QUE: New leaders should defend the right to asylum in Europe

The European Union (EU) and its member states should guarantee the right to territorial asylum in Europe, Human Rights Watch and 95 other organizations said in a joint statement released today. Recent and increasing attempts by several EU member states to outsource the processing of asylum and refugee protection applications through contracts with non-EU countries – such as the agreement between Italy and Albania on migration – contravene their legal responsibilities towards people in need of protection.

“All EU member states are obliged to guarantee the right to asylum under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights,” said Iskra Kirova, Advocacy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Human Rights Watch. “Neither the Charter nor the recently adopted European Pact on Migration and Asylum provide an option for countries to transfer the processing of asylum applications to countries outside the EU. »

The European Commission should strongly reject calls to make it easier to transfer the processing of asylum applications outside EU territory, the organizations said. Wherever such outsourcing schemes have been attempted, they have been marred by rights violations. Asylum seekers risk being placed in prolonged detention in countries that lack the capacity to fairly and fully examine their claims and provide them with protection, leaving them in uncertainty and depriving them of crucial legal guarantees, while costing taxpayers exorbitant amounts of money.

The proposals to outsource the processing of asylum applications come amid increased efforts by the European Commission to strike controversial deals and provide substantial funds for migration cooperation to neighboring countries to keep migrants out. Europe, with little or no attention to necessary human rights guarantees, the groups said.

“Instead of wasting more time and resources on proposals that are incompatible with EU laws and its human rights commitments, the EU should support policies for humane reception and processing of asylum applications , sustainable and realistic on European territory,” added Iskra Kirova. “Such policies would benefit both those seeking protection and the communities that host them. »

This article is originally published on hrw.org

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