Category Archives: Turkey

Frontex Map: Current Situation at the External Borders (JANUARY – SEPT 2010)

Frontex has released an updated Third Quarter map, January-September 2010, showing data regarding the situation at the external borders.   Note the information on the map pre-dates the deployment of the Frontex RABIT forces to the Greek border in October/November.  The data shows a 369% increase in detected irregular crossings along the Greek-Turkey land border over the first three quarters of 2010 compared to 2009.

The significant reduction in migrants detected at maritime borders continues:

  • Jan-Sept 2010:   11.163 (estimated preliminary data)
  • Jan-Sept 2009:   39.084
  • 71% reduction

Data by route:

Central Mediterranean route

  • Italy:
    • Jan-Sept 2010:     2.866
    • Jan-Sept 2009:    8.289
    • 65% reduction
  • Malta:
    • Jan-Sept 2010:    29
    • Jan-Sept 2009:    1.289
    • 98% reduction

Western Mediterranean route

Spain (land border):

  • Jan-Sept 2010:   1.089
  • Jan-Sept 2009:   1.369
  • 20% reduction

Spain (sea border excluding Canary Islands):

  • Jan-Sept 2010:   2.592
  • Jan-Sept 2009:   3.540
  • 27% reduction

West African route – Canary Islands (Spain):

  • Jan-Sept 2010:   16
  • Jan-Sept 2009:   2.212
  • 99% reduction

Eastern Mediterranean route

Greece (TUR land border):

  • Jan-Sept 2010:   31.021 (estimated preliminary data)
  • Jan-Sept 2009:   6.616
  • 369% increase

Greece (sea borders):

  • Jan-Sept 2010:   5.606 (estimated preliminary data)
  • Jan-Sept 2009:   23.735
  • 76% decrease

Click here to view Jan-Sept 2010 Map.

Click here for link to Jan-June 2010 Map.

Click here for link to 2009 Map.

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Migreurop Report: European borders- Controls, detention and deportations

Migreurop has released its second report on Europe’s borders: “European borders- Controls, detention and deportations.”  Migreurop describes the report as a “[denunciation of] the « externalization » process of the European union migratory policy [which] shows how third countries are obliged, through the threat of the reconsideration of cooperation agreements and development aid, not only to readmit the migrants chased from Europe, but also to keep them on their own territory from travelling towards its doors.   From Calais area in France to the edge of Turkey and the Adriatic sea, from the surroundings of Gibraltar to the Sahel Saharan desert and the new member states of eastern Europe, a subcontracting of migratory control is carried out in series, sometimes very far away from the Union but also within its territory, especially when it deals with sending asylum seekers from country to country considered as unwanted. A large population of exiles, from both sides of the European borders, is subjected to arbitrary incarceration, wandering, and the constant humiliation of a hostile environment….”

Here is the Table of Contents:

Introduction

  • What have migrants become 3

Ceuta, a gilded prison

  • A murderous border 7
  • A legal limbo 8
  • The situation of migrants in detention 8
  • The situation of migrants in the CETI (open centre) 9
  • Deportations and expulsions 12
  • Surviving without resources 14

Sahel-Saharan countries, Europe’s new sentries

  • I – European interference in inter-African migrations – the case of Mauritania 18
    • The “crisis of the cayucos” 18
    • 1. Cooperation instigated by Europe 18
    • 2. Mauritania tramples on its own principles and conforms 21
    • 3. Subcontracting repression and endangering foreigners 22
  • II – Bargaining between Libya and Europe: migrants as an exchange currency –the case of Niger 33
    • 1. A reciprocal exploitation 34
    • 2. An increasingly repressive control of borders 37
    • 3. Arrests and detention in Libyan territory 39
    • 4. A deadly expulsion policy 42
  • Conclusion: the real face of Kadhafi’s pan-Africanism 44

Poland, Romania: how to be good state members in the enlarged EU

  • I – At the new frontiers: the screening of migration 47
    • 1. Reducing the transit and deserving Schengen 48
    • 2. The border police, Frontex and cooperation with other European states 48
  • II – Reception and detention centres 52
    • 1. The detention of foreigners 52
    • 2. Reception centres: isolating asylum seekers 60
    • 3. “Dublinized” asylum seekers 61
  • III – Returns 63
  • IV – Intolerance towards migrants and refugees 66
  • V – Embryonic mobilizations 70

The Ionian and Adriatic seas: forced returns between Italy and Greece

  • A new migration route at Europe’s gates 73
  • I – Controlling and blocking 75
    • 1. Controls in Greece 75
    • 2. Controls at sea 77
    • 3. Controls in Italian ports 78
  • II – Turning back and readmission 82
    • 1. Arbitrary practices and violation of rights 82
    • 2. The port of Venice: collective returns 83
    • 3. The port of Ancona 86
    • 4. Forced return to Greece 86
  • III – Detention 88
    • 1. At the borders and at sea: areas beyond legality 88
    • 2. Detention in Italy 89
    • 3. Detention in Greece 90
  • IV – Some cruel situations 93
    • 1. In Greece 93
    • 2. In Italy 96
  • V – Mobilizations 97
    • 1. In Venice 97
    • 2. In Ancona 97
    • 3. In Greece 98

Ping-pong at the Greco-Turkish border

  • Selective expulsions and random readmissions 106
  • Reactions to a degrading and sometimes murderous situation 107
  • Assistance, support, resistance 108

Dismantling the Calais jungle: a deceptive operation

  • I – The declared objectives of the 22 September 2009 operation 112
  • II – The real objectives of dismantling the jungle 113
  • III – The Modus Operandi: brutality and trickery 115
  • IV – What next? 116

Migreurop network 121

Annexes 122

  • Knocking down walls and defending the right to migrate 122
  • UNHCR-Libya : the bid is rising, migrants pay the price 124
  • All for the closure of camps for migrants, in Europe and beyond 125
  • Italia and Libya: hand in hand 127
  • Roma people victims of the French government xenophobia 128

Click here for the report (EN), or  here (FR), or here (ES).

Click here for article (ES) in Periodismo Humano about the report.

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Increased Human Smuggling to Cyprus

According to an article in the Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman, Turkish Interior Ministry data indicates that human smuggling in Turkey has decreased since 2007, but that one consequence of increased enforcement within Turkey has been a diversion of human smuggling to the Turkish controlled northern portion of Cyprus.

“According to the ministry, the total number of illegal immigrants, asylum seekers and immigrants caught at land and sea borders with Syria, Iran, Iraq, Georgia, Greece and Bulgaria declined to 28,355 in 2009.”  This number is in contrast to the 50,800 migrants reportedly arrested in 2008 and 7,465 arrested over the first six months of 2010.

The Ministry also reported a decline in known deaths: “In line with the drop in the number of immigrants trying to get to the West through Turkey, there has been a decline in the number of illegal immigrant deaths. In 2007, 82 immigrants died in accidents on the Aegean Sea and 102 went missing. The number of deaths dropped to 76 in 2008 and to 43 in 2008. The number of deaths in the first half of 2010 was nine.”

According to the article, there has been a diversion of smuggling operations towards Turkish controlled Cyprus and as a result the “KKTC [the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] [is] facing the biggest migration move ever in its history.”  “In 2008, the number [of irregular migrants] doubled and increased to 568. It continued to increase in 2009. According to estimates, 750 migrants entered the island in 2009. … Illegal immigrants are brought by ships to Cyprus during the night and left in places that are far from settlement areas in Dipkarpaz and the İskele region. In addition to the KKTC, a similar number of immigrants are brought to Greek Cyprus.  It is believed that illegal immigrants pay between $2,000-$3,000 on average to human smugglers to enter the KKTC. In the latest smuggling cases in Turkey, they pay $5,000-$10,000.”

Click here for article.

Click here Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs web site on Illegal Migration.

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Frontex 2nd Quarter Report

The Frontex Risk Analysis Unit has released its Report for the Second Quarter of 2010 (April-June).  It is a 30+ page report containing data, charts, and graphs detailing entry routes, detections of migrants, detections of facilitators, and other information.

Excerpts from the Report’s Executive Summary:

Illegal migration pressure in the EU underwent a foreseeable seasonal increase during the second quarter of 2010, but is still clearly in a period of decline.…

The widespread decline in illegal migration pressure is probably due to two key factors. The first is decreased employment opportunities in the EU …  [and the] second is stricter migration and asylum policies in Member States, supported by much more effective collaboration with key third countries. For example, stricter migration and asylum policies in Norway and the UK have reduced the number of applications in these Member States…. Similarly, bilateral agreements between Italy and Libya, and between Spain and both Senegal and Mauritania, continue to control, for the time being at least, most illegal migration via the Central Mediterranean and West African routes, respectively.

Notwithstanding the general decline in detections, there were two emerging trends in the second quarter (Q2) of 2010: a continued and intensified shift from the Greek sea border to the Greek land border with Turkey….  In the beginning of 2009 illegal crossings of the EU external border between Greece and Turkey were divided roughly equally between the land and sea borders.  However, there has been a gradual and recently intensified shift to the land border. Reasons for this shift from sea to land borders are linked to the effectiveness of the Frontex activities in the Aegean Sea, combining surveillance activities with identification of illegal migrants, and opening the possibility of return to origin countries for detected migrants. ….

Main trends:

  • There is a general decline in illegal migration to the EU compared to a year ago;
  • For the time being, Turkey is the main transit country for illegal migration to the EU….;
  • In the Eastern Mediterranean route, there has been a gradual and recently intensified shift from the Greek-Turkish sea border to the land border, where 90% of detections were made….   At the Greek-Turkish land border around 60% of detections were made at the Border Control Unit (BCU) Orestiada which is under the biggest pressure. Air connections to Turkey are increasingly used by migrants from North Africa, who then illegally cross the EU external border with Turkey. As well as effective Frontex-coordinated joint operations at the sea border, potential explanations for this shift include cheaper facilitation costs, a lower risk crossing, lower detection rates…;
  • There were increased detections on the Central Mediterranean route, probably due to the recent re-organisation of criminal groups in response to effective bilateral agreements in the area. In June 2010 Libya expelled the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), with whom 9,000 refugees and 4,000 asylum-seekers were registered and who, in the absence of protection, may now attempt entry to the EU.

Click here for the 2nd Quarter Report.

Click here for the 1st Quarter Report.

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Frontex 2010 1st Quarter Report: Irregular Migration at Sea Borders Less Than 10% of Peak Levels

Frontex has released information from its 2010 First Quarter report by the Frontex Risk Analysis Network (FRAN).  A copy of the report itself has apparently not been released.  According to the summary provided, there have been significant reductions in irregular migration:

  • “[D]etections of irregular immigrants at [all EU] sea borders … were less than one-tenth of the peak level (for the third quarter of 2008) when roughly 33,600 detections were reported.”
  • “[D]etections at the Spanish and Italian sea borders became negligible…”
  • “[D]etections at the dominant Eastern Aegean Sea border between Greece and Turkey also fell by more than 60% to just under 2,300.”
  • “Detections at the Greek-Turkish land border were for the first time greater than those at the countries’ sea border.”
  • There were “only 150 detections of illegal border-crossing [in the Central Mediterranean], compared to 5,200 detections in the first quarter of 2009…”
  • There were “only 500 irregular immigrants detected [in the Western Mediterranean] (almost 72% down on the fourth quarter of 2009 …).”
  • There were “only five detections over the first three months of 2010 [on the West African/Canary Island route], in contrast to 31,700 detections in 2006…”

Click here for full statement.

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Frontex 2010 Annual Risk Analysis

Frontex’s Annual Risk Analysis (ARA) for 2010 was prepared in March 2010 and was posted to the Frontex web site on 7 July.  The public document only contains certain portions of the full ARA as recommendations and other “operationally sensitive details” have been redacted. While some of the ARA’s contents have previously been released by Frontex, this 35 page document contains a lot of data regarding irregular migration by land, sea, and air, and is worth a read.

Excerpts from the ARA relating to maritime migration include:

“Detections of illegal border crossing – In 2009, the [EU] Member States and Schengen Associated Countries reported a total of 106,200 detections of illegal border crossings at the sea and land borders of the EU. This represented a 33% decrease compared to 2008. The decrease is comprised of both a strong decrease reported from the sea borders (-23%), and land borders (-43%).”

“The bilateral collaboration agreements with third countries of departure on the Central Mediterranean route (Italy with Libya) and the Western African route (which Spain signed with Senegal and Mauritania) had an impact on reducing departures of illegal migrants from Africa.”

“The agreements were made at a time when the economic crisis decreased the labour demand in the EU, thus simultaneously reducing the pull factor. The synchronisation of these events probably explains why no displacement has so far been noticed from the Central Mediterranean and Western African routes to other illegal migration routes in the statistics for detections.”

“However, intelligence suggests that the risk of displacement remains high, either with the emergence of new routes or the exploitation of existing ones by nationalities which used to be detected along the Central Mediterranean or the Western African routes.”

“As a corollary to the sharp decreases registered in Italy and Spain, the number of detections of illegal border crossing in Greece rose from 50% of the total EU detections to 75% of the total. In 2009, the Greek land border sections with Albania and FYROM represented the largest share of the EU total, with 36,600 detections (34% of the EU total), followed by 22,000 detections in the Aegean Sea with (21% of the EU total).”

“Eastern Mediterranean route – The Eastern Mediterranean route is the route taken by illegal migrants transiting through Turkey and entering the EU through eastern Greece, southern Bulgaria or Cyprus. Turkey, due to its geographical position near the EU, is the main nexus point on this route. From Istanbul, illegal migrants may reach the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, or cross the land borders to Greece or to Bulgaria.”

“In 2009, illegal border crossing on the Eastern Mediterranean route totalled 41,500, or 39% of all EU detections. Most of the detections were reported from the Aegean Sea, followed by detections along the land border between Turkey and Greece. The number of detections reported by Bulgaria and Cyprus were considerably lower.”

“Central Mediterranean route – The Central Mediterranean route refers to illegal migration from northern Africa to Italy and to Malta. For the past two years, Libya has been a nexus point where migrants from the Horn of Africa and Western African routes and a small proportion of Asian nationals met before embarking.”

“Since the signing of a bilateral agreement with Libya, joint patrols by Libya and Italy have had a clear and measurable deterrent effect, with 3,200 detections in the seven months after the joint patrols (June to December), compared to 7,200 detections in the five months before the joint patrols (January to May), and almost 40,000 detections in the whole of 2008.”

“Western African route – The Western African route is primarily through Western African countries to Spain via the Canary Islands. The main embarkation points are in Senegal and Mauritania and the main countries of origin are Mali, Mauritania, Guinea Conakry and Senegal. Other African nationals have also been reported, and occasionally migrants from Asia. This route is now less favoured since the Spanish collaboration agreements with Senegal and Mauritania. The Frontex coordinated Joint Operation Hera plays a major role in maintaining effective surveillance in the area.”

“The Western Mediterranean route includes the sea route from Northern Africa to the Iberian Peninsula, and the land route through Ceuta and Melilla. It is mostly used by Northern African nationals (Algerian and Moroccan) travelling to Spain, France and Italy.”

“Maritime detections between Northern Africa and Spain are rising, with increasing detections of Algerian and to a lesser extent Sub Saharan nationals. Moroccan nationals are also regularly detected on this route. The lack of employment opportunities for the growing population of young people in Morocco continues to increase the incentives of migrating to the EU. The Spanish authorities recently reported an increasing number of attempts by Moroccan minors to get on the ferry link between Tanger and Spain. These cases do not seem connected with criminal networks; rather individual attempts are driven by poor employment prospects in Morocco.”

Click here for the ARA.

Click here for link to Frontex Map showing situation at External Borders.

[ARA page 18]

[ARA page 13]

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UNODC Publication: Smuggling of Migrants into, through and from North Africa

UNODC has issued a new publication entitled “Smuggling of Migrants into, through and from North Africa: A thematic review and annotated bibliography of recent publications.”  Most of the reviewed literature and data are from 2008 and earlier dates and therefore the publication does not include references to more recent events, e.g. the Italy-Libya migration agreement.  But it is a comprehensive and useful publication.  The 16 page Annotated Bibliography is a very good resource.

According to the UNODC web site, the publication “focuses primarily on the patterns and dynamics of migrant smuggling, as it concerns the North African region. Recognizing, however, that irregular migration and smuggling flows are transnational in nature, the review goes beyond North Africa, to also cover sub- Saharan African and European countries affected along the various smuggling routes.  The aim of the review is twofold: to describe major findings on smuggling of migrants; into, through and from North Africa, and to highlight the need for further research on specific issues that have not yet been studied.”

Table of Contents:

  • I. Introduction
  • II. Quantifying irregular migration and smuggling of migrants
  • III. Migrant smuggling routes
  • IV. Profiles and characteristics of smuggled migrants
  • V. Smuggler-migrant relationships
  • VI. Organizational structures of migrant-smuggling networks
  • VII. Modus operandi of migrant smuggling
  • VIII. Smuggling fees
  • IX. The human and social costs of smuggling
  • X. Summary of findings
  • XI. Annotated bibliography

Click here for the publication.

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EU-Turkey Readmission Agreement Negotiations Continuing

The Turkish paper, Today’s Zaman, reported that Turkey and the EU have reached agreement on 19 articles of a draft readmission agreement, but have been unable to reach agreement on 5 articles.

The news article states that Turkey wants “the readmission agreement [to include] strong funding from the EU, mirroring similar funding that is available to member states under the “resettlement policies” within the European Refugee Fund (ERF), which was established to support and improve the efforts of member states to grant refugee or asylum status to beneficiaries.”

“The [Turkish] government also fears that, without a strong and clear readmission agreement in place, vetting thousands of immigrants and asylum seekers in reception centers while awaiting deportation will open a Pandora’s box for Turkey in the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Turkey ranks second after Russia in terms of the number of cases ending up in the ECtHR and is trying to reduce them by introducing constitutional changes on fundamental rights, due to be submitted to a referendum on Sept. 12.”

“In April, for example, the ECtHR decided in three out of four cases involving refugees recognized by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that Turkey would violate Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) if the expulsion orders were enforced. The court also criticized the unlawfulness and the conditions of their detention in a police station and in some of the detention centers where they had been held awaiting deportation.”

Click here for article.

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Greek – Turkish Migration Agreement

Greece and Turkey signed a series of agreements on 14 May, including a new agreement on immigration.  Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan traveled to Athens to sign the agreements.

The immigration agreement will facilitate Greece’s ability to return irregular migrants who enter Greece from Turkey.  Pursuant to the agreement Turkey will designate a port in or near Izmir within three months as the location to which irregular migrants may be returned by Greece.  Turkey also agreed to accept up to 1,000 readmission requests per year.

Click here (EL) for Press Release from Greek Ministry of Citizen Protection.

Click here (EN) for article.

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Details from Frontex General Report 2009 (Post 1 of 2)

There is nothing really unexpected in the Frontex General Report for 2009.  If anything, it disappoints with its limited information.

The number of illegal border crossings at EU borders was smaller by a third in 2009 compared to 2008 and Frontex’s budget increased by 25% to € 88.3 million.

Frontex continued to devote the biggest single portion of its expenditures to maritime enforcement.  Almost 40% of Frontex’s total budget, over € 34 million, was spent on sea operations in 2009.  This constitutes 55% of the operational budget.  The Report notes that this cost is due to the high operating costs of ships and surveillance aircraft.

Expenditures for Frontex facilitated return operations sharply increased by 500% in 2009 to almost € 5.5 million.

Limited Information in the Report – The Report explains that Frontex made a decision in 2008 to decrease the level of detail provided in the General Report.  Frontex’s justification is that the Report “is mainly directed towards the general public” and the reduced level of detail “is more suited to this audience.”  This practice was unfortunately continued in the 2009 Report.

General Statistics – Overall there were 106,200 “detections of illegal border-crossings” at EU external land and sea borders in 2009.  This represents a 33% decrease in overall detected crossings relative to 2008, with a 23% reduction of detections at sea and a 43% reduction at land borders.

The reductions are attributed by Frontex to the economic crisis and to bilateral “collaboration agreements with third countries of departure” such as Libya, Senegal, and Mauritania.

Applications for international protection within the EU were 2% fewer in number than in 2008 and were approximately 50% of the 2001-2002 peak when 420,000 applications for international protection were filed.

Cooperation with Non-EU / Non-Schengen Countries – The Report states that cooperation with third countries, including neighbouring countries and countries of origin, is the critical element in “integrated border management.”   It describes Operation HERA as Frontex’s most successful joint operation due to close cooperation with West African countries, particularly Senegal and Mauritania.  On other fronts, “considerable progress” was made with Turkey consisting of Turkey’s appointment of a “first point of contact for Frontex related coordination issues” and preparation of a draft text of a possible Working Arrangement agreement.  “Ad hoc operational co-operation” was pursued when a targeted country was not willing or able to enter into a formal Working Arrangement with Frontex.  An “overriding priority” for Frontex in 2010 is the development of “structured operational co-operation with neighbouring Mediterranean countries.”  The Report acknowledges the existence of the bilateral migration agreement between Italy and Libya, but says nothing about its provisions other than to say that there were “contrasting interpretations of the International Law of the Sea” between Member States.  There is no criticism in the Report whatsoever of the Italian push-back practice.  It is obviously difficult for Frontex to criticise Italy, but was it not possible to note that most people and organizations who have considered the push-back practice have concluded that the practice violates international law?

New Partner Organisations – Frontex formalised a co-operation plan with Europol in October, a Working Arrangement with Interpol in May, a co-operation plan with IOM in February, and made a tripartite agreement with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the Community Fisheries Control Agency (CFCA) relating to maritime surveillance.

More to follow: I will post a second summary with additional information from the General Report pertaining to the specific sea operations for which information is provided within the next day or two.

Click here for the Report.

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Migreurop: Rencontre internationale d’ISTANBUL, 27-29 mai

Migreurop: Rencontre internationale d’ISTANBUL – “Au programme de cette rencontre seront traités les enjeux et les conséquences des accords de réadmission, la situation dans les camps de rétention pour étrangers dans l’UE et à ses frontières extérieures, ainsi que le rôle de l’agence Frontex. Large espace sera donnée aux discussions sur les actions et revendications des associations, leurs réalisations et possibilités d’intervention.”

Pour en savoir plus, cliquez ici.

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Analysis of the Real Instituto Elcano- Frontex: Successful Blame Shifting of the Member States?

Analysis of the Real Instituto Elcano: “Frontex: Successful Blame Shifting of the Member States?” by Jorrit J. Rijpma, PhD European University Institute, Florence, and Lecturer in EU law, Europa Instituut, Leiden University.

Excerpts:

“Frontex in Short – Frontex can be seen as the outcome of a ‘re-balancing’ of powers between the Member States, the Council and the Commission following the communitarisation of the policy on external borders after the Treaty of Amsterdam, constituting an important shift from the intergovernmental coordination of operational activity under the Council to a more Community-based approach. [***]

Joint Operations at Sea – [***] Currently, the most controversial practice is that of the diversion by national border guards of ships back to their point of departure. This practice entails not only a real risk to the life and safety of the passengers on board these often unseaworthy ships, but as regards possible asylum seekers on board, it also risks violating the right to claim asylum and the prohibition of refoulement. The Greek coast guard has the questionable reputation of regularly diverting boats back to the Turkish shores. Italy has openly admitted to the interception and return of irregular migrants and asylum seekers from Libya under its 2008 Treaty on Friendship, Partnership and Cooperation with the latter country. Both within and outside the Hera operations, Spain has been returning people to Senegal and Mauritania, but here at least the interceptions are formally cast in terms of rescue operations and transfer to the nearest place of safety.

Frontex: the Lesser Evil?- There are many reasons why Frontex can be subject to criticism. It could be argued that it is an instrument of an essentially flawed EU migration and asylum policy. [***] Finally, it could be said that the Agency reinforces a securitised perception of what is essentially a humanitarian problem through its one-sided mandate, the background of most of its staff in national law-enforcement agencies and its military-style operations. [***] However, it is important to realise that for the moment the Agency’s scope for independent action remains very limited, both in practical and in legal terms. Serious human-rights violations are more likely to occur in operations from national border guards removed from the public eye, than in relatively well-scrutinised joint operations. Frontex, being a Community body, is subject to numerous reporting and evaluation duties, as well rules on transparency. [***]

Conclusion: Efforts should focus on ensuring full respect of international rules regarding international protection and search and rescue and an authoritative interpretation of these rules in a broad sense. These are essentially political decisions. It is the Member States and the Community institutions, not Frontex, that are to be reproached for the failure to do so. [***]”

Click here for full Analysis.

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IMO Biannual Reports on “Unsafe Practices Associated with the Trafficking or Transport of Migrants by Sea”

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has been collecting data on “unsafe practices associated with the trafficking or transport of illegal migrants by sea” since 1999.

Two times a year it releases a biannual report regarding incidents which are reported to the IMO by Member Governments.  The IMO describes the basis for the reporting as follows: “The Maritime Safety Committee, at its seventieth session (7 to 11 December 1998), in approving MSC/Circ.896 on Interim measures for combating unsafe practices associated with the trafficking or transport of illegal migrants by sea, invited Member Governments to promptly convey to the Organization reports on relevant incidents and measures taken to enable the updating or revising of the circular.”

In recent years (and perhaps since 1999), by far most of the reported incidents are provided by Greece.  Italy and Turkey have only reported a small number of incidents in recent years.  It is clear that most Member Governments do not routinely provide data for these biannual reports.

Even though a substantial number of incidents are not being reported and are therefore not documented in the reports, the biannual reports do contain an extensive amount of information dating back to 1999 regarding 2,030 incidents where 77,853 migrants were rescued or intercepted.

The reported data, when provided, include:

  • Ship’s name or description
  • Date and time of incident
  • Position of incident
  • Description of incident
  • Measures taken
  • Migrants (number and nationality; gender; adults/minor)

Click here for the Biannual Report issued 18 February 2010.

Click here for the Biannual Report issued 2 November 2009.

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28th Franco-Italian Summit – Agreement on Joint Maritime Patrols

The 28th Franco-Italian Summit was held 9 April in Paris and resulted in the signing of approximately 25 agreements between France and Italy.  Among the agreements is a joint declaration on immigration which highlights the leading role played by France and Italy in controlling illegal immigration in the Mediterranean region.  The agreement provides for, among other things, joint French-Italian maritime patrols to monitor the countries’ territorial waters.  The agreement also stresses the need to strengthen the role of Frontex and calls for cooperation with both Libya and Turkey on immigration matters, including readmission of migrants.

Click here (EN), here (IT), here (IT), and here (FR) for articles.

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Research Suggests 30,000 Drowning Deaths Since 1988 in Aegean and Mediterranean

The Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman reports that “Research conducted on migration patterns by a group of journalists has revealed that more than 34,000 illegal migrants drowned in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas between 1988 and 2009.”

Click here for article.

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