More than 160 Civil Society Organisations call on MEPs to vote down harmful EU Migration Pact

11.04.24

Amidst warnings from over 50 Civil Society Organisations, EU lawmakers reached a political agreement on the EU’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum in December. The agreement is a continuation of a decade of policy that has led to the proliferation of rights violations in Europe. Moreover, it will have devastating implications for the right to international protection in the bloc and greenlights abuses across Europe including racial profiling, default de facto detention and pushbacks. Next week, MEPs will be presented with a final chance to reject the files in a Plenary vote, and to give a political signal against the adoption of a Pact that would undermine fundamental rights.

Taken together, the Regulations will usher in a new system for ‘managing migration’ in the EU that is characterised by:

  • De facto detention at borders with no exemption for families with children of all ages, accelerated, substandard procedures to assess asylum claims rather than full and fair assessments, and an emphasis on return procedures with lowered safeguards.
  • Far more asylum applicants will end up in border procedures and, through the ‘legal fiction of non-entry’, will not be considered as on EU territory, which would lead to lower safeguards and heightens the risk of human rights violations and pushbacks at borders. Even unaccompanied children can be subjected to border procedures and held in de facto detention when state authorities consider them a ‘danger to national security or public order’. Moreover, experience has shown that confining large numbers of people in border areas for prolonged periods leads to chronic overcrowding and inhumane conditions, as witnessed on the Aegean islands.
  • Through the broadening of the ‘safe third country’ principle, people asking for asylum will be declared inadmissible and increasingly deported to countries outside of the EU on the basis of a widely-defined connection with those countries, heightening the risk of refoulement.  In the past, this has manifested in failed agreements like the EU-Turkey deal, externalising the processing of asylum claims to third countries.
  • In the absence of safe and regular pathways, people seeking safety or livelihoods are forced to take ever more dangerous routes, resulting in 2023 being the deadliest year on record since 2015. In the Mediterranean alone, more than 2,500 individuals were reported as dead or disappeared last year, a figure that is only the tip of the iceberg. The Pact fails to address this, and instead continues to reinforce Fortress Europe.
  • An increase in the use of surveillance technologies at all stages of migration and asylum procedures. The Pact represents a step further into the mass surveillance of migrants and racialised people, as more intrusive technology will be deployed at borders and in detention centres, people’s personal data will be collected in bulk and exchanged between police forces across the EU, or biometric identification systems will be used to track people’s movements and increase policing of undocumented migrants. 

Civil society and human rights watchdogs have consistently reported on systematic violations of the fundamental rights of people seeking safety or livelihood, particularly racialised communities by denying them access to shelter, services, and asylum and resorting to pushbacks en masse. All this, whilst pursuing policies that seek to criminalise efforts to help refugees and migrants, and even movement at large, which contributes to a shrinking civic space. The Commission put forth the New Pact as a ‘solution’ for uneven standards in the implementation of a Common European Asylum System across Member States. Yet, the Pact does nothing to remedy this nor support Member States receiving large numbers of arrivals at the external borders. The ‘first country of entry’ principle remains and there will be no mandatory relocation of people saved through Search and Rescue missions – an initiative that could have provided humane and sustainable solutions through the proportionate distribution of asylum applicants throughout Europe. Instead, Member States without external EU borders can avoid responsibility-sharing by financing border fortification and immigration detention facilities in border Member States or by funding dubious ‘projects’ in non-EU countries.

The negotiations were rushed towards closure by the European Commission and the Spanish and Belgian Presidencies of the Council, leading to more than 48 hours of marathon trilogue negotiations and the abandonment of the last minimal safeguards that had been upheld by the Parliament. What remains is an extremely complex legislative framework that does not provide any effective solution to the migration management issues raised over the past years, and fails to keep people safe. The agreement, at its core, replicates every principle of the Council’s negotiating mandate.

We, the undersigned, call on MEPs to reject the Pact in the Plenary vote. It creates a system whereby the right to seek asylum in the EU is severely threatened and will engender a proliferation of human rights violations against people across Europe due to their migration status.

Signing Organisations:

  • A World of Neighbours
  • A.S.G.I. (Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione)
  • Abolish FronteX
  • Access Now
  • ActionAid International
  • aditus foundation
  • African Children and Youth Development Network (ACYDN)
  • AiA-Alternative Informatics Association
  • Alboan
  • AMERA International
  • Amnesty International
  • Andalucía Acoge
  • ARCI
  • Association for Legal Information (SIP)
  • Association promotion droits humains (Migration et droit)
  • Associazione ricreativa e culturale italiana (ARCI)
  • Avocats Sans Frontières
  • Be Aware And Share (BAAS)
  • Better Days Greece
  • Birlikte Yaşamak İstiyoruz İnisiyatifi (We Want to Live Together İnitiative) / Türkiye (Turkey)
  • Bits of Freedom
  • Boat Refugee Foundation
  • Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN)
  • Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
  • Center for Legal Aid – Voice in Bulgaria
  • Centre for Peace Studies
  • Changemakers Lab
  • Churches´Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME)
  • CILD
  • CIRÉ asbl
  • CNCD-11.11.11
  • Colectivo Indignado
  • Colectivos en lucha Extremadura
  • Collective Aid
  • Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado (CEAR)
  • Community Peacemaker Solidarity
  • CONVIVE – Fundación Cepaim
  • Coordinadora Obrim Fronteres
  • Diotima – Centre for Gender Rights and Equality
  • Dråpen i Havet / Stagona
  • Draseis sti Geitonia
  • E.L. Foundation
  • ECCHR – European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights
  • ECHO100PLUS
  • EmpowerVan
  • Entreculturas
  • Epicenter.Works
  • Equal Legal Aid
  • Equinox Initiative for Racial Justice
  • Equipo Decenio Afrodescendiente- Spain
  • EuroMed Rights
  • European Alternatives
  • European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN)
  • European Civic Forum
  • European Digital Rights (EDRi)
  • European Network Against Racism
  • European Sex Workers’ Rights Alliance
  • Extinction rebellion Málaga
  • Federation of protestant churches in Italy (FCEI)
  • Fédérations des tunisiens citoyens des deux rives (FTCR)
  • Fenix Humanitarian Legal Aid
  • Flucht, interkulturelle Arbeit, Migration, Diakonie Hessen,
  • forRefugees
  • From the Sea to the City
  • Fundación para la Innovación, Investigación, Formación y el Desarrollo Comunitario (FÜNDEC)
  • Geloof & Samenleving
  • Global Peace and Development Organization
  • Greek Council for Refugees (GCR)
  • Greek Forum of Migrants
  • Grenzenlose Wärme – Refugee Relief Work e.V.
  • Groupe d’information et de soutien des immigré⋅es (GISTI)
  • Grupa Granica
  • Hermes Center
  • HIAS Europe
  • Homo Digitalis
  • Hope Cafe Athens
  • Human Rights Legal Project
  • Human Rights Watch
  • HumanRights360
  • Humans in the Loop Foundation
  • I Have Rights
  • Infokolpa
  • Instance Nationale de Protection des Biens Publics et de la Transparence au Maroc “INPBPTM”
  • Institute Circle
  • Inter Alia
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Irídia-Center for the defense of human rights
  • Italy Must Act
  • Jesuit Refugee Service Greece (JRS)
  • JRS Europe
  • JRS Malta (Jesuit Refugee Service)
  • Kerk in Actie
  • KISA Cyprus
  • Klikaktiv
  • La Cimade
  • LDH (Ligue des droits de l’Homme)
  • Legal Centre Lesvos
  • Legis
  • Lesvos Solidarity (LESOL)
  • Lighthouse Relief
  • Ligue des droits humains
  • Maldusa project
  • Médecins sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders
  • medico international
  • Migrant Voice
  • Migration Consortium
  • Migration Policy group (MPG)
  • Migreurop
  • Mobile Info Team
  • Movimiento por la Paz (MPDL)
  • Mugak Zabalduz
  • Mv Louise Michel
  • Network for Children’s Rights (Greece)
  • No Name Kitchen
  • No One is Illegal
  • Northern Lights Aid
  • Novact
  • Ongi Etorri Errefuxiatuak
  • Oxfam
  • Pan African Alliance on Climate Change
  • Peace Institute (Mirovni inštitut)
  • Plataforma Ciudadana Caudete se Mueve
  • Politiscope
  • Privacy International
  • PRO ASYL
  • Project Armonia
  • Project ELPIDA e.V.
  • Quaker Council for European Affairs
  • r42 – Sail And Rescue
  • Reachout Foundation
  • Red Acoge
  • Red SOS Refugiados Europa
  • Red Umbrella Sweden
  • ReFOCUS Media Labs
  • Refugee Legal Support (RLS)
  • Refugees Welcome Italia
  • RESQSHIP e.V.
  • Salud por Derecho
  • Salvamento Marítimo Humanitario
  • Samos Volunteers
  • Save the Children
  • Sea-Eye e.V
  • Sea-Watch
  • Second Tree
  • Seebrücke
  • Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes – SJM
  • Sienos Grupė (Lithuania)
  • SOLIDAR
  • SOS Balkanroute
  • SOS Humanity
  • Statewatch
  • Stichting LOS
  • Still I Rise
  • Stop Border Violence
  • The European region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe)
  • United Hands for Refugees e.V.
  • United4Rescue – Gemeinsam retten e.V.
  • Velos youth
  • Walk of Shame
  • Watch the Med Alarm-phone
  • We Gaan Ze Halen (Let’s Bring Them Here)
  • WissenschaftlerInnen für den Frieden Deutscland (Academics for Peace in Germany)
  • Yoga and Sport with Refugees

This statement was first circulated in February 2024, when it gathered 81 signatures. It was then re-circulated in April 2024, gathering a total of 163 signatures.

 

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