Migrations: coupables relations entre l’UE et le Soudan

Les primo demandeurs d'asile en Europe en 2015

Sources: Eurostat.

L’Union européenne ne sait plus où donner de la tête pour contenir les migrants, au point que la Commission n’a pas hésité à se compromettre avec le chef de l’Etat soudanais, Omar el-Béchir, -sous le coup d’un mandat de la Cour pénale internationale depuis 2009- en lui octroyant 100 millions d’euros pour résoudre les conflits qui jettent les Soudanais sur les routes de l’émigration, et un budget de 40 millions d’euros pour s’équiper en matériel de surveillance*.

Les Britanniques, qui président lInitiative pour la route migratoire UE-Corne de l’Afrique, y sont allés aussi de leur soutien.

Les 11 et 12 novembre 2015, à La Valette (Malte), le ministre soudanais des affaires étrangères Ibrahim Ghandour participait à un sommet Union européenne-Afrique. A l’issue de la réunion, les Etats européens s’engageaient à verser 1,8 milliard d’euros pour aider les pays africains à endiguer le flux des clandestins et permettre leur retour au pays. Une mesure diversement appréciée par les chefs d’Etat,  mais que tous ont endossée.

Le Soudan est un élément-clé sur la route des migrations clandestines issues de l’Afrique subsaharienne, particulièrement de l’Erythrée voisine et de la Somalie.

Primo-demandeurs d'asiles dans l'Union européenne en 2015

Sources: Eurostat.

Les conflits du Darfour, du Nil Bleu et du Sud-Kordofan, sans compter la répression politique à Khartoum grossissent ce flot des réfugiés, qui, souvent sont d’abord des « déplacés » dans leur propre pays (3,1 millions au Soudan).

Lors de la visite du ministre soudanais des affaires étrangères à Bruxelles, le 16 février 2016, la haute-représentante de l’Union européenne  Federica Mogherini qualifie de « pas en avant » la coopération du Soudan en matière d’immigration.

Au début du mois d’avril, Neven Mimica, commissaire européen pour la coopération internationale et le développement, concrétise le « dialogue de haut niveau sur les migrations » par une visite de deux jours à Khartoum. Officiellement, il ne rencontre pas le chef de l’Etat, mais toujours Ibrahim Ghandour. A l’occasion de son séjour, il annonce l’octroi de 15 millions d’euros pour améliorer les conditions de vie des réfugiés à Kassala (à l’est du Soudan) et Khartoum. Il précise que l’utilisation de ces fonds sera tenue à l’oeil par l’Union européenne**, et plus que mollement, il encourage le gouvernement à faire avancer le dialogue national, destiné à mettre fin aux différents conflits nationaux***et renouvèle -tout aussi mollement- la demande de l’Union européenne de rendre accessibles les zones de conflits à l’aide humanitaire.

Le 25 mai 2016, un rapport de Human Rights Watch est publié: les autorités soudanaises ont renvoyé au cours du mois 442 Erythréens dans leur pays où ils encourent tortures, emprisonnements, travaux forcés et amendes pour les familles. C’est ainsi que le Soudan interprète la recommandation européenne d’ « endiguer » le flux des migrants.

2014 - Répartition des demandeurs d'asile dans les Etats membres de l'Union européenne par nationalité "déclarée" d'origine.

2014 – Répartition des demandeurs d’asile dans les Etats membres de l’Union européenne par nationalité d’origine. Sources: Eurostat. 2014

Le 18 août 2016, un représentant du gouvernement soudanais a été dépêché à la frontière entre l’Italie et la France pour collaborer avec les autorités: la France, le pays européen qui a accueilli 5315 Soudanais en 2015, a refusé l’entrée de son territoire à plusieurs clandestins soudanais. L’Italie s’apprète à les expulser avec l’aide des autorités qu’ils fuient.

Il n’y aurait donc plus de limites pour des pays européens à coopérer avec des chefs d’Etat criminels de guerre. Certes, pas encore jugés.

_____________

*L’Union européenne a reformulé l’octroi de cette aide, évoquant une formation des forces de police.

** La corruption est une seconde nature au Soudan. Voir l’article Index de la perception de la corruption en 2015.

*** A ce jour, aucun progrès signalé dans des discussions entre les rebelles armés et le gouvernement. Un référendum organisé dans des conditions plus que discutables au Darfour (11-13 avril 2016, juste après la visite de Neven Mimica), a entériné les décisions de Khartoum de garder dans son giron administratif les gouvernements régionaux.

 

Sur le bureau

Union européenne. Communiqué du 24 mars 2016. Demandeurs d’asile dans les Etats membres de l’Union européenne.

 

 

 

 

y Ahmed H. Adam and Ashley D. Robinson

The EU perceives the immigration to Europe from Africa and the Mediterranean as an existential threat. However, Europe’s migration crisis cannot be resolved by collaborating with genocidal and repressive regimes like that of Omar al-Bashir of Sudan.

 

Documents leaked in Der Spiegel and reports on German television showReport Mainz state that the EU identified several funding risks: “Smuggling and trafficking networks in the region are highly organized and sophisticated, often with the complicity of officials … Corruption is reported to be widespread in almost every beneficiary country, facilitating illegal migration and trafficking through the complicity of ticket bureaus, check-in-desks, immigration officials, border patrols, etc.” Those involved in administering the EU Emergency Trust Fund have long been aware of these persistent problems.

The EU’s rapprochement with Sudan is based on al-Bashir’s good faith and lacks scrutiny of the regime’s track record. For many in Sudan, smuggling and trafficking have become a lucrative business. Leading officers from the National Intelligence and Security Service have beeninvolved in human trafficking and smuggling for personal gain.

As recently as 2014, Human Rights Watch reported finding “evidence that government aircraft deliberately bombed hospitals and other humanitarian facilities.” Putting surveillance equipment and expertise in the hands of this government will only strengthen its ability to target the most vulnerable populations and directly endanger the lives of huma

Ahmed H Adam is a visiting fellow at Cornell University’s Institute for African Development and a research fellow at the Department of Public Policy and Administration at the American University in Cairo.

Ashley D Robinson is a Public Policy and Human Rights Expert; she obtained her masters from Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs.

 

In mid-April a boat capsized crossing the Mediterranean killing up to 500 migrants, a large proportion of whom most international media reported as being Somali. But in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, local media noted how many who died were actually Somalilanders.

Since 1991, and its proclamation of independence following a civil war that resulted in about 50,000 deaths, Somaliland has existed as a de facto independent nation separate from Somalia, albeit one legally unrecognised by the international community.

As a result, cut off from international assistance, Somaliland has had to help itself. It successfully rebuilt its economy and infrastructure, shattered by the rebellion that forced much of its population into Ethiopian refugee camps.

Now Hargeisa is a bustling city of about 800,000 people, and about to experience the traditional summer return of diaspora Somalilanders from around the world, wanting to enjoy – or experience for the first time – their resurgent homeland.

But Somaliland’s apparent success against the odds remains highly vulnerable. Its economy is fragile. A recent trend has seen Hargeisa’s streets inundated with an upsurge of second-hand taxis – cars bought by parents for children to dissuade them from tahriib, the local term for the dangerous and illegal migration to Europe. These cabs have even become known as hooyo ha tahriibin, which translates roughly as “my son, do not tahriib”.

“Why are they leaving? Unemployment,” Abdillahi Duhe, a former foreign minister of Somaliland, told IRIN. “Now is a very important time. We’ve passed the stage of recovery. We have peace. But many hindrances remain.”

Crowds of men on the streets sipping sweet Somali tea and chewing the stimulant plant khat throughout the day testify to a chronic unemployment rate of about 75 percent, leading to another concern in a volatile part of the world.

“Young men are a ready-made pool of rudderless youth from which militant extremists with an agenda can recruit,” said Rakiya Omaar, a lawyer who also chairs the Horizon Institute, a consultancy firm that works on strengthening the capacity and self-reliance of institutions in Somaliland.

Doing the right thing

With non-statehood depriving the country of direct large-scale international support and multilateral lending, the government operates on a tiny budget of about $250 million. About 60 percent of that is spent on the police and security forces to maintain what it views as its main argument for recognition: continuing peace and stability.

“We are doing all the right things that the West preaches about, but we continue to get nothing for it,” said Osman Abdillahi, minister for Somaliland’s Ministry of Information, Culture and National Guidance. “This is a resilient country that depends on each other – we’re not after a hand-out but a hand up.”

Somaliland has largely survived on its diaspora sending money home – estimated at about $1 billion annually. That helps fuel a proactive private sector, which sells prodigious quantities of livestock to Arab countries and is largely credited with rebuilding the country from scratch after the civil war.

While Somalia remains mired in a seemingly irreconcilable civil conflict, Somaliland has quietly emerged as a relative beacon of peace, democracy, and good governance. The contrast between a self-reliant north and aid-dependent south couldn’t be starker.

But, increasingly, Somalilanders acknowledge the country needs far more international investment to survive. And there’s the rub: options remain limited while the country is treated by most of the world as a mischievous breakaway state.

“About 70 percent of the population are younger than 30, and they have no future without recognition,” said Jama Musse Jama, a former mathematics professor who gave up his life in Italy to return to Somaliland and run the Redsea Cultural Foundation, which offers cultural and artistic opportunities for Hargeisa’s youth. “The world can’t close its eyes,” said Musse. “It should deal with Somaliland.”

Hargeisa

James Jeffery/IRIN
Hargeisa – open for business

Somalilanders believe recognition would bring a raft of benefits. The government, for starters, would finally have legitimacy to borrow international money to enhance basic services such as electricity, gas, water, and rubbish collection, and to fund state schools, universities, and hospitals needed around the country.

Pressures

It might also be able to better tackle crises such as the drought that has hit the Horn of Africa, and which in the north of the Somalia region encompassing Somaliland has left an estimated 4.6 million people – nearly 40 percent of the population – needing humanitarian assistance.

In addition to such internal challenges, external pressures are weighing in. There are reports of the increasing encroachment of Wahhabism, a far more fundamental version of Islam than traditionally practiced in Somaliland.

Against such a background, some worry that the patience and stoicism of Somalilanders will wane.

Beneath the overwhelming friendliness of Somalilanders – especially to visiting foreigners – there are already hints of tensions and dissatisfaction. During this year’s voter registration for the forthcoming 2017 national election, turnout was lower than expected.

“There are people saying we have been democratic for 25 years but that has not produced any results, so there are no benefits to elections,” explained 34-year-old businessman Abdirizak Ahmed at a registration centre in Hargeisa.

“Other countries that are not democratic are supported by the international community, whereas Somaliland has got nowhere. So some people have lost interest in the electoral process.”

Despite Somaliland’s international isolation, it is very much a part of the Horn of Africa, and of the region’s fortunes.

“To refuse formal recognition to Somaliland amounts to punishing those who have been peaceful: a very bad sign for the stability in the Horn,” said Robert Wiren, a French journalist who has written about the region for the last 18 years, and in 2014 published ‘Somaliland, pays en quarantaine’ (Somaliland, a country under quarantine).

Downside?

But other voices caution that recognition could have a potential downside.

Up until now, with no recourse to the sort of aid money that forms a debilitatingly large percentage of many developing countries’ budgets, Somaliland has developed a highly effective entrepreneurial streak and bare-bones efficiency. Some suggest this could be threatened by a budget suddenly swollen with international loans and grants.

Furthermore, these past 25 years Somaliland has been guided along a path of accountability in the desire to demonstrate its suitability for recognition by being, basically, better than those to the south. With the unifying power of that quest gone, some worry it could suffer the sort of factionalism that tore through Somalia after it achieved its long-awaited independence and unification.

South Sudan’s descent into turmoil since independence is offered as illustrative of the potential fallout from a recognised Somaliland. The only other African country to have been granted independence through secession is Eritrea, breaking away from Ethiopia in 1993. Not a roaring success thus far, either.

Most Somalilanders, however, aren’t pondering such what ifs, but concentrating instead on the daily reality for them and their country.

“Even if they don’t recognise us, our independence is by virtue of our existence and by virtue of our liberty,” said Yussef Ali, standing with his four young sons as crowds lined Independence Avenue during this year’s 25th independence parade in the capital.

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