mercoledì 29 febbraio 2012

Testimony: Sudanese refugee details torture by Sinai smugglers

By Sigal Rozen

It has been almost two years since chilling evidence of horrors inflicted by human traffickers on refugees on their way to Israel through the Sinai desert started being published and broadcast in Israel and throughout the world. NGOs have provided detailed information, systematically collected, regarding smuggling networks operating in the Sinai and beyond (in Israel, Ethiopia, and Sudan) to influential bodies in the international arena including diplomats, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), and the Israeli authorities. Despite these numerous appeals, and the concrete nature of the information that was transferred, the detention camps, the extortion, and the torture continue.
Throughout the past year, Israeli, American, and European human rights organizations have had continuous contact with Eritrean and Sudanese refugees held in the torture camps in Sinai. Refugee hostages use cellular telephones provided by their captors to extort large sums of ransom money from their relatives and friends. Despite recent reports in the media regarding the release of hundreds of refugees held captive in the Sinai, and their arrival in Israel, it is apparent that hundreds are still being held captive in the Sinai, some of whom are experiencing physical abuse, torture, systematic  rape, and even death, all with the objective to obtain tens of thousands of dollars in ransom money in exchange for their release. Heinous methods of torture and extortion, as previously reported, including in a recent report by Amnesty International, include prolonged group bondage, electroshocks, suspension by the limbs, burns from white-hot irons, starvation, severe sexual abuse and more.
Until recently, the vast majority of the captives were Christian Eritreans and some Ethiopians of Eritrean origin. But in recent months, Hotline for Migrant Workers and Physicians for Human Rights, two Israeli NGOs assisting the torture survivors, have been meeting more and more Muslim torture survivors – mainly, refugees who fled the genocide in Darfur.
M. is one of the torture survivors who managed to arrive in Israel this month and give us his testimony. From his story, one can understand that many more refugees are still in the hands of the traffickers, being tortured in the hopes that their relatives send ransom for their release. One also understands that providing the ransom does not guarantee release: M. survived despite not paying the ransom, while others were burned before his eyes, even though their ransom may have already reached the traffickers.
Following the testimony are images of the burn marks on M.’s body. View with caution.
Testimony of M., a Sudanese refugee and member of the Zaghawa tribe
I’m a 22-year-old African, member of the Zaghawa tribe which is persecuted by the Arab regime is Sudan. I fled Khartoum to Egypt about two and a half years ago and I was hoping to reach the US. Life is Egypt was very hard for Africans and I did not see a possibility to leave from Egypt to the US, and therefore I decided to continue to Israel.
In Cairo, I found someone who was willing to take me to Sinai, and from there I continued on my own. In the area of al-Arish, I was kidnapped by a group of smugglers who took me with them and kept me captive in a small shed covered with plants. They handcuffed me with about 20 Eritrean and Sudanese. I don’t know where exactly I was, but near the shed where I was held, there were about 60 additional sheds where Sudanese and Eritreans were held captive. Women were not held with us, but probably, there were sheds where women were kept because we heard their cries when the smugglers would torture them.
The smugglers, Ismail and Musa, brought in people whose job was to beat us with sticks and burn us by throwing flaming plastic bags at us. The smugglers did this so that we call our relatives and ask them to send them money. I didn’t have anyone to call, my family has no money, and there was no one to pay the ransom for our release. Among the captives there were people who called their relatives who promised to send money for the release of their relative from captivity.
After two months of such torture, most of the captives in our shed were burnt to death, even the ones whose relatives had promised to send in money for their release. Among all the captives in the shed, only F. and I survived. In late January 2012, the smugglers left us, thinking that we will die in the next few days anyway.
Despite the severe burns, we managed to climb on the mountain in the direction of Israel. After two hours of walking and crawling in the night, we reached the Israeli border, where we waited for the Israeli soldiers to pick us up. The soldiers took us to Saharonim Prison.
The testimony was collected by Sigal Rozen and Tamar Arev from the “Hotline for Migrant Workers” with the help of a translator.
Sigal Rozen is the Public Policy Coordinator of the Hotline for Migrant Workers, which she helped found. She has been active on behalf of asylum seekers for the last 13 years.

19th Session of the Human Rights Council – Urgent Debate on Syria

Statement by His Excellency Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi
Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and
Other International Organizations in Geneva
at the 19th Session of the Human Rights CouncilUrgent Debate on Syria
Geneva, 28 February 2012

Madam President,
The Delegation of the Holy See follows with great concern the dramatic and growing episodes of violence in Syria which have caused many victims and grave suffering. As we debate the continuing serious crisis in that country, I wish to reiterate the repeated appeals of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, and in particular, that of 12 February last for an urgent end to the violence and bloodshed unfolding in Syria.[1] On that occasion, His Holiness called for every party to the conflict to give priority to the way of dialogue, of reconciliation and of commitment to peace. We must not succumb to the logic of violence, where violence begets further violence. It is never too late to refrain from violence!
Madam President,
My delegation expresses its solidarity with the victims of violence and appeals for urgent humanitarian and medical assistance to relieve the sufferings of all those wounded and injured.
Madam President,
The Holy See extends a hand of friendship to all the people of Syria, of whatever religion or ethnic background, confident that all Syrians share the same common values of dignity and justice for all regardless of creed or ethnicity. Syria has a long history of peaceful coexistence among her diverse religious and ethnic communities. The Delegation of the Holy See appeals to the Syrian people not to lose sight of this heritage in responding to the legitimate aspirations of the different members of the nation. Syria, no less than any nation, is a member of the family of nations, and so the international community is right to be concerned for the peace and stability of the region.
Madam President,
The Delegation of the Holy See remains convinced that regional and multilateral organizations are an important instrument in promoting peace and stability in the world, an instrument which is ever more valuable in times of crisis, and for that reason welcomes the various initiatives in favour of peace through the path of dialogue and reconciliation. The primary responsibility, however, rests with the people of Syria and for that reason I renew the Holy Father’s appeal to the Syrian people “to give priority to the way of dialogue, of reconciliation and of commitment to peace”.
Thank you, Madam President.

[1] “Dear Brothers and Sisters, I am following with deep apprehension the dramatic and escalating episodes of violence in Syria. In the past few days they have taken a heavy toll of victims. I remember in prayer the victims among whom are several children, the injured and all those who are suffering the consequences of an ever more worrying conflict. In addition, I renew a pressing appeal to put an end to violence and bloodshed. Lastly, I invite everyone — and first of all the political Authorities in Syria — to give priority to the way of dialogue, of reconciliation and of the commitment to peace. It is urgently necessary to respond to the legitimate aspirations of the different members of the nation, as well as to the hopes of the international community, concerned for the common good of the society as a whole and for the region.” Appeal of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Sunday 12 February 2012.

Atti Vandalici contro la Cappella nel Campo profughi di Shousha in Tunisia

Siamo preoccupati per gli atti vandalici che hanno distrutto la Tenda Cappella che i profughi Cattolici  utilizzavano per Celebrazione Eucaristica.
La notte tra domenica e Lunedì alcuni vandali in azione hanno reso inutilizzabile la Cappella. Non sappiamo chi fossero i vandali in azione che nella notte hanno messo a soqquadro la Cappella, tanto meno le motivazioni. Sta di fatto ci preoccupa la sicurezza in questo campo che ricordiamo già l'anno scorso che ci fu un incendio che costato la vita a 4 profughi eritrei, successivamente è stato devastato l'intero campo precedente all'attuale, che si rese necessario lo spostamento.
La testimonianza del accaduto che troviamo in queste parole:-
Stamattina alle 8 m’ha(Lunedì) telefonato prima un nigeriano, ma parlava così concitato che non riuscivo a capire quel  che dicesse, solo che stavano facendo qualcosa alla tenda-chiesa, e che dovevo venire; dopo un dieci minuti anche un eritreo telefona, dicendomi che avevano rovinato la chiesa. Verso le nove arrivo al campo, intorno alla chiesa vi sono una trentina di cristiani, solenni e si direbbe in lutto, e vedo che durante la notte di Domenica qualcuno ha tagliato tutto il tetto della nostra tenda-chiesa. Non manca nulla, anche la bottiglia del vino per la messa è lì, ma anche un’immagine di Gesù è stata strappata, ed è chiaro che uno o più fanatici si sono messi all’opera per distruggere il nostro luogo di preghiera.  Vado subito dal colonnello responsabile della sicurezza del campo, che avevo già incontrato qualche giorno fa per dirgli che un soldato, durante la distribuzione di giacche pesanti contro il freddo, aveva intimato a un eritreo di nascondere la crocetta che portava appesa al collo (praticamente tutti i cristiani la hanno). Appena mi vede mi dice che ha comunicato a tutti i suoi militari di non disturbare i cristiani … e gli comunico l’altra notizia, ben peggiore. Torno alla chiesa, con altri eritrei e nigeriani che arrivano per vedere, e si fermano a parlare in gruppetti, e aspettiamo che il colonnello venga come promesso, e sia un testimone di quel che è successo. Telefono a  una responsabile dell’UNHCR perché avverta le persone competenti; oggi il loro personale non è venuto a Shousha – ormai è quasi la regola – perché si sentono minacciati dai lavoratori locali che reclamano o lavoro o soldi. Da giorni, m’hanno detto, non riforniscono più il campo di acqua potabile per i rifugiati! Non è una situazione facile, non so chi abbia ragione o torto, ma è chiarissimo che i rifugiati sono gli ultimi di tutti, senza alcun diritto se non di ricevere quello che altri vuol dare o non dare. Chiamo anche il parroco di Gabès, responsabile ufficiale della zona, e poi il Vicario generale a Tunisi. Finalmente il colonnello arriva con i responsabili della comunità eritrea, due musulmani e due cristiani: vede i danni e sente la richiesta di poter lasciare questo posto, ai limiti del campo e senza nessuno intorno (tranne un posto di guardia dell’esercito tunisino), per trasferire la chiesa all’interno del campo eritreo, la comunità cristiana di gran lunga più numerosa. Penso che sia la sola struttura che sia rimasta allo stesso posto da un anno, quando i primi migranti africani erano arrivati, scappando dalla Libia in guerra. Al mio arrivo a Shousha a metà Maggio dell’anno scorso, era già praticamente come l’ho conosciuta finora, salvo che era circondata da tende dove abitavano i rifugiati, ma questo solo per una diecina di giorni …. e il campo era stato mezzo distrutto e saccheggiato dalla popolazione locale. Ora è venuto il momento di cambiare posto, qui non si può domandare a nessuno  protezione contro questo vandalismo.
Grazie a Dio, c’è un’altra tenda utilizzata precedentemente dagli Eritrei per pregare, all'interno del loro campo, e il comitato eritreo non fa nessuna difficoltà; mi dicono che in Eritrea le relazioni fra cristiani e musulmani non conoscono gli scontri purtroppo dominanti in tanti altri paesi, basti pensare alla Nigeria. Quel che vedo da un anno a Shousha lo conferma, e ho lo stesso rapporto di amicizia e di rispetto con tutti gli Eritrei. Una volta smontata –velocemente, siamo in tanti – la tenda-chiesa, rimane il rettangolo ben piano di sabbia pressata da un anno di fede e di preghiera. Trasportiamo il tutto, teli ripiegati e pali metallici raggruppati, sono deposti in una tenda ed è ora di pranzo (pasta che oggi sembra migliore che altre volte), tutti insieme seduti per terra come sempre e la pentola al centro dei due-tre cerchi di persone. Alle tre, come d’abitudine, il rosario, e alle tre e mezza la Messa; non ci sono cambiamenti, nel frattempo hanno coperto il suolo di plastica della tenda con le coperte e messo le assi di legno che servono da altare. Siamo una trentina, e la tenda, di color blu, con una luminosità tutta differente dall'altra, ormai sparita, è piena; durante la settimana occorrerà decidere in che modo allungarla, per permettere lo spazio necessario  a un centinaio di persone. I canti sono ancora più forti, in questo ambiente ristretto, e l’atmosfera è ancora molto seria, dopo quello che abbiamo vissuto oggi, ma è l’ennesima prova, specie per loro, e l’hanno superata. Insomma, anche oggi vedo la verità di quel che scrive San Pietro nella sua prima lettera, di esser contenti quando ci insultano come discepoli di Gesù.  
 Il nostro appello è rivolto alle autorità tunisine di garantire la sicurezza per la vita delle persone, e per i luoghi di culto, che sono spazzi di grande importanza per questi profughi che stanno vivendo momenti molto difficili della loro esistenza.
Auspichiamo che gli stati che hanno accettato di accogliere questi richiedenti asilo accelerino i tempi di trasferimento di queste persone, per evitare che la situazione vada peggiorando, al punto di mettere in pericolo la vita dei rifugiati nel campo.

don Mussie Zerai
Responsabile per la Pastorale
per i Cattolici di Rito Gééz in
Svizzera. Tel. +41(0)765328448

Presidente dell'Agenzia Habeshia
per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo
Tel. +39.3384424202

Vandalizing the Chapel in the refugee camp in Tunisia Shousha

We are concerned about the vandalism that destroyed the chapel tent that refugees used for Catholic Mass.On the night between Sunday and Monday, vandals in action have made it unusable Chapel. We do not know who the vandals in action on the night ransacked the Chapel, the less motivation. The fact is we are concerned about safety in this field that already remember last year there was a fire that killed 4 Eritrean refugees, was later devastated the entire area above the current, that it became necessary to move The testimony of happened that we find in these words: -"Me this morning at 8 o'clock (Monday) first called a Nigerian, but he spoke so excitedly that I could not understand what he said, only that they were doing something to the tent-church, and that I had come, after a ten minute call even an Eritrean , saying that they had ruined the church. About nine o'clock arrived at the camp, around the church there are some thirty Christians, and they would say in solemn mourning, and I see that during the Sunday night someone cut across the roof of our tent-church. Do not miss anything, even a bottle of wine for the Mass is there, but also an image of Jesus has been torn, and it is clear that one or more fans were set to work to destroy our place of prayer. I rush to the colonel in charge of camp security, I had already met a few days ago to tell him that a soldier during the deployment of heavy jackets against the cold, had ordered Eritrea to hide a tick carrying around his neck (virtually all Christians have it). As soon as I see tells me that He gives to all its soldiers not to disturb the Christians ... and inform the other news, much worse. Returns to the church, with other Eritreans and Nigerians who come to see, and stop to talk in small groups, and expect the Colonel to come as promised, and is a witness of what has happened. Phone to a manager because UNHCR warn the competent people, and today their staff did not come to Shousha - it is almost the rule - because they feel threatened by local workers who are claiming or job or money. For days, they told me, no longer serving the field of drinking water for the refugees! It is not an easy situation, I do not know who is right or wrong, but it is clear that refugees are the last of all, without any right except to receive what others want to give or not give. Call the pastor of Gabes, the official responsible for the area, and then the Vicar General in Tunis. Finally the Colonel comes with community leaders Eritrea, two Muslims and two Christians see the damage and hear the request to leave this place, the limits of the field with no other people (except a Tunisian army guard post) to transfer the church within the Eritrean field, the Christian community by far the most numerous. I think it is the only structure that remained in the same place for a year, when the first Africans arrived immigrants, fleeing from the war in Libya. On my arrival at Shousha mid May last year, was pretty much as I have known so far, except that he was surrounded by tents where the refugees lived, but only for ten days .... and the field was half destroyed and looted by locals. Now it's time to change jobs, this is not a question anyone can protect against this vandalism.Thank God, there is another tent used previously by the Eritreans to pray, within their field, and the Eritrean Committee makes no difficulties, I am told that in Eritrea relations between Christians and Muslims do not know unfortunately clashes dominant in many other countries, just think of Nigeria. What I see in a year Shousha confirms this, and I have the same relationship of friendship and respect with all Eritreans. A once-removed quickly, we are many - the tent-church, is the rectangle of sand pressed up well over a year of faith and prayer. We deliver everything, towels folded and grouped pali metal, are placed in a tent and it's lunchtime (pasta that looks better now than other times), all sitting together on the floor as usual and the pot at the center of the circles of 2:00 to 3:00 people. At three o'clock, as usual, the rosary, and three and a half times the Mass, there is no change in the meantime covered the floor of the tent with plastic covers and put the wooden planks that serve as an altar. We're thirty, and the tent, of blue, with a whole different light on the other, now vanished, is full, during the week need to decide how to lengthen it, to allow the necessary space to a hundred people. The songs are even stronger, in this confined space and the atmosphere is still very serious, after what we experienced today, but it is yet another test, especially for them, and have overcome.Well, today I see the truth of what St. Peter writes in his first letter, to be happy when they insult us as disciples of Jesus".
We are calling upon the Tunisian authorities to provide security for the lives of people, and places of worship, spaces that are of great importance for these refugees who are going through very difficult moments of their existence.We hope that the states that have agreed to accept these asylum seekers speed up the transfer of these people, to prevent the situation to worsen to the point of endangering the lives of refugees in the camp.
Don Mussie ZeraiResponsible for Pastoral Carefor Catholics in the Geez RiteSwitzerland. Tel +41 (0) 765 328 448
Chairman of HabeshiaCooperation for DevelopmentE-mail: agenzia_habeshia@yahoo.ithttp://habeshia.blogspot.comTel +39.3384424202 

giovedì 23 febbraio 2012

Cir: ''Ora bisogna trovare gli immigrati da risarcire''

Cir: ''Ora bisogna trovare gli immigrati da risarcire'' Parla il direttore del Consiglio italiano rifugiati, l'Ong che opera in Libia e che ha assistito in questa vicenda gli 11 cittadini somali ed i 13 eritrei oggi vittoriosi. Dice Christopher Hein: "La Corte Europea ha ammesso i ricorsi di 22 persone. Tra queste 2 sono morte lo scorso anno, mentre cercavano di attraversare il Canale di Sicilia. Noi abbiamo notizia di sole altre 8. I rimanenti non sappiamo dove siano, lo Stato italiano ha il dovere di cercarli"


REFOULEMENTS IN LIBYA: ITALY ORDERED BY THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS A ruling late, but Positive "better late than never" today 23 February 2012, Strasbourg. This morning, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that, sending migrants back to Libya, Italy had violated the European Convention on Human Rights and in particular the principle of non-refoulement (non-refoulement), which prohibits to reject migrants to countries where they may be persecuted or subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment. The case against Italy and other Hirsi to the first transaction of entry made May 6, 2009, 35 miles south of Lampedusa, in international waters. The Italian authorities intercepted a boat carrying some 200 Somalis and Eritreans, including children and pregnant women. These migrants were picked up by an Italian vessel, rejected and returned to Tripoli, against their will, to the Libyan authorities. Without being identified, heard or notified prior to their real destination. The migrants were, in fact, convinced that they are directed towards the Italian coast. 11 Somali nationals and 13 Eritreans, tracked and assisted in Libya by the Italian Council for Refugees after their refusal, brought an action against Italy before the European Court, through lawyers Anton Giulio Lana and Andrew Saccucci, Union Bar for the protection of human rights. The Court has fully condemned Italy for violation of the 3 fundamental principles: the prohibition to subject to torture and inhuman and degrading treatment (Article 3 ECHR), the impossibility of Appeal (art. 13 ECHR) and the prohibition of expulsion collective (Article 4 ECHR Additional Protocol IV). The Court then for the first time equated the collective rejection at the frontier and offshore collective expulsion against those already in the territory. The Court noted that the rights of African migrants in transit to Europe in Libya are systematically violated. Furthermore, Libya has offered to asylum seekers adequate protection against the risk of being repatriated to their countries of origin where they may be persecuted or killed. Because of this policy, according to UNHCR estimates some 1,000 migrants, including women and children, were intercepted by the Italian Coast Guard and forcibly returned to Libya without having first had occurred their protection needs. The Agency Habeshia, which has contributed to this proccesso, maintaining direct contact with the applicants Eritreans, welcomes this ruling as a great act of civilization to Europe, and with great sadness that hundreds of refugees have been rejected, including some of the applicants are no longer in life, died in Meditarranio, in an attempt to escape from the war in Libya. "In the present case - the lawyer says. Anton Giulio Lana - it was not a mere risk of inhuman and degrading treatment in Libya and that the complainants have actually suffered such treatment in detention camps, as dramatically demonstrated by the survivors. " "What is worse - the lawyer adds. Andrea Saccucci - is that the Italian government has publicly stated that migrants rejected were not among the persons entitled to asylum and were in no danger in Libya, then statement blatantly contradicted by the facts. " Emblematic in this respect the history of E., one of the applicants nationality Eritrea, which, after the outbreak of war in Libya, he boarded at a time the Italian coast along with 600 other Italians and an acceptance of Crotone in DEAR , has been recognized as a refugee by the competent territorial commission. In defense, the Italian government had argued that Libya should be considered a "safe place" and that, moreover, the applicants would in no way indicated to the officers on board their willingness to seek asylum or other form of international protection. The Court rejected the entire hearing of the Italian Government took the view that migrants intercepted in international waters has not been given any real opportunity to secure an individual evaluation of their situations in order to have the protection granted to refugees under international law and EU, in violation of Article. 13 of the ECHR. "This sentence proves that in transactions of rejection have been systematically violated the rights of refugees, Italy has in fact denied the opportunity to seek protection and has thus returned to Libya more than a thousand people who had the right to be accepted in Italy. We want this message to arrive unambiguously to the Government Monti ricontrattare in cooperation agreements with the Libyan Transitional Government, the rights of refugees can not be negotiated, on this issue, we expect the new executive positions clearer and stronger than those we have detected in recent weeks, "said Christopher Hein, Director of the Italian Council for Refugees. "This judgment confirms that the obligations which they have contracted with the ECHR does not stop with their geographical boundaries. Member States can not abdicate their principles, values ​​and their commitment to the protection of human rights outside their borders doing what would not be allowed in their territories, "said Allan Leas, Acting Secretary General of ECRE. This has important consequences in particular for the EU member states, institutions, and agencies with respect to border control policies, where these interfere with the migratory routes outside the EU territory, control in fact implies responsibility. The EU member states, both those within and those that are outside the umbrella of Frontex, should review their policies of control and operations return to ensure full respect for the principle of non-refoulement for every person caught outside their territory excluding, in line with the European Court's judgment, the possibility of collective expulsion as prohibited by Article 4 of Protocol IV of the Convention. Background notes The living conditions of migrants in Libya rejected May 6, 2009 have been dramatic. Most of them have been locked up for several months in detention centers where Libyans have suffered violence and abuse of all kinds. Most applicants were registered by the High Commissioner for Refugees United Nations and Libya have obtained recognition of refugee status under UNHCR mandate. After the outbreak of war in Libya, the applicants who were still in Tripoli, and had since been released from detention, both were victims of reprisals by militias loyal to the regime by both the insurgents and were forced into hiding for several weeks without food or water. After the NATO bombing began, some applicants have fled to Tunisia, others have attempted to sail back to Europe again An applicant is able to leave again, Libya to Malta, three in Switzerland, ONE in the U.S., another in Benin, where he sought asylum at the UNHCR, but still live in good conditions. Two applicants are, however, died while trying to reach An applicant is able to leave again, Libya to Malta, three in Switzerland, ONE in the U.S., another in Benin, where he sought asylum at the UNHCR, but still live in good conditions. Two applicants are, however, died in an attempt to again reach Italy aboard a makeshift boat. An applicant is able to flee to Israel, while another has returned to Ethiopia. Based on evidence, there is concern that other applicants have lost their lives attempting to reach Italy by sea. In this regard, it should be noted that according to UNHCR estimates there are about 1,500 migrants who have lost their lives attempting to reach Italy by sea in 2011. The Court held that, as a result of violations found, the plaintiffs have suffered non-pecuniary damage which has been quantified in an equitable € 15,000 Lawyers for the appellants, however, given up to pay the costs of litigation, only asking for reimbursement of costs incurred to attend the hearing which was held in Strasbourg on 22 June 2011. From this Judgment is also evident throughout the Europe ipocrizia policy regarding asylum seekers, European Union was supposed to prevent, condemn these actions Rejections Having endangered human Viten Trope, this condemnation on the Judicial Ethics concerns the whole ' What Europe has preferred to stand by and watch these human tragedies of hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers. And a Victory judicial That goes for all those asylum seekers who have had the courage to denounce and to witness these violations of their rights. Thanks go to all that a people who have worked to get Justice for these people, especially the lawyer. Wool and the lawyer. Saccucci, UNHCR, CIR. Fr. Mussie Zerai +41(0)765328448 +39.338.4424202

Sentenza Storica: Italia Condannata Dalla Corte Europea per i Diritti dell'Uomo

Una sentenza tardiva, ma Positiva "meglio tardi Che Mai" oggi 23 febbraio 2012, Strasburgo. Questa mattina, la Corte europea dei diritti dell’uomo ha sentenziato che, rimandando i migranti verso la Libia, l’Italia ha violato la Convenzione Europea sui Diritti dell’Uomo e in particolare il principio di non refoulement  (non respingimento), che proibisce di respingere migranti verso paesi dove possono essere perseguitati o sottoposti a trattamenti inumani o degradanti.   Il caso Hirsi e altri contro Italia riguarda la prima operazione di respingimento effettuata il 6 maggio 2009, a 35 miglia a sud di Lampedusa, in acque internazionali. Le autorità italiane hanno intercettato una barca con a bordo circa 200 somali ed eritrei, tra cui bambini e donne in stato di gravidanza. Questi migranti sono stati presi a bordo da una imbarcazione italiana, respinti a Tripoli e riconsegnati, contro la loro volontà, alle autorità libiche. Senza essere identificati, ascoltati né preventivamente informati sulla loro reale destinazione. I migranti erano, infatti, convinti di essere diretti verso le coste italiane. 11 cittadini somali e 13 cittadini eritrei,  rintracciati e assistiti in Libia dal Consiglio italiano per i rifugiati dopo il loro respingimento, hanno presentato un ricorso contro l’Italia alla Corte Europea, attraverso gli avvocati Anton Giulio Lana e Andrea Saccucci, dell’Unione forense per la tutela dei diritti umani.   La Corte ha pienamente condannato l’Italia per la violazione di 3 principi fondamentali: il divieto di sottoporre a tortura e trattamenti disumani e degradanti (art. 3 CEDU), l’impossibilità di ricorso (art.13 CEDU) e il divieto di espulsioni collettive (art.4 IV Protocollo aggiuntivo CEDU). La Corte quindi per la prima volta ha equiparato il respingimento collettivo alla frontiera e in alto mare alle espulsioni collettive nei confronti di chi è già nel territorio.     La Corte ha ricordato che i diritti dei migranti africani in transito per raggiungere l’Europa sono in Libia sistematicamente violati. Inoltre, la Libia non ha offerto ai richiedenti asilo un’adeguata protezione contro il rischio di essere rimpatriati nei paesi di origine dove possono essere perseguitati o uccisi.   A causa di questa politica, secondo le stime dell’UNHCR circa 1.000 migranti, incluse donne e bambini, sono stati intercettati dalla Guardia costiera italiana e forzatamente respinti in Libia senza che prima fossero verificati i loro bisogni di protezione.   L’Agenzia Habeshia, Che ha dato il suo contributo a questo proccesso, mantenendo diretti contatti con i ricorrenti eritrei, accoglie questa sentenza come un grande atto di civiltà per L'Europa, e con Grande tristezza perché centinaia di profughi Che sono Stati respinti, tra cui alcuni dei ricorrenti non sono più in Vita, morti nel Meditarranio, nel tentativo di fuggire Dalla guerra in Libia.   “Nel caso di specie – dichiara l’Avv. Anton Giulio Lana – non si è trattato di un mero rischio di subire in Libia trattamenti inumani e degradanti; i ricorrenti hanno effettivamente subito tali trattamenti nei campi di detenzione, come drammaticamente testimoniato dai sopravvissuti”. “Quel che è più grave – aggiunge l’Avv. Andrea Saccucci – è che il Governo italiano abbia affermato pubblicamente che i migranti respinti non rientravano tra le persone aventi diritto all’asilo e non correvano alcun rischio in Libia, affermazione poi clamorosamente smentita dai fatti”.   Emblematica a questo riguardo la storia di E., uno dei ricorrenti di nazionalità eritrea, il quale, dopo lo scoppio del conflitto in Libia, si è imbarcato alla volta delle coste italiane insieme ad altri 600 connazionali e, una volta accolto nel CARA di Crotone, ha ottenuto il riconoscimento dello status di rifugiato dalla competente commissione territoriale.   Nel difendersi, il Governo italiano aveva sostenuto che la Libia dovesse considerarsi un “luogo sicuro” e che, inoltre, i ricorrenti non avrebbero in alcun modo manifestato agli ufficiali di bordo la loro volontà di richiedere l’asilo o altra forma di protezione internazionale. La Corte ha respinto integralmente le difese del Governo Italiano, ritenendo che ai migranti intercettati in acque internazionali non sia stata offerta alcuna possibilità effettiva di ottenere una valutazione individuale delle loro situazioni al fine di beneficiare della protezione accordata ai rifugiati dal diritto internazionale e comunitario, in violazione dell’art. 13 della CEDU.   “Questa sentenza prova che nelle operazioni di respingimento sono stati sistematicamente violati i diritti dei rifugiati, l’Italia ha infatti negato la possibilità di chiedere protezione e ha così respinto in Libia più di mille persone che avevano il diritto di essere accolte in Italia. Vogliamo che questo messaggio arrivi in maniera inequivocabile al Governo Monti: nel ricontrattare gli accordi di cooperazione con il Governo di Transizione Libico, i diritti dei rifugiati non possono essere negoziati, su questo tema ci aspettiamo dal nuovo esecutivo posizioni chiare e più forti di quelle che abbiamo rilevato in queste settimane” dichiara Christopher Hein, direttore del Consiglio Italiano per i Rifugiati.   “Questa sentenza conferma che gli obblighi che gli Stati hanno assunto con la CEDU non si fermano con i loro confini geografici. Gli Stati non possono abdicare i loro principi, valori e il loro impegno nella protezione dei diritti umani facendo fuori dei loro confini quello che non sarebbe consentito nei loro territori” ha dichiarato Allan Leas, facente funzioni del Segretario Generale dell’ECRE.   Questo ha importanti conseguenze in particolare per gli Stati membri dell’Unione Europea, le istituzioni,  e le agenzie rispetto alle politiche di controllo delle frontiere, laddove queste interferiscono con le rotte migratorie al di fuori del territorio dell’Unione Europea, il controllo infatti implica una responsabilità. Gli stati membri dell’Unione Europea, sia quelli che sono dentro che quelli che sono al di fuori dell’ombrello di Frontex, dovranno rivedere le loro politiche di controllo e le operazioni di ritorno al fine di assicurare il pieno rispetto del principio di non refoulement per ogni persona intercettata al di fuori del loro territorio escludendo, in linea con la sentenza della Corte Europea, la possibilità di espulsioni collettive così come proibite dall’Articolo 4 del protocollo IV della CEDU.   Background note Le condizioni di vita in Libia dei migranti respinti il 6 maggio 2009 sono state drammatiche. La maggior parte di essi è stata reclusa per molti mesi nei centri di detenzione libici ove ha subito violenze e abusi di ogni genere. La maggior parte dei ricorrenti sono stati registrati dall’Alto Commissariato delle Nazioni Unite per i rifugiati e in Libia hanno ottenuto il riconoscimento dello status di rifugiato sotto mandato UNHCR.   Dopo lo scoppio del conflitto in Libia, i ricorrenti che si trovavano ancora a Tripoli, ed erano stati nel frattempo liberati dai centri di detenzione, sono stati vittime di rappresaglie sia da parte delle milizie fedeli al regime sia da parte degli insorti e sono stati costretti a nascondersi per alcune settimane senza acqua ne cibo. Dopo l’inizio dei bombardamenti NATO, alcuni ricorrenti sono scappati in Tunisia, altri hanno tentato nuovamente di imbarcarsi verso l’Europa, di nuovo   Un ricorrente è riuscito a lasciare nuovamente la Libia alla volta di Malta, tre sono in Svizzera, UNO in USA, un altro nel Benin, dove ha richiesto asilo presso l'UNHCR, ma ancora vive in condizioni non buone. Due ricorrenti sono, invece, deceduti nel tentativo di raggiungere nuovamente l’Italia a bordo di un’imbarcazione di fortuna. Un ricorrente è riuscito a fuggire in Israele, mentre un altro è ritornato in Etiopia.   Sulla base di testimonianze, si teme che altri ricorrenti abbiano perso la vita nel tentativo di raggiungere l’Italia via mare. Al riguardo, si deve ricordare che secondo le stime dell’UNHCR sarebbero circa 1.500 i migranti ad aver perso la vita nel tentativo di raggiungere l’Italia via mare nel 2011.   La Corte ha ritenuto che, per effetto delle violazioni riscontrate, i ricorrenti abbiano subito un danno non patrimoniale che è stato quantificato equitativamente in € 15.000 I legali dei ricorrenti hanno, invece, rinunciato alla refusione delle spese di lite, chiedendo soltanto il rimborso dei costi sostenuti per partecipare all’udienza che si è svolta a Strasburgo il 22 giugno 2011. Da questa Sentenza si evince anche tutta La ipocrizia della politica Europa in tema di richiedenti asilo politico, La Comunità Europea avrebbe dovuto impedire, condannare queste azioni di Respingimenti Che Hanno messo in pericolo Trope Viten umane, questa condanna giudiziaria sul piano Morale riguarda tutta l'Europa Che ha preferito assistere passivamente a queste tragedie umane di centinaia di profughi e richiedenti asilo politico. E una Vittoria giudiziaria Che va dedicata a tutte Quei richiedenti asilo Che Hanno avuto il coraggio di denunciare e testimoniare queste violazioni Dei loro diritti. Un Grazie va detto attute Quelle Persone Che Hanno lavorato per ottenere La Giustizia per queste Persone, in particolare l'Avv. Lana e l'Avv. Saccucci. Don Mussie Zerai Tel. +41(0)765328448 Tel. +39.338.4424202

martedì 21 febbraio 2012

Eritrean Boy escaped from the traffickers in Sinai

In the early afternoon of yesterday, I had a call with an Eritrean guy who has escaped from the hands of his kidnappers in the area of Rafah in the Sinai Mahadya, in Egipt. the leader of the smugglers who is called Abu Yasir Sunya, well known from local authorities, but inexplicably untouchable. This person has put a bounty of $ 50.000 on the head of the guy i met yesterday, who was able to run because that Eritrean refugees fleeing is a witness of trafficking of organs, the guy told me a have seen four of his companions being killed, and the traffickers have shown in plastic bags different parts of organs. The boy says, the group of hostages consisted at first of 27 persons including five women and one child, after that, he sais they have been divided into three groups and sold to other kidnappers, and his group of five, of wich four have died remained in the hands of the boss Than, he, the only survivor was ordered to carry water for a greater group of 120 hostages, job that gave him the possibility to escape, taking with him one of the cellphones that the kidnappers used to call the families of the refugees. Now, it is a Race Against Time for saving this guy, before the killers of the gang of this chief Yasir Abu Sunya find him and kill him. The Egyptian government does not move a finger until now at least you could save the life of this guy, getting to pinpoint the hideout and capture all the traffickers, and to free the hundreds of refugees who are in chains, under every atrocity and torture . The UN should use blue helmets who are on the local field to rescue that people and save their lifes. it's no longer the time of silence! don't hide behind the realpolitik and diplomatic contacts, we must act to ensure security for the many human lives passing in the area of the Sinai for several reasons. Abba Mussie Zerai

venerdì 17 febbraio 2012

African migrants tortured in Egypt's Sinai desert

Sudanese Mutasim Qamrawi, 22, shows his scars from four months he was held in captivity by smugglers in Egypt's Sinai desert at a shelter in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012. Some 50,000 Africans have entered Israel in recent years, fleeing conflict and poverty in search of safety and opportunity in the relatively prosperous Jewish state. A growing number of African migrants say they were captured, held hostage and tortured by Egyptian smugglers hired to sneak them into Israel.Sudanese Mutasim Qamrawi, 22, shows his scars from four months he was held in captivity by smugglers in Egypt's Sinai desert at a shelter in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012. Some 50,000 Africans have entered Israel in recent years, fleeing conflict and poverty in search of safety and opportunity in the relatively prosperous Jewish state. A growing number of African migrants say they were captured, held hostage and tortured by Egyptian smugglers hired to sneak them into Israel. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
By Diaa Hadid
Associated Press / February 16, 2012

TEL AVIV, Israel—The young man from Sudan holds his arms close to his sides, as if still at the mercy of smugglers who he says poured hot melted plastic over his back, whipped him with wires and beat him with sticks as he lay face down and naked.
He pulls up his shirt to reveal scars that crisscross his arms, back and stomach.
Mutasim Qamrawi is among a growing number of African migrants reporting they were tortured in Egypt's Sinai desert by smugglers despite promises to sneak them into Israel, where they hoped to find freedom and a decent job. The smugglers then extorted the migrants' families for more money.
"You sit in your own grave until you can get the money. That is the only way to leave -- or death," said Qamrawi, 22, who was held in captivity for four months.
Human rights advocates say the situation is worsening, because smugglers are using harsher torture methods and demanding more money -- as much as $40,000.
They cite accounts by Africans who have arrived in Israel, and from those still in captivity who make frantic phone calls. Those stories were echoed in Associated Press interviews with Africans in captivity and those released.
Qamrawi said smugglers kept him and some 60 other men in a hut, shackled by their legs. Each day, about a dozen guards burst into the room, making them lie down naked, one at a time. Then the torture began. Qamrawi said he saw 16 men die under torture, screaming for help, because they took too long to gather the ransom money.
Other Africans say smugglers gang-raped migrants, electrocuted them, kept them in the desert sun, deprived them of food, threatened to remove their organs, shackled them together and left them unwashed.
They include a 27-year-old Eritrean who reached Israel in February. He limps on his deformed legs, cannot close his swollen hands and wonders whether he will ever be healthy enough to work again.
Smugglers beat him with pipes and electric prods and smeared melting plastic on him. Women in his group were taken outside to be raped. Six men died, their bodies left to rot beside him for days at a time.
"Every time I close my eyes, I think about all the people I left behind in the (underground) room. They always come to mind," said the Eritrean, who provided only his first name, Touldeh, fearing his captors could still harm him.
Israeli advocates say although the torture happens in the Sinai, Israel can do more for freed captives when they arrive in the Jewish state.
"Every minute that we are waiting, more and more people are being tortured," said Shahar Shoham of the Israeli branch of Physicians for Human Rights, which treats many new arrivals, including Touldeh, in a free medical clinic.

Some 50,000 Africans have entered Israel in recent years, fleeing conflict and poverty in search of safety and opportunity in the relatively prosperous Jewish state. They need the smugglers' help to navigate the rugged Sinai desert and reach Israel's border. The smugglers are nomadic Bedouin tribesmen.
For several years, smugglers ran a lucrative trade. But with Israel rushing to seal the border, smugglers are raising their prices as migrants try reach Israel before it's too late.
Africans say the journey to Israel begins in a shantytown in northern Sudan, where initial contacts with Bedouin smuggling tribes are made. Most smugglers keep their word and deliver them to Israel's border for a few hundred dollars.
But in a growing number of cases, smugglers are luring Africans with prices that they inflate once they reach the Sinai. Other smugglers, tempted by easy profits in human chattel, are rushing in, buying and selling captive Africans. A smaller number of Africans say they were "kidnapped" by smuggling clans eager for more profits.
The smugglers force captives to call friends and relatives to beg for money, usually while being tortured, to increase pressure on loved ones. As a result, the trade is strikingly open, and reporters and advocates may also contact the hostages.
In a conversation with AP, a woman who said she was a 20-year-old Eritrean said she was being held in captivity for months and repeatedly raped by smugglers who guarded the basement where she and a dozen men were chained. She said she didn't know where she was, or when the guards might burst in.
"I am afraid of the men outside," she said. "They do bad things, they rape us." She spoke on a crackly telephone line, interspersed by hushed silences and whispers of other captives waiting to use the phone.
The woman requested anonymity, fearing the smugglers. She said her family couldn't afford the $23,000 the smugglers were demanding to release her.
Although it was impossible to verify her claims, her number was provided by Meron Estafanos, a Sweden-based Eritrean activist. Such stories are common, she said.
Captive Africans raise the money from friends and relatives in Israel and from more affluent expatriate communities in Europe and the United States. The money is delivered through local middlemen. Those who can't pay linger in captivity. Some don't survive, although exact numbers are not known.
Between 1,500 and 2,000 Africans enter Israel each month, according to Israel's Interior Ministry, most of them from wartorn Sudan and Eritrea.
Israel doesn't deport them because their countries' human rights records are so poor. But they are not granted any official status either.
After a brief processing period, they are allowed to go free, though they may not work. Many flock to Tel Aviv slums and find illegal menial jobs as cleaners and dishwashers in restaurants.

The Africans have sparked a debate in Israeli society. Many Israelis believe their country, which emerged from the ruins of the Holocaust, must help the oppressed. Activists ask the government to give them medical treatment and official status. Yet others fear the influx will threaten the Jewish character of the country of almost 8 million.
Last year alone, some 17,000 Africans made their way to Israel, according Israel's military.
Alarmed by these growing numbers, and fearful of militants creeping through the porous border, Israel is racing to finish a 150-mile (230-kilometer) long fence along its border with Egypt.
Ironically, many of the men building the fence are African migrants. Israel also is preparing to build a detention center to hold up to 11,000 migrants. The center is to open in the coming months and be completed this year.
Africans began entering Israel through the Sinai after Egyptian security forces violently quashed a demonstration by Sudanese refugees in 2005. As word of prosperity and safety in Israel spread, their numbers swelled. Most Africans paid a few hundred dollars to $3,000 for their passage.
About a year and a half ago, prices began to skyrocket, along with abusive extortion attempts.
Dozens of Eritrean women began asking for abortion referrals at a clinic run by the Israeli branch of Physicians for Human Rights. The women said they were raped in the Sinai. African men sought treatment for wounds they said were caused by torture.
Bedouin smugglers did not answer repeated phone calls seeking comment. African migrants in Israel who call their loved ones in captivity supplied the numbers.
Egyptian security officials said they are unable to chase the smugglers in the rugged terrain.
The officials said that as many as 100 bodies belonging to African refugees were found in the Sinai desert last year, with many of the deaths resulting from dehydration, starvation and torture. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with police rules.
Qamrawi, who now lives in a crowded Tel Aviv shelter run by other Sudanese migrants, says the smugglers knew they were doing something terribly wrong.
He said the smugglers forbade the captives, many of whom are devout Muslims and Christians, from openly praying.
"One of the guards told me that he did not want God to listen to us," he said. "They were afraid God would punish them."
Associated Press writer Aya Batrawy in Cairo contributed to this report.