Amnesty International Calls on EU: Do More To Fight Xenophobia in Europe

With the release today of Amnesty International’s Annual Report 2002, the human rights organisation makes a specific plea to the European Union to provide a counter for the growing anti-immigrant and anti-asylum seeker sentiment spreading across the continent.

With the theme: “No trade off between human rights and security”, Amnesty International’s Annual Report documents human rights abuses across the world for the year 2001, including extrajudicial executions in 47 countries, judicial executions in 27 countries, “disappearances” in 35 countries, torture and ill-treatment in 111 countries and prisoners of conscience in at least 56 countries.

The Annual Report details how the tragic events of 11 September have led to a racist backlash whipped up by politicians more concerned with popularity than with respecting international human rights obligations.

“In Europe, Amnesty International is alarmed by the atmosphere of suspicion and disregard for refugees and immigrants being encouraged by some European politicians and commentators,” said Dick Oosting, Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office, speaking in Brussels.

“Exaggerated claims and unfounded fears must not go unchallenged by European governments and institutions. Amnesty International recalls that the European Union has set high standards for itself on human rights. Talk of restricting immigration on the basis of religion, automatic deportation of illegal immigrants/asylum seekers and the use of the armed forces to stop would-be asylum seekers from landing in Europe, does not fit with the EU’s own human rights declarations,” he said.

“Amnesty International’s Annual Report shows the dangers involved in knee-jerk reactions to tragedies such as the 11 September attacks,” said Dick Oosting. “This is a critical phase. At a time when the European Union is debating its own future, it must clearly re-state the human rights values it purports to hold dear, and use all measures to see that that those values are respected in practice.”

Click here to link to Amnesty International Annual Report Summaries 2002

Click here for full details on the Amnesty International Annual Report 2002

Click here for updates to the Amnesty International Report 2002

Click here to link to “No trade off between human rights and security” – Amnesty International outlines human rights violations in 152 countries.

For Further comment and interviews, contact:

Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels):
Tel: 32-2-5021499
Fax: 32-2-5025686
[email protected]