Human rights of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers
There are alarming trends in the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, as well as of irregular migrants in all parts of Europe. States are engaging ever more intensely in extensive border patrols, trying to deter the entry of migrants into their territory. Migrants, including asylum seekers, who do manage to enter irregularly Council of Europe member states are often criminalised, locked up in prison-like conditions, and expelled as quickly as possible – even to countries where they risk persecution and torture. However, irregular migration is not a criminal act and irregular migrants also enjoy certain rights under international law, which need to be respected.
In an attempt to fight abusive asylum requests, states undermine the rights of genuine asylum seekers, who are frequently detained and unable to access fair and efficient asylum procedures.
The Commissioner works with and advises member states to improve the protection of human rights of migrants and to ensure that undocumented migrants and their children have the right to basic health care and education. He promotes their right to protection against arbitrary detention, as well as their right not to be sent to countries where they risk ill-treatment and torture.
He draws attention to the fact that one of the most vulnerable groups in Europe today is migrant children, who often are denied basic health care and education, and run the risk of being exploited by traffickers or smugglers.