Week in Review – 4 November 2018

The death toll

IOM: Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 97,857 in 2018; Deaths Reach 1,987

30 years ago, 1 November 1988, the first documented death on a Spanish beach

When the body of a Moroccan man washed up on a beach in Tarifa in 1988, no one knew that it would be the first of more than 6,700 fatalities.  It was November 1, 1988, a date that continues to haunt journalist Ildefonso Sena. He took 10 photos of the scene with his Nikon compact camera but only one was needed for the incident to send shock waves through Europe. Without intending to, he had immortalized the first migrant death in the Strait of Gibraltar….”

Associated Press documents over 56,800 migrants dead or missing worldwide, almost double the number of other estimates

“An Associated Press tally has documented at least 56,800 migrants dead or missing worldwide since 2014 — almost double the number found in the world’s only official attempt to try to count them, by the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration. The IOM toll as of Oct. 1 was more than 28,500. The AP came up with almost 28,300 additional dead or missing migrants by compiling information from other international groups, requesting forensic records, missing persons reports and death records, and sifting through data from thousands of interviews with migrants….”

Libyan Coast Guard pull backs / interceptions reach 14,249; October interceptions 45% less than previous months

UNHCR reports that “as of 29 October, the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) rescued/intercepted 14,249 refugees and migrants … during 109 operations. On 26 October, 93 refugees and migrants were disembarked at the Tripoli Naval Base, the majority of whom were from Sudan, Bangladesh, South Sudan, Somalia and Mali. Overall in October, 351 refugees and migrants were disembarked in Libya, which marks a 45 per cent decrease in comparison with previous months (713 individuals in September and 552 individuals in August).”

Tunisian president rejects idea of EU disembarkation centres

Tunisian President, Beji Caid Essebsi, said opening refugee reception centres in countries such as Tunisia was “out of the question.”

ICC Chief Prosecutor said her office continues to collect evidence of alleged crimes committed against migrants transiting through Libya

Fatou Bensouda, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, told the UN Security Council that “her office continues to monitor criminal conduct carried out by members of armed groups in Libya who use violence to exert control over State institutions, commit serious human rights violations and exploit detainees in unregulated prisons and places of detention throughout the country.  She added that she hopes to soon be able to apply for new arrest warrants for such crimes.   She also, she said, continued to receive evidence of alleged crimes committed against migrants transiting through Libya, including killings, sexual violence, torture and enslavement.”

The last NGO migrant rescue ship again loses its flag and cannot sail

Italy is again close to its goal of eliminating NGO rescue vessels in the Mediterranean.  From the Guardian: “Last private search vessel in the Mediterranean unable to sail, with campaigners blaming pressure from Italian government. A desperate search is under way for a country willing to issue a flag to the Aquarius, the last civilian migrant rescue ship operational in the Mediterranean, after its Panamanian flag officially expired this week.  The Aquarius is unable to sail without a flag and is now grounded in Marseilles, starting an effective blackout across the Mediterranean, with no vessels aside from the Libyan coastguard conducting search and rescue operations.  ‘We are in a race against time to find another state willing to issue a flag to the Aquarius,’ said Sophie Beau, co-founder of SOS Méditerranée, the organisation operating the vessel alongside Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)….”

Italian prosecutor orders probe into claim that US navy ship failed to rescue migrant boat

From AFP: “According to La Repubblica newspaper, the prosecutor for the city of Raguse in Sicily had asked investigators to ‘look deeper’ into claims by survivors that the USS Trenton had sailed past their rubber dinghy when it was still afloat on June 12….The dinghy capsized off the coast of Libya with about 118 people on board. It was the same navy ship, the USS Trenton, which later saved 42 of those in the water, survivors have claimed.”  See video of interviews with survivors here.

Morocco imposes new visa rules to deter EU-bound migrants

From Africa Times and Reuters: “The Government of Morocco, under pressure to stem the tide of African migrants crossing into Spain, has established new entry visa rules for travelers from some African nations. Reuters reports that the new requirements apply in up to seven countries that have historically had no visa requirement to visit Morocco. Neighboring Algeria and Tunisia are exceptions to a rule that requires people to fill out an online form at least four days before their trip. Morocco has cracked down on migrants seeking to cross the Mediterranean Sea on routes that keep moving west, after first Turkey and Greece, and then Libya, sealed off routes to Europe….”

REACH and Mercy Corps Report: “Tunisia, country of destination and transit for sub-Saharan African migrants”

By REACH in partnership with Mercy Corps: “Summary – Since the early 2000s the number of sub-Saharan migrants in Tunisia has been increasing. Official statistics show that between 2004 and 2014 the number of non-Tunisian nationals residing in Tunisia increased by 66%, passing from 35,192 to 53,490 individuals. This excludes, however, the more than 10,000 sub-Saharan migrants in an irregular situation estimated to be living in the country, on whom no reliable and up-to-date statistics are available. Furthermore, between 2016 and 2017 the number of sub-Saharan nationals who were apprehended off the Tunisian coast in an attempt to reach Europe by boat rose from 71 to 271 individuals. While figures on sub-Saharan African apprehensions have remained low overall, the question has arisen whether Tunisia is becoming an increasingly popular destination and transit country for sub-Saharan migrants in the North African region, especially considering the recent developments in Libya and the increase in irregular departures of sub-Saharan and Tunisian migrants to Europe.  In response to the lack of information on sub-Saharan African migration to Tunisia and its most recent dynamics, REACH and Mercy Corps conducted the study ‘Tunisia, country of transit and destination for sub-Saharan African migrants’. Data collection activities took place from 9 August to 2 September 2018 in Tunis, Sfax and Medenine, known for being the three main migration hubs in Tunisia for sub-Saharan migrants. The report also contains reference to data collected by the Mixed Migration Monitoring Mechanism Initiative (4Mi) in 2017 in Tunisia and analysed by REACH. The study aims to analyse the following dimensions of sub-Saharan migration to Tunisia: (1) migration drivers, (2) routes, (3) protection risks faced while en route and (4) living conditions in Tunisia, as well as (5) migratory intentions and (6) mobility to and from Tunisia’s neighbouring countries of sub-Saharan African migrants.”

Statewatch Analysis by Tony Bunyan “From the ‘carrot and stick’ to the ‘stick’ From GAMM (2005) to ‘Partnership Frame works’ (2016) in Africa”

Statewatch Analysis. Nov. 2018: “The EU has finally lost patience with a decade-long approach based on dialogue with countries in Africa calling for the return and readmission of refugees. Under plans adopted by the European Commission on 7 June 2106 the EU is explicitly seeking to exploit Member States’ historical neo-colonial links to try to contain the movement of migrants and refugees….”

EC Migration & Home Affairs: EMN Bulletin, 26 Oct, Latest EU and national developments on migration and asylum (July – Sept. 2018)

The EMN Bulletin provides policymakers and other practitioners with updates on recent migration and international protection policy developments at EU and national level.     1. General policy developments; 2. Implementation of the Common European Asylum System; 3. Unaccompanied Minors and Vulnerable Groups; 4. Legal migration and Integration; 5. Management of EU external borders; 6. Irregular migration and return; 7. Actions Addressing Trafficking in Human Beings; 8. External dimension; Annex on EU & Complementary Statistics, Additional information, other EMN outputs and upcoming events.

EASO publishes judicial analysis on asylum procedures and the principle of non-refoulement.

The analysis is primarily intended for use by members of courts and tribunals of EU Member States concerned with hearing appeals or conducting reviews of decisions on applications for international protection. It aims to provide a judicial analysis on asylum procedures and non-refoulement as primarily dealt with under the Asylum Procedures Directive 2013/32/EU (APD (recast)). It is intended to be of use both to those with little or no prior experience of adjudication in the field of international protection within the framework of the CEAS as well as to those who are experienced or specialist judges in the field. As such, it aims to be a useful point of reference for all members of courts and tribunals concerned with issues related to asylum procedures and non-refoulement. The structure, format and content have, therefore, been developed with this broad audience in mind. Moreover, it is hoped that it will contribute to ‘horizontal judicial dialogue’.”

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