clandestina

Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘Malta’

The FRONTEX job: the first ever deportation coordinated by Frontex on the high seas

Posted by clandestina on 9 July 2009

source

Frontex handover of migrants to Italy results in forced repatriation

Karl Stagno-Navarra

The European Union border agency Frontex operating from Malta has for the first time ever coordinated a mission that led to the forced repatriation operation of migrants at sea.
74 illegal migrants sighted last Thursday afternoon by a Maltese private aircraft at approximately 126 miles south-east of Malta, was transmitted to a German Puma helicopter participating in Operation Nautilus IV that is being coordinated from Malta.
Senior military sources revealed with MaltaToday that the German helicopter was instructed to work closely with the Italian coast-guard in the area, that picked up the migrants Friday morning, and handed them over to a Libyan patrol boat.
The Italian army is participating in another joint patrol along with France, to monitor the Sardignia-Lampedusa route.
The mission has been defined as the first ever forced repatriation operation coordinated by Frontex on the high seas. Even though the migrants were intercepted by an Italian coast guard boat, the same migrants, that included women and children were identified by a Frontex asset that followed the operation through.
Meanwhile Italian police have reportedly been in contact with the Maltese authorities, after 10 migrants who escaped from Safi and Marsa detention and open centres, were apprehended in Sicily.
The migrants were caught on the Ragusa coast shortly after being ferried by a Maltese speedboat.
The news re-opens past issues with the Italian authorities following a series of tragic trips by speedboats driven by Maltese criminals that exploit the migrants and secretly take them to Sicily.

Posted in Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Undeclared War news | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Amnesty International: Lives in danger as European governments deny refugees protection

Posted by clandestina on 22 June 2009

SOURCE

Lives in danger as European governments deny refugees protection

19 June 2009

Governments in Europe are putting lives at risk by denying refugees protection, Amnesty International warned on Saturday.

“Refugees are risking their lives to find safety only to be turned away when they reach Europe,” said Nicola Duckworth, Europe and Central Asia Director at Amnesty International.

“Governments must stop putting lives in danger and start meeting their international obligations to protect these vulnerable people.”

Amnesty International’s call for government action comes on World Refugee Day, which is held on 20 June every year. World Refugee Day sees thousands of organizations in hundreds of countries coming together to focus global attention on the plight of refugees and the causes of their exile.

Countries at Europe’s border are showing a flagrant disregard for their international obligations towards refugees:

  • Italy is intercepting refugees in international waters and physically transporting them, without assessing their protection needs, to Libya, where migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees are at risk of ill-treatment and forcible return to countries where they risk serious human rights abuses.
  • Greece pushes back people at its land border and sea borders with Turkey without first assessing their asylum claims. For those that do enter the country there are many legal obstacles for refugees to gain protection.
  • Spain’s bilateral agreements with several countries in Africa are used to justify the arbitrary arrest, detention and deportation of asylum-seekers and migrants in these countries.
  • Turkey continues not to recognise people from outside Europe as refugees, meaning thousands of people are denied the protection they need.

On World Refugee Day, Amnesty International warned EU states that their actions are undermining the protection of refugees not only in their own countries but also across the world, by sending a dangerous message on the treatment of refugees.

The organization said that all countries must meet their obligations towards refugees and asylum-seekers not only within their own borders but wherever they exercise effective control.

Posted in Other Groups' and Organisations' Releases, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

At Luxemburg immigration meeting “…the debate came even as Spanish officials said that 18 African migrants were feared drowned in a bid to cross illegally to Spain”

Posted by clandestina on 4 June 2009

This is what the anti-immigration EU ministers discussed while  burgeoing on how to make the route to Europe more dangerous, expensive and degrading  (source):

Mediterranean migration makes EU waves as migrants lost off Spain

Luxembourg – The question of how to calm the waves of illegal migration sweeping into Europe across the Mediterranean Sea reached the European Union’s upper levels on Thursday, even as 18 migrants were reported lost at sea off Spain. “We are all very aware that the situation is quite complicated and problematic, and that many people suffer from this,” Swedish Immigration Minister Tobias Billstrom said at a meeting with EU interior ministers in Luxembourg.

In recent months, Italy, Greece, Malta and Cyprus have repeatedly called on other EU members to help them deal with the rising tide of illegal migrants crossing the Mediterranean to land on their shores.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive, wants to set up a “pilot project” based on a “voluntary effort of solidarity … involving a resettlement of persons under international protection,” EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot said.

That proposal is “interesting, but not sufficient,” Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said.

But ministers from other EU states stopped short of offering to take large numbers of migrants from the Mediterranean, instead calling for a holistic and long-term solution to the problem.

“There is no quick fix to the problems at the southern sea border and the Mediterranean as a whole: we have to work with long-term goals, we have to see to it that we develop good cooperation with countries of transit and origin,” Billstrom said.

The EU should also help the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, begin work in Libya [1] – a key route for migration from Africa to Europe – to receive and identify asylum seekers, Barrot said.

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble stressed that no relocation programme would deal with the economic inequality which is the main driver of migration.

“We can’t solve the problem of poverty by bringing them all into Europe,” he said.

The debate came even as Spanish officials said that 18 African migrants were feared drowned in a bid to cross illegally to Spain.

Greece tries to sell high its geopolitical location and wants more refugee return agreements with war zones (source):

Gov’t on illegal migration via Turkey

LUXEMBOURG (ANA-MPA / V. Demiris) — Greece emphasised to its EU partners here on Thursday that neighbouring Turkey, an EU candidate-state, must absolutely respect the agreements it has signed on the readmission of illegal migrants that entered Greece from its territory — a pressing issue amid an increasing flow of mostly Third World nationals attempting to reach the Union via Turkey.

Interior and Public Administration Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who represented Greece at the EU Justice and Internal Affairs Council, reiterated that if Turkey wished to enter the Union as a member it must adhere to Europe’s acquis communautaire [2], of which an immigration and asylum pact entered into effect last October.

Pavlopoulos echoed Greek leadership in reminding that the neighbouring country, with which Greece’s shares an extensive maritime border in the eastern Aegean and an often porous land border in the northeast Thrace province, has not met its commitments to take back migrants entering Greece from its territory.

“We are open to the steps Turkey is taking towards Europe, but this also necessitates simultaneous steps towards its (Turkey) modernisation, particularly with respect to the acquis communautaire,” Pavlopoulos told his EU counterparts, reiterating that a landmark November 2001 Greek-Turkish protocol has not been honored by Ankara.

The Greek minister said the Union’s proposals are generally moving in the right direction, although they will have to meeting all of the EU’s needs, especially given the eastern Mediterranean particularities.

To prove his point, Pavlopoulos said Greece requested the readmission of 65,947 illegal immigrants back into Turkey, with only 2,271 returned over a span of seven years.

Finally, the Greek interior minister, who holds the law enforcement portfolio, said Athens wants the EU to sign and implement other such readmission protocols with other third countries where large numbers of illegal immigrants originate, such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Somalia.

[1]  about Libya and the business of turning it into a huge refugee camp [source]

Libya asks EU for $1bn to combat immigration

Ivan Camilleri, Brussels

Libya has asked Brussels for $1 billion (€707 million) worth of technical assistance and equipment in exchange for more collaboration with Europe on the illegal immigration front.

Following its recent decision to collaborate more closely with Italy and take back immigrants who had left from its shores, Libya is now piling pressure on the EU to provide it with boats, helicopters, trucks and other equipment in an attempt to patrol its borders.

In its efforts to offer tangible help to Malta and Italy to curb these migration flows, the EU is more inclined to offer assistance once Libya has started to show more collaboration.

The EU will be discussing the matter this week, first with EU home affairs ministers in Brussels and then through a visit by EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot to Tripoli.

“Finally Libya is engaging, and we want to build on this momentum,” an EU official told The Sunday Times.

“Libya has already sent its ‘shopping list’ to Brussels, which we estimate will cost us around $1 billion. Although we are not giving any commitments we will surely be looking at Libya’s demands more favourably once it is showing signs of collaboration.”

Libya is considered as the main African transit country for almost all the illegal immigrants arriving on Maltese and Italian shores. It is estimated that in the past two years more than 60,000 sub-Saharan Africans have made the desperate crossing on rugged boats departing Libya for Italy.

International organisations estimate that some 4,000 people drowned as their journeys ended in tragedy.

It is estimated that 20 per cent of Libya’s six million population is made up of illegal immigrants, which is causing disquiet on the domestic front since Libyans are blaming the increasing number of African migrants for a variety of social ills.

But the problem is also self-inflicted because for a number of years the country’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi, has pro-moted an open border policy and endorsed a vision of a single African state, which would allow free movement of people and goods within the continent.

This has led to about two million Africans flooding into Libya unchallenged.

Following intense pressure by Malta and Italy, particularly in recent months, the European Commission last week endorsed a set of new measures aimed to help the two member states tackle the illegal immigration problem in the short term.

These measures, which will be discussed on Thursday with EU home affairs ministers, include financial assistance, a new mechanism of ‘voluntary’ bur-den sharing which would enable member states to resettle refugees and those with asylum status from Malta and Italy.

The proposals also include the opening of UNHCR/EU reception centres in north Africa, particularly in Libya, so that asylum seekers may have their applications processed there.

“These extraordinary set of measures have been drawn up in direct response to Malta’s and Italy’s needs,” the EU official said.

“We are hoping that EU interior ministers endorse our proposals on Thursday so that we can start translating plans into action,” he said.  The Commission will need the green light from the 27 member states to start implementing these measures. Malta will be represented at the Justice and Home Affairs Council by Home Affairs Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici.

[2] some wiki info on what this is:

The term acquis communautaire, or (EU) acquis (pronounced [aˈki]), is used in European Union law to refer to the total body of EU law accumulated thus far. The term is French: acquis means “that which has been acquired”, and communautaire means “of the community”.During the process of the enlargement of the European Union, the acquis was divided into 31 chapters for the purpose of negotiation between the EU and the candidate member states for the fifth enlargement (the ten that joined in 2004 plus Romania and Bulgaria which joined in 2007). These chapters were:

  1. Free movement of goods
  2. Free movement of persons

What is interesting is that the second chapter was subsequently divided into two,

2. Free movement of persons 2. Freedom of movement for workers
3. Right of establishment and freedom to provide services

...which admits what they aim at: keep creating cheap, seasonal workers, absolutely precarious and expendable at any time, with no future prospects.

Posted in Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research, Undeclared War news | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

One more immigration aversion business-plan by Italy and partners…

Posted by clandestina on 6 May 2009

 

 

This is what is going on in the Mediterranen daily: states and police forces try to sell on the highest price possible their capacity for rendering migration a life – threatening venture.  The pretext of “rescuing” the refugees is only miserable.  Here is where the original post appeared. 

clandestinenglish 

Italy, Malta spar on rescues again

Maltese premier ‘disgust’, Italian boat called in

(ANSA) – Rome, ay 6 – Italy and Malta were involved in a fresh spat on immigrant rescues on Wednesday after two boats carrying 136 migrants appeared near the southern Italian island of Lampedusa.

Italy says it has carried out 670 rescues in Maltese waters since the start of 2007.

Mifsud Bonnici has said 3,800 immigrants landed in Malta last year, adding that ”3,800 on a tiny island like Malta is the equivalent of 400,000 arriving in Italy”.

The boats contacted the Coast Guard on satellite phone and the alert was relayed to Maltese authorities who called in an Italian tanker, the closest vessel to the migrants.

The Italian Coast Guard said the boats were in waters where Malta should step in but Maltese Premier Lawrence Gonzi appeared to dispute this, voicing ”disgust” at what he called ”Italy’s intransigence where human lives are at stake”.

Italian Foreign Undersecretary Stefania Craxi said she was ”stunned” by Gonzi’s claim.

”The Italian Coast Guard is the only one that picks up stranded migrants in non-territorial waters and it does so with great humanity and spirit of service, carrying out work that other countries in the Mediterranean don’t do”.

Last month saw a four-day stand-off between Italy and Malta on rescuing a Turkish freighter, the Pinar, carrying 140 migrants and the dead body of a pregnant woman.

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi eventually ordered the migrants to be rescued on humanitarian grounds, but Interior Minister Roberto Maroni took the case to Brussels.

At a meeting with European Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot on April 24, Maroni and his Maltese counterpart Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici received assurances that the rest of the European Union would give them more help in dealing with illegal immigration.

Barrot said the EC was ready to offer financial help to the two countries, which bear the brunt of immigrants leaving the North African coast for Europe, and would also propose measures that would mean other member states would share the burden of illegal immigration.

He said that sooner or later other EU countries would have to cope with immigrants who arrive on the Italian and Maltese coasts arriving on their territory.

Maroni meanwhile called on the EU to reinforce the role of its border agency Frontex, suggesting that it should be made responsible for the creation and management of ”EU repatriation centres”.

If Europe shared the burden of arrivals in this way, ”the problem would resolve itself” and cases like that of the 140 stranded migrants ”would never happen”, he said.

Italy presented a dossier to the EC that Maroni said ”clearly” showed it had been Malta’s responsibility to receive the migrants, since they were rescued in Maltese waters by the freighter, the Pinar.

Malta admitted the Pinar was in Maltese waters but said international law dictated the freighter should head for the nearest port, which was allegedly Lampedusa.

Following the meeting with Mifsud Bonnici and Barrot, Maroni said the ”Pinar case was closed” but the wider issue of rescue competence remained ”because there are various interpretations”.

Three days later, on April 24, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini urged the European Commission to draw up new measures before its five-year mandate expires this year.

He said other EU countries bordering the Mediterranean – Malta, Greece, Spain, Portugal and France – support a seven-point plan outlined by Italy.

If adopted, these measures must become binding for other EU members because southern European countries can no longer be left alone to bear the brunt of the immigration emergency, he added.

The plan would outline clear-cut rules to help immigrants stranded at sea, avoiding disputes between countries over whose responsibility it is to assist them.

It would also propose shared responsibility among the 27-member states for providing hospitality for the migrants; set up a pan-European network of holding centres; provide concrete incentives to non-EU countries promoting legal immigration; agree to joint sea and coast patrols with non-EU countries in a bid to stem illegal immigration; and work with Libya to organise radar and satellite systems to monitor its southern frontiers.

With almost 800 kilometres of coastline, Libya has become a key stepping-stone for African migrants seeking to enter Europe, most of them through Malta, Sicily and Lampedusa.

Italy is ready to finance 50% of the cost of these monitoring systems but believes the EU should do its bit in covering the rest, Frattini said.

According to the Italian interior ministry, around 37,000 people landed on Italian coasts in 2008 – a 75% increase on 2007.

Posted in Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Undeclared War news | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »