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.

Stop Italian anti-refugee policies

This video says about itself:

Evicted refugees left stranded in Rome

22 August 2017

Dozens of Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees have been camping in a square in central Rome since Saturday. Italian authorities evicted the refugees together with hundreds of other people from an office building where they’d been residing for years. The move has sparked angry reactions from humanitarian groups in Italy.

Max Civili reports from Rome.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Refugees are not Terrorists’ – the real terrorists are the bosses and bankers

LAST Saturday thousands of refugees and their supporters marched through the streets of the Italian capital, Rome, venting their anger over the police attack last week on a group of refugees forced to camp out in a city square.

Firing water cannons and wielding batons, police broke up the group of around 100 refugees, mainly from Eritrea, who for several days had been camped in the square in protest at an earlier eviction of a community of 800 who had been living in a nearby building for five years.

These refugees, the majority of whom have been granted asylum, have jobs in Rome and whose children are enrolled in local schools, were forced out from the building the Saturday before in a dawn raid by police after the city council claimed they had refused ‘alternative accommodation’.

In fact no such accommodation existed. The sole intention of the authorities was to re-claim the six storey building and end the established collective that had run peacefully for years. That the elderly, disabled and children were thrown onto the streets with nowhere to live meant nothing.

Saturday’s march calling for evictions to be halted and for refugees to be properly housed carried banners proclaiming ‘refugees not terrorists’.

While the attack on refugees in Rome attracted world-wide condemnation, the Italian prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, met with the French president Emmanuel Macron and his counterparts from Spain and Germany for talks on how to cut migration from Africa to Europe.

In fact the decisions have already been made. Last month the Italian cabinet decided on a plan to send Italian warships into Libyan territorial waters allegedly to combat people smugglers – in reality they will be used to turn back boats with the agreement of Libyan authorities, who have granted the Italian navy a free hand to stop and turn back boats suspected of carrying refugees.

Returning refugees to hostile Libyan ‘authorities’ would be a death sentence for many of those trying to escape the terrorist gangs that run the country after the EU helped bomb the Islamist terrorists to power.

The EU is being torn apart with Italy warring with its EU partners, who have refused to share the burden of refugees fleeing the destruction of their countries by the same EU that now uses water cannon and batons against them.

The scale of the crisis was laid bare when Austria declared it was ready to send troops to the Brenner Pass, the border with Italy, in order to stop refugees entering their country. So much for the boast that the European Union is the greatest bulwark for peace and unity in the continent.

Workers across Europe can clearly see what the EU has always been, an organisation of bankers and bosses set up with one aim only – to exploit the working class at home and throughout the world for their own profit.

Faced with the deepest economic crisis capitalism has ever faced, the EU enthusiastically joined with US imperialism to help overthrow the … government of Libya and attempted to do the same in Syria.

In the process they recruited thousands of Islamists who were sent in to Libya and Syria as allies of imperialism and so encouraged the destruction of the economies of these countries, forcing millions to flee for their lives and the hope of any kind of future.

Now the crisis that the EU caused has returned to create a huge crisis within the EU itself, pitting nation against nation at a time when they have a working class that is rising up and demanding an end to capitalist austerity.

The workers of Europe are learning that refugees are not ‘terrorists’, the real terrorists are the bosses and bankers who in their crises have declared war on the workers at home and the peoples of the world.

Afghan refugee saved from deportation to death

This Associated Press video says about itself:

Protest as Germany deports Afghan refugees

(14 Dec 2016) Germany deported around 50 Afghans to their homeland on Wednesday after after their asylum bids were rejected.

They left on Wednesday evening from Frankfurt airport as dozens of people gathered to rally against the deportation.

Only 18 Afghan citizens were deported in the first half of 2016, according to government figures.

More than 12,500 Afghans have received orders to leave the country, but not yet been deported.

Instead, it has tried to convince them to go home on a voluntary basis by offering financial incentives upon their return.

Recently, however the government has said it would toughen its stance on rejected asylum-seekers and that more people would be deported.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

Last-minute reprieve for young Afghan

Monday 28th August 2017

Pilot refuses to fly man who has been threatened by Taliban

A YOUNG man who could have faced death if returned to Afghanistan is still in Britain after the pilot on his deportation flight reportedly refused to take him.

Samim Bigzad, 22, was detained after he attended his monthly appointment at a London immigration office in July. His initial asylum claim was rejected in March 2016 and subsequent appeals were also refused.

He was due to be taken on a Turkish Airlines commercial flight via Istanbul on Saturday, however campaigners said he is still in the country because he did not board the plane.

A protest group at Heathrow pleaded with the airline not to “collude with the British government and facilitate the deportation of a young man who faces execution if he returns to Afghanistan.”

They spoke with passengers and airline officials, who said they would pass on concerns to the captain and crew.

Protest organiser Bridget Chapman said: “Looks like the pilot refused to take him.”

Mr Bigzad has been the main carer for his father – a British citizen who suffers from PTSD following his torture and jailing by the Taliban almost 20 years ago – and had visited him every day at his B&B room, brought him food and accompanied him to the mosque.

Ms Rafferty had launched a petition appealing to Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis to allow him to stay in Britain so that he could gather fresh evidence for the review of his asylum application.

Mr Bigzad arrived in Britain in November 2015 having spent some time living in the Calais refugee camp in northern France.

He risked his life escaping Afghanistan after the Taliban threatened to behead him because the construction company he worked for had contracts with the Afghan government and US firms.

He was placed to live with Kavel Rafferty in Margate through the Kent Refugee Action Network and Refugees at Home.

Ms Rafferty said: “The pilot wouldn’t fly him. We can do things, we can change things. I know it’s not over, but this is a small victory for us, for kindness and something other.”

Home Office statistics show just 35 per cent of asylum applications from Afghanistan were accepted in 2016 despite humanitarian organisations urging the government to stop deportations.

The High Court ruled in March last year that deportations to Afghanistan could resume following a blanket ban imposed in August 2015.

A Home Office spokeswoman said that they would not comment on individual cases.

European governments have deported almost 10,000 Afghans to risk of death and torture, Amnesty finds. Bloc ‘wilfully blind’ to evidence of atrocities in the country, says charity: here.

Janine Jackson interviewed Phyllis Bennis about Trump’s Afghan War escalation for the August 25, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.