In a resolution adopted on the 25th of April, Frontex, the EU’s border agency, was called to order regarding failures to comply with human rights standards. Approving a report by Mikael Cederbratt (Sweden, EPP), the Assembly “called upon the EU member States to ... ensure that in their own participation in the Agency’s activities they comply fully with all their human rights responsibilities”.
FIDH welcomes this latest resolution adopted by PACE which sets out in detail the standards that must be upheld by the EU’s border agency and calls for more transparency and accountability, including through increased supervision by the European Parliament, the establishment of an independent monitoring system and an effective complaints mechanism.
FIDH notes in particular reference to the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Hirsi. The Assembly underlined that,: “when intercepting boats, both in and outside EU territorial waters, Member States and Frontex must ensure, inter alia, that those intercepted do not face collective expulsion or ill-treatment, that they have the right to an effective remedy and the possibility of claiming asylum, and that they are disembarked to a safe harbour”. […]
It is vital that the international community does more to help the increasing number of refugees pouring across borders as they flee the violence in Syria, said Amnesty International in a briefing published today. To escape the ongoing bloodshed and violence at home, those fleeing have sought safety in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. Many live in extremely difficult conditions.
“The responsibility to protect and assist refugees from Syria needs to be shouldered by both the international community and neighbouring countries”, said Charlotte Phillips, refugee researcher at Amnesty International. […]
The refugee burden that Syria’s neighbors are shouldering is heavy and should not be borne alone. But keeping people fleeing for their lives in buffer zones inside Syrian borders risks trapping rather than protecting them.
Yet this is precisely what President Michel Suleiman of Lebanon proposed on April 4, joining others such as Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey, who made a similar call in November 2011, and Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour of Jordan, who spoke in January of securing “safe havens” inside Syrian territory, saying of potential new refugee flows, “We will stop them and keep them in their country”. […]
As a human rights activist who has lived and worked in Italy for ten years, I was pleasantly surprised when the new parliament elected Laura Boldrini, the forthright former spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Italy, as president of the lower house on Saturday. Her election is a reminder that Italy’s migration and asylum system, largely ignored in the election campaign, is in urgent need of reform.
Italy has changed in the last three decades from a country of emigration to one of immigration and asylum. Its reaction has been chaotic and confused, and sometimes downright cruel. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in Italy’s response to boat migration. […]
In a case highlighting the risks people take when fleeing conflict in their countries to seek refuge in Europe, the authorities of Lesvos continue their search for the bodies of asylum-seekers who had attempted to reach the Greek island. Since last Friday, they have found the bodies of six Syrian nationals including a 17-year-old pregnant woman and a mother with her young children. They are now searching for the bodies of three more Syrian nationals whose families had reported missing to the island authorities after the nine attempted to cross from Turkey on 6 March 2013.
Lesvos is one of the main crossings for migrants and refugees trying to enter the European Union via Greece. Last December, 21 people (mostly Afghans) drowned close to the shores of the island, after the boat they were in capsized. […]