PRO ASYL: Push-backs, arbi­tra­ry detenti­on and the deaths of refu­gees are trade­marks of a ruth­less deter­rence policy

Frank­fur­t/­Brussels- Today, on the occa­si­on of the Jus­ti­ce and Home Affairs Coun­cil, PRO ASYL tog­e­ther with the Euro­pean Coun­cil on Refu­gees and Exi­les ECRE (Brussels), the Hel­sin­ki Citi­zen Assem­bly (Istan­bul), the Group of Lawy­ers for the Rights of Migrants and Refu­gees (Athens) and the Bor­der Moni­to­ring Pro­ject Ukrai­ne (Ush­go­rod), will pre­sent its fin­dings con­cer­ning the pro­tec­tion of human rights at the Euro­pean borders.

„Unlaw­ful push-backs, arbi­tra­ry detenti­on, and even deaths of refu­gees are the dire rea­li­ty at the exter­nal bor­ders and are a trade­mark of Europe’s ruth­less deter­rence poli­cy,“ said Karl Kopp, Direc­tor for Euro­pean Affairs at PRO ASYL. In regards to the fina­liz­a­ti­on of the Stock­holm Pro­gram­me, which will dic­ta­te the poli­ti­cal agen­da on refu­gee pro­tec­tion, PRO ASYL urges the Euro­pean Uni­on to com­mit its­elf to the res­to­ra­ti­on and pro­tec­tion of fun­da­men­tal human right principles.

Refer­ring to reso­lu­ti­on of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment (25th of Novem­ber) and the second draft of Swe­dish Pre­si­den­cy (23 th of Novem­ber) con­cer­ning the Stock­holm Pro­gram­me, PRO ASYL decla­res that Euro­pe needs to be clear: kee­ping the human rights and refu­gee pro­tec­tion prio­ri­ties does not mix with deman­ding coope­ra­ti­on with the Liby­an dic­ta­tor Gad­da­fi in order to pre­vent migra­ti­on and flight. (Excerp­ts below) “The hypo­cri­ti­cal human rights poli­cy of the Euro­pean Uni­on is also respon­si­ble for the shame­ful fact that pushed back boat peop­le from Eri­trea, Sudan and Soma­lia fall vic­tims to seve­re human rights vio­la­ti­ons in Libya,” says Kopp. The Ita­li­an model – ille­gal push-backs of boat peop­le – must not beco­me the model for the future Euro­pean asyl­um policy.

Fun­da­men­tal princi­ples of refu­gee pro­tec­tion are being vio­la­ted dai­ly at the exter­nal bor­ders of the EU. Pro­tec­tion see­kers are sent back to tran­sit coun­tries like Libya, Tur­key, Mau­ri­ta­nia, and Ukrai­ne without any regard to human rights stan­dards the­re. Along the Euro­pean coast lines and land bor­ders, more and more detenti­on cen­tres for new arri­vals are being set up.

The num­ber of deaths of tho­se attemp­t­ing to reach the Euro­pean Uni­on remains sho­ckin­gly high. More than 500 boat­peop­le lost their lives in the chan­nel of Sici­ly alo­ne sin­ce the begin­ning of the year. „The EU and its mem­ber sta­tes who keep sta­tis­tics about ever­ything, refu­se to docu­ment the vic­tims of the fort­ress Euro­pe, lea­ve alo­ne to find an huma­ne ans­wer to this mass death, “ sta­tes Kopp.

Should the EU and its mem­ber sta­tes be serious about the “Euro­pe of asyl­um” and should the area of free­dom, secu­ri­ty and jus­ti­ce be inten­ded to be a com­mon pro­tec­tion area for refu­gees, any coope­ra­ti­on with governments that vio­la­te human rights must be decli­ned. Push-backs at the bor­ders or in inter­na­tio­nal waters car­ri­ed out by FRONTEX units or mem­ber sta­tes’ bor­der guards have to be stopped.



Euro­pean Par­lia­ment reso­lu­ti­on of 25 Novem­ber 2009 on the Com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on from the Com­mis­si­on to the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment and the Coun­cil – An area of free­dom, secu­ri­ty and jus­ti­ce ser­ving the citi­zen – Stock­holm programme


49. Calls for the fur­ther deve­lo­p­ment of the Com­mon Euro­pean Asyl­um Sys­tem so as to estab­lish a „Euro­pe of asylum” (….)

52. Recalls that asyl­um is a right to be gua­ran­te­ed to all peop­le fle­eing from con­flicts and vio­lence; con­demns refou­le­ment and collec­ti­ve expul­si­ons to coun­tries whe­re human rights are not respec­ted or which have not signed the United Nati­ons Con­ven­ti­on Rela­ting to the Sta­tus of Refugees;

58. Stres­ses that all agree­ments with coun­tries of ori­gin and tran­sit, such as Tur­key and Libya, should inclu­de chap­ters on coope­ra­ti­on on immi­gra­ti­on, taking due account of the situa­ti­on of Mem­ber Sta­tes most expo­sed to migra­to­ry flows and with an empha­sis on figh­t­ing irre­gu­lar immi­gra­ti­on and traf­fi­cking in human bein­gs by faci­li­ta­ting the work of Frontex;

The Stock­holm Pro­gram­me- An open and secu­re Euro­pe ser­ving and pro­tec­ting the citi­zens, 2. Draft of the Swe­dish Pre­si­den­cy 23 Novem­ber 2009

6.2 Asyl­um: a com­mon area of pro­tec­tion and solidarity

(…) The deve­lo­p­ment of a Com­mon Asyl­um Poli­cy should be based on a full and inclu­si­ve app­li­ca­ti­on of the Gene­va Con­ven­ti­on on the sta­tus of refu­gees and other rele­vant inter­na­tio­nal treaties.

7. Euro­pe in glo­ba­li­sed world – the exter­nal dimen­si­on of free­dom, secu­ri­ty and justice

The EU and Tur­key have agreed to inten­si­fy the coope­ra­ti­on to meet the com­mon chal­len­ge of mana­ging migra­ti­on flows and to tack­le ille­gal migra­ti­on in par­ti­cu­lar. (…) Con­clu­ding the nego­tia­ti­ons on the read­mis­si­on agree­ment with Tur­key is a prio­ri­ty; until then, alrea­dy exis­ting bila­te­ral agree­ments should be ade­qua­te­ly implemented.

….Libya is par­ti­cu­lar­ly important, with a view to assis­ting tho­se coun­tries in their efforts to draw up migra­ti­on poli­ci­es and respon­ding to ille­gal immi­gra­ti­on at sea and on the bor­ders. Efforts should be made to con­clu­de agree­ments on re-admis­si­on with Alge­ria, Libya, Moroc­co and Egypt.

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