Frontex Director Ilkka Laitinen was interviewed by Spiegel Online. He expressed the view that Frontex’s main task in regard to the 5000 or so Tunisian migrants who have reached Italy over the past several weeks will be facilitating the return of most of them to Tunisia. According to Laitinen, only a “very few” of the Tunisians have sought asylum protection. He also said that Frontex “experts [had] come to the conclusion that the flight of the 5,000 had been planned for a long time. ‘Twenty human traffickers have already been arrested[.] They had just been waiting for the right opportunity.’”
While the view that most of the Tunisians who have arrived to date in Italy will not qualify for asylum or subsidiary protection is shared by many others, if and when people begin fleeing directly from Libya, whether they be Libyan or non-Libyan, there will almost certainly be a much larger number of qualified asylum seekers in any new migrants flows, especially if the Gaddafi regime remains in power.
Click here for article.
The Italian Interior Ministry and the Direzione Centrale dell’Immigrazione e della Polizia delle Frontiere are conducting a three day conference, beginning today, in Napoli, 7-9 February. In attendance will be top police officials from 45 African countries, 25 EU countries as well as officials from agencies including Interpol, Europol, Frontex and, as observers, representatives of the US FBI and Dept. of Homeland Security. Among those scheduled to attend are Rodolfo Ronconi, Direttore Centrale dell’Immigrazione e della Polizia delle Frontiere, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni, INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald Noble, EUROPOL Director Rob Wainwright, and Frontex Director Ilkka Laitinen.
According to a draft agenda for the conference, discussion topics will include:
- Immigration Group – The African continent as a source and place of transit for migratory flows towards Europe across the Mediterranean Sea. Internal migration within African. Threat assessment, ongoing bilateral initiatives, multilateral initiatives, and methods of law enforcement;
- Group on human trafficking and organized crime – Criminal networks involved in smuggling: prevention and law enforcement investigative techniques, with particular reference to flows from Greece and Central Africa to Europe;
- Drug Trafficking Group – African continent: new narcotrafficking directed towards Europe;
- Group on Terrorism – Cyberspace as a new platform for radicalization: comparing experiences.
- Gruppo Immigrazione – Il Continente africano quale origine e transito dei flussi migratory diretti in Europa attraverso il Mar Mediterraneo. I fenomeni migratori interni al Continente africano. Valutazione della minaccia, iniziative bilaterali, multilaterali e metodologie di contrasto;
- Gruppo Tratta degli esseri umani e criminalità organizzata sul tema “Le reti criminali coinvolte nel traffico di migranti: tecniche di investigazione preventiva e repressiva, con particolare riferimento ai flussi provenienti dalla Grecia e dal Centro Africa verso l’Europa”;
- Gruppo Traffico di Stupefacenti sul tema “Il Continente africano: nuovo crocevia del narcotraffico diretto verso l’Europa?”;
- Gruppo Terrorismo sul tema “Il Cyberspazio quale nuova piattaforma per la radicalizzazione: esperienze a confronto”;
Click here (IT) for short article.
Click here (IT) for draft agenda.
I would love to know more about the substance of the conference – if anyone has any information or documents to share, please do so. ( email@example.com ).
A final report prepared as part of the INEX Work Package 3 “Value Dilemmas of Security Professionals” has just been released. The Report is entitled “Ethical Security in Europe? Empirical Findings on Value Shifts and Dilemmas across European Internal-External Security Policies.” The report’s authors are Dr. Matteo Tondini and Dr. Isabelle Ioannides. The report contains extensive empirical findings and policy recommendations that are based primarily on two case studies: “the recent interception of migrants in the Central Mediterranean Sea undertaken by the Italian authorities” and “the implementation of anti-terrorism/radicalisation measures in the Netherlands and the UK.”
The report contains a significant amount of information which will be of interest to anyone concerned with migrant interdiction practices in the Mediterranean (and elsewhere). I will try to post a few summaries of some portions of the report in the coming days, but in the meantime I wanted to call attention to an interview that was conducted in May of this year by Dr. Tondini with Frontex Executive Director Ilkka Laitinen as part of the research project. A transcript of the interview is included in the report. [INEX Laitinen Interview 12May2010]
In the interview Mr Laitinen said that contrary to the information contained in the Human Rights Watch Report of 21 September 2009, Frontex had no involvement in the 18/19 June 2009 incident where Italian and Libyan authorities jointly intercepted and returned a group of migrants to Libya. He noted that the recent agreements between Libya and Italy had closed the central Mediterranean migration route and that it is therefore now “the right moment for the Agency to intervene, with the aim of consolidating the results achieved so far … The only way of doing this is to cooperate with neighbouring countries such as Libya.” And while Mr Laitinen stated that the “respect of fundamental rights is a crucial part of the European border control service” he also stated that “the right of boat people to claim asylum or other forms of protection outside [Member States’] territorial waters is not yet acknowledged Europe-wide.” In response to this latter point, Dr. Tondini pointed out that it is the position of the Italian government that if an asylum claim is made on board an Italian vessel, the asylum seeker is supposed to be transported to Italy for the purpose of making a formal claim.
(Thank you to Matteo Tondini for sharing the Report.)
Click here for the final Report.
Click on this link- INEX Laitinen Interview 12May2010 -for the transcript of the Interview.