Urgent Appeal to Seville Summit From Amnesty International

War Against “Illegal Immigration” Puts Human Rights At Risk

A week away from the Seville summit, and on the eve of the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg, Amnesty International today releases an urgent appeal to EU leaders to step back from the brink in their so-called “war on illegal immigration.”

In a report published today, (available see link at end of page), Amnesty International challenges the fears and myths about asylum seekers and “illegal” immigrants being whipped up by populists across Europe and details how the EU’s common asylum and immigration policy is being hijacked by an ever-strengthening “Fortress Europe” mentality.

The Amnesty report points to a clear trend in a number of European countries for laws and practices which are making it impossible for refugees to lodge their asylum claims.

“The unwillingness to balance immigration measures with respect for internationally agreed human rights standards threatens to sacrifice the rights of those who seek and need protection,” said Dick Oosting, Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office. “And on the streets of Europe, the effect of overblown anti-immigrant rhetoric is being seen in the increased hostility and attacks against certain groups of immigrants.”

Amnesty International deplores the duplicity of the EU’s approach which asserts that genuine” refugees will be protected, while at the same time the EU raises all kinds of obstacles for them not only to get a fair hearing of their application, but to gain access to Europe at all.

In an open letter to EU heads of state and government Amnesty International makes the following appeals:

  1. Amnesty International appeals to the Sevilla summit to express an explicit and unambiguous commitment to the right to asylum in the EU, as enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, as an essential commitment to human rights protection.
  2. Amnesty International calls for a human rights impact assessment, based on relevant human rights standards, of every decision taken to combat ‘illegal immigration’ and of their cumulative effect, in order to help prevent negative effects on the EU’s key human rights obligations.
  3. Amnesty International calls on the EU to match the efforts at immigration control with a more effective focus in its Common Foreign and Security Policy to improve the human rights situation in countries of origin.
  4. Amnesty International calls for a comprehensive EU strategy to combat all forms of racism and discrimination.

For further information, or interviews:

Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels):
Tel: 32-2-5021499
Fax: 32-2-5025686

Link to Amnesty International Spain for Spanish Version
Link to Amnesty International Belgium (Fr) for French Version
Link to Amnesty International Austria for German Version

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