venerdì 17 ottobre 2014

More barriers in Europe, more torture in Libya

Emilio Drudi

Barriers ever higher in defense of Fortress Europe. A deeper round of torture and abuse for the refugees trapped in Libya. Forget the tears of family members and survivors who are back for a moment in the foreground, off the echo of the commitments undertaken by politicians and institutions flocked to Lampedusa on the occasion of the first anniversary of the massacre, in the aftermath of the "October 3" became the symbol of all the tragedies occurred in the Mediterranean and the Sahara or in transit countries, autumn promises an even darker future for migrants fleeing Africa and the Middle East. In the immigration policy in Europe is a crackdown strong, heavier than what was feared.
The most obvious sign is Mos Maiorum, the huge police operation, which began on October 13, will run for two weeks. Promoted by the Italian government as President of the EU Council and coordinated by the Ministry of the Interior, are engaged in throughout Europe, but especially in Italy, well 18,000 agents, instructed to stop, control, identify, filing many irregular migrants and asylum seekers as possible. A round-up of continental dimensions, that part made ​​from a presumption of guilt, as if to give breath to the idea that "illegal" means "criminal." The official explanation is that they want to fight, indeed, nip organizations smugglers. But it is at least remarkable that to fight the killers will strike the victims. Forgetting that the refugees, all the thousands and thousands of young people forced to flee their homeland to escape war and persecution, can not that be illegal. All the more so if, in the absence of channels for legal entry, the only chance, in this escape for life, is to rely precisely to the merchants of death who organize trips by slaves across the desert and the crossings of the Mediterranean in boats to lose. What will happen to the thousands of men and women who fell in the network is not known. To go well, eventually abandoned to themselves, other "ghosts" with no rights intended to crowd even more slums and palaces illegally occupied by thousands of other "invisible" like them. Not to mention the fear that for many can take rejection: the deportation to the coast from where they boarded, or worse, in the countries of origin from which they had to escape.
More than an intelligence operation "to gather relevant information for investigative purposes," in short, Mos Maiorum is a way to clean up the area by a mass of "undesirables." In the usual optics of the "defense of the borders," which insists on for years and that the Minister Alfano is increasingly shore in other European governments. The choice of this mega haul, in fact, does not arrive isolated. Almost all EU Member States have closed or are closing their borders to the desperate who arrived in Italy, hoping to continue to countries where they have friends and family willing to help or where, more simply, the reception system is better. France, in recent months, has sent back more than three thousand; Switzerland began a few weeks ago to adopt the same policy; Austria is doing it for some time: from early July to mid-September, more than 2,100 migrants "returned" to Italy.
And, speaking of boundaries, continues the practice of outsourcing: the movement of the European border on the southern shores of the Mediterranean, or even further south. Just 3 October, to deliver to the Tunisian Navy two new offshore patrol vessels built by the shipyard Victory Adria, there went the Minister Alfano. The minister of the interior. Not that the defense, as it would have been more logical, since the "military matters". It 's just a coincidence? Perhaps. But maybe not. The patrol vessels are ideal for control of the sea. Including migration routes. E 'strong suspect, then, that the delivery of these vessels should be read as the first step in a plan that tends to renew, pinching the mesh and extending its functions, the bilateral agreement on migration between Rome and Tunis signed in 2011 by 'then Interior Minister Roberto Maroni. To entrust that to Tunisia the same role as "policeman of the Mediterranean" assigned to Libya since 2009. The fact is that, back in Italy, Alfano has again stressed the need to defend the frontiers, confirming the imminent end of the operation Mare Nostrum and the beginning of Triton, the Italian chapter of the Community program Frontex Plus. Namely: l 'rise of another barrier. The new project of surveillance at sea, in fact, be limited to a range of a few miles wide territorial waters, thus defeating the only positive aspect of Mare Nostrum that, by providing controls to the limits of Libyan waters, has allowed at least to save tens of thousands of lives.
So the circle closes: raids across Europe and the sea much more insecure for migrants. Maybe this way there will be fewer arrivals on our shores. Only that there will inevitably be even more victims of the approximately 3,500 registered so far since the beginning of the year. It emphasizes, in short, against the indifference which turns off the cry for help that comes from refugees trapped on the shore of North Africa. Even as Libya hear news of abuse and torture growing. And 'the case of the prison of Abu Wissa, in operation since 2009 near Zawya, on the west coast. There are bunched in groups of 200 for large room, in conditions that define degrading is little more than 1,200 prisoners, mostly Eritreans and Ethiopians, guilty only of being migrants. One of them, on October 16, managed to "steal" a phone, by contacting the agency Habeshia: "There is no space even to move - he said - is breathing heavily. In desperation we mentioned in a gesture of protest, knocking everyone to the door. It 'been worse: we were stripped naked, whipped and forced to sleep outdoors. Many of us, in these conditions, you are sick. They're bad, but nobody takes care of them. Today, a Nigerian boy is dead. When the guards came to him said. 'Just as well, they said, so you will all have the same end' ... We are desperate. We request that someone help us. "
Those refugees are fleeing from dictatorships and persecution. Finished in the middle of the war of all against all that has thrown Libya into chaos, many have tried to take refuge in Tunisia. At the border you are presented clutching the card UNHCR, the UN High Commissioner attesting to their status as refugees and asylum seekers: "It did not do anything - denounce - The military on duty at the border there are not were to hear: we have rejected and forced to turn back. So we decided to turn to the Red Crescent, but Zawya we ran into a group of militiamen, who have arrested and thrown into the prison of Abu Wissa. It 'a concentration camp, where prisoners are tortured. Abuse and ill-treatment have become the pastime of the guards, who laugh and have fun while we scream in pain. It goes on like this for months ... ".
The prison in Misrata, set up in 2009 in the former school Bilqaria, is another circle of hell. The 400 inmates are all Eritreans. Among them, 50 women and 18 children. The men were often kidnapped and forced by militants to carry ammunition and supplies, during the fighting between the various factions, from the line of fire. Dozens were wounded, some were killed. Of about 200 no longer news when they brought them away as auxiliary slaves.
Don Mussie Zerai, the Eritrean priest Habeshia president of the agency, holds back the indignation: "It 's absurd. Europe continues to remain deaf, insensitive to the cries for help that arrive daily from these young people. Indeed, it now launches Mos Maiorum to stop those who, despite everything, managed to land, fleeing from the nightmare that has become today's Libya. Think not only to raise the walls to hear, let beyond the despair that rises from the South. That's why he continues to militarize the Mediterranean to prevent the 'last of the earth' come knocking on its doors. Then you have to give voice to those who have no voice today: we cry for them, inside the Fortress Europe, as long as the governments, all the institutions decide not to listen. We are facing an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe: the only way to try to resolve it is to open embassies in Africa for asylum claims, establish access corridors legal issue visas for humanitarian reasons, family reunification, political asylum. We launch yet another appeal, in this sense, to all the chanceries of the Union. "
Analysis and outlets similar positions have been published in these days also from qualified organizations such as Amnesty International and the Association for Legal Studies on Immigration (ASGI), which, starting from the sad, terrible "body count" ask the European Union and all Member States, a radical shift in the policies and programs of welcome relief. Hotly contested in particular, by Amnesty, combined with the choice to launch raids police Mos Maiorum and close at the same time Mare Nostrum without a valid project "life-saving" alternative. While Fulvio Vassallo Palaeologus, a professor at the University of Palermo, on behalf Asgi announces the launch of a control program, called Ius Maiorum no coincidence that, in collaboration with the group Physicians for Human Rights (Medu), will present to the courts and to the institution a report on the abuses suffered by migrants at the end of Mos Maiorum. Abuses, notes Fulvio Vassallo Palaeologus, which began even before the official start of the operation, emphasizing the character of the detention centers host to force migrants to identify themselves or even rejected asylum seekers at the border, as happened to a group of refugees Syrian Crotone airport. "The same Frontex - detects Vassallo Palaeologus - it is actually 'pulled', making it clear that it intends to participate only as an observer. Mos Maiorum remains as an operation coordinated by the Italian Ministry of the Interior, perhaps the most visible fruit (and poisoned) from all over the Presidency of the European immigration. "

"All the European effort - adds Don Zerai - still focuses on programs to 'close'. With the only result of encouraging traffickers who profit on so many people desperate, proposing illegal ways, very expensive and extremely dangerous to reach Europe, as evidenced by the thousands of victims in recent years. Often it is argued that there are no economic resources to a policy of openness. But it can not be a matter of expense: to offer legal solutions and protected, would weigh on government budgets much less of all these defense mechanisms that we are putting in place. Raising walls is not the solution: it saves lives, it restores the dignity trampled the refugees, do not even need to contain the growing flow of immigrants. Better then spending the money lavished in the fight against intervention in the host and in policies to development and human rights in countries of origin and transit of migrants. Why nobody is forced to flee. There is no other way to win this battle. "

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