EU member states have adopted increasingly restrictive and punitive asylum rules and are focusing on stopping people from moving, with devastating consequences for those concerned. EU attempts at forging rules for EU countries to show solidarity with refugees outside Europe and with each other have seen little success so far.

We are, at the same time, witnessing the harmful impact of the EU-Turkey deal and the EU-Libya cooperation, both of which are leaving men, women and children trapped in dangerous situations and exposed to suffering and abuse.

In the Central Mediterranean, the journey across the sea has become deadlier than ever, with the work of NGOs providing search and rescue services obstructed by EU governments and disembarkation becoming difficult and unpredictable. At the same time, there has been little progress in establishing legal pathways for refuges and migrants to safely reach the EU.

Internally, hostile immigration policies and a toxic narrative are leading to unsafe deportations, the criminalization of civil society actions in solidarity with migrants and refugees, and reduced protection for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. 

The EU is setting the strategic direction of EU policies on migration and asylum. We need for more attention to be paid to the human rights impact of current measures and more emphasis on solidarity, both within the EU and globally. To mark a clear departure from current policies EU institutions and member states must ensure:

  • Fair and effective asylum procedures and responsibility sharing for asylum seekers within the EU, which prioritises family and wider links
  • Human rights compliance at borders and in border control cooperation through effective monitoring and accountability mechanisms 
  • Safe and legal pathways to protection and mobility opportunities to undercut reliance on smugglers and dangerous routes
  • Prompt rescue at sea and disembarkation in a place of safety 
  • Safe and enabling environment for rescue organisations and others who assist refugees and migrants


We are engaging with the EU institutions to ensure that EU laws and policies respect and protect the rights of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants.

We advocate for EU member states to act in solidarity with each other, and for those who need it to get access to protection in the EU, rather than externalizing the responsibility to protect asylum seekers to countries outside Europe.

We do this through: analysis of legislative proposals, evidence provided by research and mobilisation through campaigns, and the engagement and support of European national groups.

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The following commitments and instruments guide the EU and its member states in their actions on migration and asylum:

  • Chapter 2, Treaty on European Union, concerning policies on border checks, asylum and migration
  • Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951 and the Protocol of 31 January 1967 relating to the status of refugees
  • Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union

The following Amnesty International reports document the human rights violations related to the current migration and asylum policies implemented by the EU and its member states: