EU Accused of Financing Migrant Dumping Operations in North Africa

Tue May 21 2024
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BRUSSELS: The European Union admitted on Tuesday to a “difficult situation” after a journalism consortium reported that Tunisia, Morocco and Mauritania have been involved in migrant dumping practices in the desert — with direct help from EU funds.

European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer, acknowledged the challenges, stating, “This is a difficult situation. It’s a fast-moving situation, and we will continue to work on it.”

The investigation, conducted by Lighthouse Reports in collaboration with renowned media outlets including Le Monde and The Washington Post, laid bare a harrowing reality: the exploitation of EU resources to facilitate clandestine operations aimed at abandoning tens of thousands of migrants, mostly of black African descent, in desolate desert regions or remote areas of North Africa annually, thus deterring their migration to Europe.

Describing it as a “system of mass displacement,” the report implicated the EU and European countries in financing, logistical support, intelligence sharing, and providing security forces for these operations.

Migrant Dumping Practices

According to testimonies from over 50 black migrants hailing from sub-Saharan and West African regions, obtained by the Lighthouse Reports, victims recounted being apprehended based on their skin color, forcibly loaded onto buses, and transported to uninhabited desert expanses without provisions of water or food. Even more distressingly, some people were allegedly sold by authorities to human traffickers and criminal gangs, subjecting them to unspeakable horrors including torture for ransom.

The EU’s collaboration with Tunisia, Morocco, and Mauritania, formalized through cooperation agreements aimed at curbing irregular migration to Europe, came under intense scrutiny. Brussels has allocated substantial sums—150 million euros to Tunisia, 210 million euros to Mauritania, and a staggering 624 million euros to Morocco.

Critics pointed out the racial undertones of these practices, emphasizing the discriminatory targeting of black migrants. The Lighthouse Reports highlighted the systematic and racially motivated nature of these operations, corroborating their findings with extensive evidence including first-hand testimonies, videos, and photographs.

The report cast doubts on the accountability mechanisms, with two EU sources admitting the challenge of fully tracking the utilization of funds disbursed from Brussels.

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