When presenting the New Pact, the Commission put a lot of emphasis on the need for an effective return policy. The argument which Commissioner Johansson kept using was that only one third of the asylum seekers are being granted asylum, although analyses clearly show that during the previous years around 60 percent received protection, including in appeal. Another assumption underlying the proposals is that the current legislation on return procedures is causing ineffective return policies. This was exactly the reason behind the proposed recast Return Directive which is still under negotiation.
In this letter, eight MEPs urge the European Commission to address the issue of pushbacks in the European Union as a matter of priority and to do everything possible to prevent these incidents and take appropriate action.
Pushback policies and practice are an increasing phenomenon at Europe’s borders, in clear violation of the rights of asylum seekers and refugees, including the right to seek asylum and the protection against refoulement, which are at the core of international refugee and human rights law. There are persistent reports and evidence of inhuman and degrading treatment by member States and their agencies in the framework of those pushbacks, through intimidation, taking or destroying migrants’ belongings, and even through the use of violence and depriving migrants of food and basic services.
This report, requested by Tineke Strik, looks at fundamental rights compliance at the European Union (EU)’s external land borders, including rivers and lakes. On 30 January 2020, the European Parliament requested the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) to prepare a report on these borders. It noted that the report should focus on the correct application of the safeguards in the European asylum acquis and the provisions of the Schengen Borders Code (Regulation (EU) 2016/399).
In these documents (a letter and an information note) the Hungarian Helsinki Committee raises the issue of fundamental rights violations at the Hungarian- Serbian border and summarises the HHC’s experiences with Frontex and its human rights compliance mechanisms in the last years.
In this letter, forty-eight MEPs call on Bosnian authorities as well as on the European Commission, the European Council and EEAS to take immediate action and humanitarian measures to protect migrants in Bosnia Herzegovina.
In this letter, thirty-five MEPs call on the European Commission to proceed to the immediate evacuation, redistribution and relocation of all persons seeking protection from Lesvos and all the Aegean Islands and to ensure the right to international protection in EU Member States.
Tineke presented her Implementation Report of the Return Directive during the Plenary session on the 15 December 2020.
On Wednesday 9 December, 17:00-18:30 CET, MEPs Damien Carême and Tineke Strik hosted a webinar with several experts from both the EU and UK side as well as organisations working on the ground. Speakers discussed the current situation, consequences and recommendations towards a smooth transition which will safeguard the right to asylum.
As the end date of the transition phase for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU approaches, there are still many uncertainties for both sides of how the future relationship will look like in various policy fields. This is also the case for the field of asylum and migration. As the Brexit deadline approaches, the number of people trying to reach the UK in small and unstable boats or hidden in trucks is rapidly increasing with a rise also in incidents and deaths.
Great uncertainty exists about how the cooperation with regards to Dublin, Family Reunification, Returns and other migration agreements will look like.
(Photo by Abdul Saboor)
Tineke Strik is rapporteur for the draft report "Human rights protection and the EU external migration policy" in the DROI Committee.