No deportation of refugees agreement with European Union, Mali says

This video says about itself:

The Deadly Journey From Libya’s Migrant Jails

30 March 2016

Desperate to escape conflict and poverty, thousands of migrants and refugees attempt the perilous journey to Europe each year, with many crossing the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa in rubber dinghies and wooden boats.

In the wake of the decommissioning of Mare Nostrum, a search and rescue operation run by Italy, the humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) launched their own vessel, named the Bourbon Argos, to find those stranded at sea and save those in trouble on one of the deadliest routes to Europe.

On board the vessel, refugees and migrants are provided with medical aid, food, and shelter, then brought safely to Italian shores. Having survived life in Libya, ruthless treatment by smugglers, and horrific conditions aboard flimsy boats, once aboard the Bourbon Argos they face yet more uncertainty as they approach Europe.

VICE News teamed up with MSF to document these missions in the Mediterranean. In this extra scene, we speak with rescued refugees and migrants, where they describe the situation in Libya before embarking on one of the deadliest routes to Europe.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Mali: no agreement with Koenders about returning migrants

Today, 20:26

Mali denies that last Sunday in Mali an agreement was signed with [Dutch Foreign Affairs] Minister Koenders about the return of migrants. Diop, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mali denied that in the VPRO radio program Bureau Buitenland on NPO Radio 1.

Koenders was on behalf of the European Union in Mali and reported on Sunday that there was an agreement on facilitating the return of rejected asylum seeking Malians from countries in Europe. There are, according to Koenders, concrete agreements on repatriation, border management and legal migration.

According to Minister Diop these things have been discussed, but “we can not say that specifically an agreement has been concluded.” “We are also surprised that the situation was explained that way.”

Diop does not deny that a joint statement was issued, but that dd not involve an agreement, according to him. He expects a correction by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

More than 5,000 refugees drowned in the Mediterranean in 2016: here.

Germany in 2016: Mass deportations and brutality toward refugees: here.

European Union sends refugees back to Mali war

French soldier in Mali with skull mask

This photo of a French Foreign Legion soldier, part of the invasion of Mali, shows the real face of that war.

That war is not “against Al Qaeda terrorism” (supported by the French government in Libya, and still in Syria). It is not for women’s rights, human rights or secularism.

It started in support of a military dictatorship.

It brings death, mainly to Malian civilians.

This war is a neo-colonial war.

The French Foreign Legion became infamous in the nineteenth century for its atrocities while imposing colonial rule in Algeria and elsewhere. Now, it plays a role in twenty-first century neo-colonialism as well.

While the Dutch government are preaching “austerity” to their citizens, they planned to spend lots of money on neo-colonial war in Mali.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

EU will send refugees back to war-torn Mali

Tuesday 13th December 2016

EU COUNTRIES will deport failed asylum-seekers to war-torn Mali, the bloc announced yesterday after concluding a deal with the west African country.

The agreement includes commitments by the European Union to support Mali’s economic development, the introduction of biometric passports and improving security in the country’s north.

Former colonial power France sent troops to Mali in 2013 to combat a Tuareg insurgency increasingly falling under jihadist influence following the Nato-backed overthrow of Libya’s government in 2011.

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders, who signed on behalf of the EU, said that “only through this kind of co-operation we can tackle the problem of migration at its roots.”

Shoes thrown at anti-refugee Belgian minister

Iraqi shoes thrown at George W Bush, cartoon

After, in 2008, shoes were thrown at George W. Bush for his Iraq war with over a million dead, four million refugees, torture, etc., other people were inspired by this example.

In the Netherlands, according to NRC Handelsblad daily, children have invented a game which they call “Bushing”. Children jumping on a trampoline try to duck shoes thrown by their playmates.

In Belgium in 2009, angry small share owners threw shoes at banking fat cats.

And now, in Belgium, translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Belgian minister pelted with shoes

Today, 01:29

The Belgian Minister for Asylum and Migration Theo Francken was pelted by dozens of protesters with shoes and beverages outside a party meeting of government coalition partner MR.

Francken is under fire because he refused to issue a visa for a Syrian refugee family, even though a judge has decided on penalty of a fine that the Belgian government should do that. The family are friends of a Belgian family that wants to guarantee the Syrians, and wants to house them themselves.

The minister was in a hotel at Charleroi airport … as a guest speaker at a debate of MR on the government’s immigration policy. The demonstrators who pelted him outside were mainly trade unionists.

Talking about refugees. Translated from Dutch NOS TV, 12 December 2016, about elections in Macedonia:

[Prime Minister] Gruevski and opposition leader Zaev have both promised in the campaign that the [anti-refugee] fence at the border with Greece will remain closed. “The fence was a suggestion by the European Union. And we work precisely and completely in accordance with the instructions and suggestions from the EU,” said Zaev.

German government deporting refugees

This video from Germany says about itself:

How German churches are saving refugees from deportation

28 February 2015

In the northern German town of Tostedt, a Lutheran congregation has given sanctuary to two African refugee claimants. They’re in Germany illegally, but the police won’t storm the church.

By Martin Kreikenbaum in Germany:

German government plans mass deportation of refugees

By Martin Kreikenbaum

7 December 2016

The German government is expanding deportations of refugees and intends to erect what will in effect be a deportation apparatus. To this end, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees has commissioned a feasibility study from the consultancy firm McKinsey that calls for an increase in deportations.

Following a meeting of the federal and state interior ministers last week, federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière (Christian Democrats, CDU) outlined the goals of the deportation policy for 2017. He stated that of the 1 million refugees who arrived in Germany in 2015 and 2016, around half had not and would not receive recognition as refugees.

The minister demanded “that we get better in the area of repatriations, including voluntary repatriation as well as deportation.” As a result, the federal and state governments were preparing an agreement for a “national pooling of resources to improve repatriations.” A nationwide coordination office for repatriations would deal with practical questions, such as how refugees from various states could be brought together and transported in the same aircraft.

Already this year, the government has implemented 100,000 so-called repatriations of refugees. Together with 27,000 forced deportations, more than 60,000 refugees avoided deportation by agreeing to “voluntarily” leave the country. These numbers are to increase drastically in the years ahead. “Since we are getting more rejections, we have to improve still further,” de Maizière stated.

In addition, the government plans to strengthen fortress Europe. According to Spiegel Online, the federal Interior Ministry is preparing an agreement with Tunisia to establish an internment camp for refugees there.

Refugees who seek to reach Europe via the central Mediterranean route will in this way find it impossible to set foot on European soil. Instead, immediately after their rescue they will be brought back to Africa. A departmental head of the federal police in the Interior Ministry is currently pushing for support for this plan from Italy and the European Union (EU) Commission.

In this way, the German government intends to intensify pressure on refugees. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees has been working for some time on the ways in which mass deportations could be enforced. They hired the consultancy firm McKinsey to complete a feasibility study, the conclusions of which have been made available to Die Welt.

It proposes 14 measures for a “stricter repatriation for foreigners obliged to leave.” The McKinsey report appeals for “return management 2017” to be coordinated between the federal and state governments so as to achieve “measurable successes.” Assuming the existence of 485,000 refugees required to leave, the report offers a cynical cost benefit analysis to justify mass deportations in financial terms. According to this, monthly expenditure on a refugee amount to €670, which amounts in total to €3 billion annually. By contrast, the cost of a forced deportation is only €1,500 and in the case of a voluntary repatriation just €700.

In addition, the study complains about the length of time taken up by deportation proceedings. From the confirmation of the obligation to leave to the final departure “there is an average of 12 months for completed deportations, and in some cases even 4.5 years.” To accelerate deportations, the report’s main proposal is a vast expansion of deportation and detention centres. “Deportation detention and custody prior to departure should be organised so as to make them effectively usable in practice,” the consultancy firm writes.

The consultants also propose stricter legal controls for those tolerated as refugees. They should be given food and clothing as benefits in kind rather than money, if they cannot be deported due to illness or missing papers. The “financial flexibility” of refugees can in this way, in the opinion of the study, be “reduced.”

The feasibility study was announced by Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) during her summer press conference to “identify problems with deportations and make suggestions for improvements.” According to Spiegel Online, the company claimed payment for 687 consultant days, amounting to a total cost to the government of €1.86 million.

The line of argument advanced by government representatives, the federal office for refugees and the consultancy firm, that refugees are exploiting social welfare, avoiding deportations and costing billions plays directly into the hands of right-wing extremist forces. With the planned mass deportations, vast expansion of detention centres and cutting of social welfare, the federal government is adopting the programme of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Within the government, some demands even go far beyond this. Thomas Strobl, the deputy chair of the CDU and interior minister in the Baden-Württemberg Green-CDU coalition government, called for the establishment of a “repatriation agreement” with Egypt, even though the al-Sisi regime tramples human rights underfoot and regularly abuses, tortures and persecutes refugees.

Strobl even believes that those accepted as refugees should have social welfare benefits reduced massively, because “Whoever is searching for protection from war and persecution, the main issue for them is not welfare benefits. That we provide protection to refugees who fear for life and limb does not mean that we must make it possible for refugees to enjoy our standard of living.”

Ahead of the CDU party congress, which began yesterday, the party integrated Strobl’s proposals into its main resolution. In it, it is stated, “The reasons for detention ahead of deportation must be expanded if there is a risk posed by those obliged to depart.” In addition, deportation detention should be extended from four days to four weeks. Whoever provides false information or refuses to identify themselves would lose the status of an approved refugee, and their authorisation to work and welfare benefits would be slashed.

The right to asylum has been undermined repeatedly since the autumn of 2015. This has included the expansion of “safe countries of origin,” the rapid conducting of asylum procedures in reception centres or emergency facilities, the cutting of assistance benefits, deportations without warning, relaxation of the restriction on deporting those who are sick, the limitation of family reunification, a “residency restriction” for those accepted as refugees and much more. The German government’s new plans will eclipse all of this.

Later this month the German government will begin the mass deportations of asylum seekers back to Afghanistan. Charter planes are to be used for the first time, with the German Interior Ministry announcing it would deport 50 Afghan refugees in the coming days: here.

Greek nazis’ anti-refugee violence

This video from Greece says about itself:

Scuffles on Chios over overcrowded migrant camp

15 September 2016

A demonstration [by Golden Dawn neonazis] against the Greek government’s handling of the migrant crisis turned violent on the island of Chios on Wednesday night (September 14).

The Golden Dawn nazis bring reinforcements from elsewhere in Greece to Chios for their anti-refugee violence. They even bring reinforcements from other countries: a delegation of politicians of the Belgian extreme right Vlaams Belang party joined Golden Dawn on Chios during the violence. Vlaams Belang MP Filip Dewinter did a speech at a Golden Dawn meeting on Chios.

By John Vassilopoulos:

Greek fascists attack refugee camp

24 November 2016

Dozens of refugees were forced to flee the Souda refugee camp on the island of Chios last Thursday after a brutal attack by Golden Dawn members.

According to reports, the attack began at around 9:30 pm and lasted until the early hours of the morning. The fascists threw petrol bombs, large boulders and fireworks into the camp from surrounding elevated areas. A 42-year-old Syrian man was assaulted and a Nigerian boy was injured by one of the rocks. Three tents were burnt down and three more were damaged.

Afraid to return to the camp, the refugees that fled slept at the fishing market that night when temperatures dropped to 8 degrees Celsius. Many were still there three days later, according to reports.

On learning of the attacks, a group of aid workers rushed to help the refugees. One of these, Alexandros Panagiotakis, told CNN Greece that the group “came upon around 150 migrants at the fish market where they had sought safety from the far-right attackers. [Another aid worker and I] went to get our cars so that we could transport the migrants to a safer place.”

On their way to get their cars Panagiotakis and his colleague were set upon by a mob of 30 Golden Dawn members, who attacked them verbally and physically. “They threw us down and started to kick and swear at us,” said Panagiotakis. “They stopped only when a riot police squad arrived. They hit me on my sides and legs and the girl [the other aid worker] was semi-conscious. We were taken immediately to hospital.”

Similar attacks had taken place the previous evening, when Golden Dawn members armed with makeshift clubs and crowbars attacked refugees outside the Souda refugee camp while large stones were also thrown into the camp. According to reports a 25 year-old Algerian man is still in intensive care after being hit in the head.

In covering the events, the media lay the blame on the refugees by claiming that the troubles on Wednesday evening began after a group of migrants broke into a fireworks shop and then reportedly proceeded to set them off towards police and local residents. Refugees who spoke to Greek daily I Efimerida Ton Syntakton (Ef.Syn.) paint a different picture and claim that the trouble started two hours before when a group of locals attacked a group of Algerians sitting at the Chios public park. “The group had firecrackers and started to throw them [at the refugees] for no reason,” said a Syrian refugee.

The wave of violence was in fact stoked by the visit of Golden Dawn MPs Ilias Kasidiaris and Yiannis Lagos to Chios on Tuesday, where they spoke at a public meeting that evening calling for mass deportations of all refugees and migrants. This was part of a wider tour with a similar event taking place on the neighbouring island of Lesbos. Kasidiaris and Lagos were accompanied by a delegation of parliamentarians from Belgium, members of the Flemish far-right Vlaams Belang party.

There are currently more than 16,000 refugees and migrants being detained in refugee camps on Greek islands in the Aegean, while existing infrastructure is only adequate for around 7,500 people. The overwhelming majority have fled from the imperialist-driven conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. In Chios alone there are 4,000 refugees and migrants–nearly four times more than the current capacity.

Overcrowding is directly linked to the March agreement between the European Union and Turkey, which stipulates that Turkey take back all refugees who come across the Aegean to Greece. As a result, refugee camps in Greece have become internment camps of people–most of whom are destined to be deported back to Turkey after their cases have been assessed. The process is extremely slow, and meanwhile arrivals continue to flow in, which places even more pressure on existing infrastructure. According to figures from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), nearly 3,000 people crossed into Greece from Turkey in the last four weeks alone.

The Golden Dawn meetings sought to exploit tensions among sections of the local population, partly due to the increase in petty theft as a result of the economic desperation of the migrant and refugee population and partly due to the effects the refugee crisis has had on the tourist industry, the backbone of the local economy. Their timing was also designed to cause maximum provocation, given that they coincided with the commemoration of the student uprising against the military junta on November 17, 1973.

A counter-protest was held that same evening in Chios, with around 200 people holding a march through the island’s main town towards the Grecian Castle Hotel where the Golden Dawn meeting was taking place. The demonstrators’ path was blocked by riot police.

According to various accounts from eyewitnesses, the attacks on Wednesday and Thursday were carried out under the nose of the police, despite their having been officially placed on high alert since the Golden Dawn meeting on Tuesday. Riot police only intervened to stop Thursday’s attacks on the camp in the early hours of the morning, after they had gone on for five hours. There was a notable delay in police intervening in the attack on the two aid workers, which took place a few metres away from two patrol cars.

Tolerance of far-right attacks by the Greek police, delaying intervention or letting perpetrators get away, is a common occurrence. Golden Dawn enjoys substantial support among officers, especially in riot police units. Three years ago rapper Pavlos Fyssas was murdered in Keratsini by a Golden Dawn member while police stood near-by and did nothing.

The police have arrested none of the perpetrators. The only people arrested so far were 37 refugees and three foreign aid workers during the altercations on Wednesday evening.

In a speech to his parliamentary group, Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos openly defended the attacks while railing against the “progressive journalists of this country who lay the blame at the door of far-right elements.” He added, “You know what? Yes! For them every Greek that resists is a Golden Dawn member. For us that’s a badge of honour. Golden Dawn is the national defence of Greece.”

Like their far-right counterparts throughout Europe, Golden Dawn has been emboldened by the victory of the fascistic Donald Trump in the United States—which Michaloliakos referred to in his speech as “a true victory against globalisation.”

Refugee mother and children die in fire in Lesbos refugee camp: here. And here.