PRO ASYL wel­co­mes the state­ment by EU High Repre­sen­ta­ti­ve for For­eign Affairs and Secu­ri­ty Poli­cy, Cathe­ri­ne Ashton, to sus­pend nego­tia­ti­ons with Libya about a so cal­led frame­work agree­ment, which would inclu­de a clo­ser coope­ra­ti­on in the deflec­tion of refu­gees. “It is a late insight that dir­ty deals with Gad­da­fi are impos­si­ble. For­cing on the­se nego­tia­ti­ons sin­ce 2008 alrea­dy con­sti­tu­ted a scan­da­lous neglect of human rights”, says Karl Kopp, direc­tor of Euro­pean Affairs with PRO ASYL. Gad­da­fi was liter­al­ly armed by Ita­ly and the EU in order to fight refugees.

PRO ASYL deman­ds a ren­un­cia­ti­on of deflec­tion poli­ci­es in the run up to the mee­ting of EU Minis­ters of Inte­rior. Ins­tead it is now necessa­ry to act for refu­gee pro­tec­tion and human rights.

PRO ASYL is con­cer­ned that Fron­tex units were invol­ved in the vio­la­ti­on of human rights during the ongo­ing employ­ment of the EU bor­der agen­cy. The mis­si­on is lead by Ita­ly, a coun­try that pre­vents the arri­val of refu­gees no mat­ter the cost. The Ber­lus­co­ni government has vio­la­ted the Euro­pean Con­ven­ti­on on Human Rights in thousands of cases, pur­suing its push-back poli­cy to Libya. The EU has to gua­ran­tee that rejec­tion and redi­rec­tion of boat peop­le stops. Human rights do app­ly at the EU bor­der, befo­re the bor­der and in the ter­ri­to­ri­al waters of third coun­tries as well. Boat peop­le have a right to huma­ne recep­ti­on in a safe Euro­pean har­bor and to an asyl­um pro­ce­du­re in accordance with the rule of law.

The EU has to pro­vi­de the neigh­bo­ring sta­tes with every pos­si­ble sup­port, also in con­nec­tion to the arri­val of refu­gees from Libya. Refu­gees from Eri­trea, Soma­lia and other per­se­cu­ting sta­tes that have stran­ded in the Liby­an tran­sit, will also attempt to flee. Even befo­re the exces­si­ve use of for­ce by the regime against the oppo­si­ti­on, the­se tran­sit refu­gees were fair game in Libya. A com­pre­hen­si­ve sup­port for the neigh­bo­ring coun­tries in finan­cial and logisti­cal terms is the pre­con­di­ti­on to open up escape routes.

In spi­te of a low num­ber of boat arri­vals in Ita­ly, the Inte­rior Minis­ters of the EU have to pre­pa­re a huma­ne recep­ti­on of boat peop­le in Euro­pe gui­ded by soli­da­ri­ty. In case of an incre­a­sed move­ment from Libya or other Nort­hern Afri­can sta­tes, an EU wide dis­tri­bu­ti­on of new arri­vals – under con­si­de­ra­ti­on of huma­ni­ta­ri­an cri­te­ria – should be car­ri­ed out. Euro­pe does have the necessa­ry legal instru­ments to ensu­re such a recep­ti­on gui­ded by the princip­le of “dou­ble voluntariness”.

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