Police Program Africa

BERLIN/BRUSSELS |

BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) - At the upcoming EU summit on refugees in Malta's capital Valletta, Germany will seek to reinforce the border and deportation management aimed at thwarting migration from Africa. According to the German government, the "fight against migrant smuggling and trafficking" as well as the enforcement of the refugees' "return and readmission" by the participating African countries will be central issues to be discussed at next week's summit of EU and African heads of states and governments. Particular emphasis will be placed on "supporting" Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Mali and Niger with "police cooperation" to "monitor and control" their borders and the most important routes of migration. EU "liaison officials" should be dispatched to the "relevant African countries" to collect "information on the migration flow" in cooperation with the local repression administrations. "Multifunctional centers" are to be established in Niger and other African countries to demonstrate the "risks of irregular migration" to refugees. In return for stemming the flow of migration and "readmitting" illegal migrants, the African countries of origin and transit will be promised "enhanced" cooperation "on economic, foreign, and development policy issues."

Management of the Flow of Migration

The summit of EU and African heads of states and governments, scheduled for November 11 and 12, in Malta's capital Valletta will focus particularly on the "fight against migrant smuggling and trafficking" and the enforcement of the refugees' "return and readmission" by the participating African countries, according to the German government's response to a parliamentary interpellation by the Left Party in the Bundestag. Particular emphasis will be placed on "supporting" Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Mali and Niger in "monitoring and controlling" their borders and the most important migration routes with enhanced "police training and equipment." So-called "readmission agreements" should also be concluded with the refugees' countries of origin and transit, namely Egypt, Algeria, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco and Nigeria.[1] For the German government it is obviously of little importance that migrants are often at the mercy of the state's repressive institutions of those countries and are regularly victims of severe human rights violations - as long as it assures the "management of the flow of migration."[2]

Stem the Flow of Refugees

Similar statements can be found in the "Non-Paper," presented by the German, Italian and French governments in early September. In this Non-Paper, these governments call for the establishment of "closer cooperation" with "all relevant countries in East and West Africa," to fight "irregular migration." Among the measures promoted, are the so-called "EU Capacity Building Missions'" training and equipping of the police forces in Mali and Niger (EUCAP Sahel Mali/EUCAP Sahel Niger) to "stem the irregular migration flow." Furthermore, "migration experts" are to be deployed to East and West African countries to cooperate with the repressive administrations to help advance "border management" and "fight against the smuggling of migrants." The "Valletta Summit" will be the "venue for raising these issues" with our "African partners," they write.[3] The German government explicitly includes among these "partners," countries such as Sudan and Eritrea - in spite of the fact that in both countries, serious violations of human rights are widespread at the hands of both police and military.

Fortify Borders

For quite awhile, Germany has been gathering relevant experience in cooperation with African states' repressive forces. Financed by the German Foreign Ministry with hundreds of millions of Euros, the German state's development aid agency, the Association for International Cooperation (GIZ) initiated, a "Police Program Africa," back in 2009. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[4]) The declared objective was to use "counseling," as well as "training, infrastructures and equipment" to enhance the "efficiency" of the police forces in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in the Sahel zone.[5] To counter the "additional strain from the large number of West African migrants," the program is also concentrating on "border security measures," such as the "construction of border posts," their "being provided state-of-the-art equipment" and "training for border guards," explains the GIZ.[6] According to the most recent information from the German government, this development aid agency receives support from the "state security department" of the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA).[7]

Multifunctional Centers

Parallel to these measures, Germany and the EU would like to establish so-called multifunctional centers in Sub-Saharan countries to ward off migrants. These plans have been furthest developed for application in Niger. In the city of Agadez, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been running a " transit and assistance center" for refugees since the end of 2014, which, by the middle of next year, should be turned over entirely to the EU.[8] According to the German government, the declared purpose of this facility is to demonstrate the "risks of irregular migration" to those arriving.[9] Observers note that the facility strongly resembles the "transit camp" for North African refugees proposed back in 2004 by the German Minister of the Interior, at the time, Otto Schily (SPD). It is also questionable whether Agadez is a suitable location for such a "multifunctional Center." Because of the activities of Islamist militias and criminal gangs, the Nigerien government only allows European foreigners entry into the city with a military escort. For the same reason, embassies of EU member countries warn their citizens against going to Agadez.[10]

European Priorities

In exchange for stopping the refugees and accepting their "readmission," the African countries participating at the "Valletta Summit," have already been promised comprehensive financial assistance. In accordance with the "more-for-more principle," "comprehensive and tailor-made incentives," will soon, be made available, declared the EU heads of states and governments following their meeting on October 15.[11] Therefore, the creation of a €1.8 billion "EU Trust Fund" for North Africa, the Sahel Region, Chad and the countries at the Horn of Africa is planned, from which "economic programs" could be financed, to "create jobs," or provide the local populations with vital "services," declared the EU Commission. In spite of this, top priority in the implementation of the "trust fund" will be the European alliance's refugee policy interests. According to the EU, projects to "stem and prevent irregular migration" and to "combat" the "migrant trafficking" will be primarily promoted.[12]

[1] Deutscher Bundestag. 18. Wahlperiode. Drucksache 18/6450. 19.10.2015.
[2] Europäischer Rat: Tagung des Europäischen Rates (15. Oktober 2015) - Schlussfolgerungen. Brüssel 16.10.2015.
[3] Non-Paper "Common external migration policy". www.statewatch.org.
[4] See African Interventions.
[5] Polizeiprogramm Afrika. www.giz.de.
[6] Polizeiprogramm Afrika - Mauretanien. www.giz.de.
[7] Deutscher Bundestag. 18. Wahlperiode. Drucksache 18/6450. 19.10.2015.
[8] IOM Opens Agadez Transit Centre in Niger Desert. www.iom.int 14.11.2014.
[9] Deutscher Bundestag. 18. Wahlperiode. Drucksache 18/6450. 19.10.2015.
[10] Sebastian Elischer: The EU's Migration Diversion. Outsourcing the Refugee Crisis. www.foreignaffairs.com 15.09.2015.
[11] Europäischer Rat: Tagung des Europäischen Rates (15. Oktober 2015) - Schlussfolgerungen. Brüssel 16.10.2015.
[12] Europäische Kommission: Flüchtlingskrise: die Europäische Kommission handelt - Fragen und Antworten. Straßburg 09.09.2015.