20 November 2015

In a report released this week, Amnesty International analysed the European Union’s approach to the current refugee crisis: instead of focusing on granting access to the territory and giving protection to those qualifying for it, the EU has spent hundreds of millions of Euros in trying to stop people from coming. Building fences, using technological surveillance techniques and increasing border patrols have not achieved the desired intent though: people keep coming, and they do so in numbers much greater than before.

Increasingly closed borders have nonetheless resulted in people being forced to use other – mostly more dangerous – routes, which often make people even more dependent on costly and unreliable smugglers. Additionally, the report details the practice of push-backs, often accompanied by ill-treatment at the borders between Greece and Turkey, Bulgaria and Turkey, and Morocco and Spain in the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.

The failures of European governments in addressing the crisis were also highlighted by Human Rights Watch. In a report released on Monday, the organisation sets out recommendations to improve the response to the current situation. European leaders need to increase safe and legal channels to Europe, with more resettlement, easier family reunification policies and a serious programme for granting humanitarian visas. Human rights need to be taken into account at all stages, and especially when dealing with third countries for the management of migration.

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This article will appear in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 20 November 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.