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Facebook, accelerator of the Belarusian migration crisis

The administrator of one of the many Facebook pages that promise immigrant applicants secure access to Europe was quick to respond on Wednesday, November 24. Less than twenty-four hours after posting a message on the social network to have someone come from Iraq, phone numbers were provided to us. And contact established with a network of smugglers in Iraqi Kurdistan.

On the phone, the interlocutor – we will call him Soran – is intractable on prices, non-negotiable regardless of the age of the « customer »: « If you are targeting France or Germany, it takes $ 14,000 [12 460 euros] for a Schengen visa. «  The price drops for the Croatian route, a country that has not yet joined the European traffic area: $ 6,000 for a visa, a few nights  » supported « , then a clandestine passage in Italy. Appointment is taken in an office of the « dollar market », a high place of trafficking in Sulaymaniyah, a provincial capital of northern Iraq. “He comes with the money and his passport, we take care of the rest. « 

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From Belarus, where thousands of Iraqi Kurdish migrants are massing in freezing cold on the Polish border, there is no longer any question. « We have changed the road, Belarus is no longer safe », Soran assures me with aplomb. His Facebook page is one of the twenty pages identified by The world who offer their services to Iraqi Kurdish migrants. If Soran promises « Paths » let him swear less perilous than Belarus, many people continue to instill false hopes in migrants who are about to leave. Or to those who, stranded at the Polish border, are once again the prey of the swarm of smugglers who operate in full view of the Belarusian authorities.

Role of coordination center

Accused of having deliberately provoked the crisis, in retaliation for the sanctions of the European Union, by pushing thousands of migrants towards the Lithuanian and Polish borders, the regime of Alexander Lukashenko was able to count on the viral function of social networks when it opened access to its territory to candidates for exile by distributing thousands of visas.

« There are many travel agencies that offer ‘packages’ for Belarus, with a visa » Amin, Iraqi Kurd stranded in Belarus

« How did one of the most repressive dictatorships in the world manage to lure thousands of migrants, mainly Iraqis and Syrians, into the country, giving them false assurances about their passage through Europe? » « , pretends to question the analysis company Semantic Visions, in the introduction of a report published on November 22.

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