Italy: United and in Solidarity against the government, racism and the Salvini decree

NATIONAL DEMONSTRATION, on NOVEMBER 10th, in ROME – United and in Solidarity against the government, racism and the Salvini decree

It is time to react, mobilize and unite against the attacks of the government (to which previous minister Minniti has paved the way), against the racist escalation and the Salvini decree that attacks the freedom of all and everyone.

• For the immediate withdrawal of the security and immigration decree passed by the government. NO to the Pillon bill about family.

• Reception, welcome, hospitality and regularization for all immigrants and refugees.

• Solidarity and freedom for Mayor Mimmo Lucano! Hands off from the town of Riace and from NGOs.

• Against social exclusion.

• No to refoulements, expulsions, evictions.

• Against rampant racism, the fascist threat, violence against women, homophobia and any kind of discrimination.
For these reasons we call for a rally, to march in a a peaceful, supportive, plural NATIONAL DEMONSTRATION, on November 10th , in Rome (Italy)

Platform voted by the anti-racist assembly of October 14th in Rome

Communications et informations:…

Week in Review – 28 October 2018

The death toll

IOM:  Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 95,909 in 2018; Deaths Reach 1,969

2018 Migrant Deaths in Western Mediterranean More than Double those Recorded in 2017

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) team estimates that since the beginning of 2018, 547 people are estimated to have died in the Western Mediterranean / Alboran Sea.  This is more than double the 224 deaths documented in all of 2017.  The Andalusian Association for Human Rights has documented the deaths of over 6,000 people on this route since 1997.  Frank Laczko, Director of IOM’s Data Analysis Centre, “noted, ‘the increase in recorded deaths in 2018 is linked to the increase in attempted sea crossings from North Africa to Spain compared with the past five years, as well as the number of fatalities in each shipwreck.’ Of the 547 deaths and disappearances recorded so far in 2018, more than half (289) occurred in seven shipwrecks in which more than 20 people died or were lost at sea. Between 2014 and 2017, two or fewer such incidents were recorded each year.”

Junker: EU North African Disembarkation Camps “No Longer on the Agenda”

Reuters reported that “European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday [in Tunis] that a suggestion that the European Union might try to set up migrant camps in North Africa was no longer on the agenda. …In June, a summit of all EU leaders asked the Commission to study ways to set up ‘regional disembarkation platforms’ in North African countries, including Tunisia, for migrants rescued [i.e. intercepted] by European vessels in the Mediterranean….’This [proposal] is no longer on the agenda and never should have been,’ Juncker told a news conference in Tunis with Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed.”

Somali man returned to Libya under Italian policy sets himself on fire in Libyan detention centre

The Irish Times reported on “a Somali man [who] set himself on fire in a Libyan detention centre on Wednesday…  The man, who is in his late 20s, reportedly doused himself in petrol from a generator in the centre and lit it, after telling friends he had lost hope of being relocated to a safe country. … IOM spokesman Joel Millman said the detainee had set himself on fire as an ‘act of protest’. …This would be the eighth death in Triq al Sikka [detention] centre this year, according to [another] detainee. Tens of thousands of refugees and migrants have been returned to Libya since February 2017, when the country’s UN-backed government entered into a deal with Italy to prevent migration to Europe. Italian politicians have called the deal a success, because it has reduced the number of people arriving on their shores. However, for the men, women and children returned to Libya, the situation is bleak.”

Report that Morocco Exchanged Coast Guard Mediterranean Staff with Atlantic Staff in Effort to Disrupt Cooperation with Smuggling Organisations

The German tabloid Bild reported on a BND (German Federal Intelligence Service) report on smuggling operations in Morocco. The report noted that many African nationals are able to enter Morocco without visas.  And while in 2018, “Morocco claims to have prevented 54000 departures from the country, broken up 74 trafficker networks, confiscated 1900 boats, and brought charges against 230 traffickers …, [a]ccording to information available to the BND [certain smugglers] have connections with collaborators within the national authorities. …

Allegedly, the string pullers even receive information about the coast guards’ patrols for a bribe and can thus avoid them. That is why, this summer, the Moroccan government exchanged the coast guard staff in the Mediterranean with that in the Atlantic.”

Morocco Unleashes a Harsh Crackdown on Sub-Saharan Migrants

The New York Times and Voice of American reported on “a widespread crackdown [on] sub-Saharan migrants in Morocco [who] are facing arbitrary arrest, banishment to remote sections of the country and, lately, outright expulsion… Rights advocates contend that the raids, which government officials acknowledge, began in the summer and were coordinated with Spain and the European Union to stem the tide of migrants to the Continent.”

EU and Moroccan officials agreed last week on a $160 million emergency funding package, making the North African country the third largest recipient of EU funds earmarked for that purpose.  Much of that money will go to stepped up border security, according to Morocco’s chief government spokesman, Mustapha El Khalifi. About $50 million will be spent to secure the sea routes to Spain and the extensive desert borders with Algeria and Mauritania. Morocco says it already has 13,000 security personnel deployed to deal with the growing flow of migrants seeking to reach Spain.”

Statewatch Viewpoint by Yasha Maccanico: Morocco: Wherever EU immigration policy rears its ugly head, violence and abuses follow

Statewatch Viewpoint: “In the summer of 2018, after concerted efforts since 2014 by the EU and its Member States to block off the eastern (Turkey to Greece) and central (Tunisia and Libya to Italy) routes across the Mediterranean used by migrants and refugees to reach Europe, there was an increase in crossings using the western route (Morocco, and sometimes Algeria, to Spain). This was accompanied by an increase in deaths at sea and, in Morocco, extensive police operations to remove black African migrants from the north of the country, based on racial profiling and flagrant breaches of human rights….”

New Book: The Jungle: Calais’s Camps and Migrants (La Jungle de Calais) by Michel Agier

Available in November (en francais):  “For nearly two decades, the area surrounding the French port of Calais has been a temporary staging post for thousands of migrants and refugees hoping to cross the Channel to Britain. It achieved global attention when, at the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, all those living there were transferred to a single camp that became known as ‘the Jungle’. Until its dismantling in October 2016, this precarious site, intended to make its inhabitants as invisible as possible, was instead the focal point of international concern about the plight of migrants and refugees. This new book is the first full account of life inside the Jungle and its relation to the global migration crisis. Anthropologist Michel Agier and his colleagues use the particular circumstances of the Jungle, localized in space and time, to analyse broader changes under way in our societies, both locally and globally.”

Libyan Coast Guard Receives New Italian Patrol Boat and Visegrád Four States Promise EUR 35 million for Reinforcement of Libyan Coast Guard

Libya’s Coast Guard last week received its newest Italian-made patrol boat which according to the Libyan Coast Guard will be used “for patrols, surveillance, and combating illegal and unlicensed activities at sea.”

Last week the Visegrád Four states committed to using “EUR 35 million intended for North Africa for the reinforcement of the Libyan coast guard in order to stop the flow of illegal migration heading for Europe.”

EUBAM Libya and ICMPD sign MOU

A strategic Partnership Memorandum of Understanding between the European Union Border Assistance Mission in Libya (EUBAM) and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) was signed to promote a long-term partnership in support of migration governance and integrated border management actions in Libya.”

Junker: EU North African Disembarkation Camps “No Longer on the Agenda”

Reuters: “European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday that a suggestion that the European Union might try to set up migrant camps in North Africa was no longer on the agenda. …  [T]here has been little appetite in Africa [for the proposal] and EU officials have long questioned the legality and practicality of such camps — a view underlined in Juncker’s blunt reply. ‘This is no longer on the agenda and never should have been,’ Juncker told a news conference in Tunis with Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed.”

Founder members of Y en a Marre , senegalese social movement in Berlin

On the 11th November, KEUR GUI, founder members of Y en a Marre will share they experience of fight at 19h in the K9, kinzigstr 9 10247 Berlin

Y en a Marre is a social movement in Senegal, created by a group of friends in January 2011, since then has become a massive social movement. It aims above all to be popular, Y en a marre is non-partisan and remains equidistant from political parties. In 2012 they made the former president to step down, since then the movement looks for the convergence of Senegalese youth forces, and develops actions which goals is the improve the social environment and create an aware and participatory society. Parallel they bring to the authorities people’s concerns and their priorities.

The role of rappers in the movement is significant since it’s through their lyrics that the message of the youth gets spread and they are engage in doing social work in their communities, like the Sunu Gox, project to empower citizenship and solidarity for a clean environment in the suburbs of Dakar.


Previously on the 2.11 they will give a concert in Maschinehaus

We hope to see you there 🙂

Week in Review – 21 October 2018

The death toll

IOM:  Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 91,093 in 2018; Deaths Reach 1,852

Frontex: Overall migratory flows in September down by a third; no evidence of “shifting” migratory flows

Frontex reported last week that “in the first nine months of 2018, the number of irregular border crossings into the EU via the top four migratory routes fell by a third from a year ago to about 100,100, mainly because of lower migratory pressure on the Central Mediterranean route. In September, some 12,900 irregular crossings were detected on the main migratory routes into the EU, 21% fewer than in the same month of last year.” “For the third consecutive month, the Western Mediterranean migratory route accounted for half of all detections of illegal borders crossings into the EU. The number of migrants reaching Europe via this [Western] route reached nearly 6 500 in September, four times the number from the same month of last year.”

These numbers do not, however, suggest a shifting of the migration movement from the Central and Eastern Mediterranean routes to the Western Mediterranean route: “Nationals of Morocco, Guinea and Mali accounted for the highest number of irregular migrants crossing [the Western Mediterranean] route this year. People from sub-Saharan countries represented more than three-quarters of all detections in the Western Mediterranean.”  “Tunisians and Eritreans were the two most represented nationalities on [the Central Mediterranean] route, together accounting for more than one-third of all the detected migrants there. They were trailed by nationals of Sudan, Pakistan and Nigeria.” ‘The largest number of migrants on [Eastern Mediterranean] route so far this year were nationals of Syria and Iraq, although for the second consecutive month Afghans accounted for the most monthly arrivals.”

“Western Mediterranean- For the third consecutive month, the Western Mediterranean migratory route accounted for half of all detections of illegal borders crossings into the EU. The number of migrants reaching Europe via this route reached nearly 6 500 in September, four times the number from the same month of last year. In the first three quarters of 2018, there were some 35 500 irregular border crossings on the Western Mediterranean route, more than double the figure from the same period a year ago.”

“Eastern Mediterranean- In September, the number of irregular migrants taking the Eastern Mediterranean route stood at some 5 400, 25% less than in September 2017. But mainly because of a significant increase of irregular crossings in recent months on the land border with Turkey, the total number of migrants detected on the Eastern Mediterranean route in the first nine months of the year rose by 40% to around 40 300.”

“Central Mediterranean- The number of migrants arriving in Europe via the Central Mediterranean route in September fell to about 900, down 85% from September 2017. The total number of migrants detected on this route in the first three quarters of 2018 fell to roughly 20 900, 80% lower than a year ago.”

Libyan Coast Guard pull backs / interceptions reach 14,156; UNHCR evacuates 135 people from migrant detention centre

“As of 19 October, the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) rescued/intercepted 14,156 refugees and migrants (9,801 men, 2,126 women and 1,373 children) at sea during 108 operations. So far in 2018, the LCG recovered 99 bodies from the sea. The majority of individuals disembarked in Libya comprised Sudanese (1,847 individuals), Nigerians (1,832 individuals) and Eritreans (1,542 individuals).”  After interception, refugees and migrants are transferred to detention centres. “UNHCR continues to advocate for the release of all of its persons of concern from detention and for alternatives to detention. The situation in Zintan detention centre remains dire, with a partially broken sewage system and very limited access to potable water. The centre holds 1,350 refugees and migrants.”

“On 16 October, UNHCR evacuated 135 vulnerable refugees and asylum-seekers (127 men, four women and four children) from Tripoli to UNHCR’s Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) in Niger. The group included Eritrean, Ethiopian, Somali and Sudanese nationals. This is the first evacuation to take place since June 2018 [ ]” and occurred “amidst an increasingly volatile security situation in Tripoli…  Many of the evacuated had been held in detention centres for several months and were suffering from the effects of malnutrition and poor health.”

European Council conclusions on migration, 18 October 2018

The European Council’s 18 October meeting concluded without any decisions regarding previously discussed “disembarkation platforms” in North Africa and without and statement regarding the proposed expanded mandate of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.  A list of non-specific conclusions was agreed to included:

  • Strengthen “cooperation with countries of origin and transit, particularly in North Africa, as part of a broader partnership”;
  • Step-up “the fight against people-smuggling networks”;
  • Intensify “work with third countries on investigating, apprehending and prosecuting smugglers and traffickers”;
  • Establish a joint task force “at Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre”;
  • Improve monitoring and disruption efforts directed at “smuggling networks’ online communications”;
  • “Develop a comprehensive and operational set of measures to this end by December”.

Full document here.

See also, Reuters, “EU moves closer to overcoming migration feud” and Washington Post, “EU looks to African nations, border control to stop migrants”.

Libyan FM Siala says all North African countries reject EU proposal for “regional disembarkation platforms”

Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Al-Taher Siala, Foreign Minister of the UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord, said “Libya and its north African neighbors are opposed to the EU’s plan for “regional disembarkation platforms” to stem the flow of migrants entering the bloc… All north African countries reject this proposal — Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Libya, as well,” Siala told the Die Presse newspaper. “Siala estimated that around 30,000 illegal migrants were currently held in detention centers in Libya “and around 750,000 outside.” “Mr Siala said Libya was trying to improve security along its southern border by striking agreements with Chad, Niger and Sudan. He said the EU could also help protect that border by providing technical support such as patrol vehicles, ‘drones, helicopters and perhaps a few light weapons’.”

EU Foreign Affairs Council credits EUNAVFOR MED and EU cooperation with IOM and UNHCR with significant decrease in irregular migration 

The EU Foreign Affairs Council concluded its 15 October meeting crediting EUNAVFOR MED and cooperation with IOM and UNHCR with significantly decreasing irregular migration flows to Europe: “The Council emphasised the significant results delivered through the joint efforts of the EU, its member states and UN agencies. Irregular migration flows to Europe have been significantly decreased, and efforts to better tackle irregular migration and to fight smuggling networks have been considerably strengthened in particular through Operation Sophia. Significant EU funding is also being allocated under a wide range of instruments to projects in countries of origin and transit. Over the past three years the EU Emergency trust fund for Africa has in particular demonstrated its added value as a swift and effective implementation tool in view of addressing the root causes of instability,  forced  displacement  and  irregular  migration  and  to  contribute  to  good  migration management.”

UNHCR and IOM appeal to EU leaders to tackle Mediterranean deaths

In advance of last week’s European Council meeting, the UNHCR and IOM called on the EU “to urgently take steps to address this year’s record rate of drownings on the Mediterranean Sea.”  “The leaders of the two organizations warn that political discourse concerning refugees and migrants, particularly those arriving by boat, has become dangerously toxic in some countries, even at a time when arrivals to Europe are declining. This narrative is stoking unnecessary fears, making it harder for countries to work together and blocking progress towards solutions.”

“The current tenor of the political debate – painting a picture of Europe under siege – is not only unhelpful but completely out of touch with reality,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “Arrival numbers are falling but the rate at which people are losing their lives is on the rise. We cannot forget that we are talking about human lives. Debate is welcome – scapegoating refugees and migrants for political gain is not.”

EUNAVFOR MED Pilot Project – Shipboard Anti-Crime Information Cell established to gather cross-border information re smuggling, trafficking, and terrorism

EUNAVFOR MED activated an “anti-crime information cell” on board the Italian ship San Giusto as part of the EUNAVFOR MED Sophia operation. The project’s trial period will last six months.  “The anti-crime information cell can facilitate the gathering and transfer of information about illegal people trafficking, implementing an embargo  on UN weapons in Libya, the illegal exporting of petroleum from Libya in accordance with UNSCR  2146 (2014) and 2362 (2017), as well as criminal activity related to the security of the operation itself. The participation of Frontex in the anti-crime information cell will serve to develop global intelligence unit for illegal people trafficking and other types of cross-border criminal activities, including terrorism.”

Danish Refugee Council calls for urgent change to the EU’s external migration practices

EU-Libya migration cooperation: Shipwrecked values of humanity: “The Danish Refugee Council calls for an urgent change to the EU’s external migration cooperation in the Central Mediterranean and beyond from policies that focus on securitizing borders to policies that prioritize saving lives; provide effective protection and safe migratory pathways to people on the move; and contribute rather than undermine the long-term goal of stability and prosperity in the Mediterranean.”

Global Detention Project investigation into the role of social media in the context of migration control. “Why Would You Go?”

Part II of the Global Detention Project’s Special Series investigates how new information and communications technologies are used during irregular migration. Featuring on-the-ground reports, the paper examines the diverse ways migrants and refugees put social media to use during their journeys and helps address gaps in current literature regarding the role of digital platforms in contemporary migration contexts.”

“A key finding is that usage of digital tools is far more varied than the extant literature generally reports. Indeed, varying factors including socio-economics, nationality, and smuggling modus operandi considerably affect the use of such resources. Many sources, for example, emphasised the importance of community and diaspora networks during the various stages of their journeys and downplayed the role of social media and smartphones, which were often barely used—and sometimes not at all.”

Part I of the Special Series appeared earlier this year: “A migrant essential or a criminal marketplace? Since the “refugee crisis” exploded across the international media and political landscapes, the role of social media has been repeatedly dissected, argued over, and—more often than not—misunderstood. Although officials and politicians often present new digital platforms as security threats that enable traffickers and illicit enterprises, these technologies also have played a critically important role in aiding refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants in need. They help people connect to the outside world from inside detention centres, provide desperately needed information about sources of humanitarian assistance, and enable the creation of digital communities that give migrants and their loved ones’ agency to proactively search out solutions.”

“This [initial] Global Detention Project Special Report is aimed at improving our understanding of how people use social media during their migration journeys, with a special emphasis on their use in the context of detention and migration control in North Africa and the Mediterranean. Part I, “Exposing the ‘Crisis,’” charts the historical relationship between migration and social media, reviewing the various tech responses to the “crisis” and highlighting the importance of human-centred design of new technologies. Two subsequent installments in this series will include on-the-ground reports of the diverse ways people put social media to use during their migration journeys and provide recommendations for human rights practitioners who wish to harness social media in ways that emphasise harm-reduction.”

Migrants who landed on Spain’s North African Chafarinas Islands to be returned to Morocco

EFE reported that “Morocco will admit in the next hours part of the thirty immigrants arrived [last week] in a boat to the Chafarinas Islands, in application of the readmission agreement signed in 1992 between [Spain] and [Morocco].  As reported by the Government Delegation in Melilla, the immigrants “will be readmitted by Morocco in the next few hours in application of the Treaty of Islands and Peñones signed between the Governments of Spain and Morocco in 1992. … With this decision, the Government follows the same pattern as in the last boat that arrived in Chafarinas on June 17, in which 13 immigrants were traveling, of which eight passed to the Moroccan authorities in application of the readmission agreement that exists between Spain and Morocco of 1992.”

Sea-Watch 3 verlässt Malta

Die Sea-Watch 3 erhielt nach drei Monaten willkürlicher Beschlagnahmung, die Genehmigung Malta zu verlassen. Das Schiff verließ den Hafen von Valetta um 7 Uhr heute früh und fährt zunächst für Routinearbeiten in eine spanische Werft. Das 50 Meter lange, niederländisch geflaggte Rettungsschiff Sea-Watch 3 war seit dem 02. Juli 2018, gemeinsam mit anderen Rettungsschiffen von…

Der Beitrag Sea-Watch 3 verlässt Malta erschien zuerst auf Sea-Watch e.V..

European Council conclusions on migration, 18 October 2018

Yesterday’s European Council conclusions did not include any mention of “disembarkation platforms” in North Africa or address any specifics regarding an expanded mandate of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.  Instead, a list of non-specific conclusions was agreed to.  Agreed points included:

  • Strengthen “cooperation with countries of origin and transit, particularly in North Africa, as part of a broader partnership”;
  • Step-up “the fight against people-smuggling networks”;
  • Intensify “work with third countries on investigating, apprehending and prosecuting smugglers and traffickers”;
  • Establish a joint task force “at Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre”;
  • Improve monitoring and disruption efforts directed at “smuggling networks’ online communications”;
  • “Develop a comprehensive and operational set of measures to this end by December”.

Full document here.

See also, Reuters, “EU moves closer to overcoming migration feud” and Washington Post, “EU looks to African nations, border control to stop migrants”.

Week in Review– 14 October 2018

The death toll

IOM:  Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 88,049 in 2018; Deaths Reach 1,783

Libyan Coast Guard pull backs / interceptions exceed 14,000 and are increasing in frequency

According to UNHCR, Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) Pull Backs reached 14,156 as of 11 October. Interceptions are increasing in October (884 as of 11 Oct.) compared to August (552) and September (1,265). “So far in 2018, the LCG recovered 99 bodies from the sea.”

Discussions continue regarding expanded mandate of European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX)

In September the European Commission proposed a new and greatly expanded mandate for the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. The proposal includes an expansion of the standing corps to FRONTEX to 10,000 operational staff, encompassing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) into the Agency’s frame, and giving the Agency a wider scope for action with countries that are not neighbouring countries. It was decided at last week’s Justice and Home Affairs Council Meeting to continue work on the proposal at the “technical level.” “[S]everal ministers mentioned the need to take a practical approach, by firstly looking at the supporting tasks to be carried out by the agency to respond to operational needs, taking account of national responsibility. On this basis, the question of structure and size of the staff, as well as the budget and timing could then be approached.”

For analysis, see “The next phase of the European Border and Coast Guard: towards operational effectiveness” in EU Law Analysis by Mariana Gkliati, PhD researcher at Leiden University.

EUNAVFOR MED continues training of Libyan Coast Guard and Navy personnel

EUNAVFOR MED launched a new training module for 69 Libyan trainees at the Italian Navy Training Centre in La Maddalena.  “The course, hosted by the Italian Navy, will last 8 weeks, and it will provide knowledge and training in relation to the general activity on board an off shore patrol vessel and lessons focused on Human Rights, Basic First Aid, Gender Policy and Basic English language.  Additionally, with the positive conclusion of these two courses, the threshold of 305 Libyan Coastguard and Navy personnel trained by EUNAVFOR Med will be reached. Moreover, further training modules are planned in Croatia and other EU member states in favour of a huge number of trainees. From October 2016, SOPHIA is fully involved in the training of the Libyan Coastguard and Navy; the aim of the training is to improve security of the Libyan territorial waters and the Libyan Coastguard and Navy ability to perform the duties in their territorial waters, with a strong focus on respect of human rights, including minors and women’s rights, and the correct handling of migrants in occasion of search and rescue activities to save lives at sea.”

For more background see Bruxelles 2 which notes, among other things, the slow 7-week vetting process to identify suitable Libyan candidates for training.

For second time in two weeks Moroccan navy opens fire on migrant boat

 A Moroccan Royal Navy vessel fired on a migrant boat last week wounding a 16-year old boy. The Moroccan Navy killed a woman two weeks ago in a similar incident.

 Also in Morocco, the Moroccan NGO El Grupo Antirracista de Acompañamiento y Defensa de Extranjeros y Migrantes (Gadem) denounced the forced transfer of 7,700 sub-Saharans to the south of the country.  According to Gadem, the forced displacements of migrants began in June and have not stopped.

 UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants criticises EU migration policies towards Niger

Felipe González Morales, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights, issued a report at the conclusion of a recent visit to Niger: “Niger has become a major transit country for migrants travelling north and to the Mediterranean. More recently, especially since 2014, Niger has become a transit country for returnees, most of them expelled or forced to return, from Algeria and Libya. These returns have put a lot of pressure on Niger, which according to many interlocutors has become “a permanent transit centre” and “the Southern border of Europe” as a result of migration policies adopted in Niger and by third countries, with serious consequences for the human rights of migrants and questions as to their effectiveness and sustainability.”

“One of the main measures adopted by the national authorities in respect to migration is the Law concerning the illicit smuggling of migrants (Law No. 2015-36) of 26 May 2015. According to official authorities and IOM data, since its implementation in 2016 the number of migrants who migrate north to Algeria, Libya and the Mediterranean has significantly decreased (e.g. from 333,891 in 2016 to 43,380 in 2018, according to IOM data based on monitoring trends in Arlit and Seguedine). While IOM data suggests that onward movement to North Africa may have slowed down, it does not reflect the number of people who still move on shifting routes as a consequence of tighter controls that lead migrants to move around data collection points.”

“In reality, the implementation of the law has resulted in a de facto ban of all travel north of Agadez, e.g. in violation of the freedom of movement of ECOWAS nationals. Further, the lack of clarity of the law and its implementation as a repressive – instead of protection – measure has resulted in the criminalization of all migration upwards and has pushed migrants into hiding, which renders them more vulnerable to abuse and human rights violations.”

“Indeed, according to various sources, the law has not stopped or decreased migration, but instead it has pushed it underground and diverted the migration routes from Niger to the north through Chad and Sudan, or to the Western Mediterranean route.”

“Role of the international donors and in particular the EU – Although key state officials stressed that the objective of reducing migration towards the north is mainly a national policy decision, there is a need to highlight the role and the responsibility of the international community and donors in this respect. Indeed, several sources stated that Nigerien policy on migration is heavily influenced and pushed primarily by the demands of the European Union and its Member States to control migration in exchange for financial support. For instance, the fact that the European Union Trust Fund provides financial support to IOM largely to sensitize and return migrants to their countries of origin, even when the voluntariness in many cases is questionable, compromises its rights-based approach to development cooperation. In addition, from my exchange with the European Union, no support is foreseen for those migrants who are neither refugees nor have agreed to be voluntarily returned to their countries of origin. Furthermore, the EU’s role and support in the adoption and implementation of the law on illicit smuggling of migrants calls into question its ‘do no harm’ principle given the human rights concerns related to the implementation and enforcement of the law.”

“Preliminary Recommendations: To the European Union and its Member States:

  • Integrate rigorous human rights, due diligence, monitoring and oversight mechanisms into all external agreements and initiatives abroad and prioritize projects in Niger that will improve the human rights of migrants;
  • Fully recognize the push and pull factors of irregular migration, and the EU’s responsibility in managing and mitigating them;
  • Take a global leadership role whenever needed in relation to humanitarian and human rights crises and reduce the market for smugglers by increasing, in cooperation with other States, resettlement opportunities;
  • Develop and incentivize other regular and safe migration channels, including for workers with varying skills levels, and look at a variety of options for legal migration, such as humanitarian admission, humanitarian visas, temporary protection, family reunification, economic admissions at all skills levels, as well as for job seeking, student mobility and medical evacuation; and increase the number of migrants admitted under existing regular migration schemes;
  • All EU programs, policies and technical assistance to Niger concerning migration should further the realization of human rights for all migrants, including those that are neither refugees, asylum seekers or AVR applicants, in compliance with international human rights norms and standards.”

2018 migrant arrivals to Spain now exceed 2006 arrivals and the so-called year of the “Crisis of the Cayucos”

“So far this year, 40,209 people have arrived in Spain…”  “The figure exceeds for the first time the one recorded in 2006, when 39,180 people reached the Spanish coast in the so-called ‘crisis of the cayucos.’”

Spain has recently urged the EU to honor its promise to grant Morocco financial aid amounting to €30 million to help curb illegal migration. Earlier in August, EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker promised to release €55 million from the emergency fund to help Morocco and Spain tackle the rise of illegal migration in the Western Mediterranean.

In July, the EU agreed to spend €55 million ($64 million) to help Tunisia and Morocco manage their frontiers. However, none of these promises have been upheld yet as Spain has indeed overtaken Greece and Italy this year with more than 43,000 arrivals mostly through dinghies from Morocco.”

Greece criticizes Turkey for surge in migrant flows via land border

“Athens has lodged complaints with the European Commission and Ankara over the ‘relaxed stance’ of Turkish authorities.”  “Over 11,000 migrants have crossed into Greece through Evros so far in 2018, compared with 5,500 in 2017 and 3,000 in 2016, Migration Policy minister Dimitris Vitsas told local ANT1 TV.”

PBS: Libyan coast remains fertile for ISIS and migrant traffickers

US broadcaster PBS: “Less than two years after Libya with American forces regained control of its coast from Islamic State fighters, the most potent affiliate outside of Iraq and Syria, law enforcement and U.S. policymakers worry about a resurgence.”

EASO: Asylum applications remain stable in the EU throughout summer months

Analysis carried out by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), based on data exchanged by EU+ Member States, reveals that this year, applications for asylum did not increase during the summer months.”  “The main countries of origin of applicants in August were Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey and Iran. With the exception of Syrians, all these nationalities lodged more applications for asylum than in July. In particular, nationals of Iraq lodged the most applications (4 020, + 12 % from July) so far in 2018, while levels of applications from Afghan nationals (4 010, – 8 % from July) were also considerable, dropping slightly from July. Turkish nationals continued to lodge a considerable number of applications (2 750, – 4 % from July). Similarly, applications from Iranian nationals rose sharply (2 460, + 19 %), reaching the highest level in almost two years.

In contrast, nationals of several Western African countries lodged fewer applications (between 25 % and 69 %) compared to a year earlier. This contrasts to trends in the past four years, when asylum-related migration from this region tended to rise over the summer months.”

UNHCR urges Australia to evacuate off-shore facilities as health situation deteriorates

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is urging immediate action by the Government of Australia to address a collapsing health situation among refugees and asylum-seekers at off-shore facilities in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. Australia remains responsible under International Law for those who have sought its protection. In the context of deteriorating health and reduced medical care, Australia must now act to prevent further tragedy to those forcibly transferred under its so-called “offshore processing” policy. UNHCR renews its call for refugees and asylum-seekers to be moved immediately to Australia, where they can receive adequate support and care.”

Das Sea-Watch-Aufklärungsflugzeug Moonbird schafft es, den Betrieb wieder aufzunehmen, während die Sterblichkeitsrate auf ein Rekordniveau steigt

Das Aufklärungsflugzeug Moonbird, das Sea-Watch in Zusammenarbeit mit der Schweizer Humanitarian Pilots Initiative betreibt, wurde von der maltesischen Regierung über drei Monate lang ohne Rechtsgrundlage am Einsatz gehindert. In Folge der Blockade der zivilen Seenotrettung erreichte die Sterblichkeitsrate an der europäischen Seegrenze ein Rekordhoch – aktuell ertrinkt eine von fünf Personen bei dem Versuch, das…

Der Beitrag Das Sea-Watch-Aufklärungsflugzeug Moonbird schafft es, den Betrieb wieder aufzunehmen, während die Sterblichkeitsrate auf ein Rekordniveau steigt erschien zuerst auf Sea-Watch e.V..

Week in Review– 7 October 2018

Italy’s migration deterrence policies under Salvini sharply increase deaths at sea

New ISPI Commentary by Matteo Villa: “Sea Arrivals to Italy: The Cost of Deterrence Policies”: “We can now compare the two periods of [Italian migration] deterrence policies, moving from [former Interior Minister Marco] Minniti to [current Interior Minister Matteo] Salvini. [T]hese two periods show very different trends, in particular with regards to the number of dead or missing at sea. The period of Minniti policies coincided with a drop in migrants dead or missing at sea that was more or less in line with the drop in irregular sea arrivals to Italy. On the other hand, the period of Salvini policies was marked by a further decrease in sea arrivals (-48%), but also by a sharp increase in the number of dead or missing at sea (+147%, i.e. more than double the previous period). [***] To conclude, Salvini policies of further deterrence at sea have coincided with a drop in arrivals of around 28,000 units, which is equivalent to less than 20% if compared to the drop of 150,000 arrivals recorded during the Minniti period. At the same time, Salvini policies coincided with a strong increase in the number of migrants dying or going missing at sea, which reversed the previous declining trend. When evaluating public policies, it is important to consider the opportunity-cost of each decision. Four months after the tightening on sea rescues, in the light of the numbers available, the usefulness of deterrence policies appears questionable to say the least, when a relatively modest reduction in sea arrivals in Italy, has coincided with a sharp increase in the number of dead or missing.”

UN Security Council renews authorisation for inspection of vessels on high seas off Libya

Pursuant to Resolution 2437 (2018), adopted on 3 October 2018, the Council renewed the authorisation for member states to inspect vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya that they have reasonable grounds to suspect are being used for migrant smuggling or human trafficking: The Council “…. Decides, for a further period of twelve months from the date of adoption of this resolution, to renew the authorisations as set out in paragraphs 7, 8, 9 and 10 of resolution 2240 (2015),reaffirms paragraph 11 thereof and otherwise reiterates its resolutions 2240 (2015), 2312 (2106) and 2380 (2017) and its Presidential Statement S/PRST/2015/25;…”

Libyan Coast Guard pull backs / interceptions in 2018 near 14,000

Per the UNHCR, as of 4 October, “the Libyan Coast Guard rescued/intercepted 13,898 refugees and migrants (9,560 men, 2,118 women and 1,364 children) at sea during 104 operations. This is an increase of 12.3% compared to the same period in 2017. Since the beginning of the year, 99 bodies were recovered in Libyan waters while 608 lives were lost at sea. Most of the individuals disembarked [in Libya] were Nigerian (1,830 individuals), Sudanese (1,765 individuals) and Eritrean (1,532 individuals).”

2018 migrant arrivals to Spain exceed arrival totals for 2015, 2016, 2017 combined

According to IOM, as of 28 September 2018, “total land and sea arrivals in the first nine months of this year have surpassed the arrival totals of 2015, 2016 and 2017 combined, but signalled that despite the higher number of arrivals the situation remains manageable. Migrant arrivals to Spain via the Western Mediterranean and Western African routes have reached a total of 36,654 this year. Another 4,820 migrants reached the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla by land. Sea arrivals to Spain currently account for 45 per cent of all Mediterranean arrivals this year given the reduced numbers of migrants arriving in Italy and Greece by sea….”

Moroccan FM reiterates Morocco’s refusal to host EU “disembarkation platforms”

Reported by DW: Morocco’s foreign minister Nasser Bourita said “‘Morocco is generally opposed to all kinds of centers. That is part of our migration policy and a national sovereign position … [it is] too easy to say that this is a Moroccan issue.’ ‘Migration comprises three percent of the world’s population, 80 percent of which is legal … So we are only talking about 20 percent of these three per cent.’ ‘Are we real partners or just a neighbor you’re afraid of?’ questioning Europe’s attitude towards Morocco. ‘The EU can’t ask Morocco to help with migration and the fight against terrorism and treat the country like an object.’”  Government spokesman Mustapha El Khalfi reiterated Morocco’s categorical refusal to host disembarkation platforms: “The creation of reception centres for migrants is only an attempt to externalize the problem and is not a solution.”

Dwindling search and rescue capabilities in the Med

UNHCR expresses concern over lack of search and rescue capabilities in the Mediterranean: “This time last year, five NGOs were conducting search and rescue operations on the Central Mediterranean. In 2017, NGOs saved over 46, 000 lives according to the Italian Coast Guard. The de-registration of the Aquarius is deeply worrying and would represent a dramatic reduction of search and rescue capacity at precisely the moment when it needs to be stepped up.” “UNHCR continues to call strongly for increasing search and rescue capacity in the Central Mediterranean and for leaving space for NGOs to contribute in a coordinated manner to these efforts. This is a collective responsibility, with saving lives as its primary concern.”

The death toll

IOM: Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 84,345 in 2018; Deaths Reach 1,777

Egypt, immigration detention, human rights abuses, and also an important EU partner

The Global Detention Project released an Egypt Country Report: “Immigration Detention in Egypt: Military Tribunals, Human Rights, Abysmal Conditions, and EU Partner” reporting on, among things, “intensified EU-Egyptian cooperation in ‘migration management,’ leading to a comprehensive crackdown on irregular migration on Egypt’s north coast.”

EU migration control policies enrich Libyan militias

The EUObserver reported on how on how “Libyan militia cash in on EU’s anti-smuggling strategy”. “Senior officials at the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have all shed doubt on some aspects of the EU’s grand anti-business smuggler plan, issued in mid-2015. ‘When we say we want to disrupt the smuggler business model, we talk about destroying boats in Libya, we talk about destroying the boats, all this makes the smuggler richer,’ Eugenio Ambrosi, the IOM’s EU regional director told this website.”

Deplorable conditions in EU’s largest refugee camp

Patrick Kingsley, now with the New York Times, formerly with The Guardian (and author of The New Odyssey: The Story of Europe’s Refugee Crisis, 2016), writes in depth on the deplorable conditions in Camp Moira, the EU’s biggest refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos – ‘a camp of around 9,000 people living in a space designed for just 3,100, where squalid conditions and an inscrutable asylum process have led to what aid groups describe as a mental health crisis.”

Royal Moroccan Navy opens fire on migrant boat

Samia Errazzouki, a former journalist and current PhD student at the University of California at Davis, writes about the killing of Hayat Belkacem who was killed when the Royal Moroccan Navy open fire on a migrant boat trying to reach Spain. Errazzouki writes about the dissent and disenchantment in Morocco pushing many people to risk the journey to Europe.

Dozens dead in shipwreck in Moroccan waters – Moroccan authorities reportedly delayed rescue efforts

At least 34 refugees died in a shipwreck in the western Mediterranean.  Salvamento Marítimo de España reportedly the alert and offered collaboration to Morocco “no response was received” from Moroccan authorities. The boat and survivors drifted for 24 hours.

60 dead in boat accident off West Africa

The Guinea-Bissau coast guard commander reported that up to sixty people drowned after their boat sank.  The boat was believed to be trying to reach the Canary Islands.

Neues italienisches Schiff in Zusammenarbeit mit Sea-Watch auf dem Weg ins Mittelmeer, um Leben zu retten

Die Mare Jonio, ein 37,5 m langes Schiff unter italienischer Flagge, welches das zivilgesellschaftliche Projekt „Mediterranea“ in Zusammenarbeit mit Sea-Watch betreiben wird, ist heute in Richtung zentrales Mittelmeer aufgebrochen. Begleitet von der Astral der spanischen NGO Proactiva Open Arms wird die Mare Jonio an der tödlichsten Grenze der Welt die zivile Seenotrettung weiterführen. Die Zahl…

Der Beitrag Neues italienisches Schiff in Zusammenarbeit mit Sea-Watch auf dem Weg ins Mittelmeer, um Leben zu retten erschien zuerst auf Sea-Watch e.V..

Toter Körper deutet auf ein neues Schiffswrack hin

Ein Leichnam, der gestern vom zivilen Überwachungsflugzeug Colibri gesichtet wurde, deutet auf ein erneutes Schiffsunglück im zentralen Mittelmeer hin. Das Fehlen geeigneter Rettungsmittel und die Blockade der zivilen Rettungsflotte machen das zentrale Mittelmeer zu einer tödlichen Blackbox: Mehrere Schiffbrüche ereigneten sich bereits, da Malta Rettungsschiffe daran hindert, ihre Aufgabe zu erfüllen. Ein Schiffsunglück wurde Anfang…

Der Beitrag Toter Körper deutet auf ein neues Schiffswrack hin erschien zuerst auf Sea-Watch e.V..