Τετάρτη, 6 Αυγούστου 2014



European Union is spending more money to protect its borders in the Mediterranean sea rather than providing help, security and respect the human rights of the refugees and migrants.
Amnesty International’s latest report states that the EU is investing more money on surveillance technologies, security forces and detention centres, sending back refugees who are trying to escape from the nightmare of poverty and war in their countries. This is a failure to fulfil its obligation to protect their human rights or at least the most fundamental and basic such as the right to life. According to AI between 2007 and 2013 the EU spent nearly 2 billion euros to protect its external borders, but only 700 million euros to improve the situation for asylum-seekers and refugees.

Most of the refugees are coming from Syria
Since the civil war started in 2011 more than 2.8 million Syrians left their homes. By the end of April almost 1 million of them had reached Europe and sought asylum. Other high numbers of refugees who are reaching European borders, are coming from Eritrea, Afghanistan and Somalia.

According to the UN Refugee Agency there are more displaced people today than at any time since the end of the Second World War. Shockingly, the European Union’s response to this humanitarian crisis has been to add to it…Almost half of those trying to enter the EU irregularly flee from conflict or persecution in countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Somalia. Refugees must be provided with more ways to enter the EU safely and legally so that they are not forced to embark on perilous journeys in the first place.
John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International.

The “push-back” method
Bulgaria, Greece and Spain are using the most unlawful practices to avoid the migration and refugee flow. Such is the push-back method that Bulgaria and Greece are exercising with guards watching their borders which unavoidably entails the use of violence and endangers the lives of the people. Last February the Spanish Civil Guard opened fire with rubber projectiles, blanks and tear gas against about 250 migrants and refugees swimming from Morocco trying to reach the Spanish coasts. Fourteen people lost their lives and twenty-three people who managed to reach the coast, were immediately returned back without any formal asylum procedure…
Such practices are illegal and unlawful and deny people the right to seek asylum.

Italy on the other hand…
As the country which shouldered much of the burden to save refugees from the sea and faced the worst tragedy in 2013 when more than 400 people lost their lives in the island of Lampedusa, is asking for cooperation from the rest of the European countries. Lately Italy called on the EU’s border protection agency Frontex to take over the Italian naval mission Mare Nostrum (Our Sea), which patrols in the Mediterranean sea for refugee boats and costs around 9 million euros per month.
The EU’s Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said Frontex was too small to completely take over Mare Nostrum, but said “we must open legal routes to allow refugees to come to the European Union, otherwise they resort to illegal immigration channels.”

And finally…
It seems that European countries are not eager to help and share the responsibility… Not even to follow their obligations. Some of the countries such as Germany which hosts refugees, feel they do their duty, claiming that it is Italy’s job to pass the refugees on to another EU nation. However, according to AI’s report, at the end of 2013 the countries that hosted the largest numbers of refugees were Pakistan, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Kenya, Chad, Ethiopia, China and the USA.
Right to life
Right to liberty and security of the person (prohibition on arbitrary detention)
Prohibition of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Right to leave any country, including one’s own
Right to seek and to enjoy asylum from persecution
Right to effective remedy
Prohibition of collective expulsion
No one may be expelled, extradited or otherwise forcibly removed to a State where there is a real risk that he or she would be subjected to the death penalty, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (non-refoulement principle).
The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence
In all actions concerning children […] the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration
DOCUMENT – FORTRESS EUROPE: FACTS AND FIGURES Amnesty International Public Statement 9 July 2014

10 July 2014