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giovedì 16 giugno 2016

Illegal push-back operation in the Aegean with Frontex present. EU trying to bury report on Turkey migrant returns

Le forze dell'agenzia Frontex sono attive da tempo in Egeo con l'operazione Poseidon, ed hanno operato numerosi salvataggi sbarcando i migranti nei porti delle isole greche. Questo fino al 30 marzo 2016. Vengono pubblicate adesso le prove dei respingimenti collettivi illegali eseguiti con la partecipazione attiva dell'agenzia Europea Frontex , dopo la stipula del patto tra Unione Europea e Turchia. Testimonianze e foto inequivocabili. l'Accordo della vergogna tra Unione Europea e Turchia produce i suoi effetti e nessuno può fare finta di non vedere. E c i si mette pure la NATO.

    The consequence of the EU-Turkey Deal: We documented an
    illegal push-back operation in the Aegean with Frontex present!

    Following a period without any reported ...incidents of push-backs since January 2016, and decreased numbers of emergency calls from the Aegean Sea which is clearly related to decreased border crossings as a consequence of the EU-Turkey deal from March 20, the Alarm Phone documented a push-back operation on June 11, 2016.
    Between Chios/Greece and Cesme/Turkey, a refugee boat with adults and children escaping wars and conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, and elsewhere, were illegally pushed-back to Turkey. Escaping violence to find security in Europe, the refugees were threatened with gun violence when being forced back to Turkey, where they will not find safety. They had already made it into Greek territory but the Greek coast guard, while promising safety and in the presence of two Frontex vessels, returned them to Turkey.
    This was a brutal and illegal push-back operation by the Greek Coastguards, and Frontex watched! We strongly denounces the inhumane game Europe keeps playing with refugee lives at risk in the Aegean!
    Read the whole report here: 

EU trying to bury report on Turkey migrant returns                  

Greece wants to send migrants back to Turkey


E se qualche giudice greco applica la legge, si sostituiscono i giudici, attentato allo stato di diritto.


Reazione al secondo rapporto intermedio della Commissione europea sull'accordo Ue-Turchia in materia d'immigrazione

CS98 - 27 aprile 2016

A seguito dell'adozione da parte della Commissione europea del secondo rapporto intermedio sull'accordo (ufficialmente denominato "dichiarazione") Ue-Turchia in materia d'immigrazione, Iverna McGowan, direttrice dell'ufficio di Amnesty International presso le istituzioni europee, ha rilasciato il seguente commento:

"La Commissione europea ha affermato che l'attuazione dell'accordo Ue-Turchia sta dando dei risultati. I risultati sono questi: migliaia di persone bloccate in condizioni disastrose in Grecia, rifugiati rispediti a forza in Siria dal confine della Turchia, siriani a rischio di essere rimandati dalla Grecia in Turchia. Risultati, certo, ma nessuno di cui essere orgogliosi. L'accordo Ue-Turchia è un duro colpo alla reputazione mondiale dell'Ue come attore globale dei diritti umani, difficilmente un modello da seguire per la politica estera dell'Ue".
 Roma, 15 giugno 2016


European Commission - Press release

Managing the Refugee Crisis: Commission reports on progress made in the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement

Brussels, 15 June 2016

The Commission has today adopted its second report on the EU-Turkey Statement showing that while there has been further good progress in its implementation, progress achieved so far remains fragile.

Today, the Commission adopted its second report on the EU-Turkey Statement showing that while there has been further good progress in its implementation, progress achieved so far remains fragile. The continued successful implementation depends mainly on the political determination of all parties involved. The sharp and continued decrease of people crossing irregularly or losing their lives in the Aegean on their way from Turkey into Greece is proof of the Statement's effectiveness so far and also shows that the business model of smugglers can be broken. Member States have also increased their efforts on resettlement – offering legal and safe pathways as an alternative. Return operations have continued to be carried out. All Member States have sent their contribution certificates for the Facility for Refugees in Turkey which will allow for the accelerated disbursement of the Facility to be delivered and the first €1 billion to start benefiting refugees by the end of the summer. Since the publication on 4 May of the Third Progress report on the implementation of Turkey's Visa Liberalisation Roadmap, progress has also continued towards fulfilling the remaining benchmarks of the visa liberalisation roadmap.
European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "The EU-Turkey Statement is delivering results: migrants see that it is not worth risking their lives on smugglers' boats and we are on track to contract €1 billion of projects under the Refugee Facility by the end of this summer. But now is not the moment to sit back. We need to fully implement all elements of the Statement. This includes stepping up resettlement and increasing Greece's capacity to address the humanitarian situation and deal with asylum applications in line with EU law. The Turkish authorities also need to complete the implementation of the visa liberalisation roadmap."
Whilst the success achieved so far remains fragile, today's Report confirms the EU-Turkey Statement continues to deliver concrete results, with joint efforts by the Greek and Turkish authorities, the Commission, Member States and EU agencies making headway in operationalising the Statement:
  • Considerably reduced irregular crossings: In the weeks before the implementation of the Statement, around 1,740 migrants were crossing the Aegean Sea to the Greek islands every day. By contrast, the average daily number of irregular crossings since 1 May is down to 47.
  • Return of irregular migrants from Greece to Turkey: Since the Statement took effect on 20 March, 462 irregular migrants who have not applied for asylum, including 31 Syrians, have been returned to Turkey from Greece, in accordance with EU and international law and in full respect of the principle of non-refoulement.
  • "One for One" Resettlement from Turkey to the EU: Substantial progress has been made on establishing an operational framework for carrying out resettlement operations from Turkey to the EU, aimed at both helping to alleviate the situation in Turkey and to meet the EU's commitment to provide legal pathways to the EU for victims of the Syrian crisis, sending a clear message to Syrian refugees in Turkey that there is a legal pathway instead of dangerous irregular crossings. A total of 511 Syrians have been resettled so far from Turkey to the EU under the 1:1 scheme (additional 408 since the First progress report) – substantially exceeding the number of returns from Greece to Turkey. A Resettlement Team, set up by the Commission at the EU Delegation in Ankara, coordinates and assist Member States' operations and liaisons with Turkish authorities, the UNHCR and the IOM.
  • Visa liberalisation: On 4 May, the Commission published its Third progress report on the implementation of Turkey's Visa Liberalisation Roadmap and proposed lifting the visa requirements for the citizens of Turkey, under the understanding that the Turkish authorities will fulfil, as a matter of urgency and as they committed to do on 18 March 2016, the outstanding seven benchmarks. Since 4 May, further progress has been made, notably with the entry into force of the EU-Turkey readmission agreement that still requires a final decision on actual application. The Commission continues to support Turkey in the work that still needs to be done to fulfil the remaining benchmarks and invites Turkey to take these measures as soon as possible to enable the EU to lift the visa requirements for Turkish citizens.
  • Facility for Refugees in Turkey: Further EU financial support through the Facility for Refugees in Turkey has been delivered to support refugees and host communities in Turkey and programming and project preparation has been accelerated. So far, €150 million under the EU budget has been contracted; out of which around €105 million has been disbursed to notably cover expenses for food, health care, accommodation and access to education. In addition to the €1 billion provided by the EU budget, all EU Member States have now sent in their contribution certificates for the €2 billion pledged for 2016-2017. The Commission will do all in its power to accelerate disbursement of the Facility, in close cooperation with Turkish authorities, committing for both humanitarian and non-humanitarian needs contracting €1 billion before the end of the summer.
  • Upgrading the Customs Union: The Commission is advancing in the preparation of an Impact Assessment and a public consultation has recently been concluded. It is expected that draft negotiating directives will then be prepared for adoption by the Commission in the 4th quarter of 2016 and tabled to the Council.
  • Accession process: The Commission tabled the Draft Common Position on Chapter 33 (financial and budgetary provisions) in the Council on 29 April, enabling the Council to decide on the opening of this Chapter by end of June. In addition, preparatory work continues at an accelerated pace to make progress on five Chapters, without prejudice to Member States' positions in accordance with the existing rules. Preparatory work has been finalised in the area of energy; the Commission will finalise the documents on the judiciary and fundamental rights by the end of June; the Commission finalised the Common Position on education and culture on 2 May 2016; and the EEAS updated screening report on foreign, security and defence policy, was issued on 20 May.
  • Humanitarian conditions inside Syria: The EU and Turkey have both continued to deploy substantial resources for the humanitarian response in Syria and have worked together to promote full and unimpeded access throughout Syria. The EU will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to people across Syria, and has allocated an initial €140 million for life-saving activities for 2016, almost half of which has already been contracted.
In the next implementation phase, the Commission concludes that urgent attention should be given by Greece to increase its capacity in processing asylum applications and appeals on an individual basis and in the most timely manner to ensure returns and readmissions, notably through the use of the safe third country concept. Greece should also enhance the reception capacity on the islands and improve the day to day management and coordination of the hotspots, with the coordinated support of the EU and its Member States. Member States should build on the results achieved so far step up their efforts in order to increase substantially the number of resettlements. Equally, Turkey needs to take the necessary measures to fulfil the remaining visa liberalisation benchmarks as soon as possible in order to enable the EU to lift the visa requirements for Turkish citizens.
The Commission will present its third report on the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement in September 2016.
In line with the EU-Turkey Statement from 18 March 2016, all new irregular migrants and asylum seekers arriving from Turkey to the Greek islands and whose applications for asylum have been declared inadmissible should be returned to Turkey. This temporary and extraordinary step is designed to end human suffering by showing clearly that there is no benefit in following the route offered by the smugglers.
Under the Statement, the EU will resettle a Syrian from Turkey to the EU for every Syrian returned to Turkey from the Greek islands. Priority is given to migrants who have not previously entered or tried to enter the EU irregularly, within the framework of the existing commitments.
The implementation of the Statement requires huge operational efforts from all involved, and, on the EU-side, most of all from Greece. Greece and Turkey are the two governments in charge of implementation. It is their authorities who have to do the legal and operational work and ensure that EU and international law is respected at all stages of the process. The Commission has been working closely with the Greek and Turkish authorities to ensure the necessary improvements in terms of practical and logistical arrangements and human resources to ensure the smooth implementation of returns and is assisting Greece with advice, expertise and support from the EU budget. President Juncker immediately appointed an EU Coordinator and reinforced the existing Commission team already on the ground in Greece. The EU Coordinator is responsible for the coordination of the support provided to the Greek authorities by the Commission, the EU agencies, and the other EU Member States, and the coordination of Member States' actions to implement the resettlement programme from Turkey.

For More Information
Communication: Second Report on the progress made in the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement

MEMO: Implementing the EU-Turkey Agreement – Questions and Answers
FACTSHEET: Facility for Refugees in Turkey
FACTSHEET: Managing the refugee crisis: EU financial support to Greece
Operational implementation of the EU-Turkey Agreement: Member States' pledges and deployments for Frontex and EASO operations - returns and resettlements
EU-Turkey Statement  of 18 March
EU-Turkey Action Plan of 15 October, activated on 29 November
Appointment of the EU Coordinator
European Agenda on Migration



The EU-Turkey migration agreement and its humanitarian masquerade

The binding of security to humanitarianism, as is the case with this EU-Turkey agreement, exposes its underlying aim of maintaining the economic trade integrity of the Union.
A Turkish soldier searches a young Syrian refugee at a border crossing. Burhan Ozbilici/Press Association. All rights reserved.On the 4 April, 2016, the day of the first EU deportations of migrants to Turkey, animage circulated on Twitter. Posted by the Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado, a Spanish refugee aid assistance group, the featured tweet was captioned by the accompanying phrase, ‘an image that sums up one of the darkest and most shameful days in Europe.’
The image depicted ten hooded men with their heads in their hands on their forlorn ferry route to Turkey. Standing just over the migrants, ten shaven-head FRONTEX security officials with surgical masks over their faces: as if to suggest a disgust in breathing the same air as their charge. Each official wore bright blue armbands emblazoned with a ring of gold stars and under their blue indicatory FRONTEX jackets, a full military uniform of black boots, black trousers and a black coat. The armband symbolism and official use of the colour black a frightening reminder of a previous era of mass-expulsions.
Back in Greece, a Turkish activist called Baran Doğan campaigning for local refugees, referred to the deportation as the “bargaining and bartering of human bodies… it’s treating humans as goods”.
Winding backwards, on the 18 March, 2016, heads of state or government from the EU and Turkey agreed to“end the irregular migration from Turkey to the EU” and instead replace it with“legal channels of resettlement of refugees to the European Union”. The central aim: to replace“disorganised, chaotic, irregular and dangerous migratory flows by organised, safe and legal pathways to Europe” for those entitled to international protection in line with EU and international law.
The agreement took effect as of 20 March 2016, and the 4 April 2016 was set as the target date for the start of returns of people to Turkey. The Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, of Greece and the EU, said that, “we now need to honour their commitments and ensure an orderly, well managed and safe arrival and admission to Europe”.
The agreement stipulates that all asylum seekers, or “irregular” migrants are to be“returned” to Turkey, which had been deemed a “third-safe country of residence”, supposedly in full accordance with EU and international law (though ultimately amounting to collective expulsions forbidden under international refugee law – according to the UN).
I might add that we keep this in mind as an instance of the law being adapted to suit the case rather than the case being adapted to be brought in line with the rule of law, or how illegality becomes legitimized, as I will discuss shortly.
The draft statement for the agreement on the 18 March 2016 stipulatedthat “this will be a temporary and extraordinary measure which is necessary to end the human suffering and restore public order”. The treaty renders Turkey as a “third-safe-country of residence”: a territory outside of EU jurisdiction, but a territory which acts to manage the flows of migration within the EU, restoring the Schengen Area’s ‘normative order’, with Donald Tusk declaringthat this agreement was about “strengthening the EU's external borders, keeping the western Balkans' route closed and getting back to Schengen”.
Equally, the “third-safe-country of residence” designation shifts the state of Turkey, as an outlier or “neighbour” of the Union, to a space of liberal management, giving Ankara a role in the EU’s border agency FRONTEX – subcontracting border control, essentially creating a hub for the deported while also facilitating detention and surveillance of those seeking to gain entry to Europe.
For every Syrian sent to Turkey, one will be repatriated and given asylum in the EU, for anyone else, including large amounts of Eritreans, Iraqis, Afghanis and many others fleeing war and conflict, the possibility of Turkish government deportation remains high.
Any Syrian not granted asylum will be kept in a ‘detention camp’, part funded by €6 billion (£4.7 billion) from the EU to help the estimated 2.7 million Syrians already stuck on Turkish soil. These detention camps have been dubbed ‘safe zones’, which has caused controversy in the past, as they arguably are spaces established with ‘geopolitical’, rather than humanitarian goals in mind. Bill Frelick, the Refugee Rights Director at Human Rights Watch reduced the controversy of the growing intake of Turkish ‘safe zones’ by stating,“this means using vulnerable civilians like pawns on a chess board.”
There are two ways to look at the current method of dealing with the ensuing migration crisis.
One is to consider the EU’s actions in humanitarian terms: to consider that the circumstances are exceptional, where the EU evokes a responsibility to the crushing poverty, suffocating crowdedness, and overall suffering of the migrants affected, who are left to wait on the edges of Europe.
The other is to consider that the migrants amassed on its borders are detrimental to the security of the EU and on those terms, the responsibility of the EU to the lives of the migrants shifts from being solely humanitarian to existing within in a dual role where security becomes as paramount as humanitarianism.
This collapsing of ‘security into justice’ would call into question the terms by which liberalism itself operates. If the securing of territorial integrity is collapsed into the protection of migrants, it plays into anti-immigration rhetoric which continuously recycles the figure of the “migrant” and the figure of the “terrorist”, which has its roots in the liberal, legal exceptionalism stemming from the Bush administration’s War on Terror.
We might then refer to this agreement as an EU experiment in search of an optimal balance between maximum control over its territory and minimum responsibility to the people within it. Equally, as is similar to the point made in the expansion of the FRONTEX processes, the use of Turkey as a “third-safe space”is a problematic continuation and exacerbation of the externalization of responsibility, where the EU uses an archipelago of camps and networks to facilitate migrants – where Turkey stands as a kind of sovereign migrant processing facility in its own right, or as Didier Bigo would refer to it, a space for the management of unease, fear, and suffering.
The immediate goal of this agreement is at once to ‘secure’ the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe that the migration “crisis” presents through the“quiet” means of mass-expulsion – within the remit of “acceptability’ through the veneer of international law.
Though the EU may be seen to be abiding by the terms of international law, the law itself is actively being manipulated to suit the supposed necessity to “end the human suffering” of the crisis by sending asylum seekers to a place where the risk of deportation to the war they originally fled from is high, all in contradiction to international refugee law.
These new exceptional measures of mass expulsion are not themselves adapted to suit the rule of law, the rule of law is itself adapted to suit the agreement. Legitimizing, on moral and humanitarian grounds and through such language as“crisis” and “necessity”, illegality. The legitimacy gained fine-tunes the backdrop of liberal freedom through the balancing of control and responsibility through buffer zones and exceptional grey areas.
The agreement statement declares in full that, “it will be a temporary and extraordinary measure which is necessary to end the human suffering and restore public order”,as before. Yet, if we are to consider it on the terms I have articulated above, the agreement itself becomes less about the rights of the migrant and more about the restoration of order in this tumultuous ‘zone of turbulence,’ and ultimately, the continuation of business as usual in the EU.
The consideration of the migrant as an entity which instigates the strengthening of a border, as Donald Tusk and the EU has insinuated, has required an urgency and imperative character precisely because it is linked the to idea of self-defence (“crisis”) and survival (necessity based on humanitarian grounds), which only further pushes the figure of the migrant into the realm of the figure who causes fear and terror in the EU’s jurisdiction.
The exceptional language used to deal with this figure normalizes the use of security and militaristic techniques and thus legitimizes the mass-expulsion of migrants. The response to humanitarian catastrophe with security becomes associated with exceptionalism and danger, and the EU then begins to manage‘risk in order to discipline the future’ and excludes and oppresses the ‘other’for the sake of securing ‘the self’.
The binding of security to humanitarianism, as is the case with this EU-Turkey agreement, exposes its underlying aim of maintaining the economic trade integrity of the Union. In this sense, the protection of the liberalism of Europe becomes embroiled in a complex and problematic exchange, where the lives of migrants are sent back to‘where they came from’, in the dehumanizing process of expulsion, which treats“humans as goods”, as Baran Doğan, the previously quoted Turkish activist states. Even under the umbrella of humanitarianism, the EU is demonstrating a blind disregard for human rights as well as pushing the means of exception beyond its previous boundaries.


Oltre ai respingimenti collettivi, l'Unione Europea estende la detenzione amministrativa illegale a carico dei migranti, dagli Hotspots ai centri di identificazione ed espulsione.

UN Deplores Detention of Migrants in Europe

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Un blog perché la cronaca quotidiana non diventi assuefazione, per contrastare la rimozione di problemi che sono prodotto di scelte politiche e di prassi amministrative che si nascondono dietro le retoriche dell'emergenza e della sicurezza. Prima di Lampedusa, prima dello sbarco, cronache di viaggi che spesso terminano in tragedie, poi notizie raccolte nei luoghi di sbarco e di accoglienza, dove si diffonde la detenzione informale e dove i diritti fondamentali dei migranti vengono compressi da una discrezionalità che si sottrae a qualsiasi controllo giurisdizionale, infine testimonianze di viaggio verso altri paesi, per trovare quel futuro e quella dignità che lItalia non garantisce più. E dunque fatti, persone, non numeri o dati, un racconto quotidiano che diventa memoria, ma anche impulso per modificare, in Italia ed in Europa, il quadro legislativo e le procedure applicate.

Diritti sotto sequestro