Asylum and Refugee Protection – EU undermines international standards

Amnesty International has expressed alarm at proposals to be discussed (and possibly adopted) at this Monday’s EU Justice and Homes Affairs Council to introduce new immigration and asylum measures which the organisation says contravene international human rights and refugee standards.

“This is the first-ever package of legally-binding EU asylum and immigration measures to be decided by EU ministers, and it is shocking that out of all these measures, the one concerning refugees represents a step backwards,” said Dick Oosting, Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office.

“Amnesty International is deeply concerned at the thrust of these measures which is to prevent access to EU territory at the expense of the protection of refugees,” he said.  “The one proposed measure in the field of asylum (temporary protection) may result in the undermining of the international regime for the protection of refugees, through the adoption of a different status from the one internationally agreed (based on the UN Refugee Convention).”

EU Ministers will discuss a “package” of new measures including:

  • Temporary Protection of Refugees
  • Carrier Sanctions
  • Anti-Smuggling Proposals
  • Expulsion Orders

“States are entitled to control entry to their territory, but all of these measures, including possible criminalisation of those helping people to flee to safety, add up to a very worrying trend in the European Union to create its own ‘version’ of international law governing asylum and refugees,” said the Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office. 

“By trying to change or undermine existing international standards, the EU is setting the worst possible example to the rest of the world where the vast majority of refugees find protection.”

* Attachment: Background details on the above proposed measures

For further comment and interviews, contact:

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