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Fortress Europe is steadily creeping into East Africa 0

The European “migrant” (read: refugee) crisis is not just of concern to the many Africans fleeing persecution and war, undertaking dangerous and desperate voyages across desert and sea, in the hands of extortionate traffickers demanding not just money and more money for the tickets out, but also sexual favours and — in some almost unbelievable situations, body organs and parts.

The European crisis is also of increasing concern to Africans still here on the continent. Because Europe’s response is increasingly to push migration control farther and farther into the continent — away from the Mediterranean. Essentially expanding the borders of Fortress Europe into Africa. And making our governments responsible for policing them.

In exchange, of course, for the soft currency of (re-)engagement and legitimacy — even with governments previously blacklisted for their treatment of their own citizens. And the cold, hard currency of cash.

Let us take, for example, Sudan, where armed conflict continues in Blue Nile, Darfur and South Kordofan. Many European states bordering the Mediterranean have entered into new bilateral agreements with the Government of Sudan. Italy, for instance, whose agreement includes “repatriation” of African asylum-seekers to Sudan, regardless of their country of origin.

The European Union itself has this year granted the Government of Sudan no less than 155 million euros; 100 million euros of this amount are intended to address the “root causes” of forced displacement in Sudan’s armed conflict areas.

That catch? The Government of Sudan has tasked the Rapid Support Forces with “migration” control — despite the RSF’s reported involvement in the systematic and widespread human-rights violations in these areas.

The latest on the RSF? Amnesty International this week released a report on Darfur showing that the Sudan Armed Forces, the RSF and the local militia called the “janjaweed” may be responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in this year’s military offensive against the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid in Jebel Marra, Darfur.

It finds that the SAF, the RSF and janjaweed have destroyed 171 villages in Jebel Marra since January this year, sometimes through multiple attacks, including torching after initial bombings. It documents the deaths of 367 civilians, including 95 children. And rape.

Most disturbingly, it documents evidence of the use of banned chemical weapons in no fewer than 32 villages, with their latest use being on September 9. It documents the death of at least 200 Darfuris by these chemical weapons and testifies to the shocking ailments of those who survived — blistered skin that hardens, changes colour and falls off, eye problems sometimes resulting in total loss of vision as well as severe gastrointestinal and respiratory problems.

This is the context within which the EU is choosing to (re-)engage and legitimise the Government of the Sudan. For its own selfish purposes. In effect, its effort to keep Africans out is emboldening the Government of the Sudan. The Sudanese are paying the price.

By L. Muthoni Wanyeki

Source: The East African

L. Muthoni Wanyeki is Amnesty International’s regional director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

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Direttore Responsabile Giuseppe Frangi