Geneva – The so-called migrant “crisis” has dominated headlines around the world, and 2017 is showing clear signs of being another year of tragic benchmarks. Hungary has announced the construction of a second line of fencing to keep migrants out, one of the causes for the 40 percent upsurge in arrivals at Italian ports in the past two months
Marking the first anniversary of the EU-Turkey Refugee Deal, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor is releasing a new report, titled In Depth: The EU Migration “Crisis.” It examines the situation of asylum-seekers and migrants in Europe since their influx was first labeled a crisis in September 2015.
Five months of fieldwork by a Euro-Med team in Greek camps and settlements documented the appalling living conditions of an estimated 47,000 asylum seekers and migrants who fled countries wracked by war, generalized violence and/or repressive governments. According to the report, refugees suffer from racism, violence and insecurity inside the camps, which are built on the ruins of factories and hangars and lack basic requirements such as electricity, heating, food and sanitation. Women and children suffer the most. For example, there is a lack of protection against physical and sexual violence, and pregnant women and infants typically do not receive necessary health care.
Scared of being separated from their families and forced back to Turkey, where human rights violations undermine its EU label as a “safe” country, migrants are paradoxically more vulnerable than ever to illegal and dangerous smugglers
In this report, Euro-Med Monitor denounces the lack of political will to deal with the roots of the “crisis” and highlights the consequences. In particular, the long-term efficacy of the most recent developments in the EU response, including negotiations to amend the Common European Asylum System, are analyzed. The report condemns the refusal of most union members to promote effective integration of migrants through humane labor policies and programs that ensure dignified standards of living.
Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor urges the European Union and its member states to refrain from further harmonization of the asylum system, instead employing a case-by-case approach that takes into consideration the characteristics of each asylum-seeker’s application. Furthermore, it calls on the EU to take aggressive steps to ensure acceptable living conditions for all migrants hosted in camps, protecting them from rape, sex trafficking and drug-dealing through efficient security systems and accountability channels.
Lastly, Euro-Med Monitor encourages member states of the union to invest more in creating work opportunities for migrants that allow them to contribute, rather than on building fences and hiring security forces. Evidence has proven that such approaches are not only the humanitarian way, but also foster economic growth in the receiving countries.
Click here to read the full report