The process of Karthoum is an attempt to push the border control further to the south. It is another demonstration of the externalization of controls, also represented by the deal made between Turkey and UE (march 2016) which aimed mainly to cut off the Balkan route resulting in an increased use of the Mediterranean route; or the neo-agreement between Libya and Italy (February 2017 – yet another); or, once more, the military operation called Sophia, which approved a Memoradoum of Understanding intended to create jointly the Libyan coast guard.
Fine, once we close the borders upon us, the sea in front of us cannot be fenced, so, they keep on coming, they land and stay here. – Milena Gabanelli
The externalization entrusts the third countries different tasks:
- contain the departures;
- ensure the safety;
- facilitate refoulment and therefore the readmission in the country of origin;
- ensure the free movement established by the Shengen Convention.
The aim of these agreements is to support the sustainable development in the countries of origin and of transit; encourage active collaboration in order to fight smuggling and trafficking in human beings; regulate migratory flows and prevent it when it’s possible; take action on the causes of immigration; create reception centers in the countries of transit where human rights are guaranteed.
What makes it harder is the massive spread of corruption, the existence of vicious dictatorships and politic and economic oligarchs. The European Union implemented a strategy of collaboration with dictatorships to facilitate the management of migratory flows and economic interests, at the risk of legitimize them. But how is it possible to safeguard human rights making deals with countries that are fighting each other, such as Somalia, or countries in a dictatorship, like Eritrea? Furthermore, how the European Union is going to transfer powers to these countries to regulate migratory flows? Through repressive policies or through development policies? Through the military training of the border police? Or through the implementation and the straightening of the social policies?
The process of Karthoum is an agreement signed in Rome on the 28/11/2014 by the representatives of the member states of the European Union, of the Horn of Africa (Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti) and of a few countries of transit (South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, Kenya and Egypt).
By analyzing the situation of Eritrea, in January 2016, we can see that the European Union has signed a five-year plan aimed to support the government; it provided funds for an amount of 200 million Euro bound to investments in creating energy, in order to “extend the job market to young people” and to “face the causes of immigration”. Funds which are going to be controlled by a system that’s going to be even more pervasive against the population and which is going to make the smugglers even richer. However, young people do not run away from Eritrea for economic reasons – says Mussie Zerai, Eritrean priest and activist. In fact, before 1997 (before the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia) everyone used to have and practice a profession. “The crisis in Eritrea is not due to economic reasons, but to a lack of rights, which are not respected anymore”.
A new control system of the Sudanese border is currently being developed by means of which the European Union should provide the president Al Bashir of substantial funds. The same president is wanted by an international arrest warrant for crimes against the humanity issued by Hague Tribunal, in order to seal the border between Eritrea and Libya. Nowadays in Eritrea exists a treatment known as shoot to kill, which means that there is the order to kill anyone attempts to cross the border by foot. And also, hundreds of migrants who were forcibly returned from Sudan, Libya and Italy have been imprisoned without any formal charge, and some of them are missing.
By analyzing some of the causes of immigration, we cannot ignore the economic partnership about free trade imposed by Europe to Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (EPA) concluded between 2015 and 2016 after the strong resistance shown by the African independence movements.
What to expect?
- none of the African country will be able to erect custom barriers to defend their own products;
- free trade shall mean social justice;
- the European Union can subsidize the major European agricultural multinationals with tens of billions, which can sell their products at a minor price on the African market, destroying local economies.
Let’s take Burundi as an example, considering the data transmitted by the United Nation Development Agency, which estimated what could happen after the entry into force of EPA.
The consumer buys cheaper products from Europe and saves +1.825.000$ in a year, BUT the country has a decrease of -7.644.000$ because of the annulment of customs duties previously existing on the country’s own raw materials, vital for the survival; and it has a decrease of revenues of -13.943.000 because it buys from the EU. So totally, the country has an overall annual loss of -19.782.000$.
Africa could be self-sufficient if the foreign countries wouldn’t keep on taking off its resources essential to the survival. Furthermore, the EU competes with China on the African market, and supports these countries (Libya, Turkey, Eritrea, Sudan, Nigeria, Gambia, ecc) consciously making deals with dictatorship systems, because dictators serve the interests of multinationals. It’s all about geopolitical and military-strategic interests.
We are witnessing the distortion of the approach to migration. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs, lately emphasized the importance and need of an active collaboration with countries of origin and of transit; migration can’t be managed only thinking about European borders anymore. [“Processo di Kharthoum, sapete cos’è?” – Francesca Materozzi, Corriere delle migrazioni]
The word “invasion” is often used, but only 0,2% of migrants in the world came to Europe, and if Europe could open the borders and could distribute the flows among the 28 states that compose it, it wouldn’t be so hard to manage the big numbers of people landing in the countries of first entry, such as Greece and Italy.