The Council conclusions on migration painfully show that the expressions of sadness and solidarity were nothing more than crocodile tears. Europe’s priority clearly is not to save lives or to protect people along the borders. Instead it is to prevent people from arriving in Europe at all costs, even if those people are in need of safety and protection.
Council conclusions on migration: Unworthy of Europe
(Brussels, 25 October 2013) Following today’s Council conclusions, Amnesty International is deeply alarmed that leaders have failed to take concrete action to protect the lives of migrants and refugees along Europe’s borders.
“The Council conclusions on migration painfully show that the expressions of sadness and solidarity were nothing more than crocodile tears.” said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “Europe’s priority clearly is not to save lives or to protect people along the borders. Instead it is to prevent people from arriving in Europe at all costs, even if those people are in need of safety and protection.”
Not one single measure mentioned in the Council conclusions will prevent further loss of life in the Mediterranean Sea. Search and rescue capacity is not even mentioned; neither is the need to open safe routes for refugees to Europe addressed. Instead, the proposed measures focus yet again on enhanced border surveillance. This will simply lead to people taking riskier routes to reach Europe.
In addition, the conclusions make no mention of the need for European states to prioritise people’s lives and rights when cooperating on migration control with countries on the other side of the Mediterranean. Europe must stop turning a blind eye to the serious human rights violations of migrants and refugees in these countries.
“The European Council says that concrete actions will follow later. But the time to act is now. Until then, if leaders do not take responsibility to fundamentally change Europe’s migration policy, more men, women and children will continue to die in the Mediterranean Sea.”
For further information and interviews, please contact:
Carmen Dupont, [email protected] +32 (0)2 235 13 80 or Amnesty International’s European Institutions press office in Brussels ([email protected] +32 (0)2 235 13 83
Read our letter to President van Rompuy here
Read our statement on three things the EU must do following the Lampedusa tragedy here.
For further information on our display for the EU summit, please see our media advisory and photo gallery.