02 May 2007

April 2007


While the arrivals are decreasing, new patrolling operation are starting, deportations keep on, and migrants continue to die along the routes for Europe. The victims of illegal migration in April 2007 were 28, three in Greece, two in Algeria, two on the coast of Malaga, in Spain, and 21 on the way to Canary islands, where in the first three months of 2007 arrivals decrease of 57% over the last year.

The fortress Europe. Spain, Italy, Malta and Greece will soon be able to count on the support of rapid border intervention teams. 450 men put at disposal by the 27 Members States, ready to be deployed on the hot spots of the Eu frontiers. The European Parliament approved the operation and added 10 millions of euro to the 34 millions budget of Frontex, the agency for external Eu’s borders security. An agency which today counts on 116 ships, 27 helicopters, 21 airplanes and 400 radar vehicles to seal the frontiers, with 30 operations ready to start in the next summer. The operations in the Atlantic ocean have already started the 15th February 2007. And a joint sea patrol of the strait between Sicily, Malta and Libya is foreseen, even if none know if Libya will participate after its refusal in 2006. Malta and Greece asked Frontex for financing Nautilus 2, the second edition of the homonymous operation held during October 2006, at the cost of 1,2 million euro in 15 days. An answer is expected soon, and if Malta can’t give any guarantees over asylum right and deportations, it doesn’t matter.
Meanwhile in the Canary, last act of the Spanish borders militarization, the “integrated system of external vigilance” (Sive) has just been installed on the island of Lanzarote. In two years all the archipelago will be equipped with the system, already assembled in 2003 along the strait of Gibraltar at the cost of 120 millions euro. The Sive installation will bring 6 millions euro to Tecosa, the company owned by Siemens group, charged to do the works.

Dead or alive. In two months of activity, the Frontex European forces deployed in the Atlantic ocean, diverted back to their point of departure 1.167 migrants. People who managed to reach Canary say that travels are becoming longer and longer in order to avoid the Frontex patrolling. Longer and more dangerous. Among the 21 dead of April on the routes for the Spanish archipelago, nobody is drowned. They all died for hypothermia and dehydration, after 8 to 10 days across the sea. Even the Italian Coastguard reported it: in order to avoid Frontex, the routes pass up to 300 miles off the African coast. The death list is long. 30th April, a man, disembarked the day before, dies in Las Palmas hospital. 28th April, 3 dead men found aboard a pirogue landed in Lanzarote. 26th April, 2 dead on a pirogue landed in Tenerife. 23rd April, 13 dead on a pirogue adrift in Mauritanian waters. 5th April, 2 dead on a pirogue rescued in off the Western Sahara.
Aboard the boat rescued the 23rd April off Nouadhibou, in Mauritania, there were also 13 passengers in critical conditions of health. But Mauritanian Government didn’t allow them to land in order to be hospitalised, so that they had to turn back to Senegal, 600 km to the south, before they can be assisted. Nobody want the illegal migrants. In Nouadhibou, 23 of the 400 migrants arrested in February aboard the “Marine I” on the way to Canary, are still in jail.

Made in Africa. Bebé de Mamatou Hamidou Djob. Bebé de Antonia Andrew. Bebé de Jackson Katrine. The word bebé sounds six times in the dead list presented by Afvic (Association of friends and families of the victims of clandestine immigration). They died few hours after their birth. Their little bodies are abandoned with those of 12 adults in two mortuaries in Casablanca. Natural death. Nigerians, Ivorians, Malians, Congoleses. Clandestine migrants. They are here since months, someone since one year. Even if died they are still clandestine. Nobody know their families, and the authorities don’t seem to be disposed to spend a single dirham for their interment.
The parents of the young victims meantime risk every day to be arrested and deported from Casablanca and Rabat to Oujda, at the Algerian border, where - according to Beni Znassen association - more than 700 deportees are living hidden in the valleys between Oujda and Berkan, without access to health services and to the job market. The 27th April 6 sub-Saharan migrants have been arrested in Rabat, and deported to Oujda. Among them there was Adama Keita, an Ivorian political refugee under the protection of the United Nations High Commissariat of Refugees. United Nations which, as during the mass deportations of Christmas 2006, continue to be impotent in front of the umpteenth violation of the asylum right in Morocco.

Libya hunt man. Libya is going on deporting thousands of migrants. At least 11.000 foreigners have been expelled from September 2006. The last 500, women for the majority, landed at the Murtala Muhammed airport, at Lagos, in Nigeria, the night of the 5th April. Once arrived they denounced the inhuman treatment received by Libyan authorities. A deportee told he had been tortured in jail. And a man declared he spent four years in jail before being deported. Their personal properties have been confiscated from the agents during the arrest and nobody were allowed to ask for a lawyer. From March 2007 Libya ask also African citizens for an entry visa. Qaddafi gave an ultimatum to the illegal foreigners in the country. The fear of a man hunt is high. The figures of the arrests are not reassuring, especially on the light of the detention conditions, already denounced from the Ue, Human Rights Watch and Afvic.

Trip at Tripoli. Anyway the Italian foreign minister Massimo D'Alema didn’t seems to be worried about migrants condition, when the 9th April met Qaddafi in Tripoli. Italy has financed three of the Libyan migrants detention centres, in Kufrah, Sebha and Gharyan. But the season of migrants arrivals has started, as shown by the recent arrivals in Sicily, Calabria and Sardinia. When, soon, the traffic will increase and the massmedia will shout at the invaders, then Italy and Europe will approve the figures of Tripoli. The end justifies means. For the African harrag, pursued in the popular quarters of the shoreline between Zuwarah and Tripoli, it does not remain that the last card to play: throw themselves into the sea – at all the costs – instead than risking to be arrested again, abused and detained for months before deportation.

A month at the border