European Union anti-refugees conference


This video says about itself:

26 September 2016

Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán has called for the European Union to create a “giant refugee city” on the Libyan coastline. He proposes the city could be used to house refugees and migrants coming from across Africa who are attempting to board boats in north Africa headed for Europe. Our Europe correspondent Jack Parrock reports.

Far right Viktor Orbán hates refugees. So, this ‘giant city’ would in practice be a ‘giant concentration camp‘. Where food for refugees, if any, would be thrown at them like at farm pigs; like happens in Orbán’s Hungary; and happened during World War II nazi concentration camps for Soviet prisoners of war, whom Hitler considered to be ‘Asian subhumans’. Or Orban’s ‘city’ might resemble the ‘tent city’ in Arizona, USA where racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio (convicted, but now pardoned by President Trump) used to have Latinos tortured for being Latinos.

Even not that progressive other European Union countries’ politicians sometimes criticize Orbán. However, now it looks like they are copying his anti-refugee ideas.

By Alex Lantier in France:

EU holds Paris conference to set up detention camps for migrants in Libya

29 August 2017

Yesterday, heads of state of Germany, France, Italy, and Spain and of the African states of Niger and Chad, together with UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj of Libya attended a summit on immigration hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.

The purpose of the summit stamped it with a politically criminal character. It discussed how to deny the right of asylum to hundreds of thousands of refugees and block their travel through Africa north to Libya and across the Mediterranean to Europe. The conference, attended by European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, discussed using the armed forces of the African regimes to detain refugees and send them back toward the countries they had fled, thus keeping them in Africa and deterring further migration.

The conference was an attempt above all to deal with the disastrous consequences of the 2011 NATO war in Libya, which destroyed the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and unleashed a bloody civil war that rages to this day. The summit also tried to contain escalating tensions among the European powers over which armed factions to support inside Libya.

Last week, the UN released a devastating report highlighting the horrific fate of vast numbers of refugees trapped in the civil war conditions of post-2011 Libya and exposing the forces that the EU is proposing to rely on to police refugees.

The UN reported, “Migrants continued to be subjected by smugglers, traffickers, members of armed groups and security forces to extreme violence; torture and other ill-treatment; forced labour; arbitrary deprivation of liberty; rape; and other sexual violence and exploitation. On 11 April 2017, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) denounced the presence of slave markets in Libya, where sub-Saharan migrants were bought and sold and women were traded as sex slaves.”

Based on reports from the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), the UN painted a portrait of conditions in detention camps set up for migrants in Libya to halt and deter migration. The UN found that victims of brutal conduct from the various warring militias that rule post-Gaddafi Libya “had little avenue for redress, due to a general state of lawlessness and the weakness of judicial institutions.”

It wrote, “UNSMIL visited detention centres under the control of the Department for Combatting Illegal Migration in Gharyan, Tripoli, Misrata and Surman, where thousands of migrants have been held arbitrarily for prolonged periods of time with no possibility to challenge the legality of their detention. UNSMIL had documented cases of torture, ill-treatment, rape and other forms of sexual violence. Detention centres remained overcrowded, and detainees were often malnourished, living in poor hygienic conditions and with limited or no access to medical care.”

The UN also documented the brutal conduct of EU-backed armed forces in Libya, who try to catch refugees to return them to these detention camps. Its report noted, “UNSMIL received numerous reports of dangerous, life-threatening interceptions by armed men believed to be from the Libyan Coast Guard. UNSMIL has been reviewing its support to the Libyan Coast Guard in line with the United Nations human rights due diligence policy.”

The conference issued a brief resolution late last night, calling for the EU to bring “particularly vulnerable” migrants from Libya to Europe, while relying on the armed forces of Niger and Chad and the various militias in Libya to keep refugees from reaching the Mediterranean. The conference also proposed to provide more equipment to the Libyan Coast Guard for its anti-refugee missions.

Macron said he wanted to “identify” which migrants are true refugees in Niger and Chad, before they could reach Libya on their journey north, so that others could be turned back. He blamed the terrible conditions that exist for refugees in Africa on people smugglers, declaring: “Certain trafficking groups that traffic in weapons, in human lives, and in drugs, and groups linked to terrorism have turned the desert in Africa and the Mediterranean into a graveyard. These same people are profoundly linked to terrorism.”

These are political lies, designed to falsely present a brutal EU policy of denying asylum rights to refugees based on outright armed repression as respecting human rights. It is not people smugglers or refugees that are responsible for civil war conditions in Libya, but the NATO powers, which bombed Libya and armed various Islamist militias in a war for regime change. As in imperialist wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, Libyan society rapidly disintegrated.

Wars across the Middle East and Africa have now produced the greatest refugee crisis since World War II, with over 60 million people displaced from their homes. The reaction of the imperialist powers is not to halt the war drive or to seek to address the military conflicts and the poverty that is driving tens of millions to abandon their homes. Rather, they aim to work more closely with military dictatorships and irregular militias to prevent this unprecedented wave of migrants from reaching Europe.

Despite the European powers’ criticisms of US President Donald Trump, including his call to build a wall to block Mexican immigration north into the United States, their own policy towards African refugees is equally ruthless and brutal. As thousands of refugees crossed in the Mediterranean, EU officials sought to limit rescue operations, hoping news of refugees drowning at sea would deter migrants from trying to reach Europe.

Rescue operations encourage migration, one British diplomat explained, and “create an unintended ‘pull factor’ thereby leading to more tragic and unnecessary deaths.” The solution was to eliminate the “pull factor” created by rescue measures and discourage migration by allowing refugees to drown. Since then, thousands of innocent refugees have drowned in the Mediterranean—2,400 in the first eight months of 2017 alone.

Under these conditions, the EU’s claim that it will bring “particularly vulnerable” migrants to Europe is another utterly cynical gesture. Any refugee in Libya is vulnerable due to the civil war conditions in the country, and promises to bring those that are “particularly vulnerable” only amounts to giving EU authorities the right to cherry-pick which refugees they will grant asylum.

According to initial reports, European officials at the conference summarily dismissed arguments by African heads of state that migration would continue so long as large parts of Africa are very poor. “The problem is poverty,” Mogherini said, but she ruled out launching “a new Marshall Plan” to devote substantial funding to create jobs in Africa. European officials are reportedly thinking of spending €6 million initially on poverty programmes, or up to €50 million in the long term—a drop in the bucket in a poverty-stricken region inhabited by hundreds of millions of people.

The summit not only reflected the EU’s militaristic and anti-refugee policy, but featured growing rivalries among the European powers over who would set the agenda and announce more ambitious plans to limit immigration to Europe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is seeking re-election and trying to burnish her anti-immigrant credentials, announced yesterday a deal with the bloody Egyptian military dictatorship of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to limit migration to Europe.

Macron was compelled to abandon his plan to build French “hot spot” detention centres in Libya, presented in July amid sharp tensions with Italy, the former colonial power in Libya, as Paris and Rome backed rival armed forces inside Libya, led by General Khalifa Haftar and the Misrata militias, respectively.

Saving refugees from drowning, a crime?


This Associated Press video says about itself:

NGOs help rescue migrants in Mediterranean

(3 Feb 2017) The number of migrants risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean sea surged on Friday … an NGO operating in the area said.

Doctors Without Borders said in a tweet that their rescue boat north of the Libyan coast was operating over capacity and holding 720 migrants after five rescues.

The Aquarius was receiving assistance from a another vessel operated by Proactiva Open Arms, a Spanish NGO, that rescued 222 migrants, including one baby and two children, from two boats on Friday.

There were more boats in the sea, said the Proactiva Open Arms spokeswoman Laura Lanuza.

The migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, were being transferred to an Italian port in Sicily, Lanuza said.

By Marianne Arens:

European Union and Italy step up pressure on organisations assisting refugees

29 July 2017

On July 25, Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti (Democratic Party) ordered representatives of nine non-governmental organisations (NGOs) involved in the rescue of refugees to attend a meeting at his ministry. There they were called upon to sign a “Code of Conduct,” restricting their activities in the Mediterranean Sea.

As the WSWS noted two weeks ago, the new code violates “existing law”: “On the high seas international maritime law prevails, which obligatorily demands the rescue of people in distress … this is precisely what the ‘Code of Conduct’ is designed to prevent the NGOs and their rescue boats from undertaking.”

Should NGOs fail to sign the sinister, illegal code, Italy has threatened to close its ports to their ships. This is the latest disgraceful attempt by Italian authorities to rein in the activities of voluntary aid organisations and thereby reduce the number of migrants arriving from Africa. They want to restrict the NGOs and drive them out of the Mediterranean—or at least transform them into reliable adjuncts of the European Union (EU) Frontex operation and the Italian coast guard.

The migrant flight route across the Mediterranean is extremely dangerous. According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), as of July 23, 2,361 people had either died or gone missing in 2017, while some 95,000 migrants had reached Italy by sea. The dead include an estimated 300 children.

Without the NGOs, the number of drowned and missing people would be considerably higher. Currently more than 40 percent of refugees rescued at sea owe their lives to organisations such as Sea-Watch, Sea-Eye, MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station), Jugend Rettet (Rescuing Youth), Save the Children, Doctors Without Borders, SOS Méditerranée, Proactiva Open Arms, etc.

“We are just in mid-July,” noted Timon Marszalek, the director of SOS Méditerranée Germany, “and we’ve saved as many people in the Mediterranean as we did last year. In view of the failure of the European Union, the intervention of civilian organisations like our own is indispensable to prevent the deaths of thousands of people.”

Marszalek pointed to one recent incident on July 11, in which a baby was born during a rescue operation. Mother and child were still connected by an umbilical cord when they were brought on board the Aquarius. This was the fifth birth at sea on this one rescue ship alone. “What would have happened if our team had not been there on time?” the SOS Méditerranée official asked. Such examples also show how desperate people must be to take to sea.

The “Code of Conduct” that NGOs are now being required to sign by the government of Paolo Gentiloni (Democratic Party) is a crude and deliberate attempt to sabotage rescue efforts. It establishes harsh guidelines and demands that refugees be transported directly to the Italian mainland instead of being transferred to larger ships belonging to the coast guard, merchant marine or navy. This forces the small NGO ships to undertake longer journeys and restricts their presence in the most dangerous waters where their work is most necessary.

Ruben Neugebauer of Sea-Watch told Deutschlandfunk (German radio): “What they want to achieve is obvious: they are trying to keep ships out of the danger zone because we undermine the concept of dying on Europe’s borders.”

NGOs are also forbidden to enter Libyan territorial waters, even if refugees’ lives are at stake. They must look on as people drown, without being able to intervene. NGOs must also accept Italian police accompanying their vessels to track down smugglers among the refugees. This can only lead to a worsening of relations between the rescue teams and refugees.

The “Code of Conduct” is not merely the work of the Italian authorities. It was agreed upon at a meeting of EU ministers in Tallinn, Estonia in early July. At that meeting German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière repeated his slanderous claim that NGOs were working with so-called people smugglers.

German newspapers have also run articles accusing NGOs of collaboration with smugglers. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung claimed, for example, that the rescue organisations were “involuntarily becoming an important element in the smugglers’ strategies.”

The Berliner Zeitung scandalously asserted that the NGOs’ role was not rescuing those in need at sea, but rather “assisting refugees and the transfer of emigrants.” The newspaper referred disapprovingly to Sea-Watch, based in Berlin. That organisation, which has not signed the “Code of Conduct,” rightly argues that there is already an International Law of the Sea, which obliges every boat owner to assist in sea rescue when necessary.

The Berliner Zeitung complains, however, that while it is “self-evident” that shipwrecked persons be saved, “this does not answer the question as to where to land those rescued. Sea-Watch 2 does not return the stranded to Libya, but brings them all to Europe.”

This slanderous article and the steps taken by the various EU interior ministers against the NGOs reveal there is a concerted campaign to drive private organisations out of the seas along the Libyan coast.

This campaign is bound up with unprecedented military deployment taking place in the Mediterranean off the North African coast. Taking part in the operation, which has been ongoing since June 2015 under the innocuous name of “Operation Sophia” (formerly known as Eunavfor [European Union Naval Force] Med), are the navies of Germany, Italy, Great Britain and other European countries.

On the same day the NGOs were summoned to the Italian Interior Ministry, the EU decided to extend the “Sophia” mission to the end of 2018. Officially, the remit of the operation is to combat “smuggler criminality on the Mediterranean” and thus prevent deaths at sea. In fact, the combined navies are responsible for just 8 percent of sea rescue operations.

In reality, mission “Sophia” is an important part of Europe’s plans for imperialist intervention in Africa. The Great Powers regard Africa as a strategically crucial area, with huge oil and natural gas deposits and other resources. With the war against Libya in 2011 and the fall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the new colonial “scramble for Africa” entered a new phase.

For the past six years the imperialist powers have been trying to install a new, reliable and loyal regime in Libya, which is key for access to Africa as a whole. This explains the background of a third important meeting in Paris on July 25: the new French president, Emmanuel Macron, invited the two main rivals in the Libyan civil war, Fayez al-Sarraj, the unelected head of the Western-backed Libyan Presidential Council, and Khalifa Hafter, [unelected] head of the so-called Libyan National Army and an “asset” of the CIA since the 1980s. The two men subsequently agreed to suspend their armed struggle and hold parliamentary elections in the spring of 2018. On Wednesday, Sarraj visited Italian government officials in Rome.

The EU has committed itself to continue financing the Libyan coast guard and equipping it with weapons. The European Union is supporting an organisation notorious for trafficking in human beings, torture and murder. At the request of the EU, the Libyan coast guard forces refugees into Libyan prisons, where around 300,000 people are currently being held under appalling conditions.

For their part, NGOs must decide whether or not to cooperate with the Italian government and sign the “Code of Conduct.” The NGOs rely on private donations and young volunteers. Their efforts demonstrate a widespread willingness to assist and defend refugees.

This readiness was confirmed a few weeks ago in a poll carried out by the European Broadcasting Agency. Almost 1 million young people between the ages of 18 and 35 were interviewed. Nearly three quarters (72 percent) said they were willing to actively support immigrants. Some 78 percent of respondents in Germany said they noticed growing nationalism, and considered it a bad thing. More than two-thirds (67 percent) of young people in Germany and the overwhelming majority of young people surveyed said they were not ready to fight in a war.

The poll demonstrates the abyss between the vast majority of the population and establishment politics. Millions of workers and young people express their solidarity with the refugees and are ready to help them, while the political elite and governments are permitting thousands to drown in the Mediterranean.

Refugees, wars and the European Union


This video says about itself:

Austria: ‘Refugees welcomepro-refugee protesters rally in Vienna

1 September 2015

Hundreds of pro-refugee demonstrators took to Vienna’s streets on Monday night. Protesters held signs reading “fight against the root causes of migration, not against refugees” and “refugees welcome, open borders.”

From daily News Line in Britain:

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Austria mobilising troops and armour at the Brenner Pass against refugees from Italy

AUSTRIA is ready to deploy troops and armour at the Brenner Pass – the border crossing with Italy – if the influx of refugees to Italy continues to grow.

Defence Minister Hans Peter Doskozil, announcing the measures, said four Pandur armoured personnel carriers have been sent to the Tyrol region and 750 troops are on standby.

Doskozil said a military deployment at the Brenner Pass would be ‘indispensable if the influx into Italy across the Mediterranean does not diminish.’

The Eastern European EU states have already declared that they will not take a single refugee and have all built huge fences on their borders.

Meanwhile in Italy, both the working class and the fascist right wing have taken to the streets – the former to support the rights of refugees, the latter to call to boot them out of Italy. The Italian government has even warned that it will soon close its ports and impound aid agencies’ rescue ships.

Nearly 85,000 refugees arrived in Italy in the first half of this year. The UN refugee agency UNHCR says that is about 20% more than in the first half of 2016. More than 2,000 died trying to reach Italy.

Meanwhile, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker – the would-be European Commission dictator who, on June 9th, announced a European army saying: ‘The protection of Europe can no longer be outsourced,’ – yesterday condemned the European Parliament as being ‘ridiculous, totally ridiculous’, saying that a turn-out of 30 MEPs proved that the parliament was ‘not serious’.

Parliament President Antonio Tajani accused him of wanting an open dictatorship, stating: ‘You can criticise the parliament, but it’s not the Commission’s job to control the parliament, it’s the parliament that has to control the Commission.’

The ‘parliament’ had been due to debate the EU’s intention to relocate 160,000 refugees from Italy and Greece. Juncker declared: ‘I will never again attend a meeting of this kind.’

While Juncker rants in Brussels, in France the poseur Macron, the new Bonaparte – more Napoleon III, and definitely not the original military genius – has been unveiling his plans to reduce the number of MPs, all the better to ape Margaret Thatcher’s mission in the UK, which was to take on the trade unions and drive them back so that they could never rise again.

Her drive for a dictatorship over the working class ended in tears when millions marched against her Poll Tax, leading to the Tory 1922 Committee evicting her from 10 Downing Street.

Macron, who was elected on a turnout of 42%, has feet of clay – the grandeur and the fake resolve are not even skin deep since the French working class will make another great revolution rather than give up its gains.

The EU is in a big crisis, a terminal crisis of its own making. Many still remember the ‘great speeches’ that the UK’s Cameron and France’s Sarkozy made in Benghazi – after they had organised the murder of Colonel Gadaffi and the seizure of power by the Islamists – welcoming the new order and the new rulers to power and declaring that France and the UK were with them all the way.

Libyan Islamists were then despatched in thousands to Syria to overthrow President Assad and destroy the Syrian republic.

In fact, the Islamists economically destroyed Libya and Syria. Libya provided jobs for millions of Africans, who are now being forced to cross the Med in makeshift boats to try to avoid starvation and destitution at home.

Millions of Syrians have been forced out of Syria by the Sarkozy-Cameron plot to overthrow Assad, which destroyed the country without overthrowing Assad.

The refugee crisis is one of the EU bankers’ and bosses’ making. They are reaping the results of the failure of their attempts at regime change in Libya and Syria.

There is only one way out of this crisis. The workers of the EU must join with the workers of the UK to overthrow the European Union of the bankers and bosses and replace it with the Socialist United States of Europe.

This will help to rebuild Libya, Syria and Iraq and create the conditions where millions are no longer forced to risk their lives crossing the Med, and in fact introducing a really, and unforced, free movement of peoples!