14/10/2014 – 21/10/2014
PICUM, 20th of October 2014 :
“What is Mos Maiorum?
The EU-wide police operation ‘Mos Maiorum’started on 13 October and will run until 26 October 2014. The joint operation is coordinated by the Italian Ministry of Interior in cooperation with Frontex. Its aim is to apprehend irregular migrants in the Schengen area and gather relevant information including how they were detected, their personal details, as well as the routes and means of transport used. You can also find more information on the operation here.
Since the beginning of the operation, controls in the participating countries have been intensified, particularly in airports and train stations, but also in selected areas and neighbourhoods.
What are policymakers doing?
The European Parliamentary group European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) has already condemned the operation in a statement and in an open letter to the Justice and Home Affairs Council which met on 9 October asking for the operation to be cancelled.
The European Greens also spoke out against the operation in a statement and the Green MEP, Ska Keller, sent the Council several questions asking about how fundamental rights are ensured in the operation.
What can you do?
You can contact your local police to inquire more information or write to your MEP asking them to take a strong stand against such control-based measures.
You can support the reporting of checks across Europe on a joint platform which also allows you to receive alerts.
Finally, you could organise an initiative at national level. In the Netherlands for example, PICUM member Migrante Europe have published a petition and organised a gathering in Amsterdam on 12 October.
An initiative of Belgian organisations has published recommendations on how individuals can behave if apprehended and information for undcoumented migrants’ on what information they do not have to disclose to officials. You find the recommendations here (in French) and an English translation here.
In Belgium, 900 policemen has been deployed in the territory to control, stop, detain and deport undocumented migrants. HERE you will find the letter that we sent together with CSC, FGTB, CIRE and La Ligue de Droits des Hommes to the Belgian Prime Minister against this police operation of control and detention.
On 22 October, a gathering will take place at 4 p.m. at the train station Gare Centrale in Brussels to protest the operation.
More information about this gathering is also available on this Facebook event page.
If you wish to share any additional information, contact us at: info(at)picum.org
EU: Joint Operation “Mos Maiorum”: Day 8: Council’s explanation is “economical with the truth”: Council Presidency says the operation is about the “collection of data on migration flow” when its stated purpose is to: “apprehend irregular migrants and gather relevant information for intelligence and investigative purposes.” See: Council response to media coverage and widespread concern in civil society: What is “Mos Maiorum” joint operation? The collection of data on migration flows in EU countries has been launched (Official statement by Council Presidency, pdf)
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:
“This statement by the Council Presidency is “economical with the truth”. The Council presents Joint Operation Mos Maiorum as a statistical exercise to gather data on migration flows when its first aim is quite different as stated in Full-text (p2, pdf) which is to: “apprehend irregular migrants and gather relevant information for intelligence and investigative purposes.”
In the previous operation “Perkunas” 10,459 undocumented migrants were “intercepted”, in Aphrodite 5,298 were “apprehended” and in Project FIMATHU (Europol-Austria and Hungary) 7,429 “illegal migrants” were “apprehended”. In none of the reports on these three operations was any information given as to what happened to the migrants who were “intercepted” or “apprehended”.
Did they ask for asylum, which they had the right to do? How many ended up in detention centres? How many were deported? Were these people afforded their rights or are EU fundamental rights, Treaties and the Charter simply not a consideration when it comes to Council-organised operations?”
Internazionale, 16th of October 2014:
“(…) L’Italia lo scalpore se l’è cercato: lanciare un’operazione contro i “migranti irregolari” proprio nel mese in cui commemorava le 368 vittime del naufragio di Lampedusa è stata una mossa poco furba. La scelta del nome, invece, è coerente: sono vent’anni che chi non ha i documenti in regola è considerato un barbaro da cacciare fuori dallo spazio Schengen, come gli antichi romani respingevano tutto ciò che minacciava di corrompere i valori dei loro avi.
Di gran lunga più scandaloso era il nome scelto dal governo greco per un’operazione simile lanciata a livello nazionale nel 2013: Zeus Xenios, il dio dell’ospitalità, protettore dei forestieri.
Ma torniamo a Frontex. L’11 ottobre, due giorni prima dell’inizio di Mos maiorum, il direttore esecutivo Gil Arias-Fernández ha tenuto a precisare che l’agenzia “non ha avuto alcun ruolo nella pianificazione e nell’implementazione di questa operazione”, dato che non riguarda i controlli alle frontiere esterne dell’Ue (eppure il documento ufficiale del consiglio afferma il contrario: sono previsti “controlli lungo le rotte principali dell’immigrazione illegale […] nell’area Schengen e alle frontiere esterne”).
Frontex ammette tuttavia di aver contribuito all’analisi dei rischi, fornendo “alla presidenza italiana statistiche e analisi di dati sui flussi migratori alle frontiere esterne dell’Unione europea”. Come è già accaduto in passato, l’agenzia non accetta di essere considerata responsabile delle politiche migratorie europee.
È vero, il suo è “solo” un ruolo di coordinamento e sostegno, per esempio nell’organizzazione di espulsioni collettive di persone di una stessa nazionalità: si fanno arrivare da vari paesi europei in un dato aeroporto, si caricano su un volo coordinato da Frontex e via”…
La Croix, 16th of October 2014:
“« En France, des acteurs associatifs nous signalent des patrouilles et des contrôles renforcés à la gare du Nord et à la porte de Bagnolet à Paris, à Calais, à Grenoble », souligne Gipsy Beley, chargée des questions européennes à la Cimade, qui défend les droits des migrants. « Mais il sera difficile de tirer un bilan et de distinguer “Mos Maiorum” des autres contrôles policiers déjà très importants », ajoute-t-elle.
(…) « Cela fait trois ou quatre ans que l’UE organise ce type d’opérations, justifie le porte-parole de la présidence italienne de l’UE, Federico Garimberti. Il s’agit d’échanger des informations et non pas de repousser les migrants. »
Lorsqu’elle présidait le Conseil de l’UE, en juin, la Grèce s’était d’ailleurs félicitée du succès de l’opération « Aerodromos », menée sur une semaine en mai dernier par 18 pays dans 39 aéroports internationaux de l’UE.
L’Italie se serait bien passée d’une telle visibilité en amont, d’autant que le document ne dit rien sur le sort à réserver aux personnes interceptées. « En France, elles seront sans doute renvoyées dans leur pays ou placées en centres de rétention. Mais que feront la Grèce ou la Hongrie où la situation est dramatique ? Elles finiront sans doute en prison », relève Gipsy Beley.
Censés être au moins consultés sur les opérations policières conjointes dans l’UE, les députés européens étaient a priori ignorants. La Commission européenne affirme ne pas être associée et n’avoir rien financé. Le Conseil de l’UE se refuse à dire combien de pays participent. Un seul n’en ferait pas partie, selon certains médias”…
The Africa News, 15th of October 2014:
“(…)What the document doesn’t clearly state is what will happen to immigrants caught without documents. It only states that officers should record their details (nationalities, gender and age, point and date of entry in the EU).
The secrecy surrounding this operation suggests that no information regarding arrests will be made public. It would be wrong for the police to arrest and detain or remove irregular immigrants secretly.
It is estimated that there are between 150,000 and 450,000 irregular immigrants in the EU. Most of them are people who have fled war and human rights abuse in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, etc. These are the people who risk being arrested and eventually deported.”…
Euobserver, the 14th of October 2014:
” (…)Police will be required to fill out colour-coded forms of those intercepted. A red form is for people caught at the external borders and a blue form for those intercepted inside the Schengen states.
Details such as age, nationality, date of birth, place and time of interception, means of transport, migrant routes and asylum applications, if any, will be included. Fake documents will be seized.
Police will also try to obtain information on how much money a migrant has paid to enter the EU, their final point of destination, and the names of people who may have helped them along the way”(…)
For more information on the subject we highly encourage you to follow Statewatch’s Media and Web coverage articles which are frequently updated. For yesterday’s Media and Web coverage click here