16 May 2019
Rafael Ríos, coordinator of A-TIPSOM: the fight against people trafficking and irregular migration in Nigeria, explains how he has been adapting to the country, what his daily routine is like, and what it is like to work as a FIIAPP expatriate.
How long have you been in Nigeria? How have you adapted to this country?
I arrived on 16 July 2018. When you arrive in a new country, as you can imagine, it is not always easy. I remember hearing about other projects, from other colleagues who had been in or were in other countries, who said “the beginning is always the hardest”. For me this has been a bit simpler, or less complicated, and I’ll tell you why. In this country we already had the embassy staff, and they helped us with everything from the outset, arriving in the country, accreditations, looking for accommodation, the office, etc. We spent almost four months in a small office that they kindly lent us until we were able to move. I wish you could count on this kind of support every time you started a project.
What has been the most difficult aspect to adapt to, and the easiest?
The hardest part was perhaps the second week. During the first week everything is frenetic, you have so many things on your plate… But the second week was like coming back down to Earth. That’s when I really started to realize where I was, and the step that I’d taken. Such a long project with so many important challenges. The easiest thing was perhaps meeting people, dealing with the Nigerians, who I think are happy people who enjoy their country and who, in general, welcome newcomers quite readily.
Is this your first experience outside of Spain?
No, it’s not. Belonging to the National Police gives you opportunities like this, discovering other countries and destinations, doing what you enjoy and what you know best. Previously I’d done different jobs in African countries, on short-term missions in Mauritania, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, as well as in Europe, in Italy to be precise.
In light of this, is this proving to be very different to your previous missions?
The concept behind this mission is quite different. This one is long-term and involves a permanent deployment in another country plus working as an expert for FIIAPP . It’s something else entirely, and it’s a big professional challenge for me, since what we are trying to achieve with this project is very alluring, and at the same time very ambitious .
What is your work like, your daily routine?
Honestly, I think it’s not that different. Here, because of the hot weather, you get up and start work quite early. We get to the office, have meetings, go out to the different places we need to visit as part of the project. Usually we have lunch at the office and return home in mid-afternoon.
Is it very different from the routine you had in Spain?
As I said, it is a job that requires a lot of contact with one’s counterparts,which means you are often out of the office, and I find that quite interesting.
What is your relationship like with the FIIAPP team in Madrid?
Great! I would say that, in addition to having a great professional relationship, we talk every day, we share ideas, etc. We have even created bonds that are enabling us to achieve better results in the project, of that I am sure.
And with your colleagues in Nigeria?
The same. Several months on, the team in the field has been growing, with Nigerian personnel, which helps us a lot to understand their way of working, what they’re like, their customs.
How would you assess your experience of working as a FIIAPP expatriate?
It is very positive so far. I think it is helping me to understand how an institution like FIIAPP copes with so many projects and with the scope of the work it does. The training, its structure and its values are enabling me to acquire knowledge. When you belong to an institution like the National Police, sometimes you focus so much on your professional life that you do not realize how work is done elsewhere, so the project is helping to train me both professionally and personally .
Do you have any experiences or anecdotes about your arrival in or adaptation to the country?
Well, I could tell you several, but I’ll just say that I like saying good morning and learning new words in a dialect called Hausa, and in the building where we work I usually see two young people who like to teach me words like that: good morning, let’s go, go ahead… and it makes them laugh when they hear me pronounce them… Inakwana, which means good morning, is part of the day-to-day.
21 March 2019
Today, 21 March, is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. To celebrate this date, we are having a chat with Lucía Molo, technician of the “Living without discrimination” project.
Today is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. What do you think international days are for?
One of the objectives of the initiative promoted by the United Nations to mark international days in the calendar is to draw attention and raise public awareness to a problem. These are issues where there is still much work to be done, which is why they are the perfect excuse to remind society and governments that they need to act.
What is racial discrimination?
According to European Union regulations, direct racial discrimination exists whena person is treated less favourably based on their race, colour, language, religion, nationality or national or ethnic origin than another person in a comparable situation. It also recognises that discrimination can exist when people are treated differently in similar situations, but also when they are treated identically in different situations. This latter form of discrimination is called “indirect” because it is not the treatment that differs, but its effects, which affect different people with different characteristics in different ways.
Every day there are discriminatory incidents due to racial or ethnic origin, affecting refugees and immigrants, the Roma community, as well as other vulnerable groups. If we stop, for example, to read job vacancies, we are certain to find one which clearly specifies a preference for candidates of Spanish origin, thus excluding the foreign population.
How engaged do you think the population is with this issue? More or less than before?
I believe that society, generally speaking, does not intentionally or voluntarily discriminate against people of another race or ethnicity. Factors such as ignorance, fear of differences, prejudice and misinformation lead to discrimination. But I also believe that these situations arise as a result of insufficient political involvement that should, in my view, focus more efforts on prevention, public awareness and information.
In fact, the United Nations has acknowledged the rise in nationalist populism, with extremist ideologies of racial supremacy and superiority, thus producing more racist movements. In the latest UN Special Rapporteur’s report on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance of August 2018, she explains the contemporary use of digital technology in the propagation of neo-Nazi intolerance and related forms of intolerance. It points to recent trends and statements that exalt Nazism and other practices that contribute to the promotion of contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.
How can discrimination be prevented?
First, the right to non-discrimination must be supported by legal safeguards that help to prevent this type of situation. In addition, information, training and awareness actions in interculturality and tolerance ethics must be reinforced . This goes for both citizens and government employees.
On the other hand, it is important that there be public policies that ensure non-discrimination. Spain has launched different actions in this regard: the creation of a Spanish Observatory on Racism and Xenophobia (OBERAXE) in the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Social Security, the creation of the figure of delegated prosecutors for hate crimes and discrimination within the General Council of the Judiciary, the implementation of a system to gather incidents related to hate crimes and discrimination in the Ministry of the Interior and the Assistance Service for Victims of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination of the Ministry of the Presidency, Parliament Relations and Equality .
Is FIIAPP working on this issue? How?
The FIIAPP works directly in the fight against racial discrimination through a delegated cooperation project in the Kingdom of Morocco called “Living together without discrimination: an approach based on human rights and the gender dimension” funded by the Emergency Trust Fund for Stability in Africa of the European Union. The FIIAPP and the AECID participate in its management . It also collaborates with Spanish and Moroccan institutions such as OBERAXE, the Delegate Ministry in charge of Moroccans Resident Abroad and Migration Issues and the National Human Rights Council of Morocco.
What is the purpose of this project?
The main objective of the project is to reinforce instruments and public policies aimed at preventing and combating racism and xenophobia towards the migrant population in the Kingdom of Morocco. It seeks to strengthen the capacities of key institutional and non-state actors (civil society, media, private sector …) in the implementation of initiatives to prevent racism and xenophobia towards the migrant population, through accompaniment, exchange and transfer of knowledge.
Any reflection on the subject to make us all think?
One of the reflections that emerged repeatedly during the workshop organised by the EUROsociAL + programme on human mobility on 19 March was that everything looks different when we put ourselves in the shoes of the other person .
I like the idea raised by the NGO Movement against Intolerance that there is only one race: the human race. If people began to see each other as sisters and brothers, I am sure that it would not be long before we no longer had reason to mark this day.
22 November 2018
Posteado en : Reportage
FIIAPP addresses human trafficking as a global problem: many countries are affected by being the place of origin, transit or destination of victims.
There are many people who fall into the hands of organisations that exploit them, sexually or professionally, taking their freedom against their will. Human trafficking has become the form of slavery of the 21st century.
It is important to know what we mean by human trafficking, whose world day is celebrated on July 30. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, defines it as “the transfer of human beings from one place to another within the borders of the same country or abroad for the purpose of sexual exploitation, work or begging”.
To give an idea of the scale of this crime, the United Nations points out that there are around 21 million victims, 30 percent of them children and 70 percent women and girls. In addition, all these victims come from 137 countries, a fact that reflects the scale of this problem.
“Capture, trafficking and exploitation”
For there to be trafficking, “there need to be three phases: capture, trafficking and exploitation“, says Félix Durán, head of the Human Trafficking group of the Central Operative Unit (UCO) of the Civil Guard and expert of the project in the fight against drug trafficking in Bolivia, financed by the European Union and managed by FIIAPP.
Based on this, certain people are captured for exploitation, whether for labour, sexual, begging or organ trafficking purposes, among others; and this deception is used to take those people to other countries. “For there to be human trafficking, there must be transport and then exploitation,” says Félix Durán. The exploitation phase is the difference between human smuggling and human trafficking.
In addition, Felix Durán tells us that most of the cases of trafficking that occur in Spain are from people who come from southern Africa (especially from Nigeria), Eastern Europe (Bulgaria and Romania) and China. The profile of the victims is that of girls, especially from Nigeria, as well as elderly people in the case of Romania.
On the other hand, there is great difficulty in demonstrating an offence of human trafficking, especially if it is sexual. In order to be able to justify the crime judicially and be able to arrest the people involved, it is especially important to prove< the three phases mentioned, which in many cases is very difficult.
The case of Bolivia
In the Bolivian project, already mentioned, work is being carried out in the fight against human trafficking, since this problem is a crime related to drug trafficking, the main theme of the project. The project focuses mainly on the “3 Ps”: perception, persecution and protection.
There is a lot of trafficking in this country, so much so that Bolivia has been included “in the black list of countries that do not work against trafficking”, according to Félix Durán, an expert on this project.
Furthermore, a programme has been created in which training is provided to public officials who are closely related to this problem, working with both the national and municipal administrations.
In this regard, he emphasises the importance of cooperation projects in this area, in which “public officials who work on this struggle must be made aware” of the obligation to “provide training so that they know how to identify a case of human trafficking” and finally, as trafficking is a criminal offence, the need for international cooperation between institutions, according to Durán.
Nigeria, a place where human trafficking occurs
In the case of Nigerian women in Europe, 95% of them come from Benin City, an area of around 10 million inhabitants belonging to Edo State.
The majority of these girls are captured within a family environment in which their parents make them available to trafficking organisations. Such is the number of victims in this country that there are mediators from Benin City itself, many of them former victims of trafficking, who facilitate the work of the authorities in communicating with them.
In this country, the A-TIPSOM project, financed by the European Union and managed by FIIAPP, seeks to reduce human trafficking and irregular migrant trafficking, both nationally and regionally and between Nigeria and the EU. It also pursues five fundamental objectives, the “5 Ps”: policy or strengthening of institutions and the legal framework, prevention with awareness and training activities, protection of victims, prosecution of smugglers and traffickers and partnership or coordination of the actors involved.
According to Rafael Río Molina, coordinator of this project, the situation in Nigeria right now is complex, since “the country is a strong point of migration and transit” due to the fact that it is in the centre of the African continent. In addition, “the number of women and children who are victims and who fall into the network of prostitution and labour exploitation, according to statistics, is higher than that of men”, which is why they focus more on these groups.
The enormous number of cases of human trafficking currently in existence means that this problem must be addressed from a transnational dimension, through cooperation between countries and regions.
27 September 2018
Posteado en : Opinion
Bolivia faces the problem of human trafficking within the framework of the strategy to combat drug trafficking and related crimes supported by the project managed by the FIIAPP
30 July is World Day against Trafficking in Persons. As a firm step in the fight against this crime by the political authorities of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, 23 September has been established as the National Day against human trafficking in the country.
Aligning itself with this public commitment, the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP), in coordination with the Coordination Secretariat of the National Council to fight against illicit drug trafficking (SC-CONALTID), are carrying out the support project for the strategy to combat drug trafficking and related crimes in Bolivia, financed by the European Union and co-financed by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID).
In order to correctly understand the enormous problem posed by trafficking in human beings, we must first know what it is. The definition of trafficking is included in the Palermo Protocol as follows: “…the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”
This trade in human beings has become the new form of slavery in the 21st century, generating huge incomes for the organised mafias that operate and make profits through this crime. Trafficking in human beings is considered the second most lucrative criminal sector, behind drug trafficking, with an estimated income of between 32 and 36 billion dollars, according to the UN report on human trafficking (2016).
Some data to show the scale of this problem worldwide: approximately 21 million people are victims of this crime, 70% women and girls (51% and 20% respectively), 21% men and 8% children. Women and girls are the groups most vulnerable to this crime, so public policies to combat trafficking demand a rigorous and effective gender strategy. The victims come from a total of 137 countries, which gives us an accurate picture of the global problem that this crime poses.
The main causes of trafficking in human beings are, among others: poverty and growing inequalities; the proliferation of an economic model with a focus on value measurement in commercial terms, rather than a more social projection; the growing and continuous escalation of war conflicts, and; the existence of an increase in human displacements. All these factors have increased the vulnerability of large human groups whose risk of falling into criminal networks has increased exponentially.
Trafficking in persons is therefore considered to be a crime that violates rights such as freedom, physical, psychological and sexual integrity, dignity and life itself, reducing them in the mind to objects that can be used, exploited and/or marketed.
Bolivia: origin, transit and destination
In Bolivia there is data provided by the Ministry of Justice and Institutional Transparency, which is the body that heads the Plurinational Council in the fight against dealing and trafficking in Bolivia. This institution, together with all the Ministries, civil society and the Ombudsman, coordinates the operation of the Plurinational Policy to fight dealing and trafficking in people. In the 2016 report, a total of 829 cases were reported, of which more than 70% were women, girls and adolescents.
However, an exhaustive look at the reality of the country reveals one recurrent feature in this crime, which is its lack of visibility. It is doubtful that these data are realistic enough to describe the true dimension of this problem. Bolivia is considered a country of origin, transit and destination for trafficking in human beings. An origin because there are flows to Peru (mainly for sexual exploitation) and to Argentina (labour exploitation), among others, within what we know as foreign trafficking. But there is a very harsh reality in relation to internal trafficking, which occurs within the country and involves victims being displaced internally. Traditional productive sectors such as agriculture and mining hide a reality of victims of trafficking for sexual, commercial labour exploitation. The slave trade is a reality which the country has not managed to see the true impact of yet.
There is a perverse economic logic that describes the process of investment recovery, investment understood as capital devoted to recruiting, transferring and harbouring victims. The purpose of these processes is the exploitation of human beings, which is different from that of arms trafficking or drug trafficking, where the profit ends with the commercial transaction (purchase/sale). In the case of human trafficking, the rate of return is continuous, the services given in terms of prostitution, labour exploitation, slavery, etc. continue recurrently. In the trafficking of human beings, people become goods subject to continuous and recurrent exploitation.
Continuing with this economic logic, we must not forget that victims of trafficking do not enter the official channels of the labour market. This seriously harms them, since their work is not covered by future social benefits, which also results in a lack of income from these productive activities for the public coffers. The problem of trafficking is not only the complete vulnerability of the victims’ human rights, but also the detriment to the countries’ economic development, affecting their social services structure.
A project for a transnational problem
The strategy to combat this crime through the project operated by the FIIAPP, focuses on the 3 pillars: prevention, persecution and protection, known as the 3 P’s. A very ambitious training programme has been launched for public officials involved in the fight against this crime (police, prosecutors, magistrates, social services for victims, civil society, among others), mapping out a funnel-shaped strategy: from the national administration to departmental and municipal levels, since while public policies are established at a national level at a municipal level work is done directly with the personnel who attend the victims.
Regional and international trips have also been carried out with the aim of improving regional and international coordination in the fight against this crime, because we must not forget it is a transnational issue. The Departmental Councils are being backed in the fight against human trafficking with support in the formulation of the Departmental Anti-Trafficking Plans. In close coordination with the Public Ministry and the Bolivian Police, a trafficking research manual is being prepared that seeks to systematise and standardise the investigative processes in order to improve the investigative capacity of police and prosecutors and, among other things, reduce the risk of revictimisation.
At the FIIAPP we are convinced that we must continue supporting processes of change through support to public policies and alignment in the legal-regulatory framework of the countries we work with. The fight against human trafficking goes beyond an institutional commitment—it is a human obligation to position oneself on the side of those institutions and people who work for the victims and their reintegration into society.
Santiago Santos, coordinator of the project to support the strategy to fight against drug trafficking and related crimes in Bolivia
20 September 2018
Alexandra Cortés, expert in Communication and Visibility of EUROCLIMA+, tells us what the keys of the programme against climate change in Latin America are
What is EUROCLIMA+?
EUROCLIMA+ is a programme funded by the European Union offering a wide range of specialized services aimed at supporting the implementation of the commitments of the Paris Agreement in the field of climate governance, as well as the funding and technical assistance for the execution of projects with Latin American countries.
The implementation of these projects is carried out through the synergistic work of cooperation agencies of member countries of the European Union, together with two agencies of the United Nations ( UN ).
What are the objectives of the programme?
The programme seeks to promote environmentally sustainable development in 18 countries in Latin America, in particular, for the benefit of the most vulnerable populations. In addition, it supports countries in the implementation of the commitments established through the Paris Agreement on climate change.
What does each of the agencies that manage the programme do?
The spectrum of topics covered by EUROCLIMA+ includes the main development areas that are part of the climate change agenda. These issues are driven by the vast experience of the agencies implementing the programme, selected on the basis of their experience in the field of climate change, the environment and sustainable development in Latin America.
One or several agencies deal with each of the components of the programme. Therefore, the FIIAPP works on Climate Governance with the Economic Commission for Latin America ( ECLAC ), UN Environment and the German Society for International Cooperation ( GIZ ). The German agency also deals with the component of Forests, biodiversity and ecosystems, energy efficiency, together with Expertise France, for Resilient Food Production, also with the French institution, and Urban Mobility , with the French Agency for Development ( AFD ). The latter also works with the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development ( AECID ) on the components of Energy Efficiency, Water Management from an Urban Perspective and Disaster Risk Management.
What does the joint work of all these institutions contribute?
The joint work of the different implementing agencies provides a broad and complementary experience in the field of climate change and sustainable development. It also promotes the exchange between Europe and Latin America, shortening distances and promoting synergies.
And the work of the FIIAPP in particular?
The FIIAPP leads the implementation of the Climate Governance component, accompanying the countries in the design, updating or implementation of climate policies. This will help Latin American countries reach 2020 with updated legislation and plans adapted to their realities.
Specifically, the Foundation facilitates dialogue on climate policies and provides technical and financial support for the development and implementation of policies, plans, measures and tools for adaptation and mitigation of climate change in Latin America. It works by directly supporting the governments of the different countries, with actions oriented at their strategic and direct demands designed jointly with the Latin American institutions within the framework of the EUROCLIMA+ programme.
According to the topics of greatest interest in the region and considering the context and the main challenges involved in facing up to climate change, the action lines of the component would be the implementation of NDCs, climate services, climate financing, education, communication and participation, and gender.
The key tools at the service of the 18 participating Latin American countries are those of collaboration between institutions, the search for synergies, joint learning and the exchange of information and best practices. To this end, the horizontal component offers both European and Latin American experiences in this area. In addition, it strengthens the capacities of Public Administration personnel, as well as other persons involved, including civil society.
What are the challenges of EUROCLIMA+?
EUROCLIMA+ works in an innovative, intersectoral and multi-stakeholder environment. The initiatives are identified and planned through participatory mechanisms. It encourages dialogue and regional exchange, ensuring that Latin American countries share best practices and lessons learned.
The programme provides services to the governments of Latin America based on their needs, seeking to promote political dialogue, knowledge management, capacity development, education and awareness of climate change. EUROCLIMA+ is driven by demand. It brings together experiences from Europe and Latin America, as well as the experience of the specialized agencies of the United Nations, it supports South-South cooperation and joint learning processes.
Given this scenario, one of the main challenges of the Programme is precisely the synergistic work with 18 countries in Latin America, a region in which many strengths and needs are shared, while at the same time presenting great differences, marked by their history, culture, politics and interaction between the nations themselves.
13 September 2018
Posteado en : Opinion
Núria Garriga reflects on what has been achieved and what has been learned through the project to support local development in Angola
Almost 24 years ago, the Social Support Fund, an Angolan institution which the FIIAPP has worked with on a local development support project, began to work on constructing social infrastructures and therefore access to public services in Angola’s most vulnerable or rural communities.
Since then, the project, funded by the European Union, has worked on three main components: building infrastructures, boosting the local economy and reinforcing the capacities of local institutions. Now, there is also a more structured view of these communities; they each depend on one another and work cannot be done freely, a message that has finally come together.
Of these components, the key component everything revolves around is the last, the reinforcement of the municipal administrations. What have we achieved? We have contributed to increasing the number of municipalities the Social Support Fund had already reached to a total of 36. In 30 of them, work started from scratch in a process that began with a municipal diagnosis and several studies, followed by planning.
Until then, the diagnoses of the municipality were inanimate snapshots: this is what the municipality has, this is what the health sector is like, etc. Another thing that I think has been strengthened with our support is that we have improved the idea, which they had already come up with, of creating a “dynamic profile”, that is to say, things change from one day to the next.
The final achievement in this reinforcement of municipal capacities was the introduction of a web-based platform, a municipal basic information system that anyone can access from any point on the planet. This updated information on the health sector or the social assistance sector of the municipality can then be accessed from any Ministry in order to make decisions on these matters.
A diagnosis to create opportunities
The promotion of the local economy through these municipal diagnoses sought to identify those products or sectors with greatest potential in the municipality. From there, studies were made of the value chains of these products to identify what investment opportunities there were for the municipality’s economy to develop. Normally, these were the products that involve more labour or which report more visits; there were several criteria to determine this.
Another aspect of this component and that was not foreseen, but which resulted from the reflection and the influence of the World Bank with its social protection programmes, is that productive inclusion has been worked on, which ultimately aims to increase the income of poor families.
The intention was that people excluded from the market and the productive economic sector and who have a subsistence activity should have the opportunity to conduct an economic activity or to improve the one they were doing. It started in ten municipalities, where vulnerable people and potential beneficiaries were identified and 1,400 people were selected.
Those who did not have economic activity were offered training to submit a practically applicable plan. They then received a kit to start working with. For those who already had an activity, training was given in business management to teach them to control costs and profits and to identify gaps in their economic activity. A business improvement plan was thus made and they were also provided with a kit.
Of the total of 1,400 selected, around 1,200 received the kit, since some did not finish their training or did not do the required project. This kit included the material they needed to start the activity. This might be physical equipment, such as a sewing machine or a generator. Some women who make flour (receiving grain, processing it, delivering it and keeping the shell which they sell for livestock) asked for buckets as well as grain to have more stock and be able to continue working.
One of the important things about this part of the project is that there is great diversity because there are many different activities, and we were able to adapt to the needs of each one.
We are now monitoring how these people’s lives have changed and how satisfied they are. A colleague has visited several of these beneficiaries to see whether the kit was used or not. There was a certain risk, which is that when someone gives you a kit with brand-new equipment, the first thing you do is go and sell it.
An initial evaluation was made with the questionnaire and the on-site visit. As it was a pilot phase, there were many lessons learned: such as that training should not be mandatory, but a further element of the kit, and that some unselected people managed to blag their way in.
Lessons learned in Angola
A study of lessons learned can be very useful for other cooperation projects: how the team is formed, how the project is established in the field, how it is performed, how the monitoring is done, accountability, etc.
In some cases, we also needed to be able to draw on other projects managed by the FIIAPP; it is interesting to know how they were conducted and whether we have points in common with them. I think this is a lesson learned for the Foundation: we could come up with a strategy for knowledge management.