MONTHLY REVIEW: JANUARY 2022

MONTHLY REVIEW: JANUARY 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 Annual Report 2021: For just over two years now, the Migration Control Project has been running self-managed and collectively. As a network of committed people in Europe and Africa, we document how the EU outsources and externalises its borders and their “protection” and what consequences this has for people’s freedom of movement. In this report, we want to look back at what we have experienced together in 2021 and what successes we have been able to achieve.

Blog Das Verbrechen: Asyl Suchen in Ägypten: 2021 hat Ägypten 40 Menschen in die Diktatur Eritrea abgeschoben, ca. 200 weiteren inhaftierten Eritreer:innen droht die #Abschiebung. Recherchiert und dokumentiert hat das die Refugees Platform in Egypt, um die Aufmerksamkeit zu erhöhen, haben wir ihren Report übersetzt.

Blog Leaked EU Document: Update on state of play of external cooperation in the field of migration policy: We’ve received a leaked EU-commission document from January 14 updating the „State of Play of External Cooperation.“ The document provides a brief update and overview over the EU’s „partnerships with third countries“ regarding externalized migration control.

Wiki Deutschland von Christian Jakob: In dem neuen Wikieintrag über die Bundesrepublik Deutschland thematisiert Christian Jakob die innen- und außenpolitischen Entwicklungen der Bundesrepublik und legt dabei unter anderem den Fokus auf die Rolle der Bundeswehr in Libyen, der Ägäis und der Sahelregion sowie die wirtschaftlichen Interessen der BRD im Zuge fortschreitender Externalisierung des Grenzregimes. 

Wiki EU von Christian Jakob: Der neue EU-Report von Christian Jacob zur internen und externalisierten Migrationskontrolle der EU beinhaltet eine ausführliche Beschreibung maßgebender Entwicklungen, Institutionen, Agenturen, Projekte, wirtschaftlicher Interessen sowie Widerständen gegen das EU-Grenzregime.

Wiki Mediterranean by Christian Jakob: In his new report, Christian Jakob analyses Europe’s migration control and the human rights situation in the Mediterranean. The report includes an update about the current situation regarding violence towards people on the move, their resistance and civil society actions such as the CivilFleet. It continues with a contextualization about the political developments of the past ten years in Libya and Italy.

EAST AFRICA

Democratic Republic of Congo 10.01.22: The Guardian: As violence in the Congo escalates, thousands are effectively being held hostage: “In a bare and violent patch of land in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 75,000 people are living in what one UN field officer described as ´hellish conditions´. […] Rhoe – a remote camp of internally displaced people (IDP) approximately 45km northeast of Bunia, the capital of DRC’s Ituri province – is ´a tragedy waiting to happen´, according to those who have visited.”

Ethiopia 08.01.22: Al Jazeera: Dozens killed in Ethiopian air strike on IDP camp in Tigray: “At least 56 people have been killed and 30 others wounded in Ethiopia’s Tigray following an air raid on a camp for civilians displaced by the brutal conflict in the northern region, according to rebels and humanitarian workers. In a tweet on Saturday [8 January], Getachew Reda, a spokesman for the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) said “another callous drone attack” by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s forces on a camp for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Dedebit had “claimed the lives of 56 innocent civilians”.”

See also 07.01.22: Reuters: UN: Air strike kills three in Eritrean refugee camp in Ethiopia 

Mozambique 06.01.22: DW: Nordmosambik: Sorge vor Ausweitung des Konflikts (Northern Mozambique: Concerns about an expansion of the conflict) [Background Read]: There is a danger that the conflict could become entrenched in the region for some time: „What we are seeing in Mozambique is very reminiscent of Afghanistan or Mali. It is becoming increasingly difficult to control the extreme violence in northern Mozambique, and it is by no means clear which side will win in the end.“

South Sudan 05.01.22: The New Humanitarian [Background Read]: South Sudan’s government wants millions of people who fled the country’s devastating civil war to return home ahead of national elections tentatively scheduled for 2023. But some humanitarians worry that returns could be risky, as violence continues to flare around the country despite a 2018 peace agreement and the subsequent formation of a unity government.”

Sudan / Darfur 10.01.22: Dabanga: Woman raped in Saraf Omra, nine injured in North Darfur violence: “Saraf Omra borders West and Central Darfur. People living in El Geneina, capital of West Darfur, reported that large numbers of militants armed with heavy weapons are gathering again in the areas north-east of the city, in particular in Jebel Moon. In the past two months, militant Arab tribesmen attacked villages, towns, and camps in Jebel Moon, Kereinik, and Sirba in West Darfur. At least 200 people were killed, dozens of villages burned to ashes, and thousands fled to other parts of the state or to neighbouring Chad.”

Sudan 18.01.22: NYT: Sudan’s Security Forces Kill Protesters as U.S. Diplomats’ Visit Nears: “Sudanese security forces killed seven people and injured at least 100 others on Monday, a doctors’ group said, the latest bloody protest to shake the country ahead of a visit by senior American diplomats seeking to support the revival of Sudan’s faltering transition to democracy.”

See also 03.01.21: taz: Premier tritt ab nach neuen Protesten: Sudans „Jahr des Widerstands“ (Prime Minister steps down after new protests: Sudan’s “Year of Resistance); 05.01.22: Al Jazeera: What next for Sudan after PM Hamdok’s resignation?; 08.01.22: Al Jazeera: UN to hold talks in Sudan to end post-coup crisis; 18.01.22: Al Jazeera: Sudanese barricade streets as strike over protest deaths begins; 18.01.22: NYT: Sudan’s Security Forces Kill Protesters as U.S. Diplomats’ Visit Nears; 21.01.22: Al Jazeera: Sudanese hold ‘day for martyrs’ after anti-coup protest killings 

Uganda 26.01.22: TNH: In Uganda’s Karamoja, rampant rustling and a militarised response as violence returns [Background Read]: “Armed rustlers raided Lokong’s communal kraal, or cattle enclosure, in northeastern Uganda’s Kaabong district in late November and stole nearly 1,000 cows, local officials said. […] In the last two years the raiders have returned, killing hundreds of people and stealing the cattle that are their livelihoods. A fresh disarmament campaign, launched by the army in July 2021, has so far failed to stem the violence, while drawing allegations of human rights abuses.”

NORTH AFRICA

Egypt 26.01.22: Al Jazeera: US approves $2.5bn arms sale to Egypt, despite rights concerns: “United States President Joe Biden’s administration has approved a massive arms sale to Egypt valued at about $2.5bn, despite continued calls for Washington to curtail its support until Cairo improves its human rights record. The possible sale, which is not finalised, includes 12 Super Hercules C-130 transport aircraft and related equipment worth $2.2bn, and air defence radar systems worth an estimated $355m.”

Libya 12.01.22: The Observers/France24: Hundreds of asylum seekers detained in Libya after closure of UN refugee centre: “Libyan security forces carried out a brutal operation in the early morning hours of January 10, arresting hundreds of hundreds of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees who had been camped out in front of a UN refugee centre in the Libyan capital Tripoli since October 2021.”

See also 10.01.22: Middle East Eye: Libya: Hundreds of refugees attacked and detained by authorities in Tripoli; 10.01.22: Al Jazeera Libyan security forces violently break up migrant protest; 13.01.22: taz: Miliz gegen Migrant*innen (Milicias against Migrants)

Libya 25.01.22: AP: Migrant abuses continue in Libya. So does EU border training: “A confidential European Union military report calls for continuing a controversial EU program to train and equip Libya’s coast guard and navy despite growing concerns about their treatment of migrants, a mounting death toll at sea, and the continued lack of any central authority in the North African nation.”

Libya 28.01.22: euobserver: Libya ‘abandoning migrants without water’ in deserts: According to Benjamin Lewis from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Right, Libya is “deporting more people faster than ever before” from Libya to the desert. The deportations “appear linked to efforts to strengthen Libya’s external border enforcement so as to prevent migrants from eventually arriving to Europe”, he said further.

Libya 29.01.22: Al Jazeera: What next for world powers in war-torn Libya?: “The presence of both Turkish and Russian forces in the North African country is deeply unsettling to European powers, unlike the United States, analysts say. At the start of this year, French officials announced the completion of the first phase of a withdrawal of foreign mercenaries from eastern Libya. According to diplomats, these guns for hire were from Chad. The news came against the backdrop of UN-backed efforts to lead the beleaguered North African country into elections in late 2021 proving futile.”

Morocco 27.01.22: taz: Marokko versucht das Wettrüsten (Morocco tries arms race) [Background Read]: King Mohammed VI wants to develop his country into a regional military power. The North African state is investing more in armaments than ever before. The reason is the conflict over Western Sahara.

Tunisia 14.01.21: Al Jazeera: Tunisia police use water cannon to disperse protesters:  “The Tunisian police used water cannon, sticks and tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters trying to reach central Tunis to demonstrate against the president in defiance of COVID-19 restrictions. A heavy police presence on Friday prevented the protesters from gathering on Habib Bourguiba Avenue, the main street in the centre of the capital that is the traditional focal point of demonstrations.”

See also 16.01.22: Al Jazeera: Tunisia: Between untenable status quo and uncertain future

WEST AFRICA

Central African Republic 21.01.22: ISS: Wagner’s dubious operatics in CAR and beyond [Background Read]: “Russia has established a strong military presence in the Central African Republic (CAR) over the past four years, clandestinely using dubious actors like the military company Wagner, which is allegedly close to President Vladimir Putin. Wagner has become the deniable vanguard of a major Russian push into Africa, many analysts believe.”

Burkina Faso 24.01.22: Al Jazeera: Burkina Faso army says it has deposed President Kabore: “Burkina Faso’s army has announced it has deposed President Roch Kabore, dissolved the government and the national assembly, and suspended the constitution, seizing control of the country after two days of unrest at army camps in the capital. The announcement, signed on Monday by Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba and read by another officer on state television, said the takeover had been carried out without violence and those detained were in a secure location. The country’s borders have also been closed, it added.”

See also 06.01.22: TRTWorld: Thousands of Burkina Faso schools closed in fear of militant attacks; 11.01.22: Thomson Reuters Foundation: Eight soldiers in Burkina Faso arrested for alleged plot; 25.01.22: Al Jazeera: Who is Paul-Henri Damiba, leader of the Burkina Faso coup?; 26.01.22: Al Jazeera: Pro-coup supporters rally in Burkina Faso as UN condemns takeover; 27.01.22: NYT: After Coup in Burkina Faso, Protesters Turn to Russia for Help; 28.01.22: Al Jazeera: ECOWAS suspends Burkina Faso after military coup 29.01.22 NYT: Five African Countries. Six Coups. Why Now?

Mali 27.01.22: Al Jazeera: Denmark pulls troops from Mali as military gov’t swipes at France: “Denmark has said it will start pulling its troops out of Mali after the West African country’s transitional government this week insisted on an immediate withdrawal, a blow to France as its security operations in the Sahel region begin to unravel. The decision comes amid tensions between Mali and its international partners, including regional bodies and the European Union, that have sanctioned Mali after the military government failed to organise elections following two coups.”

See also 01.01.22: Al Jazeera: Mali proposes five-year election delay to West African bloc; 07.01.22: DW: Mali: Franzosen gehen, die Russen kommen; 14.01.21: Al Jazeera: Malians rally after army calls for protests over ECOWAS sanctions; 17.01.22: VoA: UN Mali Mission Temporarily Grounds All Flights Following Sanctions Restrictions; 20.01.22: taz: Berlin empört über Bamako (Berlin outraged by Bamako); 22.01.22: Tagesspiegel: Lambrecht lehnt Abzug aus Mali ab (Lambrecht rejects withdrawal from Mali); 25.01.21: ISS: Beyond ECOWAS sanctions, how can Mali overcome the crisis?; 27.01.22: German Foreign Policy: Koloniale Reflexe (Colonial Reflexes)

Nigeria 09.01.22: The Guardian: At least 200 villagers killed by bandits in north-west Nigeria: “At least 200 people are believed to have been killed in villages in the north-western Nigerian state of Zamfara, in some of the deadliest attacks by armed bandits at large in the region. Gunmen, themselves fleeing from airstrikes by the Nigerian army, attacked villages for days, opening fire and burning homes between Tuesday and Thursday.”

Sahel 24.01.22: ISS: No easy answers to Lake Chad Basin’s security dilemmas [Background Read]: “It has been two decades since Mohammed Yusuf founded the group that became known as Boko Haram, and over a decade since its violent attacks reached the scale of an insurgency. […] The death of Shekau, Yusuf’s successor, in May 2021 should have been a celebrated end to his reign of terror in the region. However, the involvement of the rival ISWAP faction only shifted the course of the insurgency.”

WEST ASIA

Lebanon 12.01.22: Al Jazeera: Migrants fleeing Lebanon by sea accuse Greece of abuse [Background Read]: “With three-quarters of the population living in poverty, fuel shortages forcing power plants to shut and the value of the currency plunging with no end in sight, a growing number of Lebanese and Syrians are resorting to migration. „They recount being caught in a web of illegal pushbacks and arbitrary detention that human rights organisations describe as an increasingly common tool to keep migrants out of Europe.”

Turkey 03.01.2022: Politico: Turkey puts its migrant security system on display for Europe [Background Read]: “Turkey has constructed one of the world’s largest migrant-detention systems. As researchers at the Global Detention Project have detailed, the country maintains a formal network of 27 “pre-removal” centers that can collectively hold nearly 16,000 people awaiting deportation. Additionally, Turkey has an informal, ad hoc network scattered along the border: detention sites, airport transit zones and police stations all used as temporary lock-up facilities. The system has grown, in part, at the EU’s behest. The bloc signed a deal with Turkey in 2016 to help expand the country’s migrant detention capacity. The pact came about following a refugee spike in 2015, when over 1.3 million people applied for asylum in the EU — double the previous record. About half of those came from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.”

Yemen 23.01.22: NYT: Saudi-Led Airstrikes Kill Scores at a Prison in Yemen: The International Committee of the Red Cross said more than 100 people had been killed or injured overnight in the detention center in Saada. […] No other information about the victims was immediately available, but Save the Children said early reports indicated that most were African migrants, who attempt to cross through Yemen on their way to seek work in saudi Arabia and the other Gulf countries.”

EUROPE

Central Mediterranean 14.01.22: Daily Sabah: Turkey rescues 81 migrants subjected to inhumane treatment by Greece: “Insisting on its violation of international law, Greece continues to push irregular migrants back to Turkish territorial waters by subjecting them to inhumane treatment. Most recently, an irregular migrant group of 43 Syrians, 36 Afghan nationals and two Iranian nationals, pushed back to Turkey by Greece, was detected, and Turkish forces extended their hand to the victims who were about to freeze in the Maritsa (Meriç) River in the northwestern border province Edirne.”

See also 04.01.22: Al Jazeera: Dozens of migrants seek refuge on Mediterranean oil rig; 20.01.22: Twitter: Mare Jonio saved 200 Persons; 20.01.22: Twitter: MSF saved two boats with 200 persons; 20.01.22: Twitter: Louise Michel saved 62 persons 

Cyprus 06.01.22: TAZ: Auf Zypern demonstrieren Migranten (Migrants demonstrate on Cyprus): With warning shots, Cypriot police tried to disperse a group of migrants in the coastal city of Paphos on Tuesday night [4 January]. It was the second day of massive clashes in which two people have been injured so far, according to authorities. The Pournara reception center in the village of Kokkinotrimithia is considered to be severely overcrowded. Its capacity is 800 people, but in fact about 2,500 people, including many from African countries, as well as over 250 children and young people under the age of 16 also live there in completely inadequate conditions. 

France / UK 10.01.22: The Guardian: France to push for EU-wide UK migration treaty over Channel crossings:France will press the EU to negotiate an asylum and migration treaty with the UK in an attempt to deter people from making the dangerous Channel crossing. A senior French government official said the purpose of an EU-UK treaty would be to open up “a legal means of immigration with Great Britain, so people can legally go to Great Britain to seek asylum”. The source added that “obviously that means reciprocity”, suggesting British authorities could send people denied asylum back to the European country in which they had arrived.”

See also 10.01.22: Guardian: Afghans risk dying in freezing temperatures in Calais, charities warn

Germany 12.01.21: DW: Zahl der Asylanträge steigt deutlich (Number of Asylum Claims rises significantly): Figures from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) show that the agency received around 190,800 asylum applications in 2021. The figures are available to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur. Around 148,000 of the applications were applying for asylum in Germany for the first time – the highest number since 2018. Around 17.5 % of the initial applications were submitted for children under the age of one, who were born in Germany.

Greece 29.12.22: Infomigrants: Three suspects charged with murder following boat tragedy: “Three people have been charged with murder in Greece following the death of 16 migrants who were killed when a boat from Turkey to Italy capsized near the Greek island of Paros. […] They were charged with causing an accident at sea, intentional manslaughter and membership in a criminal organization, the coast guard said.”

Greece 10.01.22: Al Jazeera: Cuban asylum seekers in Greece ‘forcibly expelled’ to Turkey: “At least 30 Cubans, hoping to claim asylum in Europe, were forcibly expelled from Greece to Turkey towards the end of last year, according to interviews conducted by Al Jazeera and rights organizations. […] Allegations made to Al Jazeera and rights organizations include accounts of forced undressing, beatings, detention without food or water, confiscation of passports, money and other personal belongings, refusal to register asylum claims, and forced water immersion prior to and during the expulsion process.”

Greece 19.01.22: The Guardian: Greece receives six French fighter jets as part of €11.5bn military overhaul: “The centre-right administration has announced a seven-fold increase in defence spending on last year. Greek combat pilots are frequently forced to engage in mock dogfights in Aegean airspace disputed by Turkey, and Mitsotakis described the need to upgrade the air force as urgent. In addition to 24 Rafales old and new, Athens will take stock of warships, helicopters and 84 modernised, US-made F-16s aircraft as part of a procurement programme that will also include the purchase of Meteor air-to-air missiles.”

Greece 21.01.22: Heinrich-Böll Stiftung: Auf dem Radar: Wie in Griechenland zivilgesellschaftliche Arbeit bedroht wird (On the Radar: How Civil Society Work is Threatened in Greece) [Background Read]: Civil society actors have been working for years to ensure that the fundamental rights of people seeking asylum in Europe are respected. In doing so, they become targets of an aggressive policy of deterrence that endangers refugees and solidarity work alike. A series of new laws illustrates this.

Lithuania 03.01.22: DW: Litauen fliegt knapp 100 Iraker in die Heimat (Lithuania flies home nearly 100 Iraqis): Since the beginning of August 2021, the Lithuanian Border Guard has been turning away migrants, and the migrants who have arrived so far have been taken to five reception centers. According to the authorities, 3166 people are currently living there. A total of 537 migrants have already been flown back to theiromelandd, 55 of them against their will, he said. According to the Ministry of Interior in Vilnius, a total of 98 migrants who entered the country illegally via the border with neighboring Belarus left the Baltic EU country on board the plane headed for Baghdad and Erbil. It was the first charter flight of this kind.

See also 03.01.22: taz: Litauen kriminalisiert Flüchtlingshilfe (Lithuania criminalizes Refugee Support)

Poland 27.01.2022: The Guardian: Poland starts building wall through protected forest at Belarus border: “Poland has started building a wall along its frontier with Belarus aimed at preventing asylum seekers from entering the country, which cuts through a protected forest and Unesco world heritage site. The Polish border guard said the barrier would measure 186km (115 miles), almost half the length of the border shared by the two countries, reach up to 5.5 metres (18ft) and cost €353m (£293m). It will be equipped with motion detectors and thermal cameras.”

See also 30.12.21: The Guardian: Trapped at Europe’s door: inside Belarus’s makeshift asylum dormitory

Portugal / Morocco 12.01.22: Middle East Online: Portugal, Morocco sign deal to let in Moroccan workers: “Portugal and Morocco signed an agreement Wednesday [12 February] setting out legal guidelines for Moroccans to live and work in the European Union country, as part of an effort by the two countries to fight illegal migration and human trafficking. The deal came after fears that undocumented migrants seeking a way into the EU were increasingly targeting Portugal, as boats carrying African migrants from Morocco arrived in recent years on the southern Portuguese coast.”

Spain 03.01.22: The Guardian: Death toll of refugees attempting to reach Spain doubles in 2021: “An estimated 12 people a day died or disappeared while trying to reach Spain in 2021, more than double the total for the previous year. The 4,404 refugees who perished included 205 children, according to Caminando Fronteras (Walking Borders). In a report published on Monday, the NGO noted that the number of deaths was more than twice the 2,170 deaths and disappearances recorded in 2020.”

Spain 27.01.2022: EFE: Salvamento rescata a 131 inmigrantes en tres barcas en Lanzarote y Fuerteventura (Rescue rescues 131 migrants in three boats in Lanzarote and Fuerteventura): Salvamento Marítimo has rescued during the early hours of Thursday, morning, 27 January, 131 immigrants, including eight minors, located aboard three boats in waters near the Canary Islands, two approaching Lanzarote and one south of Fuerteventura.

See also 14.01.22: ECRE: Atlantic Route and Spain: One in Five Canary Route Journeys End Deadly, Spanish Rescue Service Restarts Reporting, Law Reform Lets Young New Arrivals Work; 27.01.2022: SER: Rescatan una nueva patera en aguas cercanas a Lanzarote y se busca otra en la costa de Teguise (A new skiff is rescued in waters near Lanzarote and another one is sought off the coast of Teguise)

UK 06.01.22: The Big Issue: Campaigners slam Priti Patel’s ‘flawed and dangerous’ plan to x-ray asylum seekers to verify their age: “Priti Patel’s plan to use x-rays and CT scans to prove asylum seekers are the age they claim to be has been branded “flawed and dangerous”. The home secretary announced the formation of a new scientific advisory committee which will consider methods used in other countries such as Finland and Norway which examine a person’s teeth and bones when they are seeking safety.”

UK 28.01.22: JungleOfCalais: „Operation Isotrope“: Marine gegen Schlauchboote (“Operation Isotrope”: Navy against dinghies): Instead of the UK Border Force, which is subordinate to the Home Office and thus has a civilian character, the navy is soon to take over the lead in combating migration across the English Channel. Even though it is only fragmentary to see what exactly Operation Isotrope is, it “marks a drift of the border regime from the civilian to the military, with civilian and military actors amalgamating, and thus joins the militarisation of other sections of the EU’s external border. This is linked to a shift in the political view of migration from the social to categories of national security and hybrid warfare – in other words, to a sphere of hyper-securitisation in which military resources are applied to (and against) civilians.”

See also 17.01.22: Al Jazeera: UK to task military with stopping migrant boat crossings: Reports

 

EUROPEAN UNION

EU 30.12.21: Al Jazeera: Timeline: The European Union and migration in 2021 [Background Reads]: Al Jazeera takes a look at the key developments shaping European countries’ response to migrant and refugee arrivals this year.

EU 11.01.21: The Guardian: A data ‘black hole’: Europol ordered to delete vast store of personal data: Since 2016, Europol has also been running a mass screening programme in refugee camps in Italy and Greece, sweeping up data from tens of thousands of asylum seekers in search of alleged foreign fighters and terrorists. According to a partially declassified EDPS inspection report obtained under freedom of information laws, “routine checks” by Europol of migrants crossing EU borders “are not allowed” as there is “no legal basis” for such a programme. The screening may have resulted in migrants’ personal data being stored on a criminal database regardless of any links being found to crime or terrorism. Europol has declined to reveal any operational details.

EU 14.01.22: Infomigrants: EU and UNHCR raise alarm over pushback methods in Poland, Latvia and Lithuania: European Union and UNHCR officials have announced that Latvia, Lithuania and Poland still use “pushbacks and other violations of human rights” at the borders to keep migrants out. They added that they are also denying access to aid groups trying to help people in the border region with Belarus.

See also 28.01.22: ECRE: EU Eastern Borders: Interior Ministers Want to Beef Up ‘Protection’ of Borders

EU / Egypt 21.01.22: Middle East Eye: EU plans joint bid with Egypt to lead global counter-terrorism body: “Officials in Brussels […] approved the EU-Egypt bid to co-chair the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), despite widely documented evidence of human rights abuses and the use of counter-terrorism powers in the country since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi seized power in 2013. The bid was proposed by France, which currently heads the EU Council’s rotating presidency, on 11 January, one day after the Cairo-based Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said it had been forced to close because of government persecution.”

FRONTEX 28.01.22: Statewatch: Funds for Fortress Europe: spending by Frontex and eu-Lisa [Background Read]: “This article examines spending between 2014 and 2020 by two EU agencies that play a key role in the EU’s border security complex: eu-Lisa (dealing with the maintenance and operation of large-scale IT systems and databases) and Frontex (dealing with border control, deportations and risk analysis). It shows a vast expansion in the ‘datafication’ of the EU’s borders, significant spending on the ongoing attempt to step up the number of deportations, and argues that although there is a degree of transparency over the expenditure of EU agencies, a significant layer of opacity remains in place.”

REPORTS

12/2021: Europa Must Act: “All I want is to be free and leave”. Life in the Closed Controlled Access Centre in Samos: “This short report focuses on two of the leading narratives consistently pushed by the authorities: that people are safer in a closed facility; and that the closed camp in Samos constitutes an improvement in living conditions when compared to the old overcrowded hotspot. Between 10/10/2021 and 10/12/2021, 6 semi-structured interviews were conducted with different residents of the Samos C.C.A.C. The residents have shared detailed accounts of their experiences in the camp, which present a very different picture to that painted by the EU and Greek governments. Contrasting the testimonies of residents with the statements of the authorities, this report shows that state assurances regarding the safe and humane nature of closed facilities are not tenable.”

01/2022: Caminando Fronteras: Monitoreo del Derecho a la Vida en la Frontera Occidental Euroafricana (Monitoring the Right to Life on the Euro-African Western Border): The figures presented as part of this monitoring are intended to contribute information to processes driven by migrant communities and the families of the victims, about what is happening on the Euro-African Western Border. Therefore, these data are presented as a necessary step on the road to the reparation of the dead and disappeared in making them visible. In addition, the monitoring seeks to promote policies of justice and non-repetition on the border. 

01/2022: Human Rights Watch: Ethiopia: Returned Tigrayans Detained, Abused: “Ethiopian authorities have arbitrarily detained, mistreated, and forcibly disappeared thousands of ethnic Tigrayans recently deported from Saudi Arabia, Human Rights Watch said today. Saudi Arabia should stop holding Tigrayans in abhorrent conditions and deporting them to Ethiopia, and instead help the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide them with international protection. […] Human Rights Watch interviewed 23 Tigrayans – 20 men and 3 women – who were deported from Saudi Arabia between December 2020 and September 2021, with the majority deported between June and August 2021, and subsequently detained in Ethiopia between April and September.”

01/2022: AP: Migrant abuses continue in Libya. So does EU border training: “A confidential European Union military report calls for continuing a controversial EU program to train and equip Libya’s coast guard and navy despite growing concerns about their treatment of migrants, a mounting death toll at sea, and the continued lack of any central authority in the North African nation. The report, circulated to EU officials this month and obtained by The Associated Press, offers a rare look at Europe’s determination to support Libya in the interception and return of tens of thousands of men, women and children to Libya, where they face insufferable abuse. Compiled by Italian navy Rear Adm. Stefano Turchetto, head of the EU arms embargo surveillance mission, or Operation Irini, the report acknowledges the “excessive use of force” by Libyan authorities, adding that EU training is “no longer fully followed.”

Find the report here.

CAMPAIGNS

Campaign Migrant Solidarity Network: NO FRONTEX: “The Swiss parliament has decided to strengthen the European border protection agency Frontex with 61 million Swiss francs annually. With this money, Frontex is to seal off Europe’s external borders further and speed up special flights for forced deportations across Europe. We say YES to freedom of movement for all and NO to Frontex. Therefore we start a referendum.

Campaign Refugees in Libya: Solidarity with Refugees in Libya: Refugees in Libya have launched a GoFundMe campaign to support them “with basic needs including medicines. 3 months in the street have been very tough.” Refugees in Libya have been protesting against the inhuman treatment in Libya for months, “we have been forcibly intercepted at sea by the so-called Libyan coast guard – funded by the Italian and European authorities – and then brought back to prisons and inhumane concentration camps. Some of us had to repeat this cycle of humiliation two, three, five, up to ten times. We tried to raise our voice and spread our stories. We taught these to institutions, politicians, journalists but apart from very few interested ones, our stories remained unheard. We were deliberately silenced. But not anymore.”

UPCOMING EVENTS

Public Seminar 23.02.22 // 5 – 6.30 pm (GMT) // Online: The Constitutive Exterior: EU border externalisation and the social dynamics of the Senegal River Valley: This talk by Hassan Ould Moctar will situate the EU border externalisation process within the regional history and social dynamics of the Senegal River Valley. It draws from fieldwork data gathered in the Mauritanian border town of Rosso, a crucial node within the architecture of the EU border regime in West Africa. 

Public Seminar 09.03.22 // 5 – 6.30 pm (GMT) // Online: Carceral Geographies, Racial Violence: The contested Mediterranean borderzone: Maurice Stierl 

This seminar series critically interrogates the ways in which militarised borders, migration enforcement, and their racial orderings continue to be normalised on a global scale. The political drive towards expanding walls, policing infrastructures, camps, detention centres, interceptions at sea, push backs, deportations, surveillance, and racist immigration policies that restrict asylum and migration is hereby not only a legacy of past empires but is also indicative of new emerging geographies of (im)mobility, racialisation, and liberal violence. Speakers in this series come from a range of disciplines and will examine global migration through questions of race and racism, coloniality, nationalism, citizenship, belonging, criminalisation, and bordering.

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