31.03.2009

„Whoever sends hund­reds of pro­tec­tion-see­kers out on the stor­my open sea without life­boats is a cri­mi­nal. But also tho­se who try to block res­cue rou­tes to Euro­pe at any cost, share respon­si­bi­li­ty for the death of boat­peop­le at sea“, says Karl Kopp, spea­ker for Euro­pean affairs at PRO ASYL. „Hund­reds of deaths off the Liby­an coast are the result of a inhu­man traf­fi­cking-indus­try, but also of a cyni­cal Euro­pean refu­gee poli­cy.“

What else needs to hap­pen and how many human bein­gs need to loo­se their lives befo­re Euro­pe final­ly reacts and adjus­ts its devas­ta­ting poli­cy of deter­rence? The cyni­cal reac­tion of Ita­ly’s right­ist Minis­ter of Inte­rior, Rober­to Maro­ni, was to sta­te that from mid-May 2009, this res­cue-rou­te would be clo­sed down per­ma­nent­ly – due to joi­ned patrol­ling with Liby­an secu­ri­ty for­ces. This con­sti­tu­tes a pro­gram­me to incre­a­se the death-rate at sea.

The stra­te­gy to uti­li­ze Ghad­da­fi as Euro­pe’s watch­dog, tole­ra­tes mas­si­ve human rights vio­la­ti­ons of refu­gees in Libya, inclu­ding the detenti­on of thousands, abu­se, tor­tu­re and rape.

In the light of the lar­gest refu­gee-cata­stro­phe in the histo­ry of the Euro­pean Uni­on, PRO ASYL calls upon the Ger­man government, the Euro­pean Com­mis­si­on and the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment to refrain from rhe­to­ric ritu­als and to final­ly pre­sent a plan of how to res­cue pro­tec­tion-see­kers and boat­peop­le in Liby­an tran­sit.

Attempts of mem­ber sta­te’s coast­guards and FRONTEX mis­si­ons to push back refu­gees‘ boats must cea­se. Inten­ded poli­ce coope­ra­ti­on and FRONTEX working agree­ments with third coun­tries such as Libya have to be stop­ped.

The most effec­ti­ve approach to fight the boo­m­ing traf­fi­cking indus­try and to save human lives is to pro­vi­de safe and legal ent­ry for pro­tec­tion-see­kers. Pro­tec­ted Ent­ry Pro­ce­du­res and huma­ni­ta­ri­an Visas for refu­gees in Liby­an tran­sit would be a first human ges­tu­re.

Karl Kopp

Direc­tor of Euro­pean Affairs, Exe­cu­ti­ve Mem­ber of ECRE (Euro­pean Coun­cil on Refu­gees and Exi­les)

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