Appeal to EU Leaders: Maintain Human Rights Balance in Fight Against "Illegal Immigration"

In a last-minute appeal on the eve of the European Council in Seville, Amnesty International calls on all European Union leaders not to resort to measures against third countries that would further distort the human rights balance in the fight against “illegal immigration”.

“If the summit ties aid to immigration control, no amount of diplomatic language will be able to hide the fact that the EU has no compunction in enforcing its own interests over the backs of refugees and migrants”, said Dick Oosting, Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office.

“We have yet to see the EU show readiness to apply this level of pressure when it comes to protecting human rights. But at least some governments have been holding out for a more balanced approach. They must stand firm in Seville,” he said.

“There has been a glaring contradiction so far between the EU’s concerted efforts to close its borders, keep people out and press countries of origin to stop them leaving or take them back, and the lack of comparable efforts to press these same countries to tackle the root causes that force people to flee: the denial of human rights through persecution, violent conflict, inequality and deprivation,” said Dick Oosting.

Amnesty International has already released a detailed “Appeal to the Seville Summit” (available on this website – see press releases and documents) with comment and analysis on the current debate on controlling “illegal immigration” and its consequences for refugee protection. This has been sent to all EU heads of state and government, foreign ministers, and justice and home affairs ministers.

In addition, Amnesty International members have been mobilizing across Europe to send direct appeals to their respective governments and to the Council President Jose Maria Aznar (see our website home page for appeal).

For further information, or interviews:
Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels):
Tel: +32-2-5021499
Fax: +32-2-5025686
After hours and during the EU summit: Mobile – +(32) 0477-625502
[email protected]