PRO ASYL deman­ds a com­pre­hen­si­ve res­cue plan for refugees

PRO ASYL calls on the Home Secre­ta­ries of the EU coun­tries mee­ting today in Luxem­burg to adopt a com­pre­hen­si­ve res­cue plan for refu­gees. In order to put an end to the deaths of refu­gees on its bor­ders Euro­pe must return to its fun­da­men­tal values and res­to­re con­sti­tu­tio­nal princi­ples. „Cur­r­ent­ly, the law of the jung­le rules at sea. Refu­gees drown – the Euro­pean coun­tries stand by and watch, loud­ly dis­c­lai­ming any respon­si­bi­ty to res­cue the­se peop­le“, says Karl Kopp, spea­ker for Euro­pean affairs with Pro Asyl.

PRO ASYL calls on the Euro­pean Home Secre­ta­ries to:

- return to huma­ni­ty and inter­na­tio­nal law.

„When someo­ne is in dan­ger of drow­ning befo­re your very eyes you must res­cue them.“ This basic princip­le goes without say­ing. The EU mem­ber sta­tes  must fol­low this fun­da­men­tal tenet. Mem­ber sta­tes breaching it must be severely sanctioned.

- end its coope­ra­ti­on with non-EU coun­tries that vio­la­te refu­gees‘ and migrants‘ basic human rights.

To hire coun­tries such as Libya, Moroc­co or Mau­re­ta­nia as Euro­pe’s poli­ce­man is not only cyni­cal, it threa­tens refu­gees and migrants.

- grant refu­gees legal and safe ent­ry to Europe.

Every coun­try that com­mits to „abso­lute­ly obser­ve the right to asyl­um“ must grant safe ent­ry and a fair asyl­um pro­ce­du­re to tho­se see­king pro­tec­tion. This means more than just lifesaving in one’s own waters and stop­ping rejec­tions at sea through Fron­tex ope­ra­ti­ons, but rather pro­vi­ding a pro­cess for legal ent­ry. Pro­po­sals for „pro­tec­ted ent­ry pro­ce­du­res“, „huma­ni­ta­ri­an visa“ and the abolish­ment of visa requi­re­ments have been on the nego­tia­ting table in Brussels for years.

- tre­at asyl­um-see­kers humanely.

Exces­si­ve detenti­on of peop­le see­king pro­tec­tion as hap­pens, for examp­le, in Mal­ta, is inhu­ma­ne and vio­la­tes con­sti­tu­tio­nal princi­ples and refu­gee rights.

- coope­ra­te in recei­ving asyl­um seekers.

When it comes to recei­ving refu­gees, the stubborn­ly uncoope­ra­ti­ve beha­viour of cer­tain mem­ber sta­tes rein­for­ces the Ram­bo-esque beha­viour of mem­ber sta­tes on Europe’s bor­ders. The stron­gest mem­ber sta­tes without exter­nal bor­ders, like Ger­ma­ny, share signi­fi­cant respon­si­bi­li­ty for the bru­ta­li­ty play­ing on Europe’s bor­ders. Rather than using bureau­cra­tic juris­dic­tio­n­al rules (the so-cal­led Dub­lin II Regu­la­ti­on) to send refu­gees back to the first EU mem­ber sta­te who­se ground they touched, the EU mem­ber sta­tes must step up to the pla­te and accept respon­si­bi­li­ty for refu­gees from other mem­ber sta­tes.  Without a new bur­den-sharing mecha­nism among the EU mem­ber sta­tes, the race to the bot­tom will continue.

- not cri­mi­na­li­ze skippers.

It is indi­ca­ti­ve of the Euro­pean poli­cy regar­ding refu­gees that the lifes­avers from the ship Cap Ana­mur are facing cri­mi­nal char­ges in an Ita­li­an court. Not only must huma­ni­ta­ri­an help at sea be exempt from punish­ment; skip­pers who refu­se to watch other human bein­gs drown befo­re their eyes without try­ing to help must be supported.

- resett­le tho­se in need of spe­cial pro­tec­tion.

Only pre­cious few refu­gees world­wi­de make it to Euro­pe. As recom­men­ded by the EU com­mis­si­on in its ‚Green Book‘ on the future ‚Com­mon Euro­pean Asyl­um Sys­tem‘, the EU mem­ber sta­tes should imple­ment a generous resett­le­ment pro­gram. Refu­gees was­ting away in camps for years on end, deser­ve a chan­ce for long term pro­tec­tion and a huma­ne life.

- deve­lop a joint EU immi­gra­ti­on policy.

Euro­pe needs legal immi­gra­ti­on opti­ons, so that migrants aren’t for­ced to risk their lives try­ing to reach Europe’s shores though such dead­ly rou­tes.  Resur­rec­ting a guest worker pro­gram or cir­cu­lar migra­ti­on model, howe­ver, as sug­gested by the Ger­man EU pre­si­den­cy, is insufficient.

- pur­sue a fair com­mer­cial policy.

In order to serious­ly fight for­ced migra­ti­on and flight the under­ly­ing struc­tures causing them must be done away with. Euro­pe is des­troy­ing Afri­can mar­kets with its farm sub­si­dies, brin­ging about mise­ry and hun­ger and crea­ting new rea­sons to flee. The same goes for Euro­pean fishing poli­cy which depri­ves fisher­men in West Afri­ca of their live­li­hood. Rather than just han­ding out part­ly sums of huma­ni­ta­ri­an assi­s­tance, EU should adopt fair com­mer­cial, agri­cul­tu­ral and fishing poli­ci­es. Only then will we see real chan­ges in what is now an extre­me­ly unfair dis­tri­bu­ti­on of wealth and development.

Karl Kopp, Spea­ker for Euro­pean Affairs

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