Press Release | European elections: Building Europe, together with migrants and refugees!

Press Release
11th of April 2019

European elections: Building Europe, together with migrants and refugees!

Five organizations from France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain come together around a manifesto.

As European elections approach, five European organisations supporting migrants and refugees rights, Arci (Italy), Cear (Spain), La Cimade (France), RSA (Greece) and PRO ASYL (Germany) publish a common manifesto urging the EU governments and politicians to build a Europe, together with migrants and refugees and uphold the core principles of the EU. They call citizens and candidates to rally in favour of a Europe based on the protection of human rights and human dignity, on solidarity and on inclusion!

The manifesto strongly denounces the way European states have deliberately been disregarding their European and international obligations with respect to human rights and increasingly abandoning their responsibility to welcome people in need. It highlights four major areas of concern: the prioritization of a policy of deterrence rather than that of saving lives that leaves the EU and its member states responsible for the increase in deaths at sea; the collapse of the unfair Dublin Regulation system leading to dubious agreements; the increasing introduction of concepts such as “safe country of origin”, “first country of asylum” and “safe third country” used by member states to dispense with their obligation to protect and to justify deportations; and the expansion of the hotspot approach as a role model for European countries and creation of areas of violent psychological deterrence where human rights are being systematically breached and local communities are resorting to xenophobia.

The five civil society organizations call for people to act during this electoral period and demand new asylum and migration policies. They urge for the defense of a Europe which is based on the protection of human rights and human dignity, on solidarity and on inclusion.

Günter Burkhardt from PRO ASYL in Germany claims that “The unworthy bargaining about saving lives in the Mediterranean must be stopped. People fleeing Libya are traumatized. In most cases we are talking about victims of torture, slavery and rape. We need to ensure their immediate reception in the EU – orderly and in solidarity”.

Jean-Claude Mas from La Cimade, organisation based in France denounces the Dublin system and its consequences pointing out “the European Dublin regulation as an infernal machine. The European Union must acknowledge its failure and rethink a strong asylum system that let people choose their host country.”

Natassa Strachini from the Greek organisation Refugee Support Aegean reminds that “the hotspot approach on the Aegean islands constitutes a violent tool of psychological deterrence that forces refugees to live together with thousands of others in inhuman conditions and lead to the disintegration of a human being”.

In Spain, at another European external border, the situation is also critical. Nuria Diaz from the organisation CEAR: “On the Andalusian coast, more and more people die and access to international protection depends on the point of arrival. In Ceuta and Melilla, illegal push-back are an usual practice that impedes the access to international protection”.

This is the Europe we want, and the Europe that we will defend together.