Europe’s deadly frontiers: European Parliament must stand up for migrants

Europe’s deadly frontiers: European Parliament must stand up for migrants
(Brussels, 13 June 2012) Amnesty International has pressed European Union governments and EU institutions to stop exposing people to danger on Europe’s borders. The call accompanies the launch of an online public petition to Members of the European Parliament, urging them to fulfill their ‘watchdog’ role and hold governments and institutions accountable for how they treat migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers along Europe’s borders. Today also sees the launch of Amnesty International’s When you don’t exist campaign, which will target the plight of these ‘people on the move’.  
For the EU, reinforcing Europe’s borders clearly trumps saving lives", said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “By attempting to curb ‘irregular migration’, European countries have bolstered border control measures beyond European frontiers without regard to the human cost. Far from public view, these measures put people at risk of serious abuse.
Last year, at least 1,500 men, women and children drowned in the Mediterranean struggling to reach Europe. Some of these deaths were avoidable. Delayed rescue costs lives. In recent years, some survivors have been forced back to countries where they faced abuse and ill-treatment. On several occasions Italy pushed back people to Libya where they were detained and mistreated. In an environment where there is little transparency or oversight, human rights abuses often go unpunished along Europe’s coasts and borders. 
The campaign’s background
Amnesty International’s campaign seeks to hold to account any European country which violates human rights in enforcing migration controls. When you don’t exist aims to defend the rights of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers in Europe and around its borders. People move to Europe for different reasons. Some flee persecution or war. Others try to abandon a life of chronic poverty. They hope to find a better, safer future here. All too often the reality is different.
Today, Europe is failing to promote and respect the rights of migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees. Hostility is widespread and mistreatment often goes unreported. As long as people on the move are invisible, they are vulnerable to abuse. 
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For more information please contact:
Peter Clarke 
Media & Communications Officer
European Institutions Office
Amnesty International
Tel: +32 (0) 2 548 2773