Europe cold-shoulders migrants’ plight
(Brussels, 18 December 2012) Where the people of Europe are preparing for the seasonal festivities, migrants and asylum-seekers fleeing from the world’s trouble spots, have considerably less to look forward to. An Amnesty International report, released today, International Migrants’ Day, illustrates the continuing vulnerability of migrants in Europe. The report documents the severe exploitation of migrant workers in Italy. Amnesty International has called on the European Union to examine the report’s findings and take them into account when it discusses EU-level laws which address conditions of admission and the treatment of migrant workers.
“This has been the year of lessons not learned,” said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “Again this year, hundreds of migrants have died at sea, escaping poverty and violence. Only last week, 20 or more migrants were found dead off the Greek coast. The EU must urgently revise its policies on migration and ensure they are based on human rights principles.”
Amnesty International has pointed out the focus in European Union countries, and at the EU itself, on investing resources disproportionately in preventing people from arriving, rather than doing more to protect the lives and safety of those who struggle to enter Europe. Another growing trend has been the rise in the general climate of racism and xenophobia in countries across the continent, where hate speech, even by prominent officials, has seen an important increase, and unprovoked attacks on migrants have risen. Throughout the continent, there continues to be widespread detention by the authorities of migrants and asylum-seekers.
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