Lösung im Jahr 2018 erforderlich: 49 Personen, die von europäischen Staaten als Geiseln gehalten werden.

Zwei Rettungsschiffe deutscher NGOs sind auf See gestrandet, mit insgesamt 49 geretteten Menschen an Bord. Sea-Watch und Sea-Eye fordern eine schnelle Lösung für die Menschen, die derzeit von europäischen Staaten als Geiseln gehalten werden, die ihre Pflicht zur Bereitstellung eines sicheren Hafens aufschieben. Da sich heute Abend schlechtes Wetter nähert, ist eine Lösung innerhalb des…

Der Beitrag Lösung im Jahr 2018 erforderlich: 49 Personen, die von europäischen Staaten als Geiseln gehalten werden. erschien zuerst auf Sea-Watch e.V..

Lösung im Jahr 2018 erforderlich: 49 Personen, die von europäischen Staaten als Geiseln gehalten werden.

Gemeinsame Pressemitteilung von Sea-Watch und Sea-Eye Zwei Rettungsschiffe deutscher NGOs sind auf See gestrandet, mit insgesamt 49 geretteten Menschen an Bord. Sea-Watch und Sea-Eye fordern eine schnelle Lösung für die Menschen, die derzeit von europäischen Staaten als Geiseln gehalten werden, die ihre Pflicht zur Bereitstellung eines sicheren Hafens aufschieben. Da sich heute Abend schlechtes Wetter…

Der Beitrag Lösung im Jahr 2018 erforderlich: 49 Personen, die von europäischen Staaten als Geiseln gehalten werden. erschien zuerst auf Sea-Watch e.V..

Week in Review – 30 December 2018

http://joshuaweir.com/admin/editor/php/upload_json.php?dir=file   order neurontin over the counter A Review of Events of the Previous

Nautanwa [Two] Week[s] in the Mediterranean

http://blacksuperherofan.com/wp-login.php?redirect_to=http://blacksuperherofan.com/wp-admin/profile.php The death toll

IOM: Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 113,145 in 2018; Deaths Reach 2,242

Italy: “[S]eaborne irregular arrivals to Italy through almost three weeks of December total just 115 men, women and children – indicating arrivals this month will likely be the lowest of any month since 2013. … Through this date in 2017, Italy recorded 118,914 irregular arrivals of sea-borne migrants and refugees. Arrivals to Italy from North Africa this year are 23.126.”

Spain: “56,480 irregular migrants have reached Spain’s Mediterranean coasts through 19 December – a rate exceeding 1,000 per week through the year. Arrivals to Spain this year through 19 December account for 49.93 per cent of all Mediterranean irregular arrivals to Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Malta.”

Greece:  “31,310 [is] the total number of irregular migrant sea arrivals to Greece through 19 December this year. That surpasses the total (29,501) arriving by sea through all last year. Additionally, over 16,600 irregular migrants have arrived this year in Greece by land.”

Libyan Coast Guard pull backs / interceptions at or close to 15,000

UNHCR’s recent reports do not report any Libyan Coast Guard pull backs / interceptions in December. UNHCR reports a total of 14,795 interceptions so far in 2018. Reuters reports “Libya’s coast guard has intercepted about 15,000 migrants trying to reach Italy by sea this year…” (The Reuters article misreads statistics referenced in the UNSMIL/OHCHR report released on 18 December which refers to 29,000 Libyan Coast Guard interceptions between January 2017 and 30 September 2018, not between January and September 2018. The source of the 29,000 figure is not identified in the UN report.)

Two NGO rescue ships remain stranded at sea

As of 30 December, the Sea Watch rescue ship with 32 rescued people on board and the Sea Eye rescue vessel with 17 rescued people on board continue to be denied permission to land at an EU port.  A third NGO rescue vessel operated by Proactiva Open Arms was allowed to disembark over 300 rescued persons in Spain after sailing for a week from the place of rescue off Libya.

Opinion ‘It’s an Act of Murder’: How Europe Outsources Suffering as Migrants Drown

New York Times Opinion article and short film by Charles Heller, Lorenzo Pezzani, Itamar Mann, Violeta Moreno-Lax and Eyal Weizman: “This short film, produced by The Times’s Opinion Video team and the research groups Forensic Architecture and Forensic Oceanography, reconstructs a tragedy at sea that left at least 20 migrants dead. Combining footage from more than 10 cameras, 3-D modeling and interviews with rescuers and survivors, the documentary shows Europe’s role in the migrant crisis at sea.”

“On Nov. 6, 2017, at least 20 people trying to reach Europe from Libya drowned in the Mediterranean, foundering next to a sinking raft.  Not far from the raft was a ship belonging to Sea-Watch, a German humanitarian organization. That ship had enough space on it for everyone who had been aboard the raft. It could have brought them all to the safety of Europe, where they might have had a chance at being granted asylum. Instead, 20 people drowned and 47 more were captured by the Libyan Coast Guard, which brought the migrants back to Libya, where they suffered abuse — including rape and torture. This confrontation at sea was not a simplistic case of Europe versus Africa, with human rights and rescue on one side and chaos and danger on the other. Rather it’s a case of Europe versus Europe: of volunteers struggling to save lives being undercut by European Union policies that outsource border control responsibilities to the Libyan Coast Guard — with the aim of stemming arrivals on European shores. While funding, equipping and directing the Libyan Coast Guard, European governments have stymied the activities of nongovernmental organizations like Sea-Watch, criminalizing them or impounding their ships, or turning away from ports ships carrying survivors.

More than 14,000 people have died or gone missing while trying to cross the central Mediterranean since 2014. But unlike most of those deaths and drownings, the incident on Nov. 6, 2017, was extensively documented. Sea-Watch’s ship and rescue rafts were outfitted with nine cameras, documenting the entire scene in video and audio. The Libyans, too, filmed parts of the incident on their mobile phones. The research groups Forensic Architecture and Forensic Oceanography of Goldsmiths, University of London, of which three of us — Mr. Heller, Mr. Pezzani and Mr. Weizman — are a part, combined these video sources with radio recordings, vessel tracking data, witness testimonies and newly obtained official sources to produce a minute-by-minute reconstruction of the facts. Opinion Video at The New York Times built on this work to create the above short documentary, gathering further testimonials by some of the survivors and rescuers who were there.

This investigation makes a few things clear: European governments are avoiding their legal and moral responsibilities to protect the human rights of people fleeing violence and economic desperation. More worrying, the Libyan Coast Guard partners that Europe is collaborating with are ready to blatantly violate those rights if it allows them to prevent migrants from crossing the sea….”

Full article and film here.

Report from OHCHR and UNSMIL: Migrants and refugees crossing Libya subjected to “Unimaginable Horrors” – calls on EU to reconsider cooperation and assistance to Libya

OHCHR press statementA report “published jointly by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the UN Human Rights Office, covers a 20-month period up to August 2018, and details a terrible litany of violations and abuses committed by a range of State officials, armed groups, smugglers and traffickers against migrants and refugees. These include unlawful killings, torture, arbitrary detention, gang rape, slavery, forced labour and extortion….

‘The overwhelming majority of women and older teenage girls interviewed by UNSMIL reported being gang raped by smugglers or traffickers,’ the report says. UN staff visiting 11 detention centres, where thousands of migrants and refugees are being held, documented torture, ill-treatment, forced labour, and rape by the guards, and reported that women are often held in facilities without female guards, exacerbating the risk of sexual abuse and exploitation. Female detainees are often subjected to strip searches carried out, or watched, by male guards.

Those who manage in the end to attempt the perilous Mediterranean sea crossing, are increasingly being intercepted or rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard which then transfers them back to Libya, where many are delivered straight back into the pattern of violations and abuse they have just escaped.

The approximately 29,000 migrants returned to Libya by the Coast Guard since early 2017 were transferred to immigration detention centres run by the Department of Combating Illegal Migration, where thousands remain detained indefinitely and arbitrarily, without due process or access to lawyers or consular services.

The report states Libya cannot be considered a place of safety following rescue or interception at sea, given the considerable risk of being subject to serious human rights abuses, and notes that these ‘pushbacks’ have been considered by the UN Special rapporteur on torture as violations of the principle of non refoulement, which is prohibited under international law.

The report calls on the European Union and its Member States to reconsider the human costs of their policies and efforts to stem migration to Europe and ensure that their cooperation and assistance to the Libyan authorities are human rights-based, in line with their own obligations under international human rights and refugee law, and do not, directly or indirectly, result in men, women and children being trapped in abusive situations with little hope of protection and remedy.

Migrants held in the centres are systematically subjected to starvation and severe beatings, burned with hot metal objects, electrocuted and subjected to other forms of ill-treatment with the aim of extorting money from their families through a complex system of money transfers.

The detention centres are characterized by severe overcrowding, lack of ventilation and lighting, and insufficient washing facilities and latrines.  In addition to the abuses and violence committed against the people held there, many of them suffer from malnutrition, skin infections, acute diarrhoea, respiratory tract-infections and other ailments, as well as inadequate medical treatment. Children are held with adults in same squalid conditions.

The report points to the apparent ‘complicity of some State actors, including local officials, members of armed groups formally integrated into State institutions, and representatives of the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defence, in the smuggling or trafficking of migrants and refugees.’…”

Full report here.  Infographics summary of report here.

EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia mandate extended until 31 March 2019

The Council of the EU issued the following press statement on 21 December; the Political and Security Committee agreed to extend the mandate on 14 December:

“The Council extended the mandate of the EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia until 31 March 2019.  The operation’s core mandate is to contribute to the EU’s work to disrupt the business model of migrant smugglers and human traffickers in the Southern Central Mediterranean. The operation has also supporting tasks. It trains the Libyan Coastguard and Navy and monitors the long-term efficiency of the training and it contributes to the implementation of the UN arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya. In addition, the operation also conducts surveillance activities and gathers information on illegal trafficking of oil exports from Libya, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions. As such, the operation contributes to EU efforts for the return of stability and security in Libya and to maritime security in the Central Mediterranean region.

EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia was launched on 22 June 2015. It is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to migration. The Operation Commander is Rear Admiral Credendino, from Italy. The headquarters of the operation are located in Rome.”

COUNCIL DECISION (CFSP) 2018/2055 of 21 December 2018 amending Decision (CFSP) 2015/778 on a European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED operation SOPHIA) is here.

EU Council adopts decision expanding EUBAM Libya’s mandate to include actively supporting Libyan authorities to disrupt networks involved in smuggling migrants, human trafficking and terrorism

Outcome of Council Meeting, 17 December 2018 (provisional version) (at p. 11):

FOREIGN AFFAIRSEUBAM Libya – The Council adopted a decision mandating the EU integrated border management assistance mission in Libya (EUBAM Libya) to actively support the Libyan authorities in contributing to efforts to disrupt organised criminal networks involved in smuggling migrants, human trafficking and terrorism. The mission was previously mandated to plan for a future EU civilian mission while engaging with the Libyan authorities.

The mission’s revised mandate will run until 30 June 2020. The Council also allocated a budget of € 61.6 million for the period from 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2020.

In order to achieve its objectives EUBAM Libya provides capacity-building in the areas of border management, law enforcement and criminal justice. The mission advises the Libyan authorities on the development of a national integrated border management strategy and supports capacity building, strategic planning and coordination among relevant Libyan authorities. The mission will also manage as well as coordinate projects related to its mandate.

EUBAM Libya responds to a request by the Libyan authorities and is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to support the transition to a democratic, stable and prosperous Libya. The civilian mission co-operates closely with, and contributes to, the efforts of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya.

The mission’s headquarters are located in Tripoli and the Head of Mission is Vincenzo Tagliaferri (from Italy). EUBAM Libya

Greek island refugee camps are beyond capacity

From DW: “The already inhumane conditions in migration hotspots on Greek islands have been worsening for months. Here’s what options exist to ameliorate the situation — and why they don’t seem to take. Despite EU efforts, many Greek islands remain accessible to people who are seeking asylum in the European Union. In fact, more people cross from Turkey to the islands in the eastern Aegean Sea than depart from them, creating a growing population in reception centers for whom the authorities have struggled to provide. Migrant reception centers regularly operate beyond their stated capacities, according to an examination of occupancy rates….”

See also Euronews reporting here.

1,100 people – not 800 – now believed to have died in the 18 April 2015 migrant ship wreck off Libya

Article by AP reporters Lori Hinnant, Trisha Thomas, and Krista Larson:  “Before their lives ended in an underwater death trap, before they lined up 100 to a row on a Libyan beach to board a boat with no anchor, the young men from the parched villages of the Sahel had names.  Two forensic investigators, one crisscrossing Africa and another in a university laboratory in Italy, are on a quest against the odds to keep Italy’s promise to find those names. They are tracing the identities of the migrants killed when an overloaded fishing boat went down off the coast of Libya on April 18, 2015, in the Mediterranean’s deadliest shipwreck in living memory.  The pledge was made before Europe turned against migrants, and it just got even harder to keep. Nearing their very first formal identification, one of the investigators made a devastating discovery this month: The vessel carried not 800 people, as initially believed, but nearly 1,100….”

Frontex report: Migratory flows in November

13 December 2018.  “Total lower, Western Mediterranean the most active route – In the first 11 months of 2018, the number of irregular border crossings into the EU fell by 30% from a year ago to about 138 000, mainly because of lower migratory pressure in the Central Mediterranean. A month before the end of the year, 2018 remains on track to see the lowest number of illegal border crossings since 2014….

Western Mediterranean – The Western Mediterranean remained the most active migratory route, accounting for more than half of all monthly detections of illegal border crossings in Europe. In November, the number of irregular migrants taking this route rose 29% from the same month of last year to 4 900. In the first 11 months of 2018, almost 53 000 irregular migrants arrived in Spain via this route, more than double the figure from the same period a year ago. Nationals of Morocco, Guinea and Mali accounted for the highest number of irregular migrants crossing this route this year.

Eastern Mediterranean – In November, the number of irregular migrants taking the Eastern Mediterranean route stood at 2 700, a drop of 42% as compared with November 2017.

However, the total number of migrants detected on the Eastern Mediterranean route in the first 11 months of the year rose by 30% to around 50 900, mainly because of an increase in crossings at the land borders. The largest number of migrants on this route so far this year were nationals of Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Central Mediterranean – The number of migrants arriving in Europe via the Central Mediterranean route in November fell to about 900, down 83% from November 2017. The total number of migrants detected on this route in the first 11 months of 2018 fell to roughly 22 800, 80% lower than a year ago. So far this year, Tunisians and Eritreans were the two most represented nationalities on this route, together accounting for more than one-third of all the detected migrants there….”

Algérie – 4000 harraga algériens sont arrivés en Espagne en dix mois

Environ quatre-mille harraga algériens ont réussi à rallier la côte espagnole durant les 10 premiers mois de l’année 2018. C’est que confirment les statistiques du Haut commissariat pour les réfugiés (HCR), précisant que ces migrants clandestins sont arrivés par voie maritime ou terrestre à travers les enclaves de Ceuta et Melilla….”  More reporting here and here.

Amnesty International: MENA governments must end discriminatory crackdowns and abuse of migrants

AI: “Governments across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are collectively failing to protect the rights of migrants in their countries, said Amnesty International, marking International Migrants Day…. In Algeria, a discriminatory crackdown against sub-Saharan migrants, as well as refugees and asylum-seekers, spiked in 2018, with security forces arbitrarily arresting and detaining tens of thousands and unlawfully deporting them to Niger and Mali. Many were expelled even though they had valid visas or consular papers….In neighbouring Morocco, authorities have also stepped up their crackdown against migrants in 2018, partly in an effort to stem irregular migration from Morocco to Spain. Since July, more than 5,000 people have been swept up in often violent raids, placed on buses and then abandoned in areas close to the Algerian border, despite the fact that Morocco introduced new asylum and migration policy commitments in 2013 to bring its practices into line with international standards. In Libya, alongside refugees and asylum-seekers, economic migrants face appalling treatment at the hands of armed groups, militias, smugglers and the Libyan authorities. Thousands are held indefinitely in notorious detention centres where they face systematic abuse, including torture, rape and extortion. …”

IOM: Over 6,600 migration deaths recorded within Africa since 2013

IOM report: “…Though much African migration is regular and takes places within Africa itself, the newly published evidence underscores the monumental risks that migrants can face on their journeys, and just how little we know about them. ‘When people don’t have access to legal migration routes and few reliable records exist, would-be migrants face vulnerability at the hands of human traffickers and smugglers,’ said Dr. Frank Laczko, Director of IOM’s Data Analysis Centre… Many of the deaths recorded by the Missing Migrants Project are concentrated on routes used by smugglers. Most migration deaths reported within Africa appear to have occurred while migrants are en route to Libya: deaths recorded since 2014 are predominately in the Sahara Desert, northern Niger, southern Libya, and northern Sudan.  The main causes of death recorded indicate that many migrant deaths in Africa are preventable. Starvation, dehydration, physical abuse, sickness and lack of access to medicines are causes of death frequently cited by the migrants who reported deaths on routes within Africa. Involvement with human smugglers and traffickers in human beings can put people in extremely risky situations in which they have little agency to protect themselves, let alone fellow travellers they see being abused….”

Boats 4 People: Mort-e-s et disparu-e-s en mer – le guide d’information pour les familles et leurs soutiens

Mort-e-s et disparu-e-s en mer: La version web du Guide d’information pour les familles et leurs soutiens est désormais disponible en tigrigna!  Publié en plusieurs langues (anglais, italien, français, arabe et tigrinya), le guide d’information pour les familles et leurs soutiens contribue à rendre leur dignité aux personnes disparues ou décédées lors de la traversée de la Méditerranée. Il apporte également un soutien essentiel à leurs proches, car derrière chaque personne disparue en mer, il y a toujours une mère, un père, un∙e conjoint∙e, des enfants, des cousin∙e∙s, des ami∙e∙s, enfermé∙e∙s dans l’attente, l’angoisse et l’espoir.

España: El Defensor insiste en la necesidad de mejorar la primera acogida de personas migrantes que llegan a las costas en situación irregular

“En el Día Internacional de las personas migrantes, … el Defensor del Pueblo (e.f.), Francisco Fernández Marugán, quiere insistir en la necesidad de mejorar la primera acogida y asistencia de las personas que llegan a las costas españolas en situación irregular….”

Statement here.

France: Le Défenseur des droits publie son rapport « Exilés et droits fondamentaux, trois ans après le rapport Calais »

“Le Défenseur des droits constate que les entraves persistantes à l’entrée dans la procédure d’asile, la saturation des dispositifs d’accueil des exilés, leur manque d’informations et le contrôle de leur situation administrative lors de leur mise à l’abri conduisent les campements évacués à systématiquement se reformer et contraignent les exilés à subir des conditions de vie que le Conseil d’État a qualifiées, en 2016 et 2017, de « traitements inhumains ou dégradants ».

Le Défenseur des droits recommande à l’Etat de se conformer au droit positif et de garantir aux exilés un droit inconditionnel à l’hébergement, des conditions de vie dignes ainsi qu’une prise en charge de leur santé, notamment de leurs troubles psychiques nés d’un parcours migratoire et d’un accueil difficiles. Quant aux mineurs, le Défenseur des droits souhaite l’adoption urgente de mesures favorisant la pérennité de leur mise à l’abri, de leur évaluation et de leur prise en charge. Il est également nécessaire de simplifier les procédures d’asile et de réunification familiale, aujourd’hui trop peu accessibles.

À défaut d’une politique nationale assurant un véritable accueil des primo-arrivants, les collectivités locales et les associations caritatives sont contraintes d’agir seules, dans un contexte où se maintient une pénalisation de certains actes de solidarité. Le Défenseur des droits recommande donc d’élargir l’immunité pénale à tous les actes apportés dans un but humanitaire.”

Reports and links here.

New book: “Human Security and Migration in Europe’s Southern Borders”

By Susana Ferreira, NOVA University Lisbon-examines management of migratory flows in the Med within an international security perspective, using Spain and Italy as case studies.

Opinion ‘It’s an Act of Murder’: How Europe Outsources Suffering as Migrants Drown

New York Times Opinion article and short film by Charles Heller, Lorenzo Pezzani, Itamar Mann, Violeta Moreno-Lax and Eyal Weizman:

This short film, produced by The Times’s Opinion Video team and the research groups Forensic Architecture and Forensic Oceanography, reconstructs a tragedy at sea that left at least 20 migrants dead. Combining footage from more than 10 cameras, 3-D modeling and interviews with rescuers and survivors, the documentary shows Europe’s role in the migrant crisis at sea.”

“On Nov. 6, 2017, at least 20 people trying to reach Europe from Libya drowned in the Mediterranean, foundering next to a sinking raft.  Not far from the raft was a ship belonging to Sea-Watch, a German humanitarian organization. That ship had enough space on it for everyone who had been aboard the raft. It could have brought them all to the safety of Europe, where they might have had a chance at being granted asylum.

Instead, 20 people drowned and 47 more were captured by the Libyan Coast Guard, which brought the migrants back to Libya, where they suffered abuse — including rape and torture.

This confrontation at sea was not a simplistic case of Europe versus Africa, with human rights and rescue on one side and chaos and danger on the other. Rather it’s a case of Europe versus Europe: of volunteers struggling to save lives being undercut by European Union policies that outsource border control responsibilities to the Libyan Coast Guard — with the aim of stemming arrivals on European shores.

While funding, equipping and directing the Libyan Coast Guard, European governments have stymied the activities of nongovernmental organizations like Sea-Watch, criminalizing them or impounding their ships, or turning away from ports ships carrying survivors.

More than 14,000 people have died or gone missing while trying to cross the central Mediterranean since 2014. But unlike most of those deaths and drownings, the incident on Nov. 6, 2017, was extensively documented.

Sea-Watch’s ship and rescue rafts were outfitted with nine cameras, documenting the entire scene in video and audio. The Libyans, too, filmed parts of the incident on their mobile phones.

The research groups Forensic Architecture and Forensic Oceanography of Goldsmiths, University of London, of which three of us — Mr. Heller, Mr. Pezzani and Mr. Weizman — are a part, combined these video sources with radio recordings, vessel tracking data, witness testimonies and newly obtained official sources to produce a minute-by-minute reconstruction of the facts. Opinion Video at The New York Times built on this work to create the above short documentary, gathering further testimonials by some of the survivors and rescuers who were there.

This investigation makes a few things clear: European governments are avoiding their legal and moral responsibilities to protect the human rights of people fleeing violence and economic desperation. More worrying, the Libyan Coast Guard partners that Europe is collaborating with are ready to blatantly violate those rights if it allows them to prevent migrants from crossing the sea….”

Full article and film here.

 

 

 

Auf See seit über 6 Tagen – für die Geretteten auf der Sea-Watch 3 muss das neue Jahr an Land beginnen!

Fünf Länder im sogenannten christlichen Westen haben dem Rettungsschiff Sea-Watch 3, ihrer 22-köpfigen Crew und den 32 Geretteten über die Weihnachtstage jegliche Hilfe bei der Suche nach einem sicheren Hafen verweigert. Das Schiff bleibt auf See gestrandet – in einem weiteren politischen Schwebezustand, der die unverhohlene Weigerung der EU beweist, auch nur das geringste humanitäre…

Der Beitrag Auf See seit über 6 Tagen – für die Geretteten auf der Sea-Watch 3 muss das neue Jahr an Land beginnen! erschien zuerst auf Sea-Watch e.V..

Weihnachten auf See: 344 Menschen binnen 24h gerettet – kein sicherer Hafen für die Geretteten auf der Sea-Watch 3

Binnen 24h wurden seit Freitag 344 Menschen von der Flotte der #United4med Allianz gerettet, der auch Sea-Watch angehört. Während die Open Arms mit 311 Menschen an Bord unterwegs nach Spanien ist, wird der Sea-Watch 3 nach wie vor ein sicherer Hafen verweigert. Eine Lösung wäre problemlos möglich, mehr als 30 Städte und mehrere Bundesländer haben…

Der Beitrag Weihnachten auf See: 344 Menschen binnen 24h gerettet – kein sicherer Hafen für die Geretteten auf der Sea-Watch 3 erschien zuerst auf Sea-Watch e.V..

Macht hoch die Tür! 311 Gerettete sollten Weihnachten nicht auf See verbringen müssen.

Trotz winterlicher Bedingungen versuchen nach wie vor Menschen, dem Bürgerkriegsland Libyen auf der gefährlichen Route durch das zentrale Mittelmeer zu entkommen. Die „OPEN ARMS“, Teil der #United4Med-Flotte, der auch Sea-Watch angehört, hat am 21. Dezember 313 Menschen in 3 Rettungseinsätzen gerettet und wartet nun auf Anweisungen, wo diese an Land gehen sollen. Ein zwei Tage…

Der Beitrag Macht hoch die Tür! 311 Gerettete sollten Weihnachten nicht auf See verbringen müssen. erschien zuerst auf Sea-Watch e.V..

EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia mandate extended until 31 March 2019

The Council of the EU issued the following press statement today, 21 December, though the decision to extend the mandate was made on 14 December:

“The Council extended the mandate of the EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia until 31 March 2019.  The operation’s core mandate is to contribute to the EU’s work to disrupt the business model of migrant smugglers and human traffickers in the Southern Central Mediterranean. The operation has also supporting tasks. It trains the Libyan Coastguard and Navy and monitors the long-term efficiency of the training and it contributes to the implementation of the UN arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya. In addition, the operation also conducts surveillance activities and gathers information on illegal trafficking of oil exports from Libya, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions. As such, the operation contributes to EU efforts for the return of stability and security in Libya and to maritime security in the Central Mediterranean region.

EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia was launched on 22 June 2015. It is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to migration. The Operation Commander is Rear Admiral Credendino, from Italy. The headquarters of the operation are located in Rome.”

1,100 people – not 800 – now believed to have died in the 18 April 2015 migrant ship wreck off Libya

Article by AP reporters Lori Hinnant, Trisha Thomas, and Krista Larson:  “Before their lives ended in an underwater death trap, before they lined up 100 to a row on a Libyan beach to board a boat with no anchor, the young men from the parched villages of the Sahel had names.  Two forensic investigators, one crisscrossing Africa and another in a university laboratory in Italy, are on a quest against the odds to keep Italy’s promise to find those names. They are tracing the identities of the migrants killed when an overloaded fishing boat went down off the coast of Libya on April 18, 2015, in the Mediterranean’s deadliest shipwreck in living memory.  The pledge was made before Europe turned against migrants, and it just got even harder to keep. Nearing their very first formal identification, one of the investigators made a devastating discovery this month: The vessel carried not 800 people, as initially believed, but nearly 1,100….”  Worth reading.

Report from OHCHR and UNSMIL: Migrants and refugees crossing Libya subjected to “Unimaginable Horrors” – calls on EU to reconsider cooperation and assistance to Libya

From the OHCHR press statementA report “published jointly by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the UN Human Rights Office, covers a 20-month period up to August 2018, and details a terrible litany of violations and abuses committed by a range of State officials, armed groups, smugglers and traffickers against migrants and refugees. These include unlawful killings, torture, arbitrary detention, gang rape, slavery, forced labour and extortion….

‘The overwhelming majority of women and older teenage girls interviewed by UNSMIL reported being gang raped by smugglers or traffickers,’ the report says. UN staff visiting 11 detention centres, where thousands of migrants and refugees are being held, documented torture, ill-treatment, forced labour, and rape by the guards, and reported that women are often held in facilities without female guards, exacerbating the risk of sexual abuse and exploitation. Female detainees are often subjected to strip searches carried out, or watched, by male guards.

Those who manage in the end to attempt the perilous Mediterranean sea crossing, are increasingly being intercepted or rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard which then transfers them back to Libya, where many are delivered straight back into the pattern of violations and abuse they have just escaped.

The approximately 29,000 migrants returned to Libya by the Coast Guard since early 2017 were transferred to immigration detention centres run by the Department of Combating Illegal Migration, where thousands remain detained indefinitely and arbitrarily, without due process or access to lawyers or consular services.

The report states Libya cannot be considered a place of safety following rescue or interception at sea, given the considerable risk of being subject to serious human rights abuses, and notes that these ‘pushbacks’ have been considered by the UN Special rapporteur on torture as violations of the principle of non refoulement, which is prohibited under international law.

The report calls on the European Union and its Member States to reconsider the human costs of their policies and efforts to stem migration to Europe and ensure that their cooperation and assistance to the Libyan authorities are human rights-based, in line with their own obligations under international human rights and refugee law, and do not, directly or indirectly, result in men, women and children being trapped in abusive situations with little hope of protection and remedy.

Migrants held in the centres are systematically subjected to starvation and severe beatings, burned with hot metal objects, electrocuted and subjected to other forms of ill-treatment with the aim of extorting money from their families through a complex system of money transfers.

The detention centres are characterized by severe overcrowding, lack of ventilation and lighting, and insufficient washing facilities and latrines.  In addition to the abuses and violence committed against the people held there, many of them suffer from malnutrition, skin infections, acute diarrhoea, respiratory tract-infections and other ailments, as well as inadequate medical treatment. Children are held with adults in same squalid conditions.

The report points to the apparent ‘complicity of some State actors, including local officials, members of armed groups formally integrated into State institutions, and representatives of the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defence, in the smuggling or trafficking of migrants and refugees.’…”

Full report here.

Infographics summary of report here.

Gemeinsame Erklärung – Straßburg

Als Such- und Rettungsorganisationen sind wir froh, dass wir dank der Initiative der Sozialdemokratischen Fraktion für den Sacharow-Preis für geistige Freiheit nominiert wurden. Mit dieser Ernennung wird die entscheidende Rolle anerkannt, die die NROs in den letzten Jahren bei der Rettung von Menschenleben gespielt haben. Allein im vergangenen Jahr haben NROs etwa 40 % der…

Der Beitrag Gemeinsame Erklärung – Straßburg erschien zuerst auf Sea-Watch e.V..

EU Council adopts decision expanding EUBAM Libya’s mandate to include actively supporting Libyan authorities in disrupting networks involved in smuggling migrants, human trafficking and terrorism

Outcome of Council Meeting, 17 December 2018 (provisional version) (at p. 11):

FOREIGN AFFAIRS – EUBAM Libya – The Council adopted a decision mandating the EU integrated border management assistance mission in Libya (EUBAM Libya) to actively support the Libyan authorities in contributing to efforts to disrupt organised criminal networks involved in smuggling migrants, human trafficking and terrorism. The mission was previously mandated to plan for a future EU civilian mission while engaging with the Libyan authorities.

The mission’s revised mandate will run until 30 June 2020. The Council also allocated a budget of € 61.6 million for the period from 1 January 2019 to 30 June 2020.

In order to achieve its objectives EUBAM Libya provides capacity-building in the areas of border management, law enforcement and criminal justice. The mission advises the Libyan authorities on the development of a national integrated border management strategy and supports capacity building, strategic planning and coordination among relevant Libyan authorities. The mission will also manage as well as coordinate projects related to its mandate.

EUBAM Libya responds to a request by the Libyan authorities and is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to support the transition to a democratic, stable and prosperous Libya. The civilian mission co-operates closely with, and contributes to, the efforts of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya.

The mission’s headquarters are located in Tripoli and the Head of Mission is Vincenzo Tagliaferri (from Italy). EUBAM Libya

Week in Review – 16 December 2018

A Review of Events of the Previous Week in the Mediterranean

The death toll

IOM: Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 111,237 in 2018; Deaths Reach 2,216

“This year is the fifth straight during which the arrival of irregular migrants and refugees has topped the 100,000 threshold – although 2018’s total is low compared to those recorded at this time in 2017 (166,737) and 2016 (358,018).”

Libyan Coast Guard pull backs / interceptions remain at 14,795

According to the UNHCR, there have been no reported Libyan Coast Guard interceptions so far in December.

54 people believed to have been lost at sea without a trace in October

IOM reports that it learned that a boat disappeared without a trace in the Western Mediterranean after departing from Nador, Morocco, more than a month ago. The shipwreck is believed to have occurred between 26 and 27 October, when at least 54 people – including 11 women and three children – are now thought to have lost their lives. Soon after the boat’s departure, the NGO Alarm Phone, which runs a hotline for people crossing the Mediterranean, received a distress call from those onboard. No one on board has been heard from since. Spanish and Moroccan authorities confirmed that they, too, conducted search and rescue operations for this vessel but were unable to locate the boat or any survivors. In the weeks since the boat’s disappearance, dozens of family members have posted on social media channels searching for information about their loved ones. For its part the Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras, which is in contact with families of those on board, also reported that the boat may have disappeared without a trace.  It has now been over a month since the boat went missing. The fate of these 54 people remains a mystery and a source of agony to the many family members left behind. When a boat vanishes without a trace, it often goes unnoticed and unrecorded by the media or databases….”

90-Day Extension for EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia Remains Under Consideration

Italy has agreed to a 90-day extension of the EUNAVFOR MED mandate in order to permit continued EU negotiations regarding changes to EUNAVFOR MED’s mission, including changes relating to the places rescued migrants could be disembarked. The current mandate expires on 31 December 2018.  Italy has to date refused to agree to a longer extension of the mandate in the absence of changes to the disembarkation rules or to the Dublin Regulation.  Italy’s insistence on changes to disembarkation rules have become less important given the very small numbers of migrants rescued by the EUNAVFOR MED mission.  ANSA reported that the “Italian government decided to extend the mission after a meeting convened by Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte with Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta, Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero, Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Enzo Vecciarelli, Mission Commander Adm. Enrico Credentino, and Foreign Ministry Secretary General Elisabetta Belloni. … Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta …wished to avoid a brusque closure of the mission….”

It is time for EUNAVFOR MED to drop the “Operation Sophia” name

EUNAVFOR MED is not engaged in search and rescue operations, though it continues to hold itself out as a humanitarian mission.  It was just over three years ago in September 2015 when HR Mogherini announced in a speech that the operation’s official name would include “Operation Sophia”:

“Sophia is a baby who was born on 24 August 2015 at 04.15 am on board the German frigate Schleswig-Holstein, operating in the Central Mediterranean Sea as part of EUNAVFOR MED Task Force. Born from a Somali mother rescued together with other 453 migrants and disembarked on the evening of the same day in the harbour of Taranto, Sophia was named after the German ship dedicated to the Prussian princess Sophia of Schleswig-Holstein. I will suggest to Member States that we change the name of our Operation: instead of calling it EUNAVFOR MED, I suggest we use the name: Sophia. To honour the lives of the people we are saving, the lives of people we want to protect, and to pass the message to the world that fighting the smugglers and the criminal networks is a way of protecting human life.”

The Brussels 2 website reports that EUNAVFOR MED has only rescued 106 migrants over the past five months whereas the Libyan Coast Guard has intercepted and pulled back over 14,000 migrants and refugees in 2018.

Libyan Navy welcomes EU’s halting of NGO rescue boats

From the Libya Observer: “The spokesman for the Libyan Naval forces, Brigadier General Ayoub Qassem, said that the suspension of non-governmental organizations activities in the field of rescuing migrants will be positive to the Libyan Navy….Qassem accused these organizations of being a catalyst for increasing immigration, by transferring migrants to European countries, giving no caution to the thousands who drown, annually, in the sea.”

Cyprus sees sharp increase in arrivals

Article by AP reporter Menelaos Hadjicostis in the Washington Post: “[T]housands of migrants … have slipped into Cyprus this year [from Turkish Cyprus] across its porous 180-kilometer-long (120-mile-long) buffer zone. Migrant arrivals by sea have also increased, turning tiny Cyprus into the EU’s top recipient of asylum-seekers relative to its population size, as other EU countries have tightened their borders.  Government statistics show that about 5,000 people — mostly from Syria but also Somalia, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cameroon — had claimed asylum in Cyprus by the end of August. That’s expected to reach 8,000 by year’s end, up from 3,000 in 2016. While that’s a fraction of the hundreds of thousands seeking asylum in the EU, it’s putting pressure on a country with just over 1 million people….Despite its proximity to the conflict zones of the Middle East, Cyprus received relatively few asylum-seekers during the peak of Europe’s migrant crisis three years ago, when most migrants arrived in Greece and made their way through the Balkans toward countries in northern Europe. An island nation just emerging from a severe economic crisis, Cyprus wasn’t seen as an attractive destination for migrants and refugees seeking shelter and a new life in Europe. But that changed as nations in Europe shut their borders and the economic situation improved….”

See also article by Helena Smith from the Guardian: ‘Cyprus is saturated’ – burgeoning migrant crisis grips island. “The island has exceeded every other EU member state in asylum claims in 2018, recording the highest number per capita with almost 6,000 applications for a population of about 1 million. By August requests were 55% higher than for the same eight-month period in 2017, a figure itself 56% higher than that for 2016, according to the interior ministry….Illicit crossings from the north have made Cyprus’ woes much worse. Reports have increased in recent months of irregular migrants flying into Ercan airport in the Turkish-controlled breakaway state. Hamstrung by politics, not least Turkey’s refusal to recognise the government in the southern part of Cyprus since its 1974 invasion of the island, authorities are unable to send them back….”

EU promises additional emergency funding to Morocco “in response to increased migratory pressure along the Western Mediterranean Route”

Press release from the European Commission: “The EU is intensifying its support to Morocco to address irregular migration in response to increased migratory pressure along the Western Mediterranean Route. The additional funding adopted under the EU emergency Trust Fund for Africa will bring the overall migration-related assistance to Morocco to €148 million in 2018. It will help step up the fight against migrant smuggling and trafficking of human beings, including through reinforced integrated border management….”

See also ANSA article: Cooperation increases between Spain and Morocco on migration.

European Defence Agency producing geospatial information in support of EUNAVFOR MED operations

The European Defence Agency’s GISMO project (Geospatial Information to Support decision Making in Operations project) is producing geospatial information in support of EUNAVFOR MED operations and aims at full operational capability by mid-2019.  From the EDA:  “Since [2014] and working in partnership with the EU Satellite Centre (EU SatCen), GISMO has produced a first operational output in the form of ‘GeohuB’, a software application which allows for the safe and reliable sharing of geospatial information (GI) within a mission’s operational headquarter. After a successful field trial, GeohuB was successfully deployed in November 2017 to the Italian Operation Headquarters, Rome, in support of EU Naval Force Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED). In practical terms, this means that operation participants with access to the classified mission network of EUNAVFOR MED’s operational headquarters in Rome can upload, share and manage geospatial data related to the operation…Last June, GISMO started the transition of the GeohuB application from the current status of Initial Operating Capability (IOC) to Full Operating Capability (FOC) by the summer. …”

Speech by MSF president: “Migration is not a crime. Saving lives is not a crime”

MSF International President Dr Joanne Liu’s speech on a panel discussion at the Global Compact on Migration conference in Marrakesh, Morocco: “…Last week MSF was forced to stop search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea. A concerted, sinister campaign of legal challenges and administrative obstacles, means the ship we were working aboard—the Aquarius—is no longer authorised to leave port, let alone rescue people at risk of drowning in the Mediterranean. With the sabotage of the Aquarius, gone is the most basic humanitarian and legal commitment: saving lives at sea. Last week, 15 people stranded in a boat off the Libyan coast died of thirst and starvation. How many may be similarly dying or drowning, without anyone even aware?  Citizens and mayors around Europe have mobilised to receive rescued people and to show their humanity. Meanwhile, European governments have refused to provide search and rescue capacity, and – worse – have actively sabotaged the efforts of others to save lives. Saving lives is non-negotiable. Saving lives is what we do, what we will continue to do and fight for, and what we urge you to defend.  Saving lives is indeed a fundamental part of the Global Compact….”

Auf der Flucht vor Menschenrechten

Als Kapitänin ist Pia Klemp dazu verpflichtet, Menschen in Not zu retten. Weil sie das getan hat, laufen in Italien gegen sie Ermittlungen. Es ist ein politischer Prozess, der ganz Europa betrifft. Über 6.000 Seemeilen hat Pia Klemp an Bord von Seenotrettungsschiffen zurückgelegt. Zuletzt steuerte sie die Sea-Watch 3 vor die libysche Küste, um Ausschau…

Der Beitrag Auf der Flucht vor Menschenrechten erschien zuerst auf Sea-Watch e.V..

90-Day Extension for EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia Under Consideration

Italy has agreed to a 90-day extension of the EUNAVFOR MED mandate in order to permit continued EU negotiations regarding changes to EUNAVFOR MED’s mission, including changes relating to the places rescued migrants could be disembarked. The current mandate expires on 31 December 2018.  Italy has to date refused to agree to an extension of the mandate in the absence of changes to the disembarkation rules or the Dublin Regulation.  Italy’s insistence on changes to disembarkation rules have become less important given the very small numbers of migrants rescued by the EUNAVFOR MED mission.  The Brussels 2 website reports that EUNAVFOR MED has only rescued 106 migrants over the past five months whereas the Libyan Coast Guard has intercepted and pulled back over 14,000 migrants and refugees in 2018.

ANSA reported that the “Italian government decided to extend the mission after a meeting convened by Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte with Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta, Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero, Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Enzo Vecciarelli, Mission Commander Adm. Enrico Credentino, and Foreign Ministry Secretary General Elisabetta Belloni. … Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta …wished to avoid a brusque closure of the mission….

… Meanwhile, in Brussels, negotiations surrounding the renewal of the mission’s mandate are stalled in the EU Political and Security Committee (PSC). A new meeting is scheduled prior to the EU Council on Thursday and Friday. On the table is a possible six-month extension tied to the effort to find a medium-term solution on the issue of ports of disembarkation.”

Week in Review – 09 December 2018

A Review of Events of the Previous Week in the Mediterranean

The death toll

IOM: Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 109,455 in 2018; Deaths Reach 2,160

Libyan Coast Guard pull backs / interceptions remain at 14,795

UNHCR did not report any new Libyan Coast Guard pull backs over the previous week.  UNHCR reported that “as of 6 December, the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) [had previously] rescued/intercepted 14,795 refugees and migrants at sea (10,346 men, 2,172 women and 1,421 children) during 115 sea operations. In November 2018, 546 refugees and migrants were disembarked in Libya. Throughout the year, the majority of refugees and migrants were disembarked at the Tripoli Naval Base (62 per cent) while others disembarked at Al Khums port (19 per cent) and Azzawya (11 per cent).”

EU reportedly to begin sharing sensitive surveillance and intelligence information with Libyan coast guard

From Matthias Monroy (@matthimon): “Libya is to be connected to the European surveillance network ‘Seahorse Mediterranean’ before the end of December this year. This was written by the State Secretary at the German Federal Foreign Office in response to a parliamentary question. Libyan authorities could learn about relevant incidents in the Mediterranean via the new cooperation. The military coastguard, for example, would receive the coordinates of boats with refugees to bring them back to Libya. In ‘Seahorse Mediterranean’ the southern Mediterranean countries of the European Union are joined. In addition to Italy, Malta, Greece, Cyprus, France and Spain, Portugal is also part of the network. It is a multilateral network of some Member States, not an institution of the European Union. ‘Seahorse Mediterranean’, however, it is connected to the EUROSUR system through which the European Union monitors its external borders. EUROSUR is intended to contribute to an ‘integrated European border management’. The EUROSUR system is operated by the new European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) and coordinated through a Situation Centre at the Frontex Border Agency in Warsaw. In this way, information from Frontex can also be fed into ‘Seahorses Mediterranean’. These can be, for example, situation reports or event messages generated from satellite reconnaissance information from the Copernicus programme. Frontex uses surveillance from space to detect suspicious activities at external maritime borders….”  Read full article by Monroy here.

European Commission misleads on reasons for migrant deaths

Article by EUobserver reporter Nikolaj Nielsen (@NikolajNielsen):  An EC spokeswoman blamed rising migrant deaths on the use of less seaworthy boats by smugglers: “‘What we are seeing here is a change of the modus operandi of the smugglers who are now no longer using the same type of vessels,’[.] The spokeswoman did not say why, noting that close to 700,000 lives have been saved since 2015. In September, she had offered an almost identical explanation. But the omission as to why points to a commission that is dealing in half truths. In fact, EU policy is in part responsible for making those boats more dangerous. Up until last year, the EU’s naval operation Sophia had seized over 500 refugee boats. Many more are likely to have since been captured. By destroying these boats, it forces people to turn to less seaworthy and more dangerous alternatives. Europe’s regional director for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Eugenio Ambrosi, offered a similar explanation. ‘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,’ he told this website in October….”

UNHCR’s Tripoli “Gathering and Departure Facility” (GDF) now operational

From UNHCR: “On 6 December, UNHCR evacuated 133 refugees and asylum-seekers from the newly opened Gathering and Departure Facility (GDF) in Tripoli to the Emergency Transit Mechanism (ETM) in Niger. All of the evacuees were previously detained in Libyan detention centres and hosted in the GDF prior to their departure. The GDF is the first of its kind in the country and is intended to bring vulnerable refugees to a safe environment while solutions including resettlement, family reunification, or evacuation to other emergency facilities are sought for them. The facility is managed by UNHCR, partner LibAid and the Libyan Ministry of Interior…”

Greece Sea Arrivals Dashboard (November 2018)

From UNHCR: “So far in 2018, a total of 29,567 refugees and migrants arrived in Greece by sea. The majority are from Syria (26%), Afghanistan (26%) and Iraq (19%). More than half of the population are women (23%) and children (37%), while 40% are men. Arrivals in November 2018, at 2,075 decreased in comparison to October, when 4,073 people arrived on the islands. Arrivals during January to November 2018 are 8% higher than those of the same period in 2017. Lesvos has received almost half (47%) of all new arrivals, during 2018, followed by Samos (25%), Dodecanese islands (15%), Chios (12%) and Crete (1%).”

Increasing numbers of Algerian “harraga” leaving by sea

From El Watan: “Le phénomène de la harga de plus en plus alarmant : Le grand naufrage. Le phénomène de l’émigration clandestine (appelée communément la «harga») prend une ampleur sans précédent ces dernières années, en Algérie. … Au niveau de l’Oranie, les jeunes en partance pour les côtes ibériques, à bord d’embarcations de fortune, prennent le large, le plus souvent, à partir de Ghazaouet, Mostaganem, Oran, et, à un degré moindre Aïn Témouchent. Rien que dans la nuit de dimanche à lundi derniers, ils étaient 97 harraga à avoir été interceptés par les gardes-côtes, au large de différentes plages de l’ouest du pays. Dimanche dernier à 1h, 34 autres harraga, à bord de deux embarcations pneumatiques, ont été sauvés in extremis par les gardes-côtes, tandis que les corps de deux d’entre eux ont été repêchés sans vie….”

Voir également: “Migration : Harraga, nouvelle ruée sur la grande bleue. Le phénomène des harraga connaît depuis quelques semaines une accélération remarquée. Les conditions climatiques et la vigilance des gardes-côtes ne constituent plus un frein pour les jeunes et les moins jeunes qui tentent de rejoindre la rive nord de la Méditerranée sur des embarcations de fortune au péril de leur vie….”

Disturbing words from Danish Immigration Minister Inger Støjberg regarding rejected asylum seekers: “They are unwanted in Denmark, and they will feel that.”

From the New York Times: “Denmark plans to house the country’s most unwelcome foreigners in a most unwelcoming place: a tiny, hard-to-reach island that now holds the laboratories, stables and crematory of a center for researching contagious animal diseases. As if to make the message clearer, one of the two ferries that serve the island is called the Virus. ‘They are unwanted in Denmark, and they will feel that,’ the immigration minister, Inger Støjberg wrote on Facebook.  On Friday, the center-right government and the right-wing Danish People’s Party announced an agreement to house as many as 100 people on Lindholm Island — foreigners who have been convicted of crimes but who cannot be returned to their home countries. Many would be rejected asylum seekers….”

EUNAVFOR MED Sophia completes training module for Libyan Coast Guard personnel

EUNAVFOR MED completed the training of the latest cohort of Libyan personnel who will return to Libya to crew Libyan patrol boats.  The training included significant emphasis on gender issues, important yes, but not the main concern with Libya-EU pull back practices. From EUNAVFOR MED: “With the positive conclusion of this module, a total of 320 Libyan Coastguard and Navy personnel trained by EUNAVFOR Med has been achieved.”

According to EUobserver, Libyan personnel trained by EUNAVFOR MED are supposedly subjected to a robust vetting process: “The vetting is said to be carried out by EU states, international law enforcement agencies and Sophia. When EUobserver asked how many they have refused to train, a spokesperson for the EU’s foreign policy branch, the EEAS, said the figures are ‘restricted information’. When EUobserver filed a freedom of information request for the same data from the EEAS, it said such figures are not being held. Qassim Ayoub, spokesperson for Libya’s coast guard, told [EUobserver] earlier this year that people who are refused training are returned to their jobs in the Libyan Coast Guard.”

MSF statement: Aquarius forced to end operations as Europe condemns people to drown

As refugees, migrants and asylum seekers continue to die in the Mediterranean Sea, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and its partner SOS MEDITERRANEE have been forced to terminate operations by the search and rescue vessel Aquarius. Over the past two months, with people continuing to flee by sea along the world’s deadliest migration route, the Aquarius has remained in port, unable to carry out its humanitarian work. This is the result of a sustained campaign, spearheaded by the Italian government and backed by other European states, to delegitimise, slander and obstruct aid organisations providing assistance to vulnerable people. Coupled with the EU’s ill-conceived external policies on migration, this campaign has undermined international law and humanitarian principles. With no immediate solution to these attacks, MSF and SOS MEDITERRANEE have no choice but to end operations by the Aquarius. ‘This is a dark day,’ says Nelke Manders, MSF’s general director. ‘Not only has Europe failed to provide search and rescue capacity, it has also actively sabotaged others’ attempts to save lives. The end of Aquarius means more deaths at sea, and more needless deaths that will go unwitnessed.’…”

New drone deployments: Frontex surveillance drone in Lampedusa and French police drones over Calais

Via Jane’s Defence Weekly: Frontex demos unmanned Falco EVO for EU maritime border surveillance – The Falco EVO UAV being used by Frontex to demonstrate the use of unmanned aircraft to patrol the EU’s maritime borders….

The Selex Galileo Falco EVO has been selected by the European Union’s Frontex border control agency to explore the use of medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for maritime border surveillance….”

Via The Telegraph: “Police in Calais are using drones to locate migrants preparing to cross the Channel by boat, so that they can be arrested before they reach the water. In an escalation of security measures, the remotely controlled aerial vehicles have been seen flying low above the main Calais Migrant camp and sweeping across nearby beaches. … The move has come after a recent spike in attempted crossings of the English Channel by predominantly Iranian migrants….”

African migrants turn to deadly ocean route to Canary Islands as options narrow

Via Reuters: “Many migrants see the chain of islands off the Moroccan coast as the only viable option left as the European Union spends millions of dollars cutting off land routes through north Africa. They consider it a launchpad for asylum in mainland Europe…. Over 1,200 migrants arrived in the Canary Islands between Jan. 1 and Nov. 14, Spanish Interior Ministry data show, the highest in nine years and a four-fold increase over the same period in 2017….”

HRW calls on Greece and EU to move asylum seekers on Aegean Islands to mainland

Human Rights Watch: “The Greek government and its European Union partners should urgently ensure that all asylum seekers on the Aegean islands are transferred to suitable accommodation on the mainland or relocated to other EU countries as winter approaches, 20 human rights and other organizations said today. Despite the Greek government’s recent efforts to transfer asylum seekers from the islands to more suitable accommodation in the mainland, as of December 3, 2018, over 12,500 people were still living in tents and containers unsuitable for winter in five EU-sponsored camps known as hotspots on Lesbos, Samos, Chios, Kos, and Leros – almost triple their capacity. In addition to serious overcrowding, asylum seekers continue facing unsanitary and unhygienic conditions and physical violence, including violence based on gender….”

2018 Migrant Arrivals to Yemen Approach 150,000

IOM’s “Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) forecasts a 50 per cent year-on-year rise over 2017 in migrant arrivals to Yemen – with nearly 150,000 migrants expected to enter the country in 2018. This, despite the ongoing conflict in Yemen and deadly perils along migration routes across the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea. … Today, an estimated 92 per cent of its incoming migrants are Ethiopian nationals, with Somalis accounting for the rest. In 2017, an estimated 100,000 migrants reached Yemen. …The upsurge in Yemen’s migrant arrivals exceeds 2018 arrivals to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea (107,216 arrivals this year)….”

International Maritime Organization: statement and resources re unsafe mixed migration by sea

From IMO:  “In order to address the safety of life at sea and search and rescue issues arising from unsafe migration by sea, IMO has been working with its partner organizations in the UN system as well as other international bodies to develop and update guidance for shipmasters and Governments. An information sharing platform has been established. IMO urges concerted action by the international community to tackle unsafe, mixed migration by sea, in the Mediterranean and other sea areas and has been actively addressing the issue at its own Committee meetings as well as through joint meetings on the matter with UN partners and other relevant international organizations.

Guidance on Rescue at Sea – Rescue at Sea:  A guide to principles and practice as applied to refugees and migrants  has been prepared jointly by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The guide is available in six languages…”

Separated at sea: during rescue operation in March, Sierra Leonean father rescued by NGO vessel Aquarius, 10 year-old son taken by Libyan Coast Guard vessel

From the Guardian, by Lorenzo Tondo (@lorenzo_tondo): “One night in March, a packed dinghy was afloat in the Mediterranean. Thirty metres ahead was a rescue ship but giving chase was a Libyan coastguard vessel. If it reached the boat it would send its passengers back to Libya and into militia-run detention centres. So they paddled harder, using their hands and feet. Among them were a father and his 10-year-old son, Chica and Alfonsine Camara. The dinghy crashed into the rescue ship and dozens were thrown into the sea, Chica among them. He looked around frantically for Alfonsine, who had been at his side since leaving Sierra Leone. He screamed as he saw him on the dinghy, now drifting dangerously towards the Libyans. In a matter of seconds, the fates of a father and son were decided – one human drama among the thousands on the perilous sea routes to Europe….”

“They are unwanted in Denmark, and they will feel that.” Danish Immigration Minister Inger Støjberg

2018-12-06 Inger StojbergFrom the New York Times:  Denmark Plans to Isolate Unwanted Migrants on a Small Island: “Denmark plans to house the country’s most unwelcome foreigners in a most unwelcoming place: a tiny, hard-to-reach island that now holds the laboratories, stables and crematory of a center for researching contagious animal diseases. As if to make the message clearer, one of the two ferries that serve the island is called the Virus. ‘They are unwanted in Denmark, and they will feel that,’ the immigration minister, Inger Stojberg, wrote on Facebook. On Friday, the center-right government and the right-wing Danish People’s Party announced an agreement to house as many as 100 people on Lindholm Island — foreigners who have been convicted of crimes but who cannot be returned to their home countries. Many would be rejected asylum seekers….”  Full article here. 

 

United4Med fordert sofortige Lösung für das spanische Fischerboot. Die erste Person wurde bereits evakuiert, weitere werden folgen ohne einen sicheren Hafen: Europa muss sie jetzt retten.

Die Menschen an Bord des Fischerbootes Nostra Madre di Loreto befinden sich in einem kritischen Zustand. Die Schiffe von Mediterranea und Open Arms, die mehrere Stunden lang vor Ort waren, baten Malta um eine sofortige Evakuierung eines der Überlebenden, der sich zu diesem Zeitpunkt bereits in einem Zustand der Bewusstlosigkeit befand. Zu später Stunde flog…

Der Beitrag United4Med fordert sofortige Lösung für das spanische Fischerboot. Die erste Person wurde bereits evakuiert, weitere werden folgen ohne einen sicheren Hafen: Europa muss sie jetzt retten. erschien zuerst auf Sea-Watch e.V..

Week in Review – 02 December 2018

 A Review of Events of the Previous Week in the Mediterranean

 The death toll

IOM: Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 107,216 in 2018; Deaths Reach 2,123

15 found dead on stranded vessel off Morocco

The Middle East Eye, via AFP, reported that “Morocco’s navy found the bodies of 15 migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa on board a boat stranded at sea for days, a military source told AFP news agency. …The vessel was left drifting for four days following engine failure on its way to Spain, the source told AFP….”

European Parliament Legal Service says disembarkation platforms can lawfully be established outside of EU; Legal Service also says EU law does not apply to migrants rescued on the high seas

The EU Observer reported on the contents of a “10-page confidential report” prepared by the EP’s Legal Service “which attempted to provide a legal analysis of stalled EU plans to set up so-called ‘regional disembarkation platforms’ in north Africa and controlled centres in Europe…. The report broadly rubber stamps the legality of both concepts, but with conditions.  It says ‘controlled centres and/or disembarkation platforms of a similar nature could be, in principle, lawfully established in the European Union territory.’ It states disembarkation platforms ‘could lawfully be established outside of the European Union, in order to receive migrants rescued outside the territory of the Union’s member states.’”

The report “also says EU law does not apply to migrants rescued at high sea, even with a boat flying an EU-member state flag. … EU law is also not applied if the migrant is rescued in the territorial waters of an African coastal state, states the report.”

While no EU state has expressed an interest in establishing formal “controlled centres” and no North African state has been willing to host an EU “disembarkation platform”, “‘the disembarkation arrangement, the discussion, is proceeding in the Council,’ said Vincet Piket, a senior official in the EU’s foreign policy branch, the EEAS.”

Libyan Coast Guard pull backs / interceptions reach 14,795

UNHCR reports that “as of 30 November, in 2018, the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) has rescued/intercepted 14,795 refugees and migrants (10,346 men, 2,172 women and 1,421 children) during 115 sea operations. Since August to date, the number of refugees and migrants disembarked in Libya (2,162 individuals) has considerably decreased when compared to disembarkations in June (3,453 individuals) and July (2,167 individuals). In November, 546 individuals disembarked in Libya. The most recent events took place on 23 November (27 individuals disembarked at the Alkhums Naval Base) and on 24 November (110 individuals disembarked at the Azzawya Refinery Port and 63 in Zwara).”

Migrant flows slow to trickle in Sabratha, former Libyan smuggling hub

From Reuters, article by Aidan Lewis and Ulf Laessing: “Departures of migrant-laden boats to Italy from Sabratha, formerly Libya’s biggest people-smuggling hub, have slowed to a trickle thanks to a security crackdown triggered by European pressure that ejected the city’s top smuggler. … Crossings fell off abruptly in July 2017 after the city’s top smuggler, Ahmed al-Dabbashi – also known as Al-Ammu (the Uncle) – struck a deal with Tripoli authorities under Italian pressure to desist from trafficking migrants. Rival militia ejected Al-Ammu and his followers in fighting two months later, and have since consolidated their position, fending off an attempted comeback by Al Ammu earlier this month….”

Sharp drop in Spanish arrivals

IOM reports “that through Wednesday (28 November) 4,277 men, women and children have arrived as irregular migrants this month [in Spain], or slightly more than 1,000 people per week. This is a sharp drop from October (nearly 2,500 per week) or September (almost 1,900) when deaths at sea were lower, despite the higher arrival volume.”

NGOs resume limited rescue missions in Mediterranean

From Libya Observer: “Sea Watch, Proactiva Open Arms and Mediterranea have launched a joint rescue operation for migrants off the coast of Libya. ‘The fleet of three ships supported by the reconnaissance aircraft Moonbird which was also grounded in Malta, views itself as a civil society response to the European Union’s deadly isolation policy.’ Sea-Watch said.”

Libyan coast guard receives new patrol boat from Italy; V4 states to fund purchase of four additional Libyan patrol boats

The Libya coast guard received its latest new patrol boat from Italy.  And the foreign ministers of the Visegrad Group agreed last week “that their contribution to the Trust Fund for Africa would be used to support the building of the Libyan coast guard’s capacity and to strengthen the border of Libya.”  The former head of Slovak diplomacy Miroslav Lajčák said “that the V4 states will provide 35 million euros to strengthen, among other things, Libya’s coast guard capability, including the purchase and maintenance of four ships, as well as the marine coordination rescue center.”

10-day stand-off ends – rescued migrants disembark from Spanish fishing boat in Malta and will be transferred to Spain

From Reuters: “Eleven migrants rescued off the coast of Libya by a Spanish fishing boat were brought to Malta on Sunday, ending a protracted standoff to find a safe port for the boat. The nine men and two minors were transferred from the Nuestra Madre de Loreto to an [Armed Forces of Malta] vessel…. They were then transferred to Spain following talks between the two countries, the government said. … The fishing boat, Santa Madre de Loreto, rescued 12 migrants in international waters off the coast of Libya 10 days ago. Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms has been assisting the boat and migrants aboard, who it says would not have been safe if they were returned to Libya….”

The stand-off had been condemned by MSF and Amnesty International.

Increasing numbers of migrants attempt English Channel crossing

Sky News: “More than 100 migrants have been rescued off the Kent coast this month alone.”

Frontex opens first risk analysis cell in Niger

Frontex press statement: Frontex “opened the first ‘Risk Analysis Cell’ in Niamey in cooperation with Nigerien authorities.  The role of these cells, which are run by local analysts trained by Frontex, is to collect and analyse strategic data on cross-border crime in various African countries and support relevant authorities involved in border management….The Risk Analysis Cell in Niger is the first of eight such cells that was established in the framework of the Africa-Frontex Intelligence Community (AFIC). The remaining ones will be established in Ghana, Gambia, Senegal, Kenya, Nigeria, Guinea and Mali over the next twelve months….”

UNHCR Europe Monthly Report (October 2018) – 34% reduction in arrivals compared to last year

UNHCR: “Between 1 January and 31 October, 104,300 refugees and migrants arrived via the three Mediterranean routes to Europe compared to almost 157,700 arrivals in the same period in 2017. This marks a 34% reduction from the previous year’s arrival figures, showing a continued declining trend of the overall arrivals numbers to Europe. So far in 2018, October has seen the most arrivals in a single month with over 16,310 people reaching Europe. Figures from previous years show that arrivals in October tend to peak in comparison with other autumn months. Most confirmed arrivals so far this year have been to Spain, with some 55,340 arriving by land and sea compared to almost over 40,500 in Greece and some 21,960 in Italy. Primary nationalities amongst arrivals in 2018 so far were Syrians, Guineans, and Moroccans.

  • CYPRUS: Some 460 people arrived to Cyprus by sea thus far in 2018. Syrians make up the majority of those arriving to Cyprus.
  • GREECE: Nearly 41,300 refugees and migrants have arrived by land and sea in Greece with 67% arriving by sea so far in 2018. Arrivals by land and sea this year have increased by around 44% compared to those who arrived in the same period in 2017. … The three top countries of origin of arrivals by sea so far during 2018 were Syrians (27%), Afghans (25%) and Iraqis (19%).
  • ITALY: Almost 21,960 refugees and migrants have arrived in Italy by sea in 2018 by the end of October. Continuing the downwards trend of arrivals compared to the same period in 2017 (over 111,390), just over 1,000 refugees and migrants reached Italian shores in October, an 83% decrease compared to the 5,980 arrivals in October last year. … Among the various nationalities arriving by sea in Italy in October the majority were from Tunisia (22%), followed by Eritrea (14%), and Sudan (7%). …
  • SPAIN: A total of 53,100 refugees and migrants have reached Spain both by land and sea so far in 2018, representing an increase of 150% compared to the same period in 2017 (over 21,200). … The five most common nationalities of sea arrivals in Spain are Moroccans (21%), Guineans (21%), Malians (16%), Ivoirians (8%) and Algerians (7%).”

What happens to the bodies of those who die in the Mediterranean?

Al Jazeera, by Stefania D’Ignoti: “On All Soul’s Day, around three kilometres from the port in the Sicilian city of Catania, the pauper’s grave at the Monumental Cemetery is unusually well-tended, with fresh flowers and beads wrapped around cross-shaped headstones.  Many belong to refugees and migrants who died at sea while trying to reach Europe. Sicilian cemeteries currently host the remains of more than 2,000 of them. … ‘An overall indifference has led to a higher non-identification rate of most bodies,’ says Giorgia Mirto, a Sicilian anthropologist and founder of Mediterranean Missing, a database project collecting names of the identified dead refugees and migrants. ‘They just become statistics instead of humans.’ … ‘Here, migrants become part of the community. I noticed average citizens bringing flowers and praying over their graves,’ she says. ‘[It is] part of a Catholic mindset that instils the idea of taking care of the dead, in place of those who can’t afford or aren’t able to pay a visit.’…”

Concerns over Eritrea’s role in efforts by Africa and EU to manage refugees

Report from The Conversation via ReliefWeb: “Early in 2019 the Eritrean government will take over the chair of the key Africa and European Union (EU) forum dealing with African migration, known as the Khartoum Process. The Khartoum Process was established in the Sudanese capital in 2014. It’s had little public profile, yet it’s the most important means Europe has of attempting to halt the flow of refugees and migrants from Africa. The official title says it all: The EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative. Its main role is spelled out as being:  primarily focused on preventing and fighting migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings. … The African countries chose Eritrea to lead this critical relationship. But it’s been heavily criticised because it places refugees and asylum seekers in the hands of a regime that is notorious for its human rights abuses. Worse still, there is evidence that Eritrean officials are directly implicated in human trafficking the Khartoum Process is meant to end. That the European Union allowed this to happen puts in question its repeated assurances that human rights are at the heart of its foreign policies….”