Caritas Europa report "Migrants & Refugees Have Rights" highlights the tragedy hundreds of thousands of people face when seeking protection in Europe. Women, men and children escaping war, repression and violation of human rights often turn to Europe in the hope of finding a safe haven. But many are instead confronted with bureaucratic hurdles, denial of protection and inconsistent reception standards across Europe.
Whit this report, Caritas Europa wants to contribute to this political debate and propose solutions to the ongoing tragedy of migration. It is based on the experiences of Caritas organizations across Europe working to secure protection and human rights of migrants and refugees. The stories and testimonies of those who make it to Europe demonstrate the urgency of the situation.
The stench in the camps is horrendous. TV news and newspapers cannot and are not expressing the reality. It is all so heart breaking and surreal. There is dire need for medicine, baby formula, hygiene products, clothes. When people arrive in Lesbos, they get off the boats after a heroic battle feeling relief and they end up in a bigger nightmare.
Caritas Europa is particularly concerned with this lack of solidarity. The idea of pushing people out of Europe, as discussed today between the European Council and Turkey, creates a dangerous precedent for the future and threatens Europe’s accountability. As the report highlights, the plan to close borders for people in need of international protection risks putting an end to the right to claim and seek asylum guaranteed by the Geneva Convention.
Appropriete responses can ony derive from recognising that migrants and asylym seekers are not a "flow" nor an "invasion", but are women, men, and children, whose rights and needs are been jeoparsised.
In its report, Caritas Europa urges the EU to:
- Open more safe and legal paths to Europe. More precise solutions and policy options are presented in the report;
- Guarantee the right to asylum and grant international protection to those who need it;
- Respect the principle of non-refoulement and refrain from using forced returns and practices that violate human rights, such as detention and the use of coercion;
- Ensure full implementation of the right to family reunification and broaden the definition of family members to effectively respect the right to family life;
- Develop the EU labour migration framework to ensure that safe and legal routes to Europe exist for low-skilled workers and fight against labour exploitation.
The report is available on Caritas Europa’s website.
Cover Photo: Getty/ Matt Cardy