Seville Summit Sanctions

ONE STEP TOWARDS RESTORING THE BALANCE: AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL WELCOMES SEVILLE SUMMIT SHIFT FROM SANCTIONS TO “COOPERATION” BUT MAINTAINS CONCERN ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS IMPACT

Commenting on the decision by European Union leaders at Seville to stop short of adding aid sanctions to their policy against ‘illegal immigration’, Amnesty International has expressed the hope that this might create an opening to insert a much needed human rights perspective into the debate.

“The threat of sanctions highlighted how distorted the EU’s policies were becoming”, said Dick Oosting, director of Amnesty International’s EU Office. “The war against ‘illegal immigration’ had clearly become overheated to the point where almost everyone saw the EU was going too far in its one-sided drive to keep people out and send them back at all cost,” he said.

In the lead-up to the Seville summit, Amnesty International had warned that human rights were being put at risk because of the further fortification of Europe, and that racism in Europe was on the rise because of the lack of nuance in the debate.

“These are still very real concerns, and we maintain our call for a human rights impact assessment of all the decisions taken to combat ‘illegal immigration’. But the sanctions debate has highlighted the fact that the root causes of asylum and migration should be much more central to the agenda,” said Dick Oosting.

Amnesty International says the real challenge for the EU now is to develop a comprehensive approach that balances control of borders with:

  • scrupulously safeguarding the right to asylum and the human rights of migrants in Europe;
  • constructive pressure for human rights change in the countries from which people flee persecution, conflict and deprivation; and
  • guarantees for the safety of those who are returned.

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 (0)477-625502
E-mail:
amnesty-eu@aieu.be

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