MONTHLY REVIEW: FEBRUARY 2022

This monthly press review covers Eurafrican migration control, migration and displacement in African countries and news on the European border regime. In case there is a news item, report, or campaign you would like to flag for in next month’s review please write us to migr-contr@ffm-online.org or on Twitter @MigControl

NEW ON MIGRATION-CONTROL.INFO

Blog New EU-Document: Migration Control in Pakistan and the role of Frontex: We’ve received a leaked EU-Document about planned migration control measures in Pakistan. Wasil Schauseil’s analysis shows how the EU Council aims at containing „irregular“ migration from Pakistan and Afghanistan, also by encouraging the deployment of FRONTEX.

Blog Egypt Discussion Paper, by EU Council Presidency: We have received a Discussion Paper by the Presidency of EU council, to be discussed with delegations on February 25. On the meeting delegations will be invited to define priority guidelines for improving this cooperation, with a view to an Action Plan for Egypt which the Commission and the EEAS could produce at the request of the Council. The Presidency suggests that Egypt be identified as an additional priority country for an action plan.

Blog Plans for offshoring refugee protection undermine human dignity, African political interests, and international norms by Franzisca Zanker: European attempts for asylum offshoring reloaded. In our blog Franziska Zanker discusses plans by the UK and Denmark to externalise asylum processing to Ghana and Ruanda, the asymmetric nature of cooperation, African states‘ interests as well as Ruandas geopolitical calculations. „Either way, plans to place asylum seekers outside of Denmark or the UK (…) go against the very foundation of basic human decency. They counter the spirit of international refugee protection and will further the erosion of principles of protection that have been around for decades.“

Blog All sails set for more of the same: Leaked EU Document on the Operational Coordination Mechanism for the External Dimension of Migration by, Editorial Office Migration Control: A new Council cooperation mechanism on the EU’s external dimension is foreseen to be launched in 2022. A leaked document obtained by migration-control.info shows that the mechanism reproduces wider trends that have shaped the EU’s external dimension for years.

Wiki Libyen von Christian Jakob und Joschka Dreher und der Migration Control Redaktion: Unser neu erschienener Wikibeitrag zu Libyen thematisiert die im Jahr 2011 begonnene Arabellion sowie die Auflehnung gegen das damalige Gaddafi-Regime. Seither kommt es immer wieder zu bewaffneten Konflikten zwischen den zersplitterten Oppositionen. Während die französische Regierung die vermeintlich anti-islamistische Bewegung Haftars unterstützt, erhält die Regierung in Tripoli Unterstützung seitens der italienischen Regierung. 2020 mischten sich zudem das russische und türkische Militär, sowie Söldner unter die Kämpfe(r). Bis dato kämpfen (supra)nationale Regierungen um den Einfluss und für die eigenen Interessen in Libyen. Davon profitieren nicht nur libysche Milizen, sondern auch verschiedene Nichtregierungsorganisationen und Europäische Agenturen und Firmen. Doch auch Widerstand wird laut: Seit Monaten hält jener der RefugeesinLibya gegen die Situation von Geflüchteten an, unter anderem vor dem UNHCR-Gebäude in Tripolis. Mithilfe verschiedener Protestaktionen wird auf die dramatische Situation in den Lagern aufmerksam gemacht. Der UNHCR muss sich unterdessen den Vorwurf gefallen lassen, die Menschen vor Ort allein zu lassen, unter anderem weil zu wenige Menschen evakuiert werden und die von UNHCR betriebenen Einrichtungen geschlossen wurden.

SPECIAL: UKRAINE/RUSSIA

For this monthly, our team has put together a special on the invasion of Russian troops into Ukraine. It is intended to provide readers with an overview of the developments, on the one hand through background reads, on the other hand through articles that raise awareness of the structural inequalities that become blatantly apparent in Europe’s and the European media’s reactions to this war.

Background Read

Ukraine/Russia 10.02.22: Le Monde diplomatique: Ukraine-Krise: Eskalation mit Ansage (Ukraine crisis: escalation with notice): „The current tensions have a long history that began with the end of the Cold War and continued with NATO’s eastward expansion. The EU has not found its own common position in this development but has allowed itself to be harnessed for U.S. interests.“

See also 02.22: Le Monde diplomatique: Standoff over Ukraine: why this, why now?

Ukraine/Russia 13.02.22: The Atlantic: Why the West’s Diplomacy With Russia Keeps Failing: “Despite all of our talk, no one has ever seriously tried to end, rather than simply limit, Russian money laundering in the West, or Russian political or financial influence in the West. No one has taken seriously the idea that Germans should now make themselves independent of Russian gas, or that France should ban political parties that accept Russian money, or that the U.K. and the U.S. should stop Russian oligarchs from buying property in London or Miami. No one has suggested that the proper response to Putin’s information war on our political system would be an information war on this.”

Ukraine/Russia 14.02.22: Reuters: Eastern Europe braces for refugees as Russia-Ukraine conflict simmers: “Countries in Eastern Europe are making preparations for potentially hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Ukraine if the crisis with Russia escalates, with some Polish towns already listing places available and Romania considering refugee camps. Memories of the Iron Curtain and Soviet influence are still very much alive on the European Union’s eastern flank, where people are wary of any instability that could hit their economies and unleash a wave of migration last seen in the 1990s during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.”

Ukraine/Russia 23.02.22: dekoder: Warum Putin diesen Krieg braucht (Why Putin needs this war): „It’s time to take a closer look at these interests and the deeper interactions between domestic and foreign policy.“

Ukraine/Russia 01.03.22: daslamm: Zu lange Redwashing (Redwashing for too long): „At least since 2014, the Russian government has been spreading propaganda and disinformation about what is happening in Ukraine in Western European countries, especially in Germany. The EU now wants to ban the Russian state broadcasters RT and Sputnik.“

Ukraine/Russia 03.03.22: Open Democracy: An African view on what’s happening in Europe: “Africans support the Ukrainian people, but centuries of experience also make us wary of ‘solutions’ by our former colonisers.”

See also Informationsmaterialien zum Krieg in der Ukraine (Information materials on the war in Ukraine) from a historical perspective.

Reflections on structural inequalities in Europe

Ukraine/Russia 28.02.22: Canada’s National Observer: Double standard on display as Europe opens arms to Ukrainian refugees: “When it comes to Ukraine, the change in tone of some of Europe’s most extreme anti-migration leaders has been striking — from “We aren’t going to let anyone in” to “We’re letting everyone in.” Those comments were made only three months apart by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. In the first, in December, he was addressing migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa seeking to enter Europe via Hungary. In the second, this week, he was addressing people from Ukraine.”‬‬‬

Ukraine/Russia 01.03.22: Al Jazeera: Covering Ukraine: A mean streak of racist exceptionalism: “The conflict raging in Ukraine between Russian and Ukrainian Slavs, the latter with the support of a tribal coalition of nations across sub-Scandinavian Europe, has exposed much more than the fragility of peace on the disease-ravaged subcontinent. It has also revealed a mean streak of racist exceptionalism with which many Europeans, and people of European heritage, tend to regard themselves.

See also 01.03.22: Middle East Eye: Let’s call out the West’s bias over Ukraine for what it is – blatant racism; 01.03.22: The Independent: The racial bias in western media’s Ukraine coverage is shameful; 02.03.22: The Guardian: They are “civilized” and “look like us”: the racist coverage of Ukraine

African Union/Ukraine 01.03.22: The East African: African Union slams ‘racism’ in the wake of Ukraine war: “The African Union on Monday [28 February] condemned incidents of racial discrimination against Africans trying to flee the conflict in Ukraine, after Russia invaded the eastern European country. Senegalese President Macky Sall, the Chairman of the African Union, and the African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said they were “particularly disturbed” with reports that some African residents in Ukraine have been turned away at borders. “Reports that Africans are singled out for unacceptable dissimilar treatment would be shockingly racist and in breach international law,” the two leaders said in a joint statement on Monday.”

Ukraine/Russia 01.03.22: gal-dem: How Ukraine’s LGBTQ+ community is rallying to resist Russian invasion: “The crisis threatens to derail years of progress for marginalised groups, but activists are determined to stand firm.”

Ukraine/Russia 02.03.222: Vice: Trans People Stranded and Alone in Ukraine Following Russia’s Invasion: Trans people in Ukraine have told VICE World News that they are “totally stuck” and “scared for their lives” in the country. Two Ukrainian trans women said they can’t leave Ukraine or even safely travel through it because all of their identification documents say “male” and mention their “old masculine names”. Some trans people have even been advised to “lose their ID” by human rights groups, in order to get out of Ukraine. Trans campaigners estimate this issue is leading to “hundreds” of trans people in Ukraine being left in “serious danger” and feeling “completely alone”.”

Resources for Ukrainian Refugees and Supporters

Ukraine-Hilfe Berlin e.V. für humanitäre und medizinische Hilfe


Accommodation

CENTRAL AFRICA

Democratic Republic of the Congo 02.02.22: DW: DR Congo: Dozens killed in militant attack on refugee camp: “Militants attacked a displaced persons camp in the Ituri province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) overnight into Wednesday [2 February], killing at least 60 people, according to local media and humanitarian groups. Ndalo Budz, who is the head of the Plaine Savo displaced persons site, told local media that fighters raided the camp and killed people in shelters with machetes and other weapons. The Savo site was home to about 4,000 people as of December, according to the UN’s migration agency.”

Democratic Republic of the Congo 28.02.22: Reuters: At least 20 civilians killed in attack in eastern Congo: Report: “Suspected Islamist militants killed at least 20 civilians in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo overnight, according to a local resident and an activist who criticised the failure of Congolese and Ugandan forces to stop the repeated massacres. The attack late on Sunday evening in the village of Kikura was blamed by the resident and the activist on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan militia that has killed thousands of civilians in eastern Congo since 2013.”

EAST AFRICA

Ethiopia 12.02.22: The East African: WHO resumes airlifting critical medical supplies to Ethiopia’s Tigray: “The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday began airlifting 33.5 metric tons of essential medicines, medical supplies and equipment to Ethiopia’s northern Tigray State. According to a statement by WHO office in Addis Ababa, a first round of 10 metric tons of medical supplies was delivered on Friday at the capital Mekelle Airport via two UN flights. The global health body said it will deliver a total of 33.5 metric tons of essential medical supplies with a shipment of 10 metric tons per day.”

See also 05.02.22: Al Jazeera: UN hastens aid for 20,000 refugees fleeing violence in Ethiopia; 08.02.22: The Guardian: Ethiopia accused of ‘serious’ human rights abuses in Tigray in landmark case; 09.02.22: Reuters: Fighting in Ethiopia’s Afar region displaces 300,000, aid blocked to Tigray; 18.02.22: Al Jazeera: Attack on Ethiopia refugee camp kills five: UN

Ethiopia/Ukraine 27.02.22: The East African: Contact embassy in Berlin before leaving Ukraine, Ethiopia tells citizens: “The Ethiopian Embassy in Germany on Saturday [26 February] urged its citizens in Ukraine to first contact the embassy before leaving the country, a day after it encouraged them to immediately cross over into Poland. On Friday [25 February], the embassy urged its citizens in Ukraine to immediately cross borders to Poland following Russia’s invasion, adding that it was working in collaboration with the Polish government for a safe passage for Ethiopians while it closely monitors the situation in Ukraine.”

Somalia 10.02.22: Al Jazeera: Several killed in attack targeting Somalia election delegates: “A suicide bomber targeting a minibus full of delegates involved in Somalia’s parliamentary elections killed at least six people in Mogadishu, the ambulance service said, while al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab armed group claimed responsibility for the attack. […] The attack on the delegates may present an additional challenge to the election.”

See also 19.02.22: Reuters: At least 13 people killed by suicide blast in central Somalia

Sudan 24.02.22: Reuters: Sudanese protesters released after weeks-long detention: “Sudan has released 115 of some 135 anti-coup protesters who had been held for weeks, a UN official said on Thursday, following pressure from lawyers, families and the international community. The detainees are part of a protest movement against an Oct. 25 coup that has persisted despite security crackdowns killing 82 and wound more than 2,000, according to medics. Their detention came following the reinstatement of powers to the country’s powerful intelligence service in late December, which had been a key tool under former President Omar al-Bashir.”

See also 08.02.22: Reuters: Sudanese march against military rule, fear return of Bashir-era officials; 09.02.22: Middle East Eye: Sudan: Two prominent critics of ruling military arrested; 11.02.22: Reuters: Sudan rejects Western criticism of arrests as ‚blatant interference‘; 15.02.22: France24: Two protesters shot dead in Sudan as thousands rally against last year’s coup; 28.02.22: Reuters: Sudan’s main protest groups lay out political vision; 28.02.22: Reuters: Sudanese protesters against military rule defy tear gas to reach palace gates

Uganda/EU 11.02.22: Human Rights Watch: Uganda: Ensure Justice for Detained, Tortured Author “Ugandan authorities should urgently investigate reports that military officers tortured the exiled satirical writer and government critic Kakwenza Rukirabashaija while he was forcibly disappeared for 14 days, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should unconditionally drop any charges against the author and ensure that all security officials implicated in his torture and enforced disappearance are held to account.”

 

WEST AFRICA

Burkina Faso/Sahel 05.02.22: VOA: UN: Insecurity, Violence in Burkina Faso Spur Refugee Exodus [Background Read]: “Increasing violence and insecurity in Burkina Faso are spurring refugees to flee into neighboring countries, adding to political and humanitarian crises in the Sahel region. The United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, says some 19,200 Burkinabe fled last year to neighboring Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, and Benin. This was a 50% increase from the previous year. The agency says the number of Burkinabe living in exile across the region has nearly doubled to more than 34,000. Among them are 7,000 refugees who have arrived in northwestern Ivory Coast, or Cote d’Ivoire, since May.”

Burkina Faso 01.03.22: The East African: Burkina Faso junta orders three-year transition before elections: “Burkina Faso’s junta chief on Tuesday signed a charter setting a three-year transition period before the country holds elections, an AFP journalist said, just over a month after he led a coup to overthrow the country’s elected leader. „The duration of the transition is set at 36 months from the date of the inauguration of the president,“ according to the transition charter signed by Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who replaced former president Roch Marc Christian Kabore in late January.”

See also 10.02.22: Reuters: Two weeks after Burkina Faso coup, U.N. Security Council expresses ’serious concern‘; 16.02.22: France24: Burkina Faso’s junta chief sworn in as president weeks after coup

Ivory Coast/US 20.02.22: VOA: US Begins Counter-terrorism Training in Africa Amid Upheaval: “The United States‘ yearly counter-terrorism training program for African forces began on Sunday in Ivory Coast at a time of upheaval in which Islamist fighters control large areas, coups are on the rise and French forces are winding down. The training program, known as Flintlock, will bring together more than 400 soldiers from across West Africa to bolster the skills of forces, some of which are under regular attack by armed groups linked to al Qaida and Islamic State.”

Mali 10.02.22: Toward Freedom: Why Protests Erupted in Mali, With People Demanding France Out and Thanking Russia for Support: “Thousands of demonstrators took to Mali’s streets on January 14 to demonstrate against sanctions the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) imposed on the country after the military government’s supposed delay in the transitional map (plan) to transfer power to civilians. The military junta called for mobilizations throughout the country. Protests took place in the capital, Bamako. Other cities in the West African country also witnessed demonstrations, the most notable ones being in Timbuktu in the north and Bougouni in the south.”

See also 06.02.22: DW: German defense minister ’skeptical‘ about continuing Mali mission; 08.02.22: Reuters: As relations fray, Mali accuses France of splitting country, spying; 09.02.22: Reuters: Mali says it will work with regional bloc, AU, UN on transition timeline; 09.02.22: The Nigeria Lawyers: Putin Says Moscow Has Nothing To Do With Russian Military In Mali; 17.02.22: The Washington Post: France announces withdrawal of troops from Mali, reshaping the fight against Islamist extremists in West Africa; 17.02.22: Reuters: French military to quit Mali in possible boost to jihadists; 18.02.22: France24: Mali’s ruling junta asks France to withdraw troops ‚without delay‘

Mali 21.02.22: Reuters: Mali’s workers feel the squeeze as sanctions take hold: “The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) meant to send a powerful message to Mali’s military leaders when it imposed the sanctions after the junta delayed plans to hold elections in February following two coups.[…] How successful the sanctions are in forcing Mali’s leaders to hold elections sooner, or if they reduce support for the junta, could influence how ECOWAS seeks to punish other coup leaders in Guinea and Burkina Faso who have also snatched power over the past year.”

See also 08.02.22: African Business: Mali urges West African monetary union to lift sanctions

Niger/Nigeria 21.02.22: CNN: Seven children killed in airstrike by Nigerian forces in Niger, official says: “The Nigerian military has killed and wounded children in an airstrike in neighboring Niger, a local governor in Niger, state television and an aid agency said on Sunday [20 February], although Nigeria’s armed forces said they were still investigating. The attack took place in the village of Nachadé in the region of Maradi, Niger, on Friday, a few kilometers from the border with Nigeria, said Chaibou Aboubacar, the governor of Maradi. He said seven children were killed and five wounded.”

Niger 23.02.22: Aljazeera: At least a dozen civilians killed in west Niger attack: “At least 18 civilians have been killed after their vehicle came under attack in a part of western Niger frequently targeted by rebel fighters, the government has said. In a statement on Tuesday [22 February], interior minister Alkassoum Indatou attributed Sunday’s attack in the Tillaberi region near the Malian border, to “armed bandits, aboard several motorcycles, who have not yet been identified”. He said 13 of the victims were from the village of Foney Ganda and five from the village of Tizegorou.”

Senegal 14.02.22: Africanews: Separatist rebels hand over Senegalese soldiers captured in The Gambia: “A group of seven recently captured Senegalese soldiers have been released by separatist rebels from Senegal’s Casamance region. The soldiers were captured in The Gambia on January 24th after a clash with separatist rebels that resulted in four dead among the Senegalese forces. The remaining seven soldiers were captured and handed over this Monday to government and ECOWAS representatives in The Gambia.”

NORTH AFRICA

Libya 11.02.22: AP: Libya’s east-based lawmakers name new PM, fueling divisions: “Libya’s east-based parliament on Thursday [10 February] appointed a new prime minister, a development that counters U.N. efforts to reconcile the divided country and will likely produce two parallel administrations. The House of Representatives said its decision followed the incumbent premier’s failure to hold national elections in December, something that was agreed to under a U.N.-mediated peace process. The delay has been a major blow to international efforts to end a decade of chaos in the oil-rich North African nation.”

Libya/Italy 15.02.22: Infomigrants: Inquiry into Libyan boat collision with migrant dinghy: “A dinghy that had been carrying 21 migrants was rammed into in international waters by a Libya fishing boat: five people ended up in the water, with only two managing to get back onto the boat with help from the other passengers. The other three – a Somali woman and two men from Ivory Coast – are still missing. The Agrigento prosecutor’s office has opened an inquiry for manslaughter as well as aiding and abetting clandestine migration in relation to the case.“

See also 21.02.22: Infomigrants: Ocean Viking migrants disembark in Sicily, 129 rescued off Libya; 22.02.22: The Libya Observer: IOM: 632 migrants rescued at sea and returned to Libya within a week

Tunisia 14.02.22: Infomigrants: Tunisian NGO condemns arbitrary arrests of sub-Saharan students: “The Tunisian Association for the Support of Minorities (ATSM) and the Tunisian Association of Sub-Saharan Students (AESAT) spoke out in a press conference on Thursday (February 10) in Tunis against „arbitrary arrests“ of several young students of sub-Saharan African origins outside their university and their homes. The protesters say that about 300 young Africans of sub-Saharan origins have been arrested, often beaten and detained for several hours without any apparent reason.”

Tunisia 19.02.22: The National News: Tunisia’s powerful labour union re-elects Noureddine Taboubi as leader: “Tunisia’s UGTT labour union on Saturday [19 Saturday] re-elected Noureddine Taboubi as its leader as the country approaches a turning point where the organisation may play an important role. Mr Taboubi, who has been UGTT leader for five years, has been cautious in the months since President Kais Saied seized executive powers in a move his opponents called a coup. The union’s blessing is regarded as vital for the economic reforms sought by foreign donors in return for a financial rescue package to avert a crisis that threatens to bankrupt Tunisia.”

See also 03.02.22: Reuters: Economic pain threatens social and political chaos in Tunisia; 08.02.22: Reuters: Western donors decry Tunisia’s abolition of judicial council; 13.02.22: swissinfo: Tunisian president cements power over judiciary, opposition organises protest

WEST ASIA

Iraq 02.02.22: Middle East Eye: Iraq protests after Kurdish refugee camp hit by Turkish air strikes: “Iraqi officials have reacted with anger after Turkish air strikes hit Kurdish refugee camps in the north of the country, alongside targets allegedly linked to the Kurdistan Workers‘ Party (PKK). Tuesday [1 February] evening’s strikes hit targets in the provinces of Sinjar and Makhmour, as well as a number of areas in northeastern Syria. A health official in Makhmour told Rudaw that eight people had been killed and 17 others wounded in the attack on the region, among them civilians and PKK fighters. An official statement from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said the strikes had caused „human and material losses“, but did not give details. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, strikes near the town of al-Malikiyah in Hasakah province left „at least four“ people dead.”

Lebanon 10.02.22: The National News: Abused migrant worker in Lebanon dreams of justice in rare court case [Background Read]: “A migrant worker in Lebanon who says she suffered violent abuse and was forced to work for years without pay is hoping for justice as a trial against her former employer begins. A Beirut court hosted a preliminary hearing on Thursday, and the case will be heard again on March 31. […] Human rights organisations have long called for Lebanon to abolish the system, describing it as being little more than a cover for modern-day slavery. In Lebanon, where abusive treatment and deaths of migrant domestic workers have become commonplace, estimates put the average death rate of domestic workers at two a week.”

Syria 16.02.22: The Guardian: Human rights lawyers attempt to bring Syria war crimes cases to ICC: “A groundbreaking attempt to make Iranian and Syrian military officials answerable for war crimes they may have committed in Syria is being launched, as part of an effort to have the cases brought before the international criminal court. The request includes evidence of Syrian victims forced to flee into Jordan due to attacks and intimidation by the Syrian government and Iran-backed militia groups. It is being brought by the US-based Iran Human Rights Documentation Center in conjunction with Haydee Dijkstal, a UK barrister.”

Yemen 08.02.22: MEMO: UN to cut aid to Yemen: “The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced yesterday [7 February] that it would soon have to reduce the volume of food aid provided to 11 million Yemenis due to lack of funding. „Funding shortages are threatening to cut lifesaving support for millions of people in Yemen,“ OCHA said on Twitter, noting that 11 million people would „soon have to rely on reduced food rations and 4.6 million could lose access to clean water.“

 

EUROPE

Belgium/Ethiopia 02.02.22: The Brussels Times: Belgium grants asylum to Ethiopian planes: “Belgium has granted asylum to two stowaway airline employees who hid in a cargo of flowers on a flight out of Ethiopia. Federal Belgian migration minister Sammy Mahdi’s office confirmed refugee status for the two men to The Brussels Times after a CNN investigation relayed pictures from the hold during the daring escape.”

Mediterranean 14.02.22: Infomigrants: Ocean Viking rescues 228 migrants, many of them children: “The rescue ship Ocean Viking, operated by a private organization SOS Méditerranée, has rescued 228 migrants from the Mediterranean Sea within 24 hours. The ship picked up the migrants in four separate operations. Among those rescued were 51 minors, 49 of them unaccompanied, the organization said on Sunday.”

See also 04.02.22: Reuters: One dead, 16 migrants missing off Spain’s Canary islands; 08.02.22: Efe: Salvamento rescata y lleva a Gran Canaria a 141 ocupantes de dos barcazas (Salvamento rescues and takes 141 occupants of two barges to Gran Canaria); 11.02.22: Infomigrants: Spain: More than 220 people rescued trying to reach Canary Islands; 11.02.22: Efe: Salvamento Marítimo socorre a 290 inmigrantes en seis pateras al sur de Gran Canaria (Salvamento Marítimo rescues 290 migrants in six boats south of Gran Canaria); 19.02.22: Efe: Rescatados 104 inmigrantes en sendas embarcaciones en Tenerife y Lanzarote (104 migrants rescued in two boats in Tenerife and Lanzarote); 21.02.22: Efe: Salvamento auxilia a 33 ocupantes de una patera avistada a 83 kilómetros de Lanzarote, entre ellos un bebé (Rescue rescues 33 occupants of a skiff sighted 83 kilometres from Lanzarote, among them a baby); 22.02.22: Infomigrants: Italian coast guard rescues 573 migrants at sea, one found dead; 25.02.22: Efe: Desembarcan en Gran Canaria y Fuerteventura a 387 ocupantes de siete pateras (387 occupants of seven small boats disembarked in Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura); 26.02.22: swissinfo: Los 129 migrantes rescatados por el barco Sea Watch desembarcarán en Sicilia (The 129 migrants rescued by the Sea Watch boat will disembark in Sicily)

English Channel 10.02.22: Reuters: French coastguard rescues 36 migrants in English Channel: “The French coastguard has rescued 36 migrants in the English Channel who were trying to cross to Britain in an inflatable dinghy, the maritime authority for northern France said on Thursday. French authorities were intercepting inflatable boats several times a month, returning people to French shores, a spokeswoman said.”

See also 08.02.22: Independent: Convictions quashed for asylum seekers wrongly jailed for steering dinghies across Channel; 09.02.22: Independent: Push back of migrant boats ‘courts disaster’, warns former chief prosecutor; 14.02.22: The Guardian: Refugee group warns of ‘astonishing’ cost of new Home Office policies; 14.02.22: The Guardian: Two-thirds of UK asylum seekers on small boats had hypothermia or injuries; 15.02.22: rfi: Media investigation claims migrants in Channel boat disaster contacted French rescue services

Lithuania 08.02.22: Infomigrants: Lithuania pays 272 migrants to return home: “The Lithuanian authorities have reportedly paid 272 migrants €1,000 to return home. According to the Polish satellite channel Belsat, the group will leave Lithuania next week on commercial flights. A group of 272, mostly Iraqi citizens are due to fly home from Lithuania on commercial flights next week. That’s according to the channel Belsat, which is produced by the Polish public broadcaster for an audience in neighboring Belarus.”

North Macedonia 10.02.22: AP: North Macedonia: Indian migrants detained on new route: “Police in North Macedonia have detained 16 migrants from India who were allegedly trying to enter neighboring Greece illegally, as migrant-smuggling gangs try new routes in answer to pandemic travel restrictions and tougher border controls. Three Pakistani men aged 21 to 31 but not further identified who were traveling with the Indian migrants were arrested on smuggling charges, authorities said Thursday [10 February].”

Poland 11.02.22: Infomigrants: Migrants in Polish detention center stage hunger protest: “A group of around 100 migrants, mostly from Iraq, are holding a hunger protest over conditions in the Polish reception center where they are being held. The strike is the second of its kind at the center in Wędrzyn. Migrants and asylum seekers being held in a reception center in Wędrzyn, Poland, staged a short hunger protest this week. The group of around 100 are protesting conditions in the center, reported the English language news website Notes from Poland. The last hunger strike in the center was held in December, after a group of about 100 men rioted and demanded to be released from their „prison-like conditions,“ explained Notes from Poland. The center is situated on a military base and is classed as a „guarded holding center“ for those who crossed the border from Belarus.”

Serbia 09.02.22: Infomigrants: Hundreds of migrants stopped in northern Serbia: “Hundreds of migrants have been stopped by police in northern Serbia as part of a sweeping operation against irregular migration, according to local media reports. In a vast operation in northern Serbia carried out on Monday, February 7, police intercepted and blocked „a few hundred“ undocumented migrants, according to local media reports. The reports did not mention the exact number of migrants who were apprehended. Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin visited the area affected by the operation, between the cities of Kikinda, Subotica and Sombor, not far from the border with Hungary, Croatia and Romania. He complimented the police for the operation, local media reported.”

Spain 21.02.22: Infomigrants: Ceuta judge orders return of deported migrant minors: “A Spanish court has ruled that 14 underage migrants from Morocco were deported from the Spanish enclave of Ceuta illegally and have the right to return to Spain. In two rulings last week a judge from the Spanish enclave of Ceuta ordered the return of several migrant minors from Morocco back to Spanish territory. Spanish media reported on Thursday (February 17) that a total of 14 young Moroccans were affected by the decisions. They had arrived in Ceuta in May 2021 but were later deported to Morocco.”

Turkey/Greece 02.02.22: AP: Turkey: 12 migrants freeze to death after alleged pushback: “The bodies of 12 migrants who froze to death were found near Turkey’s border with Greece, the Turkish interior minister said Wednesday, accusing Greek border guards of pushing them back over the frontier. […] In Greece, Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said the deaths were a “tragedy” but strongly denied the claim that Greek forces had pushed back the migrants.”

See also 03.02.22: France24: Turkey says more migrants have frozen to death close to the Greek border; 10.02.22: MEMO: Yemeni migrant family throw into sea by Greek border crew

Turkey 05.02.22: Middle East Eye: Turkey accused of sending scores of refugees back to Syria: “Turkish authorities deported up to 150 Syrian refugees from Istanbul to rebel-held northern Syria on Saturday [5 February], Syrian media reported, following escalating anti-refugee rhetoric in Turkey. […] “Sending people back to Syria when they fear persecution could amount to a breach of Turkey’s non-refoulement obligations.” Refugees returning to Syria face serious risks, including torture, extrajudicial killings and kidnapping at the hands of Syrian government forces and their militias, the rights group said in October.”

See also 16.02.22: STJ: Turkey Forcibly Returns Refugees to Syria Daily

Turkey 09.02.22: The Guardian: Iranian refugees face deportation from Turkey for attending demonstration: “Three Iranian refugees are facing deportation from Turkey after taking part in a demonstration against Ankara’s withdrawal from the Istanbul convention on violence against women. […] Bergamalı said three of the group had been granted conditional refugee status, making it illegal to return them to Iran. “However, there is no indication in the court decision that these people cannot be sent back to Iran,” she added.”

UK 08.02.22: The Guardian: Peers oppose plan that may stop women fleeing rape gaining refugee status: “Peers are attempting to block plans which could prevent women who are fleeing rape, forced marriage, trafficking or female genital mutilation from securing refugee status – a move that critics say was sneaked into the nationality and borders bill. If passed it will reverse a clause added to the controversial bill after the consultation period had ended. Peers say the belatedly added clause will seriously damage the ability of survivors of gender-based persecution to be recognized as refugees and granted protection, a change that will disproportionately affect women and girls.”

EUROPEAN UNION

EU/Senegal 11.02.22: Matthias Monroy: Status agreement with Senegal: Frontex might operate in Africa for the first time: “The border agency in Warsaw could deploy drones, vessels and personnel. It would be the first mission in a country that does not directly border the EU.” […]To this end, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen travelled personally to the capital Dakar last week. She was accompanied by the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, who said that the contract with Senegal might be finalised until summer.”

See also 11.02.22: France24: EU seeks to deploy border agency to Senegal

EU/Africa 12.02.22: The East African: EU’s new strategy for Africa sees jobs, security, as to stemming illegal migration: “In a new EU-Africa strategy announced on Thursday, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said the five-point strategy will be specific on improving the conditions of living in Africa, and hence discourage the urge to cross borders illegally. The strategy will await comments from African counterparts and is mostly likely to be a subject of discussion during the upcoming EU-Africa Summit due for February 18 in Brussels, Belgium. The EU is already Africa’s biggest direct investor, having sent in €222 billion ($252 billion), six times the amount spent by the US and eight times that of China.”

See also 18.02.22: Reuters: EU launches reset with Africa after pandemic disruption

EU/Turkey 14.02.22: Daily Sabah: Turkey calls on EU, int’l community to respect human, migrant rights: “Turkey invites the European Union and the international community, who remain silent on Greece’s actions, to stake a claim to the humanitarian values they are defending, Turkey’s deputy foreign minister said on Sunday [13 February].”

EU/Austria 15.02.22: euobserver: Austria contests French claim on migration accord: “Austria has disputed claims by the French EU presidency of an informal agreement concerning one the most contentious issues on migration and asylum. […]A dispute over the issue of sharing out responsibility for migrants, so that countries like Greece are not overburdened by arrivals, has gone on for at least the past seven years amid court cases and bitter rows — and the apparent disagreement between Paris and Vienna suggests there may yet be no quick agreement.”

EU/Libya 21.02.2022: Matthias Monroy: EU Commission continues to upgrade surveillance in Libya – and worries about its reputation: The EU is using development aid funds to finance a deployable radar system for the Libyan coast guard. The force, known for its brutality, wants to use it to detect refugees crossing to Europe. Then they will be intercepted by three new patrol boats.” These patrol boats were built “in Veneto and are about to be delivered. The order included the modernisation of another vessel that Italy had already supplied to Libya. The shipyard is also delivering five engines and communication equipment to “naval units” of the Libyan maritime police.”

FRONTEX 16.02.22: abcnews: EU border agency to help Cyprus with migrant repatriations: “The chief of the European Union’s Frontex border agency said Wednesday that the repatriation of migrants is Cyprus’ “most urgent need” and that his organization is ready to facilitate flights to return home people who had asylum claims rejected in Cyprus. Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri said after talks Wednesday with Cypriot Interior Minister Nicos Nouris that the small east Mediterranean island nation faces an “extraordinary challenge” that requires “extraordinary support” from Frontex amid increased migrant arrivals that the government says has stretched its ability to cope.”

See also 21.02.22: Infomigrants: EU, Cyprus strike ‚milestone‘ deal on asylum seekers

REPORTS

01/22 Centri d’Italia: L’emergenza che non c’è (The emergency that does not exist): In November 2018, we first launched „Centers of Italy“: a project to monitor the reception system for asylum seekers and refugees in Italy. In the following three years we have published many reports, up to the first mapping of the centers ever realized in the country. It is a path full of difficulties that we wanted to carry out with significant efforts to guarantee a civic monitoring that did not exist before. A necessary work, because it intends to contribute to the improvement of the system, provide elements for the evaluation of policies and consequently improve the conditions of the people housed there, to the benefit of social inclusion and to the benefit of the entire community. The reception, until a complete definition of the asylum application, is a right, not a mere concession. It is good to remember this.

02/22 Alarmphone: Solidarity is our strength that no one can steal from us- Women and LGBTQI+ Report 2021: “All through 2020, the health crisis has made daily life and access to rights even more difficult for people blocked and mistreated at Europe’s borders. This report was supposed to be published on the 8th of March 2021, but it was not possible to do so. We don’t want to keep these stories, texts and information in a box, as they are part of the relationships we build and the experiences we share in our struggle against borders with women and LGBTQI+ people. We have therefore decided to publish it at the start of the new year 2022 during which we will continue to fight in solidarity with people on the road. […] We have structured this report on the basis of texts and actions carried out by feminist border groups and on the basis of interviews and testimonies.”

02/22 Human Rights Watch: “How Can You Throw Us Back?” Asylum Seekers Abused in the US and Deported to Harm in Cameroon: “Human Rights Watch research shows that US authorities not only sent Cameroonians back to harm, but also subjected them to serious human rights violations in US immigration detention, failed to fairly adjudicate many of their cases, and failed to protect confidential asylum documents, which were confiscated by their government. For these reasons, US deportations of Cameroonian asylum seekers violated US obligations under international human rights and refugee law.”

02/22 Syrians for Truth & Justice: Turkey Continues to Forcibly Return Refugees, Ignoring International Warnings that Syria is Still Unsafe: “Addressing the claims of safety in Syria, which the Turkish authorities are using as a pretext for the deportations, on 21 October 2021, Chair of the UN Syria Commission of Inquiry, Paulo Pinheiro, delivered a speech before the Third Committee of the General Assembly, warning that “This is not a time for anyone to be thinking that Syria is safe, for its refugees to return home. Instead, we are seeing an upsurge in fighting and violence.” Despite this, January 2022 was marked by group deportations of tens of Syrians, most of whom had not committed any crimes. Instead, many carried kimliks, work permits, and student paperwork. STJ continues to investigate these cases and will soon publish our findings in another report. The cost of these deportations, both from Turkey and Europe, have often been deadly. Most recently, Turkish media, associated with the government, reported that 19 bodies had been found of refugees who died from the cold after Greek police arrested, stripped, and returned them to Turkey.”

02/22 Pro Asyl: Diskriminiert und Abgelehnt. Zur Situation schutzsuchender Rom*nja aus der Republik Moldau (Discriminated against and Rejected. On the Situation of Roma from the Republic of Moldova Seeking Protection): „The study published by PRO ASYL and the Berlin Refugee Council in February 2022 […] sheds light on the questionable, insensitive fast-track procedures of the German authorities and exposes the pervasive discrimination and existence-threatening marginalization of those affected in the Republic of Moldova.“

CAMPAIGNS

Campaign Together we are Bremen: Die Praxis der Umverteilung von Geflüchteten hat sich in Bremen unter der grünen Sozialsenatorin Stahmann im letzten Jahr 2021 massiv verschärft. Die Sozialbehörde setzt auf Umverteilung um jeden Preis und nimmt dabei bewusst in Kauf, dass junge Menschen in suizidale Krisen getrieben werden. Viele der Betroffenen sind bei Together-we-are-Bremen organisiert. Wir haben uns die Praxis der Sozialbehörde näher angeschaut. Die Ergebnisse sind schockierend. Together-we-are-Bremen stellt sich dieser menschenverachtenden Praxis entgegen und fordert ein Bleiberecht für die Betroffenen!

UPCOMING EVENTS

Panel Discussion 11.03.22 // 7.30 – 10 pm (GMT) // Kölibri, Hamburg: Menschenrechtsverletzungen an den EU-Außengrenzen: Paneldiskussion und Kurzfilme zur Situation im bosnisch-kroatischen Grenzgebiet (Human Rights Violations at the EU External Borders: Panel Discussion and Short Films on the Situation in the Bosnian-Croatian Border Area): We have activists from Blind Spots, BVMN (Border Violence Monitoring Network), Seebrücke and human rights lawyer Carsten Gericke from ECCHR as guests. The voluntary initiative Blind Spots was founded by artists and cultural workers from Berlin and Leipzig and campaigns against human rights violations at the EU’s external borders. It supports People on the Move* and supporters on the ground and documents their experiences to create publicity. For the event at Kölibri they have two short films about the situation at the Bosnian-Croatian border.

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