Category Archives: Immigration

EU expects Arab League aid in handling migration

On 19 September the heads of state or government met for an informal working dinner on migration in Salzburg, Austria. Leaders discussed the latest developments in this area. They took note that the number of irregular arrivals has been reduced and is now even lower than in the years before the crisis.

The heads of state or government also agreed to strengthen cooperation with third countries, including Egypt.

Together with chancellor Kurz we have started a dialogue with the Egyptian President and now we can say that there is a backing from the European Council for this and similar dialogues” said president of the EU Council Donald Tusk, who will meet President Al Sisi in September to take the cooperation forward. In this context, the leaders also agreed to organise a summit with the League of Arab States in February 2019.

 

EU and Germany help Niger to cope with migrant flows

The European Union, through the EU Trust Fund for Africa, and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) co-finance a project in Niger which helps local authorities identify development and infrastructure measures and strengthen their capacity to better address the consequences of migration. More than 150 000 people will benefit from better access to basic services which will also create 1 500 jobs.

Launched in 2017, with a budget of EUR 28.5 million, the project “Programme: Améliorer la gestion des défis migratoires” (ProGEM) has been cooperating with 20 local authorities along the main migratory routes.

The city of Agadez is a transit route for passing migrants and hosts at the same time young Nigeriens who are looking for a job as well as returning migrants from countries such as Algeria or Libya. More than 300,000 people pass through Agadez every year.

There are considerable social, economic and administrative challenges. According to the vice-president of Agadez Regional Council, Aklou Sidi Sidi, “the demand for water, medical care, education and sanitation is high and continuing to rise. This is one of the main consequences of the migration we are faced with here in Agadez, in the north of the country”. Unemployment drives young Nigeriens to migrate or get involved in smuggling activities. “The key is economic development and job creation in our towns”, Mr Aklou stresses.

“ProGEM is always there to help. It helps us develop our own expertise and draw up and implement appropriate measures, both social and in terms of infrastructure”, says Mr Alhousseini Hamodi, the mayor of Tchintabaraden district.

Thanks to ProGEM the municipality could identify the most affected areas. And the project is currently building and extending 10 healthcare centres and hospitals, 10 drinking water supply systems and standpipe networks, 5 markets and commercial infrastructures, 15 toilet blocks and 11 classrooms in the regions of Agadez, Tahoua and Zinder.

Illegal migrants storm fences in Spain

A several hundreds of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa entered Spain after storming a double barrier between Morocco and the Spanish territory of Ceuta, with some attacking security forces with quicklime, police reported.

The scramble over the barrier is the biggest in Ceuta since February 2017, when more than 850 migrants entered the overseas territory over four days. Today around 600 illegals migrantes participated in breaking into Spanish territory.

At present Spain becomes the number one destination for illegal migrants crossing the Mediterranean by boat, surpassing Italy with 19,586 arrivals so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

A spokesman for the Guardia Civil police force in #Ceuta told AFP the migrants managed to climb over the double barrier, which is covered in small blades, early on Thursday morning, June 26.

They scrambled over “all of a sudden, with much violence,” and some attacked police with quicklime they had in tubes and bottles.

As a result, “more than a dozen police” were injured, four of whom had to go to hospital for burns in the face and arms.

“There is no possible justification for an organized, illegal, massive and violent assault on a border like today’s : 600 young and strong men have wounded viciously and used quicklime against  22 agents. All my support and admiration for the Guardia Civil” – wrote in her Twitter microblog Beatriz Becerra, MEP, vice-chair of the Subcommittee of Human rights of the European Parliament.

Spanish citizens are waiting for the reaction of government on this outbreak of violence.

AMENDMENT: Spanish newspaper El Pais reports total more than “800 illegal migrants from sub-Sanitarian Africa without documents” early morning hours stormed the border between Ceuta and Marocco.

 

Tripoli rejects EU illegal migrants platforms

Tripoli rejects a European Union’s plan to establish migrant centers and it will not be attracted by financial inducements, Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj said.

Rejection of  Fayez al-Sarraj aborted the Italian proposal to organise reception and identification platforms for migrant processing in Africa as a means of resolve divisions among European governments over how to handle an influx of more than 1 million migrants since 2015 Italy hosted.

Libya is a main departure point for migrants trying to reach Europe often on dinky inflatable boats provided by smugglers that often spring leaks or break down.

“We are absolutely opposed to Europe officially wanting us to accommodate illegal immigrants the EU does not want to take in,” Sarraj told German mass-selling daily Bild in an interview. “We save hundreds of people off the coast of Libya every day – our ships are constantly on the move,” he said, adding that Libya was being left to rescue migrants from the Mediterranean alone and needed more technical and financial support.

 

Increase of deaths in Mediterranean sea

The tragic weekend deaths of an estimated 103 people, including three babies, when the rubber dinghy they were on sank off the coast of Libya.

The Libyan Coast Guard rescued 16 survivors: young men from the Gambia, Sudan, Yemen, Niger and Guinea.

The incident was followed on Sunday by the capsizing of a small rubber boat off the Libyan port city of Al Khums, east of the capital, Tripoli. The vessel was packed with migrants and while 41 people survived, 100 are reported missing.

During this same time period, the Libyan Coast Guard intercepted several small vessels heading towards the open sea, returning nearly 1,000 migrants to shore.

The people were provided with food, water and health care, as well as other emergency assistance, and were interviewed by IOM staff.  They were later transferred to detention centres, where IOM continues to provide humanitarian assistance.

The Libyan Coast Guard has returned some 10,000 people to shore so far this year, according to IOM. Othman Belbeisi, its Libya Chief of Mission, reported an “alarming increase” in deaths at sea.

“Smugglers are exploiting the desperation of migrants to leave before there are further crackdowns on Mediterranean crossings by Europe,” Othman Belbeisi said.

Haftar rejects foreign military presence in Libya

Libya leader Marshall Khalifa Haftar rejected any foreign military presence in the south of the country to defeat human trafficking, after the EU leaders struck a deal to establish platforms receiving migrants in North Africa.

At the Summit (28-29 June) in Brussels the EU leaders agreed to explore the setting up “disembarkation platforms” outside Europe, most likely in North Africa, to discourage migrants from undertaking risky crossing of Mediterranean.

Human traffickers have taken an advantage of the collapse of Libyan state after the assassination of Muammar Gaddafi (2011) and swiftly established at Libyan coasts a major illegal migration hub transporting people to Europe from the entire African continent. The Libyan National Army (LNA) said any attempts by “foreign parties to deploy a military presence in some areas of southern Libya on the pretext of controlling illegal migrations” is rejected.

“The army’s general command warns these foreign parties that any such (military) deployment would be considered a flagrant violation of international law and a heinous aggression against Libyan sovereignty,” a statement said.

It added that the LNA would take “all the necessary measures to protect Libya and its borders”, without elaborating.

Marshall Haftar heads the Libyan National Army (LNA) and supports a parallel government in eastern Libya, and Tobruk parliament, that challenges the authority of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the capital Tripoli.

Salvini offers Spain to host more migrants from Italy

Italy Interior Minister Matteo Salvini articulated that his country is “no longer the doormat of Europe”, while commenting on repelled migrants transported to Italy from Libyan coast by Aquarius NGO vessel, and the proposal of Spain to host them.  Salvini also said that Spain can also host  “another 66,000” migrants who stay in Italy now.

“Finally the Germans, the French, the Belgians, the Dutch and even the Spanish are listening to us,” Salvini underlined. The minister said he would seek to increase deportations of migrants whose asylum requests are rejected and work on a plan for Africa featuring development interventions to reduce migrant flows.

Reportedly Salvini demanded the Netherlands to recall Dutch-flagged ‘rescue’ ships of open borders NGOs, like Aquarius, insisting Italy refuses to be complicit in “illegal immigration business”.

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