Workshop A3 : Open Source, Open Borders : Roy Pullens

Roy Pullens presented his current research work “Migration Management: Export of the IOM Model for EU Security.”

documented by Andreea

Roy Pullens started off by mentioning Thomas Friedman’s (ny times columnist) recently published book “the world is flat, a brief history of the globalized world in the 21st century,” in which he states that : communication tech have made geographical distance irelevant, room has been created for collaborative sharing; fall of berlin wall eliminated alternative to capitalism. Basically a celebration of globalization.

Roy’s response is that in fact freedom of movement is again restricted restricted and new iron curtains have been raised.

He talks about an ict supported by a developmentalist discourse referring to the same issues as network building/policy building/development. Not about promoting opportunities/reducing poverty/expansion, but about the expansion of capabilities of the state.

He read quite a lot from his research paper and brought up a variety of points such as :

eu border shifting into eastern europe and therefore new borders created, so that migrants from asia, africa, etc. cannot reach western europe; leading towards global control of movement

In his research he followed two case studies : poland (as a new EU member) and romania (as an accession state preparing for joining the EU in 2007)

transformations of physical borders, internal policy of migration

european online database : schengen/ europol/ eurodoc (fingerprint base of those who have sought asylum)

at the eastern borders of romania/poland new iron curtain erected (it wasn’t made clear exactly where the surveilance centers have been established)

About the IOM

IOM gives advice to EU and accession countries for security/data collection projects/border management/migration control
It is a global service agency, intergovernmental thinktank that has existed since 1951, it has 109 states as members (trans-continental) and is committed to humane orderly migration which benefits a neo-liberal ideology.

Contrary to the UN High Commission for Reffugee Rights (HCR), the IOM does not base its work on humanitarian principles. The IOM has not signed any international conventions like geneva 1951 and is not accountable to democratically elected bodies.

While the IOM member states have signed these treaties, they see the IOM as an alternative agency to avoid human rights obligations since the IOM has no standard for accountability if rights violations occur.

Examples of IOM ‘work’

Nauru & Papua New Guinea Island are prime examples of this. In this case the IOM managed detention centers on both these islands so that Australia could send reffugees that they denied access to. Both were heavily critiqued for poor detention facilites, lack of access legal assistance/independent appeals. No ngos allowed access to centers. The reffugees were mostly of afghani/iranian/iraqi nationality and a majority were later deported in another IOM program, Assistance for Voluntary Return (AVR).

There is currently no mechanism in place to hold IOM accountable on what consequences deportation might have on the freedom of individuals.

IOM also has a Technical Cooperation on Migration (assured TCM) program which offers consulting on migration issues to governments, NGOs and assists in development of policy, preventing illegal migration, etc.

Technical Cooperation Center for Asia, is based in vienna, and tries to adjust Ukraine’s borders to the EU border model. Once program is constructed IOM offers policy advice.

Ukraine is a country used to traffic women to the west or as a transit country for women being tranfficked from further East. IOM runs a counter traffic programming creating prejudices against all women migrants (putting them in one of two categories: victim or criminal). Feminization of migration, 48% of migrants women; ignoring women who make an autonomous decision to go into sex work.

Ukraine is still seeking accession to EU, and in the IOM program it is considered part of the EU’s circle of friends (ring of countries that incircle EU member states or accession states) along with Croatia, Syria, Algeria. This set up to create a friendly neighborhood is basically a EU fortress extension in which the EU pushes off its burden to take in reffugees to other countries such as lybia or in northern part of africa.

IOM is also involved in the testing of new technologies such as surveillance centers in the south of europe to monitor the Mediterranean sea to identify any occuring movement. Along with this the North African coast is being armed : libya, tunisia, algeria sponsored by germany and italian have received new communication and radar equipment as well as boats, jeeps, helicopters. “Terrorism” threat is used as an excuse, but other interests are at stake seeing as Libya most important non-eu oil supplier for germany. Lybia has not ratified the ’51 geneva convention and has an appalling human rights record.

Offshore detention camps being built on the north african coast.

Tony Blair in march 2003 proposed transit processing center in key conflict areas such as Asia and Africa, where reffugees should be held at a standstill in areas closer to their region of origin. These transit processing centers referred to by the IOM as ‘safe-havens.’ These centers did not need to meet EU standards, but Blair’s proposal was rejected in the UK out of concern for refuggee rights.

In the summer 2004, the German interior minister as well as Italy’s picked up the proposal. Boat people would be returned to camps in arab states, without any check into their reasons for seeking asylum, their identities or nationalities, creating potential human rights breaches, which are strictly prohibited in geneva convention .

Since 2004 EU member states have been creating law-free zones while publicly speaking against the USA’s Guantanamo Bay.

Since 2002 a 5+5 dialogue on migration has been taking place among the countries bordering the Mediterranean. IOM’s vision includes biometrics and other surveilance technologies to enable policy planning.

The EU is using an approach of development, to fight its own war against migration. Expansion of IOM means pushing out NGOs, ignoring HCR; a lack of distinction between policing and corporate interests; data mining, and developing technology of control.

documented by Andreea