire con il giudice amministrativo». Notoriamente il giudice amministrativo non è mai coinvolto in questioni relative al diritto di asilo - per capire: è il giudice degli appalti - ed è insomma colui che va a verificare se la pubblica amministrazione ha adempiuto bene al suo compito.

      l punto di partenza. «Il giudice amministrativo e la pubblica amministrazione – ha spiegato Giulia Crescini dell’Asgi - stanno sempre in un rapporto molto delicato fra loro perché la pubblica amministrazione ha un ambito di discrezionalità all’interno del quale il giudice non può mai entrare, quindi la PA ha dei limiti che vengono messi dalla legge e all’interno di quei limiti il ministero può decidere come spendere quei soldi. Secondo noi quei limiti sono superati, perché la legge non autorizza a rafforzare delle autorità che poi commettono crimini contro i migranti, riportando queste persone sulla terra ferma in una condizione di tortura, soprattutto nei centri di detenzione». I legati hanno dunque avviato questo ricorso, ricevendo, qualche settimana fa, la sentenza di rigetto di primo grado. La sentenza è stata pubblicata il 7 gennaio e da quel giorno a oggi i quattro avvocati hanno studiato le parole del giudice, chiedendo alle altre organizzazioni che avevano presentato insieme a loro il ricorso se avessero intenzione o meno di fare appello. «Studiando la sentenza - continua Crescini - ci siamo accorti di come. pur essendo un rigetto, non avesse poi un contenuto così negativo: il giudice amministrativo in realtà è andato a verificare effettivamente se la pubblica amministrazione avesse speso bene o meno questo soldi, cioè se avesse esercitato in modo corretto o scorretto la discrezionalità di cui sopra. Un fatto che non è affatto scontato. Il giudice amministrativo è andato in profondità, segnalando il fatto che non ci sono sufficienti prove di tortura nei confronti dei migranti da parte delle autorità. Dal punto di vista giuridico questo rappresenta una vittoria. Perché il giudice ha ristretto un ambito molto specifico su cui potremo lavorare davanti al Consiglio di Stato».

      La frontiera è un buon affare. L’inchiesta «La frontiera è un buon affare» rivela che lo sforzo politico che vede impegnate Italia e istituzioni europee nella chiusura delle frontiere si traduce direttamente in un incremento del budget al capitolo della sicurezza, nella messa in produzione di sistemi biometrici di identificazione, nella moltiplicazione di forze di polizia europea ai nostri confini e nell’elaborazione di sistemi di sorveglianza.

      La dimensione europea della migrazione - si legge in un comunicato diffuso da Arci - si allontana sempre più dal concetto di protezione a favore di un sistema volto esclusivamente alla sicurezza e alla repressione del fenomeno migratorio. La logica dell’esternalizzazione, diventata pilastro della strategia tanto europea quanto italiana di gestione delle frontiere, assume in questo modo, sempre più, una dimensione tecnologica e militare, assecondando le pressioni della lobby dell’industria della sicurezza per l’implementazione di questo mercato. L’uso dei fondi è guidato da una tendenza alla flessibilità con un conseguente e evidente rischio di opacità, conveniente per il rafforzamento di una politica securitaria della migrazione.

      Nel MFF - Multiannual Financial Framework - che definisce il budget europeo per un periodo di 7 anni e ora in discussione tripartita tra Commissione, Parlamento e Consiglio - si evidenzia l’intento strategico al netto dei proclami e dei comizi della politica: la migrazione è affrontata principalmente dal punto di vista della gestione del fenomeno e del controllo delle frontiere con un incremento di fondi fino a 34 miliardi di euro per questo settore.

      A questo capitolo di spesa - si legge ancora nel comunicato - contribuiscono strumenti finanziari diversi, dal fondo sulla sicurezza interna - che passa dai 3,4 del 2014/20120 ai 4,8 miliardi del 2021/2027 e che può essere speso anche per la gestione esterna delle frontiere - a tutto il settore della cooperazione militare che coincide sempre più con quello dell’esternalizzazione, una tendenza che si palesa con evidenza nelle due missioni militari nostrane in Libia e Niger.

      Dei 23 miliardi del Fondo Europeo alla Difesa e quello per la Pace, una buona parte saranno devoluti allo sviluppo di nuova tecnologia militare, utilizzabili anche per la creazione di muri nel mare e nel deserto. Stessa logica anche per il più conosciuto Fondo Fiduciario per l’Africa che, con fondi provenienti dal budget allo sviluppo, finanzia il progetto di blocco marittimo e terrestre nella rotta del Mediterraneo centrale.

      Sulla pelle dei migranti. Chi ne fa le spese, spiegano gli autori dell’inchiesta, sono i migranti, obbligati a rotte sempre più pericolose e lunghe, a beneficio di imprese nazionali che del mercato della sicurezza hanno fatto un vero e proprio business. Questa connessione e interdipendenza tra politici e lobby della sicurezza, che sfiora a tutto gli effetti il conflitto di interessi, è risultata evidente nel corso del SRE «Research on security event» tenutosi a Bruxelles a fine dicembre su proposta della presidenza austriaca. Seduti negli stessi panel rappresentanti della commissione dell’Agenzia Frontex, dell’industria e della ricerca del biometrico e della sicurezza, manifestavano interesse per un obbiettivo comune: la creazione di un mercato europeo della sicurezza dove lotta al terrorismo e controllo della migrazione si intrecciano pericolosamente

      «Il Governo Italiano si iscrive perfettamente nella logica europea, dalle missioni militari con una chiara missione di controllo delle frontiere in Niger e Libia al rinnovo del Fondo Africa, rifinanziato con 80 milioni per il 2018/2019, che condiziona le politiche di sviluppo a quelle d’immigrazione», dichiara ancora Arci. «Molti i dubbi che solleva questa deriva politica direttamente tradotta nell’uso dei fondi europei e nazionali: dalle tragiche conseguenze sulla sistematica violazione delle convenzione internazionali a una riflessione più ampia sull’opacità dell’uso dei fondi e del ruolo sempre più centrale dell’industria della sicurezza per cui la politica repressiva di chiusura sistematica delle frontiere non è altro che l’ennesimo mercato su cui investire, dimenticandosi del costo in termine di vite umane di questa logica».

      https://www.repubblica.it/solidarieta/immigrazione/2019/02/07/news/la_frontiera_e_un_buon_affare-218538251

    • Appalti sulle frontiere: 30 mezzi di terra alla Libia dall’Italia per fermare i migranti

      Il ministero dell’Interno italiano si appresta a fornire alle autorità di Tripoli nuovi veicoli fuoristrada per il “contrasto del fenomeno dell’immigrazione irregolare”. Un appalto da 2,1 milioni di euro finanziato tramite il “Fondo Fiduciario per l’Africa”, nell’ambito del quale l’Italia accresce il proprio ruolo. Il tutto mentre l’immagine ostentata di una “Libia sicura” è offuscata dagli stessi atti di gara del Viminale

      Il ministero dell’Interno italiano si appresta a fornire alle autorità della Libia trenta nuovi veicoli fuoristrada per le “esigenze istituzionali legate al contrasto del fenomeno dell’immigrazione irregolare”. L’avviso esplorativo pubblicato dalla Direzione centrale dell’immigrazione e della Polizia delle frontiere, insediata presso il Viminale, risale al 5 marzo 2019 (scadenza per la presentazione della manifestazione d’interesse all’8 aprile di quest’anno).

      La fornitura riguarda 30 mezzi “Toyota Land Cruiser” (15 del modello GRJ76 Petrol e 15 del GRJ79 DC Petrol), in “versione tropicalizzata”, relativamente ai quali le autorità libiche, il 24 dicembre 2018, avrebbero esplicitato alla Direzione di Roma precise “specifiche tecniche”. Il Viminale la definisce una “richiesta di assistenza tecnica” proveniente da Tripoli per le “esigenze istituzionali legate al contrasto del fenomeno dell’immigrazione irregolare”. In forza di questa “strategia”, dunque, il governo italiano -in linea con i precedenti, come abbiamo raccontato a gennaio nell’inchiesta sugli “affari lungo le frontiere”– continua a equipaggiare le autorità del Paese Nord-africano per contrastare i flussi migratori. L’ammontare “massimo” degli ultimi due lotti (da 15 mezzi l’uno) è stimato in 2,1 milioni di euro.

      E così come è stato per la gara d’appalto da oltre 9,3 milioni di euro per la fornitura di 20 imbarcazioni destinate alla polizia libica, indetta dal Viminale a fine dicembre 2018, anche nel caso dei 30 mezzi Toyota le risorse arriveranno dal “Fondo Fiduciario per l’Africa” (EU Trust Fund), istituito dalla Commissione europea a fine 2015 con una dotazione di oltre 4 miliardi di euro. In particolare, dal progetto implementato dal Viminale e intitolato “Support to integrated Border and Migration Management in Libya – First Phase”, dal valore di oltre 46 milioni di euro e il cui “delegation agreement” risale a metà dicembre 2017 (governo Gentiloni, ministro competente Marco Minniti).

      Questo non è l’unico progetto finanziato tramite l’EU Trust Fund che vede il ministero dell’Interno italiano attivo nel continente africano. Alla citata “First Phase”, infatti, se ne sono affiancati nel tempo altri due. Uno è di stanza in Tunisia e Marocco (“Border Management Programme for the Maghreb region”), datato luglio 2018 e dal valore di 55 milioni di euro. L’altro progetto, di nuovo, ricade in Libia. Si tratta del “Support to Integrated border and migration management in Libya – Second Phase”, risalente al 13 dicembre 2018, per un ammontare di altri 45 milioni di euro. Le finalità dichiarate nell’”Action Document” della seconda fase in Libia sono -tra le altre- quelle di “intensificare gli sforzi fatti”, “sviluppare nuove aree d’intervento”, “rafforzare le capacità delle autorità competenti che sorvegliano i confini marittimi e terrestri”, “l’acquisto di altre navi”, “l’implementazione della rete di comunicazione del Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre” di Tripoli, “la progettazione specifica di programmi per la neocostituita polizia del deserto”.

      La strategia di contrasto paga, sostiene la Commissione europea. “Gli sforzi dell’Ue e dell’Italia nel sostenere la Guardia costiera libica per migliorare la sua capacità operativa hanno raggiunto risultati significativi e tangibili nel 2018”, afferma nel lancio della “seconda fase”. Di “significativo e tangibile” c’è il crollo degli sbarchi sulle coste italiane, in particolare dalla Libia. Dati del Viminale alla mano, infatti, nel periodo compreso tra l’1 gennaio e il 7 marzo 2017 giunsero 15.843 persone, scese a 5.457 lo scorso anno e arrivate a 335 quest’anno. La frontiera è praticamente sigillata. Un “successo” che nasconde la tragedia dei campi di detenzione e sequestro libici dove migliaia di persone sono costrette a rimanere.

      È in questa cornice che giunge il nuovo “avviso” del Viminale dei 30 veicoli, pubblicato come detto il 5 marzo. Quello stesso giorno il vice-presidente del Consiglio e ministro dell’Interno, Matteo Salvini, ha incontrato a Roma il vicepremier libico Ahmed Maiteeq. Un “cordiale colloquio”, come recita il comunicato ministeriale, che avrebbe visto sul tavolo “i rapporti tra i due Paesi, in particolare su sicurezza, lotta al terrorismo, immigrazione e stabilizzazione politica della Libia”.

      Ma l’immagine ostentata dal governo Conte di una “Libia sicura” è offuscata dagli stessi atti di gara del ministero dell’Interno. Tra i quesiti presentati al Viminale da parte dei potenziali concorrenti al bando dei 20 battelli da destinare alla polizia libica, infatti, si trovano richieste esplicite di “misure atte a garantire la sicurezza dei propri operatori”. “Laddove si rendesse strettamente necessario effettuare interventi di garanzia richiesti in loco (Libia)”, gli operatori di mercato hanno chiesto alla Direzione centrale dell’immigrazione e della Polizia delle frontiere “che tali prestazioni potranno essere organizzate a patto che le imbarcazioni si trovino in città (Tripoli, ndr) per garantire la sicurezza degli operatori inviati per tali prestazioni”. Il ministero dell’Interno conferma il quadro di instabilità del Paese: “Le condizioni di sicurezza in Libia devono essere attentamente valutate in ragione della contingenza al momento dell’esecuzione del contratto”, è la replica al quesito. “Appare di tutto evidenza che la sicurezza degli operatori non dovrà essere compromessa in relazione ai rischi antropici presenti all’interno dello Stato beneficiario della commessa”. Per gli operatori, non per i migranti in fuga.

      https://altreconomia.it/appalti-libia-frontiere-terra
      #Libye

  • #métaliste (qui va être un grand chantier, car il y a plein d’information sur seenthis, qu’il faudrait réorganiser) sur :
    #externalisation #contrôles_frontaliers #frontières #migrations #réfugiés

    Des liens vers des articles généraux sur l’externalisation des frontières de la part de l’ #UE (#EU) :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/569305
    https://seenthis.net/messages/390549
    https://seenthis.net/messages/320101

    Ici une tentative (très mal réussie, car évidement, la divergence entre pratiques et les discours à un moment donné, ça se voit !) de l’UE de faire une brochure pour déconstruire les mythes autour de la migration...
    La question de l’externalisation y est abordée dans différentes parties de la brochure :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/765967

    Petit chapitre/encadré sur l’externalisation des frontières dans l’ouvrage "(Dé)passer la frontière" :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/769367

    Les origines de l’externalisation des contrôles frontaliers (maritimes) : accord #USA-#Haïti de #1981 :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/768694

    L’externalisation des politiques européennes en matière de migration
    https://seenthis.net/messages/787450

    "#Sous-traitance" de la #politique_migratoire en Afrique : l’Europe a-t-elle les mains propres ?
    https://seenthis.net/messages/789048

    Partners in crime ? The impacts of Europe’s outsourced migration controls on peace, stability and rights :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/794636
    #paix #stabilité #droits #Libye #Niger #Turquie

    Proceedings of the conference “Externalisation of borders : detention practices and denial of the right to asylum”
    https://seenthis.net/messages/880193