MONTHLY REVIEW MAY 2022 – HTML

MONTHLY REVIEW: MAY 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 Farce and Façade: Somalia’s Government Acts Without Legitimacy by Markus Virgil Höhne: We’ve translated a comment by the social anthropologist Markus Virgil which was first published in the journal IZ3W about the elections in Somalia, their legitimacy, and the question “why elections are nevertheless organized at great expense.”

Blog Internal EU-Document: „Update on State of Play of External Cooperation“ from May 2022: We’ve received an internal document from the EU-commissions services dated May 20, 2022, titled: „Update on State of Play of External Cooperation in the Field of Migration Policy“. The document provides a brief update and overview over the EU’s „partnerships“ with „third countries“ in regards to externalized migration control.  It has also been published by Statewatch. The document is the update of the previous „Update on State of Play of External Cooperation in the Field of Migration Policy“ dated January 14, 2022, which you can find here.

Wiki La Méditerranée by Christian Jakob: Le rapport traite de la situation des droits de l’homme et la politique des frontières en Méditerranée, la situation actuelle et rétrospective historique.

Wiki Sahel: Imaginaries, Mobility, and Interventions by Ekaterina Golovko: “This report focuses on mobility in the Sahel and international political and humanitarian interventions related to mobility taking place there. In the last years, the Sahel became a key focus area of geopolitical interests. As a consequence, the Sahel increasingly became a space of international interventions. To legitimize them, Sahel was framed as a space of ‘crisis and insecurity’, of ‘migration’ and of ‘intervention’. Each of these labels gives rise to different ways of dealing with the Sahel at the policy level and mutually constitutes the ‘identity’ of the Sahel, including the type of intervention taking place there. Considering the focus on the ongoing interventions, the present report will focus on the area of the Sahel denominated ‘Central Sahel’ embracing the Sahelian territories of Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali.”

ALL AFRICA

19.05.22: The Guardian: ’Huge spike’ in global conflict caused record number of displacements in 2021: “Conflict and violence forced people from their homes a record number of times last year, a report has found, with sub-Saharan Africa bearing the brunt of mass internal displacement caused by “huge spikes” in fighting. People fleeing violence were internally displaced 14.4m times in 2021, an increase of 4.6m on 2020, according to figures published by the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).”

24.05.22: Foreign Policy: Africans Caught in the Geopolitical Crossfire: Newspaper articles in the Nigerian outlet Premium Times and the South Africa-based Daily Maverick elaborated on “the U.S. Congress’s debate in April of a bill that would seek to “counter the malign influence and activities” of Russia and its proxies in Africa. The headlines offered great insight into how some African journalists and citizens view U.S. foreign policy in Africa as being primarily driven by geopolitical concerns about rivals Russia and China rather than the prosperity of Africans.”

See also 20.05.22: ISS: US debates bill to counter ‘malign’ Russian activities in Africa

25.05.22: ISS: Is the IMF making a comeback across Africa?: “2020 saw Africa experience its first recession in 25 years, as economies buckled under capital flight, falling commodity prices and the pandemic. Although there were some improvements in 2021, most countries continued to battle the trilemma of debt, disease and dysfunction. In 2022, expectations shifted to post-pandemic recovery, however the Russia-Ukraine crisis has focused attention on risk and reform.”

25.05.22: Al Jazeera: AU chairperson says Africa a ‘collateral victim’ of Ukraine war: “Millions of people in Africa, which has an estimated population of 1.3 billion, have been pushed into extreme poverty by the COVID-19 pandemic. And now, the continent has been hit hard by rising food costs caused partly by disruptions linked to the war.”

 

CENTRAL AFRICA

Chad 17.05.22: africanews: Chad arrests opposition leaders over anti-France protest: “Five opposition leaders were charged and jailed Monday in Chad for disturbing public order during a Saturday demonstration against France, accused of supporting the military junta, the N’Djamena prosecutor’s office told AFP.”

See also 16.05.22: CNN: Chadians take to the streets in anti-French protests

  

EAST AFRICA           

East Africa 10.05.22: taz: Von Kongo bis Mosambik: Ostafrika im Krieg (From Congo to Mozambique: East Africa in War): A failed East African attempt to broker peace talks between Congo’s government and rebels is leading to renewed violence. Meanwhile, the fight against „Islamist“ groups is left to intervention forces: Uganda in Congo, Rwanda in Mozambique.

Kenya 28.05.22 Al Jazeera: Refugees in Kenya’s Kakuma and Dadaab camps are still in limbo: “In March 2021, Kenya ordered the swift closure of Kakuma and Dadaab – two sprawling refugee camps that host more than 400,000 people, mostly from neighbouring Somalia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – and gave the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) just two weeks to come up with a plan to do so. In the end, the refugee agency and the Kenyan authorities agreed on a road map that would result in both camps being closed by June 30, 2022. The announcement of an official closure date sent shockwaves down the spines of many of the camps’ residents.”

Somalia/US 07.05.22: The East African: Reduction in US drone strikes in Somalia leads to fewer civilian casualties: “A notable reduction in America’s usage of drone strikes to fight Al-Shabaab in Somalia has resulted in fewer reports of civilian casualties in the country, a report shows.”

Somalia 17.05.22: taz: Im Würgegriff der Clans (In the stranglehold of the clans): Somalia’s parliament elects a new president, ensuring a transfer of power between the torn country’s two most powerful clans

See also 15.05.22: NYT: Somalia Elects Next President, but Terrorists Hold True Power

 

NORTH AFRICA                 

Egypt 17.05.22: North Africa Journal: Egypt: Price of subsidized bread up by as much as 50% in Egypt, threatening stability: “For the first time since he took office, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Tuesday ordered a price cap on unsubsidised bread after the cost of the Egyptian staple rose by as much as 50 percent. The move is designed to cushion the invasion’s impact on a country where, according to Michael Tanchum of the Middle East Institute, “keeping the price of Egypt’s staple food affordable has been the bedrock of regime stability” for 60 years.”

Libya 05.05.22: The Libya Observer: 128 Nigerian immigrants returned home from Libya: 128 migrants “were deported from Libya as part of the voluntary return program through Mitiga International Airport. The International Organization for Migration announced the return of 167 Nigerian immigrants to their country last January, as part of the voluntary return program to deport migrants stranded in Libya.”

Libya 28.05.22: Al Jazeera: ‘Slavery, rape, torture’: Libya threatened by foreign fighters: “Libya faces a serious security threat from foreign fighters and private military companies, especially Russia’s Wagner Group which has violated international law. In a United Nations report obtained by The Associated Press news agency, experts also accused seven Libyan armed groups of systematically using unlawful detention to punish perceived opponents, ignoring international and domestic civil rights laws including ones prohibiting torture.”

Libya/Tunisia 08.05.22: The Libya Observer: 25,000 Libyans entered Tunisia from Ras Ajdir border crossing on Eid Al-Fitr holiday: “The director of the Ras Ajdir border crossing directorate between Libya and Tunisia, Salem Al-Akaak, has confirmed that 25,000 citizens crossed the crossing to Tunisia within three days of the Eid Al-Fitr holiday.”

Morocco 14.05.22: North Africa Journal: Morocco: Dozens of teachers sent to prison for protesting and “insulting a state body”: “Forty-five Moroccan teachers have been handed suspended prison sentences for attending unauthorised protests last year over a long-running contract dispute with the education ministry, their lawyer said Friday. The charges related to protests and strikes that have rocked the North African country’s state schools since 2019.”

Sudan 29.05.22: Al Jazeera: Sudan lifts state of emergency imposed since last year’s coup: “Sudan’s military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has lifted a state of emergency that was imposed following a coup on October 25 last year, according to the ruling sovereign council […]. Sunday’s decision came after a meeting with senior military officials recommending the state of emergency be lifted and people imprisoned under an emergency law be freed. It also came after the latest calls by UN special representative Volker Perthes for removing the state of emergency, following the killing of two protesters during anti-coup protests on Saturday.”

See also 24.05.22: The Guardian: Sudan security forces clash with protesters against military coup

Tunisia 10.05.22: New York Times: As Tunisia’s Democratic Experiment Unravels, Economic Collapse Looms:The president is consolidating one-man rule while the economy, sapped by mismanagement, the pandemic and war in Ukraine, flails. Groups that helped avert a past crisis are largely silent.”

 

WEST AFRICA   

Burkina Faso 03.05.22: African Business: Burkina Faso: Over a quarter million people victims of new “water war” in peak dry season: “Thirty-two water facilities have been destroyed so far this year, impacting nearly 300,000 people […].“These repetitive attacks on water services and their severe impact on hundreds of thousands of vulnerable civilians are unprecedented in Burkina Faso and have not been seen elsewhere in the Central Sahel region either,” says Hassane Hamadou, Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Burkina Faso. “Disrupting civilians’ access to water is no longer a mere by-product of the conflict, it has become a weapon of war and marks a new, despicable turn in violence. For the sake, dignity and survival of an already exhausted population, this war on water must stop”.”

Mali/France 03.05.22: africanews: Mali’s junta breaks off from defence accords with France: “Mali’s ruling junta announced on Monday [02.05.22] it was breaking off from its defence accords with former colonial ruler France, condemning „flagrant violations“ of its national sovereignty by the French troops there.”

Mali 04.05.22: The Guardian: Russian mercenaries linked to civilian massacres in Mali: “Russian mercenaries in Africa have been linked to massacres in which several hundred civilians have died, raising new fears about the impact of Moscow’s intensifying interventions on the stability and security of countries across the continent. Western officials have so far largely steered clear of naming the perpetrators of killings but witnesses, local community leaders, diplomats and local analysts blamed many of the deaths on fighters deployed by the Wagner Group, a network of private companies run by a close ally of Vladimir Putin.”

Mali/Germany 11.05.22: taz: Bundeswehr bleibt in Mali (German armed forces remain in Mali): Contrary to statements earlier this month, it is now clear that Germany wants to expand its participation in the UN mission in Mali. The EU training mission will be shifted to Niger.

See also 04.05.22: taz: Rückzug aus Mali eingeleitet (Withdrawal from Mali initiated)

Mali 16.05.22: africanews: Mali blames Western nation for failed coup attempt: “Mali late on Monday [16.05.22] announced that security forces had thwarted a countercoup attempt that it said was supported by an unnamed Western government […]. The accusations of foreign interference came as Goita’s regime is becoming increasingly isolated.”

Mali 16.05.22: DW: Mali pulls out of regional G5 Sahel joint force: “”The government of Mali is deciding to withdraw from all the organs and bodies of the G5 Sahel, including the joint force” fighting the jihadists, the country’s military junta said in a statement on Sunday, claiming Mali was being exploited by unnamed foreign powers.”

See also 25.05.22: Ouest France: Après le retrait du Mali de la Force conjointe, quel avenir pour le G5 Sahel ? (After the withdrawal of Mali from the Joint Force, what future for the G5 Sahel?)

Niger 10.05.22: Al Jazeera: Analysis: Can Niger become the main Western ally in the Sahel?: “As France and its European allies leave Mali in a dramatic divorce due to coups and rising anti-French sentiment, Niger is becoming the latest hub for Western militaries struggling to tackle the decade-long conflict in the Sahel region. Last month, the Nigerien parliament approved a bill paving the way for the redeployment of two French-led counterterrorism missions, Operation Barkhane and the European Task Force Takuba from Mali to the country.”

Western Sahara 09.05.22: Zeit Online: Mindestens 44 Geflüchtete vor der Küste der Westsahara ertrunken (At least 44 refugees drowned off the coast of Western Sahara): According to the organisation Caminando Fronteras, the boat capsized. The Moroccan authorities arrested twelve survivors. Only seven bodies were recovered.

 

WEST ASIA

Turkey/Syria 04.05.22: infomigrants: Erdogan announces return scheme for one million Syrians: “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed plans to send around one million Syrian refugees back to their country. The President said that the plans were at an „advanced“ stage.”

 

EUROPE   

Germany 01.05.22: Migazin: Umstrittenen Bundeswehr-Einsatz im Mittelmeer vor Libyen verlängert (Controversial Bundeswehr deployment in the Mediterranean off Libya extended): Bundestag resolution: The German Armed Forces will participate for another year in the EU naval mission „Irini“ in the Mediterranean. However, training of the Libyan coast guard is not to be continued. Sea rescuers criticize: Symbolic policy does not help those affected.

Greece 14.05.22: borderline europe: Press release: Scandalous case of criminalisation of refugees: Trial against #Samos2 set for 18 May: “In an unprecedented move, Greek authorities have charged a refugee with the drowning of his 6-year-old son during a shipwreck. On 18 May 2022, he will be on trial in Samos together with his co-passenger, who is facing life imprisonment for steering the boat.”

See also 08.05.22: borderline-europe: Kheiraldin, Abdallah and Mohamad: #Paros3 sentenced to a total of 439 years in prison for steering the boat; 16.05.22: Alarm Phone: May 19: trial in Kalamata – criminalization against people on the move in Greece continues!; 18.05.22: taz: Bis zu 187 Jahre Haft (Up to 187 years imprisonment); 18.05.22: Mare Liberum: The Samos 2 (accused of endangering a child and smuggle) got their freedom back; 19.05.22: Alarm Phone: Two of five accused in Kalamata for boat driving were acquitted of all charges; 20.05.22: borderline-europe: The Italian court acquitted four Eritreans accused of aiding and abetting illegal migration 

Greece 27.05.22: taz: Keine Ruhe auf Lesbos (No peace in Lesbos): The stench of burnt plastic, decay and excrement is in the air. If the Greek government has its way, a closed reception center for up to 3,000 refugees will be built right here, in the hilly forest next to the garbage dump, out of sight of the local population and tourists.

Poland 26.05.22: TNH: At Poland’s borders, Ukrainians are welcomed while refugees from elsewhere face a growing crackdown: “Thousands of soldiers and police continue to patrol the border with Belarus as construction on a 350-million-euro wall intended to keep out asylum seekers and migrants nears completion. Meanwhile, aid volunteers are bracing for an uptick in attempted crossings during the warm summer months while contending with increasingly hostile treatment from authorities.”

Spain/Morocco 12.05.22: africanews: Spain and Morocco to reopen borders in Ceuta and Melilla: “Madrid and Rabat will on May 17 reopen the border posts between northern Morocco and the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, which have been closed for more than two years, the Spanish Interior Minister announced on Thursday [12.05.22]. […] This process will be gradual and will initially only affect nationals of Schengen countries.”

Spain/Morocco 28.04.22: Statewatch: Spain and Morocco renew security cooperation agreement linking organised crime and „irregular“ immigration: “Spain and Morocco renew security cooperation agreement linking organised crime and „irregular“ immigration. The cooperation agreement on security and the fight against crime, drawn up between the two countries in February 2019, will enter into force on 30 April 2022.”

UK 14.05.22: The Guardian: Fifty people to be sent to Rwanda in a fortnight, says Boris Johnson: Boris Johnson said 50 people have been told they will be sent to Rwanda within the next fortnight, and that he was ready to fight with “leftie lawyers” seeking to challenge the government’s plans for refugees. Under the £120m scheme announced last month, people deemed to have entered the UK unlawfully will be transported to the east African country, where they will be allowed to apply for the right to settle.

See also 25.05.22: ECRE: UK: Confusion Over (Raw)anda Deal as Home Office Moves to Detain Asylum Seekers, Deterrence Effect Doubtful as Channel Crossings Continue, Ten Years of Hostile Environment Leaves Nothing to Celebrate; 31.05.22: The Guardian: First Rwanda deportation flight to leave UK on 14 June, says Priti Patel

 

EUROPEAN UNION            

Frontex 04.05.22: The Guardian: EU censures border agency after reports of human rights abuses in Greece: “The European parliament has refused to sign off the EU border agency’s accounts, saying it had failed to investigate alleged human rights violations of asylum seekers in Greece. The vote on the agency, Frontex, came after the resignation last week of its director, Fabrice Leggeri, who left after an investigation by Olaf, the EU’s anti-fraud body. […] The delay in approving its accounts has no financial consequences for the agency, but is a form of political censure that empowers MEPs to issue recommendations to its new director.”

See also 30.05.22: eu observer: Frontex left ‚traumatised‘ says caretaking leadership

IOM 26.05.22: The Guardian: Europe silent on plight of detainees in Libya, says migration chief: “Europe has been accused by a senior international official of acquiescence over the plight of thousands of migrants in Libya held in arbitrary detention in “deplorable conditions”. Federico Soda, chief of mission at the International Organisation for Migration’s mission in Libya, said not enough was being done by outside actors to try to change the war-torn country’s “environment of arbitrary detention and deplorable conditions” for migrants.”

 

REPORTS                 

05/22 Alarme Phone Sahara Report of the Alarme Phone Sahara mission to Dirkou, Bilma, Latai and Siguidine: “With the aim of research and of improving the work of Alarme Phone Sahara on the ground, a mission took place to visit Dirkou, Bilma, Latai and Siguidine in the zone of the Kawar desert in the North of Niger. Many migrants and other travelers cross this zone on their way northwards, namely towards Libya, as well as people on their way back from Libya, and in some cases deported from there. The region is also known for its dangerous risks on the migration routes and many migrants have lost their lives and been burried in the Kawar desert.” 

05/22 Borderline-Europe: Central Mediterranean Info April 22: Since January 2021, borderline europe regularly shares parts of its collected data from the Central Mediterranean (Central Med) with the public at the end of each month. These contain all the information they have access to on arrivals, rescues and push & pullbacks in Central Med, thus countering the figures of the Italian Ministry of Interior and the UN with a civilian observation.

05/22 ECRE: Update AIDA Report on Italy: In 2021 In 2021, 67,477 persons disembarked in Italy, almost doubling the number of arrivals of 2020 (34,154) and representing an even more relevant increase when compared to 2019, when a total of 11,471 people reached the country. The main nationality of people disembarked remained Tunisian, who were 15,671 in total. Among the people reaching Italy by sea, over 31,500 came from Libya, more than 20,000 from Tunisia, 13,000 from Turkey and 1,500 from Algeria.

05/22 Le Monde Diplomatique: Das System Calais (The system Calais): How Smuggling Networks Profit from the Rigid Border Regime on the English Channel.

10.05.22 The New Humanitarian: Darfur displacement soars as peace deal falters: Sweeping attacks by Arab militias late last month left at least 165 people dead in the town of Kreinik, which is in West Darfur state and is mostly populated by the non-Arab Masalit group. Almost 100,000 people were displaced, according to local authorities. Attacks like these have intensified in Darfur since 2019, but last month’s violence spread beyond communal militias into a wider battle between rebel groups, soldiers, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), mirroring broader fault lines in the country. The recent fighting – which displaced more than 420,000 people last year – follows the withdrawal of a UN-African Union Darfur peacekeeping mission, UNAMID, and comes amid a national political crisis: In October, military generals ousted civilian leaders from a power-sharing government set up following al-Bashir’s 2019 removal.

05/22 Transversal: Now even more so: A double NO on May 15, for all those who can vote and those who should be allowed to: Bernd Kasparek on the resignation of Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri: “Leggeri’s resignation is certainly not suitable to solve these structural problems of European border and migration policy, indeed of the European project as a whole. Rather, what is needed now is a fundamental debate on the way Europe wants to relate to the rest of the world. But such a debate will not come on its own; it is already clear that the Commission, for example, is very quick to place all the blame solely on Leggeri’s person, thus nipping structural debates about the future of the European border in the bud.”

05/22 RLS North Africa: Black Box Egypt. Egypt’s Opaque Detention and Deportation Practice against Refugees: “In blatant violation of international refugee and human rights conventions, Egyptian authorities continue their crackdown against refugees and people on the move. While deportations of Eritrean nationals have apparently been expanded significantly since 2021, countless people on the move are currently detained in Egypt in disastrous conditions and without access to legal counsel. The regime now responds to an EU demand by drafting an asylum law. But by doing so, Cairo also pursues its very own goals.”

05/22 Statewatch and Transnational Institute: At what cost? Funding the EU’s security, defence, and border policies, 2021–2027: “The European Peace Facility is but one of the EU’s array of budgetary instruments that form part of the 2021–27 Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF), under which an unprecedented amount of money has been earmarked for security and defence purposes. Other instruments with specific budget lines for security, defence and military equipment include the Internal Security Fund (ISF), the Integrated Border Management Fund (IBMF), the Asylum and Migration Fund (AMF), the Security Research Programme and the European Defence Fund (EDF), among others. This research discusses the objectives and functioning of each of these instruments, while also interrogating the larger political picture regarding what their approval means for the EU as a whole.”

 

CAMPAIGNS

Campaign Student Coalition for equal rights: Open Letter for the equal treatment of displaced international students: “We are the self-organized, Berlin-based group STUDENT COALITION FOR EQUAL RIGHTS. We are made up of international students who fled Ukraine as well as students in Berlin’s universities, and we have collectively written a letter with demands addressing the unequal treatment of those without Ukrainian passports, focusing on the various educational obstacles they are facing. We would greatly appreciate your support by sharing widely in all your networks as well as signing in solidarity as a group and/or an individual.” 

 

UPCOMING EVENTS   

Conference 22.-23.06.22: Fokus Sahel: Schafft Demokratie Frieden? (Does Democracy create peace?): The continuation of a conference from 2019, this time under the title „Does democracy create peace?”. As in 2019, numerous speakers from the Sahel countries of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad will be attending. The event is open to all interested parties and will take place both in person and online.

Discussion 26.06.22, 5 pm (CEST) 25 Jahre kein menschen ist illegal (25 years no one is illegal): Exactly 25 years ago, in June 1997, activists founded the network kein mensch ist illegal (KMII) during Documenta X in Kassel. What part did kmii play in the anti-racist struggles of the past 25 years? What role did its relationship to refugee self-organizations play? What was important in the campaigns of the early days of kmii, what of it is still relevant today? At the theme day “Flight and Migration” of ZukunftsDorf22 at documenta XV, co-founders of KMII will talk with younger activists from the anti-racist movement. In presence in Kassel, Germany and online at youtube and facebook.

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