Thursday, May 04, 2017

Building the "Wall"

The routes that Africans have used in the past to reach Europe are fast being sealed. 
There is currently next to no transit by sea from West Africa through the Canary Islands. Just 144 people made it to Spain by this route between July and September 2016 according to Frontex. 
More crossed from the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla on Morocco’s northern coast, but they numbered just under 3,000.
The route through the Sinai and Israel also has been closed. The brutal treatment of Eritreans and Sudanese in the Sinai by Bedouin groups, who extracted ransoms with torture and rape, was certainly a deterrent in the past. But this route was fully sealed in December 2013 when the Israeli authorities built an almost impregnable fence, blocking entry via the Sinai.
Libya and Egypt have remained possibilities for migrants, but both are now becoming increasingly difficult to cross. 
A deal signed in Italy with tribes operating in southern Libya may be the last element of the barrier the EU has been constructing to exclude Africans from Europe.
 “To seal the southern Libyan border means to seal the southern border of Europe,” declared Italian foreign minister, Marco Minniti, following the signing ceremony in early April. 
The deal was negotiated in secret with leaders of the Toubou and Awlad Sulaiman ethnic groups.  The Tuareg and Toubou groups dominate the local human smuggling business thanks to the fact that their clansmen are spread on both sides of the border.

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