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Nearly 6,000 immigrants died on the frontiers of Europe since 1988

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  • #16
    May 4, 2007 -- Seven Algerian illegal immigrants were rescued on Wednesday by an American tourist ship.

    The illegal immigrants were about to be killed in the sea next to Marseille (southern France) when the American ship, which was crossing the Mediterranean Sea going to the Atlantic Ocean saved them at the last minute.

    According to marine department of Gibraltar province, a ship of Oceania Cruise Lines rescued on Wednesday evening seven Algerian men in the sea next to Marseille.

    Oceania Regatta staff said the seven immigrants sailed from eastern Algeria. Their boat was broken down. Then, the staff of Oceania Regatta found them and took them to Gibraltar port.

    One of the immigrants is in the hospital in that area. He is very seriously ill, says the same source.

    The local authorities refused to receive the other six immigrants. They stayed in the ship and left with it.

    The French authorities were supposed to receive the immigrants as they were close to the French coasts. However, the tourist schedule of the American ship did not allow that. Additionally, they did not have their identity documents.

    If any country refuses to receive them, they will probably be taken to the United States of America where the head office of Oceania is located. Thus, the American immigration law would be implemented on them by putting them in jail until their identity is officially confirmed. Then, they would be deported to the Algerian authorities.

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    • #17
      Le navire Britannique « Oceana », a accosté hier au port de Southampton à l’ouest de l’Angleterre, après une croisière en méditerranée, où sept immigrés clandestins Algérien ont été repêchés par son équipage près des îles Baléares.
      Le navire est revenu en Angleterre avec six algériens à son bord, après que le septième soit décédé dans un hôpital en Espagne.

      Les six Algériens survivants ont été remis aux services d’immigration Britanniques, qui s’occupent de leur prise en charge médicale, avant que les lois internationales ne soient appliquées, et qui leur donnent le choix entre demander l’asile ou être extradés en Espagne, le pays le plus proche de l’endroit duquel ils ont été repêchés.

      Les membres d’équipage du « Oceana », qui comptaient 2000 touristes à bord, ont déclaré que l’opération de sauvetage a eu lieu en plein nuit, lorsqu’ils ont constaté un drôle de mouvement à la surface de la mer. Ces derniers ont pu s’assurer, grâce aux projecteurs, qu’il s’agit d’un chalutier qui risque de se noyer, avec des passagers à bord.

      Le porte parole du Ministère de l’Intérieur Britannique a déclaré que les services de l’immigration ont commencé leur enquête, en collaboration avec l’équipage du navire, pour avoir plus de détails sur les circonstances de l’opération de sauvetage, sachant que l’Organisation Mondiale de la Navigation exige que les personnes secourues en haute mer soient conduites vers l’hôpital le plus proche, cependant ces derniers ont été conduits par le navire « Oceana » en Grande Bretagne, chose qui se produit que très rarement.

      Le ministère de l’Intérieur Britannique veut savoir si les autorités Espagnoles ont refusé de recevoir ces personnes secourues, si cela venait à être confirmé, cela constituerait une infraction aux règlements internationaux relatifs au sauvetage en haute mer.

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      • #18
        TAMANRASSET, Algeria: These are the migrants Europe never sees: Africans stranded in the wastes of southern Algeria, stuck midpoint on long and treacherous journeys in search of a better life.

        Deep in the Sahara desert, Tamanrasset teems with thousands of migrants who live amid rocks and rubble on the edge of the town and agonize with difficult choices: Should they admit defeat and suffer the shame of returning home empty-handed? Or should they try to find work — here in the desert where often there is none — to finance another attempt to carry on?

        That so many would-be immigrants are stuck here in limbo is no accident. European governments who face voters hostile to immigration have been urging North African countries to act as the frontline against illegal immigration, encouraging them to stop migrants before they even come within sight of Europe's shores.

        In Tamanrasset, Algerian police set about the task with gusto. Migrants are put into cages aboard trucks and dumped at a tent city at Tin Zaouatin, just across the border in neighboring Mali. Local aid workers say such transfers are made once a month on average, and sometimes several hundred people are deported.

        "The Maghreb countries are becoming a bit of a buffer for the EU to stop these movements towards Europe," said Peter Van den Vaart, who retired last month as representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Algeria. With the EU scrambling to close its borders, he said, "the emphasis is on the repressive side."

        An Algerian police spokesman did not return calls for this article.

        In Tamanrasset up to 3,000 migrants, mainly West African, are thought to be in transit towards the north. One route takes them northwest into Morocco, from where they can attempt the perilous boat crossing to the Canary Islands. Others head east to Libya, where they hope to find work in a booming construction industry fueled by oil profits, or cross by sea to Malta or Sicily.

        But some, buffeted by police and plagued by hunger and illness, say their best option is to turn back.

        "I've been here a couple of years and there's nothing good I've achieved," said Eugene Combapuie, a 29-year-old from Liberia who fled a civil conflict in the West African country in 2002 and spent spells in Ivory Coast and Libya before arriving in Algeria.

        "In the time I have wasted here in Algeria I could have achieved something somewhere else," he said, perched next to a makeshift shelter on Tamanrasset's disused periphery.

        Instead, Combapuie said he had contracted tuberculosis in a prison in northern Algeria after police arrested him for not having papers.

        Some fellow-migrants he met had hopes of getting to Europe, others were just trying to get by. But even those who had documents saying they were asylum seekers or refugees ran into trouble, he said. "Even if you have a paper the police tell you they don't read English or French — only Arabic, and at the end you find yourself locked up."

        Emaciated by illness but completing a treatment program thanks to the help of a local doctor, he was hoping to head back to his country where the war had ended. "When I go back to Liberia things will be better, God willing," he said.

        Other migrants, who decided to leave home due to lack of economic opportunities, feel they have little or nothing to go back to. Some of those deported to Tin Zaouatin return to Algeria as soon as they can afford the €30 jeep fare back across the long, sparsely patrolled border. Feissal Abdelaziz, who works in Tamanrasset for the International Committee for the Development of Peoples, an Italian NGO, spends part of his time trying to raise awareness about the risks of an onward journey.

        "They say, 'yes, it's true, but give me something to do back home,'" he said.

        As the population of Tamanrasset has grown to around 100,000 it has become home to a more settled community of migrants who look no further than oil-rich Algeria for work. At least 10,000 from neighboring Niger or Mali are thought to commute for months at a time to work in the informal economy, mainly in construction or small commerce.

        Newer arrivals from West African countries farther south stand around in groups along a dried-up river bed waiting for work, hoping to fund the next leg of their journey.

        Police often turn a blind eye.

        But some illegal immigrants bring trouble, Abdelaziz said, dealing heroin and importing counterfeit dollars, one reason for police crackdowns that end in mass roundups and push fearful migrants to more distant shelters further from the town center.

        Group deportations or repatriations have also been common in Morocco and Libya, the other two countries in the region most affected by migration, triggering protests by international human rights groups.

        At two summits held between African and European countries last year in Rabat, Morocco, and Tripoli, Libya, closing statements stressed the need to protect migrants' rights and to tackle the poverty and violence that cause migration.

        But Ali Bensaad, who teaches at the University of Provence in France, said the priority of European policy toward African migrants remains "to block them as far away from Europe as possible."

        Bensaad said North African governments are cooperating. He cited a recent Tunisian law setting out prison terms for those offering help for migrants, and the creation of a thousand-strong Algerian police squad to tackle illegal immigration.

        He also said North African countries have been heavy-handed and secretive.

        "All the Maghreb countries including Algeria try to play it down so as not to appear affected by immigration because it's a reality that they do not want to take on, and they don't want to provide social and judicial responses," said Bensaad.

        That leaves migrants in places like Tamanrasset living on the very edges of society.

        Charles Macaulay, another Liberian squatting on the same patch of wasteland as Combapuie, had been aiming for Morocco until he heard stories about people drowning as they tried to cross from the Moroccan coast to the Canary Islands.

        "Where people normally go to get to Europe there are a lot of risks. I don't want to take those risks," he said.

        But like Combapuie, Macaulay, 25, saw little hope in sticking around in the desert.

        "Here it's difficult to get food to eat, to get a job. There's lots of stress. It's difficult to go on living your life this way," he said, signaling to the meter-high stone shelters covered with sheeted plastic behind him. "See where we sleep, it's not conducive for a human being to live here."

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        • #19
          Mardi 15 mai 2007 -- Depuis le mois de janvier 2007, une cinquantaine de harraga qui tentaient de prendre le large, ont été interpellés par la Gendarmerie nationale sur les côtes ouest du pays. Les services de la gendarmerie ont traité, durant les 4 premiers mois de l’année 2007, 9 affaires liées à des tentatives d’émigration clandestine.

          A Tlemcen 13 personnes ont été arrêtées, 9 autres à Annaba, 8 à Alger, 3 à Mostaganem, 3 sur les côtes oranaises et 19 à El-Tarf. Parmi ces individus, 19 personnes se sont retrouvées en prison et 36 autres remises par le juge en liberté provisoire en attendant la fin de l’enquête.

          Les services de la gendarmerie précisent que la majeure partie de ces harraga interpellés ces dernières années sont impliqués dans des actes criminels susceptibles de leur procurer suffisamment de moyens financiers pour pouvoir se permettre une embarcation avec tous les moyens nécessaires à bord.

          Depuis samedi dernier, les services de la gendarmerie ont procédé à Aïn Témouchent et Mostaganem à l’arrestation d’une dizaine de personnes, toutes de nationalité algérienne. La dernière interpellation en date a concerné 12 personnes, effectuée hier vers 2 heures dans la nuit sur la plage de Laâyoun dans la wilaya de Mostaganem.

          Alors qu’elles s’apprêtaient à rejoindre des embarcations dissimulées parmi un tas d’objets grâce à leurs systèmes de gonflage et dégonflage, ces dernières ont été surprises par les gendarmes qui se trouvaient embusqués sur les lieux.

          Cette arrestation à été opérée suite à une enquête minutieuse, déclenchée depuis quelques semaines par les services de la Gendarmerie nationale de Bouzedjar. Les jeunes clandestins voulaient se rendrent en Espagne, comme tant d’autres qui ont réussi l’aventure.

          Lors de cette opération, trois embarcations de type pneumatique et 180 litres de carburants ainsi que des denrées alimentaires ont été découverts par la gendarmerie.

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          • #20
            ORAN, Algeria, May 17, 2007 (AFP) - Known in Algerian slang as "harragas," or those who "burn" their ID papers, they have cropped up as an issue in otherwise lacklustre campaigning in the run-up to Thursday's parliamentary elections.

            Neither warnings from the authorities, nor the threat of prosecution, nor the images of those who have drowned whilst making the perilous open-water journey have stemmed the small but growing tide.

            Typical of these would-be migrants is Kamal, 25, a black-market cigarette trader in Algeria's second city Oran who paid 2,400 euros (3,250 dollars) to be spirited into Spain, only to be caught by the Spanish authorities and deported.

            He remembered hiding inside a refrigerated truck that took him last November under cover of night to a beach in the coastal west of Algeria "where about 60 people were waiting, including a pregnant woman and her husband".

            By groups of 10, and with the sea calm, they set out in small boats. Panic erupted, however, when the motor on Kamal's vessel - which had sprung a leak - broke down within sight of the Spanish coast.

            A passing helicopter tipped off the Spanish coast guard, and Kamal ended up spending 38 days in detention in Barcelona before he was sent packing back to where he had come.

            "It is not just young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who want to leave," said Zine Eddine Zemmour, a sociologist in the western Mediterreanean city of Oran who has been studying the phenomenon.

            "There are even those who have a job or run a business," he told AFP. "What they are looking for is freedom and another form of accomplishment."

            The coastal west of Algeria is the staging point for this new generation of boat people, with the town of Ghazaouet being just 280 kilometres (175 miles) from Almeria, in the south of Spain.

            If the weather is calm, the crossing can be made in eight hours in a small boat fitted with a 25-horsepower motor, an expert said.

            Algeria has always been a nation of emigrants, with France - the colonial power until 1962 - being the prime destination, followed by Canada, a favourite for the educated middle class.

            Ironically, the outflow coincides with an economic upturn, underpinned by Algeria's oil and gas riches. Unemployment at 12.5 percent seems high, but has been on a downward trend.

            "It says something about desperation," a Western diplomat told AFP. "As a phenomenon, the harragas did not exist a decade ago."

            Zemmour said the temptation to go abroad has less to do with climbing the social ladder than it does to "live one's youth."

            "Youth people seem cut off from a stage of their life, and so emigration is a way to get around the rules in order to live. By taking a risk, a young person thinks he can get a better chance of avoiding an unfulfilling life."

            In the run-up to the parliamentary elections, Ahmed Ouyahia, leader of the liberal National Democratic Rally party (RND), has evoked the harragas issue, and warned young people of the risks they face if they get to European shores.

            But Zemmour said: "The election campaign is giving no hope to these youths. Politicians make promises that are never honoured... and there is a lack of interest among young people."

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            • #21
              Dimanche 20 mai 2007 -- Selon une source autorisée, les services de sécurité ont ouvert “des enquêtes sur les activités d’un réseau international, spécialisé dans l’immigration clandestine, activant sur le territoire national et au niveau de deux pays maghrébins, à savoir la Tunisie et la Libye, ainsi que les pays africains du Sahel”. “Ce réseau serait composé exclusivement d’Algériens et opérerait sur tout le territoire national”, a-t-elle indiqué.

              Cette source, rencontrée hier en marge de la visite de travail du président de la République dans la wilaya de Annaba, indiquera, par ailleurs, que ces enquêtes ont été diligentées suite aux données fournies par les harragas interceptés dernièrement au large des côtes Est du pays. “Ses harragas ont affirmé que pour la traversée de la Méditerranée, ils devaient verser chacun une somme entre 10 et 15 millions de centimes”, ajoutera notre interlocuteur.

              Il expliquera que le phénomène de l’immigration clandestine, qui prend chaque jour plus d’ampleur, touche actuellement toutes les côtes algériennes dont Mostaganem, Tlemcen, Oran, Aïn-Témouchent, etc. Il poursuit : “Les gardes-côtes tunisiens ont procédé, dimanche dernier, au repêchage de 35 cadavres de différentes nationalités africaines dont 8 harragas algériens au niveau des côtes de Sfax en Tunisie. En plus, 7 autres harragas algériens sont portés disparus au large des côtes italiennes et plus exactement au niveau de l’île Lambdosa”.

              Face à cette hécatombe, notre source signalera “les efforts de coopération entre les services algériens et européens de sécurité sont déployés, en plus des équipements et techniques d’investigation acquis dernièrement et qui permettront de juguler les réseaux internationaux spécialisés dans l’immigration clandestine”.

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              • #22

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                • #23
                  MADRID, May 22 2007 -- Spanish police detained 11 illegal immigrants hiding in a refrigerated truck which was taking melons from Morocco to Britain, officials said.

                  All 11 - aged between about 15 and 30 - needed rehydration treatment in hospital but were later said to be recovering, according to a spokesman for the regional prefecture in Caceres, the eastern city where they were detained.

                  The group were believed to be 10 Moroccans and one Algerian but they had no identity papers, the spokesman added.

                  The truck and its consignment had come from Morocco and the driver became suspicious and raised the alarm late Monday night after hearing a suspicious sound when he had stopped to fill up with diesel.

                  Police detained six people at the scene and five more who escaped were detained shortly after, the spokesman said.

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                  • #24
                    Lundi 28 mai 2007 -- La salle trois du tribunal Abane Ramdane près la cour d’Alger est archicomble. Des dizaines de jeunes sont présents depuis ce début d’après-midi pour assister au procès des dix-huit «harraga», interpellés le 19 janvier dernier à bord de deux embarcations, le Sloman Traveur et MSL Portugal, par les garde-côtes du port d’Alger. Dans cette affaire, où vingt-quatre personnes sont impliquées, dont onze sont sous mandat de dépôt, des travailleurs du port sont impliqués.

                    Lors de l’enquête, les trois premiers «harraga», Abdelkader, Madjid et Hocine, des Algérois âgés entre trente et quarante ans, découverts par les membres de l’équipage du Solman Traveur lors de la traversée vers l’Espagne, ont affirmé n’avoir eu besoin d’aucune aide pour se faufiler à l’intérieur du port et s’introduire par la suite dans un des containers. Ces récidivistes ont soutenu que, grâce à leur connaissance des lieux, il n’a pas été difficile pour eux de tromper la vigilance des gardiens.

                    C’est loin d’être le cas des quinze autres jeunes découverts dans un container sur la deuxième embarcation. Agés entre vingt et trente ans, certains d’entre eux ont avoué que leur entrée au port a été possible grâce à l’aide de trois employés qui leur ont fourni des cartes falsifiées et des tenues vestimentaires de l’entreprise portuaire (EPAL) contre la somme de 53 000 DA et une moto Yamaha. Ces derniers ont nié les faits bien que l’enquête ait permis la saisie des cartes falsifiées et des tenues de l’EPAL ainsi que le matériel utilisé pour le scellé des containers.

                    Trois des mis en cause ont soutenu devant le juge, hier lors de leur procès, avoir été torturés par les éléments de la brigade criminelle. Ce dernier a entendu chacun d’eux et devait entendre les plaidoiries et le réquisitoire tard dans la soirée d’hier. Juste avant, le juge a entendu cinq autres jeunes «harraga» qui ont tenté, également, d’émigrer clandestinement à bord d’un bateau étranger en se faufilant à l’intérieur du port. L’un d’eux a même avoué s’être jeté sur un monte-charge pour arriver à bord du navire.

                    Ces jeunes ont tous répondu de la même façon au juge qui les interrogeait pour savoir où ils voulaient se rendre : «Je ne connaissais pas la destination du navire. Ce n’est pas important, à partir du moment qu’il se dirigeait vers l’Europe.» A leur encontre, le procureur de la République a requis une peine de six mois de prison ferme. Le verdict sera connu la semaine prochaine.

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                    • #25

                      Les forces navales algériennes ont décidé de déclarer l’Etat d’urgence à son état maximum, et d’intensifier les mécanismes de surveillance et de secours au niveau de l’ensemble des côtés nationales, afin de faire échouer les expéditions des Harragas (immigrés clandestins), qui devraient être nombreuses cet été, du fait des facteurs climatiques encourageants.

                      Les forces navales algériennes ont adopté le même plan de surveillance et de secours, qui a été appliqué l’année dernière, mais avec l’introduction de certaines modifications.

                      Selon le commandant Divaïri Slimane, responsable de la cellule d’information au niveau des forces navales algériennes, « les garde-côtes ont entrepris l’application du plan de surveillance et de contrôle qui a été adopté, et il a été décidé de mettre à disposition tous les moyens et équipements susceptibles de faire face au phénomène, comme l’intensification des patrouilles de surveillance, tout au long de la bande côtière, notamment les accès privilégiés des Harragas, en plus du doublement du nombre des unités, et l’utilisation d’hélicoptères et d’avions de reconnaissance.

                      Par ailleurs, le phénomène de l’immigration clandestine a eu des dimensions tragiques durant les tout derniers mois, dans la mesure où elle a dépassé les lignes rouges, au niveau des côtes de l’Ouest, qui ont enregistré le secours de 532 personnes par les gardes-côtes, durant la période incluse entre le début janvier et la fin octobre de l’année dernière.

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                      • #26
                        ALGIERS, June 5 (Reuters) - Eight Algerian illegal migrants trying to sail to Italy drowned off the north African coast and at least 20 other people are still missing, an Algerian newspaper reported on Tuesday.

                        Liberte daily, which has good contacts in the security services, said the migrants perished off the coast of the border area between neighbours Tunisia and Algeria as they tried to sail a small boat to Sardinia late last week.

                        The bodies of seven of the dead were still in Tunisian hospitals, while that of the eighth had been repatriated by his family, the newspaper said, adding the group had set off without identity documents.

                        An official at Algeria's emergency rescue services said officials authorised to speak to the media were not immediately available.

                        In Tunisia, officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

                        Algerian coast guards say during 2006 they found a total of 42 bodies along the country's Mediterranean coastline, most if not all of them apparently illegal migrants.

                        The Algerian government said recently it was tightening measures to cope with a growing number of illegal migrants trying to cross its sea borders for a job and a better life in Europe.

                        The European Union has urged North African countries to do more to stop the flow of illegal migrants trying to reach Europe via Italy and Spain, the two countries most migrants see as their preferred entry point to the continent.

                        Algeria is also a transit point for migrants from African and other countries. Algerian authorities arrested 35,000 illegal migrants from 55 African and Arab nations over the past six years and deported 32,000 of them, newspapers have reported.

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                        • #27

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                          • #29
                            Almería, Spain, July 4, 2007 -- Three small immigrant boats were spotted in waters off Cabo de Gata between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, carrying a total of 36 passengers. The passengers on the two boats which were intercepted off shore were all from Morocco.

                            The Civil Guard arrested 18 passengers from the third boat, which managed to reach shore near Cala Chica, in Níjar. Europa Press said eight of them were from Algeria, four from Morocco, and three each from Libya and Iraq.

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                            • #30
                              TUNIS, July 5, 2007 (Reuters) - Twenty African illegal migrants trying to sail to Italy drowned off the north African coast but 15 others travelling with them were rescued by the Tunisian coastguard, a security source said on Thursday.

                              The 35 migrants, from sub-Saharan Africa, had set sail from Libya in a small boat and were trying to reach the Italian island of Lampedusa but ran into difficulties when the motor broke down and the boat began drifting, the source said.

                              "Over four days the coastguard recovered the bodies of 20 illegal migrants washed up ... near the southern town of Ben Guerdne and saved 15 others included two women," the source said.

                              Europe has urged North African countries to step up efforts to stop the flow of illegal migrants trying to reach Europe via Italy and Spain, the two countries most migrants see as their preferred entry point into the continent.

                              Migrants who reach Libya generally try to go in small and rickety boats to Italy. Further west along the north African coast the preferred destination is Spain.

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