Open Letter to the peoples of Europe, the European Union, EU Member-States and their representatives on the Justice and Home Affairs Council

di giovedì, Settembre 24, 2015 0 , , , Permalink

22nd September 2015

We, the undersigned international lawyers, gathered at the European Society of International Law 11th Annual Meeting in Oslo on 12th September 2015, and other international law scholars and experts, condemn the failure to offer protection to people seeking refuge in Europe, and the lack of respect for the human rights of those seeking refuge.

In particular, we express our horror at the human rights violations being perpetrated against those seeking refuge, in particular the acts of violence, unjustified coercion and arbitrary detention.

We note that European states have obligations not only to refugees and migrants on their territories, but that international refugee law rests on international responsibility sharing. The world’s refugees are disproportionately outside Europe. We note that over nine-tenths of Syrian refugees are in five countries, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq. We note that around one quarter of Lebanon’s population comprises refugees.

We note that all European states have obligations not only to refugees as defined under the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees, but also to those protected against return under international human rights law and customary international law. We note that this broad duty of non-refoulement protects all those at real risk of serious human rights violations if returned. They should be afforded international protection. EU Member States have further obligations under EU law.

We urge European states and the EU to alleviate the humanitarian crisis, prevent further loss of life in dangerous journeys to Europe by providing safe passage, and live up to their obligations in international and EU law.

We recall the legacy of Fridtjof Nansen, the first League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the initiator of the Nansen passport, created to facilitate the safe passage and legal migration opportunities for refugees and stateless persons.

We urge European states and the EU to:

– meet their obligations of international responsibility-sharing, to resettle significant numbers of refugees and provide aid to countries hosting large numbers of refugees.

– as regards those seeking protection in Europe, abandon those policies which prevent safe and legal access to protection. The UNHCR estimates over 2,860 people have died at sea trying to get to Europe this year alone. Suspending carrier sanctions and issuing humanitarian visas would largely prevent the need for those seeking refuge to make dangerous journeys.

– respect and protect the human rights of those seeking refuge once they are in Europe, including by enabling them to access asylum procedures or ensuring safe passage to countries where they wish to seek international protection.

– immediately suspend Dublin returns of asylum-seekers to their first point of entry, but ensure that its rules on family reunification are implemented fully and swiftly.

– relocate asylum-seekers and refugees in a manner that respects the dignity and agency of those relocated, and increases Europe’s capacity to offer protection.

– replace the Dublin System with one which accords with international human rights law and respects the dignity and autonomy of asylum-seekers, and supports international and intraEuropean responsibility-sharing.

– implement fair and swift procedures to recognize all those in need of international protection.

– while claims are being examined, afford those in need of international protection, at a minimum, the reception conditions to which they are entitled in international human rights and EU law.

– respect the right to family life, including positive obligations with regard to family unity, facilitation of swift family reunification and family tracing.

– treat all refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants with dignity and respect, respecting and protecting their human rights, irrespective of status.

Asylum-seekers: enough of too little too late

di martedì, Settembre 8, 2015 0 , Permalink

Comunicato stampa GUE/NGL

Strasbourg 08/09/2015

Enough of too little too late: EU needs a permanent, obligatory and fair mechanism to distribute asylum-seekers

“In reality the European Union does not have a policy for addressing migration, and it is that lack of policy that is partly responsible for the fact that so many people have lost their lives when attempting to reach the European Union,” said Greek MEP Kostas Chrysogonos during this afternoon’s debate on provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece due to the refugee crisis.

“The Commission’s proposal to relocate 40,000 people, who are in need of international protection, is a drop in the ocean when we consider what’s needed. Greece has taken 260,000 people in the past year. The numbers being put forward by the Council sound like insults; the Council is not paying attention. Greek islands are literally sinking under the weight of the people who have arrived there.

“What we need is a permanent and binding relocation mechanism; we need to get rid of the criteria of country of first entry, it simply doesn’t work. But most of all we need a peaceful solution in Syria and Iraq. That is the only response. Nothing will be solved without a peaceful solution to these wars.”

Italian MEP Barbara Spinelli added: “The treaties don’t tell the truth about who we are; we are not a guiding light of civilisation, we haven’t shown solidarity to Greece or to refugees.

“The report we will vote on tomorrow proposes a ‘modest, fair distribution of refugees’ and the Council is already undermining that.

“We must continue the push to address the issues of relocation and combatting illegal channels of immigration, in spite of the fact the Council has shown itself to be incompetent and incapable of action.”

Need to help Greece as soon as possible

di mercoledì, Agosto 26, 2015 0 , , , Permalink

by Barbara Spinelli


Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission

Mr. Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship

Mr. Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid & Crisis Management

August 26, 2015

Dear President,

Dear Commissioners,

There are many countries in need of solidarity due to the strong influx of migrants and asylum seekers, but Greece – since years in deep crisis and recession – struggles more than any other country and to an intolerable level to handle the reception of refugees: 160,000 from January to August 2015, as reported by the UN. An increase of 750% compared to 2014. Thousands of migrants are blocked at the border between Greece and former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYROM), violently rejected by the authorities of of Skopje.

The European director of UNHCR describes the situation of migrants in Europe as “the worst” he has seen in thirty years of experience in humanitarian matters. Pope Francis has equated rejections of migrants to “acts of war”.

The European Commission decided in August 2015 the allocation of special funds to assist countries in major difficulty, on the basis of Article 79 TFUE. For 2014-2020, Greece is expected to receive 260 million euro from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), and 195 million from the Internal Security Fund (ISF) [1].

It seems, however, that the first payments are slow to come, as admitted on August 17 by Commissioner Avramopoulos in an interview to Italian newspaper “La Repubblica” [2]. Great Britain has already received the due aid.

We ask:

  • Is the Commission aware of the harm caused by any delay in payment, considering the dramatic situation of abandonment in which refugees find themselves in the Greek islands?
  • Does the Commission consider sufficient the numbers allocated, considering such a high increase in migration?
  • How will the decision taken by the European Council on 25-26 June be implemented, regarding the relocation of 16,000 asylum seekers from Greece to other Member States?


[2] Dimitris Avramopoulos: “Arrivano i soldi Ue per i profughi ma dopo averli salvati fate di più”

Barbara Spinelli
Molly Scott Cato
Fabio De Masi
Marie Christine Vergiat
Martina Michels
Tania Gonzalez Penas
Kuneva Kostadinka
Kostas Chrysogonos
Julie Ward
Raymond Finch
Liliana Rodrigues
Ernest Maragall
Bronis Ropė
Tanja Fajon
Alfred Sant
Nessa Childers
Ana Maria Gomes
Becerra Basterrechea
Nicola Caputo
Miguel Urban Crespo
Aldo Patriciello
Tatjana Ždanoka
Eleonora Forenza
Edouard Martin
Elena Valenciano
Knut Fleckenstein
Eleftherios Synadinos
Bilbao Barandica Izaskun
Sylikiotis Neoklis
Lola Sánchez Caldentey
Monika Vana
Jude Kirton-Darling
Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz
Josep-Maria Terricabras
Lynn Boylan
Matt Carthy
Liadh Ní Riada
Martina Anderson
Fredrick Federley
Igor Šoltes
Elly Schlein
Karima Delli
Michèle Rivasi
Marita Ulvskog
Anna Hedh
Dario Tamburrano
Ignazio Corrao
Caterina Chinnici
Manolis Kefalogiannis
Margrete Auken
Claude Rolin
Maria Heubuch
Helmut Scholz
Dietmar Köster