European Union-African dictators anti-refugee deal?

This video from the USA says about itself:

March to Stop Genocide and Dictatorship in Ethiopia/Africa Gaining Momentum

On Sunday, September 13, 2009, many Ethiopians and others gathered in front of the US Capitol building to bring attention to the ongoing genocide and other human rights crimes being perpetrated against the people of Ethiopia by the repressive authoritarian government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. The event was a success and we believe it will lead to many new opportunities. One of these will be the possibility of working together in collaboration to map out a strategic plan for the future.

It was a historic event in that so many different groups, who have never come together before, were present. The crowd reflected the enthusiasm of this milestone as they came together not only from one group or one ethnicity, but as a mix of many, all with the same goal of bringing about an inclusive civil society in Ethiopia where justice, individual rights, the rule of law and opportunity would be based on being a citizen of Ethiopia rather than on tribalism, cronyism or elitism.

By Martin Kreikenbaum in Germany:

European Union seeks agreements with African dictators to deter refugees

16 June 2016

The European Union (EU) is abandoning all pretense of human rights restraints in its refugee policy. A strategy paper published last week by the EU Commission outlined migration partnerships that will compensate nine states in Africa and the Middle East, both transit countries and countries of origin, for their cooperation in deterring refugees.

The goal of the agreements—described as “compacts”—is “the combatting of causes of flight and a reduction of irregular migration to Europe,” EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos declared in an interview with the German daily Die Welt. In fact, what is involved is a programme with which the refugees themselves are to be combatted. The EU’s reactionary partners are to seal off escape routes, detain refugees and send them back to their countries of origin.

The list of countries with which agreements are to be concluded alone makes clear that the EU has no qualms about with whom it cooperates. In the interview, Avramopoulos named Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Niger, Mali, Ethiopia, Senegal, Nigeria and Libya. In addition, there is the “Better Migration Management” programme, with which the EU intends to provide technical assistance to the dictatorial regimes in Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea to combat refugees. These are the most important transit states and countries of origin for refugees in Africa.

The agreement the EU plans to conclude with each of these states is aimed at “convincing” each government to “take back illegal migrants. In addition, we want to ensure that these countries deal firmly with people smugglers and effectively secure their borders,” Avramopoulos told Die Welt. Describing refugees as “illegal migrants” has long since become accepted practice in the EU, so as to deny the desperate people fleeing war, poverty and persecution any right to protection in Europe.

To secure cooperation in combatting refugees, the EU intends to top up the financial assistance available to those states designated part of “migration partnerships.” The prospects of improved trading relations and relaxed visa requirements have also been raised. The EU Commission intends to make almost €8 billion [$US 9.01 billion] available for the program by 2020.

With utter cynicism, the chairman of the social democratic fraction in the European Parliament, Italian politician Gianni Pitella, praised the EU Commission. Africa could not be permitted “to become a cage which refugees cannot leave” and the EU member states had to make a financial contribution. Yet the EU Commission’s plan is precisely to keep refugees stuck in Africa at any price. The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, spoke of a “Copernican shift” in the EU’s policy.

It is breathtaking how savagely the EU is trampling its oft-repeated “values” and principles under foot. With the migration partnerships, the EU is effectively making clear that it no longer has any intention of being bound by international law as contained in the Geneva Convention on Refugees.

“We want to try and bring order to the flows of refugees,” said Frans Timmermans, EU Commission vice president, repeating a formulation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She set the goal in April of “bringing order and managing the route from Libya to Italy as we have done in Turkey.”

The EU’s dirty deal with Turkey already systematically violated the rights of refugees. They are detained in Greece and even children are held under catastrophic conditions in internment camps. Turkey permits its forces to shoot at refugees on the Syrian border and ruthlessly deports them to their countries of origin.

Concluding such a deal with Libya, as the EU Commission proposes, would be a further crime. Since the US-led NATO intervention in 2011 to topple the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, the country has been dominated by a bloody civil war that has thrown it into economic and political chaos. There are three governments in the country, none of which controls substantial territory. A “unity government” recently imposed by the imperialist powers is to help, above all, to prepare a further military intervention by the US and its European allies.

Amnesty International recently published a report documenting arbitrary violence against refugees by the Libyan coast guard. Refugees intercepted at sea were beaten and shot, before being dragged to Libyan detention centres where they were abused and tortured. Despite this, the EU intends to deport refugees there.

Another “partner” of the EU is the Sudanese regime of Omar al-Bashir, who is sought by the International Criminal Court in the Hague for war crimes. Nonetheless, his regime is to receive vehicles, cameras, an aeroplane and additional technical equipment so as to strengthen the “border infrastructure” at the country’s 17 border crossings, as an EU Commission document states.

The German government has taken the lead in working out the deal with Sudan. Although Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Müller (Christian Social Union) rejected a report by the Guardian that the German government was financing the strengthening of the Sudanese security forces, he neglected to mention that the state-sponsored Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) has already assumed this role.

Things are little better in South Sudan, Ethiopia or Somalia, which the EU also hopes to secure as border guards to carry out the dirty work in its ruthless policy of sealing off its borders.

The other side of the EU’s brutal external refugee policy is the further erosion of rights for refugees within Europe itself. The European Council for Justice and Internal Affairs issued a demand to the Greek government, which virtually coincided with the presentation of the African migration “partnerships,” to recognise Turkey as a secure third country and deport more Syrians there.

Austrian Minister for the Interior Wolfgang Sobotka also gave his backing to a proposal by Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz (both members of the right-wing Austrian People’s Party) to intercept refugees in the Mediterranean and either deport them immediately or detain them on Mediterranean islands. He mentioned Australia as an example, which interns refugees on Pacific islands.

On Sunday, Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov told the Austrian newspaper Die Presse that the Geneva Convention on the status of refugees was obsolete. He claimed that “the document was written basically for people escaping communist regimes. It was not about masses of people.” This is a brazen lie. Mitov neglects to mention that the convention adopted in 1951 was primarily a response to the crimes of National Socialism. Hundreds of thousands of people, above all Jews, fled the Hitler regime between 1933 and 1945. With no country prepared to take them in, they were left in the murderous hands of the Nazis.

Today in Europe tens of thousands of refugees are once again kept in detention and denounced as “illegal migrants” or “economic refugees.” The human rights commissioner of the United Nations, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, recently sharply criticized the EU’s policy. The number of detentions are increasing “alarmingly”—with even unaccompanied minors being imprisoned, declared al-Hussein at the opening of a new session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The “hot spots” set up by the EU were, “essentially huge incarceration facilities.” Al-Hussein called on the EU to monitor the detention of migrants statistically: “I fear the numbers will be very shocking.”

European Union working with African despots to deter refugees: here.

48 thoughts on “European Union-African dictators anti-refugee deal?

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  2. Thursday 16th June 2016

    posted by Morning Star in World

    Top trade unionist warns African states against EU pacts

    AFRICA’S trade union movement is urging national governments not to sign economic partnership agreements (EPA) with the European Union “as currently structured.”

    ITUC-Africa general secretary Kwasi Adu-Amankwah makes clear in an open letter that, notwithstanding superficial concessions offered during negotiations, EPA “remains inimical to the development aspirations of Africa.

    “The terms of the agreements will only make it harder for Africa to achieve the 2030 sustainable development goals.

    “The agreements seem designed to completely remove whatever leverage remains for Africa to transform its economies,” he says.

    Mr Adu-Amankwah notes that Africa’s share of global trade has continued to decline despite enjoying duty-free and quota-free access to EU markets and having carried through sweeping liberalisation in the 1990s in line with instructions from the World Bank and the IMF.

    He points out that, while the EU removed tariffs on raw materials from Africa, it raised them on manufactured goods and also subsidised EU exports, enabling them “to outcompete their African counterparts.”

    In a damning condemnation of present-day neocolonialism, the African trade union leader declared: “The colonial economic structure set up to export raw materials and import manufactures remains.”

    He recognises that structural adjustment programmes imposed on Africa by global financial agencies, “with the active involvement of the European Union,” have “killed off the little industrial capabilities mastered immediately after independence.”

    While recognising the potential for trade to be an important instrument in the fight against poverty, Mr Adu-Amankwah insists that free trade between the poorest continent and the world’s most powerful trading bloc does not provide a solution.

    He calls for “policy space” for African economies to address constraints to structural transformation, to protect domestic industry and to promote high-value activities in manufacturing and services.

    “Signing the EPAs is signing away that space and probably kissing goodbye to all prospects for structural transformation on the continent.”

    Mr Adu-Amankwah rails against EU insistence on secrecy veiling meetings and negotiations, warning: “The EPAs represent the latest attempt by Europe to further the underdevelopment of Africa.”

    He calls for urgent action to construct “an African agenda of structural transformation that puts development and social justice first.”


  3. Friday 17th June 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    Contrived trade agreements favour the wealthy nations of Europe, devastating local African economies and the livelihoods of farmers, writes BRIAN DENNY

    THE starkest example of the dark heart of the European Union is its brutal neocolonial relationship with the Third World, particularly Africa.
    The most obvious and damaging example is, of course, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which takes up half the EU

    budget and lavishes subsidies on the EU’s biggest landowners at the expense of millions of the poorest farmers in Africa.

    The criminal £30 billion-a-year subsidy regime allows the EU to dump thousands of tons of heavily subsidised food into Africa every year.

    As a result local producers cannot export their products because they compete with the lower prices made possible by the CAP.

    For instance, EU farmers are guaranteed a price for their sugar which is three times higher than the world price.

    Mozambique loses more than £100 million a year because of restrictions on importing into EU, coupled with the dumping of cheap exports at its door, while many thousands of workers in Swaziland have lost their jobs because the local industry cannot compete.

    Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal have been hit by cheap, subsidised imports from Europe while the £30 paid to British farmers for every ton of wheat they produce inflates the price of breakfast cereals, bread and other goods in Britain.

    Thousands of tons of surplus powdered milk from the EU are dumped in west African countries such as Mali at a cheaper price than local cattle owners can sell at, devastating the economy and driving them out of business.

    Unwanted EU chicken thighs and wings are often frozen and exported to Africa where they are sold for rock-bottom prices.

    Chicken farmers in Senegal and Ghana used to supply most of the country’s demand — now their market share has virtually disappeared because subsidised imports are 50 per cent cheaper.

    As Claire Godfrey of Oxfam says: “Not only does the Common Agricultural Policy hit European shoppers in their pockets but it strikes a blow against the heart of development in places like Africa.”

    As a result of this imperialist Catch 22, it is now estimated that Africa imports well over 80 per cent of its food.

    Not content with this, an unrepentant European Commission is now attempting to impose a “free trade” deal which African trade unionists have described as the latest “colonialist scramble” for the continent.

    ITUC-Africa general secretary Kwasi Adu-Amankwah said that the proposed Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) would allow the continued exploitation of the continent by European big business.

    He said that the colonial economic structure set up to export raw materials and import manufactures remained and called on Africa to reject “the latest scramble” by European powers.

    “Structural adjustment foisted on Africa with the active involvement of the European Union has killed off the little industrial capabilities countries mastered immediately after independence,” he said.

    He warned that the terms of the agreements would only make it harder for Africa to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

    He said that the alleged market access offered under this and previous trade agreements were “contrived.”

    “As the tariffs came down on African raw materials, they went up for manufactures.

    “It is highly disingenuous to conceive of a free trade between the poorest continent on Earth and the world’s most powerful trading bloc as the solution,” he said.

    Therefore it is clear that these EPAs are designed to open up the markets of all African, Caribbean and Pacific countries for EU exports, exposing Third World producers to overwhelming competition from the world’s most powerful and rapacious transnationals.

    In his book The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa, Calestous Juma argues that there are at least three ways in which EU policies affect Africa’s ability to feed itself: tariff escalation, lack of innovation and food export preferences.

    The starkest example of this imperialist domination is coffee. In 2014 Africa — the home of coffee— earned just £1.5 billion from the crop. Yet Germany, a leading processor, earned nearly double that from coffee re-exports.

    The reason for this is that Africa is punished by the EU with a 7.5 per cent tariff charge on roasted coffee but non-decaffeinated green coffee is exempt.

    As a result, the bulk of Africa’s export to the EU is unroasted green coffee and German manufacturers reap the rewards.

    The charge on cocoa is even more debilitating as the EU tariff charge is a massive 30 per cent for processed cocoa products like chocolate bars or cocoa powder, and 60 per cent for some other refined products containing cocoa.

    Calestous Juma insists that the impact of such charges goes well beyond lost export opportunities.

    “They suppress technological innovation and industrial development among African countries.

    “The practice denies the continent the ability to acquire, adopt and diffuse technologies used in food processing. It explains to some extent the low level of investment in Africa’s food processing enterprises,” he says.

    While European colonial history in Africa is often ignored, it is shocking that this brutal regime of economic domination continues today through the institutions of the European Union.

    Moreover it has been going on since the inception of the European Economic Community and all attempts to reform it have failed.

    While a vote to leave the EU on Thursday will not stop this European-wide criminal colonial enterprise immediately, a vote to remain will be one that endorses it.

    Brian Denny is a spokesman for Trade Unionists Against the EU.


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  7. Activisten in Afrika protesteren tegen Europese migratiebeheersing

    De Europese beleidsmakers op het gebied van migratiebeheersing proberen niet alleen Turkije voor hun karretje te spannen. Ook met Afrikaanse landen wil de EU “deals” afsluiten om zoveel mogelijk te voorkomen dat “ongewenste” migranten en vluchtelingen Europa bereiken en om mensen zonder verblijfsrecht gemakkelijker te kunnen deporteren naar hun land van herkomst. Activisten uit diverse Afrikaanse landen leveren forse kritiek op dat soort akkoorden. Lees meer:


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  19. Waarom de Turkije-deal niet te kopiëren is in Noord-Afrika

    Marno de Boer

    GroenLinks heeft zich opnieuw teruggetrokken uit de gesprekken met D66, VVD en CDA. De meningen over wat een humanitair vluchtelingenbeleid is, blijken te ver uiteen te liggen.

    Voor de één is de migratiedeal die de Europese Unie en Turkije in maart 2016 sloten een grote mislukking, voor de ander een succes dat misschien ook in aangepaste vorm in Noord-Afrika toepasbaar is.

    Om wat voor plannen gaat het?

    Landen in de EU zoeken een manier om de vluchtelingendeal met Turkije te kopiëren in Noord-Afrika. Cruciaal is dat asielzoekers volgens internationale verdragen recht hebben op een individuele procedure, en niet teruggestuurd kunnen worden naar een onveilig land. De deal met Turkije voldoet in ieder geval op papier aan die eisen. Ankara beloofde de omstandigheden voor vluchtelingen dusdanig te verbeteren, dat Griekenland asielzoekers na een korte procedure kan terugsturen

    Hoe loopt de Turkije-deal?

    Volgens een van de bedenkers, de Oostenrijker Gerald Knaus, is het plan mislukt. Van de 15.000 migranten die van maart 2016 tot maart 2017 alsnog op de Griekse eilanden aankwamen, is nog geen tien procent teruggestuurd. De meesten zitten vast in asielprocedures die trager verlopen dan gehoopt. Knaus wilde ook dat Europa honderdduizenden Syriërs uit Turkije zou opnemen, als alternatief voor een gevaarlijke overtocht. In een jaar tijd zijn er iets meer dan 6000 mensen opgenomen.
    Voor premier Mark Rutte is de deal juist een succes. Op 20 januari 2016 zette hij als tijdelijk EU-voorzitter het migratiedebat op scherp. De instroom moest ‘binnen zes tot acht weken richting de nul’. Dat leek toen, met duizenden mensen die dagelijks op de Griekse eilanden arriveerden, onmogelijk. Sinds de deal wagen dagelijks nog slechts enkele tientallen mensen de oversteek. In deze visie draait de Turkije-deal om afschrikking. Het is voor migranten weinig aantrekkelijk een mensensmokkelaar te betalen als de eindbestemming een Grieks eiland in plaats van Duitsland is.

    Als onderdeel van de deal trekt de EU ook zes miljard euro uit voor Syrische vluchtelingen in Turkije. Er zijn projecten opgezet om 500.000 Syrische kinderen naar school te sturen, twee miljoen Syriërs toegang tot zorg te geven, en vluchtelingen met speciale pinpassen zelf voedsel te laten kopen.

    Tegenstanders van de deal waren ook bang dat de EU zou marchanderen met criteria voor Turks EU-lidmaatschap en visumvrij reizen, als Ankara maar migranten tegenhield. Maar in beide dossiers hield de EU vast aan eisen over de rechtsstaat, waardoor de gesprekken stilliggen.
    Waarom wil de EU nu een deal in Noord-Afrika?

    De meeste Afrikaanse migranten bereiken Europa nu via Libië. In dat land blijft het voor de EU lastig werken, omdat drie regeringen en talloze milities de macht verdelen. Europese marines trainen een klein aantal Libische kustwachten. De hoop is dat zij in de toekomst zelf bootmigranten in nood terugbrengen naar de Libische kust. Zodra Europese marineschepen of private reddingsschepen hen naar de Italiaanse kust brengen, zijn er juridische barrières tegen uitzetting naar het onveilige Libië.

    De EU steunt ook Italiaanse plannen om de Libische kustwacht van schepen te voorzien, en stammen aan de Libische zuidgrens te trainen in grensbewaking. Maar het verdeelde Libië van een effectieve kust- of grenswacht voorzien is eenvoudiger gezegd dan gedaan.

    Duitsland, Hongarije en Oostenrijk zinspeelden het afgelopen jaar op EU-vluchtelingenkampen in Noord-Afrika. Daar zouden uit zee geredde migranten naartoe gestuurd kunnen worden. Tot concrete voorstellen is het niet gekomen. Het is onduidelijk welk Noord-Afrikaans land bereid is de hoofdzakelijk West-Afrikaanse migranten onderdak te verlenen.

    Bron: Trouw 14-06-2017


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