• Allegations of extensive sexual abuse at Kenyan offsetting project used by Shell and Netflix

    Male staff at a leading Kenyan carbon-offsetting project used by Netflix, Shell and other large companies have been accused of extensive sexual abuse and harassment over more than a decade, following an investigation by two NGOs.

    The Kasigau Corridor conservation project in southern Kenya, operated by the California-based firm Wildlife Works, generates carbon credits by protecting dryland forests at risk of being destroyed in key elephant, lion and wildlife habitats west of Mombasa. The scheme was the first ever forest protection scheme approved by Verra, the world’s leading certifier of carbon offsets, and has also been accredited for its biodiversity and community benefits, probably generating millions of dollars in revenue in carbon-credit sales.

    #crédits_carbone #violence_sexuelle

  • Bulgaria migrant pushbacks: What’s behind the rise in violence at the Bulgarian-Turkish border? (1/4)

    The Bulgarian-Turkish border is seeing an upsurge in pushbacks and violence against migrants. InfoMigrants uncovers the reasons why and who are the most at risk.

    This article is the first in a four-part series. All research and interviews were conducted between June and August 2023, with field reporting in Bulgaria carried out between June 18 and 24, 2023.

    Pushbacks are “a very serious problem” in Bulgaria, Krassimir Kanev, chair of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, a non-profit dedicated to protecting human rights, told InfoMigrants.

    “We even had people who were killed, who were seriously injured, who were pushed back and they died in the snow in Turkey…There have been many such cases, cases of physical ill treatment, sometimes resulting in death…use of firearms sometimes resulting in death…” he said.

    Last year alone, an estimated 5,200 migrants were subject to pushbacks at the Bulgarian-Turkish border, according to the Committee.

    Similarly, the European Council on Refugees and Exiles recorded 5,268 alleged pushbacks in Bulgaria in 2022 affecting 87,647 persons – but the actual figure is believed to be much higher.

    Pushbacks are prohibited under European Union (EU) and international law. They violate the 1951 Refugee Convention principle of non-refoulement, which provides that refugees should not be returned to a country where they face serious threats to their life or freedom.

    In interviews carried out between June and August 2023, migrants, humanitarian workers, human rights experts and lawyers told InfoMigrants violence against migrants and pushbacks at the Bulgarian-Turkish border have increased in the last two years.

    The Bulgarian government, however, has maintained that “Checks have been carried out of formal pushback signals made by foreigners who tried to illegally cross the state border of Bulgaria. The checks ended with the finding that there was no evidence of physical violence.”

    A spokesperson from the ministry told InfoMigrants, “It should be noted that many of the claims of ’pushbacks’ are unfounded.”

    Greek migrant repression marks turning point in Bulgaria

    Hamid Khoshseiar, a translator and coordinator at the Mission Wings Foundation in Harmanli near to the Bulgarian-Turkish border, works with migrants from the town’s refugee reception center. He said more migrants started trying to enter the EU via the Bulgarian-Turkish border after the Greek government’s swing to the right in 2019. Those numbers have climbed even higher in the last year.

    “Around a year ago, we started to see a new practice. People were coming in our office to be registered…because of the increase of the number of pushbacks at the border…” Khoshseiar told InfoMigrants.

    In August 2022, a bus carrying at least 47 migrants collided with a police car in Bulgaria, leaving two officers dead.

    “After that, the border escalated and became very intensive,” with “more forces,” Khoshseiar explained. “Even the army started to help border police and the gendarmerie [military police]. And also the number of pushbacks and violence increased a lot… people give themselves the right to interpret the law,” he added.

    Bulgarian authorities have been stripping migrants at the border before “pushing them back (into Turkey) without any clothes,” Khoshseiar said.

    “We also heard a lot about beatings on the border. Some of them (migrants) were sharing that when they (Bulgarian authorities) caught a group, there were six, seven officers opening one small door in the border. And like a tunnel they were hitting everyone who was crossing.”

    Khoshseiar added that many migrants told him it was their fifth or sixth time attempting to enter Bulgarian territory.

    In order to find out which forces are involved in pushbacks, Khoshseiar also asks his clients about the color of their clothing.

    “[The] forces ... involved [are] technically all of them. Border police with green, gendarmerie with dark blue, and police with blue – it’s not specifically one,” he said.

    Khoshseiar is also concerned about chain pushbacks, a practice often initiated by European countries where people are pushed back through multiple consecutive countries.

    “We heard from people… ’Bulgarian police arrested us, they started beating us. They sent us back to Greece. After that, the Greece police started beating us and send us back to Turkey,’ – chain pushbacks.”

    Bulgarian-Turkish border sees jump in migrant arrivals

    Boris Cheshirkov, an external relations officer at the UN refugee agency UNHCR in Sofia, told InfoMigrants that Bulgaria received some 20,000 asylum applications last year – “the highest number in a single year over 30 years of recorded statistics.”

    He said the main countries of origin were Syria, Afghanistan and Morocco, adding that this trend has largely continued in 2023. The number of refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons at the end of 2022 was almost double than that of the year before.

    The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 2021 and ongoing conflict in Syria are pushing citizens to journey to Bulgaria, while continued economic and political instability in neighboring Turkey – as well as the devastating aftermath of the February earthquake – are driving Syrians previously living in Turkey to cross the border into Bulgaria.

    Migration activities have also resumed following the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, slow and inefficient application processes across the EU have prompted many more to search for unofficial ways to enter the bloc, usually through the use of people smugglers.

    The trilateral Bulgaria-Greece-Turkey contact center at the Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint confirmed that the Bulgarian-Turkish border has seen another strong wave of irregular migration in the past year, and is making prevention their top priority.

    “The first and biggest issue is cross-border crime related to illegal migration – foremost in terms of volume,” a Bulgarian border police spokesperson at the trilateral center told InfoMigrants. The center was established in 2016 soon after refugee arrivals in Europe peaked in 2015.

    Higher migrant numbers arguably increase the probability of pushbacks. Migrants are also increasingly aiming for the Bulgarian-Turkish border as other European countries beef up security.

    “In the past, much more migration has been through Greece than through Bulgaria,” Kanev from the Helsinki Committee said. “But the Greek government introduced some measures of patrolling the sea. Their border is very well protected. Their land border with Turkey is shorter. Also, the Bulgarian border is very difficult to protect because it goes through a mountain. And it’s quite big and therefore it is very hard to install appropriate technology and supervision throughout this border,” he explained.

    Migrants are also increasingly opting for the Bulgarian-Turkish border after hearing stories about violent pushbacks and aggressive behavior from Greek authorities at the Greek-Turkish border or experiencing violence firsthand in a previous failed crossing at the Greek border.

    Authorities beat, stripped, robbed and shot at migrants

    Diana Dimova, head of the Bulgarian human rights organization Mission Wings, said nearly 700 migrants who crossed the Bulgarian-Turkish border have passed through her consultation center in Stara Zagora city in the last year.

    “The practices they (migrants) share are: being stripped, robbing of personal belongings, phones and money, beatings with police batons, harassment with police dogs, and illegal detention for 24-72 hours in unregulated premises,” Dimova told InfoMigrants.

    She and her colleagues have also traveled to Turkey to film the testimonies of scores of refugees who recount being abused and pushed back.

    “The resistance from the authorities to cover up these crimes is great,” she said.

    Many migrants walk through dense forested areas, crossing the Strandja Nature Park at the border with Turkey. They typically walk four to eight days without food or water, and smugglers “give them pills to endure the journey,” Dimova said. “Many are dehydrated and exhausted to the limit. Huge numbers of people are dying in the forests, mostly in the area of Sredets municipality.”

    GPS coordinates given by migrants in distress to hotlines in Europe “are rarely responded to by border police,” she said.

    “Usually we call 112 who forward the signal to the border police. We have found that in many cases the border police do not look for them at all or leave them to their fate. In most cases, when 112 is called insistently and help is sought, they arrive at the scene of the tragedy, load those who have survived and send them back onto Turkish territory,” Dimova told InfoMigrants.

    “Bulgaria does not have a working system for rescuing refugees in distress – many of these people are left to perish in the forests,” she said.

    Her foundation is funded by various foreign organizations as the Bulgarian government does not provide them with financial support.

    “There are very few organizations in Bulgaria helping refugees. Most do not want to engage in this topic because of negative public opinion” and are pressured by various institutions to stop their activities, Dimova explained. A number of organizations focusing on refugees in Bulgaria are under investigation – including Mission Wings.

    “For more than 10 months, we have been under investigation for suspicions expressed by the State Agency for Refugees that we are involved in the trafficking and smuggling of unaccompanied refugee children. The national security services pressured and harassed us for nearly a year, trying to stop us from helping those arriving from the Bulgarian-Turkish border,” she told InfoMigrants.

    Journalists expose migrant shooting

    Sofia Bahudela, an Arabic language worker at Caritas Bulgaria, said the charity is very familiar with migrants who are “extremely traumatized when entering the country.”

    “Everything is very dependent on the people serving as border guards,” she told InfoMigrants.

    Recounting the story of Ali Husseini, a young man who had been granted protection status in Bulgaria, Bahudela explains how when he traveled to the border to find his brother in 2022, he was stripped, beaten, robbed and then pushed into Turkey. After a week of talks with a lawyer and a trip to Istanbul, he was able to return to Bulgaria, but had to wait a further five months to have his ID reissued. His brother, meanwhile, was deported from Turkey to Afghanistan.

    In another case, the Bulgarian government repeatedly rejected accusations that its border guards shot a Syrian refugee in October 2022 after a video released two months after the incident showed a man being fired at on the Bulgarian-Turkish border.

    The video was part of a joint investigation by several European media outlets led by the Netherlands-based Lighthouse Reports. In a separate video captured days later, the man identified himself as 19-year-old Abdullah El Rustum of Syria. He said he was shot by Bulgarian border officers after his group was caught trying to enter Bulgaria irregularly. The Lighthouse investigation found that unarmed refugees were fired at from the same position on the Bulgarian side, where the border police were seen to be located.

    Maria Cheresheva, a Bulgarian journalist based in the capital Sofia, participated in the Lighthouse probe. She has since been denied access to the Bulgarian-Turkish border on numerous occasions, and said she rarely receives comments from the government on her work.

    “There has been no information or progress on this investigation,” Cheresheva told InfoMigrants. The border is a “heavily monitored area. So we are curious why after the rejection of the authorities of both countries (Turkey and Bulgaria), no progress has been done in terms of this report, which was broadly broadcasted around big European media.”

    Testimonies of migrants who were pushed back and suffered violence at the border “are rarely taken into account” Cheresheva explained, adding that she has dealt with a number of similar cases, but noted it’s “extremely difficult to prove who caused the violence and how did those people end up in such a situation.”

    The stressful and violent situations of pushbacks also make it difficult for migrants to identify the people responsible for the illegal acts: Are they Bulgarian border police, gendarmerie, European Border and Coast Guard Agency (#Frontex) officers, or vigilantes.

    Women and children face increased risks at border crossing

    Women who attempt to enter Europe via the Bulgarian-Turkish border face heightened risks of sexual violence.

    “We have cases of women who say they have experienced violence, including sexual violence, on the way to Bulgaria at the hands of traffickers or police officers in Turkey. Some women have had to pay for their journey to Europe with sex due to lack of financial means,” said Dimova of Mission Wings.

    Cases of rape and abuse are difficult to record because “many of the women do not recognize the violence that has been perpetrated against them as a problem or are ashamed to share,” she told InfoMigrants.

    The Bulgarian Helsinki Committee also confirmed it received reports of sexual harassment and rape from migrants. Chairman Kanev cited a female migrant who informed the Committee that she was stripped naked and subjected to sexual harassment by Bulgarian authorities.

    “I suspect that she was also raped, maybe, but she didn’t say that. And then from third parties, you also hear cases of women who were raped,” Kanev said.

    Unaccompanied minors also face greater risks at the Bulgarian-Turkish border, journalist Cheresheva said, because there is “nobody to protect them on the way.” Many problems can arise because the “mistreatment and violence happens outside of the system.”

    Cheresheva said she has interviewed many migrants who experienced violence at the border as minors. One boy she interviewed was kept in a detention center in Bulgaria and was expecting his asylum procedure to start, but instead he was sent back to Turkey where he was kidnapped. The last Cheresheva heard about the child was that he had been rescued by other refugees living in Turkey.

    “With all this violence happening along the borders, not only by authorities but through all kinds of criminal groups, I’m very concerned about the fate of these kids,” Cheresheva said.

    Khoshseiar from Mission Wings said he had come across two unaccompanied migrant children in Harmanli, a brother and sister aged 12 and 14.

    “I just showed them the way how to get to the reception center, because the reception center should register them. After that we understood that they put them into the car and pushed them back into Turkey,” he said.

    Bulgaria is a ’peaceful country,’ says Syrian barber

    Several migrants InfoMigrants spoke to recounted positive stories of how Bulgaria had welcomed them, and said they had not experienced violence on Bulgarian territory.

    Ahmed is a Syrian barber in Sofia. He journeyed to Bulgaria with a group of friends in 2015, when their country was being torn apart by war and conflict.

    “I came through the mountains for three days on the border between Turkey and Bulgaria – the situation was very difficult, very difficult indeed,” he told InfoMigrants from his barbershop in the bustling center of the Bulgarian capital.

    “For me personally, there were no issues with the (asylum) documents,” he said.

    When asked if he had any issues with border police during the journey, he responded: “No, very good people, really. I swear. I lived in Turkey for nine months. The police there were bad people. In Turkey, not here. I came to Bulgaria because of the police in Turkey, very bad people.”

    All of Ahmed’s friends continued on to Germany, except for him.

    “I love Bulgaria…I like it, good, peaceful country…” he beamed.

    *Name changed


    #Bulgarie #Turquie #push-backs #refoulements #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #montagne #violence #violence_sexuelle #murs #barrières_frontalières

    • Tra le persone respinte e lasciate senza soccorsi in Bulgaria, frontiera d’Europa

      Al confine tra Turchia e Bulgaria le persone in movimento sono sottoposte a continue violazioni dei loro diritti, dall’omissione di soccorso ai respingimenti illegali. A denunciare dal campo queste violenze, che ancora una volta evidenziano un ruolo problematico dell’Agenzia Frontex, c’è il Collettivo rotte balcaniche Alto vicentino

      Di quanto accade alla frontiera tra Turchia e Bulgaria si sa poco. Eppure si tratta di una delle porte dell’Unione europea sulla quale le persone in movimento sono sottoposte a continue violenze. Secondo i dati diffusi dalla stessa polizia di frontiera bulgara -una polizia a tutti gli effetti europea, avendo Sofia aderito all’Ue nel 2007- sarebbero stati 46.940 i tentativi di attraversamento cosiddetto “illegale” del confine solo nei mesi di giugno e luglio di quest’anno. Tantissime delle persone intercettate dalle autorità, dopo essere state catturate, vengono respinte in Turchia attraverso pratiche totalmente illegittime.

      Chi svolge un prezioso lavoro di documentazione e testimonianza di quanto succede in questi luoghi è il Collettivo rotte balcaniche Alto vicentino, impegnato nel Sud della Bulgaria, nella città di Harmanli, dove si trova il più grande campo del Paese, e Svilengrad, nelle vicinanze del campo di Pastrogor. Da metà luglio gli attivisti hanno cominciato a rispondere a chiamate di aiuto da parte di migranti in difficoltà, che hanno poi raggiunto nei punti in cui si erano fermati. Questo gli ha permesso di essere testimoni delle omissioni di soccorso e delle violenze da parte delle autorità bulgare, che spesso non avviano nemmeno le ricerche di chi si trova in situazione di urgenza.

      “Pensiamo alle tante persone che ogni notte muoiono senza nemmeno poter chiedere aiuto, oltre alle poche che lo chiedono invano. Lungo le frontiere di terra come di mare, l’omissione di soccorso è una precisa strategia delle autorità -ha scritto il collettivo in un report su quanto avvenuto nel caso del salvataggio di una donna incinta e delle sue due bambine-. […] Ci è chiara l’urgenza di agire in prima persona e disobbedire a chi uccide lasciando morire”. Tra gli attivisti del collettivo che si spendono quotidianamente per portare aiuto a chi si trova in difficoltà ci sono anche Giuseppe Pederzolli e Giovanni Marenda.

      Che cosa sta succedendo in Bulgaria oggi?
      GM Il confine con la Turchia ultimamente è diventato un buco nero dal punto di vista informativo. Da poco abbiamo cominciato a occuparci di casi di emergenza, che ormai sono quasi quotidiani. Abbiamo un numero di telefono e un network con altre organizzazioni europee. Ci arrivano segnalazioni di persone in stato di urgenza o di stress durante il viaggio dalla Turchia. Fin dalle prime volte siamo andati di persona, oltre a dare segnalazione ufficiale al 112, perché ci siamo accorti che spesso le autorità omettono il soccorso. Mentono rispetto a quello che fanno: sostengono di stare conducendo una ricerca anche se non è vero. In alcuni casi, quando hanno capito che noi ci stavamo recando sul posto, hanno iniziato a uscire per arrivare prima di noi per sfruttare l’occasione per respingere illegalmente le persone. In sostanza, quindi, cerchiamo di arrivare sul luogo per “metterci in mezzo”, costringendo la polizia, per esempio, a far venire anche l’ambulanza o a far fare richiesta di asilo. Le autorità non possono respingere davanti ai nostri occhi.

      Ci sono segnalazioni che ritenete particolarmente emblematiche rispetto a quanto accade sul confine turco-bulgaro?
      GP Una questione importante con la quale ci stiamo misurando anche dal punto di vista emotivo è quella delle persone morte lungo i confini; anche a noi che siamo una piccola realtà arrivano segnalazioni di familiari da mezza Europa che dicono di non avere più notizie di un loro caro. Qui, al confine con la Turchia, è un problema molto rilevante. Decine di persone muoiono nella foresta. Oltre al ritrovamento c’è anche la questione della restituzione del corpo alla famiglia, che spesso non avviene. In un caso, quello di H., un migrante siriano di trent’anni, la morte ci è stata segnalata dai compagni di viaggio, che in tempi rapidi l’hanno detto anche alla famiglia. Tre attiviste sono partite verso la posizione che ci era stata mandata -e che abbiamo trasmesso più volte anche al 112-, una zona a due ore di distanza da noi. Il luogo era abbastanza difficile da raggiungere, una quarantina di minuti a piedi dalla strada principale. La polizia è arrivata circa 12 ore dopo; noi siamo rimasti lì, perché volevamo essere sicuri che la salma sarebbe stata raccolta e anche capire dove sarebbe stata portata, per darne notizia alla famiglia. Abbiamo poi coinvolto anche un’avvocata per fare da tramite ai parenti per la questione del funerale.

      Tra le testimonianze che avete fornito, anche la storia di una donna incinta, soccorsa con le sue due bambine.
      GM Si è trattato del nostro primo soccorso. Appena è arrivata la segnalazione abbiamo chiamato il 112; poi abbiamo capito che le autorità ci stavano mentendo: ci dicevano che c’era un’unità di ricerca sul posto, che c’era anche un’ambulanza, ma noi eravamo in contatto diretto con la donna, che per fortuna aveva con sé il telefono carico, e sapevamo che non c’era nessuno che la stava cercando, perché lei si trovava a pochi metri dalla strada. A un certo punto abbiamo deciso di andare noi, rendendo sempre noti al 112 i nostri movimenti. L’abbiamo trovata, quando siamo arrivati sul posto, semplicemente urlando per far sentire la nostra voce. Al mattino è arrivata la prima pattuglia della polizia di frontiera, che si è fermata perché ci ha visti lungo una strada molto delicata, in cui ci sono molti passaggi. Hanno iniziato a importunarci, a minacciarci. Non sapevano assolutamente nulla delle segnalazioni che avevamo fatto. Abbiamo chiesto un’ambulanza, che non è mai arrivata. Successivamente siamo stati portati alla stazione di polizia, dove è venuto un dottore, che ha fatto una visita sommaria di cinque minuti, al termine della quale ha consigliato alla donna di bere molta acqua. Poi ci hanno allontanati: per 20 giorni non abbiamo saputo più nulla della persona che abbiamo soccorso, anche se quotidianamente abbiamo cercato di rintracciarla. Alla fine avevamo quasi paura, ci eravamo convinti l’avessero respinta in Turchia. Poi abbiamo saputo, per fortuna, che era stata trasferita al campo aperto di Harmanli e che aveva potuto fare domanda d’asilo.

      Avete avuto ripercussioni legali per la vostra attività?
      GM Per ora non siamo mai stati denunciati o accusati di nulla, perché ci siamo sempre coperti attraverso le segnalazioni al 112. Ci sono state minacce in diverse occasioni, ci hanno detto “Vi arresteremo la prossima volta che fate cose del genere”, ma alla fine non hanno potuto farci nulla. Di certo, tuttavia, non siamo noi ad avere il coltello dalla parte del manico, è anche un discorso politico, rispetto a quanto spazio riesci a guadagnarti. La polizia di frontiera qui fa quello che vuole; abbiamo visto poliziotti con la maglietta del fascio littorio, insieme ad agenti di Frontex. L’Agenzia e l’Unione europea nei documenti ufficiali continuano a negare di essere coinvolte e sostengono di non sapere nulla di quanto succede. Nella stazione di Sredets -paese vicino al luogo di ritrovamento della donna incinta-, però, tra gli armadietti ce ne sono due riservati proprio a Frontex.

      Il collettivo non si occupa solo del soccorso e della documentazione delle violenze. Qual è la vostra storia?
      GP Il collettivo è nato tra il 2018 e il 2019, dall’esigenza di stare in alcuni luoghi sui confini, innanzitutto per una questione di cura delle persone in movimento. Poi abbiamo iniziato a collaborare con diverse realtà internazionali, per esempio in Serbia, in Bosnia ed Erzegovina, in Grecia e a Trieste. Negli anni le nostre attività sono state diverse. Abbiamo iniziato, soprattutto in Bosnia, sistemando gli squat dove stavano le persone, costruendo stufe, aiutando in maniera molto pratica. Poi nel tempo ci siamo interessati alla questione igienica, quindi abbiamo costruito e diffuso ai vari gruppi internazionali dei kit doccia portatili.


  • New GCR report reveals violence against refugees at the Greek-Turkish borders and criminalization of legal aid organizations

    Pushbacks and intimidation of human rights defenders are a systematic part of an unofficial but carefully planned migration and border policy

    A new report by the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) documents extreme violence against people seeking asylum at Europe’s external border. Pushbacks of refugees to Turkey are widespread, and involve humiliation, illegal detention, intimidation, physical and sexual violence, and arbitrary confiscation of personal belongings.

    Pushback cases before ECtHR and/or Greek Public Prosecutor

    This report contributes to an existing body of extensive evidence of the Greek state’s illegal pushbacks practice, by providing particularly detailed descriptions of 11 pushback cases at the Evros border region and the Aegean islands, and 2 cases of pullbacks by the Turkish authorities in Evros.

    Illegal detention in official and unofficial detention sites

    In all cases detailed in the report, asylum seekers were arbitrarily held in official or unofficial detention sites, for periods ranging from a few hours to a full day before eventually being pushed back. In three cases, people identified their place of detention as the Neo Cheimonio Border Guard Station.

    Sexual Violence

    In all the reported cases, asylum seekers were subjected to strip search during their unofficial detention. In at least three cases, people reported incidents of sexual violence, ranging from humiliation to sexual assault and rape.

    Pushback of two Palestinian recognized refugees

    In June 2022, two Palestinians recognised by the Greek authorities as refugees and legally residing in the island of Kos were illegally apprehended in the middle of the street. They were brought to a small storage room with other people, body searched and then raped. Twelve hours later, the guards tied their legs, put them in a van and boarded them in a boat. They threw them in the sea on a half-deflated raft until the Turkish coast guard rescued them.

    Criminalization of legal aid organizations

    Evidence from the report also shows how human rights defenders supporting refugees, including NGOs like the Greek Council for Refugees, are increasingly intimidated and obstructed in their work by the Greek authorities. Instead of stopping these rights violations, the Greek government is targeting those who support refugees, framing them as enemies of the state and smugglers in an attempt to silence them and hinder their human rights work.

    Alkistis Agrafioti Chatzigianni, Advocacy Officer at the Greek Council for Refugees, said:

    “This research shows that unless the EU and Greek authorities finally put an end to these illegal border policies, they will only become more violent and widespread. The government must immediately cease all violations at its borders and allow human rights defenders to do their important work of supporting people seeking asylum.”

    Kleio Nikolopoulou, Advocacy Officer at the Greek Council for Refugees, said:

    “Pushbacks and border violence have become the rule rather than the exception in Greece. They are an unacceptable symptom of a broken European asylum policy and what is even more alarming is the EU standing by as these rights violations become a common trend throughout European borders. The EU needs to put in place a migration system that upholds asylum rights.”


    Pour télécharger le rapport:

    #rapport #GCR #Grèce #Turquie #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #push-backs #refoulements #criminalisation_de_la_solidarité #violence #humiliation #détention_illégale #enfermement #violence_sexuelle #frontières_extérieures #Evros #îles #Thrace

  • OpenAI Used Kenyan Workers on Less Than $2 Per Hour: Exclusive | Time

    In a statement, an OpenAI spokesperson confirmed that Sama employees in Kenya contributed to a tool it was building to detect toxic content, which was eventually built into ChatGPT. The statement also said that this work contributed to efforts to remove toxic data from the training datasets of tools like ChatGPT. “Our mission is to ensure artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity, and we work hard to build safe and useful AI systems that limit bias and harmful content,” the spokesperson said. “Classifying and filtering harmful [text and images] is a necessary step in minimizing the amount of violent and sexual content included in training data and creating tools that can detect harmful content.”

    Even as the wider tech economy slows down amid anticipation of a downturn, investors are racing to pour billions of dollars into “generative AI,” the sector of the tech industry of which OpenAI is the undisputed leader. Computer-generated text, images, video, and audio will transform the way countless industries do business, the most bullish investors believe, boosting efficiency everywhere from the creative arts, to law, to computer programming. But the working conditions of data labelers reveal a darker part of that picture: that for all its glamor, AI often relies on hidden human labor in the Global South that can often be damaging and exploitative. These invisible workers remain on the margins even as their work contributes to billion-dollar industries.

    Read More: AI Helped Write This Play. It May Contain Racism

    One Sama worker tasked with reading and labeling text for OpenAI told TIME he suffered from recurring visions after reading a graphic description of a man having sex with a dog in the presence of a young child. “That was torture,” he said. “You will read a number of statements like that all through the week. By the time it gets to Friday, you are disturbed from thinking through that picture.” The work’s traumatic nature eventually led Sama to cancel all its work for OpenAI in February 2022, eight months earlier than planned.
    The Sama contracts

    Documents reviewed by TIME show that OpenAI signed three contracts worth about $200,000 in total with Sama in late 2021 to label textual descriptions of sexual abuse, hate speech, and violence. Around three dozen workers were split into three teams, one focusing on each subject. Three employees told TIME they were expected to read and label between 150 and 250 passages of text per nine-hour shift. Those snippets could range from around 100 words to well over 1,000. All of the four employees interviewed by TIME described being mentally scarred by the work. Although they were entitled to attend sessions with “wellness” counselors, all four said these sessions were unhelpful and rare due to high demands to be more productive at work. Two said they were only given the option to attend group sessions, and one said their requests to see counselors on a one-to-one basis instead were repeatedly denied by Sama management.

    In a statement, a Sama spokesperson said it was “incorrect” that employees only had access to group sessions. Employees were entitled to both individual and group sessions with “professionally-trained and licensed mental health therapists,” the spokesperson said. These therapists were accessible at any time, the spokesperson added.

    The contracts stated that OpenAI would pay an hourly rate of $12.50 to Sama for the work, which was between six and nine times the amount Sama employees on the project were taking home per hour. Agents, the most junior data labelers who made up the majority of the three teams, were paid a basic salary of 21,000 Kenyan shillings ($170) per month, according to three Sama employees. They also received monthly bonuses worth around $70 due to the explicit nature of their work, and would receive commission for meeting key performance indicators like accuracy and speed. An agent working nine-hour shifts could expect to take home a total of at least $1.32 per hour after tax, rising to as high as $1.44 per hour if they exceeded all their targets. Quality analysts—more senior labelers whose job was to check the work of agents—could take home up to $2 per hour if they met all their targets. (There is no universal minimum wage in Kenya, but at the time these workers were employed the minimum wage for a receptionist in Nairobi was $1.52 per hour.)

    In a statement, a Sama spokesperson said workers were asked to label 70 text passages per nine hour shift, not up to 250, and that workers could earn between $1.46 and $3.74 per hour after taxes. The spokesperson declined to say what job roles would earn salaries toward the top of that range. “The $12.50 rate for the project covers all costs, like infrastructure expenses, and salary and benefits for the associates and their fully-dedicated quality assurance analysts and team leaders,” the spokesperson added.

    Read More: Fun AI Apps Are Everywhere Right Now. But a Safety ‘Reckoning’ Is Coming

    An OpenAI spokesperson said in a statement that the company did not issue any productivity targets, and that Sama was responsible for managing the payment and mental health provisions for employees. The spokesperson added: “we take the mental health of our employees and those of our contractors very seriously. Our previous understanding was that [at Sama] wellness programs and 1:1 counseling were offered, workers could opt out of any work without penalization, exposure to explicit content would have a limit, and sensitive information would be handled by workers who were specifically trained to do so.”

    In the day-to-day work of data labeling in Kenya, sometimes edge cases would pop up that showed the difficulty of teaching a machine to understand nuance. One day in early March last year, a Sama employee was at work reading an explicit story about Batman’s sidekick, Robin, being raped in a villain’s lair. (An online search for the text reveals that it originated from an online erotica site, where it is accompanied by explicit sexual imagery.) The beginning of the story makes clear that the sex is nonconsensual. But later—after a graphically detailed description of penetration—Robin begins to reciprocate. The Sama employee tasked with labeling the text appeared confused by Robin’s ambiguous consent, and asked OpenAI researchers for clarification about how to label the text, according to documents seen by TIME. Should the passage be labeled as sexual violence, she asked, or not? OpenAI’s reply, if it ever came, is not logged in the document; the company declined to comment. The Sama employee did not respond to a request for an interview.
    How OpenAI’s relationship with Sama collapsed

    In February 2022, Sama and OpenAI’s relationship briefly deepened, only to falter. That month, Sama began pilot work for a separate project for OpenAI: collecting sexual and violent images—some of them illegal under U.S. law—to deliver to OpenAI. The work of labeling images appears to be unrelated to ChatGPT. In a statement, an OpenAI spokesperson did not specify the purpose of the images the company sought from Sama, but said labeling harmful images was “a necessary step” in making its AI tools safer. (OpenAI also builds image-generation technology.) In February, according to one billing document reviewed by TIME, Sama delivered OpenAI a sample batch of 1,400 images. Some of those images were categorized as “C4”—OpenAI’s internal label denoting child sexual abuse—according to the document. Also included in the batch were “C3” images (including bestiality, rape, and sexual slavery,) and “V3” images depicting graphic detail of death, violence or serious physical injury, according to the billing document. OpenAI paid Sama a total of $787.50 for collecting the images, the document shows.

    Within weeks, Sama had canceled all its work for OpenAI—eight months earlier than agreed in the contracts. The outsourcing company said in a statement that its agreement to collect images for OpenAI did not include any reference to illegal content, and it was only after the work had begun that OpenAI sent “additional instructions” referring to “some illegal categories.” “The East Africa team raised concerns to our executives right away. Sama immediately ended the image classification pilot and gave notice that we would cancel all remaining [projects] with OpenAI,” a Sama spokesperson said. “The individuals working with the client did not vet the request through the proper channels. After a review of the situation, individuals were terminated and new sales vetting policies and guardrails were put in place.”

    In a statement, OpenAI confirmed that it had received 1,400 images from Sama that “​​included, but were not limited to, C4, C3, C2, V3, V2, and V1 images.” In a followup statement, the company said: “We engaged Sama as part of our ongoing work to create safer AI systems and prevent harmful outputs. We never intended for any content in the C4 category to be collected. This content is not needed as an input to our pretraining filters and we instruct our employees to actively avoid it. As soon as Sama told us they had attempted to collect content in this category, we clarified that there had been a miscommunication and that we didn’t want that content. And after realizing that there had been a miscommunication, we did not open or view the content in question — so we cannot confirm if it contained images in the C4 category.”

    Sama’s decision to end its work with OpenAI meant Sama employees no longer had to deal with disturbing text and imagery, but it also had a big impact on their livelihoods. Sama workers say that in late February 2022 they were called into a meeting with members of the company’s human resources team, where they were told the news. “We were told that they [Sama] didn’t want to expose their employees to such [dangerous] content again,” one Sama employee on the text-labeling projects said. “We replied that for us, it was a way to provide for our families.” Most of the roughly three dozen workers were moved onto other lower-paying workstreams without the $70 explicit content bonus per month; others lost their jobs. Sama delivered its last batch of labeled data to OpenAI in March, eight months before the contract was due to end.

    Because the contracts were canceled early, both OpenAI and Sama said the $200,000 they had previously agreed was not paid in full. OpenAI said the contracts were worth “about $150,000 over the course of the partnership.”

    Sama employees say they were given another reason for the cancellation of the contracts by their managers. On Feb. 14, TIME published a story titled Inside Facebook’s African Sweatshop. The investigation detailed how Sama employed content moderators for Facebook, whose jobs involved viewing images and videos of executions, rape and child abuse for as little as $1.50 per hour. Four Sama employees said they were told the investigation prompted the company’s decision to end its work for OpenAI. (Facebook says it requires its outsourcing partners to “provide industry-leading pay, benefits and support.”)

    Read More: Inside Facebook’s African Sweatshop

    Internal communications from after the Facebook story was published, reviewed by TIME, show Sama executives in San Francisco scrambling to deal with the PR fallout, including obliging one company, a subsidiary of Lufthansa, that wanted evidence of its business relationship with Sama scrubbed from the outsourcing firm’s website. In a statement to TIME, Lufthansa confirmed that this occurred, and added that its subsidiary zeroG subsequently terminated its business with Sama. On Feb. 17, three days after TIME’s investigation was published, Sama CEO Wendy Gonzalez sent a message to a group of senior executives via Slack: “We are going to be winding down the OpenAI work.”

    On Jan. 10 of this year, Sama went a step further, announcing it was canceling all the rest of its work with sensitive content. The firm said it would not renew its $3.9 million content moderation contract with Facebook, resulting in the loss of some 200 jobs in Nairobi. “After numerous discussions with our global team, Sama made the strategic decision to exit all [natural language processing] and content moderation work to focus on computer vision data annotation solutions,” the company said in a statement. “We have spent the past year working with clients to transition those engagements, and the exit will be complete as of March 2023.”

    But the need for humans to label data for AI systems remains, at least for now. “They’re impressive, but ChatGPT and other generative models are not magic – they rely on massive supply chains of human labor and scraped data, much of which is unattributed and used without consent,” Andrew Strait, an AI ethicist, recently wrote on Twitter. “These are serious, foundational problems that I do not see OpenAI addressing.”

    With reporting by Julia Zorthian/New York

    #Travail_clic #Etiquetage #Intelligence_artificielle #Kenya #Violence_sexuelle #Modération

  • États-Unis : près de 100.000 plaintes pour abus sexuels déposées contre les Boys Scouts américains

    Abus = nom masculin

    1. Action d’abuser d’une chose ; usage mauvais, excessif.
    L’abus d’alcool.
    2. Droit
    Mauvais usage d’un droit, d’une prérogative, d’un privilège.
    Abus de pouvoir.


    L’expression indique que les adultes ont des droits et privilèges sexuels sur les enfants mais qu’ils en ont seulement fait un usage excessif ou/et inapproprié. J’aimerais bien que le figaro m’explique quels sont les privilèges sexuels qu’ont les éducateurs sur les gosses.

    #abus #vocabulaire #déni #violophilie #culture_du_viol #male_gaze #violence_sexuelle

  • La rivoluzione dei gelsomini

    A soli otto anni Takoua ha dovuto lasciare il paese in cui è nata per raggiungere il padre, rifugiato politico in Italia. Solo molto più tardi, dopo la Rivolta dei Gelsomini che abbatte la dittatura di Ben Ali, quella giovane donna cresciuta parlando con l’accento romano è potuta tornare in Tunisia per rimettere assieme i pezzi della sua storia familiare, per smascherare il funzionamento della macchina repressiva e testimoniare di come le
    donne – le grandi protagoniste di questa storia – ne fossero oggetto.

    Ed è ripercorrendo al contrario quel viaggio, che l’ha portata dalle porte del deserto del Sahara alla periferia di Roma, che conosciamo la storia di Takoua: la storia di una delle tante bambine che, nate o cresciute in Italia da genitori non italiani, molti si ostinano ancora a definire straniere.

    #BD #livre #bande_dessinée
    #Tunisie #torture #prisonniers_politiques #viol #violence_sexuelle #persécution #femmes #résistance #solidarité_féminine #celles_qui_restent #autobiographie #voile #Takoua_Ben_Mohamed #révolution_tunisienne #révolution #révolution_de_jasmin #printemps_arabes #printemps_arabe #celleux_qui_restent

  • Violences sexuelles : la bataille juridique de plusieurs hommes contre un policier haut gradé

    Quatre hommes ont accusé un commandant divisionnaire de la Vienne de les avoir agressés sexuellement entre 2006 et 2011. Malgré un non-lieu rendu l’an dernier, ils espèrent obtenir un procès. L’audience d’appel est prévue le 3 mars.

    Ensemble, ils dénoncent un déni de justice. Dix ans après la première plainte de l’un d’entre eux, trois hommes attendent fébrilement l’appel du non-lieu dont a bénéficié celui qu’ils accusent d’attouchements, et qui n’a même jamais été mis en examen. L’audience est prévue le 3 mars devant la chambre de l’instruction de la cour d’appel de Poitiers (Vienne).

    En attendant, ils questionnent la procédure, les choix des juges, et le rôle joué par le métier du mis en cause qui nie tout comportement répréhensible, ce que la justice a en l’état reconnu. Jean-Christophe M., 55 ans, est commandant divisionnaire, chef d’état-major, et donc très haut placé dans la hiérarchie policière du département où il exerce, la Vienne.

    Les parties civiles – deux frères Maxime et Julien Q., et deux autres hommes, Daniel M. et un quatrième qui a renoncé à faire appel « ayant perdu tout espoir en la justice » – ont en commun d’avoir eu Jean-Christophe M. comme chef scout au cours de leur adolescence. Ils le considéraient comme un ami de confiance, un « modèle », avant les faits – que ce dernier conteste – qui se seraient produits entre 2006 et 2011, alors qu’ils étaient devenus adultes.

    L’ordonnance de non-lieu, consultée par Mediapart, a fait droit à l’argumentation du policier relative au « caractère involontaire des attouchements rapportés par les plaignants », dans trois cas sur quatre. Pour le dernier cas, celui de Maxime Q., il dément avoir jamais dormi avec lui.

    Maxime Q., 34 ans, accuse Jean-Christophe M., âgé de 21 ans de plus que lui, qu’il considérait comme un « grand frère », selon les termes de son audition, de lui avoir, lors d’une soirée en région parisienne en 2006, pris son « sexe sans brutalité pour le masturber » alors qu’ils partageaient le même lit.

    « Nous sommes choqués de constater que la justice n’est pas la même pour tous les citoyens », affirme Maxime Q. Il est convaincu que le métier de policier du mis en cause et son grade peuvent avoir une influence sur les débats. « Nous ne souhaitons qu’une seule chose depuis le début : un procès équitable, indique-t-il à Mediapart. Malheureusement, la justice ne semble pas décidée. »

    En larmes, la sœur de Daniel M. précise à Mediapart : « C’est dix ans de souffrance pour ne même pas avoir un procès. Ce sentiment d’injustice rajoute de la peine à la peine. Daniel a eu le courage de parler et rien ne se passe. Cette descente aux enfers a changé nos vies. »

    #police #violence_sexuelle #masculinité #acab #justice

  • Emmaüs secoué par des accusations de violences et d’agressions sexuelles dans les Yvelines
    Une affaire qui ne fera pas beaucoup de bruit médiatique car les victimes ne sont pas célèbres.

    Des coups, des brimades, mais aussi des mains baladeuses ou des baisers forcés. Voilà, comme l’indique le site Mediapart ce jeudi, ce qui est reproché à Jacquy Conderolle, l’un des responsables de la communauté Emmaüs de Bougival, de Chatou et de Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine).

    Ces révélations font suite à deux plaintes émanant d’anciens compagnons, qui ont depuis été exclus de la communauté. Tous deux dénoncent le traitement que leur aurait infligé le responsable ces derniers mois. Le premier, un homme d’une trentaine d’années d’origine malienne, évoque des brutalités à son encontre et dit avoir été embrassé sur la bouche sans son consentement. Contactée, son avocate ne souhaitait pas s’exprimer dans l’immédiat.
    Une première plainte déposée l’été dernier

    Les faits dont il accuse Jacquy Conderolle se seraient déroulés dans les locaux de Chatou où sont accueillis en permanence une trentaine de compagnons. L’homme avait été admis à l’antenne en avril 2018 et sa plainte, portant uniquement sur des violences physiques, a été enregistrée le 27 juillet dernier.

    Elle est agrémentée d’un courrier envoyé au parquet de Versailles au mois de novembre évoquant des agressions sexuelles. Soit en même temps que le deuxième dépôt de plainte, effectué par un autre ancien compagnon de 35 ans. Lequel dit lui aussi avoir été victime des agissements de Jacquy Conderolle entre 2014 et 2018. L’homme parle de caresses sur la cuisse et de baisers.

    Joint hier, le parquet de Versailles confirme qu’une enquête a été menée après le dépôt de la première plainte. Le dossier est toujours en cours de traitement par les services du procureur. Reçue fin novembre, la seconde plainte est actuellement étudiée par les policiers du commissariat de Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
    Une enquête interne a été menée

    Alain Capmas, le président de la communauté de Bougival, le seul supérieur hiérarchique de Jacquy Conderolle, dit de son côté avoir mené une enquête interne avec sa vice-présidente. « On a parlé avec Jacquy droit dans les yeux, assure-t-il. On a aussi rencontré les autres responsables et les compagnons ». Résultat, le président dit n’avoir rien à reprocher à celui qu’il connaît « depuis plus de vingt ans ». Son enquête aurait en revanche permis « de démontrer que ces compagnons présentaient des problèmes de comportement et d’intégration ». Ils auraient été exclus de la communauté « à la demande du groupe qui souhaitait des mesures ».

    Alain Capmas dit surtout avoir entendu parler « d’une rumeur » qui aurait pu motiver ces dépôts de plainte : « Il se disait à un moment qu’il était plus facile d’obtenir des papiers si on démontrait qu’on avait été maltraité ». Selon lui, les accusateurs de Jacquy Conderolle auraient ainsi tenté de « saisir leur chance ».

    #violence_sexuelle #agression_sexuelle

  • Violences, femmes et handicap - petit guide pour agir

    Face au sujet de violence sexualisée contre une jeune fille autiste j’aimerais partager les informations potentiellement utiles pour d’autres personnes face à un cas pareil.

    Brochure d’explication

    Cet outil a été pensé pour des personnes présentant des troubles de la communication sociale. Il s’adresse cependant à tout public. Composé de pictogrammes, il comporte des informations simplifiées pour une facilité de compréhension. Une notice d’utilisation de la brochure suggère des parcours éducatifs et des pistes de travail à destination des familles et des professionne.le.s car l’éducation à la vie affective et sexuelle est le premier moyen de prévenir les agressions et les violences sexuelles.

    –-> https://femmesautistesfrancophones.com/2019/03/02/mon-corps-moi-et-les-autres-prevention-des-violences-sex

    Numéros d’urgence/conseil

    Le 3919 - Violences Femmes Info

    Numéro d’écoute national destiné aux femmes victimes de violences, à leur entourage et aux professionnels concernés. Appel anonyme et gratuit 7 jours sur 7, de 9h à 22h du lundi au vendredi et de 9h à 18h les samedi, dimanche et jours fériés.

    –-> http://www.solidaritefemmes.org/appeler-le-3919

    –-> seulement disponible depuis le territoire francais ; l’équivalent allemand :

    Das Hilfetelefon – Beratung und Hilfe für Frauen

    Herzlich willkommen! Das Hilfetelefon „Gewalt gegen Frauen“ ist ein bundesweites Beratungsangebot für Frauen, die Gewalt erlebt haben oder noch erleben. Unter der Nummer 08000 116 016 und via Online-Beratung unterstützen wir Betroffene aller Nationalitäten, mit und ohne Behinderung – 365 Tage im Jahr, rund um die Uhr. Auch Angehörige, Freundinnen und Freunde sowie Fachkräfte beraten wir anonym und kostenfrei.


    –-> Donc si vous n’êtes plus dans le pays dont s’est deroulée la violence et vous ne pouvez pas appeller le numéro d’urgence national c’est une possibilité d’appeller un numéro d’urgence de votre pays de résidence (les numéros d’urgence sont souvent limités au territoire national).

    01 40 47 06 06 - FDFA

    « Femmes pour le Dire, Femmes pour Agir ».

    Cette association réunit en priorité des femmes en situation de handicap, quelle que soit leur singularité, mais aussi des hommes en situation de handicap et des femmes et des hommes valides partageant les mêmes objectifs.

    Le but de notre association est de lutter contre la double discrimination qu’entraîne le fait d’être femme et handicapée.
    Nous voulons crier haut et fort que nous sommes des femmes et des citoyennes avant d’être « handicapées ».

    Vous allez trouver dans ces pages le panorama de nos activités ; des nouvelles des droits des femmes ; des documents-ressources pour stimuler notre réflexion et notre action…
    Soyez les bienvenu.es !

    –-> http://fdfa.fr/association

    Loi francaise/déclaration à la police

    Information de l’association AFFA

    Nous vous rappelons que si vous êtes témoins, c’est votre devoir de citoyen de dénoncer les faits. La non dénonciation d’un crime est punie par la loi Article 434-3 du code pénal
    « Le fait, pour quiconque ayant connaissance de privations, de mauvais traitements ou d’agressions ou atteintes sexuelles infligés à un mineur ou à une personne qui n’est pas en mesure de se protéger en raison de son âge, d’une maladie, d’une infirmité, d’une déficience physique ou psychique ou d’un état de grossesse, de ne pas en informer les autorités judiciaires ou administratives ou de continuer à ne pas informer ces autorités tant que ces infractions n’ont pas cessé est puni de trois ans d’emprisonnement et de 45 000 euros d’amende. »

    Voici un lien pour vous aider dans votre démarche.

    –-> https://femmesautistesfrancophones.com

    –-> Attention, les lois différent énormément selon les pays, donc aussi les conseils du personnel qui repond aux numéros d’urgence.

    Réflexion personnelle/conseils/idées pour personnes qui essaient d’agir
    – Aussi la confrontation indirecte avec la violence sexualisée est lourde, prenez soin de vous, partagez les sentiments, réfléchissez ensemble avec d’autres personnes, demandez des conseils aux professionel.les (les numéros d’urgence sont aussi là pour les témoins, la famille, les ami.es).
    – N’agissez pas contre la volonté de la victime (même si la loi francaise cela rend très difficile dans certaines cas ; en fait le contraire de la loi allemande - mais quelle loi est plus utile ? Une « personne qui n’est pas en mesure de se protéger en raison de son âge, d’une maladie, d’une infirmité, d’une déficience physique ou psychique ou d’un état de grossesse », a-t-elle ne plus le droit à sa volonté en France ? Mais donc en Allemagne, sont les profils mentionnés capable de juger leur situation ? ... ).
    – Réfléchissez à votre motivation d’aider et serez conscientes que tout effort n’a pas toujours d’impact.
    – Pour finir une chanson d’ESTELLE MEYER Pour Toutes Mes Soeurs :


    #violence #violence_sexuelle #violence_sexualisée #handicap #femmes #autisme #brochure #numéro_d'urgence #AFFA #FDFA #loi #police #témoin #France #Allemagne #agir

  • 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.


    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).

    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.


    #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 #High-Altitude_Pseudo-Satellites (#HAPS)

    Pour télécharger le #rapport :


    déjà signalé par @odilon ici :
    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).

      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.


    • 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.

      #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.


      Pour télécharger le rapport_

      #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.

      #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).

      #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


    • 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.”


      En français:
      À Calais, la ville s’emmure

    • 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.


      #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.


      pour télécharger le rapport :

      #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

    • Fortress Europe: the millions spent on military-grade tech to deter refugees

      We map out the rising number of #high-tech surveillance and deterrent systems facing asylum seekers along EU borders.

      From military-grade drones to sensor systems and experimental technology, the EU and its members have spent hundreds of millions of euros over the past decade on technologies to track down and keep at bay the refugees on its borders.

      Poland’s border with Belarus is becoming the latest frontline for this technology, with the country approving last month a €350m (£300m) wall with advanced cameras and motion sensors.

      The Guardian has mapped out the result of the EU’s investment: a digital wall on the harsh sea, forest and mountain frontiers, and a technological playground for military and tech companies repurposing products for new markets.

      The EU is central to the push towards using technology on its borders, whether it has been bought by the EU’s border force, Frontex, or financed for member states through EU sources, such as its internal security fund or Horizon 2020, a project to drive innovation.

      In 2018, the EU predicted that the European security market would grow to €128bn (£108bn) by 2020. Beneficiaries are arms and tech companies who heavily courted the EU, raising the concerns of campaigners and MEPs.

      “In effect, none of this stops people from crossing; having drones or helicopters doesn’t stop people from crossing, you just see people taking more risky ways,” says Jack Sapoch, formerly with Border Violence Monitoring Network. “This is a history that’s so long, as security increases on one section of the border, movement continues in another section.”

      Petra Molnar, who runs the migration and technology monitor at Refugee Law Lab, says the EU’s reliance on these companies to develop “hare-brained ideas” into tech for use on its borders is inappropriate.

      “They rely on the private sector to create these toys for them. But there’s very little regulation,” she says. “Some sort of tech bro is having a field day with this.”

      “For me, what’s really sad is that it’s almost a done deal that all this money is being spent on camps, enclosures, surveillance, drones.”

      Air Surveillance

      Refugees and migrants trying to enter the EU by land or sea are watched from the air. Border officers use drones and helicopters in the Balkans, while Greece has airships on its border with Turkey. The most expensive tool is the long-endurance Heron drone operating over the Mediterranean.

      Frontex awarded a €100m (£91m) contract last year for the Heron and Hermes drones made by two Israeli arms companies, both of which had been used by the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip. Capable of flying for more than 30 hours and at heights of 10,000 metres (30,000 feet), the drones beam almost real-time feeds back to Frontex’s HQ in Warsaw.

      Missions mostly start from Malta, focusing on the Libyan search and rescue zone – where the Libyan coastguard will perform “pull backs” when informed by EU forces of boats trying to cross the Mediterranean.

      German MEP Özlem Demirel is campaigning against the EU’s use of drones and links to arms companies, which she says has turned migration into a security issue.

      “The arms industries are saying: ‘This is a security problem, so buy my weapons, buy my drones, buy my surveillance system,’” says Demirel.

      “The EU is always talking about values like human rights, [speaking out] against violations but … week-by-week we see more people dying and we have to question if the EU is breaking its values,” she says.

      Sensors and cameras

      EU air assets are accompanied on the ground by sensors and specialised cameras that border authorities throughout Europe use to spot movement and find people in hiding. They include mobile radars and thermal cameras mounted on vehicles, as well as heartbeat detectors and CO2 monitors used to detect signs of people concealed inside vehicles.

      Greece deploys thermal cameras and sensors along its land border with Turkey, monitoring the feeds from operations centres, such as in Nea Vyssa, near the meeting of the Greek, Turkish and Bulgarian borders. Along the same stretch, in June, Greece deployed a vehicle-mounted sound cannon that blasts “deafening” bursts of up to 162 decibels to force people to turn back.

      Poland is hoping to emulate Greece in response to the crisis on its border with Belarus. In October, its parliament approved a €350m wall that will stretch along half the border and reach up to 5.5 metres (18 feet), equipped with motion detectors and thermal cameras.

      Surveillance centres

      In September, Greece opened a refugee camp on the island of Samos that has been described as prison-like. The €38m (£32m) facility for 3,000 asylum seekers has military-grade fencing and #CCTV to track people’s movements. Access is controlled by fingerprint, turnstiles and X-rays. A private security company and 50 uniformed officers monitor the camp. It is the first of five that Greece has planned; two more opened in November.


      At the same time, Greece opened a new surveillance centre on Samos, capable of viewing video feeds from the country’s 35 refugee camps from a wall of monitors. Greece says the “smart” software helps to alert camps of emergencies.

      Artificial intelligence

      The EU spent €4.5m (£3.8m) on a three-year trial of artificial intelligence-powered lie detectors in Greece, Hungary and Latvia. A machine scans refugees and migrants’ facial expressions as they answer questions it poses, deciding whether they have lied and passing the information on to a border officer.

      The last trial finished in late 2019 and was hailed as a success by the EU but academics have called it pseudoscience, arguing that the “micro-expressions” the software analyses cannot be reliably used to judge whether someone is lying. The software is the subject of a court case taken by MEP Patrick Breyer to the European court of justice in Luxembourg, arguing that there should be more public scrutiny of such technology. A decision is expected on 15 December.


  • Analyse de la situation des réfugiées. Analyse de la situation des #femmes et des #filles relevant du domaine de l’asile dans les #centres_fédéraux pour requérants d’asile et les centres d’hébergement collectif cantonaux. Rapport du Conseil fédéral,en réponse au postulat 16.3407, Feri, du 9 juin 2016


    #Rapport #asile #migrations #réfugiés #réfugiées #femmes_réfugiées #Suisse #centre_fédéral #victimes #hébergement #CFA #violences_sexuelles #violence_sexuelle #exploitation_sexuelle #centres_d'hébergement_collectifs

    Le postulat :

    Les réfugiées sont particulièrement exposées à la violence et à l’exploitation sexuelles, non seulement dans les zones de guerre qu’elles fuient, mais également pendant leur fuite et même dans le pays dans lequel elles demandent l’asile. Cette situation nous amène à reconsidérer deux pans de notre politique :

    1. La question se pose de savoir dans quelle mesure l’encadrement, le traitement et le soutien que la Suisse offre aux réfugiées victimes de violence et d’exploitation sexuelles remplissent leur fonction. En parallèle se pose également la question de savoir s’il ne serait pas judicieux que ces victimes puissent compter sur le soutien des organes d’aide aux victimes. Ce soutien ne leur est pas garanti à l’heure actuelle. En effet, l’article 3 de la loi sur l’aide aux victimes prévoit qu’il n’est accordé que lorsque l’infraction a été commise en Suisse.

    2. La question se pose de savoir si un besoin d’action existe aussi dans le cadre de l’hébergement des femmes et des filles requérantes d’asile, si ces dernières sont suffisamment encadrées et si elles bénéficient d’une protection suffisante contre le harcèlement. Par ailleurs, la question se pose de savoir s’il existe suffisamment de directives de qualité et de mesures sensibles au genre concernant l’hébergement des femmes et des filles requérantes d’asile, comme les dortoirs séparés pour les femmes seules et les familles ou la formation du personnel encadrant.

    Face à tant d’incertitudes, je demande au Conseil fédéral de rédiger un rapport dans lequel il analysera la situation d’encadrement actuelle des réfugiées et déterminera s’il y a lieu d’agir.


    • Sécurité des femmes dans le domaine de l’asile : le Conseil fédéral adopte des mesures décevantes

      Les femmes et les jeune-filles qui déposent une demande d’asile en Suisse ont souvent été victimes de violence ou d’exploitation sexuelle dans leur pays d’origine ou durant leurs parcours migratoires. Elles sont aussi souvent des cibles idéales dans les centres fédéraux ou les centres cantonaux et subissent régulièrement des actes de violence.

      Sur les cinq dernières années la proportion des requérantes d’asile nouvellement arrivées en Suisse représente en moyenne 30% du nombre total des demandes d’asile. Parmi elles se trouvent une majorité de femmes érythréennes, syriennes, afghanes, somaliennes, turques, irakiennes ou encore iraniennes. Souvent elles n’osent pas parler de leurs traumatismes ou encore reçoivent les mauvais soins. Certaines n’osent pas aller se doucher de peur de croiser certains hommes au passage, d’autres ne ferment pas l’oeil car elles ne peuvent verrouiller leur porte. Et si elles osent communiquer un problème grave elles n’ont personne pour traduire.

      Les témoignages de femmes, accessibles sur le site de l’organisation TERRE DES FEMMES Suisse et les informations révélées dans l’excellent rapport du Centre suisse de compétence pour les droits humains (CSDH) sur la situation dans les cantons, font froid dans le dos.

      Enquête sur la sécurité des femmes et des filles dans le domaine de l’asile

      Il y a quelques jours, le Conseil fédéral adoptait un rapport important en réponse au postulat Feri (16.3407) soumis en juin 2016 et qui avait pour objectif de déterminer quelles améliorations devaient être apportées à l’hébergement et à l’encadrement des femmes et des filles requérantes d’asile en Suisse.

      Il se base sur le rapport plus détaillé du Secrétariat d’État aux migrations (SEM), publié en septembre 2019 et élaboré avec la collaboration de représentants du SEM, de l’Office fédéral de la santé publique (OFSP), de la Conférence des directrices et directeurs cantonaux des affaires sociales (CDAS) et de plusieurs organisations qui ont fait partie du “groupe de suivi”.

      Le Centre suisse de compétence pour les droits humains (CSDH) a eu pour mission titanesque d’analyser la situation dans les cantons à la demande des cantons (CDAS). Son rapport séparé sur la situation des femmes hébergées dans plusieurs cantons est une mine d’information sur la pratique des autorités cantonales. Les autres organisations, le Centre d’assistance aux migrantes et aux victimes de la traite des femmes (FIZ), l’Organisation suisse d’aide aux réfugiés (OSAR), TERRE DES FEMMES Suisse et le Haut Commissariat des Nations-unies pour les réfugiés (HCR) se sont penchés sur tous les aspects de protection et d’assistance aux femmes et aux filles dans le domaine de l’asile y compris celles victimes de violence. Constituant le “groupe de suivi” qui a accompagné l’élaboration du rapport du SEM ces organisations se sont concentrées sur la situation des femmes dans les centres fédéraux (CFA).

      Après deux ans d’enquêtes dans les centre fédéraux et dans les foyers de plusieurs cantons, le SEM propose 18 mesures en précisant que les cantons devront s’aligner autant que possible sur ces dernières.
      Les mesures adoptées par le Conseil fédéral…

      Parmi les changements envisagés, celles qui concernent la sécurité des femmes dans les hébergements fédéraux et cantonaux sont prioritaires. Le SEM est d’avis que les structures d’hébergement doivent mieux tenir compte des différences entre les sexes. Les femmes doivent avoir la possibilité de verrouiller leurs dortoirs, accéder librement et sûrement aux sanitaires dont beaucoup devront être dotés d’éléments pare-vues pour garantir l’intimité. L’accès aux soins médicaux doit mieux prendre en compte les besoins spécifique des femmes et des victimes de violence. Le SEM reconnaît aussi le besoin de mettre en place des formations adaptées pour le personnel en charge de l’administration, de la sécurité et de l’encadrement dans les centres d’hébergement. Un programme de formation est aussi prévu pour les prestataires fournissant des soins médicaux. Comme il n’existe aucune donnée sur le nombre de femmes et de filles victimes de violence, le SEM prévoit de saisir les données sur les incidents de violence ou d’exploitation sexuelles.
      …Sont décevantes !

      Le HCR comme les autres organisations ont salué l’adoption de ces premières mesures tout en recommandant de les étoffer et de les compléter car elles sont jugées trop minimalistes et incomplètes. Ces organisations reprochent aussi le manque de professionnalisme du SEM qui aurait dû mener son enquête autrement. Ce n’était pas au SEM d’évaluer lui-même la situation dans les centres fédéraux. Il aurait fallu confier ce travail à une organisation externe. Pourquoi les requérantes d’asile n’ont pas été interrogées ? Pourquoi ce rapport ne contient aucun chiffre sur les violences subies par les femmes et les filles réfugiées ? Pour l’enquête, les organisations estiment que des mesures destinées à générer des données aurait dû être prises.

      Parmi les mesures recommandées par ces organisations mais passées à la trappe citons l’installation d’espaces non mixtes intérieurs et extérieurs dans les centres, des lieux d’hébergement externes aux centres fédéraux pour les personnes particulièrement vulnérables, la présence continue d’un personnel féminin formé à intervenir en cas de problèmes dans les hébergements, la prise en charge médicale par des doctoresses, un accès permanent à un service d’interprétariat professionnel et enfin l’instauration d’un système de dépistage systématique à l’arrivée dans les centres fédéraux.
      Les femmes à l’aide d’urgence et en détention provisoire doivent aussi bénéficier des mesures d’aide

      Avec les mesures du Conseil fédéral, on est encore bien loin des exigences d’assistance sans discrimination prévue par la Convention d’Istanbul qui est entrée en vigueur pour la Suisse en 2018. Selon ce texte toutes les femmes victimes de violence doivent avoir accès à des services de soutien facilitant leur rétablissement. Pourtant notre Loi fédérale sur l’aide aux victimes d’infractions (LAVI) conditionne les mesures d’assistances au lieu de l’infraction ou de résidence de la victime au moment des faits, à savoir la Suisse. Ainsi les violences subies par les femmes et les filles pendant leur fuite ou dans leur pays d’origine ne donnent pas droit à une prise en charge.

      Pour l’instant, le Conseil fédéral n’envisage pas de modification de la loi mais propose des “solutions pragmatiques” pour les femmes qui ne sont pas couvertes par la loi. Quelles solutions pragmatiques ? Comment les mettre en place dans les centres fédéraux et dans chaque canton ?

      Dans un Appel adressé aujourd’hui au Conseil fédéral et aux cantons, TERRE DES FEMMES Suisse et 108 services spécialisés, organisations, institutions religieuses et partis politiques demandent à la Confédération et aux cantons que des solutions pragmatiques soient mises en place rapidement.

      “Nous demandons qu’il n’y ait plus de discriminations selon le statut. Notre demande est très actuelle puisque le Conseil fédéral a annoncé dans son récent communiqué de presse du 16 octobre que ces solutions pragmatiques devront être trouvées. Nous exigeons l’accès à l’aide pour toutes les victimes de violence, indépendamment du lieu du crime ou de leur statut de résidence.” explique Georgiana Ursprung.

      L’organisation revendique beaucoup d’autres mesures et estime que les femmes réfugiées ne sont pas du tout en sécurité dans le système d’asile. Elle insiste pour que des mesures de protection et d’assistance soient mises en place dans les cantons suisses pour les femmes et les filles à l’aide d’urgence ou celles placées en détention administrative. La pratique de l’expulsion des femmes enceintes jusqu’à la 36e semaine de grossesse est particulièrement grave et doit cesser.
      Le groupe de suivi n’est plus et c’est dommage

      Fallait-il attendre 2019 pour concevoir des accès sécurisés aux toilettes, des verrouillages aux portes, des activités et des pièces réservées aux femmes, des formations spécifiques au personnel encadrant et au personnel de sécurité encore trop rarement féminin ?

      En adoptant ces mesures le Conseil fédéral reconnaît pour la première fois la nécessité d’aider les victimes de violence ou d’exploitation dans leur pays d’origine ou durant leur fuite. Féliciter le Conseil fédéral pour une telle reconnaissance c’est un peu désolant après toutes les informations à disposition des autorités sur les violences subies par les femmes déplacées de force dans le monde.

      Difficile de savoir si la restructuration de l’asile a permis des améliorations pour les femmes dans le domaine de l’asile. Le SEM prétend que oui parce qu’il a pu intégrer certains standards dans son Plan d’hébergement (PLEX) qui est sensé évoluer prochainement. Ce plan n’est pas accessibles au public.

      Pour Eliane Engeler, porte-parole de l’OSAR, « le fait de concentrer tous les intervenants dans les centres fédéraux est une opportunité pour améliorer l’encadrement et la protection des femmes et filles. Mais cela nécessite une bonne collaboration entre tous les acteurs dans les centres, ainsi qu’une étroite collaboration avec des professionnels externes. » Elle estime que c’est encore trop tôt pour le dire.

      Pour conclure, il faut préciser que rien n’oblige le SEM à mettre en oeuvre les mesures adoptées par le Conseil fédéral (sur ses propres recommandations) et le groupe de suivi pour l’élaboration du rapport n’est pas habilité à surveiller la suite des travaux. Il serait donc judicieux que les ONG s’organisent pour suivre les actions du SEM et des autorités cantonales. Enfin, aucun calendrier d’exécution n’est prévu pour l’instant. Seul un “rapport sur l’avancement de la mise en oeuvre des mesures prises au niveau fédéral” devra être soumis au Conseil fédéral dans deux ans. Les termes sont choisis pour ne pas aller trop vite en besogne.

      Heureusement, l’OSAR a bien l’intention de veiller à leur mise en place comme l’explique Eliane Engeler. “ Nous allons suivre les mesures qui seront prises. Le groupe de suivi a été constitué pour l’élaboration du rapport dans le cadre du postulat Feri. Le postulat ne prévoit pas de suivi. Néanmoins nous avons appelé à ce que les lacunes soient comblées au plus vite . Indépendamment du postulat Feri, nous avons élaboré des standards minimaux destinés aux hébergements.”


  • U.S. War_Crimes in #Afghanistan Won’t Be Investigated — The Spark #1080
    https://the-spark.net/np1080601.html #CPI #crime_de_guerre #violence_sexuelle

    In 2017, the prosecutor for the #International_Criminal_Court (#ICC), Fatou Bensouda, asked to open an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan. She said these were carried out by all sides, including the U.S. and the U.S.-backed government.

    She said, “There is reasonable basis to believe that, since May 2003, members of the U.S. armed forces and the #CIA have committed #war_crimes of #torture and #cruel_treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, and rape and other forms of #sexual_violence pursuant to a policy approved by U.S. authorities.” And she submitted more than 20,000 pages of evidence to back up her charges.

    But no surprise – the U.S. blocked this investigation. First, they revoked Bensouda’s visa, effectively kicking her out of the country. Then, in April of this year, the judges at the court rejected her request to investigate. They noted that they have been unable to get the U.S. to cooperate, and said the ICC should “use its resources prioritizing activities that would have a better chance to succeed.”

    Yes, the ICC has a better chance of “success” – but only if its investigations fit the interests of U.S. #imperialism!

  • Aïda et l’éternelle faute des femmes

    C’est un prénom d’emprunt qui pourrait bien devenir un symbole. Rapportée par le Maine libre jeudi, l’histoire d’#Aïda a suscité une vague d’indignation jusqu’au secrétariat d’Etat de l’Egalité entre les femmes et les hommes. Victime de violences conjugales régulières, Aïda, 30 ans aujourd’hui, est paraplégique depuis ce soir d’août 2013, lorsque son mari l’a poussée par la fenêtre du deuxième étage. Ce soir-là, les policiers interviennent au domicile du couple pour une altercation entre le compagnon de la jeune femme et l’un de ses amis. Il est conseillé à Aïda de quitter cet appartement, ce qu’elle fait dans la nuit. Elle alerte le Samu social et quelques amis. En vain. Et il est trop tard pour prendre un train et rallier Alençon où elle a de la famille. Alors, faute de solution d’hébergement, elle retourne chez elle.

    Son compagnon la brutalise et finit par la défenestrer. Il écope pour cela de 15 ans de prison. La cour d’assises fixe en outre la provision pour l’indemnisation de la victime à 90 000 euros. Et c’est là que tout se corse : les avocats de la jeune femme saisissent la Commission d’indemnisation des victimes d’infractions (Civi) pour que l’Etat, via le Fonds de garantie des victimes (FGTI), verse cette provision. Mais l’organisme ne propose qu’une indemnisation partielle, estimant qu’Aïda a commis une faute civile en retournant à son domicile. Les conseils de la jeune femme contestent cette décision et en appellent à la Civi. Même réponse : arguant d’un partage de responsabilité, elle propose 67 500 euros en février dernier. Un appel sera examiné en mai. L’outrage ne réside pas tant dans la somme (intégralement réglée à Aïda) que dans l’argumentaire avancé. Interpellé sur Twitter, le fonds de garantie a souligné que « la loi prévoit que la victime qui contribue, par sa faute, à son dommage peut voir son droit à l’indemnisation réduit ». « Par sa faute » ? Cette position n’est pas sans rappeler une question absurde sans cesse renvoyée aux victimes : pourquoi ne pas quitter ce bourreau ? La poser, c’est d’abord faire abstraction des mécanismes à l’œuvre dans l’immense majorité des cas de violences conjugales : emprise psychologique, isolement, perte de confiance en soi, honte…

    C’est surtout culpabiliser une fois de plus la victime d’un processus de domination sexiste profondément ancré qui conduit à banaliser bien des violences dont les femmes sont la cible première. Combien de victimes de viol se voient questionner sur leur attitude ou leur tenue vestimentaire ? En mars 2016, un sondage réalisé par l’Ipsos pour l’association Mémoire traumatique et victimologie montrait qu’il se trouve encore 27 % des Français pour juger qu’une femme victime de viol est en partie responsable de ce qui lui arrive si elle a flirté, s’est montrée séductrice ou a accepté de se rendre chez un inconnu. Depuis, certes, il y a eu #MeToo. Mais le cas d’Aïda prouve que la honte n’a pas forcément changé de camp.

    #femmes #viol #viols #responsabilité #culpabilisation #domination #violence_sexuelle #sexisme #domination_masculine #tenue_vestimentaire #habits

  • “You Cry at Night but Don’t Know Why”. Sexual Violence against Women in North Korea

    Oh Jung Hee is a former trader in her forties from Ryanggang province. She sold clothes to market stalls in Hyesan city and was involved in the distribution of textiles in her province. She said that up until she left the country in 2014, guards would regularly pass by the market to demand bribes, sometimes in the form of coerced sexual acts or intercourse. She told Human Rights Watch:

    I was a victim many times … On the days they felt like it, market guards or police officials could ask me to follow them to an empty room outside the market, or some other place they’d pick. What can we do? They consider us [sex] toys … We [women] are at the mercy of men. Now, women cannot survive without having men with power near them.

    She said she had no power to resist or report these abuses. She said it never occurred to her that anything could be done to stop these assaults except trying to avoid such situations by moving away or being quiet in order to not be noticed.

    Park Young Hee, a former farmer in her forties also from Ryanggang province who left North Korea for the second time in 2011, was forced back to North Korea from China in the spring of 2010 after her first attempt to flee. She said, after being released by the secret police (bowiseong) and put under the jurisdiction of the police, the officer in charge of questioning her in the police pre-trial detention facility (kuryujang) near Musan city in North Hamgyong province touched her body underneath her clothes and penetrated her several times with his fingers. She said he asked her repeatedly about the sexual relations she had with the Chinese man to whom she had been sold to while in China. She told Human Rights Watch:

    My life was in his hands, so I did everything he wanted and told him everything he asked. How could I do anything else? … Everything we do in North Korea can be considered illegal, so everything can depend on the perception or attitude of who is looking into your life.

    Park Young Hee said she never told anybody about the abuse because she did not think it was unusual, and because she feared the authorities and did not believe anyone would help.

    The experiences of Oh Jung Hee and Park Young Hee are not isolated ones. While sexual and gender-based violence is of concern everywhere, growing evidence suggests it is endemic in North Korea.

    This report–based largely on interviews with 54 North Koreans who left the country after 2011, when the current leader, Kim Jong Un, rose to power, and 8 former North Korean officials who fled the country–focuses on sexual abuse by men in official positions of power. The perpetrators include high-ranking party officials, prison and detention facility guards and interrogators, police and secret police officials, prosecutors, and soldiers. At the time of the assaults, most of the victims were in the custody of authorities or were market traders who came across guards and other officials as they traveled to earn their livelihood.

    Interviewees told us that when a guard or police officer “picks” a woman, she has no choice but to comply with any demands he makes, whether for sex, money, or other favors. Women in custody have little choice should they attempt to refuse or complain afterward, and risk sexual violence, longer periods in detention, beatings, forced labor, or increased scrutiny while conducting market activities.

    Women not in custody risk losing their main source of income and jeopardizing their family’s survival, confiscation of goods and money, and increased scrutiny or punishment, including being sent to labor training facilities (rodong danryeondae) or ordinary-crimes prison camps (kyohwaso, literally reform through labor centers) for being involved in market activities. Other negative impacts include possibly losing access to prime trading locations, being fired or overlooked for jobs, being deprived of means of transportation or business opportunities, being deemed politically disloyal, being relocated to a remote area, and facing more physical or sexual violence.

    The North Koreans we spoke with told us that unwanted sexual contact and violence is so common that it has come to be accepted as part of ordinary life: sexual abuse by officials, and the impunity they enjoy, is linked to larger patterns of sexual abuse and impunity in the country. The precise number of women and girls who experience sexual violence in North Korea, however, is unknown. Survivors rarely report cases, and the North Korean government rarely publishes data on any aspect of life in the country.

    Our research, of necessity conducted among North Koreans who fled, does not provide a generalized sample from which to draw definitive conclusions about the prevalence of sexual abuse by officials. The diversity in age, geographic location, social class, and personal backgrounds of the survivors, combined with many consistencies in how they described their experiences, however, suggest that the patterns of sexual violence identified here are common across North Korea. Our findings also mirror those of other inquiries that have tried to discern the situation in this sealed-off authoritarian country.

    A 2014 United Nations Commission of Inquiry (UN COI) on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) concluded that systematic, widespread, and gross human rights violations committed by the North Korean government constituted crimes against humanity. These included forced abortion, rape, and other sexual violence, as well as murder, imprisonment, enslavement, and torture on North Koreans in prison or detention. The UN COI stated that witnesses revealed that while “domestic violence is rife within DPRK society … violence against women is not limited to the home, and that it is common to see women being beaten and sexually assaulted in public.”

    The Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU), a South Korean government think tank that specializes in research on North Korea, conducted a survey with 1,125 North Koreans (31.29 percent men and 68.71 percent women) who re-settled in South Korea between 2010 and 2014. The survey found that 37.7 percent of the respondents said sexual harassment and rape of inmates at detention facilities was “common,” including 15.9 percent that considered it “very common.” Thirty-three women said they were raped at detention and prison facilities, 51 said they witnessed rapes in such facilities, and 25 said they heard of such cases. The assailants identified by the respondents were police agents–45.6 percent; guards–17.7 percent; secret police (bowiseong) agents –13.9 percent; and fellow detainees–1.3 percent. The 2014 KINU survey found 48.6 percent of the respondents said that rape and sexual harassment against women in North Korea was “common.”

    The North Koreans we spoke with stressed that women are socialized to feel powerless to demand accountability for sexual abuse and violence, and to feel ashamed when they are victims of abuse. They said the lack of rule of law and corresponding support systems for survivors leads most victims to remain silent–not seek justice and often not even talk about their experiences.

    While most of our interviewees left North Korea between2011 and 2016, and many of the abuses date from a year or more before their departure, all available evidence suggests that the abuses and near-total impunity enjoyed by perpetrators continue to the present.

    In July 2017, the North Korean government told the UN committee that monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) that just nine people in all of North Korea were convicted of rape in 2008, seven in 2011, and five in 2015. The government said that the numbers of male perpetrators convicted for the crime of forcing a woman who is his subordinate to have sexual intercourse was five in 2008, six in 2011, and three in 2015. While North Korean officials seem to think such ridiculously low numbers show the country to be a violence-free paradise, the numbers are a powerful indictment of their utter failure to address sexual violence in the country.

    Sexual Abuse in Prisons and Detention Facilities

    Human Rights Watch interviewed eight former detainees or prisoners who said they experienced a combination of verbal and sexual violence, harsh questioning, and humiliating treatment by investigators, detention facility personnel, or prison guards that belong to the police or the secret police (bowiseong).

    Six interviewees had experienced sexual, verbal, and physical abuse in pre-trial detention and interrogation facilities (kuryujang)–jails designed to hold detainees during their initial interrogations, run by the MSS or the police. They said secret police or police agents in charge of their personal interrogation touched their faces and their bodies, including their breasts and hips, either through their clothes or by putting their hands inside their clothes.

    Human Rights Watch also documented cases of two women who were sexually abused at a temporary holding facility (jipkyulso) while detainees were being transferred from interrogation facilities (kuryujang) to detention facilities in the detainees’ home districts.

    Sexual Abuse of Women Engaged in Trade

    Human Rights Watch interviewed four women traders who experienced sexual violence, including rape, assault, and sexual harassment, as well as verbal abuse and intimidation, by market gate-keeper officials. We also interviewed 17 women who were sexually abused or experienced unwanted sexual advances by police or other officials as they traveled for their work as traders. Although seeking income outside the command economy was illegal, women started working as traders during the mass famine of the 1990s as survival imperatives led many to ignore the strictures of North Korea’s command economy. Since many married women were not obliged to attend a government-established workplace, they became traders and soon the main breadwinners for their families. But pursuing income in public exposed them to violence.

    Traders and former government officials told us that in North Korea traders are often compelled to pay bribes to officials and market regulators, but for women the “bribes” often include sexual abuse and violence, including rape. Perpetrators of abuses against women traders include high-ranking party officials, managers at state-owned enterprises, and gate-keeper officials at the markets and on roads and check-points, such as police, bowiseong agents, prosecutors, soldiers, and railroad inspectors on trains.

    Women who had worked as traders described unwanted physical contact that included indiscriminately touching their bodies, grabbing their breasts and hips, trying to touch them underneath their skirts or pants, poking their cheeks, pulling their hair, or holding their bodies in their arms. The physical harassment was often accompanied by verbal abuse and intimidation. Women also said it was common for women to try to help protect each other by sharing information about such things, such as which house to avoid because it is rumored that the owner is a rapist or a child molester, which roads not to walk on alone at night, or which local high-ranking official most recently sexually preyed upon women.

    Our research confirms a trend already identified in the UN COI report:

    Officials are not only increasingly engaging in corruption in order to support their low or non-existent salaries, they are also exacting penalties and punishment in the form of sexual abuse and violence as there is no fear of punishment. As more women assume the responsibility for feeding their families due to the dire economic and food situation, more women are traversing through and lingering in public spaces, selling and transporting their goods.

    The UN COI further found “the male dominated state, agents who police the marketplace, inspectors on trains, and soldiers are increasingly committing acts of sexual assault on women in public spaces” and “received reports of train guards frisking women and abusing young girls onboard.” This was described as “the male dominated state preying on the increasingly female-dominated market.”

    Almost all of the women interviewed by Human Rights Watch with trading experience said the only way not to fall prey to extortion or sexual harassment while conducting market activities was to give up hopes of expanding one’s business and barely scrape by, be born to a powerful father with money and connections, marry a man with power, or become close to one.

    Lack of Remedies

    Only one of the survivors of sexual violence Human Rights Watch interviewed for this report said she had tried to report the sexual assault. The other women said they did not report it because they did not trust the police and did not believe police would be willing to take action. The women said the police do not consider sexual violence a serious crime and that it is almost inconceivable to even consider going to the police to report sexual abuse because of the possible repercussions. Family members or close friends who knew about their experience also cautioned women against going to the authorities.

    Eight former government officials, including a former police officer, told Human Rights Watch that cases of sexual abuse or assault are reported to police only when there are witnesses and, even then, the reports invariably are made by third parties and not by the women themselves. Only seven of the North Korean women and men interviewed by Human Rights Watch were aware of cases in which police had investigated sexual violence and in all such cases the victims had been severely injured or killed.

    All of the North Koreans who spoke to Human Rights Watch said the North Korean government does not provide any type of psycho-social support services for survivors of sexual violence and their families. To make matters worse, they said, the use of psychological or psychiatric services itself is highly stigmatized.

    Two former North Korean doctors and a nurse who left after 2010 said there are no protocols for medical treatment and examination of victims of sexual violence to provide therapeutic care or secure medical evidence. They said there are no training programs for medical practitioners on sexual assault and said they never saw a rape victim go to the hospital to receive treatment.

    Discrimination Against Women

    Sex discrimination and subordination of women are pervasive in North Korean. Everyone in North Korea is subjected to a socio-political classification system, known as songbun, that grouped people from its creation into “loyal,” “wavering,” or “hostile” classes. But a woman’s classification also depends, in critical respects, on that of her male relatives, specifically her father and her father’s male relations and, upon marriage, that of her husband and his male relations. A woman’s position in society is lower than a man’s, and her reputation depends largely on maintaining an image of “sexual purity” and obeying the men in her family.

    The government is dominated by men. According to statistics provided by the DPRK government to the UN, as of 2016 women made up just 20.2 percent of the deputies selected, 16.1 percent of divisional directors in government bodies, 11.9 percent of judges and lawyers, 4.9 percent of diplomats, and 16.5 per cent of the officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    On paper, the DPRK says that it is committed to gender equality and women and girl’s rights. The Criminal Code criminalizes rape of women, trafficking in persons, having sexual relations with women in a subordinate position, and child sexual abuse. The 2010 Law on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Women bans domestic violence. North Korea has also ratified five international human rights treaties, including ones that address women and girl’s rights and equality, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and CEDAW.

    During a meeting of a North Korean delegation with the CEDAW Committee, which reviewed North Korean compliance between 2002 and 2015, government officials argued all of the elements of CEDAW had been included in DPRK’s domestic laws. However, under questioning by the committee, the officials were unable to provide the definition of “discrimination against women” employed by the DPRK.

    Park Kwang Ho, Councilor of the Central Court in the DPRK, stated that if a woman in a subordinate position was forced to engage in sexual relations for fear of losing her job or in exchange for preferential treatment, it was her choice as to whether or not she complied. Therefore, he argued, in such a situation the punishment for the perpetrator should be lighter. He later amended his statement to say that if she did not consent to having sexual relations, and was forced to do so, the perpetrator was committing rape and would be punished accordingly.

    #abus_sexuels #violence_sexuelle #viols #Corée_du_nord #femmes #rapport

  • Du #sexisme_ordinaire aux #violences_sexuelles : repérer pour agir. Guide à l’intention des professionnel-le-s

    « Du sexisme ordinaire aux violences sexuelles : repérer pour agir » est un guide de #prévention destiné à lutter contre la propagation de #stéréotypes sexistes et à prévenir ainsi les actes de #violence qui peuvent en découler. Il est le fruit d’une collaboration de l’Etat et des associations actives auprès de jeunes. Ce guide est destiné aux professionnel-le-s qui encadrent les enfants et les jeunes.

    #guide #manuel #violence_sexuelle

    Pour télécharger le guide :

  • Iqaluit mayor faces backlash after calling out some male #Inuit leaders as sexual predators

    #Madeleine_Redfern spoke at federal committee on the Status of Women meeting in September.

    Sexual harassment in the workplace remains a challenge for women in Nunavut, according to Iqaluit Mayor Madeleine Redfern.

    She was asked to present to the House of Commons’ Status of Women committee about barriers for women in politics at a Sept. 26 meeting in Ottawa.

    “When our Inuit male leaders travel with their female staff, they think it’s a benefit and a perk that they can actually sexually harass, sexually assault or have relationships with women on the road,” Redfern told the committee.

    The mayor said she has received backlash for her comments, so she tweeted out a clarification email, sent to the committee, ensuring it was understood that she meant some, not all, Inuit male leaders.

    “Of course, I know that not all our Inuit leaders are sexual predators. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would naturally presume that I meant all,” Redfern told CBC News.

    The backlash included messages calling for her to be investigated, she said.

    “I don’t even name names and I get attacked, viciously,” Redfern said. “Death threats because I’ve spoken out.”

    Her post on Facebook received dozens of positive comments, including some from women who said they had similar experiences with male Inuit leaders.

    #peuples_autochtones #viol #violence_sexuelle #prédateurs_sexuels #femmes #hommes

  • The rape of men: the darkest secret of war | Society | The Guardian

    Because there has been so little research into the rape of men during war, it’s not possible to say with any certainty why it happens or even how common it is – although a rare 2010 survey, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that 22% of men and 30% of women in Eastern Congo reported conflict-related sexual violence. As for Atim, she says: “Our staff are overwhelmed by the cases we’ve got, but in terms of actual numbers? This is the tip of the iceberg.”

    Later on I speak with Dr Angella Ntinda, who treats referrals from the RLP. She tells me: “Eight out of 10 patients from RLP will be talking about some sort of sexual abuse.”

    “Eight out of 10 men?” I clarify.

    “No. Men and women,” she says.

    “What about men?”

    “I think all the men.”

    I am aghast.

    “All of them?” I say.

    “Yes,” she says. “All the men.”

    The research by Lara Stemple at the University of California doesn’t only show that male sexual violence is a component of wars all over the world, it also suggests that international aid organisations are failing male victims. Her study cites a review of 4,076 NGOs that have addressed wartime sexual violence. Only 3% of them mentioned the experience of men in their literature. “Typically,” Stemple says, “as a passing reference.”


    Stemple’s findings on the failure of aid agencies is no surprise to Dolan. “The organisations working on sexual and gender-based violence don’t talk about it,” he says. “It’s systematically silenced. If you’re very, very lucky they’ll give it a tangential mention at the end of a report. You might get five seconds of: ’Oh and men can also be the victims of sexual violence.’ But there’s no data, no discussion.”

    As part of an attempt to correct this, the RLP produced a documentary in 2010 called Gender Against Men. When it was screened, Dolan says that attempts were made to stop him. “Were these attempts by people in well-known, international aid agencies?” I ask.

    “Yes,” he replies. “There’s a fear among them that this is a zero-sum game; that there’s a pre-defined cake and if you start talking about men, you’re going to somehow eat a chunk of this cake that’s taken them a long time to bake.”

    #Afrique #Congo #guerre #violence_sexuelle #hommes

  • « Simplement, il faisait des enfants à sa fille »

    « Un inceste ordinaire »1, Léonore Le Caisne enquête auprès des habitants d’un village de Seine-et-Marne, témoins d’un cas d’inceste perpétré pendant vingt-huit ans. Un travail qui interroge les mécanismes collectifs banalisant les viols en famille et met en évidence le lien entre inceste et domination masculine.

    Propos recueillis par Julia Burtin Zortea Illustration de Yasmine Blum Pourquoi avez-vous choisi de réaliser une recherche sur l’inceste, et plus particulièrement à travers l’histoire singulière de Lydia G. ? En France, les sciences sociales ont participé à édifier le lieu commun selon lequel puisque l’inceste serait le tabou ultime et universel des familles, il n’existerait pas, ou alors de façon marginale [voir encadré ci-dessous]. N’existant pas, il ne saurait être un objet d’étude légitime. (...)

    #entretien #Z10

    • L’échelle de gravité des infractions sexuelles est calée sur une conception masculine du crescendo sexuel. Le droit récompense la retenue des hommes, puisqu’il ne retient pas les attouchements comme des viols. Si les gestes sexuels sans pénétration sont passibles d’une sanction moindre parce qu’ils sont considérés comme moins graves, c’est en référence au moindre plaisir qu’ils procurent aux hommes. (…) Dans le même esprit, la sanction imposée par la cour est plus importante quand la victime est un garçon, parce que le viol parait plus dommageable pour un garçon que pour une fillette. (…) Les considérations entourant la rupture éventuelle de l’hymen, incontournables lorsque la victime est une petite fille, s’inscrivent dans une même logique masculiniste. On se rappelle de ce beau-père qui avait fait bien attention à ne pas déflorer ses belles-filles et qui s’était attiré la clémence de la cour pour ce signe de contention.

      #male_gaze #domination_masculine #violophilie #androcentrisme

    • L’histoire de Lydia a été médiatisée en deux temps. D’abord en avril 2007, d’une manière limitée, par la presse locale, le quotidien Libération et l’Agence France-Presse, quand le tribunal correctionnel rend ses premiers jugements. Puis en avril 2008, à la faveur de l’« affaire Fritzl », l’histoire de cet ancien ingénieur autrichien qui, pendant vingt-quatre ans, viola et séquestra sa fille, et lui fit sept enfants. Il a fallu attendre que cette affaire défraie la chronique pour que l’ensemble des médias nationaux s’intéressent à ce qui deviendra l’« affaire G. » ou l’« affaire Fritzl française ». En fait, avant l’« affaire Fritzl », l’histoire de Lydia n’était qu’une banale histoire d’inceste de province dans un milieu populaire où l’inceste serait courant – l’usage du mépris social est aussi une manière d’éloigner l’inceste de soi et d’en faire un non-événement. Ce n’était donc pas une histoire digne d’intérêt pour les journalistes de la presse nationale. Portée par l’« affaire Fritzl », l’« affaire G. » est devenue l’histoire d’un inceste « extraordinaire » avec torture et séquestration, perpétré par un monstre, un inceste qui ne se produit qu’une fois dans un pays. À partir de ce moment-là, l’histoire de Lydia est devenue digne d’intérêt pour la presse nationale. L’inceste banal et quotidien, l’inceste qui se produit souvent dans les familles françaises, lui, n’a pu être dit.

  • HCR | Grèce : situation des femmes et enfants réfugiés

    Le HCR, l’Agence des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés, est très préoccupé par les déclarations de certains demandeurs d’asile dénonçant harcèlement et violences sexuels dans les centres d’accueil situés sur les îles grecques qui ne respectent pas les normes d’accueil requises. Le HCR se félicite toutefois des mesures prises par le gouvernement en vue de […]

  • Caroline De Haas : « Un homme sur deux ou trois est un agresseur »

    Grâce au mouvement #Metoo, il y a enfin une prise de conscience de l’ampleur des violences sexuelles. Aujourd’hui, il est admis qu’une femme sur deux a été victime de viol, d’agression ou de harcèlement. En revanche, ce qui n’imprime pas, c’est la conclusion qu’il faut en tirer. A savoir qu’un homme sur deux ou sur trois est un agresseur.

    C’est aussi mathématique que cela ?

    Nous n’avons pas affaire à un petit groupe de criminels qui se cache dans un coin et qui viole toutes les femmes de France ! Si les victimes sont dans votre famille, dans votre entreprise, dans les partis politiques ou au gouvernement, eh bien, les agresseurs sont exactement aux mêmes endroits. Logique infaillible.

    La suite est sous #paywall
    #violence_sexuelle #domination_masculine

  • #Claire_Potter : Harvey Weinstein et la question des complices

    Moi, j’aimerais savoir ce qu’aurait dit Andrea Dworkin à propos de Harvey Weinstein.

    Cela fait un demi-siècle que #Dworkin – participante controversée à la première génération de féministes radicales à réfléchir aux violences sexuelles – et ses consœurs de la deuxième vague du féminisme ont amorcé la conversation contemporaine à propos de ces violences, et j’ai parfois l’impression que cette conversation piétine. Voyez par exemple le fait que les agressions sexuelles répétées de #Weinstein contre les femmes étaient un secret de polichinelle dans le monde du cinéma, du journalisme et de la politique depuis au moins 30 ans. C’est dire que des centaines de personnes ont conspiré pour dissimuler son comportement de prédateur.

    Oui, conspiré. C’est cette conspiration, ainsi que la façon dont elle a pris fin, qui m’amène à me demander ce que Dworkin elle-même aurait pu écrire dans ce contexte. Féministe souvent rejetée et vilipendée par les féministes libérales, Dworkin comprenait que les collègues et les camarades de travail, les amis et les membres de la famille des prédateurs jouent un rôle clé pour permettre et dissimuler la #violence_sexuelle. Mais elle croyait aussi que le son de la voix des femmes était un puissant antidote contre ce qu’elle reconnaissait comme une forme d’oppression omniprésente.

    Dworkin aurait sans doute trouvé dans l’affaire Weinstein une certaine confirmation de son analyse.

    C’est notamment vrai parce que la conspiration entourant Weinstein s’est effondrée lorsque les femmes se sont mises à parler.

    Traduction : #Tradfem
    Version originale : https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2017/10/20/harvey-weinstein-and-the-problem-of-collaborators

    Claire Potter est professeur d’histoire et rédactrice en chef de la revue Public Seminar à la New School.

    • Il y a ceux qui dissimulent et ceux qui alimentent :

      Harvey Weinstein accusé de «trafic sexuel» à Cannes

      Bob Weinstein et la Weinstein Company sont accusés de négligence et d’avoir « connu le comportement de Harvey Weinstein et facilité » ce qui est décrit comme « une habitude pour Harvey Weinstein de voyager [...] pour solliciter de jeunes actrices avec la promesses de rôles » et les forcer à des relations sexuelles.

      Harvey Weinstein, qui a par ailleurs été forcé à démissionner lundi du syndicat des réalisateurs d’Hollywood après avoir été renvoyé de l’Académie des arts et sciences du cinéma et avoir démissionné du syndicat des producteurs, maintient que toutes ces relations étaient consenties.

      Autour de février 2014, Harvey Weinstein a « approché Kadian à l’hôtel Majestic de Cannes », l’invitant à monter dans sa chambre pour qu’elle lui montre une vidéo de ses performances, selon la plainte déposée lundi.

      Le producteur, après avoir convié la jeune femme jusqu’à sa chambre, aurait appelé un autre responsable de sa société qui aurait demandé à Kadian Noble d’être « gentille et de faire tout ce qu’il demande ». Il s’est ensuite approché d’elle et a empoigné sa poitrine. La plainte affirme que Kadian Noble a résisté avant de se sentir « forcée de se laisser faire ».

      Il l’aurait ensuite entraînée de force dans la salle de bains, puis retenue tout en caressant sa poitrine et ses fesses avant de la forcer à le masturber, détaille la plainte.

      Kadian Noble aurait à la suite de cet incident souffert « de blessures sévères, détresse émotionnelle », angoisse et « incapacité à avoir goût à la vie et à mener une existence normale ».

  • Près d’un quart des Français disent avoir vécu des maltraitances graves dans l’enfance

    Le chiffre sidère tant il est élevé. Selon un sondage effectué en ligne par l’institut Harris Interactive pour l’association L’Enfant bleu, auprès de 1 030 personnes représentatives, publié jeudi 16 novembre, 22 % des Français disent avoir été victimes de diverses formes graves de maltraitance pendant leur enfance. Par ce terme, l’enquête entend « le fait d’avoir été régulièrement victime de coups/menaces/insultes, absence de soins ou d’hygiène ou d’avoir été au moins une fois victime de viol ou d’agression sexuelle ».

    Ce sont les agressions sexuelles qui sont de loin les plus nombreuses, puisque 16 % des sondés disent en avoir subi, contre 8 % des maltraitances psychologiques (menaces, insultes, humiliations), 5 % des maltraitances physiques (coups), et 3 % des négligences (absence de soins, hygiène). Plusieurs formes de maltraitance peuvent avoir lieu en même temps. Parmi les victimes de violences sexuelles, 72 % sont des femmes et 28 % des hommes.

    #enfance #domination_adulte #domination_masculine #violence #violence_sexuelle #viol #culture_du_viol