Member States must end ‘refoulement’ policies and expulsion of migrants
The Migration Committee, meeting in Zurich on May 29, expressed concern at the persistence of the practice and policy of refoulement, which violates the rights of asylum seekers and refugees, including the right to asylum. and the right to protection against refoulement, at the heart of international refugee law.
These push-backs take place at the borders of the EU as well as on the territory of the Member States further inland and are in part a consequence of the loopholes in the Dublin Regulation and the failure of attempts to introduce a fair sharing of rights. responsibilities in Europe, explains the report by Tineke Strik (Netherlands, SOC) adopted by the committee.
Parliamentarians are also concerned about information and evidence of inhuman and degrading treatment inflicted on member states and their agencies in the context of these refoulements, through intimidation, confiscation or destruction of migrants’ property, recourse to violence or deprivation of food and services.
Faced with the seriousness of this phenomenon, the committee formulated a set of recommendations to member states in the area of border controls; border services; legal assistance; medical and psychological assistance and NGOs.
She called on states to put an end to any measure or policy leading to refoulements or expulsions; inform migrants at borders about their legal situation and their right to seek international protection in languages they understand; and ensure the registration and processing of asylum applications.
In addition, states should view NGOs as partners and not undermine their legitimate life-saving activities, while refraining from using stigmatizing rhetoric, the committee said.
The adopted text also calls on the members of the EU and the Schengen area to improve relocation mechanisms, in order to reduce the pressure on countries bordering Europe and to avoid overcrowding and unnecessary detentions. For its part, the European Commission should set up a systematic and independent mechanism to check the conformity of border management policies with the provisions of asylum law.
Finally, the committee proposed that the Committee of Ministers encourage EU member states to speed up their work on a revised Dublin regulation, further promote the sharing of responsibilities and ease the burden on frontline states.